If I may add my 50 cents here. Take note of where the grain industry has been spending on new storage in the past 15 years. In the early 90's SACBH set up a "strategic site committee" to quantify and establish the best location for upgrading and/or constructing new receival sites.
It's mainly been on the main north/south interstate rail corridor. AWB entered the storage & handling part of the industry with it's "Grainflow sites" at Crystal Brook & Mallala and SACBH built Bowmans from nothing only 10k's from Balaklava (which pretty much sums up the fate of the mid north BG then). New bunker sites were built at Snowtown, Gladstone, Tailem Bend. For the purpose of helping ensure the viablity of the Mallee railway lines, a new site at Tookayerta and building new bunkers at Pinnaroo was done.
The Pinnaroo & Loxton lines are the only domestic lines still in use east of Spencer Gulf.
For a minority number of grain growers in the eastern part of the mid north the strategic site committee has failed them completely.
This policy has passed on some massive freight distances for their grain.
Remember that Viterra has a fill & shut policy on all of it's small sites like Andrews & Burra so growers in this region have 4 distant choices to take their grain once these are full. Gladstone, Snowtown, Bowmans or Roseworthy.
I would have thought that if it's economical to keep either the Loxton or Pinnaroo lines open then it would equally have been economical to build a bunker site at..... (I would suggest Farrell Flat), and keep that line open. You would be suprised the patronage it would receive.
Was the conversion of the Mallee lines (including Apamurra) to SG, funded by the Commonwealth when the Adelaide /Melbourne line was converted?
Others here would know better but surely (and I'm talking about mid-nineties not 2011) the old Burra line must have been in a hell of a lot better condition than the Appamurra line ever was.
What I'm getting at is that if
the BG to SG conversion costs had to be justified to keep the Appamurra, Loxton And Pinnaroo in use then why couldn't just one mid north BG line receive the same consideration? Did these Mallee lines receive a political freebie?
Over time we have seen 6 lines consolidated down to 2 out in the Mallee. I would have thought that of the 5 lines that went through the Mid North could still have had more than just the 1 interstate line remaining; especially because it's the western most line of the 5 that were originally laid.