A PEAK rail freight group says a lack of trains to move this season's harvest in Victoria could be an unavoidable disaster.
The Alliance of Councils for Rail Freight Development says the current number of trains in Victoria will struggle to move a predicted 5.6 million tonne grain harvest.
Meanwhile, AWB has an agreement with El Zorro to run four trains through Victoria and NSW.
However, the Alliance and a University of Melbourne think-tank say the network will be under-resourced.
The university's Australasian Centre for Governance and Management of Urban Transport deputy director Bill Russell said years of drought had hidden the problem.
"It won't be hidden this year," Prof Russell said.
He said since one train could carry as much as 45 B-double trucks the roads in the Wimmera and Mallee would be crowded with trucks.
He said while the Victorian Government had bought back the lines in 2007, it did not own the rolling stock and the system lacked governance.
Prof Russell said there was a need for an over-arching authority to run the rail network.
He said the authority would be similar to VicRoads.
Prof Russell said rail access charges - the fee paid to the rail owner by the train operator to run trains on the tracks - needed to be halved for grain.
"Grain pays four times as much as other freight and that's completely counter-productive," Prof Russell said. "They need to be halved or completely done away with."
Prof Russell said the Victorian Government may need to consider providing finance for the wheat industry to buy rolling stock.
"The government should investigate whether financial support is needed to provide broad-gauge stock," he said.
Alliance spokesman Cr Vernon Knight said the GAMUT proposals would be taken to the Victorian Government, but he said it was too late for the coming harvest.