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Showing stories from December 2008

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Gheringhap Sightings w/e 29/11/2008

Posted Monday, 1 December, 2008 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 96 sightings for this week, which is six sightings more than last week, making a total of 4719* sightings for this year to date. On day 334 last year we had seen 4937 sightings.

We have seen no sightings on the B/G again this week.

Fatal rail smash crossing needed boom gates: union

Posted Monday, 1 December, 2008 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union says a level crossing in north Queensland where two train drivers were killed should have had boom gates.

The men died when the high-speed tilt train they were driving hit a semi-trailer at a crossing near Cardwell on Thursday.

The union's Owen Doogan says it has long been campaigning for boom gates at busy crossings across Queensland.

Rail line reopened after fatal smash

Posted Monday, 1 December, 2008 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The north coast rail line between Townsville and Cairns in north Queensland reopened today, three days after it was closed due to a fatal level crossing crash.

Rail project fast-tracked

Posted Monday, 1 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Brumby Government has fast-tracked a major northern suburbs rail project in a move designed to appease commuter angst and unclog the embattled train network.

The Clifton Hill track duplication will be finished early next year - 12 months ahead of schedule.

The Hurstbridge line has only a single track on the existing bridge over the Merri Creek between Clifton Hill and Westgarth stations.

Once finished the additional track on the Hurstbridge line will remove the bottleneck of backed-up trains that has been occurring on the single track for years.

Any chance of delivery on transport promises, Premier?

Posted Tuesday, 2 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Sick and tired of rubbish public transport? You're far from alone.

FOR too long public transport has been the poor cousin to what the Government considered were more pressing policy areas, and commuters have suffered.

This has occurred at a time when train patronage has grown by more than 30 per cent in the past three years. Indeed, on one morning last October at the Caulfield station, most trains between 8am and 8.30am carried more than 900 passengers, with the 8.23 squeezing in 1035. Similarly at Clifton Hill, the 8.13am and 8.20am services averaged more than 1000 passengers. And this when the Government considers any more than 798 passengers in a six-carriage train "a load breach".

Trainz Simulator 2009: World Builder Edition

Posted Tuesday, 2 December, 2008 by tod in Press Releases

BRISBANE, Qld. – December 1, 2008 – Auran Games and N3VRF41L Publishing today announced that the latest version of their long running Trainz franchise went gold today. Trainz Simulator 2009: World Builder Edition is the culmination of 8 years of ongoing development and is the fifth major release in the series. It delivers new features and graphics capabilities along with over 12,500 rail related items including more than 400 locomotives and hundreds of miles of drivable routes.

Alpha mine persistence shows faith in industry: QRC

Posted Tuesday, 2 December, 2008 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) says Waratah Coal's decision to persist with mining at Alpha, in the state's central west, shows a lot of faith in the coal industry.

Opposition rails against new appointment

Posted Tuesday, 2 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Opposition has criticised the appointment of the new head of RailCorp, Elizabeth Crouch.

The Opposition says it is concerned because Ms Crouch was previously in charge of the Public Transport Ticketing Corporation, the agency that was dealing with the failed T-Card ticketing system.

NSW Transport Minister David Campbell has defended the appointment.

Summer deals: NSW offers $1 train trips for kids

Posted Tuesday, 2 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Government has announced children under 16 will be able to travel on CountryLink trains over summer for $1 a journey.

The child needs to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and up to four children from the one family will be able to take advantage of the offer.

A child fare to the state's north is usually about $50 one-way.

GSR Withdraws Services

Posted Wednesday, 3 December, 2008 by markcurtis in Rail News

In a move thought to be due to the slowing economy, Great Southern Railway has suspended services.

LNP rail policy poorly thought out: Mickel

Posted Wednesday, 3 December, 2008 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Transport Minister John Mickel has declared the opposition's new rail policy a "dog's breakfast", saying it is flawed and under-costed.

The Liberal National Party (LNP) on Monday announced a $414 million, four-year policy to make rail travel more comfortable, safe and efficient.

The opposition pledged to provide one free trip each day for Brisbane commuters who start work early or finish late, and to increase capacity on trains by 20 per cent by adding a seventh carriage to six-car trains.

