Showing stories from October 2012

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Fury at rail crossing stupidity

Posted Monday, 1 October, 2012 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

TASMANIA'S rail boss has hit out at motorists and pedestrians who are putting train drivers' health and safety at risk by ignoring level-crossing laws.

TasRail chief executive Damien White said a rail worker was lucky to avoid injury when several motorists completely ignored warning signals at a crossing at Granton on Friday.

The man, who was doing track inspections in a truck designed to operate on the railway tracks as well as on roads, narrowly avoided a collision when a total of seven drivers ignored the flashing lights and bells and drove across in front of his vehicle.

Long awaited dust study released for Hunter coal trains

Posted Monday, 1 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A study into dust emissions from train movements in the Hunter Valley has found little difference between the dust being produced by coal trains compared to other trains.

The study, commissioned by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), measured particle concentrations to determine whether loaded coal trains are a larger source of emissions than other trains.

Baillieu barges ahead with port expansion

Posted Monday, 1 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Baillieu government will push ahead with plans to expand the Port of Hastings into a multibillion-dollar container port, despite Bluescope Steel closing its wharf there next month and the last of the permanent wharfies being made redundant.

Ports Minister Denis Napthine said that while stevedoring at Hastings in Western Port had ceased for the time being, work on the 10- to 15-year expansion project to turn it into a complementary container port to the Port of Melbourne had already started.

The Port of Hastings Development Authority, established this year, has started doing early assessment and planning reports for the project - which some experts say is likely to cost more than $12 billion.

Mother campaigns for level crossing changes

Posted Monday, 1 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A woman whose son was killed at a level crossing in Melbourne's north-west is campaigning for changes to the railway line's layout.

Dianne Dejanovic's son Christian died in January after he was hit by a train while walking through the crossing in St Albans.

About 2,500 people have signed her petition calling for the tracks to run on an overpass or underground.

Rail staff to strike ahead of Caulfield Cup

Posted Monday, 1 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE'S rail maintenance staff will take a 48-hour strike in the lead-up to the Caulfield Cup, in a move likely to disrupt some racegoers.

Four unions are locked in a dispute with Metro Trains over pay and conditions, and have already taken a series of lawful stoppages in a bid to pressure the rail operator to offer workers a better deal.

The stoppages have not yet had a major impact on the city's train services, but are expected to gradually see more trains being taken out of service — with only "safety critical" work being done on days when maintenance staff take strike action.

There is already a 24-hour strike planned for next week, followed by the 48-hour ban on maintenance in the two days leading up to the Caulfield Cup on October 20.

Rail restore talks on track

Posted Monday, 1 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

RESTORING a direct rail link between Stratford and Oxford is a real possibility.

A Rail Study - funded by a wide range of local authorities, rail companies and voluntary rail bodies, together with developers St Modwen Properties - concluded there was a prospect of the rail link between Stratford station

and Honeybourne Junction on the Cotswold Line being reinstated at some point in the future.

The link would form a through route to form part of the national rail network, which would provide the opportunity for direct passenger services to Oxford and Worcester - and possibly on to London Paddington. The scope for freight use to use the route was judged to be limited.

Crush hour: $9b rail link flaw

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

RUSH hour commuters will be forced to wait for at least two crowded trains to go through Chatswood station before being able to continue their journey to the city, under the O'Farrell government's centrepiece $9 billion transport project.

The government's decision to build the north-west rail link as a shuttle between Epping and Chatswood, breaking its promise to allow trains to run all the way to the city, will lead to potential chaos for many north shore and Hills district commuters.

Thousands of commuters disembarking at Chatswood will be unable to get on city-bound trains already operating at capacity. And passengers getting off the north-west trains may struggle to fit on the crowded platform at Chatswood.

Fiery truck crash kills driver, closes freeway

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

A truck driver has been killed in a fiery crash that has closed a section of the Hume Freeway in Victoria's north-east this morning.

Police said the B-double truck was travelling south on the freeway about 4.30am when the vehicle ran off the road, hit a tree and burst into flames just north of Violet Town. The male driver died at the scene. Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

Rail line taken off track, job losses likely

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

KiwiRail has confirmed the Napier to Gisborne rail line has been mothballed for "the foreseeable future'' because it is too expensive to repair and maintain.

Chief executive Jim Quinn said today that a $4 million repair bill from storm damage earlier this year and increased maintenance costs of $6 million per year made the line unprofitable.

The decision is likely to result in "a small number of job losses", Mr Quinn said.

