GREEN means go — unless there's a massive freight train bearing down on you. There are no flashing warning lights, bells or boom gates at the level railway crossing on Footscray Road, West Melbourne, which is governed only by a set of traffic lights.
One man has died and dozens of people have been injured after the Sunlander passenger train collided with a truck near Innisfail in far north Queensland this morning.
Police say the train hit a garbage truck and derailed on Aerodrome Road at Mundoo at about 11:20am AEST.
The truck driver died at the scene.
The day after another fatal collision between a tilt-train and a road vehicle at a level-crossing, a bus driver is booked for taking passengers through a level-crossing at Babinda while the lights are flashing.
Queensland Rail is aiming to restart rail services in far North Queensland by tomorrow, after a fatal crash at a level crossing on Thursday.
The line between Cairns and Townsville has been cut since the crash.
The Queensland Government has dismissed the suggestion it has taken another fatal rail crash to prompt action to improve safety at level crossings.
Three people have died at level crossings in north Queensland in five weeks, the latest on a crossing identified by a specially convened taskforce as one of eight in need of urgent attention.
A garbage truck driver died in a crash with the Sunlander passenger train at Innisfail in far north Queensland yesterday.
A Polish woman has become only the second person to give birth on London's Underground rail network since it opened 146 years ago, the capital's transport authority confirmed.
Julia Kowalska was travelling with her sister on the network's Jubilee line when her contractions started.
THE CityRail network will reach choking point within four years, despite billions being spent on new trains and the long-delayed Epping to Chatswood Line, the pricing regulator has revealed.
Crowding on trains is worsening by the week, an off-peak ticketing trial that ended in October was a dismal failure, and commuters will have to fork out 25 per cent more for their tickets over the next four years.
By 2012 the morning peak will be so busy new commuters will find no space to squeeze on board. Such overcrowding would cause the timetable to collapse, undermine CityRail's on-time running performance and bring grief to the Rees Government before the 2011 election.
Sydney commuters are satisfied with CityRail services and will only suffer overcrowding until 600 new train carriages are built, Transport Minister David Campbell says.
The government is redefining overcrowding on trains by extending the approved "crush load", Fairfax has reported.
CityRail's target is for a maximum of five per cent of trains to carry a crush load - or passenger numbers over 135 per cent of seating capacity.
A Happy New Year to all my friends and Railfans.
As expected this week's sightings are well down again with only 55 sightings for the week, which is one sighting less than last week.
2008 came to an end on the fourth day of this week in which I recorded 5077 sightings for the 366 days. This was 273 sightings down on the 365 days of 2007 (5350 sightings).
The railway line between Townsville and Cairns was reopened on Sunday, four days after a train hit a garbage truck at a rail level crossing in far north Queensland.
The truck driver, father of two Terry Brown, was killed in the collision on New Year's Day at Mundoo, near Innisfail.
FIRE fighters stopped a chemical explosion on a freight train travelling through Horsham early this morning.
The train, travelling from Melbourne to Adelaide, was leaking a highly flammable chemical on to the train track when emergency services were called about 12.10am.
A section of the Melbourne-Adelaide rail line is closed because of damage to a freight train and the track.
The Adelaide-bound train stopped near Horsham about midnight because of brake failure.
The train crew found the side of the train was damaged and that a tractor on board was missing.
The badly-damaged tractor was eventually found next to the rail track at Stawell.
Victoria Police Sergeant Mick Salter says it is possible the brake lines were cut by the chains that were holding the tractor on board.
AN INCREASE in "near-miss incidents" at train level crossings in Melbourne has prompted the Brumby Government to fund new large yellow markings at more than 50 intersections around the city.
But train operator Connex will not say which crossings are so dangerous they warrant the markings.
Connex last year demanded the Government prevent cars queueing dangerously on roads at rail crossings after drivers and other Government agencies reported the rising problem.
Records continue to tumble as investment in the Hunter Valley Coal rail network continues. Australian Rail Track Corporation announced today that latest figures show a record haul of coal was delivered to port last weekend.
