News

 

Showing stories from October 2010

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Amtrak Announces plans for High Speed rail services in North East USA

Posted Saturday, 2 October, 2010 by freightgate in International Rail News

On Tuesday, after years of furious debate, Amtrak finally announced plans to build a high-speed railway from Boston to Washington, D.C.

The proposed line will make it possible to travel from Beantown to the Big Apple in 86 minutes and from New York to the nation’s capital in just over an hour and a half. It will link the East Coast with a futuristic, 220-mile per hour bullet train, employ thousands of people, and generate an estimated $900 million per year.

Unfortunately, it will also take a generation to build. The proposal estimates that construction will take 25 years and will be finished by 2040, at a cost of $117 billion.

New delays to XPT ‘not mudholes’

Posted Saturday, 2 October, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

RAIL authorities have denied that speed restrictions introduced between Junee and Albury yesterday are linked to mudholes that have plagued the line south of the Border.
Yesterday CountryLink was warning passengers of two-hour delays on the Melbourne to Sydney XPT until Tuesday because of trackwork.

But the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s Brad Emery said the speed restrictions were expected to be removed last night.

Ipswich men who bared buttocks at Brisbane-bound train told to get a Playstation

Posted Saturday, 2 October, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

TWO men who bared their buttocks at a suburban train as it passed through a station have earned a dressing down from a magistrate.

Jordan John Inglis, 19, and Micheal James Tunbridge-Hughes, 21, were caught on Ipswich's Safe City footage pulling down their trousers while standing on the Booval station platform and exposing their buttocks to a passing Brisbane-bound service.

Horror start to weekend on NSW roads

Posted Saturday, 2 October, 2010 by freightgate in Other Transport News

NSW Police say a woman and her two young daughters are among four people killed in a horror smash between a car and a semi-trailer in the Blue Mountains.

It was the worst pile-up in a disastrous start to the holiday weekend with six deaths so far.

An extended family of five was travelling in a Ford Falcon, along Bells Line road at Bilpin, west of Sydney, about 8pm on Friday, when the driver lost control as she overtook another vehicle and collided with the semi.

"As a result of that impact, the front passenger and the rear passenger, along with a two year-old child, were killed instantly," Senior Sergeant Peter Jenkins, Commander of the Crash Investigation Unit, told reporters on Saturday.

Passengers killed as trains crash at station

Posted Saturday, 2 October, 2010 by Speed in International Rail News

Police say up to 18 people were killed when a passenger train smashed into the back of another train on Indonesia's Java island.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 2/10/2010

Posted Monday, 4 October, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 102 sightings for this week. This is 15 sighting more than last week, making a total of 3851 sightings for this year to date. On day 275 last year we had recorded 3301 sightings. This is 550 sightings up on the same time last year.

Man fatally struck on railway bridge over Maribyrnong River

Posted Monday, 4 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A MAN has been struck and killed by a Melbourne to Sydney train on a bridge often used to take a short cut across the Maribyrnong River this morning.

The 68-year-old was walking along the trestle bridge near Hedgerow Court, East Keilor, when the incident occurred about 10am.

Wellington train services resume after repairs

Posted Monday, 4 October, 2010 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Commuter services on Wellington's rail network have resumed after damaged tracks were cleared and repaired over the weekend.

Heavy rain on Thursday caused several slips, contributing to a head-on crash between two commuter trains just north of Plimmerton and closing the North Island's main rail line.

KiwiRail crews worked around the clock to the clear the collision site as well as a washout further north at Muri and a slip on the Johnsonville line.

London Underground grinds to a halt

Posted Monday, 4 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

Millions of tube passengers will have their journeys disrupted after thousands of members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) walked out on strike over 800 job cuts.

The strike is the second in a series led by the unions, with the first one in September and two more planned in November.

Troubled bridge over waters

Posted Monday, 4 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail yesterday reassured users of Rockhampton's Alexandra Railway Bridge the crossing was safe despite the appearance of big holes on the walkway.

Concerns have been raised after the emergence of the holes which are believed to have been caused by rotting plywood along the bridge's footpath.

QR National executive salary packages tipped to triple

Posted Monday, 4 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QR NATIONAL'S executive team and board are on track for a salary and bonus bonanza from the controversial sale of the Government rail freight business.

Unions, recruiters and brokers say executive pay rises are inevitable, with comparable companies on the open market paying staff three times as much.

"We would expect there would be significantly higher packages for executives in the private sector," Rail, Tram and Bus Union secretary Owen Doogan said. "No doubt that encourages them to be so behind the privatisation."

Dog patrols will improve security on rail network

Posted Monday, 4 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The State Government says security on the south-east Queensland Rail (QR) network will be boosted by 24-hour dog patrols.

Transport Minister Rachel Nolan says QR will work with a private security company for dogs and their handlers to patrol train stations and car parks.

Man arrested at Hornsby in possesion of gun

Posted Monday, 4 October, 2010 by Blackadder in New South Wales Rail News

A man travelling on a train from Newcastle has been arrested after being found in possession of a .22 Calibre gun

More rail disruptions loom

Posted Tuesday, 5 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

V/Line says there will be further disruptions to services in Gippsland this week.

Buses will be replace trains on sections of some services from tomorrow.

Passengers are being told to allow for delays of up to an hour.

Tube strike disrupts London

Posted Tuesday, 5 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

London - Londoners struggled to and from work on Monday after a strike on the underground rail network, but transport bosses said the action had not brought the city to a halt.

The strike by up to 10 000 staff was the second walk out in a month in a dispute over plans to cut 800 jobs at station ticket offices, which network bosses say are becoming irrelevant as more people use pre-paid passes and self-service machines.