Freight rail services to Gisborne had been suspended since March after serious storm damage caused large washouts north of Wairoa.

Doyle pledges free Docklands ferry

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

Robert Doyle has unveiled his first election promise, a one-year trial of a free weekday ferry service between the Docklands and north bank of the Yarra River.

At the launch of "Team Doyle" this morning on the banks of the Yarra River, lord mayoral candidate Mr Doyle said the ferry trial would cost about $500,000, would run five times a day and take about thirty minutes to sail between three stops.

The ferry would stop at the corner of Collins and Merchant Streets, Captains Walk near Etihad Stadium and between Rakia Way and Pearl River Road.

Mr Doyle said existing water taxis and ferry services mainly operated on weekends and the new service would help workers who want to travel around Docklands.

The study will run in tandem with a ferry feasibility study currently being conducted by the Department of Planning, which the government claims could link the western suburbs with the CBD.

North West Rail Link gets green light

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The North West Rail Link has been given planning approval by the State Government - which says work can get underway in 2014.

The rail line will link Chatswood on Sydney's north shore - with the Hills district in the northwest - and will include eight new train stations.

The Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced last night that overarching planning approval had been granted for the entire project - including two 15 kilometre tunnels and the four kilometre skytrain section.

She says the project's approval comes with certain conditions, including requirements to consult with local councils on mitigation measures where community and council facilities are impacted by construction.

At least 20 Injured in AMTRAK derailment

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2012 by Blackadder in International Rail News

HANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Two cars and the locomotive of an Amtrak train carrying about 169 passengers derailed Monday after colliding with a big rig truck in California's Central Valley, authorities said. At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries, authorities said.

The 12:25 p.m. crash occurred when the driver of the tractor-trailer carrying cotton trash failed to yield and hit the train, authorities said. The impact pushed the two passenger cars and the locomotive off the tracks south of Hanford, a farming town.

The train traveled about 600 feet after the collision before hitting a switchback and derailing, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Harris.

NSW premier rules out 4% train fare rise

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has ruled out allowing a recommended 4.4 per cent increase in Sydney rail fares, saying he won't support any price hike without a "demonstrable" improvement in services.

In a draft report released on Tuesday, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) recommended fares begin increasing from January next year, with 4.4 per cent average increases yearly from January 2013 to December 2015.

However, Mr O'Farrell said without service improvements he would not support a fare increase for Sydneysiders above inflation.

"What we've said repeatedly is we'll only agree to CPI increases (if) there is a demonstrable improvement in rail services," Mr O'Farrell told reporters.

Underground rail would be magic: Kennett

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE needs to start planning for an underground rail system, former premier Jeff Kennett says.

Twenty years after being sworn in as the 43rd Victorian premier, Mr Kennett nominated building an underground rail network and working with the private sector on urban infrastructure as the two greatest renewal opportunities for the state.

"If I was able to wave a magic wand even now, I would start the planning for an underground rail system," he told the Australian Property Institute Pan Pacific Congress in Melbourne on Tuesday.

"It would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but I can assure you when you look back in 50 years, or 100 years, whatever you pay today would seem cheap.

Chatswood will cope with rail link passengers: minister

Posted Tuesday, 2 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, has dismissed concerns raised by her own department that Chatswood station will not be able to cope with an influx of passengers transferring off the north-west rail link.

The Herald this morning revealed analysis showing almost half of passengers in the morning peak hour would not fit on connecting services to the city because of the need to change off the north-west rail link at Chatswood.

The analysis was conducted by consultants from the engineering firm Arup, at the request of the Transport Projects Division within Ms Berejiklian's Transport for NSW.

But speaking on 702 ABC Sydney this morning, Ms Berejiklian said the analysis was based on incomplete information.

Disappointment over rail line closure

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Yesterday’s confirmation of mothballing or closure of the East Coast line is unsurprising but extremely disappointing according to Alan Dick, Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Transport Committee.

He says the decision by Kiwi Rail, but sanctioned by the Government, will have serious consequences for the future of the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne/East Coast economies, which are closely linked and interdependent.

"It means a loss of transport choices and competition. Road transport freight costs will inevitably go up. Wairoa and Gisborne exporters will face difficulties and extra costs in connecting to container export ports in Napier and Tauranga and to the wider national rail freight system," says Mr Dick.

Federal appeals court panel temporarily halts work on Alaska rail extension

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

UNEAU, Alaska — A federal appeals court panel has halted work on a railroad extension project in south-central Alaska, pending a full hearing on the case.

