News

 

Showing stories from September 2010

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Saving The Kingston Flyer Railway

Posted Wednesday, 1 September, 2010 by SteamingMadd in New Zealand Rail News

If you want to Help Our Trust , Southern "F" Locomotive Trust, Save this Once World Class Heritage Railway based at Kingston, Queenstown, New Zealand.

Plan to avoid EES on regional rail link

Posted Wednesday, 1 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Victorian government has tried to avoid an environmental effects statement into the regional rail link through Melbourne's west.

The $4.3 billion project would build a new line for regional rail services from Little River, near Geelong, to Southern Cross station via Footscray.

The project has been mired in controversy since Premier John Brumby made the announcement last month before residents of Footscray who are likely to lose their homes to make way for the rail link were notified.

Nothing will stop rail line: Brumby

Posted Wednesday, 1 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE controversial new railway line through Melbourne's western suburbs will be built regardless of the findings of any study on its impact on residents and the environment, Premier John Brumby says.

Accused of treating affected residents with contemptuous disregard after revelations the government was trying to limit their avenues for protest, Mr Brumby yesterday refused to take a backwards step.

Asked if the $4.3 billion line from Southern Cross Station through Footscray to Little River near Geelong was going ahead ''come hell or high water'', Mr Brumby replied: ''Too right it is.''

Council wants assurance over rail promises

Posted Wednesday, 1 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Sunshine Coast Regional Council wants assurances from the Queensland Government that its 20-year public transport plan includes associated links for the region.

Premier Anna Bligh yesterday announced a high-speed European-style train link to the Sunshine Coast as part of her plan.

Councillor Vivien Griffin says it is vital the plan includes the Caloundra-Maroochydore Corridor Study (CAMCOS) rail link, which is proposed from Beerwah to Maroochydore.

New passing loop between Broken Hill and Parkes another boost for freight rail

Posted Thursday, 2 September, 2010 by freightgate in Press Releases

Australian Rail Track Corporation's (ARTC) has continued its drive to upgrade the National interstate standard gauge with the extension of a passing loop at Ivanhoe NSW between Parkes and Broken Hill.

The project cost around $5.6 million and involved ARTC constructing one kilometre of new track with 1850m 'standing room'; long enough to cater for 1800m trains.

The loop required the laying of new rail, signalling, and mainline turnouts.

Bligh's challenge to float above the line

Posted Thursday, 2 September, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

If dealing with the future of Queensland Rail was just about money, the decision of the state's Premier, Anna Bligh, on whether to privatise the business or sell it via a trade sale would be easy. That would be comparing apples with apples.

But in the world of politics, there is another currency - staying in power. It means more than money. The original aim of the Bligh government's $12 billion asset sale plan was to raise cash, reduce debt and improve the state's credit rating. There is plenty of solid commercial logic in this.

ALP/Greens deal puts fast rail a step nearer

Posted Thursday, 2 September, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

The Greens will push for Canberra's inclusion in a feasibility study into a high-speed rail network on the east coast.
Labor has vowed to fast-track the study under a pact with the Greens who decided yesterday to back Prime Minister Julia Gillard's bid to form a minority government.

If it was re-elected, Labor had already promised to spend up to $20 million on a feasibility study into a high-speed rail network on the east coast.

Coal rail network fights privatisation

Posted Friday, 3 September, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

BRIGID GLANVILLE, PRESENTER: QR National has told staff their jobs will be at risk if the Queensland Government sells the coal rail network to a consortium of mining companies.

But the miners wanting to buy the network hit back, accusing QR of waging a desperate public relations campaign.

German railway to test train in Channel Tunnel

Posted Friday, 3 September, 2010 by freightgate in International Rail News

BERLIN — The German railway Deutsche Bahn announced Wednesday it will test a high-speed train in the Channel Tunnel between France and Britain on October 19, a move that could spur rail competition in Europe.

A Deutsche Bahn ICE train will be allowed to run through the tunnel, reserved until now for the Eurostar owned by railways in Belgium, Britain and France, Deutsche Bahn chief Ruediger Grube said.

The German railway has asked repeatedly for access to the tunnel with an eye towards establishing a high-speed rail link between the financial centres of London and Frankfurt.

Pedal power

Posted Friday, 3 September, 2010 by Speed in Other Transport News

Electric bikes that take the exertion out of cycling could soon have a bigger presence on our roads, writes Clay Lucas.

Anglo Says Miners Plan Formal Queensland Rail Bid

Posted Saturday, 4 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Anglo American Plc said a group of mining companies in Australia plans to lodge a formal bid for Queensland state’s coal freight network next week after making a revised initial A$5.1 billion ($4.6 billion) proposal last month.

“We’re conducting due diligence at the moment, we’ll be in a position next week to review the outcome of that,” Seamus French, the London-based company’s chief executive officer of coking coal, said today in a phone interview from Brisbane. “We then need to make a bid to the state government end of next week. That’s the milestone we’re focused on at the moment.”

London Faces Transport Turmoil as Subway Workers Plan Strike

Posted Saturday, 4 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

London’s 3.5 million Tube travelers face turmoil next week with as many as 10,000 of the subway’s train drivers, station staff and engineers staging the first of a series of 24-hour strikes over job cuts.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has drafted in 100 extra buses and a 500-berth boat that will carry 10,000 people a day down the River Thames to help commuters get to work.

“The action is on and our members are finalizing plans for picket lines across the network,” RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said in a statement today, adding that the union is open to talks but “will not negotiate with a gun at our heads.”