(Melbourne) City transport plan revealed

Posted Thursday, 4 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR expansion of Victoria's rail network and the go-ahead for some of the most controversial roads ever built in Melbourne are the key elements of the State Government's transport blueprint.

The Age believes Premier John Brumby will announce a "metro-style" rail tunnel from the western suburbs to the south-east, a new rail link to free-up the Geelong and Ballarat lines, and an extension of the Epping line in the rapidly expanding outer north-eastern suburbs.

[Newcastle] Save our Rail meeting

Posted Thursday, 4 December, 2008 by KRviator in New South Wales Rail News

The Newcastle-based Save Our Rail group is planning a meeting Saturday 13/12/2008 at 12 O'Clock at Newcastle Leagues Club in National Park St (Opposite Spotlight) to voice concerns over the proposed closure of the heavy rail ine into Newcastle station. Any interested parties are invited to attend.

More cuts to Indian Pacific service

Posted Friday, 5 December, 2008 by markcurtis in Rail News

Great Southern Railway has announced further cuts to its Indian Pacific service.

Minister says wait and see on new transport plan

Posted Friday, 5 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Victoria Roads Minister, Tim Pallas has refused to confirm new speculation about the details of the Government's transport plan.

But he says a slowdown in the Victorian economy should not affect the plan.

The Age newspaper is reporting there will be a multi-billion dollar expansion of the state's rail network, a new rail tunnel and a plan to build the missing link in the Metropolitan Ring road.

Lobby group hopes plan will save inner-city line

Posted Friday, 5 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Newcastle community group 'Save Our Rail' has finalised a proposal it hopes will convince business leaders and Government that the inner-city rail line should stay.

Retail giant GPT has threatened to scrap its $650 million CBD revitalisation project if the rail line is not cut at Wickham.

$48m train upgrade to benefit disabled passengers

Posted Friday, 5 December, 2008 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Government says upgrades to south-east Queensland's trains will make public transport easier for people with disabilities.

The Government is spending $48 million so the entire fleet will meet standards under the Discrimination Act by 2013.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 6/12/2008

Posted Monday, 8 December, 2008 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 90 sightings for this week, which is six sightings less than last week, making a total of 4809* sightings for this year to date. On day 341 last year we had seen 5036 sightings.
We have seen two sightings of PN grain trains on the B/G this week. On Monday XR552+XR554 came in on the up with 40 hoppers, the same train returning on the down the following day.

Brumby's $40bn plan to get Victoria moving

Posted Monday, 8 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

PLANS to buy 52 trains and 50 trams for Melbourne, as well as 20 trains for regional Victoria, will be unveiled today as John Brumby seeks to lay claim to the title of "the public transport Premier".

The $4.2 billion buy-up of rolling stock will be accompanied by a promise to build Melbourne's first metro-style underground suburban rail line — a 17 kilometre cross-city tunnel from Caulfield to Footscray via St Kilda Road and inner Melbourne — as well as a new surface rail line through the rapidly growing western suburbs and a long-awaited extension of the Epping line in the north.

The Age believes the Government's transport blueprint, to be revealed today, will involve nearly $40 billion of purchases and projects.

Inner west first to benefit from transport plan

Posted Monday, 8 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne's inner west will be the first to benefit from the State Government's long-awaited transport plan, with a $4.5 billion rail tunnel linking Caulfield and Footscray.

There were no surprises in today's $38 billion announcement, but it was revealed that the rail centrepiece would be built in two stages. The first stage will run from Footscray to the Domain in St Kilda Road, while the second will extend the rail link to Caulfield.

Stage one will start in 2012 and is due to be finished by 2018. No timeline has been given for stage two.

Rail closure blamed for grain price disparity

Posted Monday, 8 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Grain growers in a Mallee town in Victoria say they are being offered about $30-a-tonne less for grain than those at neighbouring receival sites.

Murrayville farmer Dave Allan says the temporary closure of the Murrayville to Ouyen freight line is being blamed for the price discrepancy.

Government shunned Metro advice: O'Farrell

Posted Monday, 8 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, says he cannot believe the State Government scrapped the North-West Metro project before it received advice from an expert panel it commissioned to investigate the project.

The panel was chaired by the former head of the Olympic Roads and Transport Authority, Robert Leece, and its final report described the metro as the "optimal solution" to Sydney's transport problems.

The report was delivered after the rail project was shelved in last month's mini-Budget.

