Region - V/Line is reminding neighbouring farmers and landholders to be wary of the risks of roaming livestock after 17 sheep were hit by trains during 2013 on the Ararat to Ballarat line.
During the 2013 calendar year at least 164 animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, dogs and horses were hit after wandering onto railway reserves and tracks.
The 2013 figure represents a 23 per cent increase on 2012 when 127 animals were struck.
The increase can largely be attributed to the number of kangaroos being killed across the network (92 in 2013 compared to 64 in 2012) however 42 per cent of all other hits still relate to cattle, sheep or goats on rail lines.
V/Line chief executive Theo Taifalos said of most concern was the large number of sheep hit.
"Livestock is part of the livelihood of our neighbours. It not only causes potential heart ache and significant loss of money for owners but also damages our trains," he said.
"Every train withdrawn from service for repairs presents significant cost to taxpayers in additional maintenance and replacement coaches."
Local councils have been written to asking for their co-operation in passing brochures to neighbouring V/Line landowners to advise them of their obligations in preventing their animals from roaming.
Areas where livestock hits were most common in 2013 included:
Between Ararat and Ballarat with 17 sheep hit,
Swan Hill with seven sheep hit,
Around Warrnambool with seven cattle and eight sheep struck.
Depending on the size and type of animal struck, trains were often damaged and removed from service so repairs could be completed - inconveniencing passengers and costing taxpayers money.
Further information can be downloaded at vline.com.au.