News

 

Showing stories from December 2009

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Melbourne's new rail operator Metro hit by major delays

Posted Tuesday, 1 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne's new train operator Metro has been hit by cancellations for the second day running, with commuters on the Glen Waverley line facing major delays after a power failure.

Peak-hour drivers also felt the pain as roadworks caused traffic mayhem on the Monash Freeway.

Historic engine sale review (SMR 10 Class)

Posted Tuesday, 1 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A committee will assess the case for and against the sale of seven, historic steam engines entwined in Maitland’s past.

Hunter trackwork to cause major rail disruptions

Posted Tuesday, 1 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

There will be major disruptions to passenger and freight rail services north of Newcastle today, as a four day shut-down of the Hunter Valley track gets underway.
Trains will not operate on the main northern line from 6:00am (AEST) today until Saturday morning, to allow for major upgrade work and maintenance aimed at increasing the reliability of the network for both passenger and freight trains.

Vandals cut rail signal wire

Posted Tuesday, 1 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Police are looking for vandals who cut signal wires on the Bendigo railway line on Sunday.

Trains were delayed for up to 50 minutes due to the disruption.

Transport blueprint needs fast rail: expert

Posted Tuesday, 1 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

There are calls for New South Wales to commit to a high-speed rail project when it releases its transport blueprint this week.

Plans for such a train service were dumped by the Federal Government in 2000, but rail industry experts say it is now time to put it back on the agenda.

Rail deal on track

Posted Tuesday, 1 December, 2009 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

The Tasmanian Government is the official owner of the state's rail network after the sale was finalised last night.

The Government bought the rail network from Pacific National's parent company Asciano for $32 million.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 28/11/2009.

Posted Tuesday, 1 December, 2009 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 90 sightings for this week. This is eight sighting less than last week, making a total of 4049 sightings for this year to date. On day 332 last year we had recorded 4688 sightings.

We have seen only two sightings on the B/G this week, which are three less that last week.

Rail woes mount for Metro

Posted Tuesday, 1 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE'S new rail operator, Metro, says a poorly maintained train caused a fault that brought an entire suburban line to a halt yesterday, disrupting the morning commute of thousands.

In only its second day running the city's trains, Metro had another bad day of cancellations, with 38 trains not running, most due to the Glen Waverley line breakdown. Many more services were badly delayed across the network.

The State Opposition said the incident proved it hadn't been Connex's fault that Melbourne's trains were unreliable, but a lack of investment by the Government in better trains for the city.

Economy may delay minerals hub

Posted Wednesday, 2 December, 2009 by bevans in Northern Territory Rail News

The developers of a bulk handling facility at Tennant Creek say low phosphate prices around the world could delay construction.

Global Port Solutions this week obtained native title clearance for its proposed minerals hub, 17 kilometres north of Tennant Creek.

The company wants to build two rail sidings to freight ore to Darwin, mainly from the Wonarah phosphate project.

Sydney metro proposal 'could save billions'

Posted Wednesday, 2 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A leading transport organisation has come up with what it says is a simple plan that would give Sydney commuters a metro rail system within eight years and save the New South Wales Government billions of dollars.

10,000 Friends of Greater Sydney (FROGS) want to convert the existing Cityrail network into a metro service.

It would mean replacing existing double-decker carriages with metro style trains and scrap the need for the government to build its $5.3 billion CBD Metro from Rozelle to Central.

Plaque marks anniversary of Glenbrook disaster

Posted Wednesday, 2 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The 10th anniversary of the Glenbrook Rail disaster will be marked today with the unveiling of a new plaque.

Seven people were killed and 51 injured when an inter-urban train collided with the Indian Pacific in the Blue Mountains suburb in 1999.

Cuts predicted to western Qld freight services

Posted Wednesday, 2 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) says rail freight services will inevitably be cut in western Queensland if some freight charges rise by up to 500 per cent.

The union says freight rates for the movement of gypsum from Winton to north Queensland will rise significantly under a new pricing arrangement.

