THE Victorian Farmers Federation has identified several rural rail lines in need of speed and loading capacity upgrades and is calling for further investments into the state’s rail network.
The call comes after 14 carriages of a Pacific National train carrying grain were derailed at Pyramid Hill last week, spilling about a quarter of the train’s grain load and damaging 500 metres of track.
A track fault was cited as the cause of the incident.
VFF Grains president Andrew Weidemann said the accident highlighted the need for urgent upgrades.
“V/Line estimates about 500 metres of the rail line at Pyramid hill was damaged, but this is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
He said more grain could be shifted from trucks to trains if the government invested in rail upgrades, reducing the road maintenance and repair costs.
“But if we can’t rely on the rail system to safely and effectively transport grain to export vessels, we’ll see more trucks on the road, especially at this peak time of the year.
“This derailment, along with others in the past, is a clear indication that more funding is required to maintain Victoria’s rural rail assets at a safe and efficient level.”
A spokesperson for Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder was unable to be contacted.