Releasing the figures today, ARTC announced that 328,000 tonnes of coal were delivered to port over a 24 hour period last weekend, shattering the old record of 314,000 tonnes.
The announcement of the record haul follows closely on the heals of the Federal Government’s announcement of investment totalling $1 billion in the Hunter Valley Coal rail network. This will increase export coal capacity from 97 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 200 mtpa in 2012.
The investment will also see the creation of over 500 new jobs, peaking at 650 in 2010.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) says it is investigating whether a freight train that lost part of its load in the Wimmera was struck by another object.
The train stopped near Horsham late on Monday night because its brakes were damaged.
It was discovered the train was leaking and had been damaged by a tractor that had fallen from a carriage near Stawell.
Unwitting commuters have fallen victim to a slick international ring of female pick-pockets operating on Melbourne's trams, police say.
Three Bulgarians in Australia on tourist visas have been charged over a spate of thefts on trams - many involving victims who had no idea they'd been pick-pocketed.
Police believe the women, aged 16, 27 and 32, are responsible for about 70 purse and wallet thefts on trams in December.
Queensland Transport Minister John Mickel says a taskforce set up to examine rail level crossings in the state's north is finalising a list of sites that need urgent improvements.
Last week, Mr Mickel announced $10 million from the Queensland Rail budget would be used for immediate upgrades at eight level crossings.
It followed the death of a truck driver on new year's day near innisfail at a crossing that had been identified by the taskforce as a priority.
Mr Mickel says he will receive the full list in the next few days.
RailCorp will carry out vegetation clearing along the Wollongong and South Coast rail corridors this month amid concerns expected heat wave conditions could bring bushfires close to rail lines.
VICTORIAN jobs are being sent overseas under the Brumby Government's bungled $1.3 billion myki smartcard system.
Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky's Transport Ticketing Authority is sending software development jobs to myki's "back office" in Hyderabad, India.
Freedom of Information documents seen by the Herald Sun reveal the authority has visited the Indian site where myki contractor Kamco is developing and integrating the back office software.
FRUSTRATED rail commuters could have claimed up to $10 million in compensation because V/Line trains failed to run on time last year.
The regional rail service is cracking under the pressure of patronage growth.
A record 12.9 million trips were taken across the network last year, up 17 per cent.
The latest rise follows patronage growth of 23 per cent in 2006/07 and 29 per cent in 2005/06, the biggest in more than 50 years
January - compensation payable on all lines
February - compensation payable on Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Seymour, Traralgon, Albury/Wodonga, Bairnsdale/Sale, Swan Hill/Echuca lines
March - compensation payable on all lines
Bigger VLocity trains will make their maiden voyage on the Ballarat line today as V/Line permanently converts most of its two-carriage trains into more spacious three-carriage units.
The move is in response to booming rail patronage, and will see an extra carriage added to six Ballarat line trains each weekday from this morning, to boost capacity on busy trains.
V/Line General Manager Ursula McGinnes said the increase provided 456 more seats each weekday on the line as Ballarat, Ballan, Bacchus Marsh and Melton commuters continue to travel by train at near-record levels.
Ms McGinnes said 15,207 more customer trips were made on Ballarat trains this November compared to the same time last year – a nine per cent increase.
“Last month, Victorians made almost 178,000 trips on the Ballarat line, so this boost in seating will help us meet growing demand.
Gold Coast City Council Mayor Ron Clarke says transportation has replaced water as the city's number one infrastructure issue.
Councillor Clarke says council's biggest challenge this year will be making the proposed light rail system become a reality.
Access to north-west Queensland has suffered another setback after a ballast train derailed west of Cloncurry.
A Queensland Rail (QR) spokeswoman says the ballast train derailed while trying to repair tracks damaged by heavy rain in the area.
A man is fighting for his life after a smash between his four-wheel-drive ute and a V/Line train carrying 285 passengers in Gippsland.
None of the passengers aboard the Melbourne-bound Bairnsdale train were injured when the train struck the ute at a crossing on a farming property near Rosedale about 1.45pm, a V/Line spokeswoman said.
