News

 

Showing stories from July 2012

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Deaths prompt Vic rail campaign

Posted Sunday, 1 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Police in Melbourne are focusing on rail safety after recording 25 deaths in the city's train network in a year, including a teenager killed this week in a horrific accident.

Acting Inspector Andrew Rowlands said known trouble spots on Melbourne's commuter rail network would be targeted, and officers would hand out significant fines.

'We're looking not only at pedestrian behaviour along railway lines and railway crosses, but also the behaviour of motorists and also concentrating on trespassers on public transport property as well,' he said on Friday.

Rail line reopens after landslip

Posted Sunday, 1 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A key London to Scotland rail route has reopened following the floods that have caused travel chaos and brought misery to many householders.

The clearing of the line between Newcastle upon Tyne and Berwick-upon-Tweed after a landslip meant the East Coast train company was able to run hourly services between London and Edinburgh.

Ticket restrictions are lifted on all East Coast services on the London to Newcastle and Scotland route, but only for the rest of Friday. Passengers who could not travel on this route on Thursday or Friday morning can use their tickets on Friday or Saturday.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 30/6/2012

Posted Sunday, 1 July, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 110 sightings for this week. This is 13 sightings less than last week, making a total of 3048 sightings for this year to date. On day 182 last year we had recorded 2696 sightings. This is 352 sightings up on the same time last year.

Fishermans Bend a vision of expanded CBD

Posted Sunday, 1 July, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE first areas identified for CBD-style development at ''Fishermans Bend'' are located in Port Melbourne and South Melbourne industrial areas - not near the General Motors Fishermans Bend facility on the banks of the Yarra River.

A departmental briefing shows the first four areas targeted to accommodate up to 60,000 new residents and 24,000 homes are almost all south of the West Gate Freeway in industrial land running to Williamstown Road.

Mr Guy's vision is for Fishermans Bend to become part of an expanded CBD. Documents from the Department of Planning show four development areas - stage one in South Melbourne called Montague, stage two, three and four in Port Melbourne called Lorimer Street, Plummer Street, and Fennell Street. The planning department briefing also shows an investigation for light rail down Williamstown and Todd roads to service the new community.

Rail upgrade prompts grain receival outlet for Coonamble

Posted Monday, 2 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Plans for a new grain receival and packaging site at Coonamble are expected to remove a number of heavy vehicles from western roads.

For the first time in three decades, a Narromine-based company wants to open a new facility where grains will be prepared for export.

The director, David Ringland, says the plans have been made possible by the State Government's $33 million upgrade of the Dubbo to Coonamble rail line, which is due to be completed in 2014.

Rail crossing frustrations rise as peak hour gridlocks suburbs

Posted Monday, 2 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THERE are more cars in Murrumbeena than ever before - but fewer shoppers, say traders.

The one constant is the noisy level crossing that divides the suburb, with boom gates down for almost half of each peak hour as packed trains travel through.

Julie Scott, who works at the Bendigo Bank branch, has noticed a drop in the numbers of shoppers over the past three years and believes that people are simply not prepared to risk a long wait at the boom gates each time they go shopping.

Waikato rail crossing smash

Posted Monday, 2 July, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

A train driver desperately sounded his horn as he watched a car drive closer and closer to the tracks before colliding with his train on the outskirts of Morrinsville last night.

Emergency services were called to the crash at the intersection of Piako Rd and State Highway 26 shortly before 7pm.

The 76-year-old driver of the car was trapped inside and the Morrinsville Volunteer Fire Service spent about 15 minutes trying to free him from the smoking vehicle.

Constable Erik Harrewijn said the train driver saw the car approach from about 30 metres away – on SH26 – and sounded the horn repeatedly as the car moved forward.

However, the car didn't stop and the train struck the driver's side of the vehicle, spinning it into a paddock.

Glen Waverley line: Rail commuters get set for long road

Posted Monday, 2 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Public Transport Users Association has called for Metro and the state government to ensure commuters can travel smoothly following the decision to shut down the Glen Waverley line for up to 11 days due to major works.

The line will be closed from July 7-15 and from July 21-22 to coincide with school holidays. The announcement last Tuesday morning is likely to affect 20,000 people who take the Glen Waverley line.

President Daniel Bowen said track, signal and overhead failures had been rife and caused major disruptions.

"Major upgrade work does need to be done on Melbourne's rail network to ensure it is reliable."

Truck hits rail bridge

Posted Monday, 2 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A TRUCK was believed to have hit the rail bridge on Old Bowral Road, Mittagong, causing delays for trains between Moss Vale and Campbeltown.

Trains on the Southern Highlands Line have been part suspended in both directions due to emergency bridge repairs.

A shuttle train service will now operate in both directions between Picton and Campbelltown, and buses will replace trains between Moss Vale and Picton.

Rail freight company QR National says it is examining a joint rail project

Posted Monday, 2 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate an integrated rail proposal to move coal from Adani's Carmichael Coal Mine to the Abbot Point Coal Terminal or the future Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal.

The companies will conduct a feasibility study to assess rail infrastructure and haulage services for 60 million to 80 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum.

It comes after the Queensland government's decision to have a new west-east connecting railway to QR National's existing coal network.

Will California bite the high-speed rail bullet?

Posted Monday, 2 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Farming communities in California's Central Valley may soon have to make way for the high-speed revolution if rail supporters have their way.

A $68bn bullet train is set to run through dairy farms and grapevines, whisking passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes.

"What is so great about trains is the ability to move large numbers of people efficiently, comfortably, safely, environmentally-responsibly and we can do it price-competitively," says Tom Richards, vice chairman of the board of the California High Speed Rail Authority.

Though the project could still be derailed by financial challenges

Historic rail station gets facelift

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

One of Queensland's last remaining timber railway stations is getting a makeover.

The heritage-listed Cooroy Railway Station was built in the 19th century and is one of nine remaining timber stations in the state.

Regional Rail Link: Emotions run high over disruption

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MORE than 100 Brimbank residents have signed a petition calling on the state government to suspend works on the Sunshine to Deer Park section of the Regional Rail Link until an environmental assessment is completed.

The move follows a June 25 meeting in Sunshine West where more than 80 people called for improvements to the $5 billion rail project.

Residents say they want proper noise and pollution protection through existing suburbs; safe and easy pedestrian and bike access; electrification of the Melton, Geelong and Ballarat lines; and measures to deal with increased traffic.

North West Rail Link: Cherrybrook residents fear disruption

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

RESIDENTS in Cherrybrook have voiced their concerns about how their homes will be affected during the construction of the North West Rail Link.

Tunnelling isn't due to start at Cherrybrook until 2014 but residents around Franklin and Robert roads are worried about excessive noise and traffic disruptions.

The News called a residents action group for Cherrybrook but members declined to comment.

An action group spokesman said several meetings with representatives of the North West Rail Link have been organised to address their concerns. Hornsby councillor Bruce Mills said Cherrybrook will become a noisy and dirty construction zone for up to six years.

Plea over rail safety after Seaford teen death

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

POLICE have called for more awareness of railway safety following the death of a teenager in Seaford last Thursday.

The man, believed to be a Skye resident, was walking along the railway lines at 11.45pm when he was struck by a train headed for Frankston, about 200 metres from the nearest railway crossing.

Transit police Acting Inspector Andrew Rowlands said walking along railway lines at any time put people in a dangerous environment.

Rail workers who stole £1.5million worth of track to sell for scrap are jailed

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Five railway industry workers have been jailed for stealing 1.5million worth of track to sell for scrap.

The 'industrial scale' thefts from Network Rail projects, including an upgrade of the West Coast Main Line in the Rugby area, saw lorry-loads of used rails diverted to unauthorised scrapyards.

A judge sitting at Birmingham Crown Court today jailed John Burtenshaw, 53, Terence Doherty, 48, Stuart Amphlett, 33, Paul Tandon, 47, and 41-year-old Neil Jones for conspiracy to steal.

Police boost for Adelaide public transport

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Safety patrols on Adelaide public transport are being boosted with the addition of 28 extra transit police.

South Australian Police Minister Jennifer Rankine said the officers would oversee buses, trains and trams and monitor taxi ranks and transport interchanges.

"Their addition to the transit service branch brings the total number of sworn officers to 102," she said.

Auckland Transport reveals city rail loop route

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Auckland Transport has unveiled its route for the central city rail loop, with over 200 properties earmarked for purchase to make way for tunnels and stations.

The City Rail Link project, which is estimated to cost over $2.4 billion, extends the existing rail line underground through Britomart, under Albert, Vincent and Pitt streets, then beneath Karangahape Road and the Central Motorway Junction to Symonds Street before rising to join the western line near Eden Terrace.

Infrastructure critical to exports: report

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

AUSTRALIA could be shipping twice as much of its most lucrative commodities by 2025 if the nation takes ''critical'' steps to contain costs and build new infrastructure, a government report says.

The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics yesterday forecast that the volumes of iron ore and coal exports would near double by 2025 in response to strong Asian demand.

$10 million for rail freight

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

FREIGHT companies in Tocumwal, Horsham, Warrnambool and Mildura will share in $10 million to shift freight onto rail.

Public transport minister Terry Mulder said the six companies which shared the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme funding, have committed to moving 50,000 containers in and out of the Port of Melbourne by rail instead of road.

Mr Mulder said the scheme was a ``major boost to rail freight''.

Aftermath of heavy rain disrupts V/Line travel

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

V/Line train services have been disrupted after heavy rains caused damage to the Bairnsdale to Melbourne rail track near Darnum. 

