Showing stories from July 2012

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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.

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