V/Line defends its Murray rail progress

V/Line defends Murray Basin progress


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Victoria’s freight rail network, V/Line, had seen nearly a 70 per cent increase in grain traffic, this season, compared with last year, according to chief executive James Pinder.

Victoria’s freight rail network, V/Line, had seen nearly a 70 per cent increase in grain traffic, this season, compared with last year, according to chief executive James Pinder.

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Mr Pinder said 446 freight trains ran this season, compared with 264 last year.

“That’s almost a 70 percent increase in traffic, and we are not finished yet,” Mr Pinder said. “We have moved 860,000 tonnes of grain and we managed to do that, in the same year, for the first time since 2009 without a heat related derailment in the network.

“For us, really, we feel we have contributed quite significantly.”

Mr Pinder said between grain seasons, V/Line would start phase two of the project, regauging the freight network.

His comments followed claims by opposition regional development spokesman Peter Walsh work on the Murray Basin Rail Project had stalled.

He said country communities and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) raised concerns at slow progress on the Murray Basin Rail Project.

“Labor’s ridiculously low heat restrictions on our freight rail network forced 1000 extra trucks onto our country roads during the record-breaking grain harvest,” Mr Walsh said.

“Farmers should be reaping the rewards of this year’s bumper harvest, but when Labor prioritises Melbourne rail projects ahead of our regional freight rail it makes it harder to do business in country Victoria.”

But Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allen said the issues facing the grain industry were a direct result of the neglect and laziness of the former Liberal and National government.

"If the former Liberal and National government had built the Murray Basin Rail Project, freight operators could be running bigger trains, more often, right now,” Ms Allen said.

"In two years we've funded and finished stage one of the project, and we're getting on with delivering the rest of the project, so farmers can move more product and capitalise on bumper harvests.”

V/LINE PROGRESS: James Pinder, V/Line chief executive, said there had been nearly a 70 per cent increase in grain traffic on Murray Basin rail, this season.

V/LINE PROGRESS: James Pinder, V/Line chief executive, said there had been nearly a 70 per cent increase in grain traffic on Murray Basin rail, this season.

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