 

V/Line passengers have been forced to travel part or all of their journey between Bairnsdale and Melbourne by bus after the sinkhole was reported near Darnum by a train driver.

V/Line is concerned the sinkhole could pose a safety risk for passengers.

Companies co-operate on Galilee rail line

Posted Tuesday, 3 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Adani and QR National will work together on a proposal for an east-west rail line out of the coal-rich Galilee Basin in central Queensland.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says the co-operative approach was what the government had hoped for when it declared two rail corridors - one running east-west and another north-south - for the region.

Tunnel too small could make rail link a bridge too far

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

WHEN the tunnels for the North West Rail Link are finished in just over four years, they will have an internal diameter of about 6.1 metres, too small for the type of trains used in Sydney.

The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, said the decision to bore smaller tunnels for Sydney’s biggest rail project in decades was not about saving money.

But the commitment to smaller tunnels has sparked fears among some transport planners that, for the sake of a few centimetres on either side, the government could be forever locking off transport options.

This is because the size of the tunnels may not affect only the type of trains that use the North West Rail Link.

Revealed - Adelaide's worst rail route for fare evaders

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

ALMOST one in four passengers travelling on the Outer Harbour train line on weekdays are evading fares, new figures reveal.

Fare evasion on the line rose to 24 per cent in the January-March reporting period, compared to 18 per cent in the last quarter of 2011.

Across the Adelaide rail network, the number of commuters dodging their ticket payments stood mostly unchanged at 15 per cent.

On the state's tram network, 8 per cent of commuters were evading fares across the week.

Rail line spurs Newcastle CBD exodus

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Businesses are packing up and moving out of Newcastle’s CBD as the controversial inner-city rail line continues to act as the great divide, according to a new report.

Newcastle company Suters Architects released the report outlining the demise of the Hunter Street side of the rail line compared with the development boom on the harbour side.

The report includes illustrations and plans showing the city as it is and options for a rail-free CBD.

Businesses continue to close on the southern side of the divide with KH Financial Group moving to Charlestown as Summit Financial Advisors after 18 years in the CBD.

Public spending cuts hurting productivity

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

PUBLIC spending on roads, rail and power stations is collapsing to levels not seen since 2006, posing a threat to the nation's falling productivity.

A new quarterly survey of the country's biggest construction companies, compiled by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and BIS Shrapnel, shows how the two-speed economy is distorting infrastructure expenditure - with headline national figures propped up by massive investment in mining projects.

The March metric reveals that outside of mining, spending has fallen to its lowest levels in seven years. Non-mine commitments fell back to an index of 82.9 in the quarter, well below the average of 113. Transport infrastructure was the worst hit, falling to 68.7, as state governments reduced their commitments to roads and rail as they continued to cut spending to protect their AAA credit rating, or in Queensland's case, tried to restore it.

Trains out after truck hits rail bridge

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Train services have been disrupted on the Outer Harbor line in Adelaide after a truck hit a rail bridge.

Transport SA said no trains would be allowed to use the bridge over Commercial Road at Port Adelaide until engineers had completed a safety inspection.

Tungsten mine looks to make 'tidy profit'

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in Northern Territory Rail News

An Adelaide-based mining company says a new tungsten mine near Tennant Creek is financially feasible.

Thor Mining's chief executive, Mick Billing, says the construction would require about 100 workers, take a year and cost $70 million.

He says the ore would be transported by road to Alice Springs and then by rail to Darwin.

Auckland rail link to claim 210 properties

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Auckland Transport will soon begin contacting the owners of properties it needs to buy in order to build its inner city underground rail link.

The proposed route will run through the city connecting Britomart with the existing western line and adding three new underground stations along the way.

But for the Inner City Rail Link to go ahead, Auckland Transport will need to purchase 210 properties, including the Westfield Downtown shopping centre across the road from Britomart.

Debate over double decker trains

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales government has decided to bore smaller sized tunnels on the north-west rail link.

Tenders have been called for the tunnels which are designed to run single deck trains.

They will be too small to fit double-deck trains that are common on the rest of the network.

More PSOs to patrol stations

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Protective Services Officers (PSOs) will start work at Melbourne's Parliament and Richmond railway stations on Tuesday tonight.

It means they will now patrol seven stations every night from six o'clock until the last train.

They include Southern Cross, Flinders Street, Footscray, Dandenong and Melbourne Central.

The State Government has promised to deploy 940 PSOs to railway stations in Melbourne and regional centres by 2014.

Quakers Hill Police warning on rail detonator thefts

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

QUAKERS Hill Police are urging parents to be aware of where their children are and what items they may have in their possession, following the heft of  several rail detonator.

The police said that other property have recently been stolen from Rail Corp and are worried that children could be badly hurt by using the detonators.

Countrylink XPT unable to access Melbourne this evening

Posted Wednesday, 4 July, 2012 by bevans in Gunzelling Reports

The Countrylink XPT service from Sydney to Melbourne was unable to access Melbourne this evening account track access issues due to a person being hit by a metro train at Craigieburn.

Details are sketchy however Countrylink has posted an update on their website which advises the XPT returned to Seymour and passengers were transfered to buses.

Why Vline could not carry them to Melbourne from Seymour is unknown. Details follow.

Qld approves new Cloncurry multi-user rail facility

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the state government’s approval of a new multi-user rail load-out facility that will service mining projects in the state’s north west.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said on Wednesday that the government would be actively working with the facility’s three joint venture (JV) partners, Xstrata Copper, MMG and Cudeco, to deliver the rail load-out facility for the region.

The rail load-out facility will be fully funded by the JV partners, and it was anticipated that it would take between 18 and 24 months to complete the approvals process, construct and commission the facility, with the facility to be operational by mid 2014.

“This outcome brings a resolution to more than 18 months of uncertainty on this project and will centralise the load-out requirements of three major mining operations into one location, outside Cloncurry,” Cripps said.

High-speed rail funding poised for approval

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Even though Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers failed this week to reach a deal on public worker pensions, the Legislature may be ready to approve billions of dollars in spending on high-speed rail and related projects.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) told reporters on Tuesday that lawmakers would vote on the funding this week.

Legislative approval would be a victory for Brown, who has championed high-speed rail despite uniform opposition from Republicans and scattered concerns among Democrats.

Brown has planned to start the project with 130 miles of rail in the Central Valley, stretching from Bakersfield to Madera. But some Democratic state senators have suggested it would be better to start in wealthier, more-populous areas such as San Francisco or Los Angeles.

Derailed coal train fuels critics of increased Northwest shipping

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A derailed Spokane-bound train interrupted an interstate railroad thoroughfare for more than 24 hours, but the tracks were to reopen Tuesday night, BNSF Railway Co. officials said.

The freight train derailed Monday, spewing 31 cars and tons of coal dust across the arid grasslands of southeast Washington.

More than 50 workers from a nearby town bulldozed 30 of the 31 cars into a heap, righted the last one, and cleared the tracks, officials said.

Sutton rail campaigners fight to save a train link

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Rail campaigners are planning a day of action in a bid to save a train link to The City, St Pancras, North London and stations to Luton.

Under current plans, Thameslink Loop Line trains, which link Sutton to St Albans and Luton through central and north London, will terminate at Blackfriars station from 2018.

Network Rail has said the changes are part of a Thameslink upgrade to increase the number of trains.

Rail imposes carbon tax surcharge

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

RAIL operators warn the carbon price could backfire by providing a financial incentive for businesses to move more cargo on to heavier-polluting trucks and drive up the costs of groceries.

Asciano's rail freight business, Pacific National, is imposing a 1.34 per cent "carbon cost surcharge" on rail freight, with the diesel fuel rebate slashed by 6.21c per litre from July 1 under the Gillard government's carbon tax.

It has told customers in a letter obtained by The Australian that the surcharge would be adjusted when the carbon price varied and that it regretted having to pass on the increases to other businesses.

Last night, Asciano chief executive John Mullen said it was "somewhat counter-intuitive" that at a time when government was trying to cut greenhouse emissions it was imposing a carbon price on rail, but trucks were exempt until mid-2014.

Mordialloc and Frankston trains halted account accident

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Buses will replace trains between Mordialloc and Frankston until further notice due to a pedestrian accident.

High-speed rail boosts economy

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

During the course of any modern political debate, we often hear a familiar refrain from those who oppose particular investments.

They usually say something along the line of "This project will burden future generations with debt." We're currently hearing of lot of this concerning high-speed rail in California. And while concern about our debt is a legitimate and important point of view, it does not apply to California's high-speed rail project.

Investment in high-speed rail will actually help to reverse the downward economic spiral that leads to deficits and long-term debt. How can this be?

One word: jobs. The project will create an estimated 450,000 direct job-years throughout its lifetime, as well as a million job-years from all economic activity generated by the statewide project. It is the lack of jobs that is causing our state's budget crisis as tax revenues have plummeted while the unemployed draw on public services. With high-speed rail starting construction next year, the huge number of new jobs generated will dramatically increase tax revenues flowing into the state budget.

Kerang among worst rail crossings

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Kerang railway crossing - where 11 people died in 2007 - has been named one of Victoria's worst.

The crossings were named by train drivers.

While the Kerang crossing features prominently on the list others were nominated not only because of fatalities but because of the "danger" factor.

Most crossings had been identified as being potentially lethal and have attracted treatment such as flashing lights.

Fast rail inspires political party

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

A group called Bullet Train for Canberra has applied to register as a political party for the October ACT election.

Party registrations closed on Saturday and so far seven parties have been approved including.

They are the Australian Labor Party, the Australian Motorist Party, The Liberal Democratic Party, The Liberal Party of Australia, Pangallo Independents Party, the ACT Greens, and the Community Alliance Party ACT.

