I don't know how competitive they think the Melbourne - Merbein container service Is going to be running via Ararat and Cressy ?
Isn't the Idea to reduce the trains running time to below 10 hours !
The broad gauge line between Gheringhap and Warrenheip would face closure.
The viability of Ballarat - Maryborough line would plummet.
(Passengers from Ararat and Maryborough can change at Ballarat for onward BG journey to Melbourne, under a standard gauge system)
Firstly VLIne will VERY VERY unlikely to run an isolated SG service from Ballarrat to either Ararat or Maryborough as such an isolated service would cost to much to run. Both of these services would more correctly be seen as an extension of the Ballarrat services.
With this in mind given the current state of the railways it would be close to politcal suicide for the Government to cancel the Ararat and Maryborough trains.
One assumes then until more info is availible that the freights will be going round via Ararat and Maroona.
At this stage it appears most container freight is not time critcal but it DOES need to be delivered when it says it will be delivered. So rather than a specfic time period what is required is it to be availible when the timetable says it will be availible.
The next bit of info is UNCONFIRMED but a previously reliable source has told me the railways in Victoria believe the gauge conversion of these lines will save them a real significant quantity of money. The same source said they have been pushing VERY hard for this conversion for quite some time.
Note: a minor point, the Oaklands line gauge conversion was quoted as costing 18 milllion dollars, It took a team of around 20 men to do the entire 145 kilometres in around 6 months, this was along with 1 in 4 sleeper cycle and all point timbers replaced.