Equipment faults spark train delays on Werribee line

Posted Tuesday, 5 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

SIGNAL failures have hit the Melbourne rail network for the second time today, just as Metro chief Andrew Lezala was extolling the virtues of the network at a media event.

The Werribee line has been suspended for between Newport and Werribee soon after 2pm, with Metro advising passengers to major delays are to be expected and to “defer travel”.

Buses are expected to replace trains along the route.

Rail traffic disrupted on Delhi-Lucknow route as goods train derails

Posted Tuesday, 5 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

LUCKNOW: A goods train derailed in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district on Tuesday, disrupting rail traffic on the busy Delhi-Lucknow route, officials said. No casualty was reported.

The goods train, heading from Lucknow to Moradabad, derailed near Rasoiya station, some 200 km from here.

"Two wagons of the train derailed and damaged the railway tracks. This affected movement of several long- and short-distance trains," Government Railway Police (GRP) inspector Ayub Khan told reporters in Bareilly.

Metro boss admits rail fear

Posted Wednesday, 6 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE chief executive of Metro Trains says he feels intimidated travelling on the city's trains late at night.

Andrew Lezala, speaking yesterday at a Melbourne Press Club lunch, said 40 per cent of the people who use Melbourne's railway system felt unsafe ''at certain times of day''.

''I ride the railways a lot and I sometimes feel intimidated. I'm not a particularly shy guy. So I know we have an intimidation issue,'' Mr Lezala said.

Dangerous rail crossings to be fixed ... in ten to 15 years

Posted Wednesday, 6 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Transport is still 10 to 15 years away from fixing two of Brisbane's most dangerous rail crossings, despite a media blitz highlighting 702 "near misses" yesterday.

Brisbane City Council's acting mayor Graham Quirk yesterday afternoon accused the state government of pushing back three rail overpass projects until at least 2020.

Gippsland V/Line service woes

Posted Wednesday, 6 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

GIPPSLAND travellers have more late trains than any other regional area.

V/Line performance results for August show only 69 per cent of short distance services on the Gippsland line were on time for the month.

Only 73.3 per cent of long distance services ran on time.

Fatal Train crash in Melbourne's South East

Posted Wednesday, 6 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A Vline passenger train struck a car at a level crossing in Melbourne's south east last night.

The Traralgon train hit the car at Tynong, about 55 kilometres east of Melbourne, at about 10:00pm.

There were no serious injuries to passengers of the Vlocity service, however, the driver of the vehicle was killed instantly.

Really useful engine back on the tracks

Posted Wednesday, 6 October, 2010 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

The Tasmanian Government has revealed plans to refurbish up to 10 older locomotives.

The first re-fitted train, Locomotive 2001, has been unveiled in Launceston and cost $900,000 to replace its engine.

Flights grounded, trains delayed as storm hits Melbourne

Posted Wednesday, 6 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

UPDATE 3pm: STORMS in Melbourne have grounded flights, delayed train services and caused minor property damage - but the worst may be yet to come.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) recorded up to 25mm of rainfall as storms swept through central, northern and eastern parts of the state this afternoon.

BOM spokesman Phil King said that while forecasts of flash-flooding and heavy winds have not eventuated, the wildest weather may come when a cold front hits Melbourne about 8pm.

No more Mr Nice Myki, warns Metlink

Posted Wednesday, 6 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Fare evaders be warned: ticket inspectors will be cracking down on myki users from Monday.

Metlink has announced moves to enforce the new ticketing system, saying the travelling public had been given enough time to become familiar with the much-maligned myki cards.

The fine for travelling with an invalid myki will be the same as it currently is under Metcard: $176 and $60 for under 18s.

QR National chief touts enormous interest and benefits on its float

Posted Wednesday, 6 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The proposed sale of Queensland Rail National will proceed as planned, according to QR National chief executive Lance Hockridge, who added that the company's reputation alone has already attracted enormous investor interest in the share float.

Speaking before a breakfast meeting in Brisbane on Wednesday, Mr Hockridge said that the float, scheduled to be held later this year, has been developing as one of Australia's biggest market offerings in recent years as he stressed that "we've had a great deal of interaction with potential investors, retail investors of Australia, institutional investors in Australia and overseas."

The chief executive largely attributed the interest generated by the planned float on QR National's "great history and great reputation" as a company as he expressed confidence that the eventual sale would lead to benefits both for Queensland and the company's shareholders.

Gold Coast Rapid Transit on track with $68 million contracts awarded

Posted Thursday, 7 October, 2010 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

Two contracts worth $68 million have been awarded for early works on Queensland's first light rail system.

Premier Anna Bligh and Federal Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese today announced Seymour Whyte Constructions and Baulderstone Pty Ltd as the successful tenderers to prepare the Gold Coast Rapid Transit corridor for construction.

$425m Wynyard Station facelift proposed

Posted Friday, 8 October, 2010 by undermine in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Government is considering a $425 million proposal to upgrade Wynyard Train Station in Sydney's CBD.

The plan by Thakral Holdings, which owns buildings above and around the train station, includes a new 29-storey office building.

The Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, says the development would offer commuters better access and more shopping options.

"What this will allow is some significant new retail between George and Carrington Streets above the railway station," he said.

"We will upgrade the railway concourse, it will upgrade the entrances into the railway station, particularly the entrance into Wynyard Park.

Keneally seeks $7b to get new rail link rolling sooner

Posted Friday, 8 October, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE state government has gone cap in hand to the Prime Minister for money to build the North West Rail Link, in an effort to get the project started five years earlier than planned, government documents reveal.

In its ''Updated Transport Submission to Infrastructure Australia'' posted on the web last night, Transport NSW details a multibillion-dollar wish list that includes the controversial M4 East between Strathfield and Port Botany.

