Showing stories from October 2012

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CityLink tunnels re-opened

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

Cars have begun to travel through the Burnley and Domain tunnels after a day of traffic chaos.

CityLink said vehicles started entering the tunnels about 4.45pm today. It is believed just two lanes are operating in each tunnel at present.

CityLink operator Transurban does not yet know the cause of the technical fault that led it to close down the tunnels this morning, all but shutting down Melbourne's road network in the same move.

Commuters going loopy on Altona railway

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

IT SEEMS life is anything but a beach for train travellers on the Altona loop. The latest quarterly customer satisfaction survey confirms the bayside suburb's commuters are among the most disgruntled in Melbourne.

Travellers on the single-line track - which branches off the Werribee line at Newport and loops through Altona and Seaholme before rejoining the Werribee line at Laverton - registered a satisfaction rating of 62.9 out of 100 for the June quarter.

That was almost four points below the network-wide average of 66.8 and nine points below the Alamein line, which has the city's happiest train travellers with a rating of 71.9.

Reality of rail crossing dangers

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

EIGHT Queensland families a week run the risk of being devastated by death or injury because of unnecessary risks at Queensland Rail level crossings.

Queensland Rail's annual report details how there were 408 near misses in the 2011-12 financial year involving motorists or pedestrians driving or running in front of trains at level crossings or rail corridors.

This is despite protection - such as boom gates, flashing lights, stop signs and give-way signs - at each of the 1392 public level crossings on the network.

Works to derail Adelaide's train services

Posted Friday, 5 October, 2012 by Mouse in South Australian Rail News

ADELAIDE'S railway services will be severely disrupted in the new year as the lines are prepared for electrification and undergo upgrades.

The Noarlunga and Belair lines will be most affected, though closure of Adelaide Railway Station in January will impact on all train commuters.

Adelaide Railway Station will be closed from January 2 to February 3, taking advantage of the quietest time of the year to allow electrification works and rebuilding of the city rail yard.

End of the line approaching for Countrylink

Posted Friday, 5 October, 2012 by railblogger in Rail News

Countrylink trains may be handed to a private operator or stop running altogether under a plan handed to the NSW government.

The proposal is buried in the long-awaited Infrastructure NSW report released yesterday by former premier Nick Greiner.

Time is running out for the government to determine the fate of the iconic Countrylink XPT trains, the majority of which are now nearly 30 years old despite being designed to last just 25. They were only ever meant to travel 6.25 million kilometres but have notched up nearly 10 million.

collision between two trucks working on repairing the Joondalup rail line

Posted Saturday, 6 October, 2012 by pandem in Western Australian Rail News

A collision between two trucks working on repairing the Joondalup rail line has caused further congestion on the Mitchell Freeway heading into the city.

Rail conservationist had trains in his veins

Posted Saturday, 6 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Bernard Holden devoted his life to railways: as a manager with the Southern and British Railways; operating trains close to the Japanese front line during the Burma campaign; and helping save the Bluebell Railway, a heritage steam line in Sussex.

When British Rail closed the Lewes-East Grinstead route in 1958, four students called a meeting at Haywards Heath to launch what became the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. Holden, the BR executive they contacted, encouraged them and was invited to chair the meeting, emerging to lead the project for half a century. His support, expertise and connections were vital, as BR had to be convinced of the group’s viability, professionalism and commitment to safety.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 6/10/2012

Posted Sunday, 7 October, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 100 sightings for this week. This is 19 sighting less than last week, making a total of 4719 sightings for this year to date. On day 280 last year we had recorded 4342 sightings. This is 377 sightings up on the same time last year.

East Coast residents rallying to save rail link

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Angry East Coast residents have launched a last ditch attempt to keep their rail link after an announcement to close a route between Gisborne and Napier.

KiwiRail confirmed last week the service would close, saying the $4 million cost to repair the track after a storm in May was too expensive, as well as the $8 million a year to keep the line open.

However, supporters say the decision was based on inaccurate economic data, and they are taking it on themselves to raise cash for an independent economic analysis.

With Broad and Greiner driving us, chaos is just around the corner

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Paul Broad and Nick Greiner, of Infrastructure NSW, think we are in love with our cars. However, for many of us the affair ended some time ago. The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (Report 128, 2012) examined trends in car use in 25 countries, finding that after rapid growth in the 1960s and '70s, growth in traffic per capita has consistently slowed, with many countries approaching saturation.

In the US and Britain, total car travel has actually declined since the global financial crisis. Even in Australia, which has a robust economy, per capita car use is falling. Total traffic volumes in the City of Sydney peaked in 2002 despite considerable growth in jobs and population since.

Sydney flights will end if fast rail arrives: report

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

If high-speed rail goes ahead instead of a second Sydney airport being built, airlines will not fly between Sydney and Canberra.

A report to be issued today says airlines may try and compete to stem the loss of passengers to high-speed train on the lucrative route between the two capital cities.

But this would leave the busy route with such a big cut to frequency it would be unviable and airline services would no longer exist.

This is the view of the Canberra Airport, which is issuing the report on the impact of a second Sydney airport not being built, which is based on the ''High Speed Rail Study phase one'' and ''Joint Study on Aviation in the Sydney Region''.

Queensland sells $1.5b QR National stake

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland government will sell a $1.5 billion stake in QR National, with the rail-freight company planning to buy back two-thirds of the shares.

The government said the deal involved the sale of $1 billion of shares via a selective buyback to QR National and a $500 million placement to a small number of cornerstone investors.

QR National has offered to buy back the $1 billion share package back for $3.47 a share, in line with its closing price last Friday.

The news sent QR National shares up 5.2 per cent to $3.65 in early trade, as the company's shares had been under pressure not only from a weak outlook for the coal market but also on anticipation of a big selldown by the state.

