There were 87 sightings for this week. This is two sightings more than last week, making a total of 1736 sightings for this year to date. On day 150 last year we had recorded 2105 sightings.
We have seen 11 sighting on the B/G this week, which is one more than last week. We have seen 9140 from Mildura three times this week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with XR553(FA)+G525(FA) on all trains. And we also saw three sightings of diverted 9141 to Mildura on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights with G525(FA)+XR553?(FA) on all the trains. And we have seen three PN grain trains; two up and one down trains, one of the trains included BL32. We also saw a transfer to Ballarat on Monday on the down with T342(ELZ) and V/Line car PCO2. The loco returned on the up as a light engine later in the day.
The Rudd government has warned there will be "severe consequences" for billions of dollars of major road and rail upgrades if the coalition insists on changes to Labor's nation-building legislation.
Parliament resumes earlier than usual on Monday to debate bills underpinning agreements the commonwealth had made with the states and territories.
Upgrades to Sydney's M1 motorway and the Pacific, Bruce and Hume highways are under threat if the coalition attempts to change or block legislation, Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said.
The Tasmanian Government has admitted it did not make a submission for rail infrastructure funding in the most recent Federal stimulus package.
The admission came from the Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges on the ABC's Stateline Program.
Adelaide's public transport system will get another $84 million over the next four years in Thursday's State Budget to buy trains and boost security. Another 14 electric trains will be bought for the Seaford line extension, adding to the existing search for 50 trains to run on Adelaide's electrified rail network.
The Government last committed to new trains in 1990 when then Transport Minister Frank Blevins announced the purchase of 50 over an eight-year period for $225 million. Transport Minister Patrick Conlon can expect to get his new trains rolling for the 2013 opening of the Noarlunga to Seaford extension.
The New South Wales Opposition says there is an unacceptable level of overcrowding on Sydney's trains, especially during the morning peak hour.
Opposition transport spokeswoman Gladys Berejiklian says figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws show that some trains are running at more than 130 per cent capacity during the morning peak, especially in the south and the north.
ALMOST one in 10 Melbourne trains failed to arrive at their destination on time last month — despite being able to run almost six minutes behind schedule before officially being recorded as "late".
May was the fifth month in a row that the city's trains have failed to meet punctuality targets.
The delays, blamed on braking problems with the Siemens trains, mean customers who hold a monthly, six-monthly or yearly ticket will be entitled to one free daily ticket.
THE level crossing where 11 people died when a truck and train collided two years ago was the worst in Victoria, and one of only four on a major highway not fitted with boom gates, the Bendigo Supreme Court heard yesterday.
Lawyers representing Wangaratta truck driver Christiaan Scholl say the State Government ignored a damning report on the crossing, which outlined near-misses in 2006.
During a period of five days alone in July 2006, three incident reports were filed by a concerned train driver, who later went on stress leave as a result.
Commuters have to suffer overcrowding on Sydney trains because of the NSW government's failure to plan ahead, the NSW opposition says.
CityRail trains surveyed during morning peak times showed most had passenger loads above capacity, including an average 145 per cent loading on the South line, and 130 per cent on the North Shore, Bankstown and Inner West lines.
The owners of a Sydney chemist say they will seek legal advice after being told the New South Wales Government plans to demolish their business to make way for the Rozelle Metro.
The late-night chemist near the corner of Darling Street and Victoria Road in Rozelle is where the Metro Authority plans to build an exit for the underground Rozelle station.
North Queensland motorists are being urged to take extra care on roads in the Mackay region, with the start of the sugarcane crush at Farleigh and Marian mills.
The crushing season will also begin at Racecourse Mill tomorrow.
CEO of Mackay Sugar, Quinten Hildebrand, says motorists need to be particularly careful at level crossings.
A Bendigo court has been told a Victorian government department had brushed off concerns about the safety of a rail level crossing at Kerang before a fatal train crash in 2007.
The court was told rail operator V-Line had done everything it could to try and get the crossing upgraded.
Up to 20 Pacific National rail workers in Tasmania will be given temporary jobs while the state's main north-south rail line is being repaired.
Pacific National today met workers in Hobart and Launceston and offered jobs with contractors.
The Queensland Opposition says the State Government should have told voters about its privatisation plans before the March election.
Premier Anna Bligh announced yesterday Queensland's eight-cents-a-litre fuel subsidy will be dumped from July 1 and billions of dollars worth of assets will be privatised over the next three to five years.
The union representing rail workers says thousands of jobs in central and north Queensland will be lost if the State Government goes ahead with plans to privatise the coal-haulage arm of Queensland Rail (QR).
In a bid to reduce debt, Premier Bligh has announced the Government will sell several assets, including the Abbot Point Coal Terminal and the Port of Brisbane.
Owen Doogan, from the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, says with the current economic climate there is a three-year window of opportunity to stop the sale.
The Supreme Court trial over a 50-year-old truck driver charged over the 2007 level-crossing crash in Kerang, north of Bendigo, continues today.
Eleven people died and eight were seriously injured when Christian Bernard Scholl's truck hit a train.
Selling North Queensland's Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen will guarantee its expansion and growth, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says.
The terminal is one of several major public assets the state government on Tuesday announced would be sold off to plug a $14 billion hole in its budget.
Ms Bligh said the terminal is a very important part of the coal export supply chain.
"While the coal companies are enduring a drop in demand from world markets, their medium to long term forecasts for volume have not changed," she told parliament.
