The intention is to progressively rationalize the freight only lines and progressively convert them to standard gauge .
Thus the VLP passenger network stays as bg to Warrnambool, Ararat, Maryborough ?, Swan Hill, Echuca, Seymour and Bairnsdale. With Albury, Shepparton and possibly Maryborough going sg .
- Ideally this is best achieved by converting Gheringhap - Mildura (gets sg access into Ballarat) and the lines to Robinvale and Kulwin to sg and also the link between Inglewood and Eaglehawk coupled with dg Eaglehawk into Bendigo gets sg to Bendigo. Standardizes the North West .
- In the North East - convert Seymour to Tocumwal to sg completes standardization of the North East .
With VLP standard gauge trains are no dearer to run than broad gauge, BUT it does require an incraese in fleet size as the sg sets can only be used on the sg routes. The N locos, N cars, Sprinters and V/Locity sets are all capable of being converted to sg . All that is basically required is new sg wheel sets inserted within the existing bg bogie and adjusted brake rigging for the narrower gauge.
A detailed strategy and staging was prepared around 10 years ago but only $ 97m was allocated for conversion and Freight Australia were not interested as at that time they had a monopoly with the bg freight train set.
Progressive standardization of the Victorian freight network would undoubtedly see more players in the market, as most Operators have sg train sets, but very few have bg train sets .