Monday's decision is a win for conservationists, who argued that they — and the natural environment — would suffer irreparable harm without an emergency stay on construction of the Port MacKenzie rail extension.

"As noted above ... this is a classic environmental emergency," attorneys for the petitioners said in a court filing last month seeking the stay. "The bulldozers have already arrived and project construction is underway or imminently so."

Trains stopped on rail line with power lines down

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A power failure has cut train services on Perth's northern line between Leederville and Whitfords.

The Public Transport Authority's spokesman David Hynes says overhead power lines are down at the Stirling Station.

He says he does not know what caused the power lines to collapse.

Rail-delivered frac sand will move faster through upgraded HOST terminal

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Trains hauling sand used in extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation soon will have the ability to unload five times faster thanks to a $20 million upgrade at the Horseheads (NY) Sand & Transloading Terminal (HOST).

Owned and operated by Carriage House Partners and RLB Holdings, HOST is in the final stages of constructing a 90,000-square-foot transloading building, scheduled to be completed by October 8. HOST also broke ground in September on a second 90,000-square-foot transloading facility to be opened in 2013, and both buildings are designed for the storage of sand. When completed, these new facilities will allow Norfolk Southern trains to unload 100 freight cars within 48 hours.

Gunnedah divided by mining

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The rail line that serves local mines runs through the middle of the northeast NSW town - population 12,066 - taking up to 14 minutes to pass through the level crossing that splits the town's houses from the shops.

Problem is, trains could soon be running every 17 to 19 minutes, leaving just three to five minutes for the townsfolk to cross from one side of the tracks to the other.

Forecasts show that by 2020 cars will be banked up for kilometres - and could eventually block the nearby Oxley Highway.

New government documents put a concept plan to tender to design a second rail overpass to ease the town's woes which, left unaddressed, would leave Gunnedah in "complete gridlock".

Extra $4b needed to upgrade rail network to cope with link

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE north-west rail link will require another $4 billion of investment in the rest of Sydney's rail network beyond what the government has budgeted for, internal Transport for NSW documents say.

The extra infrastructure comes on top of the estimated $9 billion to build the north-west rail link, planned to run as a shuttle between Rouse Hill and Chatswood in northern Sydney.

The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, disputed the need for extra works yesterday.

But internal Transport for NSW documents, obtained by the Herald, show changes to other stations and lines will be triggered, even though the link is being planned as a largely separate line to be run by a different private operator.

'No case for fast rail': report rejects Canberra-Sydney link

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

The NSW infrastructure authority has snubbed the idea of Canberra as Sydney's second airport with the two hubs linked by a high speed rail link.

Infrastructure NSW wants a second Sydney airport built at Badgerys Creek on the city's westerns outskirts and says that high speed rail between Australian cities is an expensive and unproven idea.

Both the owners of Canberra Airport and the ACT Government want to see the capital's airport take flights bound for Sydney with a longer term option of moving passengers to the NSW capital on a fast rail link.

But the State Infrastructure Strategy, published by Infrastructure NSW this morning, is dismissive of fast rail and the option of a Canberra air-link is not even discussed in the 212 page document.

Rail line being revived between Indiana cities

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A central Indiana city's mayor says he hopes a project to re-activate 12 miles of railroad line will help the area's economy.

The $5.5 million project will return tracks between Kokomo and Tipton into service. The partnership between Kokomo Grain, US Rail and Norfolk Southern railroad will cut a couple days off the delivery of the grain company's freight.

Kennett calls for Melbourne subway system

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Former Victorian Premier and President of the Hawthorn Football Club, Jeff Kennett distracts people away from the grand final result with his grand vision for public transport in Melbourne.

Rail line closure 'another step down the wrong road'

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Youth organisation Generation Zero has joined the chorus of voices criticising the decision by the Government to mothball the Napier-Gisbourne rail line while boosting spending on the local state highway.

"This is a short-sighted decision that risks completely losing a valuable strategic asset for our future. The Government’s narrow focus on Kiwirail’s bottom line misses out on the wider costs and benefits of its decisions to and to local communities," said spokesperson Paul Young.

Calculations by Generation Zero based on Kiwirail’s review of the rail line show that closing it could increase ’s annual oil import bill by around $750,000 in years to come, assuming oil prices remain at today’s levels, and increase CO2 emissions by 1,800 tonnes per year.

CityLink tunnels re-opened

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

Cars have begun to travel through the Burnley and Domain tunnels after a day of traffic chaos.

CityLink said vehicles started entering the tunnels about 4.45pm today. It is believed just two lanes are operating in each tunnel at present.