Model rail buffs back on track after Qld floods

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Railway Stories

A small group of Queensland model railway enthusiasts at Nambour, on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is back on track after devastating floods earlier this year.

Flooding earlier this year almost wiped out the Sunshine Coast Railway Modellers miniature train park.

The water was up to four metres deep and it covered the site.

High-speed rail is closer to reality in Colorado

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Somebody has to go first. For the low-stakes gamble of traffic roundabouts, it was Vail. When town officials pulled the trigger, skeptics predicted mayhem. But the first convergence of snow and tourists in December 1995 testified to a home run. That success rippled across the West and beyond.

In the much bigger gamble of true high-speed rail, California may be first in the United States. In July, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that authorizes California to begin selling $2.6 billion in bonds to qualify for $3.2 billion in federal funding. The pool of money will finance the first 130-mile segment of a planned 432-mile network linking Southern California with San Francisco and Sacramento and major cities between.

Vline Albury Passenger train collides with vehicle at West Wodonga

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A Vline passenger train has collided with a vehicle at a level crossing near West Wodonga. It is understood the car is still wedged under the train. Police and Ambulance staff are in attendance.

It is not know what injuries if any have been sustained by the passengers of the train or indeed the driver or passengers of the vehicle.

QLD Govt to sell rail assets

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE Newman Government announced the sale of $1.5 billion in shares of QR National this morning, reducing its stake in the rail freight company from 34% to 16%.

The deal involves a sale of $1 billion of shares via a selective buyback to QR National and a $500 million placement to a small number of cornerstone investors.

Killed by a train, and no one knows who he is

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Backpackers and hostel owners could hold the key to identifying a young man, possibly an international traveller, who was hit by a train and killed in Melbourne's east last month.

More than three weeks after the man, believed to be in his early 20s, died near East Camberwell railway station, police are no closer to establishing his identity and no one has come forward to report him missing.

Senior Constable Leah Bound said the man was believed to have stepped out of an alcove near the railway station at 11am on September 14 into the path of an oncoming train and was killed. Police say his death is not suspicious.

Priority on roads, not rail

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE recently released Infrastructure NSW report has failed to assess adequately the benefits of more public transport across the state, instead focusing on 'roads, roads, roads', said Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) President Karin Kolbe.

The Northern Star spoke to Ms Kolbe, a campaigner for the use of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line for a localised 'light rail' service, about the implications of the report on TOOT's transport vision.

"Their focus is trying to justify roads," said Ms Kolbe. "It seems that they've talked themselves out of any rail full stop, but they don't actually say why," said Ms Kolbe.

Taking to the rails to discover Canada

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

FOR anyone whose usual experience of rail travel involves robotic PA-system apologies and cattle-class strap-hanging, the Rocky Mountaineer's departure from Vancouver is almost overwhelming.

Kilted pipers stand on the platform, blaring out a God-speed fanfare, as 22 enormous gold and blue carriages gleam in the early-morning sun, fronted by a trio of leviathan locomotives. A steward welcomes you with a ceremonial cocktail, then, with a stirring blast of that iconic North American railroad horn, the mighty convoy creaks into life.

Obama's Dream Is Abe Lincoln's Train, Not Amtrak

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

U.S. President Barack Obama wants to jump-start a world-class high-speed rail network, but Republican candidate Mitt Romney wants to end Amtrak’s run as a government- controlled, subsidized rail company.

This debate mirrors the larger conflict between Obama’s optimistic vision of a public sector that enriches our lives, and Romney’s skepticism about what the government actually delivers.

A rail loop or Queen St full of buses

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

You would like to think that the gaggle of planners trying to fulfil Mayor Len Brown's dream of creating the world's most liveable city might have the odd coffee with the transport planners designing the world's most excellent public transport network.

But returning for a second wade through the dense tome that is the draft auckland regional public transport plan, I'm having my doubts.

Transport NSW's $3M ticket to TeamBinder

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

In May this year, the NSW government purchased QA Software's TeamBinder application for AU$3 million, and which followed a two-year tendering process, according to QA Software CEO and co-founder Russell Mortimer.

The application was implemented in July, and is already being used to share documents in the early stages for the project to construct a new rail that services Sydney’s Northern Suburbs, including the AU$8.5 billion North West rail line.

Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash: Boy rescuer remembers devastation

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Sixty years on from one of the UK's worst train disasters, survivors, eyewitnesses and rescuers have gathered at a north-west London station to remember the victims.

Fourteen-year-old Gilbert Powell had just boarded a bus for Willesden Technical College on a foggy morning in 1952 when he heard "a great big smash" as three trains collided in the space of a few minutes at Harrow and Wealdstone station.

The scout jumped out of the bus and rushed to platform six and came face to face with "a massive pile" of train carriages, one of which had brought down part of a footbridge.

Response to Gisborne rail report fundraising 'overwhelming'

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Plans by a Gisborne lobby group to seek an expert independent economic analysis of the KiwiRail report used to justify the Gisborne-Napier railway line have had a boost with nearly $8,000 raised over the weekend.

Gisborne Rail Action Group member and District Councillor Manu Caddie said the response has been overwhelming. The group hopes to raise at least $10,000 to pay for independent economic analysis of the business case for the line.

$11b plan to build a rail link to Canberra

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

IT will cost $11 billion to build and passengers will be able to get into central Sydney in just 57 minutes.

These claims will be made in a report to be released today by Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron as he calls for the high-speed rail service to be built, linking the capital with the Harbour city and removing the need for a second Sydney airport.

The plan to upgrade Canberra Airport and the rail link is backed by Premier Barry O'Farrell.

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