News

 

Showing stories from November 2010

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Train drivers rocked by stone throwers

Posted Monday, 1 November, 2010 by Speed in Queensland Rail News

Queensland police arrest five people in a blitz on people throwing rocks at trains.

Crane lifts derailed Wodonga wagons

Posted Monday, 1 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

A 350-tonne crane has begun lifting wagons back onto the track following a derailment on the new Wodonga rail bypass.

The crane arrived in pieces on Saturday and was assembled on site.

An access track left boggy by recent rains had to be restored to allow trucks to deliver the crane successfully.

Give us high-speed trains, not school halls

Posted Monday, 1 November, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

The Japanese did it first with the bullet train in 1964. Saudi Arabia is spending $15 billion expanding its high-speed rail network, and close behind are Qatar and Kuwait, which are spending $10 billion each. Europeans have an enviable high-speed connection; it was Spain's network that captured the attention of the US president.

When told more people used fast trains between Seville and Madrid than those driving and flying put together, Barack Obama announced high-speed rail would be a key part of his $US8 billion fiscal Recovery Act.

Incompetence reigns over rail extension

Posted Monday, 1 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

THE Victorian Transport Department's ability to manage its portfolio of responsibilities in a way that shows respect for Melbourne's liveability and taxpayers' dollars is - like that of the Department of Sustainability and the Environment's management of water - beyond incompetence.

The latest example of Transport's overt hostility to extending the rail network in the new growth corridors of Melbourne was its announcement that the extension of the Epping line (along the existing easement of the old line to Winchelsea) would not continue further than South Morang. The easement from South Morang to Mernda would instead become an exclusive bus route. Both the rail extension and the proposed bus route raise questions.

Rail commuters face weekends of woe

Posted Monday, 1 November, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

Southeast Queensland rail services will be shut down for an entire weekend four times a year under a new maintenance scheme.

Queensland Rail this morning confirmed the program, designed to "streamline" the upkeep of the network, and has admitted it could affect major sporting events.

Under the old maintenance regime only certain sections of rail services were closed outside of peak times.

Canberra included in new fast train study

Posted Monday, 1 November, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

An extensive feasibility study to determine the economic benefits and financial viability of a multibillion-dollar high-speed rail network will include implications of diverting airline passengers off planes and on to trains.

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese issued terms of reference yesterday for the $20 million study which will identify possible routes, corridor preservation and station options.

Fast-rail link 'opportunity for airport'

Posted Monday, 1 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

A PLANNED fast-rail link from Melbourne to Canberra and Sydney could make a railway line to Melbourne Airport possible, Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula says.

The state government has written to Canberra, saying a $20 million feasibility study of the fast-rail route presents ''a unique opportunity for Victoria to make an airport rail link a viable project''.

UGL wins $250m in contracts

Posted Monday, 1 November, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

UGL Ltd is expecting a "healthy expansion" across its rail business in 2010/11, saying it has secured rail freight orders worth about $250 million with leading rail operators and resource companies.

Engineering and construction firm UGL says the contracts include a five-year locomotive service and support agreement with Rio Tinto in WA and the supply of nine General Electric Evolution locomotives to Rio Tinto.

Eurostar to order trains from Siemens following legal victory

Posted Monday, 1 November, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

Following the recent legal challenge from Alstom, Eurostar is now clear to order trains from train builder Siemens.

The French train builder had argued that the order was invalid because the German built trains would use distributed traction, where traction equipment is housed under the carriage floors. The rules on this are being revised from the current ruling that all such equipment must be at either end of the train.

Opposition pledges Doncaster rail line study

Posted Tuesday, 2 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Planning for a new rail line to Doncaster will begin if the Opposition wins the state election.

Opposition leader Ted Baillieu said a $6.5 million study would begin to plan for the new railway.

"The new line would link Doncaster with the city via Clifton Hill ... with consideration of a further link from Doncaster to Ringwood in the east," he said.

Myki company sold

Posted Tuesday, 2 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE company that won the contract for the $1.35 billion myki system has been bought by Japanese technology company NTT Data.

The government in 2005 contracted Keane Australia Micropayment (Kamco) to build myki for Victoria's public transport system by March 2007 for a contracted price of about $1 billion.

RAMSYS at WestNet Rail: from data harvesting to decision support

Posted Thursday, 4 November, 2010 by MermecGroup in Press Releases

Last year MERMEC Group successfully piloted PIMS on a subset of the WestNet Rail network and is now continuing with a full implementation involving 5 regions and the head office. Last month the rollout in the first region was completed.

Libs pledge east-west rail link pledge

Posted Thursday, 4 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE'S eastern suburbs could get a rail line to Doncaster if the Coalition wins government.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu ignored the Government's 2008 Eddington review of east-west transport needs by promising to map a new rail line within two years, if his party is elected.

The Coalition would spend $6.5 million to plan a route from Clifton Hill to Doncaster.

And they may eventually consider a possible rail link from Doncaster to Ringwood.

New rail crossing safety measures trialed

Posted Thursday, 4 November, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A rail crossing at Halifax near Ingham in north Queensland will be the first site to trial a new early warning system to help improve safety at boom gates.

Queensland Rail (QR) will install lights along the road 100 metres from the crossing which will light up as a train approaches.

U.S. gov't awards $2.4 billion for high-speed rail

Posted Thursday, 4 November, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

The U.S. government awarded $2.4 billion in funding last week to 54 railroad projects across 23 states in the U.S.

This latest round of funding is in addition to the $8 billion that was awarded in January as part of the comprehensive public works project to construct the "first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service."