Traffic problems around St Vincent's Hospital - where two trams collided around midday - have now been cleared.
The accident happened on the corner of Victoria Parade and Nicholson Street outside the hospital.
Yarra Trams spokesman Colin Tyrus said the scene was cleared about 2pm, and the two trams involved removed from the line for further checks.
SYDNEY'S mooted transport makeover is great news for anyone who loves commuting. Essentially, the new "metro" will operate along three lines.
The western line will provide a "corridor" between Parramatta and the CBD, instantly transforming Parramatta Road from an unglamorous strip of woggy wedding-dress shops and crap cafes into an unglamorous strip of woggy wedding-dress shops and crap cafes with a train line running underneath it.
There were 74 sightings for this week, which is 19 sighting more than last week, making a total of 103 sightings for this year to date. On day 10 last year we had recorded 98 sightings.
We have seen one sighting on the B/G this week. On Wednesday 9140 was diverted via Gheringhap with G527(PN).
A REPORT comparing the public transport systems of 52 cities internationally, commissioned by the State Government, has found that only North American cities have worse access to services than Melbourne.
And the Public Transport Standards Review, completed by respected transport analysts Booz and Co, has found Melbourne's public transport system performs worse than some Australian capitals in principal areas as well.
The report was completed as part of a government transport statement, released last month, and found eastern European cities invested 137 per cent more in public transport per head of population than Melbourne.
Queensland Rail has defended its decision not to refund tickets to passengers on board a fatal Tilt Train crash despite doing so in another deadly smash.
Two drivers were killed and nine passengers injured when the Tilt Train and a truck collided at a level-crossing at Cardwell in November.
On New Year's Day, a garbage truck driver was killed and six Sunlander passengers injured in a collision at a level-crossing at Mundoo, near Innisfail.
CYCLISTS will have access to secure parking for their bicycles at more train stations, in a bid by the State Government to discourage driving to stations. Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said cages had been built at 23 stations, with 10 more on the way.
Horrified commuters watched as a US police officer shot an unarmed young father dead on a crowded train platform while another officer pinned him face down to the ground.
Dramatic mobile phone footage posted online shows the death of Oscar Grant, 22, after he was shot in the back by a transit police officer at a station in Oakland, California.
Hundreds of thousands of people have now viewed the footage on YouTube and television, fuelling a furious reaction as the officer, Johannes Mehserle, has not been charged with any offence.
The Public Transport Authority is warning commuters on the northern rail line into the city to expect delays after a train derailment.
The train jumped the tracks north of Clarkson, and while the derailment is not serious, it is blocking other trains which would normally operate peak hour commuter services.
YARRA Trams is reaping massive profits from Melbourne's public transport system, while spending less on badly needed track renewal works, leaked information obtained by the Opposition shows.
In a bad sign for the State Government's multi-billion-dollar retendering of the city's privatised train and tram systems, Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder has obtained confidential tender information supplied by Yarra Trams and Connex.
The leaked documents, which the Government refused to release last month under freedom of information — saying it would be "contrary to the public interest" — show Yarra Trams increased its profits by $8.9 million over the past four years, as passenger numbers increased.
Connex is warning Melbourne train commuters to expect delays as the city prepares for another day of extreme temperatures.
Heat-related problems led to more than two dozen services being cancelled yesterday, causing chaos for afternoon commuters.
Melbourne commuters face further delays today as Connex services succumb to the heat.
Seventeen trains have already been cancelled this morning and that number is likely to increase as the mercury rises to today's forecast of 39 degrees.
A combination of rails "expanding" in the heat and broken air-conditioning units resulted in the cancellation of almost 30 services during yesterday's afternoon peak-travel period.
Rail operator Connex will be fined over a series of cancellations this week.
Dozens of services failed to run both last night and this morning, due to the heat.
The Transport Minister, Lynne Kosky, says Connex has assured her the number of cancellations will not be repeated.
But she says the rail operator will still be sanctioned.
