More Wheatbelt rail closures

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
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The crisis over getting this year's bumper harvest to port deepened yesterday when farmers were warned the rail line passing through Wickepin would not carry any grain because of its poor condition.

It is the latest blow to the grain freight rail network and comes after Brookfield announced it was closing the Tier 3 Trayning to Merredin and Quairading to York lines, and halving the load capacity on the Tier 2 Miling to Bolgart line.

Wickepin shire president Steve Martin, who attended a briefing with CBH, said all grain from the district would be moved by truck.

No grain would be moved on sections of the Tier 3 line which included Wickepin, Yealering and Bullaring.

The line might be used to shuttle empty wagons but cannot carry grain without significant repairs. Other sections remain under a cloud after CBH foreshadowed closures and severe operating restrictions last week.

The rail crisis has sparked dire road safety warnings and will hit farmers in the hip pocket.

CBH estimates freight rates for farmers using Tier 3 and the Miling lines this harvest will rise an average of 5 per cent because of operating restrictions.

Freight rates across all rail freight sites will increase by about 2 per cent.

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