The funds are going toward new railroad lines and stations, as well as efforts to update and refurbish existing ones to coalesce with the high-speed plan announced in January as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Fire stops work at Brisbane coal terminal

Posted Saturday, 6 November, 2010 by wolfpac in Queensland Rail News

COAL loading has been interrupted at Queensland's largest coal export terminal after the railway was shut because of a fire scare.

Smoke was seen coming from 24 wagons at the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, just south of Mackay, about 3am (AEST) on Friday, QR National spokesman said.

Woman trapped under train

Posted Saturday, 6 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

A woman in her 30s has been seriously injured after falling between the carriages of a train at Southern Cross Station tonight.

An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said she had suffered possible pelvic and upper leg injuries.

She also has serious injuries to her arms and head.

We've forgotten our manners on public transport

Posted Saturday, 6 November, 2010 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne author Ennis Cehic attributes an increase in rudeness and inconsiderate behaviour on public transport in recent years to the advent of mobile digital technology.

WA trains touted for Victoria

Posted Saturday, 6 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

WEST Australian grain trains may be diverted to Victoria to help transport the huge crop to port next year.

Department of Transport senior policy officer David Hill said Australian Railroad Group might bring two standard-gauge trains to Victoria for the harvest.

Victoria and southern NSW farmers are expecting to harvest an eight-million tonne winter grain crop this season.

And one million tonnes of rice is set to be harvested in the Riverina next year.

Engine woes hit second Qantas plane

Posted Saturday, 6 November, 2010 by bevans in Other Transport News

Passengers on board a Qantas Boeing 747-400 jumbo that made an emergency landing in Singapore overnight reported hearing an explosion and seeing flames on the one of the engines minutes after takeoff.

It was the second Qantas plane to be involved in a mid-air emergency in two days. The incident follows the emergency landing on Thursday of a Qantas Airbus A380 after one of its engines exploded minutes into the flight to Sydney, showering debris on an Indonesian town.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 6/11/2010

Posted Sunday, 7 November, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 98 sightings for this week. This is 13 sighting less than last week, making a total of 4384 sightings for this year to date. On day 310 last year we had recorded 3745 sightings. This is 639 sightings up on the same time last year.

Full steam ahead for campaign to save Central West rail lines

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The viability of five Central West rail branch lines is expected to be revealed next January.

The Ministerial Taskforce, which is made up of representatives from the Cowra, Blayney, Weddin, Young and Harden Councils, has chosen the consultants who will compile a business case for retaining the tracks.

It selected the tender at its latest meeting in Cowra.

Farms caught short on rail stock

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

GRAIN companies are facing a shortage of trains to transport a record wheat harvest to overseas markets.

Farmers, the Nationals and grain marketers fear that mining companies' long-term train leases, as well as "run down" rail lines, could see a delay in getting wheat to the nation's ports, to capitalise on high grain prices overseas.

Nationals leader Warren Truss expressed concern over the competition for trains. "It was always going to be the case that if we had a bumper grain harvest, there was going to be difficulties getting the grain to port," a spokesman for Mr Truss said.

CEO: Investors Warm to Queensland Rail IPO

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

SYDNEY—Australian coal hauler QR National Ltd. has received strong interest from international investors for its 5 billion Australian dollar (US$5 billion) initial public offering that closes later this month, according to the company's chief executive, who dismissed concerns that the float is overpriced.

"On the basis of the people I've seen so far, I would say this is going to be very strongly supported," said Lance Hockridge in a phone interview from New York where he is talking to prospective investors and fund managers. "This is an opportunity to buy into something at a level that's less than the value of the underlying asset."

High speed rail: back on track?

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

After 25 years on the drawing board, it's easy to be cynical about the Federal Government's recent announcement that high speed rail (HSR) is "back on the national agenda".

Currently the fastest passenger trains in Australia are the QR Tilt Train in Queensland, the Regional Fast Rail in Victoria and the Transwa Prospector in Western Australia, which all travel at up to 160 kilometres per hour. These are considered "medium speed" services.

MP says rail link vital to economy

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by freightgate in New Zealand Rail News

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway is calling for more rail services to be added between Palmerston North and Waikanae, while slamming KiwiRail's indecision over the future of the Capital Connection.

He is also challenging local residents, the Palmerston North City Council and Horizons Regional Council to back their rail service, and stop KiwiRail from scrapping the link.

But KiwiRail passenger General Manager Deborah Hume says it doesn't want the service to end either, and is "open to all options" to make sure it keeps running.

The fate of the daily Capital Connection service is currently hanging in the balance, with KiwiRail saying it will make the final decision on whether the commuter favourite will be retained next year.

Rail trail funds pledge

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

SITTING Member for Morwell Russell Northe has pledged $800,000 towards completion of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail if the Liberal-National Coalition is elected.

The 67 kilometre rail trail, which extends from Traralgon to Stratford, is disjointed and needs to be linked by bridges, signage and track work.

Rail trail management committee chair Helen Hoppner said the funding would go a long way to completing the trail between Traralgon and Toongabbie and constructing a bridge over the Latrobe River.

Channel Tunnel rail link sale begins UK's big sell off

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by freightgate in International Rail News

The great austerity auction of state-owned assets has commenced after a pair of Canadian pension funds splashed out £2.1bn to acquire High Speed One, the UK's high-speed rail link.

Grain rail meeting labelled a waste of time

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by freightgate in Western Australian Rail News

GROWERS and industry people from throughout WA declared the recent Strategic Grain Network Committee (SGNC) meeting held in Perth a complete waste of time.

The reconvening of the SGNC prompted the October 21 forum which was designed to discuss the Transitional Assistance Package (TAP), Tier 3 networks and further investment in roads after Tier 3 closures and concerns about the movement of grain throughout WA at the end of harvest.