Claims hospital site is on the nose

Posted Monday, 8 December, 2008 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

Tasmania's Opposition says public submissions on the State Government's proposal to build a new public hospital at the railyards site on Hobart's waterfront reveal most people are against the idea.

The Opposition says of about 300 public submissions, only a handful were positive about the State Government's preferred waterfont location.

Connex hoses down strike speculation

Posted Monday, 8 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Connex has denied claims industrial action is imminent on the Melbourne train network.

It has been reported today that Connex has backed out of a Christmas bonus deal for staff, and that workers are planning industrial action from next week.

A never-ending story

Posted Tuesday, 9 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Let's face facts: There is no solution to Melbourne's transport problems.

YOU eat the right foods and exercise regularly and avoid dangerous situations but in the end, you are going to cark it. In the same way, successive governments can produce blueprints or grand plans or integrated, internodal, multi-modal, synergystic visions for our transport future in the guaranteed knowledge that they will turn out to be inadequate, unsatisfactory and have only a temporary effect.

The Brumby Government's transport plan is many things to many people. None of them are very good, if you use the talkback radio reaction on Monday afternoon and yesterday morning, and the press coverage as a guide.

Something for everyone — and therein lies the problem

Posted Tuesday, 9 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A TRANSPORT plan as big as this — investing $38 billion over 12 years — can transform the city it serves, or give it more of what it already has. But this is John Brumby's plan, so it tries to do both.

Melbourne is one of the world's most spread-out cities, small islands of high-density housing amid a vast sea of low-density, mostly single-storey homes set in gardens. It is inevitable that a city like that will rely on cars for its transport needs.

Transport plan more likely to cost $50b

Posted Tuesday, 9 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Some $12 billion worth of projects contained in the Victorian government's transport blueprint are unfunded and will not start for more than 12 years, the premier has admitted.

John Brumby said the $38 billion plan, announced on Monday, actually blew out to about $50 billion, taking into account planned projects not due to start until after 2020.

"If we'd gone out to 2025 it would be a $50 billion program and $50 billion would be fully funded," Mr Brumby told Fairfax Radio Network.

Thirteen faulty trains on Melbourne network

Posted Wednesday, 10 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Thirteen citybound trains across the Connex network have been cancelled, creating early morning chaos for Melbourne commuters.

Delays are expected of at least 15 minutes across the entire network, with the Frankston, Glen Waverley, Williamstown, Werribee and Broadmeadows lines worst hit.

Connex said the delays were were due to faults on citybound trains, rather than track issues.

Brumby transport plan adds billions to Eddington price tag

Posted Wednesday, 10 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE cost of several key projects in the Brumby Government's ambitious Victorian Transport Plan has blown out by billions of dollars on estimates its own staff made just nine months ago.

Sir Rod Eddington released a $20 billion strategy in April, put together by some of VicRoads' and the Department of Transport's most senior officers.

It had recommended several projects that were contained in the Brumby Government's plan, released on Monday.

Transport experts said they were shocked at the "absurd" price tags on some of the plan's highest-profile projects.

Transport plan? The joke's on us

Posted Friday, 12 December, 2008 by luznug in Victorian Rail News

THE Brumby Government is having us on. Are we expected to take seriously a $38 billion transport plan that needs $8 billion from a total Federal Government national infrastructure pot that has $10 billion in it and is leaking badly as a result of the deepening recession?

Don't expect results on transport overnight: Premier

Posted Friday, 12 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Victorian Premier, John Brumby says road users should not expect overnight results from the Government's $38 billion transport package.

The Government is allocating money for two new road tunnels, a new subway under the city and extra trams, trains and buses.

Mr Brumby says many of the larger projects will not be completed for at least six years.

More train cancellations on the Melbourne network

Posted Friday, 12 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne commuters have been hit by more train cancellations this morning.

Connex has been forced to cancel more than a dozen peak-hour services so far and more are likely.

Connex has been plagued with disruptions this week, with train drivers cancelling services after reporting faults such as vandalism and graffiti.

The rail union is also threatening industrial action if agreement on a Christmas bonus is not reached by the end of today.

Transport plan lacks detail: Ryan

Posted Friday, 12 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Nationals say the State Government's Victorian Transport Plan does not do enough for country roads.