ANALYSTS have urged Asciano to consider a capital raising to help pay off debt just as expressions of interest to buy all or part of the ports and rail group are due to be lodged today.
JPMorgan analyst Matt Crowe told BusinessDay there had been a lot of successful capital raisings in the market recently.
"Up until now, Asciano has focused more on asset sales. The case for an equity raising, instead of an asset sale or part of a restructuring program, must be getting pretty compelling. There has been a great appetite for them," he said.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption has begun another investigation into RailCorp, just months after the body announced changes to clean up the organisation.
A lengthy I-C-A-C hearing that started in late 2007 ended in the corruption watchdog making 40 recommendations to change the way RailCorp procured goods and services.
The WA Farmers Federation has warned that rural communities and shires will suffer if sections of the grain freight network are closed.
The network's operator, Westnet, has threatened to close four railway lines on June 16 if the State Government does not respond to its funding requests.
The lines cover areas of the Wheatbelt and Great Southern.
Torrens Transit says Thursday's crash between two buses on the O-Bahn track was caused by driver error.
The company's managing director, Neil Smith, says it is too early to say if any action will be taken against the driver.
Mr Smith says there is no need for Torrens Transit to review its O-Bahn safety guidelines.
Mining giant BHP Billiton says plans to increase the amount of radioactive material it sends to Darwin by rail will not be a risk to public health.
The company wants to freight about 1.6 million tonnes of radioactive copper concentrate to Darwin each year if its proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam in South Australia gets the green light.
The truck driver involved in the level crossing crash near Kerang which killed 11 people has told a jury he did not see the lights flashing as he approached.
Christian Bernard Scholl of Wangaratta is contesting 19 charges including 11 counts of culpable driving causing death.
The Member for Morwell, Russell Northe, is calling on the Government to continue Gippsland train services to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne.
Mr Northe says he has received a letter from the Minister, Lynn Kosky, saying train services will stop at Filnders Street Station in the future.
Connex has again failed to meet its punctuality targets with almost one in 10 trains running late in May.
It is the fifth month in a row that Connex has missed its punctuality obligations.
The delays, blamed on braking issues with its Siemens trains, means customers who hold a monthly, six-monthly or yearly ticket will be entitled to one free daily Metcard.
UNREST in the state's rail workers' union has deepened, with a group of train drivers passing a vote of no confidence in management and demanding to know why executives gave themselves a hefty pay rise.
The latest strife follows months of union infighting and a battle between Connex and drivers that led to hundreds of train cancellations earlier this year.
A major beef processor says he is extremely worried about whether Queensland Rail (QR) will carry livestock in the future.
The State Government is reviewing QR's bulk freight business as part of its privatisation plans.
New trams for Adelaide should arrive by the end of the year.
The South Australian Government says the six additional trams will help reduce overcrowding on current services.
A $36 million deal has been signed with Spanish company, Mintra.
An elevated railway line which once carried freight over the tough streets of New York's Meatpacking District reopened Monday as the city's newest and trendiest park.
Snaking on trestles through the fashionable lower Manhattan neighbourhood, the High Line Park combines views of the Hudson River, wild vegetation, and echoes of New York's industrial history.
The park follows a rail line dating to the 1930s and seemed fated for the wrecking ball, like other relics of the city's grittier past, after the final freight train rumbled over in 1980.
THE failure of one in 10 Melbourne trains to run on time is being blamed on a train braking problem detected six years ago.
No one can say why braking issues with the $500 million Siemens trains — detected in 2003 — have persisted so long, or when they will be fixed.
Public Transport Safety Victoria has confirmed that "braking issues were first identified in the Siemens trains when they were tested in 2003".
Unions have not given up their fight against the Queensland Government's privatisation plans, despite a win for Premier Anna Bligh at the ALP state conference over the weekend.
There were 84 sightings for this week. This is three sightings less than last week, making a total of 1820 sightings for this year to date. On day 157 last year we had recorded 2213 sightings.
We have seen seven sighting on the B/G this week, which is four less than last week. We have seen 9140 from Mildura three times this week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with XR553(FA)+G525(FA) on Monday and Wednesday and solo G525 on Friday. And we also saw only one sightings of diverted 9141 to Mildura on Monday night with G525(FA)+XR553?(FA). And we have seen three PN grain trains; two down and one up train, all three trains had double XR motive power. EM100 was seen four times on the B/G this week.
Rural lobby group AgForce wants a written commitment that freight services for the agricultural industry in Queensland will continue - even if the Government sells parts of the rail network.
The State Government has proposed the sell-off part of the Queensland Rail system to help reduce debt.
Public transport popularity is booming in Melbourne with a massive 13.2 per cent increase in the 12 months to March - more than double the previous year's growth.
All forms of public transport were popular - tram use up 15.2 per cent, bus use growth has more than tripled to a 14.6 per cent increase and train patronage growth was again in double figures at 10.9 per cent.
Indian groups standing guard at railway stations in Melbourne's west - in a bid to protect students from racial attacks - have been asked to move by police.
The groups have been gathering at St Albans and Thomastown railway stations after a spate of assaults on Indians in the area, the latest on Kamal Jit, 23, who was bashed unconscious while walking home from the St Albans railway station on the weekend.
ALL rail services in Tasmania will cease in less than three weeks.
Sole rail operator Pacific National sent shock letters yesterday to its major freight users in Tasmania informing them its rail system would shut down from June 30.