An economist says he expects Rio Tinto will have automated trains up and running in the Pilbara by its 2012 target, despite the miner's decision to postpone the project.
Yesterday, the company announced it is delaying its $US370 million Automated Train Operations program in Western Australia.
The Victorian Government is demanding Connex explain the high number of train cancellations in Melbourne over the past two days.
Twenty-eight services were cancelled during yesterday's evening peak and another 17 were out of service this morning.
The Acting Premier Rob Hulls says the number of cancellations is unacceptable.
"It is a complex transport system there's no doubt about that and there are cancellations for a whole range of reasons," he said.
Melbourne's rail operator Connex could close city stations and install glass barriers to reduce risks of fatal overcrowding, a secret report says.
The 2008 corporate plan was revealed as commuters battled cancellation of up to 100 trains on Tuesday and Wednesday, which Connex blamed on heat, a power failure and malfunctioning air-conditioners.
The confidential plan seen by News Ltd says there may be a need to consider "temporarily closing stations where crowd loading poses a threat to safety".
PUBLIC Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has denied responsibility for the meltdown on Victoria's rail network that left thousands of commuters waiting in the heat yesterday for the second day running.
Amid calls for her sacking and for the Government to renew Melbourne's ageing fleet with trains that can function in hot weather, Ms Kosky revealed that some of the 18 trains the Government had ordered to cope with demand could instead be used as replacements.
Victoria's embattled public transport minister has been given an ultimatum by angry commuters - lift your game or quit.
As calls mounted for Lynne Kosky to resign over the latest transport fiasco, the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) said the incompetence must end.
"If she's going to keep the job, she's going to have to lift her game," PTUA president Daniel Bowen told AAP.
"Clearly the government has to do better, whether it's her or someone else - we need a public transport minister who really understands the problems, really understands what people are going through and is willing to get it fixed."
Glass walls on city rail platforms to stops commuters falling onto tracks is among a range of options Connex will consider as commuter crowds swell.
The rail operator today admitted the installation of glass barriers was in its 2008 corporate plan.
The revelation came as commuters endured a third consecutive day of mass train cancellations this morning.
A tram driver suffered smoke inhalation and passengers fled when a W-class tram caught fire in the CBD this afternoon.
Fire crews were called to the number 30 tram on Latrobe Street about 5pm, where the front and rear axles were on fire, according to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
Yarra Trams spokesman Colin Tyrus said a passenger alerted the driver to smoke under the carriage. The driver lowered the tram's pantograph from overhead wires to disconnect the power supply. When he stepped out of the tram to inspect the fire he was overcome by smoke, Mr Tyrus said.
The acting Premier, Rob Hulls, is defending Victoria's embattled Transport minister, Lynne Kosky.
Ms Kosky has been criticised for her hands-off approach to train cancellations this week.
Connex cancelled another 14 trains across its network during the peak period this morning.
There were also more than 60 cancellations during the hot weather on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Connex denies it has plans to permanently close any city railway stations due to overcrowding.
The company has confirmed it does have the power to close city train stations, but would only do so in the event of an emergency.
The company's business plan also raises the possibility of introducing glass barriers on platforms, but Connex says it is only an idea at this stage.
FORGET trainspotting – Adelaide could become Australia's train-surfing capital. Not standing recklessly atop a speeding train, but surfing the net from the comfort of a train carriage.
In a bid to make public transport more attractive, the State Government is investigating equipping Adelaide's public transport with free wireless internet.
AS MELBOURNE'S rail system dissolved into chaos last week at the first signs of summer, few would have blamed the mess on Australian culture.
Don't tell that to Jim Betts, the state's top-ranking transport bureaucrat and the man who — after a decade at the heart of public transport policy in this city — must bear at least some responsibility for its success or failure. "Great transport efficiency," Mr Betts observed in public comments at a Melbourne University transport conference last August, might not be appropriate to a Melburnian culture.
Britain has given the go-ahead to building a 9 billion pound ($19.8 billion) third runway at London's congested Heathrow airport, delighting the aviation industry but enraging environmentalists.