Secret advice, in case project derails

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

THE government has been briefed by insolvency experts on what to do if the consortium behind the beleaguered Waratah train project collapses.

In a further sign Reliance Rail is in financial crisis, Treasury recently called on the advice of receivers PPB.

PPB has advised on high-profile corporate failures from Lehman Brothers Australia to ABC Learning Centres and Allco Finance.

Rowville rail push claims

Posted Monday, 8 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

LABOR candidates for the seats of Scoresby and Ferntree Gully have defied the party line, claiming they will push for a Rowville rail feasibility study.

The government has been steadfast in its support of the SmartBus service to meet the transport needs of Mulgrave and Knox residents.

However, Labor candidate for Scoresby, Garry Nightingale - who will be taking on sitting Liberal MP Kim Wells - said there should be a feasibility study into the Huntingdale-Rowville rail link.

Libs pledge east-west rail link pledge

Posted Tuesday, 9 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE'S eastern suburbs could get a rail line to Doncaster if the Coalition wins government.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu ignored the Government's 2008 Eddington review of east-west transport needs by promising to map a new rail line within two years, if his party is elected.

The Coalition would spend $6.5 million to plan a route from Clifton Hill to Doncaster.

Greens pledge rail stations for Airport West, East Keilor

Posted Tuesday, 9 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

MOONEE Valley would get two new train stations under a Greens State Government.

The party has promised to fix a public transport “black hole” in Niddrie by electrifying a freight train route connecting the Craigieburn and Sunbury lines.

The Sunshine to Broadmeadows connector line will include the electrification of 13km of existing track and three new stations at Westfield (Airport West), East Keilor and Sunshine North. It is expected to cost $186 million.

'Chernobyl on wheels' grinds to halt in France

Posted Tuesday, 9 November, 2010 by freightgate in International Rail News

PARIS: Greenpeace has staged protests against a nuclear waste rail convoy that it claimed was "the most radioactive shipment in history", amounting to the equivalent of 11 Chernobyl disasters.

The "train from hell", carrying 123 tonnes of nuclear waste to Germany, left north-western France on Friday under security that included including 80 guards and fighter jets on standby.

It was expected to pass close to at least five big cities, bypassing Paris by about 160 kilometres. But protesters blocked the train's progress at Caen, in northern France, chaining themselves to the tracks.

Credit watch placed on Waratah trains

Posted Tuesday, 9 November, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Waratah Trains contractor, which is part owned by Downer EDI Ltd, has been placed on a negative creditwatch by ratings agency Standard & Poor's after the NSW government flagged a delay in the delivery of the new carriages.

The government has been advised by Rail Corp that the rollout of more than 600 new Waratah passenger railway carriages has been put back to April next year, instead of December as originally scheduled.

Heritage train set sale

Posted Tuesday, 9 November, 2010 by freightgate in South Australian Rail News

If you grew up always wanting your own train set, you can now go one step further and buy the real thing.

A company, set up in the late 1990s to operate heritage tourist trains in South Australia, is now disposing of its rolling stock, including two diesel electric locomotives and more than twenty carriages.

Revamp pledged for Epsom rail crossing

Posted Tuesday, 9 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

The Victorian Government has promised to spend $1 million upgrading a railway crossing in the Bendigo suburb of Epsom.

The Howard Street crossing is close to a recently built shopping centre and several new housing estates.

QR National: not enough engine to climb the hill

Posted Tuesday, 9 November, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

One of the golden rules of investing: avoid floats where the owner is bailing out.

I think I can, I think I can.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, desperately hoping she can end the week as The Little Engine That Could, has begun throwing everything she has to push that load up an ever increasing incline.

With just a few days to go before QR National rules off the books on the retail end of its mammoth initial public offering, an air of desperation has entered the proceedings.

Rowville rail line would boost growth

Posted Wednesday, 10 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A PROPOSED extension of Melbourne's rail network in the city's east to Rowville could become a catalyst for commercial and residential development, according to a leading real estate agent.

In September, eight eastern suburbs councils, under the banner of the Eastern Transport Coalition, tabled a 13,500 signature petition demanding better rail services to the east, including construction of the Rowville line via Monash University along Wellington Road.

Oakajee on track, despite delay- Murchison

Posted Wednesday, 10 November, 2010 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Murchison Metals Ltd has dismissed media reports that joint venture partner Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd wants to pull out of building the $4 billion Oakajee iron ore port in Western Australia's Midwest.

Murchison and Mitsubishi are equal joint venture partners in Oakajee Port & Rail, which is developing a deepwater port north of Geraldton to overcome congestion at Geraldton Port.

Murchison says it is not considering any "fundamental changes" to the joint venture agreements and that financing will not be affected by changes to the development timeline.

Rail to carry mineral sands

Posted Wednesday, 10 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

Work on a major rail upgrade is to start within six weeks after the state government granted long-awaited planning permits for the project. Iluka had feared construction of new sidings and loading facilities at Hamilton and Hopetoun could be delayed into the new year due to a slow state government response to its permit applications.

A total of $6 million will be spent on infrastructure to transport heavy mineral concentrate from the company's Kulwin mine near Ouyen, with truck traffic to drop sharply as a result.

Fears over Parramatta fast rail station

Posted Wednesday, 10 November, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

There are fears the federal government will overlook the major population hub of Parramatta in western Sydney under its proposed East Coast Fast Rail network.

Parramatta's Lord Mayor John Chedid on Wednesday said there were concerns the urban centre may miss out on being included in the network proposals.

Parramatta City Council will this week submit plans to the federal government detailing why Parramatta should be considered as a future station.

Police for every city rail line: Brumby

Posted Wednesday, 10 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

POLICE officers would patrol every metropolitan rail line at night if Labor retains power at the state election, as Premier John Brumby continued his arm wrestle with the opposition over law and order.