The $38 billion plan for major road and rail upgrades was announced yesterday.

Nationals' leader Peter Ryan says parts of the rail package are good, but he says the plan lacks detail.

He says the $1.2 billion in funding for regional roads is disappointing for Bendigo.

PM Kevin Rudd announces a $4.7 billion infrastructure plan

Posted Friday, 12 December, 2008 by 409 in Rail News

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd is currently announcing a $4.7 billion injection of funds into road, rail and education infrastructure.

The plan is designed to insulate Australia from the global financial crisis, Mr Rudd said. It includes $440 million in tax relief for small business, revealed by The Advertiser this morning. The latest injection of funds comes on top of the Government's $10.4 billion economic stimulus package.

Connex sorry for woeful week

Posted Friday, 12 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Rail operator Connex has apologised for its dire performance after a week of peak-hour woes for commuters.

Connex Executive Chairman Jonathan Metcalfe admitted repeated cancellations had frustrated travellers and pledged to do better.

His statement came as the company announced it had struck a deal to give workers a 3 per cent productivity bonus.

Mr Metcalfe said the company had reached agreement with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) for 2700 Connex award staff to receive the payment in return for "performance and operational commitments".

Ways and means don't necessarily mean new roads

Posted Friday, 12 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Brumby/Pallas transport strategy is basically a roads strategy with a few passenger transport earmarks.

It could have been designed by Minister Tim Pallas' chauffeur, saving the public millions on the planning process. There are urgent new roads around Frankston, roads connecting freeways, roads under Footscray, more lanes on the West Gate Bridge, a huge new road from Avalon to the Hume Highway, roads here, roads there. The only missing link is widening Swanston Street into an arterial road, but Robert Doyle is working on that.

PM Kevin Rudd announces a $700m SA infrastructure plan

Posted Monday, 15 December, 2008 by grace in South Australian Rail News

UPDATED: The Federal Government has announced $4.7 billion - including $700m for South Australia - in spending on road, rail and education "nation-building" projects.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the money would pump nearly $2 billion into road and rail projects, most of which will be brought forward to begin in the first quarter of 2009 to create jobs around the nation.

The package includes $1.6 billion to build infrastructure in the university and TAFE sectors, and to fund 13 research projects.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 13/12/2008

Posted Monday, 15 December, 2008 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 90 sightings for this week, which is the same number of sightings as last week, making a total of 4899* sightings for this year to date. On day 348 last year we had seen 5147 sightings.
We have seen no sightings on the B/G this week.

Wodonga Rail Bypass to be duplicated.

Posted Monday, 15 December, 2008 by peterg in Rail News

WODONGA Mayor Cr Mark Byatt says yesterday’s announcement of federal money for the city’s rail bypass was “fantastic”.
“Duplication is the icing on the cake,” Cr Byatt said.

Infrastructure spending 'ignores' NT projects

Posted Monday, 15 December, 2008 by bevans in Northern Territory Rail News

The mining and transport industries say the Federal Government has been foolish to overlook the Northern Territory in its economy-boosting transport infrastructure spending plan.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says spending $4.7 billion on infrastructure will help stop an economic slowdown and boost exports by improving transport efficiency.

Bad weather blamed for train cancellations

Posted Monday, 15 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Connex has cancelled 23 train services during this morning's peak period.

The cancelled trains affect all lines and commuters are urged to check the Connex Melbourne website.

Lanie Harris from Connex says the cancellations stem from fresh train faults and a backlog from last week's disruptions.

Council sees local benefits in infrastructure package

Posted Monday, 15 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Wodonga council says the Federal Government's infrastructure package will help stimulate the local economy as intended.

The duplication of the Wodonga rail bypass is one of five projects in the Goulburn Murray region to be funded under the $4.7 billion spending package, announced by the Prime Minister on Friday to boost the Australian economy in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Rail upgrade promises greater grain industry efficiency

Posted Monday, 15 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

GrainCorp says a multi-million dollar upgrade of the rail line between Cootamundra and Parkes will help the local grain industry operate more efficiently.

The Federal Government has announced $91.5 million for improvements to the line as part of its nation building plan.

David Ginns from GrainCorp says the 200 kilometres of line is in urgent need of an upgrade.