Rail track repair crews move to Albury

Posted Friday, 8 October, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

REPAIRS to the mudhole-plagued Border rail corridor have now focused on Albury.

This week maintenance crews from the Australian Rail Track Corporation have been working on sections of track both north and south of the Albury platform.

RailCorp wagons carrying tonnes of gravel have been unloaded opposite the station for the repairs.

The crushed rock will be used to replace the existing track base, known as ballast.

NSW wants $7bn to fast track rail line

Posted Saturday, 9 October, 2010 by undermine in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Government is seeking $7 billion from the Commonwealth to fast track the North-West Rail Line.

The government's latest wish list has been published on the transport department's website.

It ranks the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor, North-West Rail and Hills District Line, Container Freight Improvement Strategy and M5 East Expansion as priority projects - ahead of the Parramatta to Epping rail link which was promised by Julia Gillard during the federal election campaign.

The documents show the government wants funding from the Commonwealth so that the north-west line can be operational five years earlier in 2019 instead of 2024.

Farmers worry whether railway line locust spraying is on track

Posted Saturday, 9 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Farmers in Victoria are concerned that locust hatchings on railway lines are a black spot in control efforts.

Despite rail authorities saying they're on top of the problem and are preparing to spray locusts, Sea Lake farmer Terry Kiley isn't convinced.

Rail company seeks to avoid repeating a near miss accident

Posted Saturday, 9 October, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Rail freight company, Pacific National says it's proposed more than a dozen safety actions after a container gate dislodged from a moving rail wagon narrowly missing several people on the New South Wales Central Coast.

In April this year, a Pacific National train was travelling through Woy Woy station when a gate on one of the containers broke free, skidding along the platform for 20-metres.

Joyride bid to save the Ws, for whom the bell tolls

Posted Sunday, 10 October, 2010 by The Met in Tram and Light Rail News

THEIR image is for sale on souvenirs across the city - on fridge magnets, tea towels, postcards, mouse pads and oven mitts, in snow domes and embroidered on T-shirts.

There are several in cities around the world, ferrying passengers along the San Francisco waterfront, over the streets of Christchurch and through the Denmark snow.

But one day soon, they will be a rare sight in their home town.

Teens Arrested after car and train collide

Posted Monday, 11 October, 2010 by nkpnsw in New South Wales Rail News

Police have arrested two teenagers after a collision between an express train and a car at a level crossing on the New South Wales far north coast.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 9/10/2010

Posted Monday, 11 October, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 109 sightings for this week. This is seven sighting more than last week, making a total of 3960 sightings for this year to date. On day 282 last year we had recorded 3393 sightings. This is 567 sightings up on the same time last year.

Carbon price 'risk' in QR float

Posted Monday, 11 October, 2010 by raye in Queensland Rail News

The public float of the Queensland rail freight company QR National is exposed to the possibility of a carbon tax, according to the company's prospectus released today.

The offer document cites a number of key risks including "the introduction of a carbon or similar tax or change in legislation or policy in relation to greenhouse gas emissions in any of the major markets for coal."

Longest Rail Tunnel Will Provide Swifter Freight Links For Europe

Posted Monday, 11 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

SWITZERLAND – Whilst the world watched with bated breath the unfolding drama of the Chilean mine rescue there was a collective sigh of relief as the drill ‘bucket’ finally broke through into the chamber holding the thirty three trapped miners. But on the other side of the earth drilling continues to enlarge a small hole which, when completed this week, should see the final breakthrough for the longest rail tunnel anywhere on the globe and issue in a newer, faster future for freight in one part of Europe.

Unions threaten permanent breach with Labor over privatisation

Posted Monday, 11 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Angry union leaders have threatened to break away from the Australian Labor Party (ALP) over Queensland asset sales.

Although the prospectus for Queensland Rail's coal business (QR National) has been released, unions have not given up the fight.

Amtrak sets ridership, revenue records in US

Posted Tuesday, 12 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

* Business travel aids jump in traffic in the Northeast

* All Amtrak lines experience growth in 2010 fiscal year

* Amtrak making capital investments, expanding capacity

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Stepped up business travel in the Northeast helped Amtrak boost ridership by nearly 6 percent to a record 28.7 million passengers in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the railroad said on Monday.

Amtrak, the only long-haul passenger rail service in the United States, also said year-over-year ticket revenue rose by 9 percent to a record $1.7 billion for the period that began last Oct. 1.

New trains to strain rail network

Posted Tuesday, 12 October, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

NEW express commuter trains could shortcircuit the CityRail network because the system does not have enough power to drive Premier Kristina Keneally's $4.5 billion Western Express project.

The $870 million being spent on a network upgrade for the new Waratah trains is unlikely to be enough to power them.

Secret dossier reveals terror attack risk to Melbourne's rail network

Posted Wednesday, 13 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

METRO has been handed a secret report detailing a litany of shocking security gaps in the Melbourne train network leaving it vulnerable to sabotage and terrorist attack.

The Herald Sun has learned of an extraordinary confidential dossier by Auditor-General Des Pearson, which was compiled during a recent security review.

Due to fears the weaknesses identified could be exploited, Mr Pearson took the unusual step of bypassing Parliament and delivered his top-secret findings privately to Metro.

Planning laws to fast-track rail link

Posted Wednesday, 13 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

POWERFUL new planning laws the Brumby government created last year to reduce opportunities for community objections to big transport projects will be used to quickly gain approval for a $4 billion rail line through Melbourne's west.

The Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act was last year criticised by councils and environment groups because it overrode existing rights to court objections to big projects.

No plans to extend rail to Epping North

Posted Wednesday, 13 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

EPPING North residents are still waiting for a train that never comes.

