I stumbled across the tender documents for the shuttle this morning while looking for something else and nearly dropped my coffee when I read this:
The PRSN has potential to enhance IRP outcomes by efficiently shuttling freight between the POM and a new Melbourne interstate rail freight terminal that can handle trains up to 3,600 metres long with double stacked containers, which the existing Dynon terminals cannot efficiently handle.
No wonder they had trouble getting operators to sign up if they're talking about 3600m trains!!!
I can only assume the intention was to describe a facility that could handle two 1800m trains facing off, but I'm really struggling with reasons for that anyway... or maybe they really do want trains that can be at Dynon and in Tottenham Yard simultaneously.
Anyway, with vague instructions like this for integrating into the IRP, who can blame the operators for being a bit less than enthusiastic.
PRSN - Port Rail Shuttle Network
IRP : Inland Rail Project
POM: Port of Melbourne
YMMG: Yard Manager Mundrabilla Glossary
Im not sure I agree that this is a turnoff - I don't think anyone expects a port shuttle to be 3600m or 1800m long. I see this para as merely saying that the future interstate terminal will cater for such lengths for compatibility with the Inland* which is a logical thing to make people assume.
Also, port shuttles and the Inland* are not going to cater for same traffic but some of the traffic from the port will possibly be shuttled to the future intermodal, and added to the interstaters for drop off along the way.
Though I think that most port traffic will instead be its own block train (as the Mildura, Tocumwal, Fletchers, Crawfords trains etc currently are). Current operators with the possible exception of SCT in some cases prefer to run a block train on the interstate between the capitals (and in my view the interstate network is a misnomer, it is really the inter-capital network).
* Inland = IRP for YMM**.
** YMM = YM***-Mundrabilla
*** YM = Yardmaster