Its just the RTBU flexing its muscle for its own gain - closed shop, nothing new. All the other issues can be overcome if someone is prepared to meet the standards of which being an employee and a member of the RTBU is not one of them.Sorry, I was thinking more in 2004(?) when VGR began running into Castlemaine for the first time - weren’t there some major safeworking changes required to keep whoever was the infrastructure manager at the time happy?If by major safe working changes you mean waiting a year or so for FA to book the Castlemaine > Maryborough line out of service then yes!
As I have posted before Hell will freeze over before the RTBU will sanction volunteer drivers on the V/Line or Metro networks. Aint gonna happen. Apart from the obvious safety and insurance ramifications it would open the flood gates to any old organisation declaring themselves a Heritage operator and running trains without paying crews (ie it's a thin edge of the wedge argument)
Any THR who wished to interface with the "real" railway would need to pay for V/Line crews and use V/Lines accreditation or get their own accreditation (hugely expensive and time consuming) and employ their own crews (note employed not volunteers).
WA don't appear to have the same issues with Hotham Valley that uses some Arc Infrastructure (aka WestNet, Brookfield) track to get into Pinjarra. Its purely a matter of will and attitude that is seemingly impossible to obtain in Victoria.