HINDMARSH Shire councillor Michael Gawith has challenged the State Government to fund rural railway lines in the Wimmera.
His call comes after revelations there have been no rail services on the Dimboola to Yaapeet line for almost a month, despite the region's bumper harvest.
Cr Gawith said one train could replace 50 B-doubles and prevent further damage to the Dimboola-Rainbow Road.
But he said the railway line was not up to standard and trains were limited to travelling at 30 kilometres an hour before services stopped in December.
"You only need to drive down the road to see how quickly it has deteriorated with the harvest trucks this year," he said.
"If we were using the railway line we could be saving the road and to me that is significant."
Hindmarsh Shire chief executive Dean Miller said V/Line advised council the Dimboola-Yaapeet line was not permanently closed but there were no requests from operators to use it.
He was told sleepers had been placed across the track near Dimboola Cemetery in December as an 'internal safety procedure' to prevent drivers travelling on it.
"That seems unusual considering the bulk harvest," he said.
The Dimboola-Yaapeet line was ranked bronze in the Labor Government's Rail Freight Network Review in 2007, placing it at the lowest level of investment priority.
Cr Gawith said the line had received some maintenance since then but not enough to keep it viable.
"It desperately needs money spent on it whether trains are using it or not because every day its life is ticking away," he said.
"Even with the trains travelling at 30 kilometres an hour, it is very rickety and no one wants to be responsible if something goes wrong. The last thing we need is an accident and that's why I would like to see the new government put funding behind it."
V/Line spokesman James Kelly said the future of the line had been referred to the Department of Transport because it was not fit for use and needed maintenance.
"As it is a very low-use line, we are not currently funded to maintain it, which is why in the absence of any train traffic, we booked it out on December 12," he said.
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