$500m rail coal deal on track

Posted Wednesday, 2 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Rail operator Asciano has signed a $500 million deal with Japan's Idemitsu to haul coal from its Boggabri mine, near Narrabri, to Newcastle.

The 12-year-contract makes provision for a 400 per cent increase in coal production at the mine, from 1.5 million tonnes to six million tonnes over time.

It's 'dog eat dog' on London's overcrowded Tube: report

Posted Wednesday, 2 December, 2009 by Speed in International Rail News

Chronic overcrowding on London's Tube network turns people into animals who adopt a "dog eat dog" attitude to fellow passengers, according to a report released Tuesday.

Islamists claim Russian train bombing

Posted Wednesday, 2 December, 2009 by Speed in International Rail News

Islamists from the North Caucasus have claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing last week of a Russian passenger train, according to a statement posted on Wednesday on a website linked to Chechen rebels.

"This operation was prepared and executed along with other acts of sabotage, planned from the start of this year and successfully carried out against a set of strategically important sites in Russia, on the orders of Caucasus Emir Dokku Umarov," the statement on the website KavkazCenter.com said.

Transport projects get go-ahead

Posted Thursday, 3 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The State Government is seeking firms to tender for the extension of the Epping railway line to South Morang.

Work on the $560 million project is expected to start next year and will include three kilometres of new track and a new station at South Morang.

The Government has also announced a joint venture of construction firms O'Donnell Griffin and Laing O'Rourke has won the contract to electrify the Sunbury rail line.

Promised Frankston rail cash diverted

Posted Thursday, 3 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Just $10 million of a promised $100 million outlay on the Frankston railway line will be spent in the next 12 months, and some of it will be spent on fixing other lines in Melbourne's west. The Napthine government last week committed $100 million over the next three years to improving the Frankston line, which runs through four marginal seats in Melbourne's south-east that swung its way at the 2010 election. But the first chunk of that money – $10 million in 2013-14, budget papers show – will also be spent on improving the Werribee and Williamstown lines.

Metro rail tunnel faces a long wait for money

Posted Thursday, 3 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Most of the $3 billion the Gillard government has committed towards building a new rail tunnel in MelbourneTesting! would not begin to flow until next decade, suggesting train commuters face several years of worsening overcrowding no matter which party wins the federal election.
As federal Labor and the Victorian Coalition sparred over when work on the multibillion-dollar MelbourneTesting! Metro rail tunnel might proceed, state Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder told a parliamentary hearing $2 billion of the promised federal outlay was scheduled to be delivered after 2019.

Teen hit by train in Melbourne

Posted Thursday, 3 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A 13-year-old boy is in a serious condition at the Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital after he was struck by a suburban train during an alleged graffiti attack.

Paramedics were called to Glenbervie railway station in Essendon shortly after 5:00pm (AEDT) to treat the boy, who suffered upper body injuries.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 5/12/2009.

Posted Sunday, 6 December, 2009 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 101 sightings for this week. This is eleven sighting more than last week, making a total of 4150 sightings for this year to date. On day 339 last year we had recorded 4782 sightings.

We have seen six sightings on the B/G this week, which are four more that last week.

Bring back our trams: Ansett

Posted Sunday, 6 December, 2009 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

We could see trams rattling back along Malop Street if a Geelong Councillor gets his way.
Tony Ansett is proposing to bring back the trams to run from the Geelong train station to Eastern Gardens.

Mine expansion to prompt infrastructure need

Posted Sunday, 6 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Townsville Mayor says Xstrata's plan to expand operations in the north-west will add to the need for additional infrastructure in the north.

The mining giant has announced a $500 million investment to convert its Ernest Henry open-cut mine near Cloncurry into an underground operation.

Gold Coast light rail a step closer

Posted Sunday, 6 December, 2009 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

he Queensland Government is calling for expressions of interest from companies wanting to operate the Gold Coast's light rail system in south-east Queensland.

The Federal and State Governments and the Gold Coast City Council are contributing to the project.

Crunch time as patrons blow gasket

Posted Sunday, 6 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

FRUSTRATION among Melbourne's long-suffering rail users has hit record levels this year with cancellations, overcrowding and a lack of security among their chief concerns.