GrainCorp says it can handle expected bumper crop

Posted Saturday, 4 September, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

GrainCorp will be able to cope with increased loads from an expected bumper crop and increased demand from major importing nations.

GrainCorp corporate affairs manager David Ginns said there was sufficient road and rail capacity in Queensland, NSW and Victoria to be able to execute a large-scale grain export program, as GrainCorp did last fiscal year when it shipped 6.5 million tonnes of grain through its string of east coast export terminals.

A number of analysts and industry participants this week raised the possibility that the logistics system might be a constraint on exports, given bumper crops in the region and increased global demand for Australian wheat as a result of production downturns in Russia, Europe and elsewhere.

Rabobank cited up-country logistical constraints, while Tom Puddy, wheat manager for the Grain Pool marketing unit of Co-operative Bulk Handling Ltd, said a logistics bottleneck and insufficient rail capacity were the story in the eastern states.

Gang bashes man at station

Posted Saturday, 4 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A WITNESS to a brutal gang attack on the Frankston line says he was stunned by the ferocity and speed of the assault on a passenger who had complained about youths smoking on a train.

Student Chris Tagle, 19, said he was on the train heading to Frankston on Thursday night when the passenger told the six young men they should not be smoking. Mr Tagle said he had echoed the complaint to the youths, who then moved to the next carriage.

Earthquake damages rail infrastructure in NZ

Posted Sunday, 5 September, 2010 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

KiwiRail says some train tracks running into Christchurch are damaged and it could be several days before they are repaired.

The midland line from the West Coast to Canterbury is damaged between Rolleston - Darfield, and a section of track between Belfast - Rangiora including a rail bridge is under repair.

Bendigo line ~ Coaches partially replacing trains due to storm damage

Posted Sunday, 5 September, 2010 by bevans in Press Releases

Strong winds have damaged power poles in the Watergardens area, affecting Metro and V/Line train services between Watergardens and Southern Cross stations.

V/Line will operate trains between Sunbury and Bendigo / Swan Hill / Echuca, with connecting road coaches in place between Sunbury and Southern Cross stations.

The road coaches will continue to serve normal timetabled stops, including Diggers Rest and Watergardens, although passengers are advised that Metro Trains services are also severely affected by this power outage.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 5/9/2010.

Posted Sunday, 5 September, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 109 sightings for this week. This is four sighting more than last week, making a total of 3460 sightings for this year to date. On day 247 last year we had recorded 2951 sightings. This is 509 sightings up on the same time last year.

Cross-country coaches not serving Benalla due to floods ~ Mon 6 Sept

Posted Sunday, 5 September, 2010 by bevans in Other Transport News

Due to flooding, the Albury to Bendigo road coach and the Albury to Adelaide (Speedlink) coach will not stop at or pick up at Benalla on Monday 6 September.

U.S. Plays Catch-Up on High-Speed Rail

Posted Monday, 6 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Spanish trains whisk passengers from Madrid to Barcelona in little more than two and one-half hours. Japan has bullet trains. China is building a vast network of high-speed rail routes, including the recently opened line between Guangzhou and Wuhan, which covers 1,070 kilometers at the world’s fastest average speed.

Man 'punched in the face' for talking on train

Posted Monday, 6 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A MAN was attacked on a train yesterday after an altercation with a passenger about him talking on his mobile phone.

The victim was travelling between Strathmore and Moonee Ponds about 3.45pm when the man entered from another carriage and sat behind him.

The offender allegedly argued with the victim about him talking on his phone and grabbed him by the collar before punching him.

Tube workers walk out in jobs strike

Posted Tuesday, 7 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

London Underground workers have started a fresh wave of 24-hour strikes, threatening travel chaos for days and costing the economy almost £50 million.

Thousands of members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association walked out at 5pm, with another wave at 9pm, in protest at plans to axe 800 jobs.

The action, to be followed by further stoppages in October and November, will disrupt Tube services, used by millions of passengers every day.

Mayor Boris Johnson criticised the industrial action as a "trumped-up and politically motivated" attempt to attack the coalition Government.

Sydney rail travellers get free WiFi - for three months

Posted Tuesday, 7 September, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

RailCorp - operator of the NSW rail network is offering train travellers at Circular Quay station in Sydney free Internet access via WiFi for a three month trial period.

President Obama unveils $50 billion road, rail plan

Posted Tuesday, 7 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

Seeking to bolster the sluggish economy, President Barack Obama used a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee to announce he will ask Congress for $50 billion to kick off a new infrastructure plan designed to expand and renew the nation’s roads, railways and runways.

Using tough tones, he assailed Republicans as the party of “No, we can’t” – a play off his campaign slogan “Yes we can” – and accused his critics of talking about him like a “dog.” But he said he’d keep fighting “every single day, every single hour, every single minute” to turn the economy around.

Dumped Liberal MP pushes state rail sale

Posted Tuesday, 7 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Michael Johnson, the former MP for Ryan in Brisbane, is trying to form a consortium to make a bid for Queensland's freight rail network.

Mr Johnson, who lost his preselection and was expelled from the Liberal Party just before the federal election because of overseas business deals including a half-billion-dollar coal export proposal, has circulated a brief to his contacts in Asia alerting them to the opportunities offered by the state government's rail sale.

"Given that I am unemployed, and because of my personal heritage" -- his mother is Chinese -- "and my genuine commitment to strengthen Australia-Asia relations, I want to remain in that space," Mr Johnson told The Australian yesterday, when contacted about his circulated message.