The closure of the last operational rail freight service in Tasmania, the profitable
Victoria Police have responded to calls from Indian students who fear for their safety by launching a major crackdown on crime at train stations in Melbourne.
Chief Commissioner Simon Overland says the high visibility operations will target trouble spots in and around Sunshine, St Albans and Thomastown in the northern suburbs and Clayton and Dandenong in the southeast.
He says uniform police, rail transit officers, the Dog Squad, mounted police and the air wing will patrol the train stations.
Millions of London commuters face two days of transport disruption after a 48-hour strike shut down the capital's underground rail network in a dispute over pay and jobs.
London Mayor Boris Johnson condemned the walkout by thousands of drivers, station staff and maintenance workers as "utterly demented".
"We will do everything in our power to keep this city on the move," he said.
The State Opposition says selling parts of Queensland Rail (QR) could lead to higher fares for commuters in the south-east.
QRs coal haulage business is one of several assets the Government plans to privatise.
Opposition transport spokeswoman Fiona Simpson says profits from the coal sector help subsidise the Citytrain network.
Passengers using the Epping to Chatswood rail line will have to buy a ticket for the first time this morning.
For the past four months commuters on the new line have had a free ride - but from now on their 17 minute trip will cost $3.80.
Tasmanian rail operator Pacific National is blaming Tasports for its decision to axe its main freight services.
In a statement PN says its lease for the Bulk Handling and Ship loading facility in Burnie has been terminated and Pacific National Tasmania has been unable to secure a long-term lease for the facility.
"This directly affects our ability to meet the obligations under the current minerals contracts," a spokesperson said.
The Tasmanian Government has held a phone hook-up with management of the rail operator Pacific National.
Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges says talks are planned next week and everything will be on the table.
The operator of Western Australia's grain freight network has defended its maintenance record and rejected calls for a performance audit.
WestNet Rail is threatening to close four lines next week if the State Government does not provide nearly $50 million for upgrades.
The New South Wales Government says it will scrap the booking fee for the Countrylink pensioner excursion ticket from next month.
The $1 fare deal for children travelling with adults will also become an all-year offer.
The prosecution and the defence have summed up their arguments in the trial of a truck driver charged over the Kerang train crash two years ago.
The Supreme Court in Bendigo will consider whether 50-year-old Christian Scholl of Wangaratta, was driving "reasonably" when the collision took place.
CONNEX could soon be in the running to operate Melbourne's trams as well as its trains, after its French parent company confirmed it wanted to take control of the company behind Yarra Trams.
The State Government will announce within weeks its preferred contractors to run Melbourne's trains and trams for the next eight years.
Connex, owned by French firm Veolia, is bidding for the train contract.
FORMER Patrick Corp chief Chris Corrigan and some of his team will be back with their old port and rail business if Kaplan Funds Management takes some form of stake in debt-ridden Asciano.
Kaplan and its consortium partner, US private equity group Carlyle, is one of four parties believed to have made offers to Asciano, which has been taking expressions of interest in buying all or part of it, or helping it recapitalise. The other bidders are believed to be Global Infrastructure Partners, TPG and Warburg Pincus.
For the second day in a row, millions of Londoners struggled to get to work and school and unlucky tourists found new ways to reach museums on Thursday as a strike by subway workers shut down much of the city's Underground network.
Nine of 11 subway lines were fully or partly suspended because of the walkout by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union.
Transport for London said it had increased bus services and was running a limited schedule on half of the city's subway lines. About 3.5 million people a day use London's subway, known as the Tube.
The ABC reports truck driver acquitted over Kerang train crash. Not guilty: Christian Scholl has been acquitted of all 19 charges. (ABC TV: ABC TV)
A Victorian truck driver has been acquitted of all charges he faced over a fatal rail crossing crash near Kerang, in Victoria's north, two years ago.
There were 77 sightings for this week, which included the Queens Birthday holiday. This is seven sightings less than last week, making a total of 1897 sightings for this year to date. On day 164 last year we had recorded 2321 sightings.
We have seen eight sighting on the B/G this week, which is one more than last week. And six of the eight trains were seen on the same day, Friday. We have seen 9140 from Mildura twice this week, on Wednesday and Friday. And we also saw two sightings of diverted 9141 to Mildura on Wednesday and Friday nights, three of the trains had G525 with X49 and the other train had G525 with XR553. And we have seen four PN grain trains; two down and two up trains, three trains had double XR motive power and the other one included BL32 and an XR. EM100 was seen twice again on the B/G this week.
Some of the people injured in a 2007 train crash near Kerang, in Victoria's north, are suing the truck driver acquitted of charges in the case.
Eleven people were killed in the crash when 50-year-old Christian Scholl's truck collided with a V-Line passenger train at a level crossing.
A Supreme Court jury in Bendigo yesterday found Mr Scholl not guilty of 11 counts of culpable driving and eight of negligently causing serious injury.
Lawyer Don Maffia says five people are bringing a claim against the Transport Accident Commission, which insures Mr Scholl.
A teenager picked on the wrong person when he shirt-fronted and punched an off-duty police officer while trying to start a fight in Melbourne's CBD last night.
Police said the 17-year-old was trying to goad people into fighting him as he walked along Flinders Street about 10pm last night, confronting and pushing several passers-by who failed to take the bait.
As he walked towards Degraves Street, he confronted an off-duty police officer, shirt-fronting him and punching him in the jaw a number of times.
