News

 

Showing stories from May 2012

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Our future: Slow trains, slow death

Posted Tuesday, 1 May, 2012 by snowy446 in Gunzelling Reports

The Illawarra will suffer if the NSW Government does not significantly improve travel times from Wollongong to Sydney in the next 20 years, the region's leading infrastructure body has warned. The University of Wollongong's SMART Infrastructure Facility has urged the State Government to cut an average 25 minutes off road and rail travel times between the two cities by 2030, to safeguard the region's growth.

Truckies' drug use soars, police reveal

Posted Tuesday, 1 May, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

One in eight tested truck drivers were found to be drug-affected in the past year, more than twice as many as last year, Victoria Police has revealed.

Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said "rogue companies" were partly to blame for the spike and were not doing enough to crackdown on a drug culture within the trucking industry.

"The harder some employers push the more likely it is that these drivers will take drugs to extend the time they can stay on the road," Mr Lay told radio station 3AW.

Mr Lay said the increase in the rate of detected drugged truck drivers from one in 17 in 2011 to one in eight this year, was also due to improved policing.

Delays for commuters after man receives shock at Dutton Park rail station

Posted Tuesday, 1 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

TRAIN commuters can expect delays today after a man came in contact with powerlines at Dutton Park train station early this morning.

Translink are advising commuters to take extra time when travelling on the Beenleigh and Gold Coast lines.

Passengers passing through the station can expect 10 minute delays at this stage, which are likely to increase closer to peak hour.

Rail line hope for Budget

Posted Tuesday, 1 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A TRAIN station in Grovedale and hundreds of new carriages will be part of a $336 million package in today's state Budget.

It is understood the Budget will include hundreds of millions of dollars for new V/Line and Metro train carriages to be built in Victoria, generating hundreds of jobs, with a further $8.4 million for a new station.

The Geelong Advertiser understands more than $170 million will be invested in regional rail maintenance passenger and freight to address the maintenance backlog and improve train reliability.

Puffing Billy - State Budget 2012

Posted Tuesday, 1 May, 2012 by xxxxlbear in Victorian Rail News

The Victorian Coalition Government today announced new funding of $4.4 million for Puffing Billy to upgrade priority railway infrastructure and enhance rail safety over the next four years.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher said despite the challenges facing Victoria, the Coalition Government recognised the importance of providing new funding for maintenance of Puffing Billy Railway.

Thousands sign petition to keep rail line

Posted Tuesday, 1 May, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Gisborne's Mayor will tomorrow deliver a petition to Parliament that's signed by 8000 people, calling for Government to save Gisborne's railway line.

The future of the line between Gisborne and Napier remains uncertain as KiwiRail continues its work to assess its long-term economic viability.

Government fixated on the costly east-west link

Posted Wednesday, 2 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

WHERE it really counts, planning for big infrastructure projects, the government appears incapable of making a rational decision.

It is fixated on a determination to make the construction of the east-west link connecting EastLink to CityLink even though it is already floating the idea that in order to make it pay as a Public Private Partnership it would, for at least part of its length, put the road on stilts rather than underground and incorporate off-ramps to the city.

Little relief for Metro commuters

Posted Wednesday, 2 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE public transport commuters received little relief in this year's budget, which revealed the cost of the troubled myki ticketing system has blown out by another $150 million.

Transport advocates have slammed the budget for its lack of investment in improving service delivery or reducing overcrowding that plagues passengers daily.

While the budget contains millions for new V/Line trains, Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said it virtually ignored Melbourne passengers. ''If you're on Metro there's very little for you,'' he said. ''If you're on the buses there's very little for you, if you're on the trams there's nothing at all for you.

Hefty fine after railway death

Posted Wednesday, 2 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A COMPANY has been fined $200,000 for a railway accident near Newcastle that claimed the life of a Campbelltown labourer and injured four other workers, including one who lost part of his arm.

Agamalu Iosefa — pictured with six-month-old daughter Manaia — died when a number of steel rail lines sprang free while workers were unloading a 34-tonne panel at Farley on March 24, 2009.

The panel, known as a switch track, contained six rail lines about 12 metres long and was being installed on a rail corridor near Maitland managed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, the NSW Industrial Court heard yesterday.

The panel was lifted onto the track when contractors realised they did not align.

QR National details Hexham rail hub plan

Posted Wednesday, 2 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

QR National has unveiled plans for a $100 million Hexham rail hub it says will reduce Hunter Valley Coal Chain congestion and assist with the proposed Fassifern to Hexham bypass.

The Queensland-based rail haulage company hopes to lodge a development application next month for a fuelling and maintenance centre and six coal-train sidings, or ‘‘relief roads’’ at Hexham.

The extra rail lines, which would be about 1.7 kilometres long, would ease refuelling congestion at Kooragang Island and maintenance queues at Carrington.

QR National is working through regulatory and environmental approvals for the proposal with the state government and the Office of Environment and Heritage to identify environmental reserve areas.

Union wants more Sydney transport staff

Posted Wednesday, 2 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Sydney's public transport needs more staff to function better, a transport union says.

In its submission to a NSW government panel shaping a master plan for Sydney's transport, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW says privatisation would only make the system worse.

"Every time there's been something sold in NSW, it usually ends up costing the people of NSW more money and ultimately doesn't produce the service that they currently get," the union's secretary Alex Claassens told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said the NSW government had a moral and electoral responsibility to take the union's submission seriously.

Biffo? No. From tram-ride trauma to joyful exchange

Posted Wednesday, 2 May, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

A cyber vigilante railing against corporate arrogance has met an unlikely public-relations match after a bizarre ride on Melbourne's notorious 86 tram.

Motivated by last year's Gasp fashion store public relations scandal, Thornbury blogger Jonathan Rivett started charting his complaints to well-known people and companies, ranging from Kyle Sandilands to Jim Beam.

And after a Friday the 13th tram ride from Bundoora to Docklands with a crazed drunk through Melbourne's inner north Fitzroy, Mr Rivett thought he had grist for a colourful complaint to Yarra Trams.

Former Premier says rail line makes Newcastle look like Beirut

Posted Wednesday, 2 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Infrastructure New South Wales Chair and former Premier Nick Greiner has compared Newcastle to troubled city Beirut, while discussing the controversial rail line issue at a Sydney forum.

Mr Greiner was a keynote speaker at the Hunter Valley Research Foundations annual Sydney luncheon.

He described plans by billionaire mining magnate Nathan Tinkler for a coal loading terminal as 'nonsense' and 'stupid', before saying the project was never going to get approval.

Railway antics alarm onlookers

Posted Thursday, 3 May, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

CHILDREN and young teenagers have been touching coal trains and playing on the railway crossing beneath the railway bridge, between Throssell and Forrest Streets, according to worried locals.

They have raised the alarm about the unfenced railway corridor running through Collie’s central business district.

Collie Shire Council chief executive officer Jason Whiteaker said he was not aware of complaints made about children playing in the unfenced area.

Plot heads off the rails

Posted Thursday, 3 May, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE new Transport and Main Roads Director-General has been dragged into a plot to stop the light rail on the Gold Coast, even as the State Government reaffirmed its commitment to the $1.2 billion project.

In a letter emailed to mayor-elect Tom Tate, leading light rail protester Alan Midwood alleges the LNP Government's newly appointed Director-General of Transport and Main Roads Michael Caltabiano asked opponents of the project to "lay low" until after the council election before pushing for a review into stage one of the project.

Transport app rage sparks agency rethink

Posted Thursday, 3 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Public Transport Victoria has bowed to public pressure and will re-introduce its old public transport iPhone app after a flood of complaints from users who branded its replacement as "horrible" and the "worst app ever".

The old version will be available in Apple's App Store alongside the new version which was released last month to the dismay of many public transport users who have since taken to the internet to condemn it.

Public Transport Victoria chief executive Ian Dobbs today said developers would continue to work on the new app to iron out any problems, and admitted his organisation had "made an error" in the way it had introduced the new version.

China rail ministry lost $1.1 billion in first-quarter: report

Posted Thursday, 3 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

(Reuters) - China's heavily-indebted Ministry of Railways suffered a loss of 7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) in the first quarter, local media reported on Thursday, after steep debt repayments of more than 28 billion yuan depleted its cash holdings.

The Beijing Times reported that although the ministry recorded revenue of 210.9 billion yuan for January-March, high operating costs including 28.4 billion in capital and interest payments pushed it into the red.

China's national auditor said in March that it had uncovered evidence of fraud, waste, mismanagement and irregular accounting and procurement totaling billions of yuan at the rail ministry's flagship high-speed Beijing-Shanghai railway, feeding public anger that peaked when high-speed trains collided on a new line last July, killing 40 people.

Streamlining Galilee rail corridors

Posted Thursday, 3 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

GALILEE Basin mining proponents have until this Friday, May 4, to decide if they're willing to sit down together and discuss the establishment of a single rail corridor to transport coal out of the State's next big boom region to Abbot Point port.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney told Queensland Country Life that he wrote last month to all the proponents who have plans to establish rail lines out of the basin, seeking a commitment from them by this Friday to engage in "serious and genuine dialogue" over the issue.