Confidential Transport Department figures paint a picture of a system that passengers are scared to use after dark, with more than a quarter seriously considering using alternative transport.

And travellers have delivered a stinging farewell to outgoing rail operator Connex, with most criticising its ability to communicate when problems hit the network.

Scary night trains rated network's biggest problem

Posted Sunday, 6 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

FEARFUL rail passengers have slammed safety on Melbourne's largely deserted night-time services as the biggest problem facing the troubled system.

Their greatest concerns are dangerous station car parks, a lack of staff on trains and security at stations, according to the Government's latest customer satisfaction survey. The results, obtained under freedom-of-information laws, have prompted a loose coalition of social workers, politicians and the rail workers union to urge urgent action to protect passengers.

Rail crossings get safety revamp

Posted Sunday, 6 December, 2009 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Boom gates and flashing lights will be installed at five priority rail crossings in regional South Australia, with one of the first to be at Yumali in the upper south-east.

Winners and losers: all change in rail revamp

Posted Sunday, 6 December, 2009 by bevans in Cityrail News

Sydney's biggest train timetable change in almost a decade will include an extra 700 services a week - but some commuters will miss out when trains skip certain stations.

Suspicious fire guts railway station

Posted Sunday, 6 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Police believe a fire that gutted part of the Gardenvale Railway Station at Brighton in Melbourne was deliberately lit.

Probe continues into near miss rail incident

Posted Monday, 7 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Investigations are continuing into a near miss involving a passenger train at Cootamundra on November 12 this year.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's (ATSB) preliminary report says the XPT driver received a signal to proceed, but he saw the last wagon of a freight train obstructing his path and used the emergency brake.

Hobart rail plan

Posted Monday, 7 December, 2009 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

A proposal for a passenger rail service in Hobart's northern suburbs is gathering momentum.

Ben and Kristie Johnston want to use rail from Mawson's Place to Granton with a battery powered passenger train.

Power fault brings trains to standstill

Posted Monday, 7 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail has once again said sorry to its frustrated passengers - this time for a seven-hour shutdown that will cripple Brisbane if repeated during peak-hour.

Three of the city's busiest stations – Central, Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills – were affected yesterday because of a power outage, causing delays for more than 100 services.

Passengers were herded off trains and on to buses between Albion and Roma St stations and Mitchelton and Bowen Hills.

Queensland Rail also paid for taxis to get some passengers to the airport as tempers were tested on a hot day.

Keneally invited to tour north coast

Posted Monday, 7 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The four New South Wales north coast National MPs have invited the new state Premier, Kristina Keneally, to visit the region in the new year.

The Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest, says he and his colleagues hope the Premier will focus on critical issues facing the region such as overcrowded hospitals and understaffed police.

Two teenagers will face court over a fire at Melbourne's Gardenvale Station

Posted Monday, 7 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A 15-year-old boy from Yarraville has been charged with one count of causing criminal damage by fire and one count of conduct endangering life.

He has been bailed to face the Children's Court in March.

Firefighters continue to work on burning rail cars after train derailment

Posted Monday, 7 December, 2009 by bevans in International Rail News

REGINA — A local state of emergency remains in effect in the Spy Hill area of Saskatchewan following a major train derailment that sent flames skyward and forced several families from their homes.

As of Monday morning, 10 households evacuated shortly after Saturday's derailment were still unable to return to their homes while a safety perimeter around the area remained in effect.

House backs SunRail, high-speed rail bill

Posted Monday, 7 December, 2009 by bevans in International Rail News

The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill Dec. 7 that would pave the way for Orlando’s SunRail project, as well as a high-speed rail project connecting Orlando, Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville.

After an 84-25 vote backing the rail package, the measure was set to be hear by a Senate commitee Monday afternoon and could hit the floor as early as Tuesday, said Jaryn Emhof, spokeswoman for Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, who has been trying to rally support.