Irish Rail sent a "Lost dog!" tweet with a photo attachment

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

WHEN Patch hopped aboard the train to Dublin, it took the power of Twitter to reunite the dog with his owner.

Irish Rail sent a "Lost dog!" tweet with a photo attachment after the Jack Russell terrier arrived with Wednesday morning commuters on a train from rural Kilcock, County Kildare, an hour's ride away.

After more than 500 retweets in just 32 minutes, the photo found Patch's owner, Deirdre Anglin, who tweeted the state railway: "That's my dog!"

The episode underscored the ubiquitous use of mobile-friendly social media sites in Ireland, a tech-savvy corner of Europe where mobile phones were the norm long before they were in the United States.

Highway, rail corridor upgrades considered

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Government says it will consider upgrades to the Flinders Highway and the Mount Isa to Townsville rail corridor if mining activity in the region increases.

The miners Xstrata Copper, MMG and Cudeco have agreed to contribute money to build a rail load-out facility about 10 kilometres east of Cloncurry.

The Natural Resources and Mines Minister, Andrew Cripps, says the facility gives the miners certainty about the future.

"There is the potential for growth in the capacity of the facility," he said.

Police threat sparks fare-fine insurance rethink

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Organisers of a proposed scheme to shield fare evaders from fines are reconsidering the project following calls to shut it down.

Public Transport Victoria chief Ian Dobbs has urged the organisers of Tramsurance, which for $20 a month would cover fines incurred for fare evasion, to shelve the project.

"We're going to ask them to desist," Mr Dobbs told ABC 774. "If they don't do that we will probably have to refer them to Victoria Police because we can't have this."

Metro's train system depends on this wilderness

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A SHEEP paddock between the home of tyre king Bob Jane and his Calder Park drag racing circuit could hold the key to the future of Melbourne's trains.

But first the government will have to deal with the endangered growling grass frogs that live there.

Seventy hectares of farmland in Plumpton, on Melbourne's north-western fringe, have been earmarked by the government as the place for a stabling yard for its ''next generation trains''.

Rail freight scheme may be extended to Portland

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder says a scheme to transfer more freight from roads to rail could eventually target the Port of Portland.

Warrnambool company Wettenhals is taking part in the current round of the Government's rail freight investment scheme, along with companies at Tocumwal, Mildura and Horsham.

Mr Mulder says the $10 million scheme will cover about 50,000 containers being transported to the Port of Melbourne.

Rail imposes carbon tax surcharge

Posted Friday, 6 July, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

RAIL operators warn the carbon price could backfire by providing a financial incentive for businesses to move more cargo on to heavier-polluting trucks and drive up the costs of groceries.

Asciano's rail freight business, Pacific National, is imposing a 1.34 per cent "carbon cost surcharge" on rail freight, with the diesel fuel rebate slashed by 6.21c per litre from July 1 under the Gillard government's carbon tax.

It has told customers in a letter obtained by The Australian that the surcharge would be adjusted when the carbon price varied and that it regretted having to pass on the increases to other businesses.

NY joining revival of short-line rail industry

Posted Friday, 6 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

NORTH CREEK, N.Y. (AP) — A railroad company is renovating rusty, overgrown tracks to get at millions of tons of waste rock at an abandoned iron and titanium mine near the source of New York's Hudson River and the highest peaks of the Adirondacks, part of a widespread resurgence of short line and regional freight lines.

The planned reopening of a 30-mile rail link is being driven by high oil prices that make rail shipping more economical than trucking. Backers hope the Adirondack line will bring an economic boost to faded towns along its route by providing a new shipping option for products such as minerals, logs and paper products.

Rail services partially return on suspended lines

Posted Sunday, 8 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Trains are again running on two of four train lines closed in Queensland's central west because of safety concerns.

All four lines were closed on Friday when it was revealed more than 70 wooden rail bridges had not been checked following recent floods and inspection records dating back to November 2010 had been falsified.

Suspensions on two lines have now been lifted.

The Emerald to Longreach and Longreach to Winton tracks are operating again but with a number of restrictions, including a 15km/hr speed limit on all bridges yet to be inspected.

Public transport snub worrying for light rail

Posted Sunday, 8 July, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

GOLD Coasters are shunning buses and trains in record numbers with more than one-in-two revealing that they only used public transport once a year.

In what looms as a worrying sign for the $1 billion rapid transit project, Gold Coasters are snubbing public transport and jumping in their cars instead.

The Your City, Your Say survey reveals that 54 per cent of locals say they use public transport only `once a year' and only 18 per cent of residents say they use public transport at least once a week.

A total of 47 per cent of respondents rated Gold Coast bus services as `poor to very poor'.

Gindalbie withdraws Oakajee rail plan

Posted Sunday, 8 July, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Gindalbie Metals has withdrawn plans to build a railway line to the proposed Oakajee Port, north of Geraldton.

The company had planned to build the line to transport iron ore from its Karara mine between Geraldton and Oakajee Port.

Miners flag rail as biggest barrier

Posted Sunday, 8 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Minerals Council says the existing Hunter Valley Rail Corridor will ultimately prevent the industry from keeping up with an increase in international demand for coal.

Research released earlier this week predicted Australia's coal exports will increase significantly over the next decade, with thermal coal exports alone expected to increase from 119 to 235 million tonnes.

But the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics report also warned infrastructure upgrades were needed to keep up with the demand.

2000 Queensland Rail workers facing the axe

Posted Sunday, 8 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

MORE than 2000 staff face the chop at Queensland Rail, with the State Government planning a 30 per cent reduction in the workforce.

Those under pressure include a "bloated corporate office" which includes 12 senior executives who each earn an average of $377,500 a year.

The Courier-Mail also understands 500 jobs are set to go from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, which employs more than 4000 people.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads is also facing a reduction in staff.

California high-speed rail gets green light

Posted Sunday, 8 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California lawmakers gave the green light to start building the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail line, a multibillion dollar project that will eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The move marked major political victories for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and the Obamaadministration. Both have promoted bullet trains as job generators and clean transportation alternatives.

In a narrow 21-16 party-line vote that involved intense lobbying by the governor, legislative leaders and labor groups, the state Senate approved the measure marking the launch of California's ambitious bullet train, which has spent years in the planning stages.

Queensland Rail ordered to cut bloated executive

Posted Tuesday, 10 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Rail has been ordered to cut its bloated executive, with a dozen people netting a wage above CEO level.

The government-owned corporation has 12 senior executives paid above the CEO level, compared to only two at CEO level at the Department of Main Roads, an organisation of similar size, Transport Minister Scott Emerson says.

The 12 are being paid $4.53 million, and there are also more than 60 general managers in Queensland Rail compared to 20 in main roads.

Mr Emerson has told rail network operator to identify savings in corporate numbers, and he intends on targeting the communications and marketing department for cuts.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 7/7/2012

Posted Tuesday, 10 July, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 114 sightings for this week. This is four sightings more than last week, making a total of 3162 sightings for this year to date. On day 189 last year we had recorded 2819 sightings. This is 343 sightings up on the same time last year.

Commuters face transport strikes

Posted Tuesday, 10 July, 2012 by Mouse in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE commuters are facing the prospect of tram and train strikes, with Yarra Trams and Metro Trains staff threatening to begin industrial action over pay and conditions.

Transport workers can now legally take industrial action under workplace laws if a majority agree, after agreements between staff and management at the city's train and tram companies expired on July 1.

Employees at both companies look likely to begin the process of taking industrial action this week, after failing to come to an agreement with management on new deals over pay and conditions.

Heavy Harry waits patiently for plans to get him back on track

Posted Tuesday, 10 July, 2012 by Grimm in Victorian Rail News

HEAVY Harry never had a chance to show the world what he was made of.

The colossal steam train was built in 1941 to transport passengers between Melbourne and Adelaide. But at 260 tonnes, the biggest locomotive ever built in Australia was so heavy the railway bridges couldn't support its weight, and with the the war happening there were no funds to strengthen them.

So Heavy Harry, or locomotive H 220, hauled goods along the Albury line for 15 years until it was superseded by diesel power and retired to the Newport railyards where it was built.

It still sits there now, rusting slowly in the sea-salty air, the star exhibit of a run-down railway museum nobody visits.

Is rail on track at Sydney Airport?

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

It looks like something quite extraordinary has happened at Sydney Airport over the last five or six years. I’m surprised it hasn’t received more attention.

According to Airport Link, the company that manages train operations at the domestic and international terminals, rail patronage grew 32% over 08/09-11/12 while the total number of air travellers passing though the airport grew by just 11%.

Almost 16% of air travellers now use rail to get to and from the airport. That’s a huge increase compared to 2006, when the Productivity Commission estimated rail’s share at around 10%.

Fears rail closures to cost beef producers

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Isaac council's Deputy Mayor says beef producers will bear the brunt of increased freight costs due to rail line closures.

The State Rail Safety Regulator has closed or put speed restrictions on several rail lines, over concerns that wooden bridges had not been properly checked.

The Clermont to Emerald line is one of two services still closed until bridges are inspected - two other lines have reopened with speed restrictions.

Deputy Mayor Dale Appleton says many beef producers will have to freight cattle via roads and that will cost producers more.

KiwiRail still investing in rail network

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

KiwiRail says it's still making a significant investment in the rail network, despite plans to cut around 200 jobs.

The job losses are expected to be in the area of infrastructure and engineering.

Infrastructure and engineering general manager Rick van Barneveld says $750 million will be spent on the network over the next three years.