Asciano expects earnings lift

Posted Thursday, 3 May, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

Asciano says it expects earnings for the second half of calendar 2012 to come in above the prior year.

However, the ports and rail operator says delays in finalising a workplace agreement with the Maritime Union of Australia, as well as some external factors relating to its coal haulage unit, had reduced expectations.

'We continue to forecast Asciano FY12 H2 EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) will be above FY12 H1 and above pcp (prior corresponding period),' Asciano chief executive John Mullen said in a statement on Thursday.

Thermite gong goes to locals

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

LOCAL Queensland Rail workers have been celebrated for their unique talent in the century old process of thermite welding.

The workers, who specialise in pouring molten thermite into moulds, were among the winners at this year's Permanent Way Institute Awards which recognise major achievements in the rail industry.

Thermite welding involves joining two separate bars, typically rails, end to end, by fusing them together with superheated molten metal which is poured into a mould assembled around the joint.

Buses replace weekend trains

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail is planning track work this weekend, which will result in buses replacing trains between Cleveland and Dutton Park.

Delays of around 60 minutes are expected during the work, which will affect services from the first train on Saturday, May 12, to the last train on Sunday, May 13.

Services will return to normal on Monday, May 14.

Queensland Rail manager faces sex on the job inquiry

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A QUEENSLAND Rail manager has been stood down for allegedly having sex in his busy station office during work hours.

The manager is also the subject of an investigation being overseen by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, into the alleged misuse of his work vehicle.

A female colleague is believed to have blown the whistle on the manager after "falling out" with the man in question.

Wharfie rorting 'endemic': Asciano

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Ports and rail company Asciano concedes it will take time to change the work culture at Sydney's Port Botany - its biggest container terminal - because rorting of the system by wharfies is "endemic in the DNA".

About 1200 wharfies at Asciano's four Patrick container terminals will vote next Thursday on a new enterprise agreement, which is expected to bring to an end an 18-month long dispute that at times had come close to turning into a Qantas-style lock out of workers.

Asciano said today that it still expected second-half pre-tax earnings to be stronger than those in the first half, although the industrial dispute and weaker coal tonnages had "marginally reduced our expectations".

Driver killed in coal train collision

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A person has died after a collision between a coal train and a car near Singleton in the New South Wales Hunter Valley coalfields.

Police say shortly after 9:00am (AEST) a car was hit by an empty QR National coal train at a level crossing on Middle Falbrook Road at Glennies Creek.

Fall-off tipped in train passengers

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE number of passengers on Melbourne's trains is expected to fall this financial year after years of massive patronage growth.

The decline is being blamed on Victoria's deteriorating rate of employment, increased ticket prices and inconvenient timetables. The last time metropolitan train patronage declined in a financial year was during 1993-94.

Cash may protect corridor as rail tunnel plan digs deep

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MONEY allocated towards the proposed multi-billion dollar Melbourne Metro rail tunnel could be used to compensate owners of land - underground.

The $50 million cash injection from the State Budget is intended to enable more detailed planning of the 9km dual-track rail line beneath the heart of Melbourne.

When complete, Melbourne Metro will service five new underground stations and move an extra 25,000 passengers an hour through the city.

Forrest open to Atlas deal

Posted Saturday, 5 May, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

FORTESCUE Metals Group would consider talks with Atlas Iron over rail access in the Pilbara region, Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest said yesterday.

The comments follow revelations last week that Atlas had paired with rail provider QR National to launch and fund a study into building a multi-user railway through the iron ore province.

Fortescue is one of only three companies in the Pilbara boasting their own railway to port, and Mr Forrest said his company was open to co-operating with Atlas.

Coal Traffic in the USA

Posted Sunday, 6 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Multinational coal companies plan to strip-mine the Powder River Basin in Montana and transport low-grade, dirty coal by rail to terminals on the coast of Washington and Oregon, then send it on huge ships to China and other rising Asian powers to be burned by their industries and grow their economies.

Over 100 million tons of this dirty coal will pass through Spokane every year loaded into open coal cars in trains over a mile long. Today, we see five or six coal trains a day. Soon, we will have 55 to 65 trains, or more. A tenfold increase in train traffic will devastate the infrastructure of our city, spreading toxic coal dust over the landscape, with derailments, traffic snarls and tons of diesel-generated air pollution every year to a city that regularly experiences thermal inversions.

State Budget: Springvale rail separation delayed

Posted Monday, 7 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

 A GRADE separation project for Springvale Road level crossing has been delayed following last week's state budget.

With projected revenues down by more than $2 billion, the Treasurer Kim Wells announced the level crossing would be eliminated in four years, pushing back its expected completion from 2014 to 2015-16.

Next financial year, the government will put $53.3 million towards three grade separations, including the Springvale level crossing.

This leaves $294 million of the $350 million project to be funded in the following three years.

NW Rail Link to be built despite funding rejection

Posted Monday, 7 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Government says work on Sydney's North West Rail Link will proceed, despite the rejection of a request for federal funding towards the project.

The 23km line was a key election promise for the O'Farrell Government.

It had asked Infrastructure Australia to re-allocate funding that had been awarded to the Parramatta to Epping line, under the former Labor state government.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian says Infrastructure Australia has rejected the its request.

But she says the project will go ahead, with or without federal funding.

"This is such an important project that we will build it regardless," she said.

Rail shambles as power problems hit key line

Posted Tuesday, 8 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Passengers endured major delays on the Sandringham line this morning due after an overhead power failure.

The line was suspended between Sandringham and Middle Brighton due to the power supply fault, possibly at a substation, between the two stations about 7am.

Metro spokesman Daniel Hoare said buses had replaced trains between the two stations. Trains would continue to operate on other parts of the line, however there were major delays until about 8.30am when rail services resumed.

Plan for Curtin light rail link put on hold

Posted Tuesday, 8 May, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The future of Perth's light rail network is in doubt after it was revealed that the proposed connection to Curtin University was dropped from the State Government's latest modelling.

Transport Minister Troy Buswell yesterday confirmed that light rail to the university would not be completed by 2020 as stated in the draft Perth Public Transport Plan released last year.

Mr Buswell would not confirm whether the proposed University of WA/Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre connection would go ahead as planned.

The Curtin and UWA lines, along with the Mirrabooka line, were earmarked as Stage 1 projects in the draft plan.

They were to be running by 2020 before Stage 2 projects, including light rail to the airport and through Subiaco, started.

National rail regulator on track in SA

Posted Tuesday, 8 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

The creation of a single safety regulator for the rail sector is a step closer, with the South Australian Parliament becoming the first to pass the legislation last week.

The rail safety regulator is proposed to operate nationally and replace seven separate regulatory authorities and 46 pieces of state, territory and Commonwealth legislation.

South Australian Transport Minister Patrick Conlon says passing the bill in South Australia was critical to ensure the regulator remains on track for implementation across Australia by January 2013.

Queensland Government spends millions of dollars maintaining rail line at Gaynda

Posted Tuesday, 8 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Government continues to spend millions of dollars maintaining a rail line that hasn't been used in more than four years.

The Courier-Mail discovered the wasteful spending after receiving complaints about maintenance and signs at a defunct crossing in Gayndah, 145km west of Maryborough.

Former Gayndah mayor Bill Mellor, 73, initially complained to The Courier-Mail about locals having to pull up at a stop sign on the level crossing despite the fact that trains have not used the line since March 2008.

Despite this, taxpayers forked out $1.6 million in the past two years for maintenance.

Tree roots trip up rail link works

Posted Tuesday, 8 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

CONFLICTING reports on tree damage as part of Regional Rail Link works reveal ongoing tension between Sunshine residents and the authority carrying out the work.

RRL spokeswoman Megan Cusack said the project team undertook work last Wednesday to find services such as gas and water pipes.

Workers were digging on VicTrack land next to the HV McKay Gardens when they encountered the root of a tree "outside the area listed on the Heritage Register".

"The team immediately ceased work and took measures to ensure the tree was protected," Ms Cusack said.

Former Melton mayor has the Wood on regional rail's link to community

Posted Tuesday, 8 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

FORMER Melton mayor Margaret Wood has been selected as the shire's representative for the Regional Rail Link community reference group.

She's one of eight representatives who will give people information on the project and voice their concerns.

As part of the project, a new rail line will run from West Werribee through Deer Park, Sunshine and Footscray to Southern Cross Station.

Ms Wood said the Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat lines would have dedicated tracks through the metropolitan network.

Doncaster rail study may lead to more buses

Posted Wednesday, 9 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

AN IMPROVED bus service along the Eastern Freeway may be the result of the Baillieu government's study into a possible rail line to Doncaster, which is now likely to be leap-frogged by plans for a multibillion-dollar road tunnel linking the freeway and CityLink.

Buried in the detail of the Doncaster Rail Study documents is an acknowledgement that rail is not the only option under consideration.

The documents say that, depending on the outcome of the rail study ''and the direction given by the government, other public transport modes may be considered in phase two''.

Forget Western Hwy upgrade

Posted Wednesday, 9 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE federal government is preparing to rip $158 million from a major Victorian road project to help fund a controversial new freight terminal in the key electoral battleground of western Sydney.