Leaky windows cause more commuter pain

Posted Tuesday, 16 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A further ten Connex services have been cancelled this morning after the operator yesterday blamed leaking windows for delays on Melbourne's creaking train network.

Drivers said many of the trains cancelled yesterday morning had damaged window seals on their windscreens that had allowed water to leak in during the weekend's heavy storms.

The real plan is to push us back into cars

Posted Tuesday, 16 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Public transport in Brumby's scheme smacks of a road agenda.

GIVEN the universal concern about global warming and the importance of transport in the generation of greenhouse gases, it is vital that any proposal for the future development of alternative transport modes should be seen first of all through the prism of their contribution to emission reductions.

After stationary energy, transport is the sector with the highest emissions. In Victoria it is 17 per cent of the total. Without savings in this sector, it is unlikely that Victoria would make its proportionate contribution to Australia's commitment at Kyoto to cut emissions by 25 to 40 per cent.

Melburnians fare badly when paying for public transport

Posted Tuesday, 16 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE'S public transport is again the country's most expensive, after the Brumby Government announced the biggest price increase in fares in five years.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky confirmed on Friday that train, tram and bus fares will jump by 5 per cent from January 1.

With tickets up by as much as $2.20 (for a zone one and two weekly ticket), the Public Transport Users Association has compared Melbourne's fares with other Australian cities.

RailCorp bosses let corruption flourish

Posted Tuesday, 16 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE RailCorp second-in-command, Gary Seabury, has been told to resign or face the sack from his $379,000 position following the most damning corruption inquiry conducted into NSW railways.

The RailCorp board, led by the former chairman, Ross Bunyon, and the former chief executive, Vince Graham, failed to manage properly the $17 billion state-owned corporation, letting "endemic and enduring corruption" flourish, according to a withering report by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Both Mr Bunyon and Mr Graham quit during the inquiry.

Rail, road delays plague northside

Posted Wednesday, 17 December, 2008 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Train services on the Caboolture line will be delayed by at least 30 minutes this morning after engineers discovered damage to the track.

Queensland Rail has warned of peak disruptions after a section of the track near Dakabin station was found to be broken.

The cause and extent of the damage is not yet known. Maintenance crews are at the scene.

A Translink spokesman said inbound and outbound services will use the remaining track between Narangba and Petrie, causing delays of about 30 minutes.

Bus and rail fares on the up and up

Posted Wednesday, 17 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

PUBLIC transport fares are to rise dramatically next month and rolling increases have been locked in for train tickets over the next four years.

Sydney commuters will pay on average 5.5 per cent more to take a bus and 7.5 per cent more to catch a train after the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal made two big determinations yesterday.

For the first time, train fares were set for the next four years by the regulator. The steep rises will claw back revenue lost by the former premier Bob Carr when he decided to freeze fares as an apology for poor services.

Rail fare price rise angers transport coalition

Posted Wednesday, 17 December, 2008 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

The Wollongong Transport Coalition has described the New South Wales rail fare increases announced yesterday as an outrage.

Spokeswoman Jess Moore has again called on the State Government to introduce a price freeze.

Train use strengthens rail line fight: lobby group

Posted Wednesday, 17 December, 2008 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

Lobby group Save Our Rail says new data on rail patronage levels in New South Wales strengthens its case to keep Newcastle's inner-city rail line.

The independent pricing regulator IPART yesterday announced Newcastle's bus fares will increase on average by about 5.5 per cent next year, while rail fares will jump an average of 12 per cent over four years.

IPART also released figures on rail patronage levels, with train passenger journeys increasing 5.2 per cent last financial year.

Freight council releases transport issues report

Posted Wednesday, 17 December, 2008 by freightgate in South Australian Rail News

The South Australian Freight Council has released its report into the views of those involved in the freight industry across regional South Australia.

Forums focusing on road, rail, sea and air transport were held in 11 towns across the state over the past four years.

Among the issues raised were building by-passes outside Port Wakefield, Port Augusta and Renmark, replacing the Paringa bridge, and widening the Riddoch Highway and Mount Gambier-Nelson-Portland Road.

Minister: I'll be flogged if RailCorp doesn't improve

Posted Wednesday, 17 December, 2008 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Transport Minister David Campbell has promised to submit himself to a public flogging if RailCorp fails to deliver on its promise to improve services.

