Showing stories from October 2012

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Western Australia's Tier 3 Rail Network to remain open

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2012 by pandem in Western Australian Rail News

The State Government has reversed its decision to close Tier 3 rail lines, which transport grain from farms to port.

The lines were due to close at the end of the month but the Transport Minister Troy Buswell now says they will remain open until at least October next year.

Public Transport Users Association announces Tony Morton as new president

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by railblogger in Other Transport News

TONY Morton has been appointed Melbourne's new chief public transport campaigner.

Mr Morton, 41 was elected the president of the Public Transport Users Association at the organisation's annual general meeting tonight. He ran unopposed for the role and replaced outgoing president Daniel Bowen, who held the position for nine years.

Nick Greiner has 2020 vision of new road

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

COMMUTERS will have to wait until at least 2020 to benefit from the WestConnex and North West Rail Link.

Despite the wait, work on the $10 billion motorway from Strathfield to Beverly Hills via the airport will start well before the next state election in 2015, helped by the $1.8 billion already pledged by Premier Barry O'Farrell, Infrastructure NSW chairman Nick Greiner said.

Mr Greiner again urged the government to sell the $10- billion-to-$15-billion electricity poles and wires, telling Labor thinktank the McKell Institute that privatisation would not only build infrastructure, it would reduce power prices.

He said former Labor premier Bob Carr and his then treasurer Michael Egan were right to try to sell the assets in 1997, a move defeated by the Electrical Trades Union, a body Mr Greiner said had done more to damage the state than any other organisation.

Department of Transport secretary Jim Betts scored pay increase

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

DEPARTMENT of transport secretary Jim Betts got a $20,000 pay increase while Victoria recorded its worst on-time completion rate for road and rail projects in three years.

He took home at least $400,000 in 2011-12, up from at minimum $380,000 the year before, according to the department's annual report tabled in parliament yesterday.

A long serving fat-cat who left the body after 27 years received a whopping package of at least $500,000.

A further 55 DOT executives were paid between $100,000 and $379,000.

Avalon Airport gets international upgrade

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

Victoria's Premier, Ted Baillieu, has welcomed a Federal Government decision to give Melbourne a second international airport.

But he now wants federal money for a new rail link.

Avalon Airport, which is owned by the Defence Department, currently handles a small number of domestic passenger flights.

Farmers welcome rail lifeline

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The WA Farmers Federation hopes the Government's decision to keep tier three rail lines operating for a further 12 months will mean a brighter future for the transport of grain by rail.

The rail lines were due to be shut this month but an agreement has been reached between the Government, the grain handler CBH and the rail operator, Brookfield to keep the lines open until next October.

Surat rail hearing airs consultation concerns

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The chairman leading an inquiry over a planned rail line in the Surat Basin says a public hearing yesterday was the first time rural lobbyists had met the project's proponents.

Surat Basin Railway plans to construct a 214 kilometre rail corridor linking Wandoan, in the Darling Downs, to the Moura railway line.

It would enable coal from the Surat Basin to be exported from the Port of Gladstone but rural lobby group AgForce has concerns about land access.

Rail line just not viable for now

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

LAST week’s announcement by KiwiRail was a big disappointment for everyone.

Local people worked hard to try and keep the Gisborne to Napier freight line open — and I lobbied hard in the Beehive. While we didn’t get the desired outcome, I managed to secure a boost of many more millions for our roads, which is very welcome.

It’s disappointing but predictable that some people are trying to make political capital out of this issue. But the reality is that successive governments have been in charge while there was a lack of necessary maintenance on the line.

Readying a Rail Bridge Over the Rio Grande

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Residents along the Texas-Mexico border last witnessed a ribbon-cutting for a railway bridge well before World War I, and before Mexico had fought its own revolution.

Expanded coverage of Texas is produced by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news organization. To join the conversation about this article, go to


That is set to change in December, when officials from both sides of the Rio Grande expect the completion of the Brownsville West Rail Bypass International Bridge, an eight-mile project that traverses a rural part of Cameron County in Texas and runs into Tamaulipas State in Mexico. The bridge, which has taken more than 10 years to plan and build, will be the first across the border since the 1900s.

Mitcham Hills community still wants rail bypass, ahead of opening of rail loop

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A HILLS community group remains steadfast in its calls for a rail bypass ahead of the opening of a rail loop that will see double the number of freight trains pass through Mitcham.

The Ambleside Crossing Loop, which will allow 1.8km long freight trains to use the Hills freight line, will open near Balhannah and Verdun by the end of the year.

Mitcham Rail and Transport Committee chairman and Mitcham Cr Mark Ward said the group still wanted the Federal Government to investigate options for a rail bypass to divert freight trains away from the suburbs.

Locomotive T413 on an El Zorro grain train catches fire near Ballan 12-10-2012

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in Gunzelling Reports

The down BG El zorro grain train departed Melbourne with locos G532-T413-T320-T341-T378 just after 20:00 hours (Friday.12.10.12), when the train got to Ballan station when heading towards Ballarat loco T413 (707's) is said to have gone up in flames.

Rail Back on Track's Robert Dow adds to criticism of State Government

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Action group Rail Back on Track has added to the criticism of the State Government's changes to the Centenary Highway upgrade at Springfield.

The changes delete 7.2 km of planned bikeways, in favour of two more northbound lanes between Springfield Parkway and Johnson Rd at Greenabank.

Swiss rail, Apple reach deal on clock

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

SWISS national train operator SBB says it has resolved a dispute with Apple after the tech giant used its famous clock design without permission on a new iPad and iPhone application.

"For the use of the clock face on certain Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones, the parties have negotiated an arrangement that enables Apple to use the SBB station clock under a licence agreement," SBB said in a statement on its website.