In another funding blow for the Baillieu government - already smarting after a reduction in Victoria's GST share and the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in stamp duty and payroll tax revenues - the federal government has quietly unveiled plans to delay cash earmarked for upgrades on the Western Highway until 2014-15.

The money, depriving the state government of federal funds for the highway in 2012-13 and 2013-14, will instead be used to pay for a major freight terminal at Moorebank in western Sydney.

Jail for gang attacks on trains

Posted Wednesday, 9 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

VICTORIA'S Chief Magistrate, Ian Gray, has declared that violent attacks on public transport commuters are intolerable and that offenders must be jailed.

He made the comments while sentencing a man to two years' jail for his role in two gang attacks on Melbourne's rail network this year.

Jima Majur, 31, was part of a group that attacked a man on a railway overpass in Footscray on March 10, during which they grabbed him around the neck and applied a choke-like hold.

Budget counters 'neglect' of infrastructure

Posted Wednesday, 9 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese defended the highway and infrastructure funding for Queensland from the budget, saying it allowed existing projects to be completed.

It comes after criticism from the RACQ, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and state treasurer Tim Nicholls that no new infrastructure projects received funding.

In a statement, Mr Albanese said the Labor Party was addressing what he described as "neglect" by the previous federal government.

"From the outset federal Labor's mission has been to reverse the neglect we inherited and invest in the modern, well-planned infrastructure that will make working people's lives easier, our businesses more competitive and the national economy stronger," he said.

Scrapping Metcard a tourism 'risk'

Posted Wednesday, 9 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE decision to phase out paper tickets could drive overseas visitors away from Melbourne's public transport system, according to a technical designer of London's successful ticket system.

London's Oyster card has been credited with vastly improving the efficiency of London's public transport system by replacing a host of paper tickets with one smart card. But London's rail network operator Transport for London has not scrapped paper tickets, to ensure the city's public transport is accessible for all.

''Completely removing paper tickets is higher risk, because you then don't have any alternative back-up for people who don't have a smart card to be able to travel on the system,'' said John Verity, chief adviser of ITSO London, which designed the Oyster card's technical specifications. ''You're simply excluding some people who may wish to travel. They have then got to go and find an alternative way of travelling.''

Stink over toilet costs at train stations

Posted Thursday, 10 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Labor has attacked the Baillieu government for the cost of installing toilets and other amenities for the armed protective services officers it is rolling out across Melbourne train stations.

A state government expenses committee heard this morning the government would spend an average $268,000 for each station to upgrade facilities for the officers, including toilets.

The Baillieu government has promised to roll out 940 armed officers stations across Melbourne stations by 2014.

Cattle killed in gruesome freeway crash

Posted Thursday, 10 May, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

The police air wing was called in to round up a number of cows that were sent hurtling onto the Princes Freeway in Melbourne’s west last night when a cattle truck overturned.

The semi-trailer was heading towards Melbourne when it crashed off the freeway near the Sneydes Road overpass at Werribee and overturned about 10.15pm.

The smash tipped the load of cattle onto the road, killing and seriously injuring many of the animals and blocking the freeway.

Rail regulator to be based in Adelaide

Posted Thursday, 10 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

ADELAIDE will become the new home of the national rail regulator following the Federal Government's $232 million facelift to the ageing South Australian network.

More than $9 million has been earmarked to establish the Adelaide-based regulator which will oversee the nation's urban passenger rail networks and interstate freight operations.

The 2012-13 budget has allocated $38 million over the next three years and plans to implement the reforms by the beginning of next year.

Rail security plan set to fall short of targets

Posted Thursday, 10 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Baillieu government may miss its mid-year target for the controversial roll-out of protective services officers at Melbourne rail stations.

The revelation has fuelled criticism that there is a struggle to find recruits but the government has denied this, with 400 potential recruits waiting to start training and police testing.

Report considers Yaapeet rail line future

Posted Friday, 11 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Yarriambiack Shire has commissioned a report into the future of an important Wimmera railway line in a bid to get more sections of the track reopened.

Sections of the Yaapeet line, between Dimboola and Rainbow, were reopened earlier this year but the council wants the entire line to be made operational.

April rail traffic mixed

Posted Friday, 11 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

WASHINGTON — The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail carloads originated in April totaled 1,113,105, down 64,335 carloads or 5.5 percent, compared with April 2011. 

Intermodal volume in April 2012 was 946,951 trailers and containers, up 32,505 units or up 3.6 percent, compared with April 2011. Detailed monthly data charts and tables will be available in the AAR’s Rail Time Indicators released online tomorrow.

Twelve of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw carload gains in April 2012 compared with April 2011, including petroleum and petroleum products, up 11,376 carloads, or 43.1 percent; motor vehicle and parts, up 11,360 carloads, or 21.1 percent; crushed stone, gravel, and sand, up 6,617 carloads, or 9.3 percent, and steel and other primary metal products, up 3,297 carloads, or 8.1 percent. 

Palmer project under pressure after $40b purchase contract cancelled

Posted Friday, 11 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

PLANS by the billionaire Clive Palmer to dig one of the world's biggest coalmines have been rocked by the cancellation of a contract to buy half the output.

Mr Palmer's ambitious China First Coal project has parted ways with a company that had offered to buy coal worth $40 billion, a Herald investigation has revealed.

The loss of the backer side-swipes a project that was labelled ''Australia's biggest export contract'' when Mr Palmer announced it to much fanfare with the then premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, in 2010.

Tim Fischer pushes for Castlemaine railway museum

Posted Friday, 11 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

FORMER deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has launched a campaign for a railway museum in Castlemaine.

Mr Fischer will address a Young Nationals event in Bendigo tomorrow.

During his speech, he will call on the state government to relocate the Victorian Railway Museum to central Victoria.

“Castlemaine should be considered as the new site for a new and revamped Victorian Railway Museum now that the Department of Transport has said last year it must move from Newport,” Mr Fischer told the Bendigo Advertiser.

Running late? Your train is too

Posted Friday, 11 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The NSW Opposition says Cityrail figures confirm what commuters are saying about trains constantly running late on the Newcastle and Central Coast rail lines.

Wallsend Labor MP Sonia Hornery says during February and March, trains failed to meet the on-time benchmark of 92 per cent, sometimes by two or three per cent.

Rail security guard plan rocked by $56m blowout

Posted Saturday, 12 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE state government's pledge to have protective services officers guard rail stations is facing another multimillion-dollar blowout to fund change rooms and gun and clothes lockers at police stations.

The extra costs are the latest blow to the plan, which has been criticised as too expensive and for putting armed guards on the rail network.

Regional rail gets green light

Posted Sunday, 13 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

VICTORIA'S $5 billion regional train connection is a step closer, with a $570 million contract announced for works between central Melbourne and the western suburbs.

 
The Regional Rail Link's fifth stage will include 4.5km of new tracks to separate metro and regional trains at the city's busiest junction, three bridge modifications and a 1km Maribyrnong River rail overpass.

Construction will begin in mid-2012, and is likely to cause major disruptions, including monthly shutdowns of the Metro network, Transport Minister Terry Mulder said yesterday.

Mr Mulder said the state was determined to finish the project despite a lack of additional funding for the link in this year's Federal Budget.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 12/5/2012

Posted Sunday, 13 May, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 119 sightings for this week. This is one sightings less than last week, making a total of 2228 sightings for this year to date. On day 133 last year we had recorded 1875 sightings. This is 353 sightings up on the same time last year.

FARES TO RISE DESPITE SEQ COMMUTERS MAKING FEWER TRIPS

Posted Sunday, 13 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Government says it cannot afford to scrap a planned 7.5 per cent hike in public transport fares for the state's south-east.

An affordability rating by train commuters dropped below 50 per cent for the first time in the March quarter, falling to 45 per cent.

The Liberal National Party has halved the planned 15 per cent fare hike proposed by the former Labor government and will introduce free travel after commuters make nine trips in a week.

Call to extend high speed rail link

Posted Sunday, 13 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Scotland should be included in plans for the high speed rail network, an SNP MP has told Transport Secretary Justine Greening.

Mike Weir also said he wanted to see a clear timetable for the line's extension into Scotland.

Freight rail network shut for major work

Posted Monday, 14 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE Hunter Valley freight rail network will be closed for five days from tomorrow for major upgrade work.

The closure will affect coal and grain freight and CountryLink and CityRail services.

No permit needed for Sunshine rail works

Posted Monday, 14 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Regional Rail Link authority has confirmed works alongside the heritage-listed HV McKay gardens in Sunshine do not require a permit.

Residents groups last week raised concerns that the works were taking place without a permit from Heritage Victoria.

The rail authority has said it would need to acquire a 136sq m wedge of the gardens as part of the grade separation of rail crossings at Anderson Rd.

Muswellbrook Mayor slams Hunter MPs

Posted Monday, 14 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Muswellbrook's Mayor has attacked the Hunter's Federal MPs for not advocating hard enough for major infrastructure projects that have spent years in the pipeline.

The long awaited Muswellbrook bypass and Scone rail overpass were among projects that failed to secure funding in the Federal Budget announced this week.

