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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
"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 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.