WHEN the State Government recently announced that it was going to build the long-awaited South Morang railway extension, at a cost of $562.3 million, few people were more pleased than local school teacher Darren Peters.
As head of the tenacious lobby group the South Morang Rail Alliance, Peters is thrilled that the Epping line is going to be extended 3.5 kilometres to a new station. It will be the first extension of Melbourne's suburban rail network since the 1930s, when the Glen Waverley line was built.
A far western Queensland mayor says he is worried rail services to the south-west are under threat of closure.
Queensland Rail has been forced to cancel some freight services to the region, due to a short-term supply issue with locomotives, but says small volume freight will be delivered by road to meet customer needs.
The Diamantina Mayor Robbie Dare says his shire's grocery supplies come via rail to Quilpie, 600 kilometres to the east.
A western Queensland mayor says the State Government cannot forget rural communities in tomorrow's State Budget.
Diamantina Mayor Robbie Dare says his council has been seeking funding to seal major roads in the shire for several decades, but it has not been forthcoming.
The Tasmanian Greens say the State Government will need to beg Canberra for the money to buy the state's rail network.
The Treasurer Michael Aird says he will hold discussions with the Federal Government about Commonwealth rail maintenance funding.
Mr Aird has indicated he wants to re-direct some of the money into buying Asciano's Tasmanian rail services.
The Victorian Public Transport Minister will mark the official opening of the Wendouree station at Ballarat in central Victoria.
Trains will start stopping there on Sunday, with 63 services per week.
Lynne Kosky says Ballarat is the third regional Victorian city to be serviced by more than one train station.
With his fighter's build and hard hat, construction inspector Gerard Zimmermann doesn't look the sentimental type. But at New York's newest park, sentiments are not easily kept in check.
After three years of work to transform an abandoned elevated railway into a hanging garden, Zimmermann brims with the pride of a new parent.
"Do you like it?" he keeps asking passersby. "What, not even a smile?" he pleads to a pretty young woman.
Police are cracking down on crime at railway stations in Melbourne, because of a spate of attacks on Indian students.
They will target the areas of Sunshine, St Albans, Thomastown, Clayton and Dandenong.
Officers will patrol the stations and the areas around them, as well as setting up booze buses.
One of New South Wales busiest railway stations on the south coast line is to receive disabled access, costing more than $8m.
The State Government has confirmed that after years of lobbying the Unanderra Raliway Station will have three lifts installed.
THE precise routes of a new $4 billion train line from Southern Cross Station to Werribee, and a new outer ring road from Werribee to the Hume Highway, will be unveiled by the State Government tomorrow.
Also to be announced are long-awaited changes to the city's urban growth boundary, and new rules for protecting grasslands on Melbourne's western fringe.
The State Government says it will not agree to funding upgrades to WA's grain freight network with a gun held to its head.
WestNet Rail has threatened to close several of its lines if the Government does not give it $45-million for line upgrades by tomorrow.
The Tasmanian Government has given its strongest signal yet that it will take over the state's railway network.
Rail operator Pacific National has announced it will stop its west coast services next month and is expected to pull out of the state altogether.
Pacific National's parent company Asciano is believed to have dropped its asking price for the network to $17 million.
The Premier David Bartlett says there wll be high-level meetings this week, including with Asciano, to determine the next step.
I would like to bring to every ones attention an issue that is adversely impacting many Victorians.
There is a new tax brought in by the government under the radar that no-one seems to know about and is still being pushed through. It is known as Infrastructure Tax.
We have a small property of 5.5 hectares and it now falls under the Urban Growth Boundary category, which will result in our having to pay $85,000 per hectare upon sale. We are not alone in this predicament.
This new tax is being back dated from 2005. I (and MANY others in my position) would like to know why the seller of the property should be forced to pay this ridiculous new tax when the developer should be having to pay as they are the ones to make money and be able to pass on fees to the new purchasers.
The blame-game continues over Pacific National's decision to cancel its rail services on the state's west coast.
Tasports says its offer to extend a lease of port facilities at Burnie has been rejected by the rail operator.
Pacific National has blamed Tasports for its decision to pull its west coast rail services, saying the company will not give a long-term lease for port facilities at Burnie.
An Australian minerals industry body will lobby the federal and state governments for better infrastructure for Victoria's mining industry.
An industry report identifies western Victoria and Gippsland as the two growth regions for mining in Victoria.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Sydney has been played phone taps of a RailCorp manager discussing plans to solicit bribes from major companies.
RailCorp manager Wasim Khan has admitted he planned to pocket a bribe of $200,000 from the company, Unisec, for security auditing contracts. A Unisec manager informed ICAC.
State Transport Minister Lynn Kosky says the upgrade of Victoria's rail freight network is on target.
The Government is upgrading 70 per cent of the freight network, but the Opposition and farm leaders are worried red gum sleeper shortages are holding up work, particularly on the second-tier Silver Status lines.
The South Australian Government has committed $10,000 to upgrading the rail crossing at Karoonda, as part of a state-wide funding program.
Road Safety Minister Michael O'Brien says more than $3 million will be used on improving black spots, infrastructure and a public education program.
Tasmania's Premier has refused to say whether he knows if a Tasmanian business consortium is planning to take over the state's rail network.
The Greens have asked David Bartlett if he is planning to meet the companies involved at the end of the month.
The Western Australian Farmers Federation (WAFF) has expressed concerns about the state's grain sector after Premier Colin Barnett ruled out using taxpayers' money to upgrade the grain freight network.
