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CLERMONT grazier and AgForce CQ State Councillor Peter Anderson is throwing his hands up in the air over the rail system debacle.
"I have been trucking cattle for 35 years and I am still at a loss to why it has taken so long to fix the (door) catches,” he said.
Mr Anderson, who owns at 7000ha property 65kms north of Clermont running 1400 head of Braford Charlois, said he was "deeply disappointed” when the rail service was cut off from Clermont.
A "fairly extensive user of the rail system over the number of years”, Mr Anderson said initially it was great to see attention being paid to rail.
"It was good to see the investment in replacing the old wagons,” he said.
But all good things come to an end.
"The big concern is it has taken them seven months to get some trial runs on the rail,” Mr Anderson said.
"I don't know how long they will trial them for and then how long it will take them for them to modify the rest of the fleet.
"We are looking at months.”
Dealing with the disconnection of the service has been a "bit of a nightmare”, he said.
Locals trucks have become sparse as they are put under added pressure to cart extra loads.
"I have managed to get trucks,” Mr Anderson said.
"You have to book well in advance.
"The road network is struggling to keep up.
"Trucking companies are keeping up but they have to bring up trucks from down south.
"The locals aren't able to keep up.”
The semantics of booking a truck versus a train is different as well, Mr Anderson said.
"If you only have 10 or 20 (cattle) to go it was quite easy to go on the rail, you would just book a wagon,” Mr Anderson said.
"At the moment it is not economical to take a truck, you have to work it out with someone else.
"So it's a lot of work for us.”
A trial of modified crates is expected to be undertaken at Clermont soon.
"People want to see it up and running again,” Mr Anderson said.
"It's a reliable services for Clermont, we have had it for decades.
"We need to get it happening again.”
Mr Anderson is a "firm believer there is not enough freight on rail”.
"The rail is there for a reason, it takes all the heavy vehicles off the road,” he said.
"A lot of grain from the grain depot goes on trucks, it could go on a train.
"General freight has to go on trucks as it goes all over the place but when it goes on a direct route from A to B from the feedlot to the port it could go on the train.”
Fuel to the mines could also go on trucks, he claimed.
"There are 150 B-doubles running out of Mackay every day, 24-hours a week, 365 days of the year,” Mr Anderson said..
"It's going from the port to the mine, it's a straight direct drop-off.
"It's not going to four to five service stations.
"They used to have a fuel train but it was done away with 20 years ago.
"It would have a big adverse effect on the roads with all those extra trucks.”
As with each issue, it has positives and negatives.
"But there are companies that have built their company on that and their employees,” Mr Anderson said.
"I'm hoping the trial is successful, let's get this service going again.”.
This article first appeared on www.themorningbulletin.com.au
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