High Speed rail 'imperative' for major airports, say MPs

Posted Monday, 7 December, 2009 by bevans in International Rail News

A report on aviation from the House of Commons Transport Committee says high speed rail links to major British airports are 'imperative'. However, it warns that new high speed lines cannot completely replace domestic flights in the UK.

Fortescue to push harder for rail access

Posted Monday, 7 December, 2009 by bevans in Rail News

Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd is set to bolster its case for access to Rio Tinto Ltd's Pilbara rail network, The Australian Financial Review reports.

According to the newspaper, Fortescue is set to announce an upgrade to its estimated resources at its Solomon project, which will underscore the importance of train access when the miner returns to the Competition Tribunal this week.

MP questions level crossing decision

Posted Tuesday, 8 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Farrer MP Sussan Ley wants a guarantee that costs are not behind the decision to only upgrade one of two level crossings north of Culcairn.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) says the Greater Hume Council has been assured neither crossing will be shut, but one is unsuitable for boom gates.

Qld govt outlines rail freight sale

Posted Tuesday, 8 December, 2009 by Speed in Queensland Rail News

Queenslanders will be given priority to buy into a new publicly-listed rail giant being set up by the state government.

Premier Anna Bligh on Tuesday told reporters the government would restructure the state's rail system to create two new entities: a publicly listed company to be known as QR National and a government-owned corporation to be known as QR.

RailCorp Fined $70,000 For Failing to Fill Town Hall Vacancies

Posted Wednesday, 9 December, 2009 by Stew in Press Releases

The Federal Court has fined RailCorp $70,000 for breaching its legal obligations regarding staffing on the rail network by not filling 22 staff vacancies at Town Hall Station.

Government's privatisation plans 'a winning formula'

Posted Wednesday, 9 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Unions and the resources sector have criticised the details of the Queensland Government's privatisation policy, but industry says it is the right thing to do.

The State Government will offer long-term leases on the Port of Brisbane and Queensland Motorways, as well as the Abbot Point Coal Terminal in north Queensland.

Train builder three years behind schedule

Posted Wednesday, 9 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Manufacturing and testing delays have been blamed for a Newcastle train builder being $11 million over-budget and three years behind schedule with a major rail contract.

Mine signs 10yr rail deal

Posted Wednesday, 9 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Australia's largest private rail freight business has signed its fifth coal haulage customer in Queensland.

The Isaac Plains mine, owned by Aquilla Resources and Vale, has signed a 10-year contract with Pacific National.

Rail workers strike over Government asset sales

Posted Wednesday, 9 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The State Government's sale of assets has provoked industrial action at Queensland Rail (QR) as hundreds of workers walk off the job.

Up to 800 workers at the Redbank workshop, west of Brisbane, have walked off the job for the rest of the day.

They are angry the workshops are included in the planned float of QR's coal and freight business.

Rudd urges private sector rail link investment

Posted Wednesday, 9 December, 2009 by bevans in Rail News

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says private investment is vital to ensure the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line in north Queensland is upgraded.

Community groups and councils from Townsville to Mount Isa have been lobbying for an upgrade of the line for several years.

1,300 QR workers walk off job

Posted Thursday, 10 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Rail (QR) workers have begun industrial action against the sale of assets, with some urging their colleagues to go further.

Today 800 QR workshop staff walked off the job at Redbank, west of Brisbane.

It was not enough for one worker, who called for coal trains to be stopped.

Hopes for rail service to boost tourism

Posted Thursday, 10 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Central Goldfields Shire says the return of passenger rail services in Maryborough next year could help the tourism sector.

Last year, the State Government announced train services would resume in 2010 to allow people in Maryborough to commute to Ballarat and Melbourne.

Unions vow more industrial action against asset sales

Posted Thursday, 10 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland unions say there could be more industrial action in the new year over privatisation.

Premier Anna Bligh announced on Tuesday that Queensland Rail (QR) businesses would be floated on the stock exchange by the end of next year.

About 800 QR workshop staff walked off the job for the day at Redbank, west of Brisbane, as well as another 500 workers in Rockhampton and Townsville did the same over the planned share market float.