Transport Minister Geoff Hoon also told parliament he was approving the construction of an extra terminal at the world's busiest international airport, less than a year after it opened its fifth terminal after much delay due to opposition from campaigners.
The victims of Sydney's Granville train disaster have been remembered at a service to mark its 32nd anniversary.
Survivors, their rescuers and families of the victims held a memorial service at the site in Sydney's west.
Eighty-three people died and more than 200 people were injured when a Blue Mountains express train derailed and struck a bridge at Granville.
Connex and the Victorian Government have moved to assure anxious rail commuters it has contingencies in place should today's forecast hot weather affect the system.
Connex says it has extra buses and maintenance crews on stand-by should the heat take its toll on the network.
Connex's boss got it wrong when he said hot weather was to blame for continuing train cancellations, a spokeswoman for the trouble-plagued rail network has admitted.
Connex chief executive Jonathan Metcalfe told Radio 3AW earlier today that the cancellation of nine peak-hour train service this morning was due to yesterday's temperatures of 25 degrees.
"Some of the cancellations this morning are a result of air conditioning, some are results of other issues and yesterday had been a very hot day, there is no question it was a hot day,'' he said.
YARRA Trams has increased by one-third the weekly target its inspectors must meet in fines to passengers without a valid ticket, a leaked business plan given to the State Government shows.
The operator's annual business plan, which is presented to the Government each year, promises to fine every week 2601 passengers without valid tickets.
This is a 33 per cent increase on the 2007 target of 1950.
The Victorian Government says extra staff will be available to respond to any heat-related disruptions experienced by Melbourne's rail network this week.
Last week's hot weather caused extensive cancellations and delays, blamed on expanding tracks and faulty air conditioning units on older trains.
Commuter frustration is set to peak again today with train cancellations likely amid scorching temperatures forecast to reach 37 degrees.
Yesterday's 35.8-degree heat caused 55 trains to be cancelled, leaving frustrated commuters waiting in packed conditions on city platforms.
Melbourne train commuters have had to cope with further cancellations throughout the day.
Connex says 45 services were cancelled today, 35 fewer than yesterday.
The operator blamed heat, a number of grass fires near lines and train faults for the cancellations.
The upgrading of Tasmania's rail network has taken another step forward with work starting on a $30 million track upgrade.
Queensland Rail and the Tasmanian company Van Ek Contracting have begun replacing about 140,000 wooden sleepers and 20 kilometres of track between Burnie, Bell Bay and Hobart.
Connex says faults are to blame for more than a dozen train cancellations in Melbourne this morning.
24 trains have been cancelled.
Close to 50 services had to be cancelled yesterday because of the heat.
Connex spokeswoman, Lanie Harris, says that means there have been fewer trains to replace faulty ones.
Three people died when hundreds of passengers riding on top of a train in northern India were swept off by overhanging tree branches, police said.
A police spokesman in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh state, said 500 people were knocked off the roof of the packed train as it travelled overnight from Allahabad city to an army recruitment centre.
A public transport expert from the University of Wollongong says the Maldon to Dombarton rail link could be built over a short period of time, if the New South Wales Government backs it.
Dr Phillip Laird joined the Greens and the Illawarra Transport Coalition yesterday to launch a campaign for the completion of the unfinished rail link from Wollongong to south-west Sydney.
The Tasmanian Government says it has been assured that Pacific National will stay in Tasmania until it can find a buyer for its rail business.
Pacific National is still looking to sell its rolling stock, six months after announcing its plans to leave the state.
Six rail detonators stolen from a Queensland Rail work site are extremely dangerous, police say.
The detonators were stolen from a vehicle between midnight and 4.15am (AEST) on Wednesday at a Queensland Rail work site at Wacol, south of Brisbane.
AIRLINE passengers along the east coast had their flights delayed by up to 90 minutes yesterday after a computer glitch knocked out the flight management system covering half the country.
As Melbourne experiences yet another day of high train cancellations, new figures show last month was 2008's equal worst for services that did not run.