The Aurora Community Association, made up of residents in the Aurora estate, will use the November state election to launch a fresh push for the Epping North rail extension.

President Brad Costin said a rail solution to Epping North’s growing transport woes was needed sooner rather than later.

Helmets for hire in bike share scheme

Posted Wednesday, 13 October, 2010 by freightgate in Other Transport News

HELMETS are now available for purchase from vending machines as part of the $5.5 million Melbourne Bike Share scheme, Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas announced this morning on Ride to Work Day.

The helmets, made from polystyrene and thermoplastic, will be available from vending machines at Southern Cross Station and Melbourne University on a three-month trial period.

A slow adoption of the CBD bike hire scheme since it was launched in May has been blamed on the lack of available helmets and the prospect of a $146 fine for riding without protective headwear.

Bee trams to stay, but at what price?

Posted Wednesday, 13 October, 2010 by freightgate in Tram and Light Rail News

PREMIER John Brumby knows how much Victoria will pay to buy five ''bumblebee'' trams that until now have only been rented from the French town of Mulhouse.

But that doesn't mean Victorians need to know just yet, Mr Brumby said yesterday, when asked what price the state would have to pay for the distinctively painted yellow trams, which were rented from France in 2008 for about $10 million.

''I know, but you don't need to know because it's an amount that will be disclosed when the deal is concluded,'' Mr Brumby said yesterday, at a media conference called to announce the imminent purchase of the trams, and extra tram services.

Rail security issues being addressed: Pakula

Posted Wednesday, 13 October, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

The Victorian Government is working closely with Melbourne's rail operator, Metro, to close security gaps, making the system vulnerable to possible terrorist attack.

A report from the auditor general tabled in Parliament last week detailed a series of perceived gaps in the security of the network's control systems.

Tax peak-hour drivers to build rail: IPA

Posted Wednesday, 13 October, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Motorists who drive during peak hour should pay a tax to fund the building of new rail networks, Australia's peak infrastructure lobby group says.

London and Singapore already charge drivers a congestion levy for driving into the city centre.

Australian drivers, too, should be slugged if they drive into capital city central business districts during peak hour, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia says.

Asciano drops Qld access bid

Posted Wednesday, 13 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Ports and rail group Asciano Ltd has withdrawn its push to declare access to Queensland's rail network, saying it is satisfied with legislative changes in the state and undertakings forced on its soon-to-be listed rival QR National.

Asciano, which originally fought against the float of QR National, said the two changes "provide a regulatory environment that undertakes to prevent a privatised and vertically intergated QR National from engaging in anti-competitive behaviour."

QR float to be priced for election lift

Posted Thursday, 14 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE Bligh government is expected to price the QR National float lower than investor demand may allow.

That would allow small shareholders to enjoy a healthy after-market ahead of the state election.

Tens of thousands of Queensland households and individuals are expected to emerge in the share register of the rail operator, given the favourable structure of the offer, which provides priority allocation to state taxpayers and a discount to retail investors.

Tear up your ALP memberships, Langbroek tells unionists

Posted Thursday, 14 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek says unions opposed to the State Government's asset sales are still giving money to the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

Four unions have today taken out newspaper advertisements, again urging the Government to halt the sale of the rail company QR National.

Mr Langbroek says the fees paid by union members are going to the ALP.

Breakthrough nears on world's longest rail tunnel

Posted Thursday, 14 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

This Friday, October 15, journalists and Swiss officials will gather underneath the Swiss Alps to witness the breaking of a world record as constructors "break through" on the world's longest train tunnel.

The final breakthrough of the Gotthard Base Tunnel will see the two halves of the tunnel connected by construction crews to form a continuous stretch 57 kilometers long which will enable trains to pass on a flat route underneath the Alps for the first time.

By the time of its expected opening in 2017, trains will be able to run through the tunnels at high speeds, carrying both passengers and cargo on a new route that is expected to take an hour off the journey time between Milan and Zurich.

Now, Chinese rail link right up to Arunachal Read more: Now, Chinese rail link

Posted Friday, 15 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

NEW DELHI: China recently started work on extending its rail link in Lhasa to its border with Nepal, but for India it might just be a red herring.

In a development, which has alarmed officials and strategic community here, Beijing is simultaneously working on bringing its rail link right upto Nyangtri -- located on the border with Arunachal Pradesh and an area that China claims as its own.

Nyangtri is also the site where the Brahmaputra is proposed to be diverted northwards by the Chinese. The Chinese claim that the Nyangtri or Nyingchi prefecture includes some parts of Arunachal Pradesh. China proposes to build the largest dam in the world at this spot.

East-west rail corridor gets another loop

Posted Friday, 15 October, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

Another stage of the east-west rail corridor modernisation has been reached with the completion of work on a new passing loop west of Parkes in NSW.

To provide trains with an extra overtaking opportunity and reduce delays across the network, the $6.7 million work has resulted in a new 1,850 metre siding at Kiacatoo as well as mainline turnouts and modern signalling.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) received $42 million to build two new passing loops as well as extend four existing loop on the line between Crystal Brook in South Australia and Cootamundra in NSW - infrastructure able to cater for longer trains.

Downer wins contracts worth $300mln

Posted Friday, 15 October, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

Engineering firm Downer EDI Ltd has won new rail contracts and extensions worth about $300 million.

Downer said on Thursday that rail freight operator Pacific National, which was part of the Asciano Group, had ordered 13 new standard-gauge diesel electric locomotives for its coal haulage services in New South Wales.

Downer will progressively deliver the new train engines from 2011 to mid-2012.

Councillors signal light rail battle lines

Posted Friday, 15 October, 2010 by freightgate in New Zealand Rail News

Incoming mayor Celia Wade-Brown will have a fight on her hands to get a light-rail system linking the railway station, Wellington Hospital and the airport – with some councillors already having doubts over the project.