The New South Wales Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell has used his budget reply speech to unveil a plan for a new body to co-ordinate major projects - to be called Infrastructure NSW.
He says it will be similar to the federal body Infrastructure Australia, and the British model - Partnerships UK.
The New South Wales Government's promise last year of 300 new buses has been partly fulfilled, with the first of 113 that are earmarked for Sydney's north west delivered today.
The Transport Minister David Campbell took a ride on the bus that will begin service for the private company Hillsbus from Monday.
The Western Australian Transport Forum says more than one-third of this year's grain harvest will be transported by road after the partial closure of the grain freight network.
WestNet Rail has suspended operations on four rail lines after the Government refused to commit to a $45 million upgrade.
DO WE really want Melbourne stretching from the You Yangs to the Bunyip River, way beyond Berwick, a distance of more than 120 kilometres? A close reading of the Brumby transport plan, the Melbourne@5 million document, and Planning Minister Justin Madden's just released Urban Growth Boundary Review shows that's where the State Government is going.
The State Opposition claims $280-million of unallocated Royalties for Regions money could be used to upgrade Western Australia's rail network.
The Premier Colin Barnett has refused to use tax payers money to fund the upgrade although the operator WestNet Rail has suspended operations on four of its lines.
A scathing report by Tasmania's Auditor-General has found the State Government did not carry out a formal risk assessment before entering its rail deed with Pacific National.
The contract was entered into after the company sought Government assistance to secure its ongoing operation of the state's rail network.
The Member for Mirani says the Queensland Government's Budget will put northern jobs at risk.
Ted Malone says he is worried people employed at the Jilalan Railyard near Sarina will lose their jobs when the Government sells off the coal haulage arm of Queensland Rail (QR).
All Tasmanian rail operations will be taken over by the State Government at the end of November.
The Government has reached agreement with the owner Asciano.
It is more than a year since Asciano put its assets up for sale.
Days before the Government decides if Connex wins the lucrative multi-billion dollar contract to run Melbourne's trains for almost a decade, the operator has been penalised $11 million for poor performance.
But despite the hefty reduction in payments made to the French-owned transport giant for its services in the first quarter of this year, Connex still earned revenue of $142 million over the three months to April.
The State Government and Asciano announced today that agreement had been reached on a way forward which would see a transfer of the Tasmanian rail network to the State Government as a going concern, including West Coast services, by 30 November 2009.
A tilt at Australian rail and port operator Asciano by New Zealand's richest man Graeme Hart is being seen as cheeky.
Australian media reported this week that Mr Hart put in a complex offer to inject equity and support capital raisings by embattled Asciano, which was considering offers from private equity companies as part of a "monetisation" strategy.
THE Brumby government has been accused of insensitivity towards Kerang crash survivors after it failed to fully endorse safety recommendations.
Despite the huge cost in terms of deaths at the state's 2700 level crossing in recent years, Transport Minister Lynne Kosky yesterday refused to support such simple processes as painting trains a brighter colour and keeping them clean to increase visibility.
NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell has pledged to scrap Sydney's proposed metro from the CBD to the inner-west in favour of other rail projects, set up a new infrastructure body and cut payroll tax to create jobs.
In his budget reply speech, Mr O'Farrell yesterday said the Rees government had failed to secure the economic future of NSW in the budget Treasurer Eric Roozendaal handed down on Tuesday.
The Liberal leader said the $5billion that would be saved by scrapping the metro, planned to follow a similar route to an existing light rail line, would be used to build rail links to Sydney's northwest and southwest - moves that had been proposed by Labor two years ago but were dumped last year.
Kerang rail disaster truck driver cleared
The truck driver involved in the Kerang crossing rail disaster almost two years ago was acquitted of all charges in the Victorian Supreme Court at Bendigo on Saturday.
Christian Scholl had driven for Canny Carrying Company for 30 years without a serious accident when he ploughed into the side of a Swan Hill passenger train on 5 June 2007, killing 11 on the train.
There is relief at the Tasmanian Government's decision to take over the state's rail operations but political opponents have also noted how close the situation came to disaster.
The relief was palpable as the Infrastructure Minister, Graeme Sturges, announced yesterday afternoon a deal has been done with rail operator Asciano.
JUST days before the Government decides if Connex should win the lucrative contract to run Melbourne's trains for at least the next eight years, the operator has been penalised $11 million for poor performance.
But despite the reduction in payments to the French-owned transport giant, Connex still earned revenue of $142 million over the three months to April.
In all, Connex earned $637 million from running Melbourne's trains in the year to April, according to the Department of Transport's Track Record report, released yesterday.
THE State Government's plan to let the city sprawl further would worsen Melbourne's transport problems, most of the city's councils have said.
The Metropolitan Transport Forum, which represents 19 of Melbourne's 31 councils, said yesterday the plan to expand the land for housing on the city's outskirts went the wrong way.
HE State Government is opening up a new open-cut coalfield near Dubbo to ensure its Hunter Valley power stations have guaranteed supplies of coal for the next few decades.
A mine at Cobbora, 15 kilometres west of Dunedoo, would create hundreds of jobs and could cost more than $100 million to establish.
Giving the 320-square kilometre Cobbora exploration area at Dunedoo to a joint venture between Macquarie Generation, Delta Electricity and Eraring Energy will make the power stations more attractive to potential buyers.
