Showing stories from July 2013

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Get on board these tracks to nowhere

Posted Tuesday, 23 July, 2013 by 9034 in Railway Stories

ENTER at your own risk. These rail journeys take their passengers into Australia's most hostile and remote areas.   The good news is that you won't need to pack your Crocodile Dundee knife and swag. In fact, these rail journeys allow their passengers to experience Australia's most remote and hostile lands from a position of comfort and safety.

Railway opened up opportunities for early Bay settlers

Posted Tuesday, 23 July, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

[color=#4a4e47][size=2][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]WITH rail travel not a particularly relevant form of travel in Hervey Bay any more, it is remarkable to think of the difference it made to the early settlement and growth of the area.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#4a4e47][size=2][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]As Hervey Bay Historical Society president John Andersen recollects, the railway opened up some excellent opportunities for early settlers.[/font][/size][/color]

Smaller stations are biggest losers in new rail timetable

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 by bevans in Cityrail News

There will be few if any extra train services in Sydney at weekends when a new timetable is introduced in October, despite the city's rapidly worsening weekend road traffic. An internal Transport for NSW analysis of the October timetable, which has not yet been released, shows there will be a slight increase in the number of trains through Sydney on weekdays and a small increase in the average speed of trains as more express services are introduced. But commuters at some smaller stations in the Blue Mountains, Hunter and south coast will miss out in the October timetable, when their stations get skipped by more trains. And the level of weekend service will remain the same across the city, even though Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has claimed the new timetable had been rewritten ''from scratch''.

Union Pacific will try to restore massive 'Big Boy,' one of largest steam engines ever built

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Union Pacific Railroad says it will try to restore one of the largest steam locomotives ever built to operating condition. The railroad said Tuesday it reached an agreement to acquire a "Big Boy" locomotive from the RailGiants Train Museum at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. It will be moved to Union Pacific's Cheyenne shops, where the railroad maintains other operating steam locomotives.

Stronger Fortescue firm on Pilbara rail sale

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

FORTESCUE Metals Group's efforts to rein in its $US12.1 billion ($13.06bn) debt position have received a boost, with the falling Australian dollar, cooling mining services costs and the fruits of its latest expansion helping to improve the miner's performance. The strengthened financial position detailed in Fortescue's latest quarterly report enhances the ability of chief executive Nev Power to stick to his pledge to sell a minority stake in the company's Pilbara rail and port infrastructure only if "full value" can be realised for the asset.

Tenders called for the next stage of the Maldon to Dombarton rail link

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Separate tenders have been called for environmental and engineering services for the Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link, with both tenders to be awarded before the end of next month. The successful tenderer for the environmental services contract will prepare an environmental impact assessment outlining the potential impacts of the proposed project, based on ecological, heritage and other field studies that have already been undertaken. For the engineering services tender, the successful team will use earlier technical work to develop detailed tunnel, bridge and track designs to be included in a future construction contract.

Yarra Mayor calls for urgent meeting with Premier

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Yarra City Council has sought an urgent meeting with the Premier and Minister for Public Transport and Roads following the State Government’s release of design plans for the East West Road Link showing the project will rip through the historic suburbs of Clifton Hill, North Fitzroy, Collingwood and Parkville. “Yarra City Council will do everything it can to support our community who are in shock and disbelief at the Premier’s alarmist announcements and authoritarian decision making," said Yarra Mayor Cr Jackie Fristacky. “The community deserves an explanation for why this government is determined to proceed with stage one of the East West Road Link without genuine community consultation, a proper business case and detailed traffic analysis.”

Railway industry takes Abbott to task as new freight rail section opens

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has expressed serious concern over the Coalition opposition’s continuous support of upgrading and building new roads whilst ignoring the needs of rail. ARA CEO Bryan Nye said he was disappointed in the short-sighted, quick-fix approach the Coalition opposition is promoting as its solution to address state-based infrastructure issues, with Tony Abbott announcing a commitment of $6.7 billion to fix the Bruce Highway. “Australia as a nation is facing increasingly serious economic, social and environmental problems with traffic congestion clogging our roads, transport emissions choking our urban environment, fuel prices spiking and the continued growth of our major cities,” said Mr Nye.

