Showing stories from October 2012

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Oil and gas boom boost Union Pacific

Posted Friday, 19 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Union Pacific, operator of the largest US rail network, illustrated the industry’s continued robust earning power in the face of the global downturn when it unveiled record quarterly profits despite a sharp fall in coal volumes.

Union Pacific, which operates in the two-thirds of the US west of the Mississippi, reported a 15 per cent rise in net income compared with last year’s third quarter to $1.04bn on operating revenues up 5 per cent to $5.34bn.

Rail boss frustrated over public debate

Posted Friday, 19 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Rail News

QR NATIONAL chief executive Lance Hockridge has deplored the level of public debate dominating the airwaves, pointing out that it is even distracting large foreign investors from the real issues at hand when they talk to Australian companies. Echoing sentiments from other business leaders, Mr Hockridge said he had become ''terribly disenchanted with the level of debate'', which was masking ''real issues'' facing the Australian economy such as the need to make it more competitive. ''We need a hell of a lot more, frankly, than a national conversation dominated by the latest outrageous comments by the shocks jocks or gender-warring politicians,'' he told a business gathering in Sydney yesterday.

Federal funding sought in rail campaign

Posted Friday, 19 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A group of central west councils is hoping to secure commonwealth funding to help reopen a local rail line which is expected to cost $30 million.

A delegation has met representatives from the Department of Regional Development in Canberra.

The group wants to see the Blayney to Demondrille Line reopened to help transport grain and mining freight.

Contemporary Site Investigations: Flinders Street ballroom

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Australia's oldest railway station is being transformed with contemporary art and you can watch the full process unveil on Federation Square's Big Screen.   In what will be the first creative use of Flinders Street Station in more than 20 years, art collectives Contemporary Site Investigations and A&D Projects will develop a series of creative installations in the hidden spaces throughout the building, 19 - 21 October.

Electrify? And have port owner run rail?

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2012 by JimYarin in New Zealand Rail News

The recent debate around the rail link to Napier has culminated in some crackpot ideas.I think everyone accepts that increased usage is needed to make the business more than marginally profitable, but the idea Gary Hope has to electrify the line would ensure it would not be profitable. Not only would there be millions more in capital costs, there would be added operational costs as well.

Bus usage highlights rail need

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE demand for all-stops bus services running to and from the Gold Coast Airport has renewed the call for the light rail project to be extended south and quickly.

Gold Coast City Council transport manager Alton Twine said the success of an all-stops bus servicing the airport illustrated the demand for a light rail service to the southern Gold Coast.

"It is a reasonable expectation that an express bus service for part of the coastal route would similarly be successful, particularly linking directly to light rail at Broadbeach," he said.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 20/10/2012

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 109 sightings for this week. This is four sighting less than last week, making a total of 4941 sightings for this year to date. On day 294 last year we had recorded 4611 sightings. This is 330 sightings up on the same time last year.

Train, truck collide near Bindoon

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A TRAIN has derailed after colliding with a truck at Mooliabeenee, near Bindoon, spilling more than 1000 litres of diesel.

The train clipped the back of the truck just after 8.30am.

No one was injured but a Fire and Emergency Services Authority spokeswoman said more than 1000 litres of diesel had spilled as a result of the crash.

Butler Station moves step closer as track laid

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by Mouse in Western Australian Rail News

Transport Minister Buswell today inspected progress on the $240million railway expansion project to extend the Joondalup Line 7.5km north, to the new Butler Station.

The visit coincides with the start of work to lay the track and install the overhead traction wiring equipment. The track work starts near the southern end of the Nowergup railcar depot, just north of the existing end-station at Clarkson, and progresses north.

A Trans-Siberian Railway odyssey

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Boarding an international train under the soaring arches of St Pancras Station always produces a shiver of anticipation. But when you’re setting out on an 8,000-mile odyssey across 11 time zones ending in Vladivostok – the sense of occasion is multiplied.

My journey across Russia on the glorious Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express exceeded its promise as one of life’s great travel experiences.

From the moment my partner and I were greeted in London by the expert tour manager from Great Rail Journeys and we began to mingle with the select few passengers who would be sharing our journey, it was luxury and exquisite dining all the way.

$900m road and rail wishlist

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

TASMANIA is seeking nearly $900 million from federal coffers for new road and rail projects.

The wishlist includes $240 million to upgrade railway tracks, $128 million to improve safety on the Midland Highway and $142 million for a Perth bypass and associated works linking the Bass and Midland highways.

Twenty-two projects worth $895 million have been proposed in the State Government's submission for the next round of federal infrastructure funding Nation Building 2 which covers the five years from July 1, 2014.

Amtrak testing high-speed rail

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

CHICAGO — In a modest milestone for President Barack Obama's high-speed rail vision, test runs have started zooming along a small section of the Amtrak line between Chicago and St. Louis at 110 mph.

The 30-mph increase from the route's current top speed is a morale booster for advocates of high-speed rail in America who have watched conservatives in Congress put the brakes on spending for fast train projects they view as expensive boondoggles. But some rail experts question whether the route will become profitable, pose serious competition to air and automobile travel, or ever reach speeds comparable to the bullet trains blasting across Europe and Asia at 150 mph and faster.

Big bonuses paid to Queensland Rail and Translink execs

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail and Translink executives pocketed almost $13 million in "performance bonuses" in 2011-12 despite public transport experiencing one of its worst years on record. Figures published in annual reports show 1490 staff at Queensland Rail received bonuses totalling $12.7 million - up from $9.3 million in 2010-11. Just three Translink executives shared in $147,000 in sweeteners, based on "Translink targets and key performance indicators". The pay top-ups came despite a series of network meltdowns that stranded and delayed thousands of commuters, prompting a "fare free day" that cost around $2 million.