Fast rail plan to cut western suburbs city commute crush

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A NEW high-speed rail service would shuttle commuters from Maribyrnong into the city under an ambitious council plan.

The new sprinter train service would run from Newport to Southern Cross station with the potential to carry up to 113 passengers a carriage.

It would operate during morning and evening peak along the existing Newport goods rail line at speeds of more than 130km/h, Maribyrnong Leader reports.

Cr Michael Clarke wants the council to call on the State Government to fund a feasibility study into the service as the commuter crush worsens in the west.

Ellenbrook rail line never viable

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A STATE Government promise to build a rail line to Ellenbrook was never viable, new information shows.

It has been revealed in State Parliament the Ellenbrook rail link catchment area would not have the necessary population to make an expansion of the rail network practicable for at least two decades.

Alyssa Hayden, Liberal member for the East Metropolitan Region, told Parliament the Public Transport in Perth in 2031 Plan showed expenditure on the Ellenbrook rail link could not be justified – either on existing or forecast population growth.

QR awards $56m rail contract

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QR National has awarded a second major contract, worth $56 million, for the Wiggins Island rail project that will service the first stage of the Wiggins Island coal export terminal being built in Gladstone.

Leighton Contractors will do the civil works to allow track duplication between Rocklands and Stanwell near Rockhampton. It is one of six key worksites for one of Australia's biggest rail infrastructure projects.

QR National recently awarded the first contract, worth $76 million, to Abigroup for the civil works for the loop near Gladstone, where coal trains will be unloaded before the coal is moved by conveyor belt to the Wiggins Island terminal in Gladstone Harbour.

Rail routes neglect to blame

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

AUSTRALIA'S biggest meat processor blamed years of negligent spending by the previous State Government for last Friday's sudden closure of vital rail routes in the region.

On Friday, the LNP Government closed rail operations in the state's Central West due to concerns that bogus bridge inspections had been carried out for the past 18 months.

Minister for Transport Scott Emerson said more than 70 wooden bridges in the region would need to be reinspected.

Rail industry aims to hire 5,000 veterans this year

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Washington (CNN) -- Facing an aging rail industry workforce and an influx of returning military veterans, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday an initiative in which the growing rail sector will hire more than 5,000 veterans this year, matching the same number hired in 2011.

"Our veterans have skills and real life experiences that we need to help rebuild America," said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.

LaHood said veterans are valuable potential employees because of their prior training in the military. He pointed out military personnel have leadership and teamwork training and experience working with heavy machinery in demanding work conditions.

'Ferrari' train driving high-speed rail renaissance

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Rome, Italy (CNN) -- As chairman of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo is used to making things that move at breakneck speed. But rather than flashy sports cars for wealthy motor enthusiasts, the Italian businessman's latest high-velocity project aims to cater for the traveling masses.

The Italo train from NTV -- a passenger rail company of which di Montezemolo is also chairman -- is a high-speed service that has been dashing between Milan, Rome and other major Italian cities since April.

With its dark red color scheme, streamlined shape and speeds as fast as a formula-one car, everyone's calling Italo the "Ferrari train." A cinema carriage, free Wi-Fi access throughout the train, and luxury leather seats all add to the high-performance, luxury theme. But Italo is intended to be affordable and accessible to all consumers.

Freight train derailment, explosion in Ohio prompts mile-wide evacuation

Posted Thursday, 12 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A mile-wide area was evacuated after a freight train derailed in Columbus, Ohio, early Wednesday, causing an explosion and fire.

Two people who were close by when the train derailed were injured. The victims drove themselves to the hospital but their conditions are unknown.

The train crew was able to safely move the locomotives and three freight cars from the scene. There were no injuries to train personnel.

Teams trained to deal with hazardous materials are on the scene of the blaze, near the Ohio State Fairgrounds in north Columbus.

Historic Goldfields rail line is being restored

Posted Thursday, 12 July, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A newly refurbished locomotive will emerge from the scrap heap next year.

It will then slowly but surely wind its way up a 114-year-old rail line to the top of Australia's largest open cut gold mine in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

It's not only the historic track and its trains, that the community group, Golden Mile Loopline Railway Society, is helping to rehabilitate.

Each week, prisoners from the regional prison join a bunch of young people who have dropped out of school to work together to restore what was once Australia's busiest railway service.

Queensland Rail chairman slots into tourism role

Posted Thursday, 12 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A new chairman has been appointed to head up Queensland Rail, whose chairman will move across to oversee Tourism Queensland.

Queensland Rail chairman Stephen Gregg, who currently heads the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, will take over as Tourism Queensland chair next month.

Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said Mr Gregg replaced Don Morris, who decided not to renew his term after five years.

The government today also announced the appointment of Glen Dawe as Queensland Rail chairman.

California high-speed rail project on track

Posted Thursday, 12 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Final approval for the creation of the nation's first high-speed rail network has been granted by Californian lawmakers.

Construction on the bullet train line will commence in the state's Central Valley, where the high-speed train is expected to reach speeds of 220 mph (355 kph).

$8 billion has been earmarked for the initial 130-mile (209 km) track.

Following the 21-16 vote in the Senate, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown said the new network would boost job creation and provide an alternative to car and plane travel in the country's most populous state.

Moreton Bay Rail Link may be threatened by State Government review

Posted Thursday, 12 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A question mark looms over the $1.15 billion Moreton Bay Rail Link, after Mayor Allan Sutherland confirmed the project was under review and Transport Minister Scott Emerson refused to give an iron-clad guarantee it would proceed in its present form.

Mr Emerson did not answer specific questions about the project, but said in a statement: "We are committed to delivering this project, however given the level of state debt and the Labor government's financial mess we need to ensure we also deliver the best value for taxpayers.''

Kenya-Uganda Rail Operator To Repair Nairobi-Mombasa Line

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Rift Valley Railways Ltd., the operator of the Kenya-Uganda railway, has bought $19 million of track to repair worn-out sections of the line from Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, and the port city ofMombasa.

RVR, as the company is known, shipped in 6,869 metric tons of rail, 10,000 railroad ties, and other accessories, paid for with part of a loan signed in August, Chief Executive Officer Brown Ondego said today in an e-mailed statement. The section of track being repaired is 70 kilometers (44 miles) long, he said.

“We expect to start laying the permanent way immediately,” Ondego said. “We’ll progressively increase speeds on the back of the developing efficiency on the tracks.”

Train operators noticed no track problems before Ohio derailment, explosion

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Investigators say a train that partly derailed and exploded in Columbus, Ohio, was traveling below the speed limit before the crash, and its operators noticed no problems with the track as they approached the curve where it happened.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused the Wednesday derailment on Norfolk Southern Corp. tracks north of downtown.

Govt urged to lift freight role

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

Infrastructure Australia wants the Tasmanian Government to play a great role in improving the state's freight systems.

A report by Infrastructure Australia has identified three Tasmanian projects for funding.

The Hobart to Launceston transport strategy is the most expensive at $1.6 billion.

The report also suggests a state wide rail revitalisation program and a waterfront overhaul for Hobart.

The three Tasmanian projects are worth just over $2 billion.

User charges needed to pay for more roads

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE national body overseeing Australia's future needs for roads, rail, ports and bridges says user charges will have a larger part in paying for infrastructure projects.

Infrastructure Australia (IA) released its fourth annual report of national infrastructure priorities and performance to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on Friday.

The report says some decisions to build capital projects will be difficult and unpopular, such as the wider application of user charging.

The charges were likely to be unavoidable as governments, federal and state, struggled to pay for capital projects when their budgets were under pressure.

It would get worse as the nation's population ages.

"We cannot escape the fact that the maintenance, operation and expansion of our infrastructure networks have to be paid for," said the Progress and Action report.

"There are no free lunches."

Key federal government infrastructure agency backs Brisbane's Cross River Rail

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

BRISBANE'S Cross River Rail project looks closer to reality, with the Federal Government's independent infrastructure body deciding it is ready to proceed.

Infrastructure Australia has ranked the project with a multi-billion dollar price tag - alongside three others as its top national priority.

This green light will help to inform the Federal Government's funding decisions.

"Cross River Rail has the capacity to support the balanced development of Brisbane and South East Queensland well into the mid century," the report released this morning said.

Rail row could break up NTC

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

TRANSPORT Minister Anthony Albanese will be ordered by his home-state ALP conference to abolish the National Transport Commission over a row with unions about shift lengths for train drivers.

The Australian understands the Rail Tram and Bus Union has won cross-factional support for a motion that seeks to abolish the NTC, which advises the government on transport infrastructure reform, and replace it with separate bodies covering freight and public transport, with safety issues referred to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Wingecarribee Council votes to support Canberra fast rail plan

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Wingecarribee Council has debated a mayoral minute to support Canberra Airport's bid for a super fast train to Sydney.

Under the plan, a multi-modal hub would be built in Canberra to link rail with international flights.

The option is being put forward as an alternative to a second Sydney airport at Wilton.

Wingecarribee mayor Councillor Ken Halstead says an international airport at Wilton would damage the environment and isn't needed.

Campaign to reopen rail freight on track

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Negotiations to strike a deal between the State Government and five Central West councils to reopen a key rail line have started.

A draft memorandum of understanding has been considered by representatives from the Cowra, Weddin, Blayney, Young and Harden shires yesterday.

A MOU will outline how the Blayney to Demondrille track will be managed and operated.

Melbourne freeway plan goes on priority list

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Five infrastructure projects in Victoria appear to be a step closer after getting approval from the federal body Infrastructure Australia

Out of the 10 projects considered by Infrastructure Australia to be ready for development funding, five are in Victoria.