The RailCorp Customer Charter unveiled today commits the organisation to making improvements in seven areas including on-time running, crowd management and faster ticket sales.

RailCorp will provide a yearly report on whether it has been able to meet the benchmarks which have been set for the improvements.

Traders unhappy with rail freight changes

Posted Friday, 19 December, 2008 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A Julia Creek businessman says Queensland Rail's (QR) decision to stop transporting small freight by rail between Mount Isa and Townsville is affecting local traders.

QR says it is using trucks to deliver small freight in the state's north-west to increase efficiency.

But Julia Creek publican Dave Wild says it has put extra pressure on the roads and affected businesses like his.

Lack of govt support blamed for FreightLink trouble

Posted Friday, 19 December, 2008 by bevans in Northern Territory Rail News

The receiver trying to sell the financially-troubled operator of the Adelaide to Darwin railway, Korda Mentha, expects to choose one of six interested buyers by the middle of February.

FreightLink went into voluntary administration last month because attempts to sell the debt-laden company were stopped by creditors who refused to take less than they were owed.

One of the interested buyers, chairman of the Australian Inland Rail Expressway, Everald Compton, says the Northern Territory and Federal Governments did not give FreightLink a chance to become economically viable.

Qantas-BA merger talks fail

Posted Friday, 19 December, 2008 by bevans in Other Transport News

Qantas has announced that after detailed talks with British Airways (BA) the two airlines have not been able to come to an agreement on a merger.

Qantas said in a statement that despite the potential longer-term benefits for Qantas and BA, the airlines were unable to agree on key terms of the merger.

Merry Xmas from the Staff and Moderators at Railpage Australia

Posted Friday, 19 December, 2008 by bevans in Railpage Australia News

From the staff, administrators and moderators of Railpage Australia, we wish all our guests and members a very merry xmas and a happy new year. We trust it will be a safe and restful one for you all.

We also confirm that the railpage server is not on leave over xmas and will be taking http requests throughout the period.

Doubt cast on need for new rail tunnel

Posted Friday, 19 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A $4.5 BILLION "metro" rail tunnel that is the centrepiece of Victoria's transport plan has not been adequately justified, and other options to increase train services in Melbourne should have been investigated, a Government-commissioned report has found.

Senior rail consultant and transport planner Edward Dotson was hired by the State Government to help assess rail projects including a tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield, which was recommended in this year's report by transport expert Sir Rod Eddington.

Priority projects are worth $190 billion

Posted Friday, 19 December, 2008 by bevans in Rail News

The federal government is yet to determine how it will fund more than $190 billion worth of infrastructure projects recommended as top priorities for Australia.

The 94 projects have been selected from a list of 1,000 submitted to the government advisory group Infrastructure Australia (IA) by state, federal and private entities.

The preliminary report, released by IA on Friday, highlights projects in every state, including rural and urban rail and roads, ports, energy, water, communications and indigenous affairs.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 21/12/2008

Posted Monday, 22 December, 2008 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 96 sightings for this week, which is six sightings more than last week, making a total of 4995* sightings for this year to date. On day 355 last year we had seen 5251 sightings.
We have seen two sightings on the B/G this week. Both on Tuesday, a diverted 9140 at 0724 with G527(PN) and a down light loco movement at 1500 with T378(VR).

[ABC] QR working through north-west freight issues

Posted Monday, 22 December, 2008 by grace in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Rail (QR) says its working to overcome problems with the delivery of small freight items in the state's north-west.

The company is using trucks in place of trains to deliver small freight between Townsville to Mount Isa to make the service more viable and reduce delivery time, but has received criticism about the new service from some customers.

[ABC] Train use strengthens rail line fight: lobby group

Posted Monday, 22 December, 2008 by grace in New South Wales Rail News

Lobby group Save Our Rail says new data on rail patronage levels in New South Wales strengthens its case to keep Newcastle's inner-city rail line.

The independent pricing regulator IPART yesterday announced Newcastle's bus fares will increase on average by about 5.5 per cent next year, while rail fares will jump an average of 12 per cent over four years.

IPART also released figures on rail patronage levels, with train passenger journeys increasing 5.2 per cent last financial year.

Tunnel mooted to fix Hoddle traffic

Posted Monday, 22 December, 2008 by bevans in Other Transport News

A FOUR-kilometre road tunnel from the MCG to the Eastern Freeway is among key recommendations in a report into fixing traffic jams on Hoddle Street, commissioned by the Brumby Government.

