This season grain harvest is predicted to be 16 % above the average harvest of the last ten years, and the partly completed MB network actually has less capacity than before conversion . Like 169 km single line section for broad gauge trains from Korongvale to Warrenheip - 3 hours running time, and standard gauge another 3 hour section single line section rom Maryborough to Maroona.
Without Inglewood - Eaglehawk re-opened the whole thing will be a disaster as one can only run a maximum of one train a day on each of the Managatang and Sea Lake lines with the current state of MB completion. Each grain train that cannot be run because of the incomplete MB project puts another 90 heavy road trucks on local roads all the way to the ports. Now this sort of bumper harvest requires something like 9 grain trains a day for 250 days from harvest to clear to the ports one can see the sort of debacle we are facing with the current MB incomplete standrdization.
that something urgently needs to be done.
Not convinced that re-opening Inglewood is the way to go. The big lesson from the MBRP is that re-using old clapped out lines, and expecting them to perform at standards way above their original design just does not work. From the foundation up need complete re-build.
For the BG capacity squeeze, there is ample room at any or all of Dunnolly, Maryborough, Talbot, Clunes, Sulky to build/re-instate passing tracks.
These would be short pieces of new build, not interfering with operation of the mainline until the time of putting in the points.
Not only a cheaper alternative, but you can be assured that the track built is up to the task.
The big elephant in the room that nobody seems to mention, is the ridiculous single DG track between Dunolly and Maryborough. The original MBRP(original/dead version) had no hope of managing the expected volume.
Surely it is time for a second SG track to share the work.
Again a new line with guaranteed performance, with no interference to the existing mainline during construction.
If it comes to a choice between 20-30km of new track, or re-open/re-furbish 40km of broken down line - experience has already shown which is the more likely to fail.