Buswell provides temporary lifeline to rail lines

Western Australia extends life of four rail lines to shoulder some of the load of this year's grain harvest

October 7, 2011

Western Australia will extend the life of four rail lines to shoulder some of the load of this year’s grain harvest.

Transport Minister Troy Buswell has negotiated with Brookfield Rail for the Quairading-York, Trayning-West Merredin, Bruce Rock-Yilliminning and Bruce Rock-Merredin lines to stay open for the 2011-12 season.

Buswell says the extension runs only until the end of October next year, at which point he says the roads should be able to handle the 2012-13 harvest.

"Extending the operational life of these lines will allow additional time for road improvements to be completed while ensuring that the 2011-12 grain freight harvest receives adequate service," he says.

Buswell says the government is accelerating its $105 million investment in its roads program to get the network up to scratch by early 2013.

"Main Roads is working closely with the relevant local councils to accelerate the road upgrade program to ensure the state road upgrades are completed by April 2013, a year earlier than originally planned," he says.

"Main Roads is progressing designs, with works expected to commence on State roads prior to Christmas 2011. Several upgrades on local government roads have already commenced."

Buswell last month announced the government was fast-tracking its roads program and considering extending the life of the rail lines for one year.

He says the government is pumping more than $350 million into Western Australia’s grain freight network, including $187.9 million for the most competitive grain freight lines and $118.3 million for improvements and maintenance to Wheatbelt roads.

Buswell has pledged $14.6 million to help rail transport remain competitive with road.

The government rejected a proposal to re-sleeper some of the rail lines it intended to close down.

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