Topping up the government's promise of almost 2000 additional front-line police, a re-elected Labor government would spend $25.2 million to employ an extra 100 transit police.

Opposition blasts rail link planning as Canberra delays funding

Posted Thursday, 11 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Gillard government has delayed $400 million in funding for the nation's biggest rail project - the Regional Rail Link through Melbourne's west - after a request from the Brumby government.

The Victorian opposition said yesterday that planning for the $4.3 billion rail line from Werribee to Southern Cross Station was in disarray, after it emerged that Canberra is to hold back the $400 million until at least 2014.

The change, the only major alteration in federal spending, was revealed yesterday in the government's mid-year economic forecasts for 2010-11.

Libs deny Doncaster rail plan a ploy for Greens preferences

Posted Thursday, 11 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Liberal Party has denied its push for a heavy rail line to Doncaster is part of a bid for Green state election preferences.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu came to Doncaster last week to promise $6.5 million over two years for a plan to build the long-awaited rail line.

Under the plan, the line would link Doncaster with the city via Clifton Hill with potential for an extension to Ringwood.

ORB Wairio Railway Museum re-establishment

Posted Thursday, 11 November, 2010 by SteamingMadd in New Zealand Rail News

Re-establishing the "ORB Wairio Railway Museum" Southland, New Zealand

Saving The Kingston Flyer Railway

Posted Thursday, 11 November, 2010 by SteamingMadd in New Zealand Rail News

Update with Saving The Kingston Flyer Railway

Sydney commuter trapped on train for six hours

Posted Thursday, 11 November, 2010 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

A CityRail commuter says he is furious after he was trapped on a train in Sydney for almost six hours.

Mark Connelly, 34, was on his way to work when he got on an empty train at Bondi Junction in the city's east just after 9:00am yesterday.

He says the train then moved 200 metres into a recess tunnel.

New Brisbane cross-river rail details released

Posted Thursday, 11 November, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Government has released more details of a cross-river rail project proposed for Brisbane.

The plans include new underground stations at Woolloongabba and in the CBD and an above-ground station at the Exhibition Grounds.

Properties resumed for Redcliffe rail line

Posted Thursday, 11 November, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

Notices have been sent to residents north of Brisbane whose properties may be resumed for the $1 billion Petrie to Kippa Ring railway.

The long-awaited rail link to the Redcliffe peninsula was given support by all levels of government during the Federal election campaign.

Old Hanford railroad tracks safe to be reused

Posted Thursday, 11 November, 2010 by freightgate in International Rail News

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Hanford railroad track, some that is more than a century old, is being pulled up to get yet another life - but after testing for radioactivity.

Washington Closure Hanford is removing more than 30 miles of rail spurs that ran to the nine plutonium production reactors along the Columbia River and to the 300 Area just north of Richland, where uranium fuel was fabricated and research conducted.

Rather than add the steel track to the landfill in central Hanford, the Department of Energy agreed to a subcontract that will allow the tracks to be transferred to a Utah company that markets all kinds of rail track.

Major tram delays after ute crashes, injuring three

Posted Friday, 12 November, 2010 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

A young man has been critically injured and two others hospitalised after their ute crashed into a light pole in Melbourne's north this morning.

One of the men was believed to be travelling into the rear tray of the Holden ute when it smashed into the pole on the corner of Gilbert Road and Cooper Street in Preston about 3.50am.

The accident is causing disruptions to traffic and 112 tram services in both directions in the area, with buses replacing trams for part of the route.

Train station for Epsom planned

Posted Friday, 12 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

THE Coalition plan to build a new train station at Epsom, if they are elected at the state election.

Coalition spokesman for transport Terry Mulder, in Epsom this morning, said the station would include a 160 metre platform, 100 sealed car parks and 95 train services.

Mr Mulder said the Epsom Station would be built by 2013.

Expert says Sydney could learn from LA

Posted Saturday, 13 November, 2010 by Speed in New South Wales Rail News

FOR most Australians, the image of Los Angeles - if it's not Hollywood or Disneyland - is of eight-lane freeways and traffic jams. But one of the Obama administration's top transport officials suggests the city could be the ideal model for Sydney.

City 'could be free of traffic'

Posted Saturday, 13 November, 2010 by Speed in New South Wales Rail News

The Sydney Morning Herald interviews the New York Transport Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who is speaking in Sydney as a guest of Sydney City Council.

Teen eloctrocuted after climbing on train

Posted Saturday, 13 November, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A teenager has been electrocuted on a train at Gladstone in central Queensland.

Police say a coal train was forced to make an emergency stop when it was hailed by a 15-year-old boy about 7:00am AEST.

Students complete heritage work on Puffing Billy's track

Posted Saturday, 13 November, 2010 by bevans in Railway Stories

THE heritage brickwork on the turntable at Puffing Billy’s Emerald Town Station is now complete, thanks to the efforts of Holmesglen TAFE bricklaying students.

A group of five second-year apprentices and two teachers spent three days last week voluntarily repairing the brickwork on the turntable.

The mechanism is used to turn the famous steam train around so it faces the opposite direction, and allows the locomotive to switch on to different tracks.

Labor MP's claim they're being kept in the dark about scoping study

Posted Saturday, 13 November, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Hunter Labor MPs are upset they're been kept in the dark about the long-awaited Newcastle transport scoping study, ahead of its release next Monday.

The report is expected to spell-out the feasibility of terminating the city's heavy rail line and building a transport interchange at Wickham.

Tram man who halted city to save connies, will punch out

Posted Sunday, 14 November, 2010 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Tram Division Secretary Lou di Gregorio announces his forthcoming retirement and reflects on his tram career and events during his time as Union Secretary.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 13/11/2010.