Cobbora should also keep a lid on household electricity prices.
The capacity of the Rudd infrastructure stimulus to create tens of thousands of new, permanent jobs for those living in Australia is nothing short of fanciful, writes Julie Novak from the IPA.
Over the past few weeks, federal government ministers have congregated in front of a selection of 35,000 construction sites around the country. Looking out of place with suits and ill-fitting hard hats, they extolled to anyone who cared to listen the virtues of infrastructure pump priming for growth and jobs.
There were 80 sightings for this week. This is three sightings more than last week, making a total of 1977 sightings for this year to date. On day 171 last year we had recorded 2423 sightings.
We have seen only six sighting on the B/G this week, which is two less than last week. We have seen 9140 from Mildura three times this week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a variety of locos this week. On Mon we saw G525+X49, Wed was G527+P22 and Friday we saw G525+P22+P20. And we saw only one sighting of diverted 9141 to Mildura on Monday night, with G527+PXX. And we have seen only two PN grain trains; one down and one up train, both trains had BL32 and 20 hoppers.
The chief executive of Australia's biggest operator of ports and rail, Mark Rowsthorn, is a relieved man.
For the last year Mr Rowsthorn had been looking to sell off some of Asciano's prized assets to unshackle the company from its debt.
Several offers had been put forward, but thanks to ripe market conditions, he did not have to accept any.
Instead, he launched a share issue, which started at $2 billion but rose to $2.35 billion because of demand from major investors.
GRANT applications have been lodged to secure the future of the Daylesford Spa Country Railway after parts of the line were badly damaged in the February bushfires. With the backing of the council, the volunteer committee has asked for up to $1.7 million in Federal Government money to repair most of the 10.5km track that runs from Daylesford to Bullarto.
Railway president Stuart Smithwick said about two kilometres of track was burnt in the February 23 fires and the $250,000 it would cost to repair that section was beyond the resources of volunteer committee members.
Qantas says it has confidence in its A330 Airbus fleet, despite a midair mishap that injured six passengers and one crew member.
QF68 was four hours into its journey from Hong Kong to Perth when it hit severe turbulence over Borneo.
Passengers say the first indication of trouble was when the seatbelt warning light began flashing.
The prospect of a state run railway has Tasmanian tourism operators hoping for a rail-led revival.
The State Government has agreed to buy the rail network from operator Asciano for $20-30 million but the deal is yet to be ratified by Cabinet and the company's board.
Oakajee Port and Rail (OPR) has reported positive results from seabed studies around the site of the proposed deep-water port in mid-west Western Australia.
The company says a two-month offshore drilling program has confirmed dredging work is able to take place on the site.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union says changes to staffing arrangements on the South Coast line will create a number of problems which could have been avoided.
New staffing structures for the South Coast line began yesterday with stations including Scarborough and Bombo to go unattended.
Tasmania's Infrastructure Minister says he does not expect the outgoing rail operator to strip assets from the state but he is taking precautions.
The government has agreed to take over the rail network from Pacific National in November.
Hundreds of passengers aboard a Hurstbridge line train bound for Melbourne were this morning delayed for almost 10 minutes at Fairfield station, after a Connex train driver locked his keys in the driver's cabin.
"He popped out to help a wheelchair-bound passenger, (but) he forgot to take the keys with him, leaving passengers locked inside the train, and those on the platform locked out," passenger Sarah Michelangeli told The Age this afternoon in an email.
IT'S GOOD to have a plan. The Brumby Government certainly thinks so, given its profligate production of various plans for transport and urban development. The point of a plan, though, is to establish clear goals, based on consistent principles to guide decisions throughout the period covered by the plan. That was the conceptual strength of a strategy, Melbourne 2030, that the Government unveiled in 2002, to deal with the city's growth over three decades. Today, it lies in tatters, its core principles abandoned as the Government surrenders to the development pressures that drive urban sprawl.
Two passenger trains have collided in the US capital, Washington DC, during peak hour, killing at least two people and injuring dozens more.
"Metro reports that two trains collided and one train is on top of the other train. Metro reports massive injuries at this time," the Washington DC emergency alert system said in an an email.
The Tasmanian Government will seek assistance from the Commonwealth to take over the state's rail network.
The Treasurer has told a Parliamentary Estimates Committee the Federal Government will be asked to help financially.
It has been revealed the Tasmanian Government considered legal action against rail operator Asciano, over its threat to close its west coast services.
It is less than two weeks since Pacific National's owner Asciano said it would close its west coast operations because of lease arrangements for its Burnie ship-loading facility.
Investigations are underway in the US into the cause of what has been described as the worst crash on the Washington metro system.
One subway train crashed into another which was stationary leaving at least nine people dead and 76 injured, with six in a critical condition.
Debra Hersman, of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), says investigations into the crash which happened during peak hour are underway.
Yarra Trams has launched an iPhone version of its popular tramTRACKER program, allowing patrons to automatically find arrival information for trams in Melbourne.
The free iPhone application provides real-time information about the location of each tram on the network, using the phone's inbuilt GPS system.
Yarra Trams chief executive Dennis Cliche said travellers had used the existing tramTRACKER phone and online service 1.8 million times since its launch in 2006.
Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty has held a press conference to update the public on the investigation into the deadliest-ever train crash in Washington's subway system, saying that seven have been confirmed dead and 76 injured.