NR48 suffers fire damage near Kalgoorlie on 12-10-2012

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in Gunzelling Reports

Received an alert at 1245 this afternoon that NR48 leading 4MP5 was on fire around the 1598km mark (confirmed as 1597.950, so in the Zanthus-Coonana section, a couple of kms east of Coonana) - it had been detached from the train but the crew had used up all their extinguishers, apparently without getting the fire out.

Rub out rail crossing runners: lobby group

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Motorists who ignore warnings at rail crossings should have their driver's licences cancelled for 12 months, the state's leading rail lobby group said yesterday.

Queensland Transport yesterday revealed boom gates on Brisbane's train network were struck by vehicles 80 times in 2011-12.

Already Queensland Transport has taken legal action against 38 people and recovered more than $200,000.

Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow yesterday called for licences to be cancelled.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 13/10/2012

Posted Sunday, 14 October, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 113 sightings for this week. This is 13 sighting more than last week, making a total of 4832 sightings for this year to date. On day 287 last year we had recorded 4479 sightings. This is 353 sightings up on the same time last year.

Rail upgrade to come but it won't save time

Posted Sunday, 14 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Patronage is up 9 per cent, reliability has improved and streamlined safety procedures have carved up to 15 minutes off the train journey from Canberra to Sydney.

Midday services are the most popular and Explorer trains hauling 42 first class and 104 economy seats have been packed during school holidays.

Yet NSW Transport is reluctant to divulge information and John Holland Rail, which began a 10-year contract to manage and upgrade the country network in January, won't comment on the latest track upgrades.

NSW Transport says $2.08 million will be spent on maintenance in the 2012-13 financial year.

Rail probe 'should be independent'

Posted Sunday, 14 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

An investigation into the West Coast Main Line rail fiasco must be transferred to a fully-independent individual or lose all public credibility, Labour has said.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is expected to appear before MPs when the Commons returns on Monday to explain the costly and embarrassing U-turn over the award of a new franchise.

He has already announced a review of the "unacceptable mistakes" by officials that led to the award being halted after Virgin Trains took legal action against the decision not to renew its contract.

Ron Christie: Comments on the Infrastructure NSW report

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by djf01 in Letters to the Editor

Whilst the report reiterates the need for major reform to produce a world class rail system particularly in the area of labour costs, repeating the issue without understanding the causes is not helpful. Nor is it particularly helpful to waste more money on consultants reports (which still seems to go on) to reveal what at least some of the many rail management teams in charge over the last 30 years always knew that other system have for many years instituted the necessary reforms. The underlying cost base at City Rail is too high by any reasonable comparison.

Virgin Rail to continue running West Coast line for now

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Virgin is the favourite to run the London to Scotland services on a short-term contract, which could be as brief as six months. The Department for Transport (DfT) has been examining whether there is a legal case that would allow Virgin, which has operated the West Coast Main Line for the last 15 years, to be awarded an extension or whether the state-owned Directly Operated Railways (DOR) could be mobilised quickly enough to take over the franchise on December 9.

Mr McLoughlin has pledged to inform Parliament of his decision by tomorrow. The West Coast franchise competition was scrapped 12 days ago because of “significant technical flaws” in the way the process was handled by the DfT, which named FirstGroup winner of the competition in August.

Greiner's traffic plan a real choker, says expert

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Read Ron Christie's full analysis of the Infrastructure NSW proposal

A PLAN to build motorways across the west, inner west and south of Sydney is a throwback to 1950s transport planning that will quickly lead to congested roads, says one of the state's most respected transport figures.

In rare public comments, the former chief road builder and rail bureaucrat, Ron Christie, has delivered a scathing critique of the plan being proposed by the head of Infrastructure NSW, Nick Greiner, as part of its 20-year strategy for the state released this month.

Fines for ignoring rail crossing warnings doubled

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Motorists or pedestrians who ignore warnings that a train is approaching a rail crossing and race into it can now be fined $8800, a frustrated Transport Minister Scott Emerson has announced.

The maximum fine has been doubled - up from $4400 - after a string of incidents last week caused accidents and triggered hours of transport congestion.

‘‘I have had a gutful of drivers who ignore the rules and go into these areas causing incidents at our level crossings,’’ Mr Emerson said.

Ninety new train services on way

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Ninety new train services will be added to Melbourne's metro rail network next month, mostly along the Sunbury line, when a new timetable commences on November 18.

But V/Line passengers travelling beyond Sunbury to Bendigo, Echuca and Swan Hill face an extra five to 10 minutes' travel time from that date, to make way for the extra Metro trains travelling on the line.

A handful of extra peak-hour Metro services will also be added on the Craigieburn and Upfield lines, as well as new peak-hour V/Line trains for Melton and Bacchus Marsh.

Get ready for traffic chaos during Belair, Noarlunga rail line closures

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

THE closure of two major rail lines will lead to longer travel times and a move away from public transport, commuters say.

The Belair line will close for six months from January 2 to allow work to separate the commuter and freight lines at Millswood, while the Noarlunga line will close for eight months from the same date for electrification work.

Messenger Community News spoke to commuters at the Goodwood, Mitcham, Blackwood and Noarlunga stations last week about the closures.

$500 million price tag to get CountryLink fleet back on track

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by djf01 in New South Wales Rail News

Rebuilding the ageing CountryLink XPT fleet will cost nearly half a billion dollars, the state's transport tsar says.

Transport for NSW director general Les Wielinga revealed the price tag under questioning at a public hearing in Sydney this afternoon.

It is the first time a dollar figure has been put on what it will cost to keep dozens of towns and cities across NSW, Victoria and Queensland connected by rail.

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