Posted Sunday, 14 November, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 101 sightings for this week. This is three sighting more than last week, making a total of 4485 sightings for this year to date. On day 317 last year we had recorded 3845 sightings. This is 640 sightings up on the same time last year.

Victorian Libs promise $1b rail upgrade

Posted Sunday, 14 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A $1.4 billion promise to buy 40 new trains for Melbourne spearheads Ted Baillieu's bid for victory in the Victorian election on November 27.

The Opposition Leader will announce the scheme today as a way to ease the commuter crush by promising to move 32,000 extra passengers during each peak hour and provide more frequent services on suburban rail lines.

The move is a massive gamble that will make Mr Baillieu vulnerable to a Labor counterattack on the cost and criticism that he is willing to spend whatever it takes to win power.

Train bosses urged to give peace a chance, or at least a carriage

Posted Sunday, 14 November, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THERE'S a businesswoman yelling into her mobile at a minion whose job's on the line; a teenager crying into her iPhone about the loser who just dumped her via text; the doof doof coming from the iPod headphones of the student sitting four rows ahead. You can't concentrate on your novel; can't even think straight. All you want is a bit of quiet time on the train as you head home from work.

You're not alone. A leading public transport expert and a prominent historian are calling for all metropolitan trains to have a designated ''quiet carriage'' similar to those used overseas and being given a trial in Queensland.

Victory is ours: the rattlers roll on

Posted Sunday, 14 November, 2010 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE campaign to rescue Melbourne's classic W-class trams has scored a victory, with the state government agreeing to a tram summit to consider options for the future of the vintage vehicles.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula said on Friday that Labor would hold a W-class tram workshop next year, following a request put to the minister last month by the group campaigning to save the Ws.

Study puts price on rail cut

Posted Monday, 15 November, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

CUTTING Newcastle’s rail line at Wickham would cost between $375 and $505 million, a long-awaited state government report has found.

The rail line scoping study, done by RailCorp and consultant AECOM, has been released today.

A second report also released today examines options to improve transport in and out of the Newcastle CBD.

New electric train chosen for Adelaide

Posted Monday, 15 November, 2010 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

CITY train travellers have been promised a smoother and faster ride as 66 new electric shuttles are added to Adelaide's network.

The new trains will have a top speed of 110km/h with faster acceleration and deceleration and performance that leads to significant power savings.

They will feature an array of on-board technology including Smartcard ticketing capability and CCTV while also being fully disability accessible.

State government funding of $178.8m underpins upgrade of WA grain rail network

Posted Wednesday, 17 November, 2010 by WestNetRail in Western Australian Rail News

WestNet Rail today welcomed the announcement by the Western Australian Government of its $178.8 million investment in the state’s grain rail and road network. This investment reflects the recommendations made in the government’s Strategic Grain Network Committee’s report, released earlier this year.

Liberal leader Ted Baillieu promises railway to Avalon Airport

Posted Wednesday, 17 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

LIBERAL leader Ted Baillieu has promised a railway to Avalon Airport if he wins government.

Trains would run from both Geelong and Melbourne under the plan, which follows a promise to consider an airport link to Tullamarine.

Mr Baillieu has promised to spend $50 million on kick-starting the project, which has an estimated total cost of $250 million.

The Avalon line would run off the existing Melbourne to Geelong line.

Trains every six minutes in timetable overhaul

Posted Wednesday, 17 November, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Capacity for an extra 150,000 passengers on the Ipswich and Caboolture rail lines will be introduced in 2011 after the first timetable review of those lines in 13 years.

Peak hour trains will run every six minutes from both Petrie and Darra into the central city.

Outside peak hours and on weekends trains from Darra to the CBD will run every 15 minutes.

Study says cutting rail could cost half a billion dollars

Posted Wednesday, 17 November, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Long-awaited transport studies show cutting Newcastle's rail line at Wickham would cost up to half a billion dollars.

The Government commissioned two studies to look at ways to address Newcastle's future transport needs.

The inner-city rail line is a key focus, with the studies estimating cutting it at Wickham would cost between $375-million and $505-million.

That is much less than Railcorp's $650-million original costing.

Chemical spills as train derails

Posted Thursday, 18 November, 2010 by freightgate in Tasmanian Rail News

There are concerns about the effects of a chemical spill into the sea after a train derailment in north-west Tasmania. Containers carrying 2,000 litres of potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide were flung into the sea when a train derailed last night near Penguin. No-one was injured and there is no danger to nearby residents. But Rosemary Cross from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) says the chemicals could harm marine life.

Robinvale Train Station

Posted Thursday, 18 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

Robinvale's railway station is a much-loved icon, but it's widely recognised as a building in desperate disrepair.

Cr John Katis, Swan Hill City Council: "I think it's got asbestos in it, it's virtually falling down - it's been there for eighty odd years."

Swan Hill Council will vote on three options for the site:

BHP opens door on shared rail

Posted Friday, 19 November, 2010 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

ATLAS Iron has welcomed landmark discussions to use one of BHP Billiton's Pilbara railway haulage lines.

In a move that could eventually see other small producers strike deals to export from the Pilbara using BHP rail, Atlas said it had agreed to enter into good faith discussions with BHP concerning an "integrated transport solution" in Port Hedland.

The news came as FerrAus said BHP had started legal action to prevent the iron ore mining hopeful from finalising a rail deal with BHP.

FerrAus wants to haul iron ore from its project in the Pilbara on BHP's Mount Newman rail line, but has not been able to secure a deal.

High-speed rail plan: Brisbane to Gold Coast in 21 minutes

Posted Friday, 19 November, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A proposal for high-speed trains would see the commute between Brisbane and the Gold Coast slashed to just 21 minutes, but the reality could be some time off.