Rail workers are returning to work today.

Govt snubs rail upgrade bid

Posted Friday, 11 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Government has rejected calls to fund an upgrade of the rail branch line between Armatree and Coonamble.

Representatives from the Coonamble Shire Council recently met the Transport Minister to discuss concerns about the track's condition.

Minister under fire over rail 'sabotage' comments

Posted Friday, 11 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Unions and the Queensland Opposition have criticised Transport Minister Rachel Nolan for raising the question of sabotage on Brisbane's computerised rail system.

Computer experts will work out whether a software problem is to blame for recent delays on Brisbane's Citytrain network.

Unions and the Opposition say Ms Nolan's comments are irresponsible and inflammatory, and almost defamatory of staff.

Rail feasibility study on track

Posted Friday, 11 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Victorian Government is starting a feasibility study that will decide whether passenger rail is returned to a large area of north-west Victoria.

It has been 15 years since there was a passenger train on the Mildura line and the Government promised to restore it when it was elected in 1999.

Filmed debate on privatisation now available

Posted Saturday, 12 December, 2009 by SheilaN in Queensland Rail News

I have just published two films on you-tube. The first, in three parts, is 30 November debate on privatisation between Andrew Fraser and an anti-privatisation election candidate before the election.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 12/12/2009.

Posted Sunday, 13 December, 2009 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 99 sightings for this week. This is two sightings less than last week, making a total of 4249 sightings for this year to date. On day 346 last year we had recorded 4871 sightings.

We have seen six sightings on the B/G this week, which is the same as last week.

Parting mystery as Connex talks down its record

Posted Monday, 14 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

LATE last month, as train operator Connex came to the tail-end of its contract to run Melbourne's train network, it made a curious announcement.

After years trumpeting its performance record on a decaying network, it said it had not met its October punctuality target and would follow the standard practice of compensating monthly and yearly ticket holders with free daily tickets.

Train restores some normality to Serbia, Bosnia

Posted Monday, 14 December, 2009 by bevans in International Rail News

Relations between the former enemies Serbia and Bosnia have been strengthened with the opening of the first rail link between the two countries for 17 years.

The rail link is seen as another step in the normalisation of relations between the two sides that fought a bloody war in the 1990s.

Helping Save The Kingston Flyers

Posted Monday, 14 December, 2009 by SteamingMadd in New Zealand Rail News

Well Fri 11th Dec came and went with regreet our Railway Heritage Trust decided not to put in a Tender, for New Zealands Most Historic ICONIC Steam Train "The Kingston Flyer".

MP blames Govt for Austrak job cuts

Posted Monday, 14 December, 2009 by bevans in Rail News

The federal Member for Riverina blames flaws with the Government's economic stimulus package for the loss of 64 jobs in Wagga Wagga.

The concrete sleeper maker Austrak has cut its workforce to 19 after completing a contract for 1.6 million concrete sleepers.

Robina-Varsity Lakes rail extension state's most expensive

Posted Monday, 14 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND'S newest rail link, which has opened on the Gold Coast, is also the state's most expensive - costing a staggering $300 million for 4.1km of track.

The Robina to Varsity Lakes rail extension, which includes a new $25 million station, cost only $50 million less than the entire Brisbane-Gold Coast line which opened in 1998.

Opening the Varsity Lakes station yesterday, Premier Anna Bligh talked up her controversial asset sell-off as a possible way of fast-tracking the long-awaited Robina-Coolangatta rail extension.

CountryLink welcomes near miss report

Posted Tuesday, 15 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

CountryLink says it is satisfied with investigations so far into a near miss involving the XPT train at Cootamundra last month.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's (ATSB) initial report says the train, carrying about 150 people, almost hit a fully-laden goods train because of a problem with the installation of new signalling.

Union leader threatens ALP special conference on privatisation

Posted Tuesday, 15 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A Queensland union leader says he cannot rule out a special conference of the Labor Party to challenge the State Government's planned asset sales.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) spokesman Owen Doogan says there was no move at a party administration meeting last night to call for such a conference.