Castlemaine rail museum idea wins support

Posted Monday, 14 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Victorian government will consider a bid to bring a railway museum to Castlemaine.

Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer addressed a Bendigo Young Nationals conference at the weekend.

He threw his support behind relocating the Victorian Railway Museum from Newport in Melbourne to Castlemaine.

Mr Fischer said Castlemaine would be the ideal home for a reinvigorated railway museum.

Electrification of Adelaide's Gawler line may now not proceed

Posted Monday, 14 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Rumour from inside rail sources suggests that the electrification of the Gawler line will not proceed. Only the Seaford line will be electrified; all on account of the state budget/borrowing capacity.

Hundreds of jobs lost as RailCorp split in two

Posted Tuesday, 15 May, 2012 by snowy446 in New South Wales Rail News

About 750 RailCorp jobs are being slashed as the NSW government moves to split the operation in two, a move they say will be better for commuters and frontline staff.

Federal budget should have shown closer attention to rail transport

Posted Tuesday, 15 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Robert Dow, from Rail Back on Track, says the last week's Federal Budget provided only minor improvements for public transport users.

Mr Dow said the best news was a plan for the Moreton Bay rail link to be completed in 2015/16.

But he said fare affordability and frequency of services, particularly in the western corridor, still needed improvement.

Mining boost as Iron Baron reopens

Posted Tuesday, 15 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

A reopening of OneSteel's Iron Baron mine, near Whyalla in South Australia, has created 120 jobs.

Iron ore production at the site has recommenced after it was shut down for more than 20 years.

Production involves both directly-shipped ore from OneSteel's other mining operations in SA and material converted on site from low-grade ore.

Rail plan revised

Posted Tuesday, 15 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

PLANS for the Anderson Rd grade separation have been revised by the Regional Rail Link Authority after community meetings.

The RRL Authority met with residents at an invitation-only meeting last Thursday, which included Brimbank City Council and the project team working on the Footscray-Deer Park section of the RRL.

RRL Footscray – Deer Park Alliance General Manager Elliot Young said the design review resulted in several changes to the initial design which would minimise impacts on the HV McKay Memorial Gardens.

Rail-line confusion central to car parks

Posted Tuesday, 15 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

PLANS for the $55 million Honeysuckle Central development have been modified to include more parking, after the NSW Planning Assessment Commission ruled there was "significant doubt" about the future of the inner-city railway.

The development by Nathan Tinkler-backed company Buildev will include three eight-storey commercial buildings on a site bounded by Honeysuckle Drive to the north, Wright Lane to the south, Worth Place to the west and a new road to the east.

Doncaster Rail Study: Options divide community

Posted Tuesday, 15 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MANNINGHAM residents have failed to back any one of the three rail options proposed by the Doncaster Rail Study.

A public workshop held in Doncaster and attended by 72 people highlighted the sharp divisions in the community about the best solution to their public transport woes.

The meeting was part of the first stage of community consultation following the release of the Doncaster Rail Study report in March.

NSW rail cuts may prompt action - unions

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

UNIONS may take industrial action over the NSW government's overhaul of RailCorp, saying it is a disgrace that workers learned of 750 looming job cuts through the media.

Staff in middle management will be offered voluntary redundancies in a major restructure that will result in the creation of two new organisations - Sydney Trains and NSW Trains.

Unions representing RailCorp staff today said they hadn't been consulted before an article outlining the reforms appeared in Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

NSW secretary of the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union (AMWU) Tim Ayers said it was a "disgrace" workers had found out about the job losses through the media.

He seized on reports that thousands more jobs could be cut from the organisation, with an unreleased Booz consultancy report on RailCorp said to have recommended slashing up to 4500 of RailCorp's 15,000 jobs.

Rail coup for builder, developer

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

DEVELOPER Lend Lease and construction giant Leighton have secured work on a $750 million project for the Victorian regional rail link project.

Lend Lease business Abrigroup and Leighton subsidiary John Holland, along with Coleman Rail, announced yesterday they had secured contracts worth $540 million.

They will build the section from the city to the Maribyrnong River.

Government denies Seaford rail delay

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

The Opposition says the South Australian Government is failing to deliver on its promises to residents of Adelaide's south.

Liberal transport speaker Vickie Chapman says the rail extension from Noarlunga south to Seaford has been delayed by a year.

She says it now will not be finished until the middle of 2014, after the next state election, with the date given in a media statement from the Government this week.

Ms Chapman said it was bad news for residents in the southern region, waiting on transport improvements.

Fire destroys heritage train

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

TASMANIA has lost part of its rail transport history after an alleged arson attack in Burnie.

One of the carriages of the former Tasman Limited or "Silver Bullet" train, which is now permanently parked at Burnie's heritage-listed railway station, was gutted early this morning in an attack former Burnie mayor and avid rail enthusiast Alvwyn Boyd said was "without rhyme or reason".

Fire investigators estimate the repair bill to be $450,000.

Two male youths, aged 19 and 17 have been charged with unlawfully setting fire to property and will appear in court in June.

Feds OK co.'s plans to reopen Adirondack rail line

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

(AP) -- A federal agency has approved a New York rail company's plan to resume freight traffic on a 30-mile stretch of unused tracks in the Adirondacks.

Albany-area media outlets report that the federal Surface Transportation Board on Monday approved Chicago-based Iowa Pacific Holdings' request for common carrier status.

Rail services safe says north coast MP

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The minister for the North Coast says the restructure of the state's rail service administration won't affect local passengers.

RailCorp is being split into two separate organisations.

Sydney Trains and NSW Trains will focus on the separate needs of metro and regional customers.

Don Page says a feasibility study on the return of services to the disused Casino-Murwillumbah line will go ahead as planned..

Expert panel to probe Cross River Rail plan

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

An expert panel has been given four weeks to review the Cross River Rail project before the Liberal National Party government makes its intentions on the project clear.

The newly appointed three-person panel must report to Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson on June 13.

Mr Emerson last night announced he had asked the panel to review the costings and business case of the Cross River Rail project.

MPs tout jobs for noisy Maribyrnong River rail crossing

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

CITY-bound commuters will soon be crossing a new rail bridge over the Maribyrnong River.

At the weekend, a consortium of builders was given the nod by the federal and state governments for the $570 million contract, putting the second-last piece of the Regional Rail Link jigsaw into place.

The deal covers track works between the Maribyrnong River and Southern Cross station and includes a one-kilometre rail overpass to help whisk regional trains over the river, into the city.

Western Sydney set for light rail link

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

Suburbs in western Sydney could be connected by a light rail system after Parramatta Council announced a $1 million study to kick-start the project.

The proposed light rail line would improve access to Westmead, Parramatta city centre, Macquarie Park and have links to the University of Western Sydney and Macquarie University.

A feasibility study will kick-off next month and the council expects to select a successful tender for the project in July.

Necessary steps to fix rail system

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

REGENERATION and rebuilding are impossible to achieve without a strategy for change. Regrettably but unavoidably, when it comes to rebuilding NSW's sub-standard rail system, that change is going to cost jobs.

The number of jobs to be taken out of Railcorp at first seems extraordinary - 750 are to go in the initial swath of job cuts, with several thousand more to follow.

But this is less to do with a reckless and vengeful approach to rail reform than it is to do with problems for too long left in the too-hard basket.

Under previous governments, the rail system was allowed to become bloated with a gigantic mid-level bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, this over-staffing was not accompanied by a parallel rise in the quality of the service.

Rail puts freight claim to the test

Posted Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

THE Australian Railway Association says claims by the SA Road Transport Association in its fight against registration increases are untrue.

Economists for the ARA says the registration rises for B-double trucks should have no impact on freight costs or increase prices for basic commodities such as bread, fruit and vegetables and clothing because rail freight can take the load.

ARA chief executive Bryan Nye said the registration fee rise for B-doubles was less than a 1 per cent, but the SARTA has claimed it is up to 30 per cent. Both organisations advocate limiting the number of freight trucks on the roads for safety.

"Before you race to put more semis on the road to meet our freight needs, why not put it on rail," Mr Nye said.

Interim report into rail crossing fatality

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

An interim report into a fatal accident between a utility and a train in the Hunter Valley has highlighted the severity of the impact, with the ute's cabin crushed substantially.

The crash between a QR National Train and the utility happened on May 4 at a railway crossing at Glennies Creek, near Singleton.

The Office of Transport Safety Investigations (OTSI) has completed its Interim Factual Statement and has determined that a formal investigation into the incident is warranted.

Rail union caught off guard by RailCorp shakeup

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Hunter representatives of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union say they were caught off-guard with the State Government's plans for a major shake-up of RailCorp.

The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, this week announced 750 middle management positions would be axed under a plan to separate RailCorp into two organisations, one for Sydney and the other for regional rail.

The Union's Mick Schmitzer says he is sceptical about the Government's comments that no jobs will be lost from regional New South Wales.

He says he will be meeting with the Transport Department next Tuesday.

"I did see the Minister's media release where she talks about 750 voluntary redundancies that they would be mostly in Head Office, I'm still sceptical about those sort of things," he said.