They include the metro rail tunnel and the controversial east-west road link.

The Victorian Government wants $30 million dollars to start planning the project, which would link the Eastern Freeway with the Western Ring Road.

State Labor opposes the east-west tunnel, but Treasurer Kim Wells says that should not influence the Federal Government when it decides whether to fund the project.

Swansea rail electrification: Campaigners' new hopes

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Campaigners meet later to make a final bid to make the case for electrifying the main Paddington-south Wales railway line as far as Swansea.

The 1bn electrification of the line to Cardiff was confirmed last year.

Politicians, academics and business leaders in south-west Wales have called for an extension of the project to Swansea to help boost trade.

The UK government is set to announce in the coming days whether or not that will be extended further west.

Why High-Speed Rail Could Spur a Golden Age in the Northeast

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

From New York's Pennsylvania Station, you can catch a northbound subway train toward the Bronx. Thirty-nine minutes later, it will pull into Pelham Pkwy, a dozen miles away. But imagine, instead, that you could hop aboard a Next Generation High-Speed Rail train and in thirty-nine minutes pull up in Waterbury, Connecticut. The aging industrial town would be more swiftly accessible from midtown Manhattan than much of New York City.

That's the alluring vision Amtrak unveiled on Monday morning. The national railroad passenger company imagines a high-speed network that, by 2040, would whisk travelers from New York south to Washington or north to Boston in just 94 minutes. It's the highlight of an ambitious, $151 billion plan to rework its northeast corridor to meet burgeoning demand. The price-tag alone makes the plan implausible. But for the beleaguered rail corporation, which Mitt Romney and Congressional Republicans have suggested privatizing, the vision amounts to an argument for its future relevance and unmet potential.

No work on Maldon Dombarton despite allocation of funds

Posted Saturday, 14 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Work on a $25 million project announced by the Prime Minister in Wollongong last year hasn't yet started.

The Maldon Dombarton rail link has a chequered political history spanning back to 1983, when the then Liberal Premier Nick Greiner stopped construction work.

Last October, on the back of a $3 million feasibility study Julia Gillard announced further funding to move the project forward.

26 killed in South African train accident

Posted Saturday, 14 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Twenty-six people were killed in South Africa when a goods train ploughed into a truck carrying farm workers at a level crossing, according to authorities.

The train transporting coal to Mozambique collided with a four-tonne truck and dragged it down the tracks, leaving dismembered bodies in its wake in what rescue officials described as a gruesome scene.

The accident occurred shortly before 7:30am (local time) near the town of Malelane in the eastern province of Mpumalanga, south of the famed Kruger National Park.

"As far as I know this is the worst rail accident in our region since 1994," said Joseph Mabuza, spokesman for the provincial department of community safety.

Gundagai mayor fearful of bigger trucks on Gocup

Posted Saturday, 14 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Mayor of Gundagai says the Gocup Road cannot handle b-double trucks, let alone the larger 'maxi-b's' until it has been upgraded.

The Softwoods Working Group's Chairman Peter Crowe says larger trucks could improve safety by reducing total truck movements.

Abb McAllister says the Gocup Road is dangerous in sections and needs a lot of money spent on it to bring it up to an acceptable standard.

Councillor McAllister says the larger trucks bring up different safety issues, like other vehicle's ability to overtake them.

Report reignites spending battles

Posted Saturday, 14 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

BRISBANE'S ambitious $7 billion Cross River rail tunnel project is now a top priority. But that does not mean it will be score immediate funding, just ask New South Wales.

Infrastructure Australia released its report into where money needed to be spent for the good of the country, with Brisbane's tunnel considered one of the most important.

Meanwhile, the desperately-needed Pacific Highway upgrade - worth between $6.4 billion and $7.7 billion - returns to the priority list as the NSW government keeps fighting for a better funding deal with the Federal Government.

Trams cop a low blow as report slams design flaws

Posted Saturday, 14 July, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

MELBOURNE'S first fleet of low-floor trams are so poorly designed they pose an unacceptable risk to public safety and must be modified, a WorkSafe investigation has found.

Yarra Trams' fleet of 36 Citadis trams, which run only on route 109 from Port Melbourne to Box Hill, have rear-vision cameras that are almost useless in some conditions, with drivers unable to see cars on the road behind them, or whether passengers have safely got on and off the tram.

Tram drivers have also suffered repetitive strain injuries from driving Citadis trams, because they rock heavily from side to side. The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has recorded 19 cases of workplace injuries that have reduced employees' ability to work since the trams arrived in Melbourne in 2001.

Tram strike threatens

Posted Saturday, 14 July, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

MELBOURNE'S tram workers could strike next month as part of industrial action planned by their union.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union yesterday lodged documents with the industrial umpire.

These would see tram staff take strike action against Yarra Trams after a ballot of workers.

It follows similar action on Monday by the union representing Metro Trains' 700 infrastructure staff, who have started protected industrial action over a new workplace agreement.

Midlands line 'to be electrified'

Posted Saturday, 14 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A 500m pound scheme to electrify the Midland Main Line rail route is expected to be announced by the government.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening is due on Monday to outline plans to complete the electrification of the route between Sheffield and London.

At present the line is electrified only between St Pancras station and Bedford.

The new decision over the Midland Main Line, if confirmed, would mean extending overhead wires to Sheffield via the east Midlands.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 14/7/2012

Posted Sunday, 15 July, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 116 sightings for this week. This is two sightings more than last week, making a total of 3278 sightings for this year to date. On day 196 last year we had recorded 2924 sightings. This is 354 sightings up on the same time last year.

Woman critical after being hit by tram

Posted Sunday, 15 July, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

An 18-year-old woman is in a critical condition after she was hit by a tram while crossing a road in Melbourne's north on Friday evening.

The woman was crossing Plenty Road in Bundoora when she was hit.

She was then trapped under the tram for 30 minutes before firefighters could free her.

Ryan offers PSO rail assurances

Posted Sunday, 15 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Victorian Government says there will be Protective Service Officers (PSOs) at railway stations on the Bendigo line.

Labor's Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, has raised concern that police may choose to put the staff at trouble spots in metropolitan Melbourne.

Repairs underway on Silver City Comet

Posted Sunday, 15 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Work has begun on repairing Broken Hill's Silver City Comet, which was damaged by vandals last week.

A group of children damaged the antique train, smashing windows and kicking antique doors.

The curator of the Railway and Historical Museum, Christine Adams, said local businesses and residents have donated enough money to cover the cost of repairs.

QR queried over delayed safety report

Posted Sunday, 15 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The State Government says it will investigate why Queensland Rail (QR) took five weeks to inform the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) of potential hazards.

All services had to be suspended in the state's central west on Friday amid concerns more than 70 wooden bridges had not been properly inspected.

The RSR yesterday reopened the Emerald line to Longreach and Winton and launched a formal inquiry into claims staff had falsified safety inspections.

Rail report reveals high cost of roadworks

Posted Sunday, 15 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A consultant has found the Yarriambiack Shire will have to spend nearly $1 million on the region's roads if a major railway line is not upgraded.

The council commissioned a study earlier this year as part of its effort to convince the Victorian Government to reopen the Yaapeet railway line.

Critics of high-speed rail in Sacramento Monday in effort to block plan

Posted Monday, 16 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

California's contentious drive to build a high-speed-rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles sped ahead last week, when state lawmakers approved funding for the first construction phase, faces new hurddles Monday as critics go to Sacramento in new effort to block plan.

The $68 billion project still has to pass through a gauntlet of legal, financial and political obstacles before it becomes reality.

The most immediate threat comes from litigation, of which there has been no shortage. Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton remain involved in a lawsuit against the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the agency charged with building the system. The lawsuit, which claims that the authority's environmental analysis relies on erroneous ridership projections, will be the subject of a settlement conference in Sacramento Monday morning, July 16, said Palo Alto City Councilman Larry Klein, who chairs the city's Rail Committee.

Back on the buses for Glen Waverley rail line travellers

Posted Monday, 16 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

TRAVELLERS on the Glen Waverley line will have to catch buses instead of trains for the next three nights while Metro finishes maintenance work that was supposed to have been completed yesterday.

A 10-kilometre stretch of the eastern suburban railway line has been shut for the past week, with buses replacing trains between Darling and Glen Waverley stations while rail operator Metro conducts a nine-day maintenance ''blitz''. An estimated 25,000 passengers have been affected.

But the nine-day schedule has proved beyond the rail operator. After reopening this morning, the line will be shut down again tonight and the next two nights, at 8.30.

Buses will run between Burnley station and Glen Waverley. The line will also be closed again next weekend, as planned originally.

Sydney rail commuters get in-tunnel mobile coverage

Posted Monday, 16 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Optus has announced that it has implemented mobile coverage on Sydney's rail network from Central Station to Chatswood in partnership with the NSW Government and RailCorp, and the Government says services will be available to customers of all three networks.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported this morning that "Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, will announce today that Optus and Telstra mobile coverage will go live this week on the north shore and western lines underground between Central, Town Hall, North Sydney and Chatswood...Vodafone customers will have to wait, however, with equipment between Central and Chatswood to be rolled out in a couple of months.

Residents are concerned that closed road over rail bridges will hamper emergency

Posted Monday, 16 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

DETERIORATING road-over-rail bridges in southeast Queensland have been closed because of safety concerns while independent investigations are ordered.

Residents are also concerned about the impact these changes have on emergency services.

Bridges at Frederick St and Alderley Ave, Alderley, and Herbert St, Ipswich, were closed in the past months and a bridge at Boundary Rd at Dakabin had its load limit reduced at the start of the month.