The Department of Transport's quarterly assessment of the train system said that 1.4 per cent of trains scheduled in December did not run, up from a yearly average of 1 per cent.
December's poor rate matched the January 2008 cancellation figure of 1.4 per cent of all trains.
The Hurstbridge railway line in Melbourne has been closed between Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge due to debris falling on power and the line.
It is not known when rail services will resume. Buses are replacing trains on this line until further notice.
A woman narrowly escaped serious injury after falling onto railway tracks in Melbourne's east earlier this afternoon.
The woman is believed to have fallen over on the platform at Jordanville station before slipping onto the tracks, Connex spokesman John Rees said.
An explosion at Rushall railway station in Melbourne's inner north is causing delays for commuters this morning.
Police said someone appeared to have attempted to gain access to a ticket vending machine using a small explosive device at the station, at Fitzroy North.
NO GESTURE better summed up the failing state of Melbourne's train system this week than the 6000 free Paddle Pop Icy Twists and 10,000 bottles of specially branded Connex water handed out to commuters at Flinders Street Station on Monday, a scorching 37-degree day.
Connex, it seemed, was saying: "We are sorry we can't run the trains, so here's an iceblock and some water."
A nice gesture, perhaps. But then Connex can afford it.
RETURNING Melbourne's beleaguered public transport system to full government ownership would not cost taxpayers one extra cent, Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky says.
Questioned yesterday about the merits of a privatised system, Ms Kosky said: "It's no cheaper. We have had to put a lot more money into the system."
But she defended Melbourne's complicated "franchise" system, saying it would continue to bring innovation and international expertise to public transport.
"We get that innovation, we get that international experience, not only in running the system but in responding much more quickly to problems," she said.
COUNTRY trains in Victoria have not met one monthly performance target in the past five years, after again falling below the benchmark every month in 2008.
V/Line's punctuality problems have caused havoc for tens of thousands of passengers who use the regional service, which last financial year recorded just over 11 million passenger trips on rail. This is despite the Government spending $750 million on its controversial regional fast rail service and its promise to improve travel times for commuters.
Last year, 15 per cent of all V/Line services were late, almost double the number needed to reach the performance target.
Ballot papers will be sent to more than 900 Queensland train drivers and guards today asking them to vote on taking industrial action.
Citytrain staff from the Gold Coast to Bundaberg will vote in the electoral commission-run ballot following a breakdown in talks between Queensland Rail (QR) and unions over pay and conditions.
Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees state secretary Greg Smith says workers have safety concerns about fatigue under a proposed new roster.
MELBOURNE'S beleaguered commuters face more disruption this week, with a blistering heatwave expected to cause mass cancellations of train services.
But Premier John Brumby has publicly reassured his Public Transport Minister, Lynne Kosky, that her job is safe, despite Melbourne's failing rail system.
As temperatures rose last week, peaking at 40 degrees on Tuesday, rail operator Connex cancelled 319 train services, including scores in peak hour.
Police are seeking public help in identifying a group of youths who have been throwing rocks at trains.
Police say a number of trains were hit late last night between East Maitland and Maitland.
With the mercury at less than half today's forecast 38 degree maximum, Melbourne rail commuters were already battling cancellations on five lines.
Connex said 13 services had been cancelled by 8.30am - eight of those citybound - on the Frankston, Sandringham, Upfield, Glen Waverley and Cranbourne lines.
There were 80 sightings for this week, which is six sighting more than last week, making a total of 183 sightings for this year to date. On day 17 last year we had recorded 200 sightings.
We have seen two sighting on the B/G this week. On Wednesday we saw 9121 & 9141 diverted via Gheringhap due to a signal failure in Melbourne. 9121 had XR554?+XR557 and 20 hoppers and 9141 had X+G and 27 wagons.
The Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky says she accepts full responsibility for ongoing problems with Melbourne's rail network.
Connex has been plagued by cancellations recently as the summer heat and ongoing faulty trains affect services.
More than a dozen trains were cancelled this morning.