Light rail carpark 5km from station

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Tram and Light Rail News

THE Gold Coast City Council is eyeing off a block of land at Parkwood for a 6000-space park and ride stop for the light rail -- but it will not be within walking distance of the nearest station.Business leaders fear patronage on the $1.2 billion light rail will suffer without proper parking facilities.

Council's city planning boss Cameron Caldwell said a Smith St block of land had been identified for a park and ride facility but it would have to be for the unconfirmed stage two of the light rail.

Bathurst commuter link on track for success

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

More than 200 people have jumped on board the first commuter rail service from Bathurst to Sydney

The inaugural service left yesterday morning after the local state MP Paul Toole cut the red ribbon.

The New South Wales Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian was on the platform in Sydney to welcome the travellers.

Light rail, climate top of wish-list for Greens

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The Greens will take a policy wish-list which includes the construction of a light rail system and greenhouse gas reductions to their negotiations with the major parties.

The minor party may lose two of their four seats after Saturday's territory election but retains the balance of power in the Assembly.

Greens Leader Meredith Hunter said the ultimate make-up of the Assembly would not be known for some time and her colleague Amanda Bresnan still had a chance of holding onto the final seat in Brindabella.

Ms Hunter said policy would be the Greens' starting point with Labor and the Liberals over the make-up of the next government.

Castle Hill Showground finally safe from North West Rail Link construction

Posted Tuesday, 23 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

CASTLE Hill Showground users breathed a collective sigh of relief upon hearing that construction of the nearby North West Rail Link station would have minimal impact upon the community facilities.

Following consultation with Peter Gooch, president of the Hills District Agricultural Society, the government announced that the location of the station and the construction site have been moved to reduce impacts on the Showground.

Mr Gooch said he was over the moon that "this little gem" of a showground would remain largely intact.

SA's Transnet signs multi-billion rand deal with Chinese rail company

Posted Tuesday, 23 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Transnet has inked a deal to purchase 95 locomotives from Chinese company, CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, to replace a portion of its ageing fleet.

Siyabonga Gama, the CEO of Transnet's Freight Rail business, said that the value of the deal was confidential but that an approximate number was R2.6bn.

According to the CSR website, which announced it had won the tender on 12 September, the deal was worth $400m which is closer to R3.4bn at current exchange rates.

Minister calls railway workers 'bludgers'

Posted Tuesday, 23 October, 2012 by djf01 in New South Wales Rail News

In May, Ms Berejiklian said 750 middle managers would be made redundant at the train operator as part of an effort to cut costs and overhaul the culture of the rail operator. But more than five months later, she has signed off on fewer than 400 redundancies.

Push for Flagstaff to open 7 days

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

CITY traders and residents are pushing to have Flagstaff railway station re-opened on weekends, arguing its closure has a deadening effect on the life of the north-west end of the CBD.

Flagstaff is the fifth-busiest railway station on the metropolitan network but the only one not open seven days a week.
Kirsty Chiaplias, owner of the Workers' Food Room on Little Lonsdale Street, said the north-west end of the city was a ghost town on Saturdays and Sundays, which discouraged traders from opening.

''If the train station was open and the council supported this end of the city I would open and other businesses would open [on weekends] because we pay enough rent to justify it,'' Ms Chiaplias said.

War of words on light rail

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Tram and Light Rail News

TASMANIA'S Sustainable Transport Minister Nick McKim is standing by his commitment for light rail to Hobart's northern suburbs despite criticism from the federal independent member for Denison Andrew Wilkie.

Mr Wilkie said the Tasmanian Greens were not being fair dinkum about restoring passenger rail between Hobart and the northern suburbs.
"The Tasmanian Greens are all talk and no action on light rail," Mr Wilkie said.

Norfolk Southern rail hit by fuel switch

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Norfolk Southern, one of the two main railroad operators in the eastern US, broke the industry's run of robust results when it announced third-quarter net income down 27 per cent as natural gas displaced its coal traffic.

NS, which handles coal moving from the Pennsylvania and Kentucky coalfields to power stations, steel mills and ports, also warned the fourth quarter was likely to reflect the weak trends of September.

Peak rail services pick up the pace

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

GEELONG rail commuters will be marginally better off when a new V/Line timetable comes into effect next month.

Three morning peak services to Melbourne will run a total of four minutes faster, while a number of off-peak services will take longer, according to the timetable.

In all, five services will arrive up to three minutes earlier than the previous timetable, while seven services will take up to six minutes longer.

Maldon Dombarton rail link work gets push from Wollondilly Council

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

WOLLONDILLY Council has met with other key organisations in a bid to push the recommencement of construction on the Maldon to Dombarton rail line.

The line was partially built by the state government from 1983 to 1988 before it was abandoned because of doubts over its economic value.

Infrastructure NSW's State Infrastructure Strategy, released this month, stated the line would not be needed for another 10 years and recommended it be predominantly funded by the private sector. If completed, the line would be a major transport link between Wollondilly shire and Wollongong for freight and, hopefully, passengers.

Union fears over train driver fatigue

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Laws to prevent fatigue among NSW train drivers could be weakened under proposed reforms, the national rail union says.

The reforms could lead to drivers working for longer than 10 hours at a stretch, according to the Rail, Tram and Bus Union.

The union was responding to the draft regulatory impact statement of new national rail safety laws, which will replace state-based laws.

The states have agreed to the new laws, but the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, won an agreement to retain stronger fatigue management provisions in NSW that were put in place following the Waterfall train disaster.

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