Rail execs to be fined for late trains

Posted Tuesday, 7 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Fines levied against Queensland Rail (QR) executives if too many trains run late will be used to improve commuter services, the Queensland government says.

Transport Minister Rachel Nolan has asked the QR board to revise executives' pay structure to allow them to be fined if they don't meet key performance criteria, with the money to go back into improving services.

The criteria includes making sure commuter services in the southeast run on time, and other performance standards relating to safety and customer satisfaction.

25 homes bulldozed for rail link

Posted Tuesday, 7 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Twenty-five homes in Melbourne's inner-west will be bulldozed to make way for the Victorian government's regional rail link project.

The Department of Transport released documentation on Tuesday confirming 25 homes in the area between Footscray Station and Geelong road will need to be destroyed.

Transport Minister Martin Pakula said a total of 78 properties, on both residential and commercial land, will be affected by whole or partial acquisition for the Southern Cross Station to Deer Park section of the $4.3 billion project.

End of the line for TransAdelaide

Posted Thursday, 9 September, 2010 by TA 2000 in South Australian Rail News

TransAdelaide, the government agency providing some public transport services in Adelaide, is being abolished.

Opposition claims rail cost blowout

Posted Thursday, 9 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

OPPOSITION transport spokesman Terry Mulder has used a debate with public transport minister Martin Pakula to claim the costs of a controversial new rail line through Melbourne's western suburbs has risen to $6.5 billion - more than $2 billion more than its projected cost.

Speaking at Melbourne Town Hall last night with Mr Pakula and Greens MP Greg Barber, Mr Mulder said key engineering and construction industry figures had reported the cost blowouts to him. The Age has been told repeatedly over the past three months, by sources close to the project, that there have been big cost blowouts.

The government recently appointed a new authority to oversee construction of the 47-kilometre rail line, which runs from near Werribee to Southern Cross Station.

Stopping all stations as minister backs down

Posted Thursday, 9 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

AFTER months of refusing to say if a little-used train station in Melbourne's outer west will close, public transport minister Martin Pakula has guaranteed it will remain open - even when a big, new stop opens a kilometre away in two years.

In June, The Age asked Mr Pakula if Aircraft station, in Laverton, on the Werribee line, would be closed.

About 780 people a day board at Aircraft, Metro figures from last year show.

Miners pull out of rail offer

Posted Thursday, 9 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A consortium of resource companies has pulled out of bidding to buy central Queensland coal rail tracks.

The Queensland Coal Industry Rail Group (QCIRG) put together the bid to counter a plan by the Queensland government to float QR National on the stock exchange by the end of the year.

In a statement, the consortium said it would not be lodging the offer as "QCIRG is not able to satisfy its, or the Queensland government's, requirements for the bid".

Major peak-hour delays after train-line death

Posted Thursday, 9 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Major peak-hour delays are expected on trains travelling into Melbourne’s western suburbs following the death of a person who was struck by a V/Line train.

A Metro spokeswoman said the victim was hit by a passenger service from Geelong near South Kensington station about 3.30pm and died at the scene.

‘‘Major delays are expected on lines travelling towards the city’s western suburbs,’’ she said.

Relief promised on our most crowded rail route

Posted Friday, 10 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Commuters on south-east Queensland's most overcrowded rail route have been told they'll get some relief from looming timetable changes.

TransLink's latest Tracker report, released this week, showed peak-hour crowding on the Caboolture line was getting worse but the number of services had not increased in more than a year.

Ten of the 21 morning peak services on this line were deemed to be overloaded in April, May and June, up from six out of 21 at the same time last year.

When a late train isn't 'late'

Posted Friday, 10 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

That tardy train you caught the other day? It might not have been “late” – if only you were living in Sydney, Melbourne or London.

With Queensland Rail's performance coming under the spotlight amid an overhaul of its standards, brisbanetimes.com.au decided to take a look at how our suburban train services compare with those provided in other cities.

But we soon discovered how difficult it is to get a clear picture of how each system shapes up, as different operators report results in different ways and even disagree over what “late” means.

Kolkata’s Circular Railway to be extended

Posted Friday, 10 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

Kolkata, Sept 9 (IBNS) Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that the Circular Railway of Kolkata will be extended upto Budge Budge of West Bengal’s South 24-Parganas district.

Gadgets up for grabs at Railcorp's Lost Property Auction

Posted Friday, 10 September, 2010 by ThatGuy in New South Wales Rail News

From rings to a fibre glass boat. Thousands of items left behind by commuters on trains and stations across NSW are being auctioned at Railcorp's Lost Property Auction.

Train club pedophiles (SteamRail)

Posted Sunday, 12 September, 2010 by kobey in Victorian Rail News

A MELBOURNE train club popular with children has become embroiled in a legal row over allegations it is soft on pedophiles following a series of molestation claims.

Steamrail Victoria is a not-for-profit club based in Newport whose members restore vintage trains and run trips for hundreds of children.

But a Sunday Herald Sun investigation can reveal:

ONE adult Steamrail member has been convicted and sentenced for indecent assaults against minors at the club.

SH1, rail line remain blocked by slip near Kaikoura

Posted Sunday, 12 September, 2010 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Work resumed on Sunday to clear a major slip near Kaikoura that has blocked State Highway 1 and the Christchurch to Picton railway line.

An estimated 15,000 cubic metres of earth and rocks fell onto the road at Peketa, about 15km from the town, on Friday evening.

It will be Monday at the earliest before the slip is cleared.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 11/9/2010.