Overdue rail freight centre upgrade set to start

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

WORK is expected to start soon on a long-delayed $1.7 million upgrade to Warrnambool's internodal freight terminal to increase capacity for more rail transport.

It will be followed next year by a new $10m passing loop near Colac which will enable longer freight trains and more passenger rail services to run betweeen Warrnambool and Melbourne.

State Transport Minister Terry Mulder yesterday also confirmed a new rail freight incentive scheme to start July 1 as part of support to get more vehicles off roads onto railways.

The Department of Transport is likely to recommend a successful tenderer for the terminal project to Transport Minister Terry Mulder later this month with work to start early July and run four months.

Public is to blame for lack of pride in rail system

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

I see where one of the main sources of customer dissatisfaction with our trains is their lack of cleanliness (''Commuter queue of frustration keeps growing'', May 16). At the risk of sounding like Basil Fawlty, who would argue that it was possible to run a perfectly good rail service if it wasn't for the passengers, those who complained about the filth should be directing their anger at their fellow commuters. Discarded food and drink containers and abandoned newspapers are a common sight and as fast as the rubbish is removed by cleaners it is replaced by the next batch of thoughtless commuters.

Fining the offenders is one option. Banning food and drink is another. A far better one is for us all to acquire some civic pride. Until that happens we have no right to complain.

Rail changes split Hunter from Sydney

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The axing of 750 managers' jobs is part of sweeping changes to Railcorp, but Newcastle and Hunter commuters will be more affected by the separation of passenger services between Sydney and the rest of NSW. 

 

Under the changes Railcorp's passenger services will be split into Sydney Trains and NSW Trains.

NSW Trains will include all services outside the Sydney metro area, including those currently run by Countrylink.

A TRAIN has derailed after colliding with a truck at Mooliabeenee

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by phower 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. The Department of Environment and Conservation's Pollution Response Unit are at the scene. 

10 out of 10: The numbers favouring cross river rail

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Brisbane's Cross River Rail project, envisioned by the Bligh government but under review by the Newman government, was a vital piece of infrastructure and a national priority, according to a high-ranking Infrastructure Australia official.

IA national infrastructure manager Michael Deegan had a simple message to the Newman government about Brisbane's underground rail project.

"In our first round of projects we recommended 10 major projects across the nation," he said.

Teens charged over heritage train fire

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

Part of a heritage train has been destroyed by a deliberately lit fire in Burnie.

Authorities were alerted to the blaze at the old Burnie rail depot about 1:30am.

It quickly engulfed the carriage and spread to a nearby restaurant.

The fire destroyed the train carriage and part of the building.

Detective senior sergeant Joanne Stolp says the damage bill is expected to be $450,000.

Train derailment clean-up work nears completion

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by bevans in Northern Territory Rail News

Rail operator Genesee and Wyoming says clean-up efforts are nearly complete at the Edith River crossing where a train derailed in December, spilling tonnes of freight and copper concentrate.

A number of train carriages and freight containers were swept in to the Edith River, north of Katherine, during flooding associated with a tropical cyclone.

Genesee and Wyoming says approximately 920 kilograms of damaged infrastructure and loose freight has now been recovered from the site.

Bid for a new Newcastle Flyer

Posted Thursday, 17 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Hunter is making a bid for the introduction of a business class train service between Newcastle and Sydney. The Hunter Commuter Council has made a submission to the New South Wales Government calling for the re-introduction of a service, similar to the old "Newcastle Flyer", a superior accommodation express train to Sydney. Graham Boyd from the Commuter Council says the train would ideally run three times a day, and have a range of features aimed at the business commuter.

COVERT OFFICERS PATROL RAIL CROSSINGS

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Rail officers are going undercover to catch pedestrians risking their lives on level crossings in Brisbane.

Seven News was invited to a covert operation at peak hour on Thursday morning, near one of the state's deadliest train lines.

Everyday people running late and risking everything to get to work were sprung by stealth transit officers wearing commuter clothing.

Group urges rail crossing safety boost

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A road safety group in Victoria's Wimmera says it is hoping for funding for dedicated pedestrian paths at railway crossings at Kaniva and Dimboola

RoadSafe Wimmera's Jean Wise says her group's asked VicRoads and VicTrack to consider installing pedestrian gates.

Wreckers move in on railway

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE two-year wait for action on the former railway land in Wodonga ended yesterday when a demolition company moved onto the site.

Victorian-based Industrial Demolition Services fired up a 30-tonne excavator to start a two-month operation to remove old railway infrastructure on the land re-badged as Junction Place.

Places Victoria has also commissioned a landscape architect to undertake detailed design work which will include the re-use of two overhead rail gantries and four signal posts.

RUSSIA FACES FUEL CRISIS AFTER RAILWAY WAGON BAN

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia, the world's largest oil producer, faces domestic fuel shortages after authorities restricted the transport of crude oil by rail, forcing several refiners to cut production, industry and market sources said.

Analysts estimate that output of a quarter or more of refined oil products could be lost, threatening a repeat of last year's fuel shortages following Russian leader Vladimir Putin's order to oil companies to curb pump prices.

However, it is unlikely to dent crude exports, as Russia uses pipelines as its main method of transporting oil abroad.

Rail system hurts croppers

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

NORTHERN Mallee grain growers are blaming the freight rail system for a lack of competition among buyers.

Local farmers say a shortage of freight trains means it is too difficult to send grain to port via rail and the grain is piling up.

Grain grower Ron Hards, who farms at Yarrara, southwest of Mildura, said he believed very little grain had been freighted from the Millewa storages to Melbourne by rail in the past year.

"It's a bit of a debacle as very little has moved," Mr Hards said.

Repairs force Tilt Train off rails

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

REGULAR commuters fear significant travel delays will result from ongoing mechanical problems in one of four Queensland Tilt Trains to service central and northern Queensland.

Queensland Rail (QR) will replace one of its fleet of Tilt Trains with a slower diesel engine while contractors address ongoing mechanical difficulties.

The train has not been able to reach speeds it should be capable of because of a malfunctioning auxiliary power converter, but a spokeswoman for QR stressed it had not affected braking capabilities.

QR National signs Vale for Galilee line

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

RAIL carrier QR National claims the viability of its proposed rail corridor linking central Queensland's Galilee and Bowen basins with important coal ports has been enhanced by an agreement with Brazilian coal giant Vale to cover future mines.

QR National's proposal for a rail corridor to take coal from the new coal area of the Galilee Basin is one of three alternatives being examined by the Queensland government.

The others are proposed by billionaire Clive Palmer and Indian company GVK, which both have substantial coal deposits in the Galilee Basin.

But the Queensland government - both the previous one and the current one - has told the companies there will be only one corridor, and the companies need to decide among themselves which it will be.

Mr Palmer's group and QR National were co-operating on a common corridor until January when the QR National proposal was declared a "project of state significance", which led Mr Palmer to announce he was suing QR National for $8.5 billion.

METRO FORCED TO APOLOGISE OVER TRAIN DELAY

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Rail operator Metro has been forced to apologise after a train load of passengers was trapped for nearly an hour at Sunshine.

These dramatic pictures were shot by one of the trapped passengers. She and others tried to comfort a woman who fell gravely ill in the carriage.

Vandals' rampage halts trains on key line

Posted Saturday, 19 May, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Commuters were hit by severe delays this morning after vandals interfered with a number of signals on the Werribee line overnight. Metro trains this morning confirmed all signals between Werribee and Laverton stations had been tampered with sometime before 3am.

Rail bosses will have to ask for their jobs back

Posted Saturday, 19 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE entire top management team of RailCorp, including its chief executive, Rob Mason, will have to reapply for their jobs under the shake-up of the train system announced this week by the Transport Minister.

Gladys Berejiklian confirmed all senior positions would be spilled after she announced the eventual dissolution of RailCorp and the establishment of two new entities, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 19/5/2012

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 117 sightings for this week. This is two sightings less than last week, making a total of 2345 sightings for this year to date. On day 140 last year we had recorded 1994 sightings. This is 351 sightings up on the same time last year.

Teen critical after train surfing in St Kilda

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A teenager remains in a critical condition at the Alfred hospital after falling from the top of a train and hitting the side of its carriage in St Kilda East last night.

The teenager is believed to have been train surfing with two other youths on the rear carriage of a Sandringham bound train between Windsor and Balaclava stations.

The boy, believed to be aged in his mid to late teens, struck the side of the train before hitting the tracks.

A fast, vast steel spine

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Mark Smith travels the length of Vietnam on the Reunification Railway, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

It's 6.59pm at Hanoi Railway Station, the bustle of boarding on Platform 1 is complete and there is an air of expectation among passengers. An electric bell rings, the locomotive hoots and a uniformed attendant looks along the length of the train, holding a lantern aloft in the warm night.

From the station loudspeakers comes a last urgent call in staccato Vietnamese as attendants step smartly into the train, removing the numbers hung outside the carriage doors. One long blast and one short toot on the horn, a muted hiss from the brakes and SE1 glides gently into the night on its 33-hour, 1726-kilometre journey to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon.