A future Very Fast Train service, travelling at 350km/h, would also reduce the commute to the Sunshine Coast by three quarters, from 128 minutes to just 31 minutes. It would use technology currently being embraced in Europe.

However, unless a federal government study due in July 2011 prioritises the idea, the concept was still 30 to 40 years away.

Clash on Southland station cost

Posted Friday, 19 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

LABOR has promised to build a railway station at the Southland shopping centre for $45 million - more than triple the price that its 2004 feasibility study found the project would cost.

Labor's costing for the station is also three times that promised by Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu, who said last weekend that the Coalition, if elected, would do it for $13 million.
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Premier John Brumby promised to build Southland station yesterday in an announcement with Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula.

BHP risk prior to QR float

Posted Friday, 19 November, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

WITH less than 24 hours before the institutional bookbuild closes on the biggest float since Telstra, QR National's biggest coal customer has put the spotlight on a huge future risk.

This week the world's top mining company, BHP Billiton, refused to rule out creating its own rail business to haul its coal, putting pressure on the float.

BHP accounts for about 25 per cent of QRN's haulage volumes.

Rail network upgrade leaves some shires out

Posted Sunday, 21 November, 2010 by vanessa in Western Australian Rail News

There has been a mixed response to a Government package to upgrade the state's grain rail network.

The State government will spend nearly $179 million over four years upgrading the lines, with an additional $135 million from the Federal Government.

The operator of the network, Westnet, has welcomed the decision.

CEO Paul Larsen says it is a crucial move.

BHP, Atlas discuss rail line access

Posted Sunday, 21 November, 2010 by vanessa in Western Australian Rail News

Mid-tier iron ore miner, Atlas Iron says it is in discussions with BHP Billiton about gaining access to its rail network in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

The two miners are discussing the possibility of the using BHP's Goldsworthy line to and from the junction of the company's Newman line.

Rail proponent backs coal nod 'milestone'

Posted Sunday, 21 November, 2010 by vanessa in Queensland Rail News

Infrastructure company ATEC says state approval for the Wandoan coal project in southern inland Queensland is good news for its plans to build a new rail line.

The Queensland Government has conditionally approved the Southern Hemisphere's largest open-cut coal mine.

ATEC spokesman Everald Compton says the development of project at Wandoan is crucial to plans to build a rail line linking Toowoomba to the Port of Gladstone.

Qld Rail denies secrecy surrounding historic train sale

Posted Sunday, 21 November, 2010 by vanessa in Queensland Rail News

The head of Queensland Rail (QR) denies there was anything secret about the sale of a multi-million dollar tourist train.

Last month, the State Government revealed that the Great South Pacific Express was sold for $8 million in 2005, although it cost $35 million to build.

Report reveals rail cost burden

Posted Sunday, 21 November, 2010 by vanessa in Tasmanian Rail News

Tasmania's state-owned rail company is facing an expensive future.

The Government has budgeted more than $300 million to keep it running after taxpayers bought the ageing rail fleet and hundreds of kilometres of track at the end of last year.

Fraser hits back at QR National float doubters

Posted Sunday, 21 November, 2010 by vanessa in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Treasurer, Andrew Fraser, has hit back at financial analysts who have talked down the State Government's QR National float.

The rail freight company will list at $2.55 on the ASX tomorrow, but retail investors will pay $2.45.

The State Government will reap $4.6 billion and keep a 40 per cent stake in the company until at least 2012.

Mr Fraser says despite the price being at the lower end of the government's range, the share offer is a success.

"There's been a relentless campaign here by many people who've got vested interests to talk this price down," he said.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 20/11/2010

Posted Sunday, 21 November, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 94 sightings for this week. This is seven sighting less than last week, making a total of 4579 sightings for this year to date. On day 324 last year we had recorded 3947 sightings. This is 632 sightings up on the same time last year.

Wide Scale disruptions on Metro Melbourne Today

Posted Sunday, 21 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Due to a series of radio communication faults, trains were stopped in their tracks today. The problems are believed to have been reported earlier this morning with services on most metro lines affected.

Railpage is advised the problems began at the 1 Spring Street amd the Melbourne Water communications sites before the problems just continued to spread across the network.

Public money used to fund Oakajee project

Posted Monday, 22 November, 2010 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A parliamentary committee says it is still not clear why public funds have been poured into the multi billion dollar Oakajee Port and Rail project.

The project near Geraldton was to be entirely privately funded but the State and Federal Governments have since committed $700 million towards it.

Wickham interchange won't solve regional transport woes

Posted Monday, 22 November, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A transport economist warns Newcastle is unlikely to get Federal funding for a half-a-billion dollar rail terminal at Wickham unless it can prove the plan will address wider regional transport issues.

The State Government yesterday released two transport studies - one of which costed the removal of the heavy rail line in the CBD at up to 505 million dollars.

Minister for the Hunter, Jodi McKay says she has asked the Hunter Development Corporation to investigate the acquisition of land at Wickham to build the interchange and will seek Federal funding.

Major delays after train breakdown

Posted Monday, 22 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

Trains on Melbourne's busy south-east rail lines are running again after this morning's peak-hour meltdown that saw commuters hit with delays of least an hour.

Cranbourne and Pakenham trains were suspended between Oakleigh and Dandenong stations while Metro engineers attempted to fix a broken pantograph on a train at Westall railway station.

Foreign buyers keep QR on track

Posted Monday, 22 November, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

RETAIL investors have mostly passed up on the Queensland government's plea to ''be part of something big'' as rail freight business QR National prepares for its stock exchange debut today.