Posted Sunday, 12 September, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 111 sightings for this week. This is two sighting more than last week, making a total of 3571 sightings for this year to date. On day 254 last year we had recorded 3035 sightings. This is 536 sightings up on the same time last year.

Radical plan for Sydney's CBD

Posted Monday, 13 September, 2010 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

Sydney's CBD will be transformed with new light rail, a cycle network and speed limits slashed to 40km/h under a radical proposal to be unveiled on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph says it's understood Premier Kristina Keneally and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore will sign a memorandum of understanding to inject new life into the CBD as part of the Government's $50.2 billion Metropolitan Transport Plan.

The memorandum will have 16 key initiatives, including: construction of new light rail through the CBD; reducing the CBD speed limit to 40 km/h; creating a separated cycle network in the CBD; Reducing wait times for pedestrians in peak periods; and implementing a metropolitan parking policy.

VECCI plan to lure more tourists to Melbourne

Posted Monday, 13 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) says Melbourne has the potential to become Australia's main point of entry for overseas tourists.

VECCI's pre-election policy paper calls for more to be done to attract additional international airlines to fly directly to Melbourne.

VECCI spokesman, Chris James James says Sydney, which is the current entry point, is vulnerable.

"They're vulnerable because their airport is constrained by curfews and a second airport won't be built there," he said.

Melbourne must be nation's entry point

Posted Monday, 13 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE airport should be turned into the country's number one entry point complete with a modern rail link, Victorian business leaders say.

And a multi-million dollar investment to expand the Exhibition Centre is needed to take advantage of strong business tourism.

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry will today reveal detailed policy papers it hopes will "guide" the business agenda of the party that forms State Government in November. VECCI chief executive Wayne Kayler-Thomson revealed one area in which the group wanted action was airport infrastructure.

Young train-surfers 'risked their lives'

Posted Monday, 13 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

POLICE are hunting two youths seen riding the back of a train in behaviour described by rail chiefs as deplorable.

The risky riders were photographed at Jolimont station in Melbourne about 4pm on Saturday.

A witness who provided the photo to the Herald Sun - who asked not to be named - said he had just travelled with friends to the station.

Countrylink rail services resumes

Posted Monday, 13 September, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

Countrylink passenger trains will return to the rail track between Albury and Melbourne today.

The XPT was taken off the track early last month because mud holes developed during upgrade works were causing lengthy delays for trains.

Police hunt attacker after alleged indecent assault at Flinders Street Station

Posted Monday, 13 September, 2010 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Police are viewing CCTV footage in a bid to identify a man who indecently assaulted a 13-year-old girl at Flinders Street Station yesterday [Sunday].

The offender followed the girl down an escalator and onto platform eight, where he touched her inappropriately and asked her how old she was.

Detective Senior Constable Craig Buttigieg said the offender then fled up the escalators, before returning again to shadow the girl as she sought help from station staff about 6.15pm.

Sydney city sets a new pace

Posted Tuesday, 14 September, 2010 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

After years of lobbying by Lord Mayor Clover Moore, traffic in the city CBD will slow to 40km/h to make the city pedestrian friendly.

Premier Kristina Keneally and Cr Moore signed a memorandum of understanding on a range of measures including the introduction of light rail to the city centre. Pedestrians will be given priority at key intersections at peak times and lights will be fitted with countdown timers.

Traffic will slow even further to 10km/h in shared zones throughout the city’s laneways.

Opposition casts doubt on rail link

Posted Tuesday, 14 September, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The NSW government only had one or two days' notice about the Parramatta to Epping rail link plan before it was announced during the federal election campaign, says Treasury secretary Michael Schur.

Mr Schur couldn't remember the exact date he learned about the federal government's $2.1 billion proposal, but he said it was one or two days before the official August 11 announcement.

The state opposition has seized on his admission during parliamentary hearings on Tuesday, saying it proves the rail link was an "election sham".

No fines for myki users

Posted Tuesday, 14 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

PREMIER John Brumby says although there is no place for fare evaders on Melbourne's public transport system, myki users travelling on an unvalidated card will not be fined during a "period of grace".

Not a single passenger carrying a full-fare myki card on Melbourne's public transport system has been fined for travelling on an unvalidated ticket.

This is despite the $1.35 billion smartcard having been in operation on trains for almost nine months, and on buses and trams since July.

Flinders Street sex-assault accused quizzed over bayside attacks

Posted Wednesday, 15 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Police have charged a man with the indecent assault of a 13-year-old girl at Flinders Street railway station on the weekend. The 27-year-old was arrested late yesterday at a home in Mentone, where police executed a search warrant and seized evidence. The Mentone man is also being questioned over a series of sexual assaults in Mentone from August 29 to yesterday, a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

Competition council issues draft coal rail decision

Posted Wednesday, 15 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The National Competition Council has recommended access to the state's coal railways be kept in the hands of the Queensland Competition Authority.

Why Yeerongpilly was chosen to house Cross River Rail station

Posted Thursday, 16 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

It would be impractical to build a new portal to Brisbane's planned underground rail network at rail yards near Moorooka, Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said yesterday.

Ms Nolan yesterday announced 66 properties in Yeerongpilly will be resumed as part of a plan to extend the rail station for the city's Cross River Rail project.

Residents immediately questioned why the government didn't instead use the Clapham rail yards, beside Moorooka station, to house the new portal.