Two other bridges are open but are subject to investigations.

Siemens Supplies Locomotives for BMA Mine

Posted Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Siemens has been awarded a contract to supply 13 heavy-haul electric locomotives to the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance for its Queensland coal rail network.

The locomotives will transport coal trains from two new mines, the Caval Ridge and Daunia in the Bowen Basin, to BHP Billiton's Hay Point terminal starting in 2014. The contract with BMA expands the Siemens locomotive fleet within the Queensland coal rail network to 163, Paul Bennett, vice president for Siemens Rail Systems, said in a statement. Siemens will deliver the locomotives in late 2013.

Federal MP says Maldon Dombarton project is on time

Posted Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Federal Illawarra MP Sharon Bird says work is not behind schedule on the Maldon to Dombarton rail project.

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard came to Wollongong in October last year to announce $25 million dollars for further studies to prepare the project for construction.

But so far none of the money has been spent.

Ms Bird says the federal government is still waiting to see what the state government plans to do.

Progress Assoc says Adelong happy with curfew

Posted Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Adelong Progress Association says residents do not want Visy trucks in town at night and nor does the big pulp and paper maker.

Tumut Shire Mayor John Larter recently said Visy could ask for the curfew to be lifted because Gocup Road is a death trap because it is so busy with trucks.

Visy will not comment.

Adelong Progress Association President James Hayes, who also heads Visy's Community Consultative Committee, says the company is happy to oblige by the conditions.

Las Vegas Railway Express, Inc. Adds New COO, Rail Operations

Posted Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

The X Train, the luxury passenger train with planned rail service between Southern CA and Las Vegas, announced today the appointment of Jim Wilson, Chief Operations Officer - Rail Operations. Mr. Wilson comes to the X Train team bringing over 30 years of expertise in rail operations. His leadership in transportation, logistics, operations management, planning and overall business and performance improvement make him the best choice for overseeing Rail Operations for the company.

"Jim is exactly the right person for this position," says Michael Barron, President/CEO of Las Vegas Railway Express. "He is a strong and experienced leader with exactly the right priorities in rail operations to ensure excellence in our customer service."

High speed rail link lies dead in Maribyrnong

Posted Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A HIGH-SPEED rail link around Maribyrnong appears dead in its tracks a week after it was mooted.

The State Government has refused to support plans for a sprinter train service to run from Newport to Spencer St along an existing freight line.

The Leader revealed deputy mayor Michael Clarke had called on the Government to fund a feasibility study as the commuter crush worsens in the west.

Group to combat rail deaths

Posted Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A BRIMBANK railway station officer who says he has talked dozens of troubled youths out of harming themselves has called for more to be done to prevent youth suicide.

The staffer, who did not want to be named, welcomed the recent creation of a youth advisory committee in Keilor.

The group was formed after the death of a north-west teenager who took her own life after being bullied online.

The railway station officer said the responsibility of preventing railway deaths often fell on staff.

"We just want to go to work and do our job, but we can't just sit back and do nothing," he said.

QR National extends olive branch to stalled Oakajee

Posted Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

QR National Ltd has indicated an interest in helping Gindalbie Metals fund the rail component of a “southern solution” for the Oakajee port and rail project, offering a ray of hope for the stalled $6 billion project, according to The Australian Financial Review.

The newspaper said QR had suggested it would consider funding the rail alternative devised by Gindalbie. Gindalbie needs Oakajee to go ahead if it is to expand production at its Karara project beyond 16 million tonnes of iron ore annually. Gindalbie has contracted QR to transport up to 10.8 million tonnes a year of iron ore from the project for the next five years.

More mobile coverage on rail lines

Posted Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

FOR the first time, CityRail commuters should have uninterrupted mobile coverage between the city and the north shore.

The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, will announce today that Optus and Telstra mobile coverage will go live this week on the north shore and western lines underground between Central, Town Hall, North Sydney and Chatswood.

The announcement will also foreshadow more underground mobile coverage through the central business district, with plans in place to extend coverage on the City Circle and also along the eastern suburbs line.

Amtrak’s $151 billion high-speed rail plan: Are there cheaper options?

Posted Tuesday, 17 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Last week, we took a look at Amtrak’s $151 billion proposal to convert the heavily trafficked Northeast Corridor into true high-speed rail. Under this vision, the Acela train would no longer average a plodding 70 mph across the system. A trip from New York to Washington, D.C., would take just 94 minutes instead of three hours. Boston to D.C. would take just three hours instead of seven.

Delayed rail passengers cause crash

Posted Wednesday, 18 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Egyptian passengers fed up with waiting for their train to move put logs and rocks on the rails of a nearby track, causing two other trains to collide, an official has said.

A security official said some of the passengers in Giza, Cairo's twin city, were enraged that they had to wait for more than 30 minutes on their train to allow another train to pass.

Some of the restless passengers placed logs and rocks on the rails of the track of the other train that was holding theirs up. When the speeding train approached, the debris caused it to sideswipe another train. Three cars of the fast-moving train overturned and at least four people were injured.

Canberra + rail = preferred option

Posted Wednesday, 18 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

CANBERRA Airport has proposed a plan to bypass Wilton with a fast train that could link Sydney to the nation's capital in less than an hour.

The airport's managing director, Stephen Byron, said the Wollondilly community was against Transport Minister Anthony Albanese's proposal for a second major Sydney airport at Wilton.

"There will never be a second airport built in the Sydney basin," he said.

"Aircraft noise and major environmental issues would indicate that an airport at Wilton is looking less and less likely."

Trains running early a cause for concern

Posted Wednesday, 18 July, 2012 by Mouse in Victorian Rail News

THERE'S one thing worse than being late because your train is running late. That's being late because it's running early.

The first time it happened, about a fortnight ago, I dismissed it as an aberration, unlikely to ever be repeated.

But it has emerged as a definite trend, and we downtrodden, long-suffering train travellers are entitled to know why

All flights grounded at Melbourne Airport as terminals lose power

Posted Wednesday, 18 July, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

UPDATE: MELBOURNE Airport remains at a standstill with all flights grounded for more than an hour as the chaos caused by a blackout continues.

"Flights are coming in and obviously landing, but our priority is getting our screening points system back running," a Melbourne Airport spokeswoman told the Herald Sun.

"We are regaining power progressively but we're not up and running (flights) just yet.

"At the moment our focus is working on resolving this matter as quick as we can and then of course we will investigate its cause."

Ansaldo wins Rio Tinto automated rail deal

Posted Wednesday, 18 July, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Ansaldo STS Australia has landed a $317.5 million contract to create an automated train management system for Rio Tinto's iron ore rail network in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

The firm, which is a subsidiary of Italian giant Ansaldo STS, is to develop a modular signalling system that "includes the introduction of a centralised Vital Safety Server for the safe and flexible management of train movements".

Light rail the way for Robert

Posted Wednesday, 18 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

TOOWOOMBA train enthusiast Robert Ketton is urging Toowoomba Regional Council to seriously consider alternative options regarding the future of the city's current rail corridor.  

Mr Ketton, the public relations officer for DownsSteam Tourist Railway and Museum has suggested using the line as a light rail transport system.  

He said the tram-like system would connect the major traffic areas of Toowoomba and boost the city's public transport system.  

WA company wins NZ rail contract

Posted Wednesday, 18 July, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

A Perth company has been contracted to maintain 2800km of New Zealand rail track.

NZ First leader Winston Peters revealed today that KiwiRail had awarded the contract to Belmont-based rail grinding company Speno Rail Maintenance Australia Pty Ltd.

"This is exactly the sort of maintenance work that should be carried out by KiwiRail using New Zealand labour, not by a foreign company that will take its profits offshore," Mr Peters said.

"This backhanded move to use an Australian company over KiwiRail's own staff is insulting."

Iran to Expand National Rail Network

Posted Wednesday, 18 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Roughly 420 kilometers of railroad will be built by the end of the Iranian year (March 20, 2013), said the managing director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways Company.

Abdol-Ali Saheb-Mohammadi made the remarks on the sidelines of inaugurating a locomotive production plant in northern Alborz Province on Tuesday, the Mehr News Agency reported.

Tram drivers, inspectors vote on strike action

Posted Thursday, 19 July, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

YARRA Trams ticket inspectors could soon stop issuing fines, refuse to carry out plain-clothes duties, and provide passengers with ''free travel days'', as part of an industrial campaign for better pay and conditions.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has asked its members, which include drivers and ticket inspectors, to vote on strike action against Yarra Trams, run by a joint venture of French transport giant Keolis and Australian engineers Downer EDI.

Amtrak engine derails in Wash.; rail line blocked

Posted Thursday, 19 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

WOODLAND, Wash. (AP) — An Amtrak spokeswoman says the lead engine of an Amtrak Cascades train traveling from Portland to Seattle has derailed in southwest Washington but no one was injured.

A Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway spokesman says the Wednesday evening derailment blocked both main lines in a rail corridor used by more than 50 freight and passenger trains daily.

Amtrak spokeswoman Danelle Hunter says the train was carrying 86 passengers when the engine went off the tracks near Woodland. Bus transportation was being arranged for the passengers.

Asciano announces major expansion project for terminal

Posted Thursday, 19 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Asciano has announced a capital investment program to comprehensively redevelop and expand its container terminal at Port Botany in Sydney, New South Wales. 

This will include investing $348 million to develop fully the recently leased Knuckle capacity extension as well as the introduction of state-of-the-art terminal handling technology, additional cranes and straddles, and new upgraded employee facilities.