Rail industry welcomes confirmation of NSW rail projects

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has commended the NSW Government for delivering one of the most comprehensive state budgets for the rail industry this nation has seen. While no new projects have been announced, the budget promised spending on a number of projects. ARA CEO Bryan Nye said the rail industry has long been calling for greater investment in passenger and freight rail infrastructure throughout NSW, with Sydney at risk of grinding to a halt in the near future if congestion-busting projects were not given the green light. “[The Budget’s] funding commitments for key rail projects will not only ease Sydney’s congestion, but will trigger the much needed shift of moving people and freight off the overcrowded and bottlenecked roads and on to the more efficient and environmentally sustainable tracks,” Mr Nye said.

Cameron's railway investment claims more 1950s than Victorian

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

The civil service has admitted that repeated claims by the Cabinet that the government is investing more in the railways than at any time since Victorian era are in fact as inventive as the Victorian period itself. The prime minister and five other cabinet ministers – including the chancellor George Osborne, the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, the Treasury chief secretary [url=]Danny Alexander[/url], and two transport secretaries – have all made the same boast at various points in the past 18 months. Alexander's claim, during the Spending Review announcement on 27 June, piqued the curiosity of the Labour MP and Victorian historian[url=]Tristram Hunt[/url], who wrote to him asking for the historical and statistical basis of the assertion.

Transport infrastructure: Focus on Victoria

Posted Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 by JimYarin in Victorian Rail News

It’s been an interesting few months for transport in Victoria with debate on both sides of politics unravelling different perspectives on the needs of Victorian residents. Federal transport Minister Anthony Albanese has committed funding for the Melbourne Metro rail link, while Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has committed funding for the controversial East West Link. Transport experts will be dissecting these options at the Victorian Transport Infrastructure Summit to be held in September to see which projects should really be given the go ahead.

Council and residents rally against new Melbourne toll road

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne residents are sending a clear message to the state government that money wasted on an east-west toll road will severely impact the city’s ‘liveable’ status and penalise future generation of Melburnians. From 6.30 pm on Thursday night, hundreds of people are expected to gather at Fitzroy Town Hall for the official launch of the  ‘Trains Not Toll Roads’ campaign. The launch will feature guest speakers including Alannah MacTiernan, Dr Sophie Sturup, Mayor Jackie Fristacky and MC Rod Quantock.

Dozen's killed as train derails in northern Spain

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

At least 56 people have been killed and more than 70 injured after a passenger train derailed outside the northern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. All 13 train carriages carrying 218 passengers plus crew left the tracks and four carriages overturned completely. Images from the scene showed crumpled metal and smoke billowing from the wreckage. The train derailed shortly before 9pm local time as it sped along a curve in the tracks approaching the cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela, in Spain’s northwestern region of Galicia. It was not immediately clear what had caused the crash but some passengers reported hearing an explosion before the train derailed. Spain’s Interior Ministry, however, quickly dismissed a terrorist attack as the cause of the derailment.

Public Transport Authority warns of another rail shutdown

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The Public Transport Authority has warned parents and students to make sure they are prepared ahead of another rail shutdown planned for next week. The Armadale, Midland, and Thornlie lines will not be affected, however, the Joondalup line will stop at Leederville and the Mandurah line at the Esplanade.

Rail upgrade means heavier trains on route

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

The rail-line between [url=,_New_South_Wales]Broken Hill[/url] and [url=]Whyalla [/url]will be able to carry heavier trains more efficiently now a $300 million upgrade is complete. Work on upgrading the track to 60kg a metre rail on the 700km track started three years ago. It should make the ride smoother for Indian-Pacific passengers.

Adelaide rail line closure extended for extra work

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

A rail line closure in Adelaide's southern suburbs has been extended until November, so more track upgrade work can be done. The Tonsley line has been closed since January and was due to open again by September. But the South Australian Government has decided to keep the line closed for several extra weeks to allow its duplication as part of the Tonsley Park public transport project.

Inland rail on want list

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

THE logistics industry wants a new inland rail line to carry goods faster, a second Sydney airport, and a much toughened Infrastructure Australia, a federal government advisory body. The demands are in an election priorities document developed by the industry body, the Australian Logistics Council. An inland rail route for freight is listed as "key priority 1" in the document, [url=]The Australian Financial Review[/url] reports. "Woolworths are now using a lot more rail out of Melbourne to Brisbane than they were even three years ago," said ALC chief executive Michael Kilgariff, who argued that food manufacturing businesses could be a major beneficiary – "fast-moving consumer goods, but also stuff that comes in through the port".