Rail sell-off clears hurdle

Posted Thursday, 16 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND'S coal and bulk freight network has overcome another hurdle on the way to privatisation thanks to a decision by a national competition watchdog announced yesterday.

In April, the State Government announced its intention to apply to the National Competition Council (NCC) to keep regulation of rail access in the hands of the Queensland Competition Authority. But a month later, transport giant Asciano applied to the NCC for a “declaration” of the network, meaning it would be regulated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Greens’ Senator to push for regional rail

Posted Thursday, 16 September, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

NEWLY confirmed Greens’ Senator, Lee Rhiannon, says she will push the federal Government to provide rail options for regional New South Wales to halt the increasing numbers of trucks on the state’s roads.

Final counting by the Australian Electoral Commission yesterday (Wednesday) confirmed the former State Greens’ MP has been elected as a Senator for NSW. Ms Rhiannon will take her seat in July next year.

“Better public transport for NSW will be a priority,” she says in a statement.

“The federal Government must invest in . . . rail options for regional NSW to stop the growth in trucks on our roads.”

New Pricing Rules Weighed for Freight Railroads

Posted Thursday, 16 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

WASHINGTON—The head of the federal agency that regulates railroads said Wednesday he is considering wading into a fight between shippers and freight rail companies to give farmers, coal companies and other freight customers more leverage to fight rail industry price increases.

Daniel R. Elliott III, appointed last year by President Barack Obama to chair the Surface Transportation Board, pointed to concerns that railroads are using market dominance to charge "excessive" rates for the shipment of goods. Mr. Elliott also suggested that the Staggers Act, signed by President Jimmy Carter, was outmoded and may have given railroads too much pricing power over farmers, grain merchants and other shippers.

Brisbane rail tunnel plan gets boost

Posted Thursday, 16 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland government says it will work closely with property owners affected by a proposed north-south rail line that will run under the Brisbane River.

The government has estimated 66 properties will need to be resumed to make way for the Cross River Rail project.

The project involves building a 19km rail line that reaches from Salisbury, in the south, to Wooloowin, in the north, via the CBD and Bowen Hills and a tunnel under the river.

Redcliffe rail line 'no longer a planning exercise'

Posted Thursday, 16 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Survey work will start at the end of next month for the Redcliffe rail line in Brisbane's east.

The Petrie-to-Kippa-Ring link is going ahead after both sides of federal politics guaranteed support.

Queensland Transport Minister Rachel Nolan has told Parliament the project is no longer just a planning exercise.

Schwarzenegger rides Japan's newest bullet train

Posted Thursday, 16 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

TOKYO (AFP) - California's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday took a ride on Japan's latest model of its high-speed bullet train as his US home state looks to modernise its rail system.

The long-time Hollywood action star is on an Asian tour with nearly 100 technology, tourism and entertainment industry leaders, in a trip aimed at boosting the state's economic links across the Pacific.

At a busy Tokyo Station, the governor got aboard the operators' cabin of the latest Series E5 bullet train prototype -- a sleek, metallic green vehicle with a massive 15-metre (50-foot) nose dubbed "arrow-line".

Tenders called for Stage one of Automatic Train Protection rollout

Posted Friday, 17 September, 2010 by nadnerbster in New South Wales Rail News

The NSW Government has announced today that tenders are being called for the supply of Automatic
Train Protection equipment for the OSCAR and Tangara train fleets and 600 km of the CityRail network.

Railpage Database Issues

Posted Friday, 17 September, 2010 by bevans in Railpage Australia News

During Wednesday evening (15/9/2010) Railpage suffered a service provider outage. Whilst the systems are now back online due to the fabulous work by the service provider team in Sydney, there appear to be some database integrity issues.

Minister ''undecided'' on Sydney CBD Relief Line

Posted Friday, 17 September, 2010 by lunchbox in New South Wales Rail News

According to the Sydney Morning Herald of 17.9 10, transport minister Robertson "has yet to make a final decision on whether to build a CityRail CBD relief line under Sussex Street".

Consultants win big from myki

Posted Friday, 17 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Consultants on Melbourne's troubled myki public transport ticketing system pocketed $3.1 million last financial year.

The Transport Ticketing Authority (TTA), which is responsible for the rollout and operation of myki, paid almost $2.4 million for six consulting projects involving fees of more than $100,000 in the year to June 30.

An additional $700,000 was spent on 26 consultancies where fees were less than $100,000, according to the authority's annual report tabled in state parliament on Thursday.

Myki penalties kick in

Posted Friday, 17 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THREE strikes and you're out - that's the way myki chiefs will decide on commuters unfamiliar with the new ticketing system.

Myki documents show that commuters who forget to touch off will be given two chances before they're slugged with a penalty fare.

Regular commuters who forget to touch off could be charged as much as $20 a week.

Commuters will need to closely check their bills first and contact the call centre to demand their money back.

Myki cash collection control ineffective, says auditor

Posted Friday, 17 September, 2010 by raye in Victorian Rail News

THE government authority behind Victoria's $1.35 billion myki card has not maintained effective controls on cash collection, Auditor-General Des Pearson has said.

In a sign the audit office does not have full confidence in the Transport Ticketing Authority's financial management, Mr Pearson gave only a qualified sign-off to the agency's annual report, which was among the hundreds released yesterday.

Bullet train wins business backing

Posted Tuesday, 21 September, 2010 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

BUSINESS has widely backed the resurrection of plans for a high-speed railway linking Melbourne and Brisbane, with calls for it to be extended to Geelong.