Mary Valley Rattler back on track

Posted Thursday, 19 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Gympie's heritage steam train, the Mary Valley Rattler, returns to the rails today after being grounded by a safety audit.

Rattler services were suspended more than a week ago after a locomotive derailed in the Gympie yard.

Phone-distracted commuter tumbles onto tracks

Posted Friday, 20 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A man's lucky escape at falling onto train tracks at a Melbourne station has prompted a warning from public transport authorities for commuters to take greater care.

Vision released by Public Transport Victoria shows a man slipping off the platform at Thomastown station, in the city's north, after he stepped too close to the edge.

The man appears so engrossed in a conversation on his mobile phone that as he checks for a train, he oversteps the edge of the platform and topples over. Fortunately for him there was no train arriving.

A PTV spokesman said the man suffered a bloodied nose and was left dazed. The vision shows two students running from the other side of the platform to come to the man's aid, before the trio walked across the tracks to get to the other side of the platform.

Metro's website drops cancelled train updates

Posted Friday, 20 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

METRO has defended its decision to stop publishing online updates about train cancellations, saying travellers can find out by SMS or on display screens at stations.

Melbourne's rail operator launched a revamped website on Monday, which includes a so-called ''healthboard'' that includes live information about train delays and disruptions, both planned and unplanned.

But updates about cancelled trains have been dropped, prompting criticism that the new website contains less useful information than the old one. Rather, there is information on whether trains on each line are on schedule, delayed or suspended.

Perth rail network hailed for 'smart planning, design'

Posted Saturday, 21 July, 2012 by Mouse in Western Australian Rail News

PERTH has been praised in a federal government report for managing to make rail an attractive alternative to roads. Transport Minister Anthony Albanese released the Understanding Australia's Urban Railways report at a transport forum in Sydney today.   "The report showed that smart planning and design, coupled with infrastructure, could increase the use of public transport," Mr Albanese said.

Moving freight on track

Posted Saturday, 21 July, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

THE grand old city of Chicago, 1300km west of New York at the foot of the Great Lakes, has been the heart of the US rail freight system for the past 150 years, and it remains so to this day.

While the US is home of the Kenworth and Mack prime- movers seen all over Australian roads, reform and investment in the past three decades have underpinned a rail renaissance in the country and reinforced its role as the mainstay of the national freight system.

US rail freight is among the most cost-effective transport systems in the world and a key driver of productivity.

Avalon link on Fox's wish list

Posted Saturday, 21 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

TED Baillieu's controversial 2010 election vow to build a $250 million rail link to Lindsay Fox's Avalon airport was the top priority on a Fox group wish list.

An Avalon rail link topped a list of five projects submitted by airport management to senior Liberal MP Matthew Guy in September 2010, days after Mr Guy visited the airport with Liberal candidates for local state seats.

The Saturday Age has confirmed that the Liberals requested the list. In November 2010, Mr Baillieu pledged to build the rail link.

Asciano extends steel deal

Posted Saturday, 21 July, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

ASCIANO has struck a fresh deal with Bluescope Steel and Arrium to continue providing them with rail linehaul services across Australia.

The existing deal between Asciano's Pacific National Rail division and the two steelmakers was due to expire in January 2015 but will now run through to at least 2022.

Pacific National will move about three million tonnes of steel products a year between manufacturing sites and distribution terminals in mainland capital cities.

Rail works to stop in Surfers over Xmas

Posted Saturday, 21 July, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

LIGHT rail construction work in the centre of Surfers Paradise will stop for six weeks over the Christmas-New Year period in a win for struggling retailers.

The State Government has officially signed off on the change of timetable, which GoldLinQ implemented following ongoing consultation with businesses that have long been concerned about the impact on their busiest time of year.

Surfers Paradise Alliance and Surfers Paradise Precinct Advisory Group were involved in the process.

Work between View Ave and Beach Rd will now stop from December 16 until January 29.

Fraser backs rail over highway

Posted Saturday, 21 July, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

NATIONALS Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, has backed the NSW government decision to prioritise funding for Sydney's north west rail link rather than switch the money to complete the Pacific Highway upgrade.

With $3.5 billion committed to the city project despite the objections of Infrastructure Australia and the shock announcement Premier Barry O'Farrell had back-flipped on a promise to take the rail link directly into the city, the local member has thrown responsibility back on the Federal Labor Government and key independent Rob Oakeshott.

Railway owner Genessee & Wyoming Australia ups its haul rate

Posted Sunday, 22 July, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

GENESSEE & Wyoming Australia has expanded two rail contracts with Arrium to haul an extra 2.7 million tonnes of iron ore a year in South Australia.

The move means GWA, which owns the Tarcoola to Darwin railway, will spend $60 million in new narrow gauge locomotives and wagons - as well as a stan-dard gauge rolling-stock maintenance facility.

"We are pleased to be expanding our service relationship with Arrium in South Australia and to be supporting our customers' growth to an annual run rate of 11 million tonnes of export iron ore by mid-2013," said Jack Hellmann, the chief executive of GWA's US parent.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 21/7/2012.

Posted Sunday, 22 July, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 116 sightings for this week. This is the same number of sightings as last week, making a total of 3394 sightings for this year to date. On day 203 last year we had recorded 3021 sightings. This is 373 sightings up on the same time last year.

Walking through the rail roundhouse

Posted Monday, 23 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Within the rail yards next to the Bendigo Train Station, there is a huge old industrial building.

It is made of red brick, perfectly laid. Its sides are marked with arches that are high and wide and contrasting bricks on their edges to emphasise their grand sweep.

It's called the Roundhouse. It was used sort of like a garage for diesel engines and for steam locomotives before that.

In its centre lies a turntable, a huge steel structure which accommodates a locomotive, and then spins around to enable the locomotives to be stored in a circular spray around the shed.

Tenders called for Geebung rail overpass

Posted Monday, 23 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Brisbane City Council (BCC) is calling on tenders for the $200 million Geebung rail overpass project.

Tenders have until August 10 to lodge their tender response.

Last month, a BCC spokesman said it was expected there would be a total of 31 residential, nine commercial and eight partial commercial resumptions to make way for the overpass.

Anger at $5m bill to upgrade crossing

Posted Monday, 23 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

TAXPAYERS could be slugged more than $5 million to upgrade a suburban railway crossing, despite it being ranked 223rd on the state's most dangerous list.

The decision to propel the historic New St level crossing in Brighton ahead of scores of other crossings in desperate need of fixing has outraged the opposition and public transport advocates.

Local MP Louise Asher last week revealed work on new electronic boom gates at Brighton would begin within six months.

Bridge Impact Detection System found to be preventing bridge strikes

Posted Monday, 23 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A TRIAL of new technology designed to prevent bridge strikes by over-height vehicles is to be extended after mixed results.

The Bridge Impact Detection System was launched at Corinda and Indooroopilly last year, to detect and alert vehicles that are too high to fit under low level rail bridges.

The system uses infra-red laser detectors, speed impact detectors, CCTV and active signage to warn drivers about low-level rail bridges.

VLine fined $1.7m

Posted Monday, 23 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

V/LINE has called on the State Government to do something meaningful about Geelong rail delays instead of persisting with "pointless" penalties.

The government-run operator was fined $1.7 million for trains that ran late between July 2011 and March 2012.

It is also on track for another hefty fine for the April to June quarter that was plagued by delays.

But V/Line communications manager Daniel Moloney said the penalty system was an "outdated concept" that was ultimately balanced out by government subsidies.

Glen Waverley line night rail work 'poor planning'

Posted Monday, 23 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Public Transport Users Association has accused Metro Trains of "poor planning" after extra time had to be spent to finish works on the Glen Waverley line.

Trains returned to the line last Monday after the July 7-15 closure of the line for upgrading and maintenance works. But Metro found that it had to shut down the line from 8pm last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to complete the work.

 

The state government had said the works would add only 12 minutes to travel time for commuters as they used buses between Burnley and Glen Waverley stations.

Revenge of the rail passengers

Posted Monday, 23 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A QUEENSLAND Rail train etiquette campaign has become an online hit, but for all the wrong reasons.

The original series of 15 Train Etiquette: Super Simple Stuff posters, intended to give tips on catching trains and appropriate passenger behaviour, have multiplied into hundreds of spoof posters.

The joke posters feature altered text to give the cartoons unintended and often crude meanings, which some creators say mocks the patronising nature of the campaign.

Sprinter rail line study push continues

Posted Monday, 23 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

AN investigation into a new high-speed rail service from Newport to the city will go ahead despite a lack of State Government support.

Maribyrnong Council will press ahead with its investigation into the proposal, which could carry up to 113 passengers a carriage.

It would operate during morning and evening peak along the existing Newport goods rail line at speeds of more than 130km/h.

Transport trouble for London four days from Games

Posted Monday, 23 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

LONDON (Reuters) - Severe disruptions hit three of the main rail links to the Olympic Park in east London early on Monday, four days before the start of the Games, in the latest transport fiasco to raise anxiety levels in the British capital.

Adding to the stress factor, the labour union RMT announced industrial action by staff in some parts of the city's transport network during the Games to demand bonuses in recognition of the extra work involved.

Doncaster railway line 'could be built for $840m'

Posted Tuesday, 24 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A RAILWAY line to Doncaster could be built for $840 million and paid for using taxes raised from the higher property values it would generate, says a report.

The report, jointly written by transport experts from Curtin University in Western Australia, Melbourne's RMIT University, and global engineering firm Arup, has also found that the railway line could transport about 100,000 passengers a day if it was linked to the proposed Melbourne Metro rail tunnel, at an added cost of $300 million.