Their views are backed by potential flaws flagged during the formation of the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan approved two years ago by Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington regional council and Transit New Zealand.

The plan includes a feasibility study, to start in June next year, to look at light-rail options.

All aboard Melbourne express, from Poland

Posted Saturday, 16 October, 2010 by richardlu_yy in Victorian Rail News

ON THE outside wall of the blasting workshop, someone has written ''Death road'' and ''Welcome to the underworld'' in the dust with their finger.

Inside the workshop, the carbon steel shell of a rail carriage that will soon run around the Melbourne City Loop is being blasted with sand made from grains of corundum, the second-hardest mineral after diamond.

Rail revival will finally make a difference

Posted Sunday, 17 October, 2010 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

OPINION: If you stick to the 100km/h speed limit on State Highway 1 near Mercer, you'll likely be outrun by a long freight train, as this columnist discovered recently.

And they're about to get even quicker. KiwiRail will soon take delivery of its first new locomotives in 30 years and it is working on knocking two hours off Auckland to Wellington freight times. Boosted by better service, freight revenues rose 11% in the six months to June.

Get rail freight off Bligh's accounts

Posted Sunday, 17 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

ULIA Gillard went to Brisbane this week to confess that economic reform is tough. Australia's most unpopular premier, Anna Bligh, could attest to that as she launched her bitterly opposed $6 billion-plus privatisation of Queensland coal freight operations to sharemarket investors.

The rest of Australia has been bombarded with urgings to buy into something it previously had hardly heard of - the track and freight business spun out of Queensland's 145-year-old state rail monopoly.

And in the home of rural socialism, a privatised Queensland Rail National has become a parochial controversy befitting a state where the government even used to run butcher shops.

QR National float likely to hit rural Queensland, says Pacific National

Posted Sunday, 17 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

RURAL Queensland will suffer hugely from the privatisation and forthcoming $7 billion stock market listing of QR National, according to the former government rail group's major competitor, Pacific National.

The rival rail group, which has about 21 per cent of the Queensland market and is intent on building to 30 per cent by 2015, also thinks the retail share price of QRN should realistically be $2 rather than the top price payable by mum and dad investors of $2.80.

"The real concern is that $2.80 is at the top end of the scale and I think there is quite a lot of scepticism about how those profits and projections will be achieved," said David Irwin, divisional manager of coal for Pacific National, part of the listed Asciano group.

Junior miners seeking new rail access agreement

Posted Tuesday, 19 October, 2010 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Junior miners trying to negotiate use of a rail line in the Pilbara say they want to meet BHP Billiton following the collapse of a joint venture between the company and Rio Tinto.

The companies today announced they are abandoning plans to merge iron ore operations.

The North West Iron Ore Alliance says it is concerned that the decision will disadvantage junior miners who would have received access to the rail line under the joint venture.

Amtrak increases patronage, rides out recession

Posted Tuesday, 19 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

AMTRAK, America's government-owned passenger rail company, has had a good recession. Ridership and ticket sales have steadily increased—presumably as people realise that comfortable seats, city-center-to-city-center travel, and less security theatre are all good things. Amtrak's fiscal year 2010 continued the trend. The company carried 28.7 million riders, up 5.7% from FY 2009, and revenues from ticket sales were $1.74 billion, up 9% from last year. Almost 40% more people rode Amtrak this year than did in 2000.

Amtrak is still highly unlikely to make a profit—last year, it got nearly $1.5 billion from the federal government to cover the gap between revenues and expenses. But there's a lot of good news in the railroad's numbers, and, more importantly, some hints about where to go from here. Over a third of all Amtrak passengers travelled in the Northeast Corridor between Boston, New York, and Washington. Northeast Corridor travel accounted for more than half of Amtrak's ticket revenue.

Intervention might be needed to prop up ailing rail

Posted Tuesday, 19 October, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

Government intervention to prop up an ailing rail freight sector might be needed, including offering generous financial handouts and restricting truck movements and payloads.

In a discussion paper released late yesterday, the National Transport Commission lists possible options for governments to pursue to restore rail’s share of the freight task.

Citing a significant drop in the sector’s performance over the last 30 years, the NTC says government can resort to direct intervention such as low or no interest loans, subsidies and concessions.

GrainCorp CEO joins Asciano

Posted Tuesday, 19 October, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

Asciano has appointed former GrainCorp Managing Director and CEO Mark Irwin Director, Corporate Development.

As part of the port and rail operator’s senior management team Irwin will take responsibility for communications, business improvement, and identifying significant growth opportunities.

Irwin has over 14 years of international and domestic leadership experience in the agricultural and resources sectors, both key areas of focus for Asciano’s business operations.

High speed rail in Britain enters new era as ICE prepares to start service

Posted Wednesday, 20 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

Rail passengers will be able to travel direct from London to Germany and the Netherlands from 2013 under plans unveiled by Germany's state rail company today after it completed a dry run through the Channel tunnel.

Deutsche Bahn is taking on Eurostar, which operates services to Paris and Brussels, by preparing to run 200mph trains from the capital to Frankfurt, Cologne, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The company offered travellers a glimpse of the new entrant by bringing a state-of-the-art Intercity-Express (ICE) train into St Pancras station yesterday following safety tests under the tunnel involving 300 volunteers.

Sydney take note - infrastructure is not a dirty word

Posted Thursday, 21 October, 2010 by Speed in New South Wales Rail News

CFMEU secretary Dave Noonan calls for unity between workers, employers and politicians to find a way to provide Sydney with the infrastructure that it needs / to finance the development of light rail and railway lines. He laments the existence of outer suburbs without public transport and points to China's recent example for railway development.