After months of an at times politically charged sales drive, the final float price of $2.55 a share was firmly at the bottom end of the Queensland government's $2.50 to $3 target. Retail investors will receive a 10¢ discount.

The largest government privatisation deal since Telstra has been under intense scrutiny not just because of its political currency but also its size - the 150-year old freight hauler will have a market capitalisation of more than $6 billion.

Train drivers asleep at controls

Posted Tuesday, 23 November, 2010 by vanessa in New South Wales Rail News

TRAIN drivers and signallers are regularly attending work so fatigued that they are as dangerous as drunk drivers.

In a two-week period from March 7-20, 24 drivers registered a fatigue score of 100, equivalent to a blood alcohol reading above .05, documents obtained under Freedom of Information show.

Twelve signallers registered the same high reading over the same period.

Govt horsing around on Wodonga rail service

Posted Tuesday, 23 November, 2010 by vanessa in Victorian Rail News

The Victorian Opposition has used a horse and cart to highlight the lack of passenger rail services to Wodonga.

The Opposition's Transport spokesman, Terry Mulder, and the Liberal member for Benambra, Bill Tilley, arrived at the new Wodonga rail station by horse and cart.

QR premium a good sign for IPOs

Posted Tuesday, 23 November, 2010 by vanessa in Queensland Rail News

THE float of QR National - the biggest in Australia since Telstra - finished its first day at a substantial premium to its issue price.

The better than expected first day of trading in QR National shares was also interpreted as signalling the start of a wave of initial public offerings after volatile equity markets had curtailed earlier plans.

After a highly politicised and controversial investor roadshow, QR National hit the boards at $2.54 - a 1¢ a share discount to the issue price - yesterday before surging by as much as 5 per cent within an hour. Stock closed up 10¢ at $2.65 - a 4 per cent gain on the issue price for institutional investors.

Merbein packing plant welcome

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

THE Mildura region will soon have a new grain container-packing operation.
Wakefield Transport at Merbein is in the final stages of building a highly automated grain packing plant adjacent to its existing container packing operation used mostly to service the wine industry.

Operating as Wakefield Grain Export Services, the plant will have the capacity to custom pack 55 containers in a normal day.
Project manager Michael O'Callaghan said there had been enormous interest from grain buyers wanting to use the facility.

"We have already got buyers wanting to come here who don't normally buy grain in this region," he said.
"One company wanted exclusive rights to use the plant but we said 'no' as we operate an open door policy here."

Epping Line Speed Reduction

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by justin in Victorian Rail News

Due to the South Morang Rail Extension there are now temporary speed restrictions between Keon Park and Epping both for up and down trains. The speed has gone from 80 km/h to 65 km/h as there is now trackspeed signs put in place with red lettering above.

Glowing case for Akl rail tunnel gets cool response

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by freightgate in New Zealand Rail News

Consultants have produced a glowing business case for a $2 billion-plus inner Auckland rail tunnel, without which they warn worsening traffic will turn development away from the city centre.

But Transport Minister Steven Joyce says a report from a $5 million study commissioned by KiwiRail and the former Auckland Regional Transport Authority raises many questions to be worked through before the Government can consider contributing to such a costly endeavour.

Rail construction agreements binding, says Fortescue

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by freightgate in Western Australian Rail News

FORTESCUE Metals Group says it had binding agreements with Chinese partners to build a rail network and did not mislead investors.

FMG lawyer David Jackson QC told the full bench of the Federal Court in Perth yesterday that whether agreements between Fortescue and the Chinese companies were binding was at the heart of the Australian Securities & Investment Commission's case against the miner.

Chinese welcome: Barnett

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by freightgate in Western Australian Rail News

WEST Australian Premier Colin Barnett says he would welcome Chinese companies taking a bigger role in WA's $4.4 billion Oakajee port and rail project near Geraldton.

It comes amid reports that China's President, Hu Jintao, pressured the then Labor government in 2007 for project contracts to be awarded to Chinese companies.

Liberals top the ticket on public transport vote

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

Labor supporters have been thrice-bitten by broken rail promises.

THIS city is facing major decisions in the life of the Parliament that we are about to elect. At the present rate of Melbourne's growth, the current rail system will reach its absolute capacity at some time between 2015 and 2020. Either we let transport problems strangle the City of Melbourne or we make a serious investment in fixed-rail public transport.

Glenreagh Mountain Railway (GMR) scrapping rollingstock

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by freightgate in Letters to the Editor

The scrapping of preserved rollingstock on the Glenreagh Mountain Railway (GMR) has been the subject of contentious discussions over the past weeks. Two dogboxes at Megan were apparently scrapped by GMR on Monday of this week.

Rio goes Italian for Pilbara rail upgrade

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by freightgate in Western Australian Rail News

RIO Tinto Ltd will pay Italian company Ansaldo STS $467 million to provide rail systems for its iron ore operations in Western Australia.

QR National lead managers declare interest

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

The five joint lead managers of QR National Ltd have been listed as six-per-cent shareholders in the rail freight company, following one of the nation's largest floats this week.

A substantial shareholder notice reveals the joint lead managers - Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs & Partners, Merrill Lynch, RBS and UBS - hold 146.4 million shares in the nation's largest rail freight company.

Tornado derails outback freight train

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by freightgate in South Australian Rail News

A small tornado is thought to have caused a freight train derailment near Marla in outback South Australia.

Emergency services personnel say 17 freight wagons left the track, about 8:15am ACDT.

The accident has caused a fuel spill on the track, 87 kilometres south of Marla, on the Adelaide-Darwin line.

Police and fire crews have gone to the scene.

South Africa Corn Surplus Trapped by Surging Rand as Rail Lines Favor Coal

Posted Thursday, 25 November, 2010 by DesL in International Rail News

Favorable weather and genetically modified seeds have given South African corn farmers their biggest harvest since 1982. If only it could be sold.

