Rail congestion could force Cargo Sprinter off track

<p>Poor rail infrastructure in Victoria could force the owners of a revolutionary freight train to take it out of the state.</p> <p>The CRT Group is unable to use its German-built Cargo Sprinter efficiently to shuttle freight between the port of Melbourne and CRT’s Altona intermodal terminal because of rail track congestion, the Victorian Transport Association said.</p> <p>VTA executive director Phil Lovell told the <em>Age </em> that the poor state of rail freight infrastructure, especially around the port of Melbourne, could force CRT to use the Cargo Sprinter in another state.</p> <p>"It won’t be here next year unless something happens," Mr Lovell said. "Cargo Sprinter will go where it can achieve its commercial model &#8211 probably Brisbane."</p> <p>The Cargo Sprinter has a lightweight, low noise design.</p> <p>CRT national operations manager Cameron Dunn said: "A large, heavy train takes a long time to speed up and a long time to slow down. </p> <p>"The Cargo Sprinter can speed up and slow down very quickly, and has a top speed of approximately 120km&#47h."</p> <p>However, Mr Lovell said the Cargo Sprinter’s speed and efficiency advantage is being lost because of the antiquated rail freight access to the port.</p> <p>A trip between the port and Altona takes 40 minutes by road, but up to two hours on the freight rail network, Mr Lovell said.</p> <p>"CRT gets tied up in the network," Mr Lovell said. "Congestion does not allow them to get a path straight to Altona."</p> <p>Mr Lovell said there is only one standard-gauge track running into the port through the Tottenham railyards, which CRT uses to carry freight.</p> <p>"We’ve got one piece of track that has to handle every train coming in and out of Melbourne," Mr Lovell said. "It’s the greatest lunacy of all time."</p> <p>There are at least ten broad-gauge rail lines running through Tottenham, several of which are disused.</p> <p>Mr Lovell said the failure to convert one of these lines to standard-gauge to assist freight shows that the government is not doing enough to support CRT. </p> <br />