Xstrata launches its own rail service

Posted Tuesday, 21 September, 2010 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

Swiss-based miner Xstrata is to launch its own rail service in NSW.

Xstrata said on Tuesday its three-train fleet would have a capacity to haul 12 million tonnes of coal per year, servicing all the company's coal mines in the Hunter Valley, north-west of Newcastle.

Xtrata will operate ten locomotives and 300 wagons, complementing existing services operated by Pacific National.

Fraser lashes LNP on rail float

Posted Tuesday, 21 September, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Treasurer Andrew Fraser has accused the opposition of trying to sabotage the float of the coal and freight rail business.

Mr Fraser said the attacks by Liberal National Party leader John-Paul Langbroek on the $5 billion-plus Queensland Rail privatisation were irresponsible, hypocritical and could slice hundreds of millions of dollars off the value of the initial public offering of shares in new company QR National.

But Mr Langbroek said the sale was wrong on every level.

Treasurer stops Patrick price hike

Posted Tuesday, 21 September, 2010 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

Ports Minister Eric Roozendaal yesterday announced he would be regulating freight prices in response to Port Botany stevedore Patrick increasing their fees by 67 per cent.

“The NSW Government has a very clear commitment to moving 40 per cent of freight by rail. I will not allow this to be compromised,” Mr Roozendaal said.

“Government and industry have been working hard for over two years to provide certainty, fairness and equity for all elements of the supply chain and I will not allow Patrick to side-line those efforts.

“The prospect of having thousands of extra trucks on our roads, especially the M5, because of Patrick’s price rise is simply unacceptable.

$600bn bill for aged rail, roads

Posted Tuesday, 21 September, 2010 by freightgate in Rail News

AUSTRALIA must increase dramatically its spending on infrastructure to make up for years of underinvestment, according to a report.

Estimates put the bill for the Commonwealth and the state governments at $100 billion a year over the next six years. The modelling by ANZ found the investment required represents the equivalent of about 8 per cent of GDP.

Rock throwers lead to speeds being cut on Beenleigh to Gold Coast trains

Posted Tuesday, 21 September, 2010 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

SPEEDS have been slashed on the rail line between Beenleigh and the Gold Coast amid concerns about trains being pelted with rocks and other objects.

After 6pm, trains are restricted to 100km/h down from 140km/h from Beenleigh to Varsity Lakes.

Despite the significant slowdown, Queensland Rail said timetables were unaffected.

The move follows repeated attempts to damage and derail trains using objects such as rocks and concrete blocks.

Asciano appoints former Boral CIO

Posted Wednesday, 22 September, 2010 by wolfpac in Rail News

Asciano has appointed former Boral chief information officer Kelvin McGrath to the same post at the transport infrastructure provider.

McGrath held the job at Boral since 2001. He was due to start work at the ASX-listed Asciano late next month.

SCT GOES GREEN ON LOCOMOTIVES

Posted Wednesday, 22 September, 2010 by bevans in Press Releases

Confirming industry speculation, SCT Logistics today confirmed that they had recently placed a locomotive order to satisfy their current and projected growth requirements. CEO, Geoff Smith, confirmed that the production of locomotives designed and developed in conjunction with China Southern Railways (CSR Ziyang Locomotive Co., Ltd.) and MTU Germany had already commenced.

Xstrata eyes central Qld rail expansion

Posted Thursday, 23 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Mining company Xstrata says it is only a matter of time before its rail network expands into central Queensland.

The company this week launched Xstrata Rail, where UK company Freightliner will service mines in the New South Wales Hunter Valley.

Xstrata chief executive Peter Freyburg says Queensland mines face similar transport problems.

Rail line reopens after derailment

Posted Thursday, 23 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Rail (QR) has reopened the north coast line between Cairns and Townsville in the state's far north after a train derailed at Babinda last Friday night.

Eleven empty carriages of a QR National freight train left the tracks.

More creative solutions needed to fix road and rail

Posted Thursday, 23 September, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Australia's state and national governments need to be more inventive about raising the money to fund public transport, a key lobby group says.

It suggests congestion charges for motorists, levies on developers and abolishing concession fares for wealthy retirees.

The Tourism and Transport Forum says higher ticket prices may be necessary in some cases but governments should make a greater effort to increase patronage and raise money by developing the land and airspace around rail stations.

Asciano welcomes QCA rail access decision

Posted Thursday, 23 September, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

Asciano has welcomed the Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) decision to reject the QR Network’s 2010 Draft Access Undertaking.

The ports and rail operator says the decision not to approve the Undertaking was based on QCA concerns about third party access to the Central Queensland Coal Network, and possible impediments to competitive initiatives given the prospect of a privatised, vertically integrated QR National.

“The QCA has proposed a number of changes to the Draft Undertaking addressing the concerns which were raised by Asciano and other stakeholders,” says Asciano Managing Director and CEO Mark Rowsthorn.

More Barangaroo space means transport crush

Posted Friday, 24 September, 2010 by Speed in New South Wales Rail News

The state government's decision to abandon the Sydney Metro project means Wynyard station will ''exceed safe operational capacity'' in evening peaks once Barangaroo is built, city planners have warned.

In a report circulated to City of Sydney members, planning staff have urged the Department of Planning to refuse an application by Barangaroo's developers, Lend Lease, for an extra 60,000 square metres of floor space even if the government's promised light rail proceeds.

''Light rail may well relieve a component amount of the ''crush capacity'' but the mitigation will be insufficient to relieve unsustainable commuter congestion,'' the document says.

Rail yard re-zoning to boost SA jobs

Posted Friday, 24 September, 2010 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Re-zoning 38 hectares of land in Adelaide's northwest will help boost employment opportunities in the area, Planning Minister Paul Holloway says.

The government has proposed re-zoning the inner-suburban land known as the Islington rail yards, allowing a wider range of activities including retail shops, light industry, manufacturing and warehousing.

Rail drivers 'blue flu' causes chaos and threatens Royal Show service

Posted Friday, 24 September, 2010 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

TRAIN services in Perth have been thrown into chaos today after at least 53 train drivers called in sick as a form of industrial action.

The pay dispute between Transperth drivers and the Public Transport Authority could also disrupt the opening of the Royal Show on Saturday.

However, if there is further industrial action, the PTA will run extra bus services in place of the disrupted rail service.

Bikies' $1m rail resumption windfall

Posted Friday, 24 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The state government will be forced to pay out a bikie gang as part of its resumptions for the cross-river rail project.

The clubhouse of the Odin’s Warriors Motorcycle Club is among 66 properties set to make way for the rail tunnel's Yeerongpilly entrance, in Brisbane's south.

Grain growers told 'don't look to rail for help this harvest'

Posted Friday, 24 September, 2010 by raye in Rail News

A shortage of trains has ruled out rail as a transport alternative to move the bumper grains harvest.

Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales are short of rail capacity as the east coast prepares for the third biggest winter grains harvest on record.

It comes after truck drivers warned they won't be be able to meet demand to deliver the coming crop to port.

Obama's rail plan riding on key governor races

Posted Friday, 24 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

President Barack Obama's plan for high-speed passenger rail has a lot riding on the outcome of some key gubernatorial races in November.

Republican candidates in Ohio and Wisconsin have promised to cancel rail projects that are getting millions of dollars from the federal stimulus package, mocking the plans as boondoggles or complaining the trains would leave the states with too much of a financial burden for future operations.

Private operators raid public transport purse

Posted Saturday, 25 September, 2010 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

THE cost of running Victoria's public transport has more than doubled in six years, despite the state's trains, trams and buses travelling only 26 per cent further.

The cost jump, revealed in budget papers and government annual reports released last week, is partly due to increased payments to Melbourne's privatised train, tram and bus operators.

In this financial year alone, payments to operators will rise by more than half a billion dollars.

QR float at discount to Asciano

Posted Saturday, 25 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE broking arms of the investment banks charged with spruiking the float of rail freight business QR National have conceded that it should be sold at a discount to its main coal haulage rival, Asciano.

But the five joint lead managers of the second-biggest float in Australian history are trying to convince large investors that the state-owned QR National should be valued at a premium to its peers in North America such as Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific Railway.

KiwiRail survival plan is 'on track'

Posted Saturday, 25 September, 2010 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Mainfreight is a believer. So is dairy giant Fonterra. Transport Minister Steven Joyce is "agnostic" and many taxpayers will be praying for a miracle.

The $4.6 billion "turnaround" plan for New Zealand's rail freight network is inspiring devotees and cynics in equal measure.

Mainfreight and Fonterra are backing it with hard cash and complementary investments. Mainfreight, a listed global logistics company, has earmarked $60 million for investment in new railhead depots.

Talks to avert London tube strike break down

Posted Saturday, 25 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

(Reuters) - Talks to prevent a second 24-hour tube strike next month will not take place on Friday with rail unions demanding London Underground (LU) withdraw job cut plans before negotiations resume.

Rail line closed after train hits slip

Posted Saturday, 25 September, 2010 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

A train driver and his colleague have had a lucky escape after their train hit a massive slip which came down in the Manawatu Gorge

They were heading to Taranaki when the train smashed into the slip at 4am this morning on the eastern side of the gorge, near Woodville.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 25/9/2010

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 87 sightings for this week. This is four sighting less than last week, making a total of 3749 sightings for this year to date. On day 268 last year we had recorded 3217 sightings. This is 532 sightings up on the same time last year.

Investigations continue into teen's railway death

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

Residents near a Tasmanian railway line, where a boy died yesterday, were worried about the risk of an accident there.

Police are investigating the teenager's death at a level crossing at Spreyton, in north-west Tasmania.

The 17 year old was riding a four-wheeled motorbike on a private laneway when he was hit by the cement train at around midday.

Rail crisis: $2.4b train plan goes off track

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The future of the $2.4 billion Waratah train project has been thrown into doubt, with the state government indicating it is unwilling to cover a potential $357 million funding shortfall prompted by the threatened withdrawal of four banks.

The consortium building the trains, Reliance Rail, yesterday revealed it was in discussions over the funding crisis, but would not elaborate.

Beijing begins extending rail to Nepal boundary

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

NEW DELHI: China's exponentially increasing influence in Nepal, much to the chagrin of India, received further fillip on Sunday with Beijing starting work on extending its railway from Lhasa to Xigaze or Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet which borders Nepal, India and Bhutan.

This is the first step taken by Beijing in extending its rail link to the Tibet- Nepal border and which many believe will culminate in its extension right up to Kathmandu.

Queensland Government moves to ensure that Queensland Rail must retain its state

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE Queensland Government has moved to ensure the QR National head office remains in the state after the group's $7 billion float on the Australian Securities Exchange in two months.

The Government has placed a limit on any one entity being able to own 15 per cent of the floated QR National, either alone or in concert with others, in a bid to keep the company's ownership broad-based.

"There (are) legislative requirements in place for QR National to remain based here in Brisbane," Treasurer Andrew Fraser said.

