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Offline ozbob

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Article: Rail to roll on
« on: July 30, 2008, 03:47:18 AM »
From the Wimmera Mail-Times click here!

Rail to roll on

Quote
Rail to roll on
BY LAURA POOLE

HSM, 28/07/2008 12:00:00 AM

THE Wimmera has secured a rail freight service for 12 months.

Wimmera Container Line has signed with Queensland Rail.

Owner Rodney Clarke said the deal replaced a Pacific National service, due to finish on Thursday.
Mr Clarke said Queensland Rail's service would start on August 4.

The Wimmera's container rail freight service has been in jeopardy since Pacific National announced it would withdraw its rail freight service last year.

Wimmera Container Line secured a temporary agreement with Pacific National, based on stringent payment conditions, for a rail freight service up until Thursday.

Mr Clarke said Queensland Rail subsidiary Interail would provide the service, linking in with an Adelaide to Melbourne train service.

"It will consist of three services a week," Mr Clarke said.

"That will be increased to five services if the demand rises.

"They will give our region a good opportunity to move a lot of containers.

"We have a 12 month contract for a start. They can evaluate what the business is like and we can evaluate their service and make sure it benefits the whole region, ourselves, farmers and packers."

Mr Clarke said Queensland Rail had more flexible payment terms, relieving the stress of a pre-payment system with Pacific National.

"We are dealing with a company willing to grow with the market," he said.

"Where possible they will supply additional services. They want to grow their presence in Victoria."
Mr Clarke said he was relieved to finalise the 12 month contract on Thursday.

Wimmera Development Association executive director Philip Sabien said the new agreement enhanced Wimmera rail freight competition.

Mr Sabien said the deal could encourage Pacific National and GrainCorp to use north Wimmera rail lines.

"It will certainly be a way of putting pressure on Pacific National and GrainCorp for the utilisation of those lines north of Waracknabeal because there is that competition," he said.

Mr Sabien welcomed the 12 month contract.

"I applaud Wimmera Container Line for the effort that they've gone to to secure a new operator," Mr Sabien said.

"The State Government has provided the rail freight rebate and the investment Victoria has put into the rail freight network.

"It can't go unnoticed because we wouldn't be able to negotiate with companies like Queensland Rail unless they had confidence in the improvements made and work of the government."

Mr Sabien thanked packing companies, reliant on container rail freight, for their patience.

"The packers have been patient through quite a turbulent period where we could have lost all rail service," he said.

"Now we do have the security for at least 12 months of a new rail provider that is keen to grow the business in Victoria and that is providing competition in our rail freight network in our region."

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