However, he says unions from the right and left of the party are still strongly opposed to the Government's plans to sell five businesses.

On-time woes blamed on interstate track work

Posted Tuesday, 15 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

CountryLink admits on-time running is not up to scratch, but says rail patronage is on the rise.

The Opposition says CountryLink has not met its on-time target for 24 weeks this year and has not met its annual performance target since 2002.

CountryLink manager Greg McLeod blames track works on the interstate routes for the failure to meet the 78 per cent benchmark for on-time running.

Public transport use drops

Posted Wednesday, 16 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Figures from Translink show the number of people using public transport in south-east Queensland has dropped, compared with the same time last year.

Almost 48 million trips were taken during July, August and September which is one-point-four per cent fewer than last year.

Doubt cast over privatised rail services

Posted Wednesday, 16 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The LNP's Member for Gregory says there is still uncertainty in remote communities about the future of freight and livestock train services under a privatised Queensland Rail (QR).

The State Government will float parts of QR on the stock exchange at the end of next year.

Two jailed for setting sleeping train passenger on fire

Posted Thursday, 17 December, 2009 by bevans in International Rail News

A British court has jailed two young men for setting fire to a stranger's beard as he slept on a train.

The judge on Wednesday condemned the "cowardly and callous actions" by Dean Hardy, 20, and Aedan Palmer, 19, in the attack last December that left 22-year-old Luke Kennedy with severe burns to his lips, ears and cheeks.

During the trial, the court had heard that Hardy and Palmer had each drunk about 10 cans of beer before they boarded the train with two younger boys and sat down opposite Kennedy, who was sleeping in his seat.

BC Iron confirms FMG joint venture

Posted Thursday, 17 December, 2009 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Junior mining company BC Iron has confirmed its plans to develop the Nullagine iron ore project with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG).

QR wins coal hauling contract ahead of sale

Posted Friday, 18 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Rail says it has secured a new $2 billion contract to haul Xstrata coal from the Bowen Basin in central Queensland.

The agreement covers the Newlands, Collinsville, Oaky Creek and Rolleston mines from next year.

Bus drivers go on strike

Posted Friday, 18 December, 2009 by bevans in Other Transport News

Up to 600,000 commuters across Sydney and Newcastle are taking trains, ferries and cars to get to work and school
because bus drivers have walked off the job.

The 24-hour stoppage began at 4am today, following demands from the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) for bus drivers to be given a pay rise without award conditions being taken away.

But disruption to afternoon peak-hour services may be avoided, with the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) calling a compulsory conference at noon to try to resolve the dispute.

Tram ticket inspections to rise after myki

Posted Friday, 18 December, 2009 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

TICKET inspectors on Melbourne trams will increase their checks of tickets by 15 per cent once the introduction of myki is complete.

The inspection plan is part of a deal worked out by the Government with Yarra Trams' new operator.

The Department of Transport last financial year handed out $6 million in fines to tram travellers for lacking valid tickets and other offences including feet on seats.

Myki deliberately launched under cover of Christmas: Opposition

Posted Friday, 18 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Myki is being launched under the cover of Christmas to avoid public scrutiny of the new ticketing system, according to the Opposition Transport spokesman.

Liberal MP Terry Mulder said the Brumby Government was cynically introducing myki while Melburnians were preoccupied with the festive season.

"I doubt very much whether you'll see a major announcement, a ribbon cutting, a set of scissors and a gathering of ministers around this when it starts in Melbourne," He said.

Thermal coal project moves ahead

Posted Friday, 18 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A proposal for Australia's largest thermal coal project in Queensland's central west has taken a step forward.

Hancock Prospecting is proposing two mines at Alpha and Kevin's Corner in the Galilee Basin and a 500 kilometre rail line to port facilities.

The company's chairman, Gina Rinehart, has today met Premier Anna Bligh to discuss the plans.

O'Brien keeps mum on grain freight network

Posted Friday, 18 December, 2009 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Western Australian Transport Minister Simon O'Brien is remaining tight-lipped over the future of the grain freight network.