The $1.5 billion tunnel concept is in a report by engineers GHD, which was commissioned by the Department of Premier and Cabinet as it developed its recent transport statement.

The report will feed into a $5 million study to be completed by VicRoads next year into how to improve traffic conditions on Hoddle Street.

Transport planning runs off the rails

Posted Monday, 22 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

IT ISN'T unprecedented for governments to make policy that rejects expert advice. But the blithe disregard shown in the Victorian Transport Plan, released with great fanfare earlier this month by Premier John Brumby, for the recommendations of rail consultant Edward Dotson plumbs new depths. Mr Dotson was commissioned to study a number of projects, most prominent among them the rail tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield proposed by Sir Rod Eddington. This tunnel — or at least the first stage of it, from Footscray to the Domain — is one of the major elements of the transport plan. Together with other new or upgraded rail connections from the suburbs to the city, it is intended, according to the Premier, to lay the basis of a genuine "Metro"-style transportation system for Melbourne. Construction work is scheduled to begin in 2013, well after the next state election, and the line would not be in service until a date described in the plan as "2017-plus". And if that seems a vague and distant time it is probably just as well, because the projected passenger numbers cited to justify building the $4.5 billion tunnel seem to have been plucked out of the air.

Commuters still waiting for public transport policy to work

Posted Monday, 22 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

AS ANOTHER working week begins, travel-weary commuters can only hope the public transport system works better than last week, or the week before, or the week before that. Last week, Connex was admittedly handicapped by an industrial dispute, but the crowding, the cancellations, the delays — so often unexplained — are all part of the normal numbing routine of train travel in and around Melbourne.

Teen 'stabbed to death on train'

Posted Monday, 22 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with murder after a 17-year-old boy was allegedly stabbed to death on a train at Campsie yesterday during a vicious brawl involving several teenagers.

The 17-year-old, from Marrickville, was allegedly stabbed in the chest with a knife about 5.30pm while in the first carriage of a train on the Bankstown line, police said.

Hope for light rail network to boost jobs

Posted Tuesday, 23 December, 2008 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The chairman of the Gold Coast City Council's planning committee, Ted Shepherd, says the construction of a light rail system will deliver more than jobs to the city.

MITEZ hopes for rail upgrade funds

Posted Tuesday, 23 December, 2008 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A development group says it hopes the Federal Government approves a billion dollars in funding for a rail upgrade between Mount Isa and Townsville.

The executive director of the Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone (MITEZ), Glenn Graham, says the project has been short-listed for funding through the Government's Building Australia Fund.

Byron council backs transport plan idea

Posted Tuesday, 23 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Byron Shire Council has voted to support the development of a shire-wide strategic transport plan.

Councillor Basil Cameron, who moved the motion, says all aspects of transport should be managed on a shire-wide network basis and take account of climate change.

NSW to continue push for infrastructure funding

Posted Tuesday, 23 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Government says it will continue lobbying to ensure all of its projects which have made it onto the Infrastructure Australia priority list receive Federal funding.

There are 94 projects on the short list and a decision will be made next year as to which ones are approved.

All of the key projects on the State Government's wishlist are being considered, including billions of dollars for metro rail systems in Sydney, M4 and M5 motorway expansions and money to upgrade the Pacific and Princes Highways.

[The Age] Public transport free over festive period

Posted Tuesday, 23 December, 2008 by grace in Victorian Rail News

In a festive gift for commuters, public transport in Melbourne will be free tomorrow and Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve train, tram and bus services will run to a normal weekday timetable tomorrow.

On Christmas Day, all public transport - including regional V/Line services - will be free.

Metropolitan trains will run to a Sunday timetable.

[SMH] Asciano picks potential partners to help cut $4.65bn liability

Posted Tuesday, 23 December, 2008 by grace in Rail News

BESIEGED Asciano has chosen a small group of companies that will potentially buy into the business to help the port and rail group pay off its big debt.

Chief executive and managing director Mark Rowsthorn said the company had received several bids to buy into the Pacific National coal division, as well as approaches relating to other business units.

