Tier 3 lines unsafe

Rueben HaleThe West Australian
Quairading farmer John Wilson.
Camera IconQuairading farmer John Wilson. Credit: The West Australian

A State Government safety review of the State's Tier 3 rail lines has found most of the lines are not in "Fit for Purpose" condition.

At Transport Minister Dean Nalder's request, the Public Transport Authority engaged an independent expert to carry out a review of Tier 3 rail lines to determine the physical condition of those lines.

The review found the majority of the Tier 3 rail lines are considered to be not in a "Fit for Purpose" condition and are deemed unsafe for the running of trains in accordance with the Code of Practice.

The scope of this review, which finished in August, included a review of documentation and verification of data relating to the performance of services that used the lines in conjunction with a physical inspection of the lines.

A State Government spokeswoman said the review's finding supports Brookfield Rail's decision to withdraw those lines from service

"The Narrogin-Yilliminning section is considered safe in its current condition, however there are no grain bins on this section of line for the transportation of grain by rail," she said.

"There is a significant amount of investment required for each of the Tier 3 rail lines to make them 'Fit for Purpose' and that investment is the subject of ongoing negotiations between CBH and Brookfield Rail."

Meanwhile, the State Government also says it will not be spending an almost $29 million saving on a rail re-sleepering project on maintenance to make some of the more viable Tier 3 lines useable.

Wheatbelt communities are bracing themselves for an onslaught of thousands of extra truck movements on crumbling roads this harvest, to move the expected 14m tonne bumper crop.

More than 670,000 new sleepers have already been laid under the program, with the scope of the re-sleepering stretching from Dalwallinu to Hyden and as far south as Albany.

But long-time Quairading grain producer John F. Wilson said the Tier 3 line from Quairading to York, as an example, could be fixed with a reasonable amount of investment into its maintenance.

"Grain producers in the Central Wheatbelt are in a savage mood because of the lack of reasons the State Government has given for the closure of these Tier 3 lines," he said. "We could fix the loose and sloppy country this side of Jacobs Well for a reasonable amount of money and bring this section back to normal, thus allowing CBH to use their modern rail loading facilities.

"CBH has spent millions on state-of-the-art rolling stock and rail loading facilities in good faith that they would be able to use the Tier 3 lines.

"But the Government seem to be unprepared to reinvest the rail savings back into viable Tier 3 rail, because they're anti-rail, in my opinion."

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails