News

 

Showing stories from September 2011

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Paul Harper: Auckland rail gets its act together

Posted Sunday, 18 September, 2011 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Last week's transport chaos on the opening night of the Rugby World Cup was a disgrace for Auckland.

On what was arguably one of the biggest nights in our city's history, the public transport system failed. Hundreds did not get to the game on time, as trains were held up by people on the tracks, emergency stop buttons being pressed in carriages as children and adults suffered from heat exhaustion and hyperventilation.
Fingers were pointed and blame was shifted, and Auckland's inadequate public transport system was in the firing line.

Just the ticket

Posted Monday, 19 September, 2011 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

You don't need your car to have a great day out in Melbourne's suburbs. John Bailey, from the Sunday Age's M Magazine, picks some of the best food and entertainment on offer, all within walking distance of a railway station.

Greens want ACT to go hard on light rail

Posted Monday, 19 September, 2011 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The ACT Greens have called on the Government to reverse its failure to pursue long-mooted plans for a Canberra light-rail network.

The Greens say since the ACT Government's bid for Commonwealth funding for a light-rail network in 2008, it has failed to progress those plans since then. Instead, the Government has made concerted bids for roads funding from Infrastructure Australia, winning support for its Majura Freeway.

No plans to close Queensland regional rail lines, says minister

Posted Monday, 19 September, 2011 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Transport Minister says she's committed to rail in regional areas, despite many communities being concerned about its future.

Community members from the south-west town of Quilpie say there have been only 10 livestock trains leave this year, while thousands of cattle have had to go via road to market.

China still debating Oakajee: Barnett

Posted Monday, 19 September, 2011 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Bringing Chinese investment into the embattled Oakajee port and rail network won't be easy, West Australia Premier Colin Barnett says, with the country still debating the massive project.

Mr Barnett met with Chinese government officials last week to discuss bringing them into the $6 billion port and rail project in WA's mid west.

The project hit a major hurdle last month when joint venture partner Murchison Metals admitted it can't fund its share of one of Australia's biggest planned infrastructure projects.

Warrnambool rail service use increases

Posted Tuesday, 20 September, 2011 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

ALMOST half a million passengers travelled on the Warrnambool to Melbourne rail service last financial year — a two per cent rise.

V/Line’s annual report shows 477,781 passengers used the long distance south-west rail and bus link while the Geelong to Melbourne section carried 3.3 million passengers — up nine per cent.

Combined figures for both sections show a massive 86 per cent increase in patronage since 2005 when there were 2.03 million passengers.

Gathering steam

Posted Tuesday, 20 September, 2011 by freightgate in Rail Events

Heading north on the Hume Freeway, I'm out of Melbourne and into the countryside within an hour. The sun's shining, the grass is green and the mountains, albeit modest, look majestic. The Goulburn Valley is ticking lots of boxes.

Surrounded by the Murray River, Yarra Valley, Goldfields and High Country, it probably doesn't get the love it deserves from tourists - especially at this time of lush paddocks and bushland, blossoming orchards, budding vines and rushing rivers. Heritage is among the Goulburn Valley's underappreciated charms, associated as it is with some of Victoria's earliest European settlement (Kilmore is the state's oldest inland town), the gold rush and the Kelly gang.

Timetable's journey still stops at all stations

Posted Tuesday, 20 September, 2011 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE O'Farrell government's first shot at adding to Sydney's train timetable will produce just a handful of new services.

Elements of a new CityRail timetable, obtained by the Herald, show RailCorp will reduce journey times on some suburban services and add a number of mostly off-peak services.

But the timetable, to be introduced next month, also reveals some weekend service cuts, and shows RailCorp remains far from implementing the 135 new express trains promised by the Coalition before the election.

Sunbury rail users on the rise

Posted Tuesday, 20 September, 2011 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

SUNBURY residents are ditching the car in favour of rail travel in increasing numbers, latest V/Line figures show.

In the 2010-11 financial year, the rail operator recorded an increase of 3.1 per cent in patronage in Sunbury.

The increase equates to 477,093 passenger trips.

In neighbouring Macedon Ranges, the rail operator recorded an increase of almost 10 per cent in patronage. This equates to 830,673 passenger trips.

Here, the biggest increase - 16 per cent - was in Gisborne.

Wimmera Mallee freight branch line set to reopen

Posted Wednesday, 21 September, 2011 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

An important rail freight branch line in the Wimmera Mallee is set to reopen for harvest.

The 66-kilometre section of the Yaapeet Rail Line will reopen early next year.

The Transport Minister Terry Mulder says the $6 million re-commissioning of the Dimboola to Rainbow section will allow an extra 120,000 tonnes of grain to be moved by rail.

GVK to open the doors to rail access for all

Posted Wednesday, 21 September, 2011 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

INDIAN infrastructure company GVK will allow other mining companies to use the Queensland railway line it is building from the Galilee Basin to the Abbot Point coal port, and it is also applying for extra loading capacity at the port as the size of the project ramps up.

After talks with Australian producer Hancock Coal for almost a year, GVK announced at the weekend that it was paying $1.2 billion for the project, which involves three coalmines in the Galilee Basin and a railway line to the coal-loading facilities.

Hope for rail spectrum impasse

Posted Wednesday, 21 September, 2011 by bevans in Rail News

MOBILE carriers and rail stakeholders have been given hope that a compromise might be found in their ongoing stand-off over 1800MHz LTE mobile broadband spectrum.

THE Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has been fighting a public battle to secure guarantees it will retain control of the licences after they start expiring from 2013 as it has earmarked them for billions of dollars of investments in a new unified rail safety and signalling system.

Carriers including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) also hold 1800MHz spectrum assets but they have been placing pressure on the communications regulator to make state rail interests available to them so they can deploy more powerful LTE broadband services.

City Loop safety fears

Posted Thursday, 22 September, 2011 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

SERIOUS structural problems in Melbourne's City Loop - including cracking tunnel walls, concrete corrosion and poor emergency systems - have been ignored by successive state governments and train operators despite repeated warnings.

An investigation by The Age into the rail tunnel system has revealed that emergency exits are padlocked, with keys held only by station managers, not train drivers.

The tunnels are also inadequately equipped for the disabled in the event of a train fire, with emergency walkways too narrow and 1.5 metres below the carriage doors.

Murchison Metals to miss Oakajee deadline

Posted Thursday, 22 September, 2011 by freightgate in Western Australian Rail News

STRUGGLING miner Murchison Metals has admitted it will miss a December 31 deadline to proceed with the $5.9 billion Oakajee port and rail project in Western Australia, creating further doubts over whether the long-delayed infrastructure will ever be built.

The revelation yesterday by Murchison's new chief executive, Greg Martin, will place pressure on WA Premier Colin Barnett to strip Murchison's half-owned development vehicle, Oakajee Port & Rail, of the right to build the troubled project in the Mid-West iron ore region.

However, sources close to the project suggested last night that Mr Barnett might have no choice but to stick with OPR beyond December 31 because it was the only entity with the ability to begin work in the near future.

Metro plan to introduce super-size trains in Melbourne

Posted Thursday, 22 September, 2011 by gauntlet in Victorian Rail News

THE Public Transport Users Association has thrown its support behind a plan to introduce longer trains in a bid to overcome crowded carriages and increasing passenger numbers.

Super-sized trains could run on Melbourne's rails under a Metro plan to cope with booming patronage.

The idea, raised in private talks with the State Government, would involve having trains nine carriages long on the Dandenong line.

Critical flaw in Metro's fire plan

Posted Friday, 23 September, 2011 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE'S train operator has moved to change one of its key emergency plans for the City Loop after discovering a critical flaw in its incident response system.

Metro said yesterday it would train extra people to earth power lines in the event of an emergency in the Loop, after firefighters said they would refuse to enter in certain circumstances.

The Age can reveal that the Metropolitan Fire Brigade has told Metro it will enter the Loop only to attend a train fire if power is cut and overhead lines are earthed at both ends of the incident. The power can be cut remotely, but the earthing must be done manually.

Fines after NSW rail worker's arm cut off by excavator

Posted Friday, 23 September, 2011 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

FOUR companies and a director have been fined almost $500,000 after a NSW rail worker's arm was cut off by an excavator.

The 24-year-old man was welding on the tracks at a rail construction project at Sandgate, in the Hunter Valley, when an excavator ran over his left arm and severed it just below the elbow, WorkCover said in a statement.

His arm was later reattached but the injury has left him with permanent nerve damage.

An investigation by WorkCover found serious safety breaches by the site's contractors, including a number of defects on the rail-mounted excavator, which put the lives of employees at risk.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 24/9/2011

Posted Sunday, 25 September, 2011 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 124 sightings for this week. This is eight sightings more than last week, making a total of 4111 sightings for this year to date. On day 267 last year we had recorded 3742 sightings. This is 369 sightings up on the same time last year.

Developers offer $2 billion to axe level crossings

Posted Monday, 26 September, 2011 by Apocalyptical in Victorian Rail News

THE Baillieu Government will consider an offer by private developers to pay up to $2 billion towards the cost of axing Melbourne's 172 level crossings.

Threatened train strike would damage tourism: Bligh

Posted Monday, 26 September, 2011 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

Queensland's embattled tourism industry can ill afford a transport strike, says Premier Anna Bligh.

Four unions representing Queensland Rail workers will meet this afternoon to discuss possible industrial action over wage claims.

The unions say shoppers and commuters will face significant delays in the lead-up to Christmas if the government doesn't listen to their concerns.

Company releases study into $8.3b coal project

Posted Monday, 26 September, 2011 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Waratah Coal has released an environmental study into an $8.3 billion coal project in central Queensland's Galilee Basin.

The company is planning a series of coal mines near Alpha, west of Rockhampton, linked by a 500-kilometre rail line to the Abbot Point coal port.

Fire destroys part of the ipswich rail workshop museum

Posted Tuesday, 27 September, 2011 by swearle in Queensland Rail News

FIREFIGHTERS have brought a large fire under control that broke out at the Workshops Rail Museum at Ipswich last night.

Queensland Fire and Rescue crews were at the scene of the fire on North St, North Ipswich, which started about 6.20pm.

An old administration and an old engineer's building were destroyed, but crews brought the blaze under control by 8pm. A third building was also damaged.

Queensland Rail workers begin strike talks

Posted Tuesday, 27 September, 2011 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

TRAIN commuters could face major disruptions in the lead-up to Christmas with up to 5000 Queensland Rail workers threatening industrial action over pay and conditions.

Four unions representing QR workers, including controllers and ticket operators, but not drivers, say they will soon begin holding industrial talks and ballots.

The QR city train network carries more than 130,000 commuters daily.

You'll never walk alone

Posted Tuesday, 27 September, 2011 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

With around two crimes a day on Victoria's rail network, is the Baillieu government's costly plan to put armed officers on every Victorian train station at night really necessary?

HUSEYIN Sahin could well be the perfect protective services officer recruit. Friendly and polite, he speaks a second language and received extensive weapon training during his time in the Turkish army. The 49-year-old upholsterer plans to apply to become a PSO, and as part of what is one of the most controversial initiatives in Victoria Police's 158-year history, start guarding Melbourne's rail platforms.

Baillieu raises fast trains as China opts for state base

Posted Tuesday, 27 September, 2011 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

Premier Ted Baillieu has reignited an old debate about the merits of building a very fast train to connect Australia's eastern cities after announcing that Victoria is set to become the regional headquarters for China South Rail, the world's largest manufacturer of electric trains.

Mr Baillieu said the state-owned company was ''certainly very interested'' in pursuing very fast train projects in future, adding that most Australians would like to see the very fast train proposal happen.

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