The 60,000 passengers who travel on the Epping and Hurstbridge lines each weekday will benefit from improved punctuality and smoother journeys with the major works completed on the $52 million Clifton Hill rail project.
Today, Premier John Brumby and Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky marked the completion of works on the newly completed rail bridge over the Merri Creek and watched some of the first passenger trains using the new link.
Mr Brumby said the project which involved the construction of a new 750 metre long bridge between Clifton Hill and Westgarth stations demonstrated the Victorian Government’s commitment to improve rail services across Melbourne.
MELBOURNE'S beleaguered commuters face more disruption this week, with a blistering heatwave expected to cause mass cancellations of train services.
But Premier John Brumby has publicly reassured his Public Transport Minister, Lynne Kosky, that her job is safe, despite Melbourne's failing rail system.
There were 75 sightings for this week, which is five sighting less than last week, making a total of 258 sightings for this year to date. On day 24 last year we had recorded 312 sightings.
We have seen two sighting on the B/G this week. On Monday we saw 9124 & 9123 PN grain trains to North Geelong grain loop with XR558+XR554 and 40 hoppers.
V/Line is warning country Victorian travellers they will not be immune from extreme heat causing delays and disruptions on the rail network.
The city rail network has been plagued by cancellations of train services because of the heat.
Train services on the Frankston line were suspended this morning after a truck breakdown blocked both lines at Chelsea station.
The truck's brakes jammed about 8.35am, bringing it to a halt above both sets of tracks, Connex spokeswoman Lanie Harris said.
PUBLIC Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has blamed "underinvestment over a long period of time" as a key factor in the poor performance of Melbourne's public transport network in recent weeks.
Speaking yesterday before the opening of a $52 million rail bridge between Clifton Hill and Westgarth train stations, Ms Kosky defended her Government's performance on transport.
But, after blaming underinvestment in the rail system, she was forced to concede her own party had been in government for a decade.
HEATWAVES do strange things to people, even in anticipation. When Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky was interviewed on ABC radio yesterday morning, the temperature had risen to barely half the forecast maximum of 38 degrees. Yet the minister finally retracted, implicitly at least, a remark that has dogged her ever since she assumed her portfolio.
Train commuters face hot, frustrating trips home as today's sweltering temperatures start to take a toll on the state's rail networks.
Connex service updates show it has cancelled at least 50 trains today, with the rail operator unable to say how many more will be scrapped during Melbourne's afternoon peak.
Connex is warning commuters of significant service cancellations during afternoon peak hour.
By 3:30PM, 44 services were cancelled on the Melbourne network.
Temperatures in the city have hit 42 degrees Celsius.
Connex spokeswomen, Lanie Harris, says the heat is expected to result in another 40 services being cancelled as people try to make their way home from work.
Blistering heat has buckled train tracks between Jolimont and Flinders Street stations, causing cancellations and delays for peak-hour Melbourne city loop services.
Connex workers can be seen hosing down the heat-stricken steel in an effort to cool the tracks and repair damage wrought by today's 43.2 degree maximum, reached at 4.25pm.
Melbourne's frazzled train commuters should brace for another nightmare day, after one of the worst in Connex's history yesterday.
The city's crumbling rail system failed as tracks buckled and trains broke down amid baking temperatures for the second consecutive day.
FEWER than half of Melbourne's Government-owned trams are air-conditioned, leaving thousands of passengers yesterday struggling to deal with a combination of overcrowding and stifling temperatures.
The Brumby Government has a fleet of 486 trams, 230 of which are air-conditioned. This does not include 50 vintage W-class trams, which run around the City Circle and on South Yarra's Chapel Street.
With Melbourne sweltering in 43 degrees at 6 o'clock last night, commuters struggled in oppressive conditions on the trams without air-conditioning.
Connex says 80 per cent of train cancellations are the fault of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union.
The network has been plagued by continuous cancellations in recent weeks with various faults and heat related problems.
The Transport Department says trams will only run during peak-hour times today because of the extreme heat.
Trains are running along the repaired Noarlunga rail line, which buckled in yesterday's heat and left passengers stranded.