CityLink operator Transurban does not yet know the cause of the technical fault that led it to close down the tunnels this morning, all but shutting down Melbourne's road network in the same move.

Commuters going loopy on Altona railway

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

IT SEEMS life is anything but a beach for train travellers on the Altona loop. The latest quarterly customer satisfaction survey confirms the bayside suburb's commuters are among the most disgruntled in Melbourne.

Travellers on the single-line track - which branches off the Werribee line at Newport and loops through Altona and Seaholme before rejoining the Werribee line at Laverton - registered a satisfaction rating of 62.9 out of 100 for the June quarter.

That was almost four points below the network-wide average of 66.8 and nine points below the Alamein line, which has the city's happiest train travellers with a rating of 71.9.

Reality of rail crossing dangers

Posted Wednesday, 3 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

EIGHT Queensland families a week run the risk of being devastated by death or injury because of unnecessary risks at Queensland Rail level crossings.

Queensland Rail's annual report details how there were 408 near misses in the 2011-12 financial year involving motorists or pedestrians driving or running in front of trains at level crossings or rail corridors.

This is despite protection - such as boom gates, flashing lights, stop signs and give-way signs - at each of the 1392 public level crossings on the network.

Works to derail Adelaide's train services

Posted Friday, 5 October, 2012 by Mouse in South Australian Rail News

ADELAIDE'S railway services will be severely disrupted in the new year as the lines are prepared for electrification and undergo upgrades.

The Noarlunga and Belair lines will be most affected, though closure of Adelaide Railway Station in January will impact on all train commuters.

Adelaide Railway Station will be closed from January 2 to February 3, taking advantage of the quietest time of the year to allow electrification works and rebuilding of the city rail yard.

End of the line approaching for Countrylink

Posted Friday, 5 October, 2012 by railblogger in Rail News

Countrylink trains may be handed to a private operator or stop running altogether under a plan handed to the NSW government.

The proposal is buried in the long-awaited Infrastructure NSW report released yesterday by former premier Nick Greiner.

Time is running out for the government to determine the fate of the iconic Countrylink XPT trains, the majority of which are now nearly 30 years old despite being designed to last just 25. They were only ever meant to travel 6.25 million kilometres but have notched up nearly 10 million.

collision between two trucks working on repairing the Joondalup rail line

Posted Saturday, 6 October, 2012 by pandem in Western Australian Rail News

A collision between two trucks working on repairing the Joondalup rail line has caused further congestion on the Mitchell Freeway heading into the city.

Rail conservationist had trains in his veins

Posted Saturday, 6 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Bernard Holden devoted his life to railways: as a manager with the Southern and British Railways; operating trains close to the Japanese front line during the Burma campaign; and helping save the Bluebell Railway, a heritage steam line in Sussex.

When British Rail closed the Lewes-East Grinstead route in 1958, four students called a meeting at Haywards Heath to launch what became the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. Holden, the BR executive they contacted, encouraged them and was invited to chair the meeting, emerging to lead the project for half a century. His support, expertise and connections were vital, as BR had to be convinced of the group’s viability, professionalism and commitment to safety.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 6/10/2012

Posted Sunday, 7 October, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 100 sightings for this week. This is 19 sighting less than last week, making a total of 4719 sightings for this year to date. On day 280 last year we had recorded 4342 sightings. This is 377 sightings up on the same time last year.

East Coast residents rallying to save rail link

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Angry East Coast residents have launched a last ditch attempt to keep their rail link after an announcement to close a route between Gisborne and Napier.

KiwiRail confirmed last week the service would close, saying the $4 million cost to repair the track after a storm in May was too expensive, as well as the $8 million a year to keep the line open.

However, supporters say the decision was based on inaccurate economic data, and they are taking it on themselves to raise cash for an independent economic analysis.

With Broad and Greiner driving us, chaos is just around the corner

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Paul Broad and Nick Greiner, of Infrastructure NSW, think we are in love with our cars. However, for many of us the affair ended some time ago. The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (Report 128, 2012) examined trends in car use in 25 countries, finding that after rapid growth in the 1960s and '70s, growth in traffic per capita has consistently slowed, with many countries approaching saturation.

In the US and Britain, total car travel has actually declined since the global financial crisis. Even in Australia, which has a robust economy, per capita car use is falling. Total traffic volumes in the City of Sydney peaked in 2002 despite considerable growth in jobs and population since.

Sydney flights will end if fast rail arrives: report

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

If high-speed rail goes ahead instead of a second Sydney airport being built, airlines will not fly between Sydney and Canberra.