Earlier this year, the Government established the Strategic Grain Network Committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the ageing network.

Rail, roads coping well with bus strike

Posted Friday, 18 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A bus strike that has affected up to 600,000 Sydney and Newcastle commuters does not appear to be having any major impact on roads or the rail network.

Nearly 4000 Sydney Bus drivers walked off the job at 4am AEDT over a pay dispute with the state government, leaving stranded commuters to drive, walk or take trains and ferries to work.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 19/12/2009

Posted Monday, 21 December, 2009 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 106 sightings for this week. This is seven sightings more than last week, making a total of 4355 sightings for this year to date. On day 353 last year we had recorded 4965 sightings.

We have seen five sightings on the B/G this week, which is one less than last week.

Protesters dragged off coal train tracks

Posted Monday, 21 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Police have started dragging climate change protesters from the rail line leading to Australia's biggest coal export facility.

A single protester from the local activist group Rising Tide Newcastle walked onto the train tracks early this morning and stopped a fully laden coal train.

Eurostar cancels trains for third day

Posted Monday, 21 December, 2009 by bevans in International Rail News

Eurostar passenger train services linking Britain to continental Europe will be suspended for a third day on Monday, the company said, after a series of trains broke down due to the freezing weather.

Eurostar says it will not restart services until the source of the breakdowns - which left at least five trains stranded in the tunnel between England and France - has been identified and fixed.

ARG secures $200m freight contracts

Posted Monday, 21 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Rail's (QR) bulk freight subsidiary ARG has signed multi-million-dollar contracts with Xstrata Mount Isa Mines in the state's north-west.

The contracts are worth more than $200 million over the next five years, for the transport of 1.4 million tonnes per year of bulk mineral concentrates and metals between Mount Isa and Townsville.

Flinders St station still awaiting restoration

Posted Monday, 21 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE'S much-loved icon, Flinders Street Station, celebrates its centenary next month, but the building remains underused and partly dilapidated despite repeated attempts to have it returned to its former glory, say lobbyists calling for it to become an arts-design hub.

Jenny Davies, author of Beyond the Facade, history of the station, says the site has been put in the too-hard basket by successive governments. It is sorely neglected, she said, despite having a rich history of public use and being one of the finest examples of early 20th century architecture in the country.

Catastrophe Averted by Quick-Thinking Drivers

Posted Monday, 21 December, 2009 by Stew in Rail News

A potential rail catastrophe was averted by quick thinking drivers, according to a safety investigation report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Trains to be stabled over river

Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2009 by wurx in New South Wales Rail News

Detailed environmental studies will be carried out as part of a $182 million project to construct new train stabling facilities near Emu Plains railway station, Penrith State Labor MP Karyn Paluzzano has announced.

Derailment probe finds track defects

Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2009 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A safety report into a freight train derailment near Benalla last year has found there were defects in the track.

Thirteen freight wagons were derailed near Winton on July 31 last year, ripping up 700 metres of track.

Santa train keeps Christmas spirit on track

Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2009 by bevans in Rail News

Funny how you always find something in the last place you look. It's a bit like that with me and Christmas spirit this year.

Unmoved by cards, syrupy carols and faux fir trees, I had to go halfway across the country by train to find it at a whistlestop called Watson on the edge of the Nullabor.

Train driver 'driving dangerously' in triple fatality

Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Coroner Michael Barnes has found a train driver was driving dangerously when his passenger train struck and killed three boys at Goodna, west of Brisbane, in 2006.

Mr Barnes handed down his findings in the inquest into the death of 10-year-old Hayden Duncan, his eight-year-old brother Glen, and their nine-year-old-year cousin Reggie Fisher.

Coroner's findings due on train deaths

Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland coroner is due to hand down his findings today into the death of three boys who were struck by a train at Ipswich, west of Brisbane, in 2006.

Hayden Duncan, 10, his brother Glen, 8, and their cousin Reggie Fisher, 9, were killed instantly when they were struck by a passenger train at Goodna.

