Sydney's public transport is in crisis. CityRail's on-time running plunged to 49 per cent in early 2004, and patronage is down by 4 per cent since 2001. Trains are 25 per cent slower than in Perth, and will be even slower with the new September timetable.
Four years ago the state's top rail official, Ron Christie, warned that Sydney's rail network faced "strangulation" and "operational paralysis" because of a lack of essential maintenance and infrastructure spending in recent years.
The State Government's $1 billion plan to untangle the CityRail network does not go far enough and could in fact worsen problems in some areas, according to a secret study conducted for rail officials.
The shift by commuters away from Sydney trains and into cars is worsening. New government figures show 9 million fewer trips were made on CityRail this year than in 2001-02.
Queensland's competition regulator will fail to finalise new third party access arrangements for the state's rail network before the existing regime expires at the end of the month, after more than a year on the case.
A proposed inter-state rail corridor linking Melbourne and Brisbane would help the economy of Inverell, but freight volumes out of the area and local industry will be unlikely to influence whether the route goes via Moree or Glen Innes.
Rail operators have welcomed a decision to standardise Australia's archaic rail safety regime, which requires train operators to comply with a plethora of sometimes contradictory regulations, following an agreement between state and territory transport ministers.
Melbourne train commuters are experiencing delays because of industrial action by Connex staff.
LEARNER train drivers are being given the answers to tests they must pass to become qualified drivers on Sydney's rail network, the NSW opposition says.
Tax concessions for commuters would ease the gridlock in Sydney more effectively than a congestion charge like the one that had slashed car dependency in London, the Transport Minister, John Watkins, said yesterday.
AIL operators have welcomed a decision to standardise Australia's archaic rail safety regime, which requires train operators to comply with a plethora of sometimes contradictory regulations, following an agreement between state and territory transport ministers.
The State Government has come under more pressure on rail safety after cracks were uncovered in the pylons beneath the rail line and expressway at Circular Quay.
The New South Wales Opposition says it will ask the corruption watchdog to investigate claims that trainee train drivers are being given questions and answers to exams in advance.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union says Queensland Rail (QR) can avert a 24-hour strike next week which threatens Brisbane's commuter services.
Stung by criticism that its big-spending southeast Queensland infrastructure plan had ignored the rest of the state, the Queensland Government has promised $486 million for rural roads and almost $800 million for rail and port projects.
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) CEO David Marchant recently briefed potential alliance partners in Sydney on the program to revitalise the Eastern Seaboard rail network.
It was the flagship project in the State Government's bid to improve the reliability of Melbourne's tram services, but a Clarendon Street trial has ended in a backdown, with the Port Phillip Council bowing to pressure from locals.
A secret report reveals the State Government is planning to build a rail tunnel under Sydney Harbour and a new line under the city to ease congestion on the increasingly gridlocked CityRail network.
It is not our worsening addiction to cars that will further clog already packed bitumen arteries. The truck industry - obliged to take greater volumes of freight - will be responsible for most of the problem. Freight haulers have no other option at the moment than to go by road because of the poor rail network.
Patrick Corp has responded to the ACCC's statement of issues regarding its proposed acquisition of FCL. The company says it is not in Patrick's or FCL's interests to discriminate against other freight forwarders, which could force containers onto road or to another rail operator.
The Victorian Government has spent almost $13 million on consultants to help it manage its $750 million regional fast rail project. It has hired management experts, surveyors, lawyers and contract advisers to help it complete the over-budget and behind-schedule upgrade of rail links to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Latrobe Valley.
There were 101 sightings for the week which is four sighting more than last week. Making a total for the year to date at 2173* sightings (* One weeks sightings missing in March) (Total sightings up to day 162 last year was 2822).
'Farce rail' angers rural voters
February 16 last year was supposed to be a seminal day for Victoria's regional fast rail project and Peter Batchelor wasn't going to miss out.
TOWONG council has backed a suggestion to make the former Colac Colac primary school an indirect link to the High Country Rail Trail.
Corryong College controls the old school and in April its principal, Robert Lappin, wrote to the council seeking to explore the possibility of using the site to “celebrate and promote the past history of education in the Corryong District”.
The rail trail under development travels from Wodonga to Cudgewa.
THE fast train will be slowed to just 40kmh on the Millbrook bridge amid fears it could be blown off the rails at 160kmh, Ballarat Province MLC Dianne Hadden has claimed.
Ms Hadden yesterday said there were grave fears strong winds could derail the fast rail project's express service on the towering bridge, across the Moorabool River, on the Ballarat to Melbourne line.
"Trains are at risk of blowing off the rails. It's a safety risk," she said.
A BRISBANE train strike planned for Wednesday has been called off after a sitting of the Industrial Relations Commission today.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) threatened last week to strike over an incident in which a guard was assaulted by a co-worker at Nambour station in December last year.
The assailant was dismissed from his job but the victim was threatened with the same punishment.
The union was concerned workers could be sacked for trying to defend themselves, under a code of conduct introduced recently.
RTBU state secretary Owen Doogan said the union and Queensland Rail today had reached a mutual agreement, but part of that agreement was that its details remained confidential.
"I can only say we came to an agreement that we and Queensland Rail are both satisfied with," Mr Doogan said.
The revelation this week that two freight trains on the Kalgoorlie to Esperance line had a 'near miss' should raise concerns in the mind of anyone that uses, or has family or friends that use any part of the current rail system for travel.
TransAdelaide says it will try to ensure train services get back to normal by peak hour tonight after a stopwork meeting today.