Dilapidated rail lines and a surging currency are trapping a record corn surplus within the country’s borders. The buildup may force growers out of business and cut jobs in agriculture, the biggest employer in a nation where one in four is without work. And it has caused the benchmark corn price in Johannesburg to slump 19 percent in dollar terms this year, while its U.S. equivalent has risen by 33 percent.

Rail lifts revamp to take stretchers

Posted Friday, 26 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Brumby government's policy of installing lifts instead of ramps at new railway stations has resulted in a man who died at Laverton having to be carried out across tracks - because ambulance trolleys did not fit in the lifts.

The government has now changed its design specifications for lifts on all new stations built without ramps. Lifts must now fit a standard ambulance stretcher.

Bill for myki rises again

Posted Friday, 26 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

VICTORIA is facing a new, unexpected multimillion-dollar bill for myki when Metcard is turned off next year, with the cost to the government of supplying ''short-term'' myki tickets to be far more than budgeted.

Myki is a reusable smartcard for public transport, but the new system includes short-term disposable tickets.

Man arrested after shed blaze

Posted Friday, 26 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

Police have arrested at 28-year-old Seaford man after a shed fire near the Barnawartha railway station.

They say a number of cars were also broken into in the area overnight.

Government to consult on huge rail freight project

Posted Friday, 26 November, 2010 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Government is seeking public views on its plans for one of Sydney's largest transport hubs, in south-west Sydney.

The $490 million Moorebank intermodal terminal is set to be built on defence lands.

It is designed to get 40 per cent of freight from Port Botany onto the rail system.

Workers plan weekend public transport disruption

Posted Friday, 26 November, 2010 by freightgate in South Australian Rail News

Public transport will be disrupted in Adelaide on Saturday because of a union protest timed to coincide with the ALP state conference.

Research reveals public transport woes

Posted Friday, 26 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

An RMIT University researcher says a lack of public transport services in the Glenelg Shire is entrenching disadvantage in the community.

The consultant researcher, Judy Nichols, is compiling a report on transport needs in the shire.

She says people have told her they cannot access jobs, education and medical services if they do not have a car.

Freight train stops Ghan in its tracks

Posted Saturday, 27 November, 2010 by bevans in Northern Territory Rail News

SOME Ghan passengers are spending the night on a stationary train in Alice Springs after a freight train derailed in South Australia yesterday.

Severe weather is thought to be the cause of the 15 wagons leaving the track on the Adelaide-Darwin line at 6.20am yesterday about 80km south of Marla.

Southern Gold Coast group pushing for Light Rail

Posted Saturday, 27 November, 2010 by Xgentric in Tram and Light Rail News

A southern Gold Coast business group is demanding the light rail extend to Coolangatta earlier than 2031. “Connecting Southern Gold Coast” has established a working group to impress on the Queensland Government the importance for the Light Rail to head down to Coolangatta at the earliest time possible.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 27/11/2010

Posted Sunday, 28 November, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 100 sightings for this week. This is six sighting more than last week, making a total of 4679 sightings for this year to date. On day 331 last year we had recorded 4040 sightings. This is 639 sightings up on the same time last year.

Rowville rail could be on track

Posted Sunday, 28 November, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

FORTY years waiting for the much-debated Rowville rail could be about to end if the Coalition is able to form government this week.

And the controversial Stud Rd bus lane looks set to be removed, following an eastern suburbs landslide against the Labor Government.

But the completion of the ALP’s Eastern Autism School could be in doubt after the Liberals left it out of their election costings, thinking Labor had already fully funded it.

Helmet law hurting shared bike scheme

Posted Monday, 29 November, 2010 by bevans in Other Transport News

MELBOURNE'S shared bicycles are languishing on city streets, six months after the scheme's launch.

VicRoads figures show an average of 183 trips a day are being made on the 450 blue bikes, which are costing taxpayers $5.5 million over four years.

Adelaide-Darwin rail line set to re-open today

Posted Monday, 29 November, 2010 by freightgate in South Australian Rail News

The Adelaide-Darwin rail line is set to reopen today after a derailment in outback South Australia last week.

On Thursday, a 300-metre stretch of the line was damaged when more than a dozen freight wagons came off the track, 87 kilometres south of Marla.

Baillieu pushes high-speed rail links

Posted Tuesday, 30 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

A BAILLIEU government would establish a high-speed rail "advocacy unit" to push for the construction of high-speed rail between Melbourne and Sydney, and other capital cities, if it wins Saturday's election.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said high-speed rail's potential to transform Australian capital cities had been ignored by Premier John Brumby. He pledged to spend $4 million in his first term of government setting up the high-speed rail unit.

Ansteel heavy rails heading to Australia

Posted Tuesday, 30 November, 2010 by DesL in Western Australian Rail News

Ansteel heavy rails heading to Australia
08:49, November 30, 2010

With its siren wailing, a ship carrying of 5,060 tons of heavy rails recently eased out of Yingkou port in Liaoning province, the first move in its long journey to Australia.

It marked the first time domestic steel giant Ansteel exported its heavy rails in bulk to a developed country.

Labor's loss is explained by the rail politic

Posted Tuesday, 30 November, 2010 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

Those who believe the Brumby government was a good government voted out by an electorate bored after 11 years simply haven't been paying attention.

The key to understanding why the Brumby government held on in the regional centres of Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong and lost badly in the outer suburbs of Melbourne - both to everyone's surprise - can be largely explained by the fact that they kept their promise to build the Regional Fast Rail network linking Melbourne to the regional centres but failed to do anything about the abysmal standard of public transport to the outer suburbs.

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