A focus group, aimed at putting the views of Victoria's rail freight operators directly to the state government, is being planned by Merbein-based road-rail freight operator Seaway.
Seaway Intermodal head Ros Milverton said it was hoped to bring all of the state's operators to the table to offer industry-based solutions to improving Victoria's rail freight network.
"We have been working with a number of other operators, in the industry, to get some workshops with government about ongoing Victorian regional rail maintenance and infrastructure," Ms Milverton said.
"We want to put an operator/industry perspective to what quick wins and efficiency gains we could achieve across the network."
She stressed she wanted the group to cover more than just the Mildura to Melbourne line.
"It's everything from container freight, to bulk grain," she said.
"'We are planning to see how we can get together as an industry and get a real operational perspective to the government on our 'pain' points and quick wins, in terms of network improvements."
That could include the construction of additional passing loops, eliminating or reducing temporary speed restrictions and the further roll out of electronic signalling.
One of the challenges was the time taken for line "occupations" - when maintenance or upgrades were being carried out, which resulted in the track being taken out of service.
"The cost to the business of lines being out of extended periods is high and we need to make sure we are getting a lot of good air time with the government around that," Ms Milverton said.
It was hoped to get operators together within the next few months.
Ms Milverton welcomed the latest improvements on freight lines in the north-west.
Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne said a siding extension at Merbein would allow 1,200 metre-long trains to stable away from the main rail line, enabling grain trains to run more frequently to Yelta.
In its 2022-23 budget the government set aside $181 million for critical maintenance work on the regional rail freight network.
Recently completed works allowed for the removal of heat and speed restrictions along the 109-kilometre Ouyen to Murrayville Line.
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Ms Horne said more than 57,000 sleepers were replaced as part of the works, along with the addition of 30,000 tonnes of ballast and adjusting track, enabling the line to remain open when temperatures reached 33 degrees.
Track upgrades had been underway on the Ararat to Maryborough rail line since May, as part of the next stage of works on the Murray Basin Rail Project, she said.
Deliveries for the 160 kilometres of 47-kilogram rail, to be installed between Ararat and Maryborough, began in late April and would continue through to September.
Ms Horne said the upgrades to a higher standard of track would enable all types of freight trains to operate with heavier loads, increasing capacity for all wagons by 15 per cent - to 21 tonne axle loading.
The works would enable 49 weekly return train paths on the Murray Basin network, up from the current 28 paths.
Construction was also continuing on a 300-metre siding in the Donald Yard to provide improved operations for freight trains and wagons to be stored when not in use.
Work on the Merbein siding extension works would begin in the coming months, allowing for the stabling of a 1200-metre train off the mainline to help increase capacity for rail freight users in the region.
Ms Milverton said it was a welcome investment in rail infrastructure
"The key part for us is that it gives us additional space to house empty wagons and cater for 1200m trains," she said.
Ms MIlverton said it had been predicted agricultural production, in areas such as nuts, table and wine grapes, would grow by 5 per cent a year, for the next few years.
Rail gave producers and packers greater flexibility, in getting products to market, she said.
Seaway was currently sending out three 1200m trains, carrying citrus fruit, almonds and packaged and bulk wine, three times a week.