Vandals strike Clunes Railway Station

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2012 by Apocalyptical in Victorian Rail News

VANDALS have struck at the historic Clunes Railway Station, tearing a sign off the platform wall and smashing glass and slate from the roof. Police were called to the station just before 8pm last night after a concerned resident called emergency services. Police said they were yet to make any arrests, but suspected that a group of youths had caused the damage.

Double blow for East-West road link

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2012 by bevans in Gunzelling Reports

A STATE Government plan for an East-West road link through the inner north has been dealt two blows, with the project failing to win Federal Budget money and Melbourne City Council to oppose any plan that threatens parkland.

The council approved its transport strategy last week, with an amendment stating it would oppose the use of its parkland for road works.

Rail tragedies no barrier to service

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

VICTORIA'S public transport chief has warned the Government against using suicides to justify poor service on the state's rail network.

Director of Public Transport Hector McKenzie wrote to Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder on February 10 and said there were 31 suspected suicides on Metro and V/Line rails every year.

He highlighted the number of deaths was not decreasing under the current "vague" reporting policy and discussed openly reporting suspected suicides.

Minister takes the slow train to change

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Commuters are in line for better service but it's years away, writes Jacob Saulwick.

If you could grasp achievement through hyperbole, Gladys Berejiklian would have her hands full. This week the state's Transport Minister stood in Central Station's Bradfield Room, named after the engineer who ripped up Sydney's 1920s streetscape to carve train lines underneath and spent two decades overseeing the design and construction of the Harbour Bridge, to proclaim the ''biggest shake-up to the state's railways in a generation''.

Berejiklian's big reforms were threefold. She would disband RailCorp and set up two new bodies, NSW Trains to run country and regional services and Sydney Trains to run them in the city. There would be a new division to take charge of cleaning. And 750 middle managers out of 4000 would be offered voluntary redundancy, although here her hands are tied until at least 2014 when an enterprise bargaining agreement expires.

''This is about fixing the trains,'' she said, over and again during a 30-minute press conference.

Burma is planning to restore a stretch of the infamous Thai-Burma rail line

Posted Monday, 21 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Burma is planning to restore a stretch of the infamous Thai-Burma rail line, known as the Death Railway, which was initially built by Japanese-held prisoners of war during World War II.

Tens of thousands of POWs were forced to work in harrowing conditions to build the 424-kilometre railway through dense jungles and mountains.

By the time it was completed in 1943, more than 11,000 POWS, including 2,815 Australians, and about 75,000 Asian labourers were dead.

A feasibility study on the 105-kilometre stretch running from Burma's Three Pagodas Pass area to Thailand is scheduled to begin in October, railway minister Aung Min said.

'Drunk' driver crashes into Grange rail line

Posted Monday, 21 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

AN alleged drunk driver narrowly escaped disaster after crashing his car through a fence and on to train tracks at Grange while three times over the limit early this morning.

Police had to delay a train after the man, 21, drove a red Mazda through fence bordering the Grange train line at Terminus St, near High St, about 12.20am.

Tate backs more rail, Games village site

Posted Monday, 21 May, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

MAYOR Tom Tate has revealed his "long-lasting" vision for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games -- and it includes light rail to Helensvale and an Athletes Village at Parklands.

The ambitious leader has again backflipped on his stance on the light rail, now vowing to lobby for its extension to Helensvale by 2018.

He also has put his foot down on the controversial issue of the Athletes Village -- he will be pushing for it to remain at the Parklands site.

Council backs new mine development

Posted Monday, 21 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Central Darling Shire will spend almost $2 million upgrading a road to support a proposed mine development near Ivanhoe.

The Council has voted to spend $600 000 a year for 3 years to contribute to the sealing of the Ivanhoe-Balranald Road.

The Council General Manager, Tim Drew, says the proposed mineral sands mine in the Balranald Shire will use Ivanhoe rail to transport its resources.

Coalition Government launches myki Visitor Pack with tourist discounts

Posted Monday, 21 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Discounts at Victorian tourism attractions, a specially designed wallet by Melbourne's leading cartoonist Mark Knight, a transport map and a myki ready for travel will provide visitors to Melbourne with easy access to public transport and popular city sites.

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher announced today the new myki Visitor Pack will be available from July.

The myki Visitor Pack will be sold at up to 300 locations including hotel concierge desks, tourist information centres, airports and tour providers.

Rail bottlenecks delay commuters

Posted Monday, 21 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THOUSANDS of commuters are suffering delays of up to 41 minutes between peak hour services because of 19th century flaws in the train network.

Analysis by the Public Transport Users Association has revealed single track bottlenecks are slowing down train frequency, adding to the frustration of long suffering passengers.

The PTUA has called for the urgent duplication of sections of single track it says play havoc with punctuality, severely limiting the number of trains that can run.

$685,000 for level crossing safety between Bendigo and Eaglehawk

Posted Monday, 21 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today that the Coalition Government had installed boom barriers at Holdsworth Road, North Bendigo to improve safety between Bendigo and Eaglehawk,.

Mr Mulder said the level crossing was upgraded by VicTrack last week at a cost of $685,000.

Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum welcomed the Coalition Government's further funding for level crossing safety upgrades.

"The Coalition Government has invested more than $1.8 million this year to improve level crossing safety between Bendigo and Eaglehawk," Mr Drum said.

Conservation Council to challenge uranium approval

Posted Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 by freightgate in Western Australian Rail News

The Conservation Council is to challenge the approval of Toro Energy's proposed uranium mine in Western Australia's northern Goldfields.

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Authority gave the go-ahead for the company's proposal to develop the mine 30 kilometres from Wiluna.

The council's Piers Verstegen says the decision comes after the government's Uranium Advisory Group last week recommended updates to the approvals process.

"We think the EPA have made a mistake here," he said.

Rail makes big inroads in oil transport

Posted Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 by freightgate in International Rail News

The crude oil flows thick and black, pouring like hot coffee sludge into a rail tanker on the Saskatchewan prairie.

The tracks it sits on bisect a snow-covered tableau of wheat fields and grain elevators and oil wells. The rails stretch past the horizon, winding their way to distant refineries in Texas and California and Pennsylvania, a network of oil-bearing steel ribbon that, in a sudden shift for Canada’s energy industry, has become an important new avenue for exporting oil.

The need for a second rail overpass

Posted Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

"... with the possible expansion of new mining projects to the north of Gunnedah within four to five years we could have trains running through the town every 17 to 19 minutes..." The push is on in Gunnedah to secure funding and support for a second rail overpass. The council along with local emergency services today launched a petition calling on the state government to urgently provide money for the overpass. There are three level crossings in town now, and trains 1.35km long take 14 minutes to pass through Gunnedah from the first crossing to the last.

Rail lines shut down for weekend

Posted Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

TRAIN users face a weekend without services through the city, a week after the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, declared RailCorp has been incapable of properly managing trackwork. Trains through the city and on the Airport Line will be shut down this weekend, which is the first of the Vivid festival, and there will be another CBD shutdown next month. The track closure follows an admission issued on RailCorp's behalf by Ms Berejiklian that it had shut down the Northern Line one weekend in November but had failed to organise for much work to be done. Trackwork was ''not always managed to an optimal level - resulting in waste and unnecessary disruption to customers'', Ms Berejiklian said.

Sydney tram on fast track - George St light rail by 2022

Posted Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 by freightgate in Tram and Light Rail News

CONSTRUCTION on light rail down George St should begin by 2015 or sooner, with the network to the east and the inner west complete by 2022, an ambitious Lord Mayor Clover Moore said last night.

Speaking at a panel with tourism, property and retail leaders, Ms Moore said that within 10 years: "We can see light rail completed, the bike network completed, and light rail to Moore Park, Green Square and Barangaroo."But industry leaders admitted that building a tram down Sydney's busiest street would come at commuter pain.

Property Council of Australia NSW executive director Glenn Byres urged authorities to hurry the construction to minimise the chaos.

New PortMiami rail link is right on track

Posted Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 by freightgate in International Rail News

The first train across the new track to PortMiami carried people rather than the freight cars it will haul beginning later this year. But the short trip for journalists, port officials and executives of Florida East Coast Railway showed that this leg of the port overhaul project was squarely on track.

The $50 million rail link from the port to 79th Street in Miami is one of three elements critical to the port expansion plan aimed at making the facility more attractive to shipping companies after the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2014. A $1 billion tunnel from Watson Island to the port is under way; a project to dredge the port to 52 feet recently received a green light after a settlement with environmental groups.

Mayor says Tamworth left off the rails

Posted Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

The Liverpool Plains Shire Mayor is putting pressure on councils in the Upper Hunter to back a push for a daily return passenger train service from Tamworth to Newcastle. It costs a little over $16 to catch a train from Scone to Newcastle on the CityRail network, but residents 80 kilometres further up the track at Quirindi pay three times that amount.

Gippsland rail line misses out

Posted Tuesday, 22 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

GIPPSLAND is set to become one of the last remaining rail lines to share V/line services with metro trains, despite hosting the longest stretch of metro track in the Victorian network.

This comes as the service recorded the state's worst punctuality targets for more than 12 months running, with only 77.8 per cent of trains arriving at destinations within six minutes of scheduled times, according to performance figures released last Monday.