The Department's Ross Stargatt says there will be signs to alert passengers where to catch the buses that are replacing tram services from 10:00am until 3:00pm.
The embattled Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has told commuters at Flinders Street Station she is doing everything she can to resolve problems with Melbourne's train network.
"The buck stops with me. It is my job to ensure all the layers are working" she said in a live radio broadcast from the station this morning.
South Australia's Opposition leader, Martin Hamilton-Smith, says the State Government made a mistake buying trams suited to the cooler climates of Europe.
The city's trams are only running during peak times today because of the extreme heat, with buses replacing those services during the day.
Coffs Coast Independent 29/01/2009 10:00:00 AM
AFTER five years restoring and repairing train carriages and equipment, a Coffs Harbour-based workshop will close due to the continued warehousing of ‘Betty’ the steam train.
Melbourne rail commuters are set for another horror run home, with cancellations nudging triple-figures and services suspended on two lines.
Connex has halted services on sections of the Alamein and Williamstown lines due to extreme weather and faulty trains.
Buses will replace train services between Camberwell and Alamein, and Newport and Williamstown until further notice.
Melbourne rail commuters suffering through the city's heatwave are set for another horror run home on Connex, with 198 trains cancelled by 4pm and services suspended on three lines.
The beleaguered rail network has halted services on sections of the Alamein, Williamstown and Craigieburn lines due to power shortages, buckled rail lines, faulty trains and extreme heat.
The South Australian Premier, Mike Rann, will ask for funding for infrastructure projects when he meets the Prime Minister today.
Kevin Rudd has been holding a series of meetings with state and territory leaders to discuss a second economic stimulus package.
The State Government has previously asked the Federal Government for money for a list of transport projects such as a rail extension to Seaford.
Residents of Victoria and South Australia are bracing for another day of power and transport problems, as the heatwave continues.
Both states have endured another hot night and the heat will be extreme again today, with Melbourne expecting a top of 43 degrees Celsius and Adelaide 42C.
Melbourne rail commuters' week of woe just got worse, with Connex cancelling at least 284 services on the city's record third day of 43 degree-plus heat.
Rail commuters on the Alamein and Williamstown lines again face lengthy delays, with services on the lines suspended for the second day running.
TRAMS are again running to Glenelg after a power blackouts shutdown the line as SA's infrastructure still struggles with the heat. But substitute bus services are still operating through the peak period.
General manager Bob Stobbe yesterday said Adelaide's $6 million trams would continue to be affected by record hot conditions. "At this stage, all are running and there are minimal delays, but it's still getting hotter, so there are no ways I can guarantee there won't be shutdowns," he said, and trams were being taken off the network to allow their engines to cool.
About 50 wagons have been derailed from a Rio Tinto iron ore train in the Pilbara, while a 40-car freight train derailed in another accident near Kalgoorlie, injuring three people.
Melbourne's rail system has collapsed once again with all services cancelled on eight lines and the closure of the city loop.
Connex commuters are being left stranded at city stations with services suspended on the Alamein, Williamstown, Epping, Upfield, Werribee, Sydenham, Craigieburn and Lilydale lines.
Extreme weather has been blamed for buses replacing trains between Camberwell and Alamein stations, Clifton Hill and Epping stations, Ringwood and Lilydale stations, and Newport and Williamstown.
Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky spent $28,000 of taxpayers' money to redesign her new offices - just months after moving in.
Invoices obtained by The Age show that, six months after moving into the brand new and slickly designed SX building at 121 Exhibition Street in November 2007, Ms Kosky found her new digs unsatisfactory.
A massive power blackout has hit Victoria with nearly 350,000 residents and businesses without power.
Homes and businesses in Sunshine, Melton, Woodend, Laverton, Werribee, Geelong, Torquay, Docklands, South Melbourne, Albert Park, Fishermen's Bend, Brunswick, Northcote and Westgate have been hit by outages.
The city's bright lights have dimmed with entertainment hotspots including the Docklands affected and traffic lights on Kings Way out.