"Yesterday, we had a number of six confirmed dead. We are changing that number to seven confirmed dead," Mr Fenty said during a press conference.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were proceeding with a painstaking probe of the evening rush hour accident, when one Metro train slammed into another, turning a routine commute into a nightmarish calamity.
Hours after the deadliest-ever train crash in Washington's subway system, investigators on Tuesday searched through the wreckage for the cause of the collision that claimed seven lives and injured scores of passengers.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were proceeding with a painstaking probe of Monday's evening rush hour accident, when one Metro train slammed into another, turning a routine commute into a nightmarish disaster scene.
A MAN has been hospitalised after the van he was driving collided with a cement train at an unlit level crossing at Spreyton this morning. Police, ambulance and firefighters attended the accident which happened at about 8.45 am. The rail line is used by Pacific National to transport cement between Railton and the Devonport wharf.
The Victorian Government says three level crossings near Inglewood will be upgraded later this year.
The Loddon Shire Council has recently asked VicRoads to prioritise the upgrades because the crossings are dangerous.
A United States federal investigator says a Metro train involved in yesterday's fatal crash in Washington DC was too old and should have been replaced.
The US capital's deadliest subway crash killed nine people during peak hour on Monday, and the cause is still unknown.
Debbie Hersman from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says Washington's transit authority ignored safety warnings relating to that particular series of train cars.
The Victorian Government is defending the amount of money it has paid to buy back the state's country rail network.
An auditor-general's report released today says the cost of buying back Victoria's regional rail lines has blown out by about $70 million.
The report says the Government failed to to obtain proper advice on how much it should pay.
Public transport should be driving policy change.
ROAD engineer John Cox (BusinessDay, 22/6) fails to mention that freeways slicing through the hearts of cities are a net economic and social loss because they induce more road trips and fuel use, create more pollution and emissions, drive up the national health bill and destroy valuable residential, business, and recreational land.
Like Premier John Brumby, "minister for Cars" Tim Pallas and VicRoads, he fails to see that journeys don't begin and end on freeways, which simply distribute congested traffic to off-ramps, minor roads, suburban streets and parking lots.
A COMPANY partly owned by France's national railways is emerging as the front runner to replace Connex as operator of Melbourne's trains.
A committee comprising at least four state ministers met yesterday to finalise a decision on which of three tenderers would win.
The contract to run Melbourne's train system was estimated earlier this year by analysts JP Morgan to be worth $8 billion over the next decade.
Campaigners for an inland Melbourne-to-Brisbane rail line are warning the Newell Highway must be upgraded if the proposed route does not pass through three central west New South Wales towns.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has met the Parkes Shire Council in Canberra to discuss progress with the project's financial costing.
The ARTC has assured delegates an inland line going via Parkes, Gilgandra and Coonamble is still an option, despite claims the coastal route is the preferred corridor.
The Victorian Government is about to announce which company will run Melbourne's metropolitan train network from next year.
Breaking News: KDR is to now run the trams. MTM (Metro Trainst Melbourne) will now run the metro network in Melbourne.
MTM group include MTR who run the Hong Kong underground network and the above ground network in London. John Holland will support the operator with asset management and maintenance together with UGR.
KDR will run the tram network. This is Keolis and Downer EDI. Keolis is a large player with 5 tram systems under management in europe. They are backed by SCNF who are the very large French train operator.
Connex has been stripped of its contract to operate Melbourne's train system, with Hong Kong company Metro Trains Melbourne to take its place.
The city's trams will also have a new operator with Keolis Downer EDI ousting the incumbent Yarra Trams as the government's preferred tenderer.
The Rail Tram and Bus Union has called for the New South Wales Government to put the south-west and north-west rail link back on the agenda.
The RTBU has launched a discussion paper that supports rail link services in Sydney's north and south-west growth areas, as well as the Epping to Parramatta rail extension.
State Cabinet will be given several options on how to fund the government's purchase of Tasmania's rail system and how it should be managed.
The Infrastructure Minister, Graeme Sturges, has appeared before a parliamentary estimates committee hearings.
Melbourne's train and tram operators, Connex and Yarra Trams are being replaced.
A consortium owned by the Hong Kong company MTR has been selected to replace Connex as the operator of Melbourne's rail network.
Connex's contract expires in December.
UPDATE 3.07pm: PUBLIC Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has hit back at Opposition calls for her to be dumped along with Connex and Yarra Trams.
In a major shock, both Connex and Yarra Trams were today stripped of their contracts to run Melbourne's train and tram networks in favour of two new operators.
MORE staff on stations, fewer cancelled trains and improved punctuality have been promised by the Brumby Government and the new consortium appointed to operate Melbourne's train network for the next eight years.
The Government, reeling from a public backlash over the rail network's failings, yesterday dumped the French-owned operator Connex and replaced it with a consortium backed by Hong Kong's metro operator.
BELEAGUERED commuters have a scalp — Connex's.
Melbourne's trains have been running below standard for some time — this year alone, monthly punctuality targets have not been met once. Despite the system struggling with massive patronage growth, extreme weather conditions, industrial action and a shortage of trains and tracks, someone had to cop the blame.
The Government decided it was Connex.
And dispensing with Connex has eased pressure on Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky — for now.
The surprise announcement was the decision to sack Yarra Trams, which has operated Melbourne's trams for a decade. In replacing it, the Government has promised improvements for a tram system few were unhappy with.
The Victorian government has been heavily criticised for its handling of the buy-back of the regional intrastate rail network in a report released yesterday Victorian Auditor General.