A spokesperson for V/Line said Gippsland was the most affected service in the state, with 50 per cent of delays directly attributable to congestion, and the service had not met performance targets since before 2006.

Deadly inferno as trains collide

Posted Wednesday, 23 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

AT least 25 people were killed and 45 injured yesterday when two trains collided in India, rail officials said.

The sleeper passenger train crashed into the parked goods train at Penneconda station in Andhra Pradesh state as it was travelling overnight to Bangalore, the information-technology hub and capital city of Karnataka state.

"The number of deaths now is 25 and 45 are injured out of which some have minor injuries but 10 are grievously hurt," said railway ministry spokeswoman Chandralekha Mukherjee.

The Andhra Pradesh state police said the bodies of 16 of the victims travelling in a carriage behind the engine were badly burnt as it caught fire following the collision.

"The coach was meant only for women but it is not possible to say if the bodies are women or men as they are charred," said Charu Sinha, deputy inspector general of Andhra Pradesh police, from the crash site.

Positive signs for rail

Posted Wednesday, 23 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

RAIL Action Bathurst is hopeful there might be an announcement about a daily commuter rail service for Bathurst when NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and his cabinet visit Bathurst next month.

Chairman John Hollis said that, to date, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has been very responsive to the group’s campaign for better rail services for the bush.

He said it is not uncommon for announcements of this kind to to be made when the premier and cabinet come to town.

Mr Hollis said that whenever he has spoken with Ms Berejiklian she has appeared genuinely interested in what Rail Action Bathurst had to say.

Road to ruin warning from Sir Rod Eddington

Posted Wednesday, 23 May, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

THE Federal Government's leading adviser on roads, rail and ports has warned against a Greek-style binge on "bridges over puddles and roads to nowhere".

Sir Rod Eddington, who chairs the government body that reviews proposes big-ticket infrastructure projects, said the nation's arteries were under stress after two decades of underinvestment.

But he underlined the need to bring in private funding for vital projects and warned against simply funding them without undertaking rigorous studies into costs and benefits.

"If you build bridges over puddles and roads to nowhere, you do nothing for productivity," Sir Rod said, addressing the Australian British Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne yesterday.

Work begins on outback rail bridge

Posted Wednesday, 23 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Repairs have begun on a collapsed outback rail bridge that is costing cattle farmers dearly in livestock transport expenses.

A construction company hired by Queensland Rail began repair work last week on the Darr River rail bridge, between Winton and Longreach.

The bridge collapsed in February while workers were trying to repair storm damage.

Its closure has meant cattle farmers cannot shift livestock out of Winton by rail.

Between 80,000 and 90,000 head of cattle are transported each year to meatworks in Rockhampton, Brisbane or Dinmore, west of Brisbane.

Light rail cost 'doesn't stack up'

Posted Thursday, 24 May, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

Australia's peak rail industry group says costings for a 13 kilometre light rail network in Canberra's north are significantly inflated.

An ACT Government commissioned report by consultancy firm URS found a light rail route between Gungahlin and Civic would cost between $700 and $860 million.

But the Tourism and Transport Forum estimates a typical light rail network for Canberra should cost between $260 and $520 million.

Derailed: Brisbane's train network in disrepair with 100km of 'high risk' track

Posted Thursday, 24 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

DELAYS to critical safety work on the Citytrain network have created a risk of derailments and service disruptions.

Two independent assessments undertaken last year at the request of Queensland Rail identified numerous issues including 30 faulty switches on the Ipswich line and 100km of "high risk" track throughout much of the network.

But although the Department of Transport and Main Roads funded the reports, the previous state government refused to pay for repairs, estimated to cost $80 million.

QR has now had to borrow $52 million to begin the "critical asset replacement program" with work not expected to finish until mid-2013.

Already the network has experienced several major disruptions this year and new Transport Minister Scott Emerson has ordered another safety audit.

SA poised to supply Australia with heavy-haul locomotives

Posted Thursday, 24 May, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

TRANSNET Rail Engineering is on the brink of an agreement with Australia’s largest freight rail company, Queensland Rail National, to supply it with heavy-haul locomotives in a deal that would also see the two companies enter into a technology and skills transfer programme.

Combined, the rail networks of SA and Australia create the largest concentration of narrow gauge rail in the world. This scale had opened opportunities for the two companies, Transnet Rail CEO Richard Vallihu said yesterday.

Executives from Queensland Rail were expected to visit SA next month or in July, when a more binding schedule for agreements would be signed, Mr Vallihu said.

Trains skip stations to evade fines

Posted Friday, 25 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

METRO has resorted to skipping stations and running unscheduled short services since its new timetable was introduced last month, stranding passengers so its trains will run on time. It has happened at least four times a day on average.

Drivers say the rate at which they have been ordered to alter a service mid-journey suddenly became ''prolific'' when a new train timetable was introduced on April 22.

Metro has succeeded in running its trains to the new timetable, which has boosted services on many lines, but the rail operator has been accused of reaching its targets by running ''half-services''.

Multi-million dollar rail link unveiled at Blayney

Posted Friday, 25 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A long awaited multi-million dollar rail link is being unveiled at Blayney to cater for an industrial company and the Cadia East gold mine.

The Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner is officially opening Sealink's rail siding which is designed to make the transport of goods more efficient between Blayney and Sydney.

The company behind the project says it will allow its warehouse complex to grow, creating more jobs, and it also means the mine has access to larger trains for its gold concentrate plant.

Concerns rail lines pose flood hazard

Posted Friday, 25 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Residents of a south-west Queensland town have questioned whether a railway line exacerbated flooding earlier this year.

Gary Birkett, from Mitchell, north-west of Toowoomba, says the raised line that runs through the town acted as a levee during February's record flood.

"While there was some water already there it probably made it a metre deeper than it should have been," he said.

Council steps up push to get rail yard land

Posted Friday, 25 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

The Loxton Waikerie Council is seeking an independent valuation of part of the former rail yard site at Loxton.

Transport Minister Patrick Conlon has told the council it must pay market value for lot 100 Bookpurnong Road, to avoid setting a precedent.

Time to revive rail line

Posted Friday, 25 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

An untidy railway line between the Zouch Street bridge and the Young Visitor Information Centre has compelled Young Shire Council’s Economic Development Committee to take action.

At their March meeting, committee member Ian McAlister expressed concerns the railway looking west from the Zouch Street bridge to the Visitor Centre conveyed a very poor impression of the area.

He said it was because it was overgrown with weeds and generally very untidy and littered with rubbish.

CSR project aims to create a high-speed, carbon-neutral steam-powered locomotive

Posted Friday, 25 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

You might think that a coal-burning locomotive built in 1937 had nothing left to offer the modern rail industry, short of being a nice museum piece. In the case of Locomotive 3463, however, that appears to be far from true – now in the hands of engineers from the Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR), it is set to become the world’s first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive. It won’t be electric, however. Instead, it will run on steam generated by the burning of biocoal.

CSR is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE) and the nonprofit Sustainable Rail International (SRI). The group’s current CSR Project 130 has one goal – to create “the world’s cleanest, most powerful passenger locomotive, proving the viability of solid biofuel and modern steam locomotive technology.” The “130” in the name comes from the fact that part of the project will involve an attempt at breaking the world record for steam locomotive speed, by pushing the very-overhauled locomotive to at least 130 mph (209 km/h).

Train delays after car hit near Werribee

Posted Friday, 25 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

ONE person is dead after a freight train struck a car near Werribee tonight.

The accident at the Cherry St level crossing has stopped all rail services on the Geelong line.

V/Line does not yet know how long it will take to clear the accident scene.

Early reports indicated another person had been injured in the crash.

A Werribee resident told the Geelong Advertiser Facebook that he had seen four cars idle on the tracks at one crossing.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 26/5/2012

Posted Sunday, 27 May, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 118 sightings for this week. This is one sightings less than last week, making a total of 2465 sightings for this year to date. On day 147 last year we had recorded 2112 sightings. This is 353 sightings up on the same time last year.

Victorian anger over rail funding give and take

Posted Monday, 28 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Victorian Treasurer Kim Wells attacks Gillard government in escalating stoush over rail link funding.

VICTORIA is set to lose more than $1 billion because the federal government is refusing to rethink a decision to offset federal cash for the regional rail link when carving up the GST.

In an escalating funding stoush, Victorian Treasurer Kim Wells has attacked the Gillard government, saying the treatment of one-off grants provided by the Commonwealth for capital projects like regional rail link was ''ludicrous''.

In a strongly worded letter to his federal counterpart, Wayne Swan, Mr Wells said Victoria stood to lose the equivalent of almost half the $3.2 billion federal grant for the regional rail link over the next seven years because of the impact on the GST calculations.

Penrice facing quarry quandary

Posted Monday, 28 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

The Adelaide-based company Penrice Soda says it is considering selling its quarry and mineral business to reduce its debt.

Penrice operates a marble and limestone mine outside Angaston in the Barossa Valley which supplies its chemical factory at Osborne in Adelaide.

The company is the only manufacturer of soda ash and sodium bicarbonate in Australia.