Adelaide Southern rail contract awarded

Posted Thursday, 21 October, 2010 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

A contract to build a six-kilometre rail extension to Seaford in Adelaide's south has been awarded to a joint venture, Thiess-MacDow.

The $291 million project involves building two new rail stations at Seaford, three road bridges and a rail bridge more than one kilometre long over Onkaparinga Valley.

Commuter Power to Pressure Pollies

Posted Friday, 22 October, 2010 by Stew in New South Wales Rail News

NSW commuters will be making their expectations clear to the major parties in the upcoming NSW election through the development of a Better Transport Charter.

Level Crossings Removed Under Regional Rail Link Works to Transform Sunshine

Posted Friday, 22 October, 2010 by freightgate in Press Releases

Construction of the Regional Rail Link project will involve the removal of two level crossings on Anderson Road in Sunshine - paving the way for a transformation of the Sunshine Station precinct.

Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, said works packages released today for major construction between Sunshine and Footscray detailed plans to improve access to the station and improvements to local roads.

“Removing both the Anderson Road level crossings is a great outcome for the community, and the Regional Rail Link team will work with Brimbank Council to unlock potential around the Sunshine Station precinct.

TasRail facing big update bill

Posted Friday, 22 October, 2010 by freightgate in Tasmanian Rail News

TASMANIA needs to replace its entire locomotive fleet within three years, potentially costing tens of millions of dollars.

TasRail's first annual report also shows the number of crossing accidents and near misses, both at level crossings and in other areas of the rail network, has increased significantly.

After TasRail came into existence last December when the cash-strapped Asciano sold the rail network to the State Government, a major assessment of all assets was done, executive chairman Bob Annells said.

He said on top of the tens of millions in improvements already being undertaken on the rail lines, the development of a business plan had highlighted that the existing rolling stock was either at or very close to its use-by date.

Train derails on new Wodonga rail bypass

Posted Saturday, 23 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A FREIGHT train derailed on the new Wodonga railway bypass this morning.
The northbound Pacific National train split in two about 8am.

Two wagons fell from the overpass south of the Lincoln Causeway, with their ends resting on the ground below.

A Pacific National spokeswoman said an emergency response team was en route to the scene.

The driver was not believed to have been injured.

A commuter train for Coffs on the horizon?

Posted Sunday, 24 October, 2010 by The Man in Blue in New South Wales Rail News

A COMMUTER train service for Coffs Harbour is one step closer after the Coffs Harbour City Council voted to pay half the cost of a $50,000 feasibility study.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 23/10/2010.

Posted Sunday, 24 October, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 103 sightings for this week. This is nine sighting less than last week, making a total of 4175 sightings for this year to date. On day 296 last year we had recorded 3575 sightings. This is 600 sightings up on the same time last year.

Company denies mud holes caused derailment

Posted Sunday, 24 October, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

he Australian Rail Track Corporation has denied concrete rail sleepers caused a freight train to derail on the New South Wales-Victorian border yesterday.

Fifteen wagons from a Pacific National freight service derailed on the Main East line near the Wodonga railway station just after 7:00am AEDT Saturday.

The government-owned company has been replacing wooden and steel sleepers on the rail line between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

But train drivers told the 7:30 Report last month the new sleepers have caused hundreds of mud holes to appear, making the track unstable.

Strong dollar keeps cheap petrol flowing

Posted Monday, 25 October, 2010 by Speed in Other Transport News

Australian motorists are reaping the benefits of the soaring dollar, with petrol prices among the cheapest in the world.

Treasury data has revealed the strong dollar has helped cushion motorists against the worst effects of rising global oil prices and kept the price of petrol stable while competing Western economies face skyrocketing oil and gas costs.

Rail travellers face delays

Posted Monday, 25 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Thousands of peak-hour train passengers headed to Melbourne’s eastern suburbs face delays of up to 15 minutes after an equipment failure this afternoon.

The track-circuit failure - a fault in wiring that connects signals to tracks - happened near Burnley station just after 3pm and sent the Belgrave, Lilydale, Glen Waverley and Alamein lines into meltdown.

Webb Dock caught in rising storm over freight terminal

Posted Monday, 25 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE proposed redevelopment of Port Melbourne's Webb Dock looks to be shaping up as a key policy battle in the seat of Albert Park.

As local residents continue to seek answers from the state government and the Port of Melbourne Corporation, candidates for the ALP-held seat are engaged in a war of words over the plan.

Community concerns about the impact the 24-hour freight terminal would have on the ambience of the area have spilled into the campaign, with Greens candidate for Albert Park Ann Birrell calling on sitting MP Martin Foley and the government to provide answers.

Gap to close in Asia rail link

Posted Monday, 25 October, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

A VITAL part fell into place at the weekend of the rail network that will in five years enable people to take trains from Singapore to Scotland.

This is a 120km section in Cambodia of the Pan-Asian railroad, stretching from the capital, Phnom Penh, to Touk Meas, near the Vietnam border.

Soon the Cambodian branch will run to the Thai border, down to Sihanoukville, the country's main port, and up to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. Overall, the new rail section will stretch 650km. The Australian government is providing $22 million of the $145m Cambodian part of the project.

Lot riding on new container port

Posted Monday, 25 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A DECISION on how the Port of Melbourne will handle a huge increase in container trade is set to play a big role in industrial property development in Melbourne's south-east and west.

Two key stakeholders, Shipping Australia and Westgate Ports, have differing visions of how the port should handle its container traffic, which is expected to double to 4.4 million containers by 2020.

In submissions to Port of Melbourne Corporation, Shipping Australia called for the development of Webb Dock East as a container terminal by 2014, whereas Westgate urged that Swanson, Victoria and Appleton Docks (SAVD) should be restructured, using Victoria Dock's rail links to the rail network. Both have different implications for industrial property.

