Buswell chastised for closure of grain rail lines

The West Australian Government has come under attack for closing the Wheatbelt grain rail lines

January 11, 2012

The West Australian Government has come under attack for closing the Wheatbelt grain rail lines following yesterday’s grain truck rollover between Quairading and York.

The driver was trapped in his cabin for several of hours after colliding with another truck east of Beverley about 9am.

Western Australian Farmers Federation President Mike Norton believes road safety in farming regions is being ignored by the government and says the crash highlights the risk motorists face as rail transport and rail rolling stock options are stretched.

He believes many roads are too narrow for trucks to travel on.

"The decision by the state government and Minister for Transport Troy Buswell to close some of the Tier 3 network will add stress to our road system and increase the risks to road users," Norton says.

"The Tier 3 rail network was developed as an economical and safe option to transport grain throughout the Wheatbelt and WA Farmers believes that investment in the Tier 3 lines is the only sensible course of action when economic environmental and road safety factors are taken into account."

The closure of the lines will add at least 57,000 truck movements in WA each year, he adds.

West Australian opposition spokesman on transport Ken Travers says the accident is a "wake-up call" to the government.

"They have failed the farming industry by closing the grain rail lines," Travers says.

"Trains for this harvest are in short supply due to a number of them being shifted to the eastern states following the Barnett Government’s bad decision to close the Quairading to York grain rail line.

"Although the state government belatedly funded the re-opening of the lines in October, it was too late to retrieve the trains, forcing trucks to remain on the roads."

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