Metro admits trains sometimes skip stations

Posted Monday, 28 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Metro admits some trains have been skipping stations in Melbourne so they run on time.

The company says it is happening on average about four times a day, stranding some passengers, since the new timetable was introduced last month.

Metro's chief executive Andrew Lezala says the changes are made in extreme cases for the greater good.

More trains run on time after Metro network untangled

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by Mouse in Victorian Rail News

More trains are running on time since Metro introduced a major overhaul of its timetable.  

Mid-week security cut on late night NSW trains

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Government says late night security on trains will be cut during the week.

RailCorp transit officers will now only perform the late night patrols on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian says the shift cuts are necessary as transit officers are replaced by police patrols.

"The police presence is making a difference and I'm looking forward to making an even greater different, because not only will police be around train stations but also major transport interchanges and also ferry wharves," she said.

Far north coast rail study on track

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A study into the feasibility of returning rail services to the Casino-to-Murwillumbah line begins today.

The Minister for the North Coast, Don Page, says two teams of engineers will inspect key points along the 130-kilometre line over the next two weeks.

He says the route includes 145 timber bridges, 13 steel bridges and nine tunnels.

Mr Page says the line has not been used for eight years and is in a state of disrepair.

Southport light rail work to begin shortly

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

SOUTHPORT restaurateur Jeff Testa is looking forward to the day the $1.2 billion light rail delivers hundreds of people to Scarborough Street every seven minutes.

But for now, he's anticipating "short-term pain", with construction of the major public transport project set to begin in the CBD later this month.

"I know there will be some short-term pain with the construction, but I think the long-term gain will outweigh that," said Mr Testa, who recently opened fine-dining restaurant The Vault along the shopping strip. 

Government approves $6.4b coal mine in Galilee Basin

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Government has granted conditional approval to build one of Australia's largest coal mines in the Galilee Basin in the state's central-west.

Queensland's coordinator-general has granted conditional approval for Hancock Coal's $6.4 billion Alpha coal project, west of Rockhampton.

It also includes a 495-kilometre railway line to Abbot Point near Bowen, north of Mackay.

The project still needs Federal Government environmental approval to proceed.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has told State Parliament the open-cut coal mine would produce 30-million tonnes per year.

Mr Seeney says the mine will inject $1 billion into Queensland's economy each year.

Thousands fined in fare evasion crackdown

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne's public transport ticket inspectors are issuing 5,000 more fines every month than a year ago.

The crackdown comes amid reports there has been a spike in fare evasion, with one in 10 train passengers and almost two in 10 tram passengers travelling without paying.

Transport Minister Terry Mulder says the former government had told Metro to back off on issuing infringement notices and that resulted in increased fare evasion.

Mr Mulder says the blitz is necessary to ensure the problem does not get worse.

"It just got to the point whereby we were looking at the figures and saying this is going to spread," he told ABC local radio.

Fears grain trucks taking toll on roads

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Port Lincoln Mayor Bruce Green says grain transporters are not utilising rail networks enough and are instead putting more trucks on the road.

Councillor Green was one of about six people to make a submission at a hearing in the city yesterday by a parliamentary committee investigating South Australia's grain industry.

The committee will hold its final public hearings today at Tailem Bend and Murray Bridge. It held a hearing at Loxton last night.

Metro plans big boost in peak-hour services

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

METRO will seek to deliver a huge boost to peak-hour train services in the next five years by splitting Melbourne's criss-crossing rail network into five separate groups.

But the peak-hour plan, obtained by The Age, is being resisted by many drivers, who stand to be evicted from their hub at Flinders Street Station and divided into five camps. They argue it will effectively deskill them by forcing them to run trains up and down the same lines every day.

If the plan is successful, by 2017 commuters will benefit from previously unseen levels of service frequency on some suburban lines, with waits of five minutes or less between trains in some cases. But the plan makes no reference to whether the extra trains would worsen congestion on the roads, particularly at level crossings.

Wiggins Island rail terminal approved

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland regulators have approved the planned $330 million Wiggins Island Rail Project which will be used to transport coal.

In September 2011, rail operator QR National struck a deal with eight coal companies to build a rail line to transport coal from their mines to a new 27 million tonnes a year export terminal at Gladstone.

The arrangements were subject to Queensland Competition Authority approval and securing financing.

Rinehart railway to hurt farmers: Agforce

Posted Tuesday, 29 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Mining giant Gina Rinehart's newly approved coal rail line will rip through prime cattle land, farmers warn.

Queensland's coordinator general has given approval for the GVK-Hancock Coal $6.4 million project in Alpha in the state's central west and approval for Hancock Coal's proposed rail line from the mine to Abbot Point.

The 495km railway will cross the Belyando, Suttor and Mistake Creek flood plain, southwest of Mackay.

Seaford rail extension delivers jobs boom

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

MORE than 1000 southern residents have jobs on the Seaford rail extension, blitzing the 50 per cent local employment target.

The $292.1 million project has employed 1056 locals - more than 70 per cent of the workforce - since work started last year.

Woodcroft resident Kelly Carter was looking for work for six months before being hired as a receptionist on the project in September.

Rail fan welcomes survey

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

KARIN Kolbe hopes investigations into the Casino to Murwillumbah railway line will open the world of train travel to a generation of Northern Rivers children yet to ride the rails.

The Trains on our Tracks (Toot) president welcomed the study which began to inspect key points on the 130km section of line that has been unused for eight years.

She said reinstating the rail line was a long way off yet but if achieved it would make her eight years campaigning worth it.

Ballarat rail sector gets jobs boost

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

BALLARAT’S rail manufacturing sector is set to benefit from 65 new jobs after the Victorian government announced the local production of seven X’Trapolis trains.

Victorian Treasurer Kim Wells and Minister for Regional Cities Denis Napthine made the announcement at rolling stock manufacturer Alstom’s Creswick Road workshop yesterday, and said the trains would feature more locally made components than previous models.

“The fit out of these trains will add jobs for people here at Alstom’s plant in Ballarat in addition to another 70 indirect jobs expected to be created as a result of this contract,’’ Mr Wells said.

Rail stations to get revamp

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

V/Line has announced several railway stations in central Victoria will be restored in a $2 million overhaul of regional train stops.

Workers will resurface the platforms at Malmsbury and Gisborne stations, repaint Kyneton station and build new toilet facilities at Castlemaine.

QR boss upbeat about Pilbara rail plan

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

QR National managing director Lance Hockridge has shrugged off turmoil on global financial markets, saying interest in the company's ground-breaking Pilbara iron ore rail line remains strong.

At a time when BHP Billiton has sent jitters through the iron ore scene with its bearish global outlook and suggestions it may not push ahead with a massive Pilbara expansion, Mr Hockridge said he remained buoyed by support from potential partners, financiers and customers.

Speaking after addressing a business luncheon in Perth yesterday, Mr Hockridge said QR also remained open minded about the ownership structure of the proposed railway, which would need to be underwritten by some of the region's emerging players such as Atlas Iron and Brockman Resources.

Boom-gate crash sparks commuter woes

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Trains on the Werribee line have been delayed by at least 25 minutes this morning after a car hit boom gates at a level crossing and ended up on the tracks.

Police and a tow truck were sent to Cherry Street, Werribee, the same spot where a 65-year-old woman was killed last Friday when the car she was travelling in was hit by a freight train.

One city-bound commuter from Geelong said his trip was delayed by an hour.

London woman jailed for Tube race rant

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A drunk passenger who hurled racist abuse at fellow travellers on a London underground train in a tirade that became an internet sensation has been jailed for 21 weeks.

Jacqueline Woodhouse, 42, launched an expletive-laden rant at passengers on the Central line, telling those seated near her: "I used to live in England and now I live in the United Nations."

A seven-minute video of the verbal assault was uploaded to YouTube and viewed more than 200,000 times.

Metro brushes off blind woman

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

METRO has refused to attend a human rights commission hearing with a blind woman hindered by substandard station announcements, because she would not sign a confidentiality agreement.

Annmarie Kelly was due to meet the rail operator at the commission's headquarters yesterday to discuss her claim that poor announcements unlawfully discriminate against her, causing her to regularly catch the wrong train.

Hallam toilet not for public convenience

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

HALLAM Railway Station will finally get a toilet - but not for the average commuter.

Leader has reported desperate pleas for a public toilet from commuters, including pregnant women and parents of toddlers.

The nearest is a 25-minute walk away.

But the new toilet, for which money was allocated in this year’s State Budget, will be for the exclusive use of the new Protective Services Officers.

Government begins talks for Galilee coal rail line

Posted Wednesday, 30 May, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Government says it will start urgent negotiations with mining companies in the Galilee Basin about sharing a rail line to transport coal to the coast.

The $6.4 billion Alpha coal project is the first of nine proposed mines in the basin region in central Queensland to be assessed by the State Government.

Indian company GVK and Gina Rinehart's Hancock Coal are planning to begin construction next year, after being granted conditional approval by the State Government for the mine yesterday.

However, the Alpha coal project, west of Rockhampton, still needs Federal Government environmental approval to proceed.

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