Safety concerns over Tier 3 rail closure

03/10/2013 - 13:03

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Western Australia's peak farming lobby says the looming closure of two Tier 3 rail lines in the Wheatbelt will force thousands of trucks onto unsafe roads.

Safety concerns over Tier 3 rail closure

Western Australia's peak farming lobby says the looming closure of two Tier 3 rail lines in the Wheatbelt will force thousands of trucks onto unsafe roads.

Brookfield Rail confirmed today that it would close the York to Quairading and Merredin to Trayning Tier 3 grain freight lines at the end of the month. 

"This is not a decision Brookfield Rail has taken lightly, but in the absence of substantial investment from government to support a longer term operation, Brookfield Rail is not satisfied the safe and sustainable operation of these two lines can be maintained past October 31," Brookfield said in a statement.

"In the coming month, Brookfield Rail intends to work closely with CBH to seek agreement on a commercial and operational solution that should see the safe and reliable operation of other Tier 3 rail lines continue through the upcoming 2013-14 harvest and well into next year."

The WA Farmers Federation says the closure of the rail lines will put thousands of extra trucks on deteriorating rural roads and has criticised the Barnett government for its inaction on funding commitments.

"The issue of Tier 3 closures poses a huge safety risk for the road users in Western Australia, as an increasing amount of trucks carting grain will be forced onto roads unfit to carry them," WA Farmers president Dale Park said.

"The state government has failed to honour its commitment to upgrade rural roads to a standard able to cope with increased truck traffic."

Mr Park said WA Farmers would continue to fight to keep the rail lines open.

Premier Colin Barnett pledged during the state election campaign in March that "a re-elected Liberal government would commit to keeping open viable Tier 3 rail lines"

Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers said the pending closure of the rail lines amounted to a broken promise from the government.

"It is estimated the cost to upgrade and maintain roads to cope with increased truck traffic will be more than $400 million," he said.

"Everyone knows keeping the rail lines open is a 'no brainer'. Colin Barnett and Troy Buswell must stop playing politics and make the safest, most financially viable decision to keep Tier 3 rail lines open."

Brookfield said it would continue to work in partnership with CBH to develop a jointly agreed proposal to government on an economically viable, sustainable and long-term solution for the Tier 3 lines.

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