Arch rivals BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have formed an unprecedented alliance to protect their iron-ore duopoly in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. BHP and Rio have emerged as allies in the fight to stop Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group gaining access to existing rail lines in the region - part of its effort to become the "third force" in Pilbara iron ore.
The NZ Government yesterday admitted that the rail network it sold in 1993 and bought back in 2004 is in appalling shape and will cost taxpayers more than the pledged $200 million to fix.
China's eastern province of Shandong has called for overseas investment in up to six new local railway lines, opening the way for what analysts say would be the first wholly foreign-owned track to be laid since the 1949 communist revolution.
The Mayor of Cairns, Kevin Byrne, in far-north Queensland says the State Government should mothball the tilt train because it has failed to attract full-fare paying passengers
Almost all of Town Hall station's shops will be demolished to create more space for passengers as part of a $7 million upgrade.
Imagine, instead of using the 1500-tonne grain trains now considered efficient for branch line work in the wheat belt, a special train of just 600 tonnes gross weight, crawling along at 20 to 30 kilometres an hour.
STANDING taller than Melbourne's Bolte Bridge and spanning twice the length of the MCG, the rail bridge at Lal Lal is an engineering feat. The bridge has 11 columns stretching 350 metres across a valley at Lal Lal, and is only weeks from completion.
An oversight by the railway authorities in 1870 will be corrected by the Minister for Transport, John Watkins, on a visit to Rydal next month.
In infrastructure news, NSW Premier Bob Carr has announced his Government will spend $8 billion on Sydney's biggest rail expansion in 75 years. The expansion will extend the CityRail network to Sydney's outer north-west as far as Vineyard, and south-west to Leppington and, eventually, Bringelly.
Commuters from Sydney's mortgage belt welcomed the news, which means that within a decade they will be able to stand on empty platforms waiting for non-existent trains just like those within the existing CityRail network.
More young people could be tempted to drink and drive if the State Government cuts the rail line into Newcastle, a pair of Maitland school students believe.
Fixing the gridlock in Sydney's CBD with more bus lanes was like "moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic" according to the light rail company, while business groups expressed cautious concern at the announcement.
The operators of the Ghan passenger train say its departure from Darwin in the Northern Territory this morning was delayed due to a faulty hose, not the breath-testing of staff.
The New South Wales Opposition has produced a State Treasury memo that suggests train drivers work around 15-hours-a-week on average, out of a rostered 38-hour week.
SPECTACULAR collision between two fully laden coal trains has cut the main supply line to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal in north Queensland, further delaying shipments to China through the country's most notorious export bottleneck.
It is hard to imagine much worse for the pedestrians who will take refuge along the shopfronts of George Street after it is converted into a bus mall. A road full of semi-trailers might be slightly noisier and more polluting, but they are unlikely to crowd the city's main thoroughfare. A bus onslaught will, though, in the next year, if we believe the government press release and DVD with animation.
It was 17 years ago that Bob Carr stood at the site of the abandoned Maldon-Dombarton rail link and vowed to take action.
FORMER Deputy Prime Minister, one-time Leader of the federal National Party and now head of Tourism Australia Tim Fischer has criticised the State Government's failure to re-commission the Tarana-Oberon rail link.
There were 97 sightings for the week which is seven more than last week. Making a total for the year to date at 2360* sightings (* One weeks sightings missing in March) (Total sightings up to day 176 last year was 3097).
At Spencer Street Station in a piece of cute symbolism, even the escalator down to the platform from the Bourke Street foot bridge had stopped.
Commuters milled chaotically or sat in carriages and waited. On platform six, Shirley Pears sat with her crossword, waiting in a stationary carriage for more than 30 minutes, all ready to return home from a doctor's appointment.
Melbourne's train network has come to a halt after staff were forced to evacuate the central control centre this morning.
All trains in the city loop have stopped, while trains heading into the city have been been forced to wait at outer-CBD stations such a Clifton Hill, Caulfield, Burnley and North Melbourne.
The evacuation occurred about 11.40am.
The operators of the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal say the limited impact of Friday's train derailment on the port is partly due to a new communications set-up.
A key industry lobby group has called for a dramatic increase in spending on Victoria's roads, railways, gas, water, electricity and ports after a report said the state's infrastructure was barely adequate.
If you are reading this on a train or tram and you do not have a ticket, start blushing. Melbourne's public transport operators yesterday announced that they have fare evaders in their sights and shame will be their weapon of choice.
Coles Myer has signed a 20-year lease agreement with the Macquarie Goodman Group for a new major distribution centre in Edinburgh Parks, Salisbury, South Australia. The property is recognised for its strategic location, close to the national highway network and the Adelaide to Darwin rail line.
Claims by farmer groups and politicians that the Wimmera-Mallee's irrigation infrastructure is inadequate have been backed up by a new study by engineers. Restriction of freight train speeds on the Mildura line to as low as 20 kilometres an hour have been criticised by local MPs, and Engineers Australia's Tim Gosbell says the push for rail standardisation must succeed.
I'm pleased to be able to announce the immediate availability of the Victorian L class locomotives by Geoff Forrest.
Under construction for almost two years, the package includes 23 models with versions ranging from "as delivered" right up to the last V/Line models in service and beyond with the preserved L1162 as well.
The construction union is warning there will be further cost blow-outs and delays to the $1.5 billion Perth to Mandurah rail line.
Listed engineering company Bradken celebrated a milestone at its Ipswich plant yesterday, producing its 2000th iron ore wagon as part of a $300 million contract with Rio Tinto's Pilbara Iron.