The historic railway network of the South Western Railway is facing a potential takeover by a Chinese consortium, according to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
The news comes as a consortium of Chinese state-owned companies and an Australian company are seeking to buy the railway for $3 billion.
The consortium is seeking to take over the Southwestern Railway in Victoria’s south-west, a move which would give the Chinese company control over the railways most important asset, according the report.
The consortium, called South Western Railways SA (SWRLSA), has been trying to purchase the railway since 2016, but it was not given the green light by the Victorian Government.
The Government has also not approved a takeover offer.
South Western Railway SA is a subsidiary of the Chinese state owned rail company, China Railway Group.
Its chairman is the Chinese vice-chairman of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
The South Western is the largest passenger railway network in Victoria, and is also the main freight route for the state.
It was the first railway in Victoria to be constructed by the Chinese government in 1867.
In recent years, the rail network has been heavily privatised, with rail operators including Western Australia Transport, Transurban, Victoria Transport and Transurban Victoria all leaving the South-Western railway in recent years.
Victoria has been hit by a rise in freight demand for many years, with demand for freight and transport services on the railways increasing over the past decade.
However, rail freight is a significant source of revenue for the Victorian government.
The state has been under pressure to make further investment in its rail network, and this has led to the introduction of new train services and improvements to existing lines.
Rail services on most of Victoria’s railway network are expected to remain on the rail and bus network.
Transurban, Western Australian Transport and the Victorian Railway Union are also involved in the negotiations.
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