The state government publicly announced the cost of the buy back as $133.8 million, but as the auditor general put it, “This was not the full known cost of the buy-back”. The state estimated the full cost to be $164.4 million excluding estimated transaction and transition costs of $9.7 million.
THREE people have been injured in a collision involving a train, a truck and two cars at a crossing in north Queensland.
Police are diverting traffic around the crash, which occurred around 7.30am (AEST) on the Bruce Highway at Feluga, north of Townsville.
The Bruce Highway in far north Queensland has reopened following a level crossing crash, south of Cairns.
Police say a truck and a cane train collided at Feluga, near Tully, shortly before 7:30am AEST.
Pacific National will close its train depot in Junee, north of Wagga Wagga in southern New South Wales, by July next year, with more than 40 jobs to be lost.
Pacific National drivers were yesterday told they will need to relocate or consider redundancy.
Junee Mayor Lola Cummins says in a letter to staff some months ago the company cited a downturn in freight and track changes for the decision.
Western Australia's Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) has welcomed an agreement between rail operator WestNet and the State Government.
Last week WestNet suspended operations on four of its rail lines after the Government refused to fund a $45 million upgrade of the network.
Railcorp and the emergency services are staging a major exercise at Blacktown Station in Sydney's north-west today.
They will respond to a mock bomb threat to test their readiness for a major incident on the rail network.
It has been revealed that the man running the company that will take over Melbourne's train services previously led a failed London railways maintenance company.
Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) will take over from Connex at the end of the year.
CONNEX made an 11th-hour complaint about the State Government's tender process to run Melbourne's train system, it has emerged.
A week before Connex was told it would be dumped as the operator of the city's train network, the company's owner, Veolia Transport, and its bid partners wrote a letter of complaint to the Department of Transport and the probity auditor, sources have confirmed to The Sunday Age.
MELBOURNE'S new train operator must clear out management and improve maintenance to stop a repeat of the problems that plagued Connex's tenure, leading transport experts have warned.
But they say any changes that the new MTM consortium bring will make little difference without sustained investment from the State Government.
MTM, spearheaded by Hong Kong-based MTR, was last week named the preferred operator to run Melbourne's rail network for at least eight years, ending a decade of Connex involvement.
There were 80 sightings for this week. This is the same number of sightings as last week, making a total of 2057 sightings for this year to date. On day 178 last year we had recorded 2536 sightings.
We have seen eight sighting on the B/G this week, which is two more than last week. We have seen 9140 from Mildura three times this week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a variety of locos this week. On Mon we saw G527(PN)+X49(FA)+XR553(FA), Wed was XR553(FA)+XR550(FA) and Friday we saw XR553(FA). And we saw two sighting of diverted 9141 to Mildura on Monday & Friday night’s, with double XR’s. And we have seen three PN grain trains; two down and one up trains, all three trains had double XR’s.
PPPs have a bad record at running public transport, yet here we go again.
HONG KONG'S rail system has more in common with Melbourne's urban network than those of Europe.
The most notable feature is that Hong Kong, like Melbourne, gets its power from overhead wires rather than a third rail, as in Europe. There is a good reason for this. The superb Hong Kong network — which was built in the last couple of decades — was largely engineered by Australian railway engineers who were made redundant by a succession of state governments infected by the corporatisation, privatisation and rationalisation bugs.
JEFF Kennett announced the arrival of Connex in Melbourne on July 13, 1999. International expertise would make Melbourne "the envy of governments around the world", as rail services improved, subsidies fell and patronage went through the roof. The key to Connex's winning bid was a promise to transform Flinders Street Station into a vibrant community hub, incorporating a boutique hotel.
The extension of the Metropolitan Colliery at Helensburgh under a section of the catchment area for the Woronora Dam has been criticised by the New South Wales Greens and the Illawarra Greens.
The project is set to cost $50m and secures around 300 jobs.
Infrastructure company ATEC says construction of a new rail line in Queensland's southern inland will be delayed because of the global financial crisis.
ATEC is building the Surat Rail corridor which will link mines in the Surat Basin with the Port of Gladstone.
Two gas-filled railway tank cars exploded in the northern Italian city of Viareggio, killing one person and injuring 50, the Lucca province authorities said.
The explosion came as the train was approaching the station in the coastal city of 50,000 inhabitants northwest of Pisa shortly after midnight, possibly due to a derailment, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
Flames engulfed homes on a street alongside the station, prompting evacuation of areas located near the station.
The New South Wales Government has announced its preferred route and stations for Sydney's West Metro project, even though there is no money in the state's coffers to build it.
The 24-kilometre west metro would have 11 stops, including Westmead, Parramatta, Burwood, Sydney Olympic Park, Leichhardt and Sydney University.
Transport Minister David Campbell says $30 million of state and federal money was spent on deciding the route and another $91 million in federal funds will be spent on detailed plans, but there is still no money to build the rail line.
The Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, says he expects the operator of the Darwin to Alice Springs rail line to carry out work outlined in a critical report into a derailment near Katherine last year.
An Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation found the freight train crash was caused by a track mis-alignment, and possibly by a track construction technique.
But the track was tested two days before the derailment and no problems were reported.
An airliner belonging to Yemeni state carrier Yemenia Air has crashed in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros with 150 people on board, a senior government official says.
"We don't know if there are any survivors among the 150 people on the plane," Comoros vice-president Idi Nadhoim said from the airport at the main island's capital Moroni.