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Rationalisation of rail infrastructure as part of the Murray Basin Rail project will seriously hamper future rail operation and put jobs at risk.
The Rail Revival Alliance is calling for a stop to the proposed removal of rail infrastructure at Maryborough and Dunolly as part of the Murray Basin Rail Plan as it will limit rail freight operations and put jobs at risk.
Rail Revival President Noel Laidlaw said today that the proposal to rip up more than half of the existing rail yards at Maryborough and abandon much of the Dunolly yard would seriously limit freight train operations on the Murray Basin lines.
Currently, there are ten different facilities in the Maryborough yard for the crossing or storage of trains, these being sidings or loops. With three operators using these facilities, they are in constant use, particularly in moving the huge cereal crop. Trains are stored in the Maryborough yard, trains heading in opposite direction cross at Maryborough, trains are assembled in the yard.
These is also storage for track machines or defective equipment. Because of its significance as a rail hub, Maryborough has around fifty jobs associated with the rail freight operations in the city. There would seem little logic in keeping Maryborough as a central rail hub if the very facilities which are essential to its operation are to be removed.
Under the new Murray Basin layout, the capacity of the yard will be reduced to a main line, a crossing loop and two storage roads. This removal of infrastructure will not only limit the role of Maryborough as a hub, but it will also seriously compromise the ability of the line to handle even the existing traffic let alone the expected expansion as part of the Murray Basin Upgrade.
V/Line has not acted in a freight capacity for more than twenty years and yet they are designing infrastructure for freight operations to use. The government had commissioned a study into the operational aspects of the removal of the freight infrastructure as part of Murray Basin but has refused to release the report.
There is widespread concern from the freight operators, the rail customers, the rail union and community groups as to how this slashing of facilities will affect rail operations in the future, but the Minister for Transport has turned a deaf ear to these concerns.
“The Rail Revival Alliance calls on the Minister for Transport to release the report to the public and to take account of the recommendations concerning the ripping out of vital rail facilities.” Mr. Laidlaw said.
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