Article in today's Weekly times: http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/victorias-freight-rail-system-crippled-by-speed-restrictions/news-story/4df186a3304e9de6478d1c5368309e18
"VICTORIA’s rail freight network is in crisis, with speed restrictions in 65 locations, in addition to bans on trains operating in heat, hampering freight between the state’s northwest and Melbourne.
Trains are frequently required to slow to speeds as low as 10km/h, in some cases making rail freight almost three times as slow as road transport.
Freight operators and farmers desperate to see the state’s largest recorded grain harvest get to port are calling for increased investment in rail maintenance to bring the network up to speed.
Across the Murray Basin Rail network, heat restrictions stop some trains and slow others once temperatures hit 33C, and there are 16 non-heat-related temporary speed restrictions that reduce trains to speeds between 50km/h and 10km/h.
Freight trains must also slow down at 49 level crossings without boom gates, according to V/Line.
However, one major freight operator estimated there were as many as 70 crossings between Mildura and Maryborough alone.
V/Line told The Weekly Times a 25km/h restriction had been applied to freight trains travelling between Korong Vale and Manangatang, a section of more than 200km, but later claimed the temporary speed restriction applied to just 18km of the Murray Basin Freight network.
It said all temporary speed restrictions would be removed when the Murray Basin Rail Project, due by the end of next year, was completed."