AusRAIL, Market Sectors

B-triple fear for Tassie roads in wake of rail wind down

<p>Tasmanian community groups are concerned about the prospect of road trains being forced onto the state’s highway if rail freight fails to get the support needed to keep it viable.</p> <p>There are fears that B-Triple trucks &#8211 presently not allowed on Tasmanian roads &#8211 will end up as the only economic road freight alternative for certain shippers, ninemsn reported.</p> <p>The Norske Skog Boyer paper mill at New Norfolk uses rail to transport most of the coal, logs and chemicals into its site and rail to shift nearly 300,000 tonnes out to the ports of Bell Bay and Burnie.</p> <p>The company would need to use B-triple road trains to keep the mill viable, it was reported.</p> <p>If the Tasmanian Government did approve their use, roads such as the Midlands Highway would have to be upgraded to four lanes at a $200m cost to accommodate the increased heavy vehicle traffic, it reported.</p> <p>"Where’s the economics in that?" said Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Damon Thomas.</p> <p>"Why spend hundreds of millions of dollars building new highways to cope with huge trucks on the road that are only there because $78m couldn’t be found to fix the existing rail network."</p> <p>Rail operator Pacific National Tasmania is due to start winding down its intermodal services from today (Monday, December 12) unless either or both of the Federal and Tasmanian guarantees a sufficient level of investment in rail infrastructure.</p> <p>Tasmanian infrastructure minister Bryan Green said yesterday (Sunday) that the Government would await the Federal Government’s decision before it made its formal response on the rail issue. </p> <br />