Barnett 'in bid to avoid rail scrutiny'

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Colin Barnett was yesterday accused of distorting the pre-election caretaker conventions to avoid scrutiny of publicly-funded rail projects. The criticism from Notre Dame University political analyst Martin Drum came after the Premier backed his department's ruling that during the caretaker period, the $3.7 billion rail projects were Liberal Party promises and not Government decisions. _The West Australian _has sought access under freedom of information laws to correspondence to, from and within the offices of Mr Barnett and Transport Minister Troy Buswell on the MAX light rail plan and airport link.

Go Card tricks to keep costs down revealed

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Commuters should carry a spare Go Card, make quick lunchtime trips and avoid paper tickets to trick the fare system and save money, say public transport advocates. The advice was issued by the Rail Back on Track group on Wednesday in an attempt to “educate citizens” on the steps they could take to “minimise the impacts of savage fare increases”. Spokesman Robert Dow said once the public realised how they could “extract massive amounts of free travel”, the government might take steps to alter the fare structure. Public transport fares increased by 7.5 per cent this year, and will increase by that much in 2014 under the Newman Government.

Government saves 1800 MHz spectrum for rail

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

Federal cabinet last night signed off on a decision to reserve valuable 1800 MHz spectrum to modernise Australia’s rail infrastructure, rescuing $500 million in investment state governments had already made in the project. The GSM-R project aims to harmonise Australia’s hodge-podge radio signalling system into a unified system. It will spare freight trains the need to carry different equipment to cross state lines, bring massive improvements in safety coordination as well as benefiting passenger services. The ARA’s spectrum licenses underpinning the project were due to expire in tranches from 2013 and 2015 — with rail authorities facing having to potentially pay billions competing at auction with mobile carriers to renew the licenses.

Network Rail chief Sir David Higgins to depart next year

Posted Thursday, 25 July, 2013 by DesL in International Rail News

The highly regarded Higgins, an Australian engineer, took over from Iain Coucher at Network Rail after earning plaudits as head of the Olympic Delivery Authority until 2011.

Camera captures horrific Spanish train crashing as driver reportedly admits to speeding at 190km/h

Posted Friday, 26 July, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

A SECURITY camera has captured the moment when a Spanish train crashes into a wall, as one of the drivers admits to speeding. The train flew off the tracks as it reportedly tore at twice the speed limit around a bend in northwestern Spain, killing at least 80 passengers and injuring more than 140 in the nation's deadliest rail disaster since 1944. The footage shows the train rounding a bend, making a turn to the left underneath a road overpass.

Trucks getting stuck under rail bridges at a rate of one a week

Posted Friday, 26 July, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

NOT even the installation of laser detectors has been enough to stop trucks getting stuck under rail bridges at a rate of more than one a week in the past year. Footage provided by Transport and Main Roads shows how flashing warning signs at sites in Indooroopilly and Corinda are being ignored by truck drivers - with dire consequences. In the 12 months to June 30, the number of rail bridge strikes almost doubled - jumping from 33 the previous year to 60 - resulting in more than 200 train service delays or cancellations. The increase came despite the addition of infrared laser detectors at eight of the most at-risk locations to read the height of approaching trucks and issue a warning.

Ettamogah rail hub on track for success

Posted Friday, 26 July, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

ETTAMOGAH rail hub has secured one of its most significant contracts since being established in 2009. It has clinched two more weekly services from Albury to Brisbane after securing deals to shift 100,000 tonnes of freight annually from three major locally-based manufacturers, Mountain H20, Norske Skog and Mars Petcare. The hub also operates a freight service for import and export products between Albury and Melbourne, but the additional services to Brisbane was justification of a $10 million investment in the facility by owner Colin Rees.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 27/7/2013

Posted Sunday, 28 July, 2013 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 110 sightings for this week. This is one sighting less than last week, making a total of 3528 sightings for this year to date. On day 208 last year we had recorded 3476 sightings. This is 52 sightings up on the same time last year.

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