Tender Announced for New Trams

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by msilsby in Tram and Light Rail News

Bombardier have been announced as the successful bidder to build 50 New trams for Melbourne's tram network. The trams, to have 50.3% Local content will be constructed in Melbourne at Bombardiers Dandenong Facility.

Lower coal tonnages shelve rail tunnel plan

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A rail tunnel through the Liverpool Range has been shelved because miners in the region expect to extract a third less coal in the early years of operation.

The planned tunnel, at Ardglen, was one of six options being canvassed to increase rail capacity from the Gunnedah Basin.

Sydney-Melbourne rail line in 'atrocious' state

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

Drivers on Australia's busiest train line are voicing their alarm about an unprecedented number of dangerous mud holes along the track that have the potential to cause derailments.

One driver, speaking anonymously to ABC's 7.30 Report, has described the main Sydney-to-Melbourne line as "'an accident waiting to happen".

"The odds are there for a train to derail. I'd describe it as absolutely atrocious. I've never seen conditions like it in my 30-odd years on the job," he said.

Melbourne to Sydney Railway Line - Debacle (TV Tonight)

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by lsrailfan in Rail News

A segment on the state of the Melbourne to Sydney railway line will feature tonight on the 7:30pm report. The report will screen on ABC 1. Post the report, commentary on the state of the line and the TV segment will be found at:

North East Line to SG Discussion Thread

Brumby Government will spend $300m not $807m on 50 new Bombadier trams

Posted Monday, 27 September, 2010 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE Government is spending just $300 million on new trams for Melbourne, not the $807 million touted in publicity.

Earlier today, the Brumby Government was trumpeting the $807.6 million in a press release issued earlier today to announce a deal to buy 50 new trams.

But a spokesman for Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula revealed today that the $500 million would actually be spent on related costs, including the new Preston tram depot, where the new vehicles will be kept.

Interstate rail faults risk passenger safety: drivers

Posted Tuesday, 28 September, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

The standard of the rail line between Sydney and Melbourne is so bad that passenger trains have been ordered to slow to just 50 km/h in places, official documents reveal.

A memo from a Pacific National manager, obtained by the Herald, says trains approaching Wagga Wagga must slow to 50 km/h. Speeds elsewhere along the line - for more than a century the main transit route between the nation's two biggest cities - are as slow as 70 km/h.

High-speed rail thinking crosses all party lines

Posted Tuesday, 28 September, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

If Melbourne and Sydney had similar-sized populations and city-linked economies as Paris and London, there would not be a debate in Australia about building a high-speed rail link between them.

The merits of high-speed rail are so compelling that the project would either be near completion, or even up and running.

But the furious argument raging in The Age this morning about yet another assessment of the project, which in brief is to set aside the corridors now but build it later, raises some deeply divisive issues in Australia that cross all party lines.

High speed rail network 'unviable

Posted Tuesday, 28 September, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

A high-speed rail network linking Australia's major cities isn't viable because they are too far apart or don't have the population to justify the cost, departmental documents show.

Labor announced during the August election campaign that, if re-elected, it would initiate a $20 million feasibility study for a high-speed rail network linking Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, with a particular focus on the Sydney-Newcastle leg.

But a document obtained under a freedom of information (FOI) request showed Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese was told in March the plan was not viable.

Trespassers dying on tracks: Oppn

Posted Wednesday, 29 September, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

People are being killed and injured on the state's rail network because not enough is being done to stop them from trespassing, the NSW opposition says.

The high number of deaths - more than one a month on average - and other incidents is linked to a reduction of frontline staff and reflects the need for better security measures, opposition transport spokeswoman Gladys Berejiklian said.

WA mine rail worries dismissed

Posted Wednesday, 29 September, 2010 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

PREMIER Colin Barnett has moved to hose down market tensions over the future of WA's $4.4 billion Oakajee port and rail project.

He gave the assurance after speculation that Mitsubishi is starting to waver over the deal.

Mr Barnett said yesterday his office contacted the Japanese giant as a result of the rumours and was told they were untrue.

No one running public transport co-ordination

Posted Wednesday, 29 September, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

NO ONE takes responsibility for the co-ordination of Melbourne's public transport services, according to the managers and former chiefs of Melbourne's tram, train and bus systems, says a report to be released in Canberra today.

Working with Melbourne University transport academic Dr John Stone, researcher Kathren Lazanas interviewed six senior government and public transport managers last year, both before and after the Brumby government awarded $8 billion worth of contracts to run Melbourne's trains and trams.

Is Albanese off the rails?

Posted Wednesday, 29 September, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

After all the blather on both sides of politics during the election about limiting immigrant arrivals because our cities were 'full', it's a little confusing to read in the Fairfax papers yesterday that there's no point building a high-speed inter-city rail network because – you guessed it – Australian cities don't contain enough people.

A federal Department of Transport report to Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, dug up through a Channel Seven freedom of information request, advised that "Australian cities are not predisposed to high-speed train linkages".

Mitsubishi quashes port pull-out rumours

Posted Thursday, 30 September, 2010 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Mitsubishi Corporation says recent press speculation claiming the Japanese conglomerate wants to pull out of building a new iron ore export port in Western Australia is "completely groundless".

Murchison Metals and Mitsubishi are equal joint venture partners in Oakajee Port & Rail, which is developing a deepwater port north of Geraldton in the state's midwest to overcome congestion at Geraldton Port and unlock the value of several new iron ore mines in the region.

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