Mernda rail pledge too little too late

Posted Monday, 25 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Liberal Party has promised to extend the Epping rail line to Mernda by 2020, trumping Labor's commitment by seven years, but campaigners say it's not soon enough.

Liberal candidate for Yan Yean, Jack Gange, announced the commitment at a Mernda community forum with other candidates last week. "The Liberal Party will commit to starting construction by at least 2020 if elected," Mr Gange said. "I'm going to put as much pressure on my party as I can (to have it earlier), but at the moment I'm only a candidate, so my powers are limited."

Labor's incumbent, Danielle Green, also supported bringing the rail extension forward but could not specify a date earlier than "by 2027". "We haven't made a date yet on when that project is to be delivered, and our priority must be on extending the line to South Morang first," Ms Green said.

Track clean-up continues

Posted Monday, 25 October, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

A spokesperson for the Australian Rail Track Corporation says it will be over a week before part of the Melbourne to Sydney rail track in Wodonga will be fully repaired and restored.

However Brad Emery says limited freight trains are now able to get through a section of the line.

A freight train derailment caused major damage and delays on the new stretch of track Saturday morning.

"Seven o'clock a Pacific National train derailed; fifteen wagons derailed causing quite a bit of damage and 600 metres of line was damaged on the actual track."

Werris Creek rail buff says VIC derailment possible anywhere

Posted Tuesday, 26 October, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

A member of the Werris Creek Railway Museum says the freight derailment in Victoria at the weekend could just as easily happen in the New England North West.

Fifteen wagons laden with steel came off the tracks at Wodonga, on the New South Wales-Victorian border, damaging rail lines and a nearby bridge.

Transport safety officers have launched an investigation.

Passenger trains are running from Melbourne to Sydney, but buses are in place between Albury and Melbourne.

New trains arrived full of defects

Posted Tuesday, 26 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

EIGHTEEN trains for Melbourne delivered in the past year had a series of faults that had to be repaired before the trains were put into service.

French engineering giant Alstom was contracted by the state government in 2008 to build the trains for Melbourne, at a cost of $14.4 million each.

The X'Trapolis trains were manufactured in Katowice, Poland, before being trucked to Savigliano, Italy, where they were assembled. The trains were then shipped 9000 kilometres to Melbourne.

Rail delays between Scone and Singleton

Posted Tuesday, 26 October, 2010 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

Buses are replacing trains in both directions between Scone and Singleton after a coal truck tipped over on the Hunter line this morning.

The truck and trailer accident occurred near the intersection of Muscle Creek Road and Inglewood Road, just outside of Muswellbrook, just before 4am.

A crane and heavy vehicle tow truck were organised and track damage now needs to be repaired.

Feds Dish $800 Million to Speed Florida Rail Development

Posted Tuesday, 26 October, 2010 by freightgate in International Rail News

The federal government today awarded Florida with an additional $800 million to complete its high speed network. Plan will connect Tampa and Orlando. Of the money that was given out today, $8 million was designated for initial planning on a stretch between Orlando and Miami. An earlier grant of $1.25 billion was given out in January as part of President Obama’s “down payment.”

Wagga residents worried after train derails

Posted Tuesday, 26 October, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

SAFETY on the major rail link between Sydney and Melbourne is again in the spotlight after a serious derailment involving a freight train at the weekend.

Problems with buckling and mud holes along the region's rail lines hit national headlines last month, with train drivers, union officials and residents living near train lines all raising concerns.

Truckers consider impact of newly renovated railway

Posted Tuesday, 26 October, 2010 by DesL in International Rail News

CAMBODIA’S renovated railway could offer freight transport rates below those charged by the domestic trucking industry, but a sector spokesmen said yesterday that competition would not begin in earnest until next year.

Melbourne port gets rail connected

Posted Wednesday, 27 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The ‘Missing Link’ project has been completed, which improves the connection between the Port of Melbourne and the interstate freight network.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the final stage to the project involved duplicating the dual-gauge track between Sims Street Junction and the Port, building 18 new turnouts, installing new signalling and completely reconstructing the Melbourne Operations Terminal.

Queensland Rail: where’s the smart money?

Posted Wednesday, 27 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Thousands of households, the Mums and Dads being attracted to the float are being asked to gamble on the world failing to act on climate change.

The Queensland government needs the money for electoral purposes but it may have been clever enough to read the tea leaves on the future of coal.

Queensland minister: QR was a 'rort'

Posted Wednesday, 27 October, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A senior government minister does not need to apologise for labelling Queensland Rail as a "rort", Premier Anna Bligh says.

Public Works Minister Robert Schwarten spoke of "the rort that is Queensland Rail" in parliament on Tuesday.

The minister was speaking of subsidies for multinational coal companies by previous governments, which had robbed core services, like health, of funding.

Airline luxury for new Queensland tilt train as Sunlander service retired

Posted Wednesday, 27 October, 2010 by 037291 in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail will spend $189 million on new and improved tilt trains to service Queensland.

World class trains for Queensland supporting 800 jobs for Maryborough

Posted Wednesday, 27 October, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

Premier Anna Bligh has announced the State Government will invest $189 million to buy another Tilt Train and upgrade the existing two tilt trains.

Ms Bligh said the work will be carried out at Maryborough’s Downer EDI facility providing support for 800 direct and indirect jobs in the Wide Bay region.

The existing Sunlander Train, which has been in service for 45 years, will be replaced by the new Tilt Train, slashing at least five hours from travel times.

“Travelling the Brisbane to Cairns rail route is one of the world’s top train journeys,” said Ms Bligh.

