THE VICTORIAN government has released the first Rail Freight Network Capability Statement, which it says provides clarity and certainty for rail freight operators and customers.

The statement provides operators with detailed rail knowledge such as line speeds and axle-loads so they can accurately plan with network managers to schedule services, confirm access to train paths and meet the needs of their customers and our producers.

Victoria’s rail-freight network moves grain, hay, pulses, wine, grapes, meat, dairy and paper products from freight hubs in regional Victoria and southern New South Wales to ports for export.

The government said rail freight is up to nine times safer than road freight and modal shift will support its commitment to reduce road fatalities by 50% by 2030 and eliminate road deaths by 2050.

State minister for ports and freight Melissa Horne said a stable and transparent operating environment is critical for our freight operators – this statement gives them certainty and clarity to maximise the benefits that come from moving freight by rail.

“We’re making major investments in the rail freight network, supporting industry to get freight moving and boosting the economy,” she said.

State minister for public and active transport Gabrielle Williams said: “We’re building on our record investments in passenger rail by delivering a better rail freight system, enabling longer and heavier trains to run on the network and getting more freight on rail.”