Rail and freight giant Aurizon is continuing to assess the worth of building a new rail line in the Pilbara as it seeks more exposure to Australia's iron ore mines. A new stand-alone, open-access railway in the Pilbara would cost about $10 billion to construct and on current projections would need the support of at least a few miners. Aurizon, formally known as QR National before it was privatised in 2010, has ruled out attempting to buy into Fortescue's existing Pilbara rail line, saying the company has no interest in being a passive minority investor in somebody else's line.
THE federal government has pledged $3 million to fund planning for a Perth Airport rail link. Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Sunday the money would help get the project to improve links between the airport and Perth's CBD "shovel ready". "Perth is one of Australia's fastest growing cities and its airport will continue to experience substantial passenger growth in the years ahead," he said in statement.
The train that derailed in northwestern Spain, killing at least 77 people, did not have "any technical problems" and had been inspected just hours earlier, the head of state-owned Renfe railway company said Thursday.
The architecture firm behind the world's tallest building has signalled it wants to develop Sydney's main rail corridor, as the state government fields global interest in a project to remake the central business district's southern edge. Former federal Liberal MP Ross Cameron has also flagged a bid, after his plan to build more than 150 Chinese-made high rises along the corridor was rejected last year. The government will later this year call for expressions of interest to develop underused rail land from Central Station to Eveleigh, including apartment and office towers and structures built over the rail line.
The consortium building the Gold Coast light rail network says planning is well advanced to accommodate the Surfers Paradise V8 event in October. GoldLinQ CEO Phil Mumford says meetings are being held to discuss the handover of the site in the lead-up to the Gold Coast 600. Mr Mumford says it is hoped the operation will run smoothly.
COMMUTERS waiting on the reopening of the Noarlunga rail line have been assured trains will be back on track from September, following delays to both the Tonsley and Belair lines. Transport Minister Tom Koutsantonis (pictured) announced an eight-week delay to reopen the Tonsley rail line last week but said the Noarlunga line "won't be affected". A Transport Minister spokesman also reaffirmed the reopening of the Noarlunga line. "Work is still progressing on the rail revitalisation project in the expectation that diesel rail services on the Noarlunga line will resume as scheduled in September," he said.
GIPPSLAND hasn't given up the fight to have a high speed rail route run through its communities. A federal study scratched Gippsland from the list of best route contenders for a rail line between Melbourne and Sydney but the Gippsland Local Government Network has called on the state and federal governments to conduct a cost-benefit analysis into the Gippsland location. The Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s High Speed Rail Study is currently in phase two where a deviation through Shepparton has been adopted.
Modern airports do not belong in the middle of cities and London mayor Boris Johnson is right to call for Heathrow to be replaced with housing (''[url=http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/albaneses-new-airport-promise-branded-an-election-beatup-20130726-2qppn.html]Albanese's new airport promise branded an election beat-up[/url]'', July 27-28. The same goes for Sydney. As long as an airport is in Mascot, boosters such as Max Moore-Wilton and Barry O'Farrell will apply pressure to cram in as many planes as possible. But Mr Albanese's second airport wouldn't solve anything. As the recent study he commissioned says, a second airport would be supplementary. Its role would be to enable Sydney Airport to operate at its ''maximum practical operational capacity''.
A train driver suspected of causing Spain's worst rail disaster for decades has been charged with 79 counts of reckless homicide and freed on bail. Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, 52, was taken to court on Sunday night and formally accused by an investigating judge of causing Wednesday's derailment just outside the city of Santiago de Compostela. Meanwhile, one of the 168 passengers injured in the crash died in a Santiago hospital today, taking the death toll to 79.
At least 35 people have been injured, five of them seriously, in a head-on collision of two trains in western Switzerland. The crash happened near the station of Granges-pres-Marnand shortly before 1700 GMT on Monday (0400 AEST Tuesday) on a regional line about 50km southwest of the capital, Bern. It came just days after 79 people were killed in a high-speed train derailment in Spain. Photographs from the Swiss site showed the two regional trains locked together, partly lifted off the tracks by the force of the collision.
A plan to correct design flaws in the tanker cars coupled to the [url=http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/06/news/state/explosions-erupt-from-derailed-train-carrying-petroleum-products-in-quebec/?ref=inline]explosive runaway train that destroyed the center of a Canadian town earlier this month[/url] won’t be implemented for a year, officials said Monday. As the head of the company involved in the disaster said the freight hauler is contemplating filing for bankruptcy protection and further layoffs, the [url=http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/]Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration[/url] announced it needs another year to apply recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board that would fix flaws first discovered in 1991 that causes the DOT-111 rail car to crack open during collisions and derailments. It is impossible to say when or if the rail-car design changes will occur, said agency public affairs specialist Gordon “Joe” Delcambre Jr.
The oil industry and U.S railroads are resisting the Obama administration’s attempt to boost safety standards for the type of rail car involved in a fiery, fatal explosion in Canada, citing costs and technical challenges. Industry groups say it is impractical to retrofit tens of thousands of existing tank cars used to haul oil, even as they have adopted voluntary standards to ensure that cars ordered after October 2011 meet tough requirements recommended by federal transportation experts following a deadly ethanol train derailment and explosion in Illinois two years earlier. A proposed rule to beef up rail-car safety was initially scheduled to be put in place last October, but it has been delayed until late September at the earliest. Officials blamed the delay on the time it has taken to seek and review petitions from industry groups and the public. A final rule isn’t expected until next year.
The financial noose tightened Monday around companies connected to the deadly Quebec derailment, with a hint that the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway could close shop. The Quebec government issued a lawyer's letter demanding that the railway involved in the Lac-Megantic crash and two petroleum-logistics companies foot the entire bill to clean up the environmental mess, the latest in a series of legal threats since the disaster. This was after the railway chairman had already told a Maine newspaper that he was considering whether the embattled MMA could survive.