V/Line has eased the speed restrictions imposed on the freight network during times of extreme heat, allowing for more freight trains to run more often this summer.
V/Line chief executive officer James Pinder announced last week that trains would be able to operate at reduced speed on much of the freight network when the temperature exceeds 36°C.
‘‘Our track team has been hard at work completing maintenance and upgrades on the freight network ahead of the warmer months, and we’ve been able to make the changes to the allowable train speed in some sections of the network,’’ Mr Pinder said.
‘‘We’ve communicated the changes to freight train operators so they can manage their operations and we’ll continue to be in constant contact throughout the summer.’’
The Rail Freight Advisory Council met for the first time last week and its chair Peter Tuohey has welcomed the new arrangements.
‘‘The revised heat-related speed restrictions were well received by our group, which represents the whole rail freight supply chain,’’ Mr Tuohey said.
‘‘These changes mean farmers and industry can transport more produce this summer, as freight trains will still be able to run even during the hottest part of the day.’’
Rail Freight Alliance chair Glenn Milne said the changes were important.
‘‘Rail will become an increasing freight transport mode as Victoria’s freight task continues to grow,’’ Mr Milne said.
‘‘There will always be consistent freight on rail apart from bulk freight, however, another good grain season, the constant horticulture freight and 2016 harvest stocks mean that a fit-for-purpose rail network is key for the prosperity of Victoria.’’
V/Line’s network services plan 2017-18
■Echuca-Deniliquin: 2017-18, 30km/h at 33°C; last summer, no trains at 36°C.
■Shepparton-Tocumwal: 2017-18, 40km/h at 33°C; last summer, no trains at 36°C.
■Toolamba-Echuca: 2017-18, no trains at 33°C (between 12pm and 8pm); last summer, no trains at 33°C (between 10am and 10pm).