Cockatoo Coal has signed a new 10-year rail haulage contract with QR National

Posted Tuesday, 24 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The deal, which begins in 2014, involves QR National transporting an extra three million tonnes of coal a year from the Bowen Basin site to the Wiggins Island coal export terminal.

It also extends an existing arrangement for half a million tonnes of coal a year to be transported by QR National trains to the RG Tanna coal terminal at Gladstone.

Goods train derails at Karjan, disrupts rail traffic

Posted Tuesday, 24 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

VADODARA: A goods train got derailed near Karjan railway station in Vadodara district on Monday evening. The derailment disrupted rail traffic between Vadodara and Mumbai. Several passengers got stranded on Vadodara railway station due to delay in train schedule.

According to railway officials, three containers of a goods train got derailed at around 5 pm on Monday in the common loop line.

Premier defends waterfront post

Posted Tuesday, 24 July, 2012 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

The Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, has defended the move to appoint the head of the new corporation set up to manage the Hobart rail yards redevelopment without advertising the position.

A former deputy secretary of the Economic Development Department, Elizabeth Jack, has been appointed the chief executive of the Hobart Waterfront Development Corporation.

Industrial stoush brewing at freight company

Posted Tuesday, 24 July, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

Two unions are taking legal action over plans to cut hundreds of jobs at Australia's largest rail freight company, QR National.

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) say the company is forcing staff to apply for redundancies before a dispute about their pay-outs is resolved.

Councillors still keen for passenger rail services

Posted Wednesday, 25 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Central Victorian councillors are continuing their push for passenger rail services between Bendigo and Geelong, via Ballarat, despite doubts about the cost of the project.

The Victorian Government is spending $2 million on a train feasibility study, which is being championed by the Central Goldfields Shire.

London’s Rail Links Face Severe Disruption Four Days Before Olympics

Posted Wednesday, 25 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

London’s public transport faced severe disruption this week, hitting three of the main rail links to the Olympic Park in east London.

With the underground already overstretched, this diruption raised concerns over whether London’s public transport will be able to cope with the Olympics. The Central Line closure was due to a passenger on the tracks while the Jubilee Line was experiencing faulty platform-edge doors. A key overground link was also said to be experiencing severe delays.

NYC To Extend High Line Park After CSX Donates Stretch

Posted Wednesday, 25 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

New York City said it plans to extend the High Line, a park built on a disused elevated rail line, to West 34th Street after CSX Transportation Inc. (CSX) donated a new section to the city.

"The High Line's first two phases were groundbreaking and with the development of the rail yards section, the trilogy will be complete," Adrian Benepe, the Parks and Recreation commissioner, said in a statement. Construction on the final phase is expected to begin this year.

Atlas Iron says production will double by end 2013, rail study continues

Posted Wednesday, 25 July, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

ATLAS Iron plans to double production by the end of 2013 as it presses ahead with a rail feasibility study.

The iron ore miner recently entered into an agreement with rail operator QR National to look at the feasibility of constructing an independent railway in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Atlas, which moves its iron ore to port by road, will bring three new mines into production over the next 18 months as it targets 12 million tonnes per annum by December 2013.

Metro Trains strikes a new Enterprise Agreement for 2012-2015 period

Posted Wednesday, 25 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Railpage Australia understands a new Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015 for the Rail Operations Division of Metro Trains Melbourne, inclusive of a 13% pay rise, has been overwhelmingly endorsed by Rail Operations employees.

A significant majority of employees voted 'yes' for the new Agreement during a series of voting meetings held over the past 10 days.

The Agreement will now be lodged with Fair Work Australia for approval to take effect as soon as possible.

Canny buyers want to be close to public transport, but not too close

Posted Thursday, 26 July, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Petrol prices make public transport very important. Tram and train access are particular drivers of housing demand, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria says.

Rail Intimidation: Get beggars off the gravy train

Posted Thursday, 26 July, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Beggars on Melbourne trains are hassling, and at times badgering, commuters for money during peak times.

mX witnessed a beggar on a Laverton-bound train claiming to be homeless and asking for spare change.

Fast trains planned for Adelaide's south

Posted Thursday, 26 July, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

TRAINS with the capacity to reach speeds up to 260km/h will travel to Aldinga as part of the $800 million rail extension from Seaford, a council briefing has been told.

Transport Department spokesman Gareth Evans outlined the government's two preferred rail routes from Seaford to Aldinga at an Onkaparinga Council meeting this week.

Is this rail line too good to be true?

Posted Thursday, 26 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Here's some great news. A consulting team led by Curtin Uni's Peter Newman has apparently found a way to reduce significantly the stratospheric cost of new urban rail lines in Australia's capital cities.

Professor Newman reckons a 12 km rail line running down the central median of Melbourne's Eastern Freeway from inner city Clifton Hill to suburban Doncaster could be built for a mere $840 million. The costing includes five stations and 2-3 kilometres of tunnel.

And for another $300 million, the team reckons a further 3 km of tunnel could be constructed between Clifton Hill and near-city Parkville. And it could fund itself! A tax on the increase in property values arising directly from the rail line would raise enough revenue to fund construction.

Amtrak Plans for Upgrades in Bid to Push Faster System

Posted Friday, 27 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

WASHINGTON — Amtrak is promoting a $151 billion expansion plan that includes a major revamping of Union Station in Washington, which was unveiled here Wednesday, as well as the upgrading of its hubs in New York and Boston. The plan represents a bid for federal support to transform the service into a high-speed rail operation.

Poor results linked to cancellation of QR bonuses

Posted Friday, 27 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Rail executives will not receive bonuses this year, unless expressly stipulated in their contracts, due to the service’s poor performance.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson this morning announced the government would take measures to freeze all bonuses, saying the previous Labor administration had allowed the supplementary payments get out of control.

He said 1337 bonuses totalling $4.8 million were paid to QR executives in the 2010/2011 financial year.

That figure, he said, was not ''in line with community expectations'', particularly in tough economic times.

Magellan to resume Freo rail shipments

Posted Friday, 27 July, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The Canadian company that breached strict lead transport rules several times in Western Australia will be allowed to again move product from its Mid West mine to Fremantle Port, the state government says.

Magellan Metals, owned by Toronto-based Ivernia, in 2007 was barred from shipping lead from its Wiluna mine to the southern WA port of Esperance after extensive lead contamination was discovered in the town.

The company ran into trouble again in 2010 when traces of airborne lead were found in containers carrying sealed bags of lead carbonate railed to Fremantle.

Full steam ahead for light rail construction

Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

Construction on the Gold Coast's light rail system is ramping up with works under way for the 800-metre light rail bridge over Smith Street and across the Loders Creek valley.

GoldLinQ Chairman John Witheriff said this city-building project was full steam ahead to connect residents, businesses and tourists to key Gold Coast precincts with an integrated public transport system.

“The first stage of this project is injecting millions into the local economy as well as providing local construction workers with jobs,” Mr Witheriff said.

“We are averaging more than 100 subcontractors on site each day with 100 per cent of blue collar workers from the Gold Coast and surrounding regions and we are consistently hitting our targets of more than 90 per cent for local industry participation.

“The key to the success of this project is locals supporting businesses on the construction corridor and when operating trams will deliver people right to the doors of these businesses.”

'Just do it': Howes blasts Cross River Rail 'faffing'

Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Newman government should stop "faffing about" and commit to the Cross River Rail project, union leader Paul Howes says.

The Australian Workers Union national secretary did not withhold his fire at Premier Campbell Newman, saying the LNP state leader had "gone cold" on public transport investment and had also been "blinded by the mining boom" at the expense of the manufacturing industry,

Mr Howes told a press club luncheon in Brisbane that resolving the capacity constraints on the Queensland Rail network should be a priority for the Newman government.

"That means committing to the Cross River Rail project – not just faffing about with endless reviews and re-designs, and waiting for the Federal Government to fund it," he said.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 28/7/2012

Posted Sunday, 29 July, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 124 sightings for this week. This is eight sightings more than last week, making a total of 3518 sightings for this year to date. On day 210 last year we had recorded 3126 sightings. This is 392 sightings up on the same time last year.

AWU pushes for east-west tunnel

Posted Monday, 30 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE powerful Australian Workers Union has backed the controversial east-west road tunnel project and says it will push a future state Labor government to support it.

Cesar Melhem, the secretary of the AWU's Victorian branch, told The Age it would be crazy if the project did not go ahead and his view was simply that it had to be built.

Victorian Labor opposes the section of the proposed east-west tunnel stretching from the end of the Eastern Freeway to CityLink and running underneath Royal Park and surrounding inner-city suburbs.

But it supports construction of a road tunnel in Melbourne's west to create a second river crossing and connection to the port to alleviate traffic on the Westgate Freeway. It also backs works on Hoddle Street to ease traffic flows coming off the Eastern Freeway.

Dozens killed in India train fire

Posted Monday, 30 July, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

At least 32 people are dead after a fire ripped through a coach on a speeding express train as it carried sleeping passengers to the southern Indian city of Chennai.

The accident, on a long-distance service from New Delhi, occurred in the early hours of the morning near the town of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh state.

"Thirty-two (bodies) have been pulled out from the coach," Madhusudan Sarma, a senior administrative officer in Nellore district, said, adding that there were still more corpses inside.

Vic rail tunnel funding in doubt

Posted Monday, 30 July, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A senior Victorian bureaucrat says it will be a "tough ask" squeezing funding out of the commonwealth for a major state rail project, suggesting pork barrelling will determine the carve-up of infrastructure money.

The Victorian government is seeking $130 million through Infrastructure Australia for preliminary works to develop a new Melbourne metropolitan rail tunnel.

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