Showing stories from July 2012

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Gindalbie Metals has withdrawn plans to build a railway line to the proposed Oakajee Port, north of Geraldton.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

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