AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Operators consider reopening Mt Gambier-Portland line

<p>Private rail operators Australia Southern Railroad (ASR) and Freight Australia are investigating reopening the Mount Gambier-Portland rail link.</p> <p>ASR was last year named the preferred proponent for the standardisation and reopening of the Mount Gambier-Wolseley rail link. </p> <p>Questions remain over the future of the cross-border link between Mount Gambier and Portland, which was abandoned in 1995 because conversion from broad to standard gauge could not be funded.</p> <p>With continued economic growth in the region, both ASR and Freight Australia have identified significant freight flows between the two centres.</p> <p>Uncertainty over track ownership and funding for standardisation has until now clouded proposals. </p> <p>SA owns the track between Mount Gambier and the border, VicTrack owns the section from Heywood to the border. Freight Australia operates the Heywood-Portland line under an extended lease from VicTrack.</p> <p>ASR is talking to the SA Government on the details of a contract to reopen the Wolseley-Mount Gambier link. </p> <p>The package includes a long-term lease of the line between Millicent and the Victorian border.</p> <p>ASR CEO Wayne James said investigations have shown that there is the potential freight to make the link to Portland viable. </p> <p>With the recent sale of National Rail and FreightCorp, the railway landscape has radically changed and cooperation between operators such as ASR and Freight Australia is likely to become more common in the future as rail looks to increase its market share, he said. </p> <p>A joint marketing approach and pooling of assets would lead to economies of operation and allow the rail industry to provide low-cost transport solutions to local businesses and industry, Mr James said </p> <p>Both companies provide interstate links between major Australian capitals and the prospect is that Mount Gambier will be reconnected to the interstate rail network.</p> <br />