Hinch support for rail upgrade welcomed by port
THE Port of Portland has welcomed calls from Senator Derryn Hinch to upgrade the Maroona-Portland rail line.
As reported in Monday’s Observer, Senator Hinch raised the matter in the Federal parliament last week, saying it was “bureaucratic madness” that left the upgrade of the line out of the Murray Basin Rail project.
The upgrade has seen the axle load on all lines part of the project increased to 23 tonnes, allowing trains with that loading to travel at 80km/h and also carry more freight.
That means it is more convenient for grain trains to send their cargo to Geelong rather than the shorter trip to Portland, with the Maroona-Portland line still hamstrung with a 19-tonne axle loading.
Senator Hinch said in the Senate that the Maroona-Portland line seemed to be “a piece of cake” to upgrade because “all you’d need to do is upgrade the sleepers”.
“I look forward to continuing talks with the re-elected state and federal government to push for the much-needed sleeper upgrade on this train line,” he told the Observer.
“As I said (in the Senate), it’s not a huge ask.”