Industry coping with record coal exports

Posted Wednesday, 23 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A logistics company says port and rail infrastructure in central Queensland is coping well with record coal export levels.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics says national coal export levels in the September quarter reached a new record of 73 million tonnes.

Eurostar back on track amid winter chaos

Posted Thursday, 24 December, 2009 by bevans in International Rail News

Services have returned almost to normal after three days of chaos on the Eurostar rail link between the UK and France.

But many parts of Europe continue to face severe transport disruptions and there have been more deaths as a severe cold snap sweeps the continent.

Opposition demands tougher security at rail stations

Posted Thursday, 24 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Opposition says there has been an unacceptable rise in assaults on the rail network in the state's south-east.

Opposition transport spokeswoman Fiona Simpson says police figures show an increase of 5.6 per cent, compared with the last financial year.

Coroner unfair to blame train driver: Minister

Posted Thursday, 24 December, 2009 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Transport Minister Rachel Nolan says it is unfair for the coroner to blame a train driver for a triple fatality on the Ipswich line in 2006.

Hayden Duncan, 10, his brother Glen, 8, and cousin Reggie Fisher, 9, were struck by the train while playing on the railway tracks at Goodna, west of Brisbane.

Dodgy rail slows Coonamble grain movements

Posted Sunday, 27 December, 2009 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Farmers and grain handlers are calling on the State Government to invest in rail infrastructure at Coonamble after a derailment held up the transport of this season's harvest.

The Coonamble Armatree line is still waiting for a completion of an upgrade which was halted last year.

GrainCorp's Central NSW regional manager, Murray Wilkinson, says it invested $2 million in new infrastructure for handling harvest last year, but the state of the rail lines puts a hold on things.

Light rail push on track

Posted Sunday, 27 December, 2009 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

A Coffs Harbour working group is moving forward with plans for a light rail service in the region.

Council staff, industry representatives and rail specialists are planning a feasibility study to gauge the community's transport needs.

Oakajee feasibility study on track

Posted Sunday, 27 December, 2009 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Oakajee Port and Rail (OPR) says it remains on track to deliver a detailed feasibility study to the Western Australian Government by March next year.

Trams: just furballs stuck in our throats

Posted Sunday, 27 December, 2009 by tomohawk in Tram and Light Rail News

MELBOURNE, they say, adores its trams. If true, this can only be some bizarre variant of Stockholm syndrome, in which hostages come to identify with, and even love, their captors.

Far from being the cheery and iconic symbol of our city, trams are the fatty deposits clogging its arteries. Trams are barely mobile roadblocks that risk the safety of all who board them, and their tracks are a menace to all that goes on two wheels. Were Melbourne a cat, trams would be the gross, slimy furballs it coughed up when it was choking.

Well, maybe they're not quite that bad. But consider this: in the time it takes to get to work by tram, I can have ridden to the office, showered, changed, bought a coffee and written three paragraphs about how much I hate trams. You have to wonder about any form of motorised transport that's slower than a bicycle.

According to the most recent data on Yarra Trams' website, the average speed of a tram in Melbourne is 16 km/h, dropping to 10 km/h in the city centre. By contrast, a fast walk is about 6 km/h, Melbourne's buses average 23.1 km/h and cars clock in at 43 km/h around town. (They did in 2006, anyway, according to the City of Melbourne Transport Strategy. It's been a bad few years for traffic since.)

The beggars aren't cheap, either: the State Government this year committed $1 billion to add 50 trams to the fleet by 2012. It's worth noting that industry sources believe the trams themselves will cost about $5 million each to build, which seems to leave a lot of spare change for fuzzy dice and seat covers.

Alliance appointment to aid rail access bid

Posted Sunday, 27 December, 2009 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The North West Iron Ore Alliance says its appointment of a new director will help its bid to access Pilbara rail networks.

Catherine Pinchin has been appointed director for legal, regulatory and corporate affairs for the alliance.

Public transport's New Year revamp

Posted Tuesday, 29 December, 2009 by TA 2000 in South Australian Rail News

COMMUTERS can expect better scheduling of public transport services "early in the new year" because of a major overhaul in the management of the network.

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