"Asciano has selected a small group of parties to take through to the final stage of the monetisation process," he said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Since rejecting a $2.9 billion takeover offer from a US consortium in August, Asciano has undertaken a "monetisation process" to seek an investment partner.

Trams also feeling the big squeeze

Posted Wednesday, 24 December, 2008 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

IT'S not just Melbourne's trains that are packing them in — many trams are also operating at above recommended capacity.

New documents show that trams on up to half-a-dozen lines have been carrying passenger numbers "above desired load standards".

Crowded lines include the number one East Coburg to South Melbourne Beach line, the number 55 West Coburg to Domain Interchange, the number 112 West Preston to St Kilda and the number eight Moreland to Toorak service.

The busiest period was typically the morning peak between 8am and 9am.

VLine puts alcohol ban on long distance trips

Posted Wednesday, 24 December, 2008 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

VLine says it has stopped serving alcohol on its long distance services because of problems with drunken passengers.

The change came into effect on Sunday on the Warrnambool, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Wodonga and Bairnsdale lines.

South coast's OSCAR carriages to be replaced

Posted Wednesday, 24 December, 2008 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Member for South Coast says the New South Wales Government will remove half of the eight new outer suburban train carriages (OSCAR) running to the south coast rail line.

Shelley Hancock says she has received advice from the Minister for Transport that the OSCAR carriages will be relocated next year to the new Epping to Chatswood rail link in Sydney.

The OSCAR carriages will be replaced with 20-year-old V-set carriages.

Man's arm severed by train in self stupidity

Posted Saturday, 27 December, 2008 by exVKG in New South Wales Rail News

A man has had his arm severed after trying to board a moving train in Sydney's south.

Police say the man was on a platform at Sydenham station when the train was pulling out about 7.30pm (AEDT) on Wednesday.

Man detained 3 days for smoking on train.

Posted Saturday, 27 December, 2008 by saltyone in International Rail News

A man has been given three days in detention for breaking a non-smoking rule on a new high-speed rail line, Chinese state media say, an unusually severe punishment in a country where smoking bans are routinely ignored.

Rail and freight projects on shortlist

Posted Saturday, 27 December, 2008 by raye in South Australian Rail News

More than $500m in road and rail freight projects in the Green Triangle have been shortlisted in the Federal Government's economic and infrastructure priority list.

While the list has been scaled back from 1000 proposals, the 94 identified projects will again be trimmed to about 30.

[ABC] Glenrowan rail station misses out in tourism plan

Posted Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 by vanessa in Victorian Rail News

Glenrowan residents are frustrated there is no mention of reopening the town's railway station in a new tourism plan.

The Victorian Government last week released a four-year action plan in response to recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry into regional tourism.

[ABC] Minister says Bell Bay expansion will unlock state transport

Posted Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 by vanessa in Tasmanian Rail News

The State Government says a major expansion of the Bell Bay port will unlock constraints in Tasmania's transport system.

The $150 million project has been priority listed by Infrastructure Australia.

The Infrastructure Minister, Graeme Sturges, says Tasmania will receive its fair share of funding compared to other states.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 27/12/2008

Posted Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were a lot of trains cancelled this week due to the Christmas Holiday, with only 56 sightings for the week, which is 40 sightings less than last week, making a total of 5051* sightings for this year to date. On day 362 last year we had seen 5321 sightings.
We have seen no sightings on the B/G this week.

[HeraldSun] Connex sues on brakes defect

Posted Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 by vanessa in Victorian Rail News

TRAIN operator Connex wants millions of dollars in compensation from manufacturer Siemens over a brake system that caused commuter chaos.

Connex is claiming damages in the Supreme Court for defective trains that threw the network into turmoil last year.

Braking problems cost Connex almost $9 million in State Government fines. It is believed Connex will seek to recover that cost from Siemens.

[CourierMail] $900-a-ticket subsidy for tilt train to remain, says Anna Bligh

Posted Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 by vanessa in Queensland Rail News

THE controversial taxpayer subsidy for long-distance train travel will remain regardless of the drain on funds, according to Premier Anna Bligh.

Ms Bligh has defended the $130 million annual bill for taxpayers to fund the equivalent of eight airfares for one Traveltrain passenger to go from Brisbane to Cairns.

Her comments came after The Courier-Mail revealed at the weekend that every passenger on Queensland Rail's long-haul services was costing the state $900.

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