Showing stories from October 2012

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EMD power shines in Caterpillar colors

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

Caterpillar, the parent company of Progress Rail Services, of which Electro-Motive Diesel is a subsidiary, showcased a new EMD SD70ACe locomotive decked out in familiar yet new-for EMD colors—Caterpillar’s distinctive yellow, black, and gray scheme—at two venues during the past month: its 52,000-square-foot MINExpo International® 2012 exhibit in Las Vegas, and the Caterpillar Visitor Center grand opening event in Peoria, Ill., on Oct. 20.

At MINExpo, held the week of Sept. 24, the locomotive “gave the mining world an opportunity to explore the railroad technology that transports minerals to market,” Caterpillar said.

Road-rail scheme 'could save $1b'

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

The Government could save more than $1 billion by shelving its Puhoi to Wellsford motorway extension plan and instead installing a rail link with Marsden Point and upgrading State Highway 1 from Puhoi to Whangarei.

That's the view of councillor Aaron Edwards, who has joined his Whangarei District Council colleague councillor Brian McLachlan in calling on the Government to take a new look at the $1.7 billion motorway extension plan and instead put money into ensuring the Northland rail line is retained.

Rollingstock Contract to China

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by GrahamH in Tasmanian Rail News

State owned-company TasRail has awarded a multi-million dollar contract for its new fleet of wagons to a Chinese-owned company.
China Northern Railways has won the contract to replace TasRail's 40-year-old rolling stock.

About $20 million will be spent buying 120 container wagons, 36 ore, 18 cement and 17 coal wagons.

City Loop safety slammed

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by merlin in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne's underground rail Loop is a disaster waiting to happen and the city's busiest railway station had no effective fire plan until very recently, the state's public sector watchdog has said.

Underground rail safety maintenance ignored

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A damning report from Victoria's ombudsman has found there has been inadequate maintenance of the safety infrastructure on the Melbourne underground rail loop for much of the past ten years.

It found the problems were identified in seven engineering reports over 11 years.

More than 700 train services travel through all four underground tunnels and an estimated 130,000 people use the three loop stations.

Truck crashes into rail bridge, causing 30 minute delays

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Trains are suspended between Morayfield and Caboolture stations after a truck hit a rail bridge north of Brisbane, causing 30 minute delays for rail commuters.

One of the world's largest coal mines gets go ahead

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Planning Assessment Commission has approved one of the biggest open-cut coal mines in the world in north-west New South Wales.

Whitehaven's Maules Creek Project, near the Leard State Forest, will extract 12 million tonnes of raw coal a year.

Whitehaven expects production at the mine to start mid-2013, with operations predicted to last around 30 years.

NSW signs up to national rail safety law

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The number of jurisdictions signed up to national rail regulations has grown to three, with New South Wales passing legislation yesterday. 

The Rail Safety (Adoption of National Law) Bill, which will establish the National Rail Safety Regulator (NRSR), cleared both houses of Parliament with bipartisan support. 

NSW joins South Australia and Tasmania in passing the reform, with other jurisdictions expected to do the same in the coming months to allow the regulator to begin operating on January 1 next year. 

It will replace the seven regulatory authorities and three investigative agencies currently in place.

Central Victoria celebrates 150 years of rail

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Ceremonies have been held in central Victoria to mark 150 years of rail services.

The line between Melbourne and central Victoria cost more than three million pounds to build and the first train arrived in Bendigo in October 1862.

To mark the 150th anniversary, the event was recreated yesterday, complete with a refurbished steam train.

Railway fuelled by donation

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by fred59 in Queensland Rail News

MARY Valley Heritage Railway volunteers are doing what they can to keep the tourist attraction running. And, at this point, every little bit counts.

Outcry over railway disabled access

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Train stations in Brisbane with no wheelchair access are at the centre of a social media storm sparked by one woman's frustrated Facebook post.

Nearly 1000 people have reacted to Nuala Furtado's comments shared last night after she caught the train with a disabled friend and discovered firsthand the transport challenge her friend faced daily. “We got to [Sherwood] train station and I said, 'oh, this is the suburb that you live in,' and he said 'yes I know but for my entire life that I've been living in this suburb, I've never been able to get off at Sherwood because it's not wheelchair accessible,” Ms Furtado told ABC612 Brisbane this morning.

“Then he explained what he usually does, which is to get to Corinda, the next stop, hop off and then get the elevator up, and then his mum has to drive him home. So that's what we did.”

However the lift was broken, so Ms Furtado climbed the stairs to the ticket office to alert staff to the problem.

Newman challenged to get Rattler train back on track

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has been challenged to help keep a Gympie tourist icon, the Mary Valley Rattler steam team, operational.

The Mary Valley Rattler service, in the state's south-east, has been suspended for the second time this year after two derailments.

Wedding on Wheels! Palace on Wheels and Rajasthan Royals to host weddings

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by kunvar in International Rail News

The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC), already popular overseas for selling the state as a sought after destination for weddings in age-old & magnificent forts, palaces and havelis, now plans to use its two luxury trains - Palace on Wheels and Rajasthan Royals on Wheels - for marriages from next year.

State Government rapped over train door safety

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

A PLAN to fix train doors has not been developed more than a year after the issue was raised, the transport safety regulator says.

Transport Safety Victoria has placed a condition on train operator Metro's accreditation: repair the doors on 96 Comeng trains from 2017 when the first train reaches the 35-year life expectancy or replace them.

It comes after TSV issued a safety notice to the Transport Department in September last year requiring the doors be fixed as they can be opened while the train is moving.

