I think you will find there is already very strong interest in developing more freight potential on rail following completion of the Basin Project. Each of the operators mentionned Viz PN, SSR, SCT have different business models and interestingly all are in regional intermodal traffic and all with exception of SCT are into bulk grain.
SCT as mentionned elsewhere have established new terminals purpose built for their operations in Bromelton and Barnawatha. Similarlay the Government of Victoria established the Dooen Freight Terminal, so once again as has been said before if the business is there and the operators like SCT and QUBE see a long term opportunity then they'd make the investment.
SSR is already showing that it's being very bullish on grain and has been pushing the envelope in terms of train length and wagon weight which is fantastic, so despite the very short sighted move to only go to 21 TAL rather than starting at 23 TAL and future proofing for 25 TAL, I'm still certain they will be fully exploiting the capability of the infrastructure to deliver efficiency and price savings to grain handlers.
There is no doubt more modern motive power, much improved tare to load ratios for wagons and key drivers for improving the competitivness of rail, but I also believe it has a lot to do with the operator and their business model. I look to SCT as the example here. Their Melbourne-Brisbane operation is just 9 months old and train sizes have been increasing steadily well before Aurizon decided to pull out.
NSW has demonstrated that there appears to be a role for rail in shorter to medium hauls for grain and intermodal so why wouldn't it work in Victoria if you have a network that will be in the best shape it will have been in since it was originally built and a network that will be accessible for multiple operators. Rail's market share is pretty poor in Victoria, and that's being polite. There would seem only one way to go and that's up even if it means players like PN opt out and traffic flows to QUBE.
Where the potential lies as a starter is containerised grain for a start. The full deregulation of the grain industry in terms of handlers is that increasingly large volumes of grain are now moving in containers and that can be accommodated easily as the likes of Harefield in NSW have demonstrated where the business started from using a dirt hard stand and a container stacker.
What I still think will let things down is the lack of foresight as I've mentionned previously is in not moving to a 23 or 23.5 TAL capability from day 1 futured proofed for 25TAL in the longer term.