“It takes you past the magnificent Glasshouse Mountains, the cane country of North Queensland and the majestic tropics beyond Townsville.

“This $189 million investment means passengers on this world class route will be able to travel in world class luxury.”

Caroline Springs Railway Station (New Stations)

Posted Thursday, 28 October, 2010 by freightgate in Press Releases

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula was today joined by the Member for Kororoit Marlene Kairouz to turn the first sod at the site of the new station which is part of a $220 million package for new stations in Melbourne’s growth areas.

“The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to ensure people in Melbourne’s west have good access to public transport services,” Mr Pakula said. ... “The station, due to open in 2012, will serve current and future public transport needs and help people access jobs, study and also stay connected with family and friends.”

Anger as buses given nod ahead of rail

Posted Thursday, 28 October, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

ALMOST $50 million will be spent installing a bus route on land in Melbourne's north, reserved for a railway line.

Planners, the opposition and resident groups yesterday savaged the decision to stop the Epping railway line at South Morang, and build a 7.5 kilometre road exclusively for buses to Mernda.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula announced that the new road would be built on a publicly owned rail reserve, where trains ran until the late 1950s.
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The ''bus way'' would provide convenient and fast services on a dedicated road built for buses, Mr Pakula said. A low-floor bus would meet every train departing and arriving from South Morang, he said. The project, including the road and running buses for four years, will cost $48.5 million.

ARTC slammed for snubbing residents rail meeting

Posted Friday, 29 October, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has been accused of shirking its responsibilities to Newcastle residents, by failing to attend a forum about noise and dust from coal trains.

The Minister for the Hunter, Jodi McKay has organised next week's forum to discuss the impact on port-side residents of more coal trains heading into Newcastle.

Rail link from Toowoomba to Gladstone 'nationally significant'

Posted Friday, 29 October, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

Central Queensland Opposition backbencher Ken O'Dowd has called on the Federal Government to declare a new freight rail line to Gladstone as a project of national significance.

Developer Everald Compton is working with a consortium of coal companies to complete a rail link between Toowoomba in the state's south and Gladstone on the central Queensland coast.

Mernda rail pledge too little too late: campaigners

Posted Friday, 29 October, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

THE Liberal Party has promised to extend the Epping rail line to Mernda by 2020, trumping Labor's commitment by seven years, but campaigners say it's not soon enough.

Liberal candidate for Yan Yean, Jack Gange, announced the commitment at a Mernda community forum with other candidates last week. "The Liberal Party will commit to starting construction by at least 2020 if elected," Mr Gange said. "I'm going to put as much pressure on my party as I can (to have it earlier), but at the moment I'm only a candidate, so my powers are limited."

QR still confident on forecasts: report

Posted Saturday, 30 October, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

QR National remains confident of its coal haulage and profit forecasts, despite rival ports and rail operator Asciano Group Ltd's questions over the rail sector's health, according to The Australian Financial Review.

In a quarterly trading update yesterday, Asciano said haulage volumes on its Pacific National rail network were slightly below expectations.

Taxpayers face steep rail subsidy bill

Posted Saturday, 30 October, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland government says it will pay about $265 in subsidies for every person who uses the revamped Brisbane-to-Cairns passenger rail service.

Premier Anna Bligh yesterday announced a $189 million project to buy a luxury new tilt train and refurbish two others, replacing the ageing Sunlander Train when it goes out of service in 2014.

The new trains will feature deluxe sleeper cars with personal ensuites, first-class cars with lay-flat seats like airline skybeds, and premium economy seating.

Greens plan for state to run public transport

Posted Saturday, 30 October, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

The Greens will push for Melbourne's privatised public transport network to be returned to public control if they win the balance of power at next month's state election.

Under a proposal to be unveiled today, 370 staff in the Department of Transport's public transport division, and more at other government agencies, would be replaced by a new public transport authority, which would employ 60 people.

Paul Little prepares to step down from Toll

Posted Saturday, 30 October, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

After a quarter of a century at the head of Toll Holdings, Paul Little and the board have confirmed they are commencing an orderly succession to a new managing director. It is anticipated that this transition will be completed around January 2012.

Toll shares have dropped sharply following the announcement and are down 38 cents, or more than 5%, to $6.26 as at 2 pm.

Paul Little has agreed to return to Toll as a non-executive director after “an appropriate period”, which has not as yet been determined.

Metro a hub of underground activity

Posted Saturday, 30 October, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE'S much-maligned City Square is set to make way for a massive underground railway station that will transform Swanston St.

An impression of the station obtained by the Herald Sun reveals commuters will pour out of the station at the Collins St end of the square.

The station will serve commuters on the proposed $4.5 billion underground Metro line from Footscray to Domain, which will eventually be extended to Caulfield.

Myki users get first fines

Posted Saturday, 30 October, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

TICKET inspectors have issued their first fines to commuters using myki.

It comes as the government agency charged with rolling out the $1.35 billion smartcard confirmed that 26 myki users had been travelling for free, due to a fault with their cards.

A spokesman for Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula said yesterday that ticket inspectors had now issued fines to 53 travellers caught with a myki card that had not been validated or with no credit on it.

Melbourne Metro Project Steams Ahead

Posted Saturday, 30 October, 2010 by bevans in Press Releases

Extensive soil testing and geotechnical works will begin in the next few months in preparation for Melbourne Metro 1, a new underground rail tunnel linking Dynon to Domain providing a major increase in capacity for the suburban rail network.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula said the release of a Geotechnical Services tender would lead to a number of studies examining the soil and ground conditions to pave the way for the design of the tunnel and underground stations.

“Melbourne Metro 1 will be able to carry an additional 12,000 passengers every hour during peak periods and increase access to train services in the inner city with five new stations to be constructed,” Mr Pakula said.

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