A convoy of truck drivers headed by WAFarmers and the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance drove through parts of Perth today to demonstrate their opposition to the closure of the Tier 3 rail lines.
Brookfield Rail announced in October 2013 that it planned to close two Tier 3 rail lines, between York and Quarading, as well as between Merredin and Trayning, over safety risk concerns due to the lines’ deteriorating conditions.
Yesterday, the Tier 3 rail line went into care and maintenance.
As part of the demonstration, WAFarmers and WRRA have called on the state government and Brookfield to act swiftly to reopen the lines, which cart grain from areas such as Quairading, Kulin and Narembeen.
“Rail is the most efficient and safest way to cart grain, hands down,” Mr Park said.
“Without Tier 3 rail, we lose an essential link in the grain transport network and force more trucks onto poorly maintained regional roads as well as crowded metropolitan roads, comprising everyone’s road safety.”
Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance chairman Greg Richards said the groups had requested the lines be re-opened until at least October 31 to allow for last season’s record harvest to be delivered, pending the outcomes of both the Economic Regulation Authority investigation and parliamentary inquiry into the management of Western Australia’s freight rail network.
“Closing these lines is akin to shutting down the Mandurah-Perth rail line and putting all the commuters on buses – it just doesn’t make sense,” Mr Richards said.
“We need swift action to ensure farmers get their grain to port in the most efficient way without the safety or regional and metropolitan road users being put at risk.”
WAFarmers and WRRA warned that today’s demonstration was just a precursor to further and bigger action should a satisfactory outcome not be attained.