The issue was also highlighted in a scathing Ombudsman's report tabled in Parliament yesterday, which told how the City Loop was a ticking time bomb and blasted Transport Department officials who got seven reports over 11 years but taken "little effective action" to fix problems.

Fare satisfaction up but has long way to go

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Commuter satisfaction with TransLink fares edged higher in the past four months, according to figures released yesterday, but the score of 50 out of 100 remains well short of benchmarks.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the TransLink Tracker results for the first quarter (July to September) had seen satisfaction with affordability improve following record lows from January to March.

He said a $9 million investment in affordability, particularly the initiative offering free travel after nine journeys in a week, was a decisive factor in lifting the satisfaction score from 45 to 50.

Scores are out of a possible 100, with levels of 75 and above classed "best practice" and 60 and above considered "satisfactory".

Off the rails: Uncertainty over Airtrain monopoly

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Buses could provide public transport direct to Brisbane Airport after 2014, according to Brisbane City Council.

The restricted timetable of the Airtrain service, which has a virtual monopoly on public transport to and from the airport, has long been an issue for travellers.

The contract between the state Transport Department and the rail provider is confidential and it appears unclear when the monopoly could be broken, with a spokesman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson saying Airtrain had exclusive rights to service the airport until 2036.

However in April 2011, council told the Productivity Commission that a change in the contract to allow the introduction of buses was possible after 2014.

Ditch cars for rail or 'cities will pay price

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

AUSTRALIA'S cities will become less productive and less competitive than their global rivals unless governments abandon their fixation with building new roads and embrace rail projects.

The warning comes from three transport and sustainability academics, who say, given energy costs will soar over the next 50 years, the golden age of car-based cities is over.

Peter Newman, an authority on urban sustainability with Perth's Curtin University, warns that Australia risks a catastrophic drop in productivity if cities press ahead with road projects such as Sydney's proposed $10 billion WestConnex motorway.

Professor Newman told The Australian WestConnex, which is set to link Sydney's west with the CBD and the airport, was the "last gasp of the dying baby boomer world's addiction to oil".

"There is no economic rationale for WestConnex rather than some vague idea of connecting a lot of loose ends, as if building a transport network were some kind of work of art," Professor Newman said.

Railways signs MoU with Spain for high speed rail service

Posted Saturday, 27 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Railways today entered into an agreement with Spain for exploring possibilities of introducing bullet train service and improving safety features in train operations in the country.

The MoU was signed by Railway Minister C P Joshi and visiting Spain Minister of Public Works and Transport Ana Pastor Julian for technical cooperation in the rail sector.

Spain has a modern railway network linking all major towns and cities.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 27/10/2012.

Posted Sunday, 28 October, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 107 sightings for this week. This is two sighting less than last week, making a total of 5048 sightings for this year to date. On day 301 last year we had recorded 4737 sightings. This is 311 sightings up on the same time last year.

Jolimont rail yard deck back on track

Posted Sunday, 28 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

AMBITIOUS plans to link Melbourne's arts and sporting precincts with a deck over Jolimont rail yards, creating a new riverfront precinct to the east of Federation Square, have been revived by the Baillieu government.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy confirmed that a formal proposal would be launched by Major Projects Victoria, following community consultation and discussions with urban planners and developers.

A similar vision by former premier John Brumby was shelved last year by the Baillieu government, after more than $1 million had been spent on feasibility, engineering and design reports since 2006.

Mr Guy said the previous research would be incorporated into a new planning framework for the site bounded by Flinders and Russell streets, Batman Avenue and Birrarung Marr.

White Bay rail lines reprieve

Posted Monday, 29 October, 2012 by JimYarin in New South Wales Rail News

THE Department of Planning has issued a rebuke to Sydney Ports Corporation over the destruction of rail tracks at White Bay that residents had hoped to preserve for a light-rail line. About a month ago Sydney Ports Corporation started to tear up disused rail tracks at White Bay for the construction of an access road to a new cruise terminal on the site. This alarmed residents who had hoped to retain the tracks and the corridor for a possible light-rail extension from Lilyfield to the Balmain peninsula.

Grain project stymied by government

Posted Monday, 29 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The owner of a grain receival site at Coonamble says he's been unable to move tonnes of grain because due to bureaucratic red-tape.

The Agrigrain facility opened earlier this month and its silos are full of faba beans ready for export.

The director David Ringland says while he has been given permission to use a recently upgraded rail line between Dubbo and Coonamble, Transport New South Wales has not signed-off on it.

Light rail may determine who governs ACT

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Tram and Light Rail News

he sole Greens politician in the ACT has hinted that light rail could be a pivotal issue when he comes to decide who to back to form government. Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury holds the balance of power in the ACT, after the two major parties ran a dead heat and won eight seats each in the election. The vote count was only finalised on Saturday and just 41 votes across the Territory separate the Liberal and Labor parties on primary vote. Serious discussions have begun between the party leaders and Mr Rattenbury to decide who will govern for the next four years.

FIFO worker struck by lightning in the Pilbara

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A fly-in fly-out worker remains in hospital after being struck by lightning, south-east of Port Hedland in Western Australia.

McConnell Dowell says two of its employees were injured as a result of a lightning strike during construction work on Fortescue Metals Group's Solomon rail line on Sunday.

One man was struck directly while the other was knocked to the ground by the force of the lightning.

Union 'disappointed' about Moreton Bay rail link decision

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) says it hopes the State Government will reconsider blocking Queensland Rail (QR) from the tender process of the Moreton Bay rail link.

The RTBU has appealed for Federal Government intervention after QR was blocked from a tender process for track-laying work on the new Moreton Bay rail link.

The Commonwealth has contributed about $800 million for the $1.1 billion project between Petrie and Kippa-Ring to the north of Brisbane.

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