A report to be issued today says airlines may try and compete to stem the loss of passengers to high-speed train on the lucrative route between the two capital cities.

But this would leave the busy route with such a big cut to frequency it would be unviable and airline services would no longer exist.

This is the view of the Canberra Airport, which is issuing the report on the impact of a second Sydney airport not being built, which is based on the ''High Speed Rail Study phase one'' and ''Joint Study on Aviation in the Sydney Region''.

Queensland sells $1.5b QR National stake

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland government will sell a $1.5 billion stake in QR National, with the rail-freight company planning to buy back two-thirds of the shares.

The government said the deal involved the sale of $1 billion of shares via a selective buyback to QR National and a $500 million placement to a small number of cornerstone investors.

QR National has offered to buy back the $1 billion share package back for $3.47 a share, in line with its closing price last Friday.

The news sent QR National shares up 5.2 per cent to $3.65 in early trade, as the company's shares had been under pressure not only from a weak outlook for the coal market but also on anticipation of a big selldown by the state.

Model rail buffs back on track after Qld floods

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Railway Stories

A small group of Queensland model railway enthusiasts at Nambour, on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is back on track after devastating floods earlier this year.

Flooding earlier this year almost wiped out the Sunshine Coast Railway Modellers miniature train park.

The water was up to four metres deep and it covered the site.

High-speed rail is closer to reality in Colorado

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Somebody has to go first. For the low-stakes gamble of traffic roundabouts, it was Vail. When town officials pulled the trigger, skeptics predicted mayhem. But the first convergence of snow and tourists in December 1995 testified to a home run. That success rippled across the West and beyond.

In the much bigger gamble of true high-speed rail, California may be first in the United States. In July, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that authorizes California to begin selling $2.6 billion in bonds to qualify for $3.2 billion in federal funding. The pool of money will finance the first 130-mile segment of a planned 432-mile network linking Southern California with San Francisco and Sacramento and major cities between.

Vline Albury Passenger train collides with vehicle at West Wodonga

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A Vline passenger train has collided with a vehicle at a level crossing near West Wodonga. It is understood the car is still wedged under the train. Police and Ambulance staff are in attendance.

It is not know what injuries if any have been sustained by the passengers of the train or indeed the driver or passengers of the vehicle.

QLD Govt to sell rail assets

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE Newman Government announced the sale of $1.5 billion in shares of QR National this morning, reducing its stake in the rail freight company from 34% to 16%.

The deal involves a sale of $1 billion of shares via a selective buyback to QR National and a $500 million placement to a small number of cornerstone investors.

Killed by a train, and no one knows who he is

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Backpackers and hostel owners could hold the key to identifying a young man, possibly an international traveller, who was hit by a train and killed in Melbourne's east last month.

More than three weeks after the man, believed to be in his early 20s, died near East Camberwell railway station, police are no closer to establishing his identity and no one has come forward to report him missing.

Senior Constable Leah Bound said the man was believed to have stepped out of an alcove near the railway station at 11am on September 14 into the path of an oncoming train and was killed. Police say his death is not suspicious.

Priority on roads, not rail

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE recently released Infrastructure NSW report has failed to assess adequately the benefits of more public transport across the state, instead focusing on 'roads, roads, roads', said Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) President Karin Kolbe.

The Northern Star spoke to Ms Kolbe, a campaigner for the use of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line for a localised 'light rail' service, about the implications of the report on TOOT's transport vision.

"Their focus is trying to justify roads," said Ms Kolbe. "It seems that they've talked themselves out of any rail full stop, but they don't actually say why," said Ms Kolbe.

Taking to the rails to discover Canada

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

FOR anyone whose usual experience of rail travel involves robotic PA-system apologies and cattle-class strap-hanging, the Rocky Mountaineer's departure from Vancouver is almost overwhelming.

Kilted pipers stand on the platform, blaring out a God-speed fanfare, as 22 enormous gold and blue carriages gleam in the early-morning sun, fronted by a trio of leviathan locomotives. A steward welcomes you with a ceremonial cocktail, then, with a stirring blast of that iconic North American railroad horn, the mighty convoy creaks into life.

Obama's Dream Is Abe Lincoln's Train, Not Amtrak

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

U.S. President Barack Obama wants to jump-start a world-class high-speed rail network, but Republican candidate Mitt Romney wants to end Amtrak’s run as a government- controlled, subsidized rail company.

This debate mirrors the larger conflict between Obama’s optimistic vision of a public sector that enriches our lives, and Romney’s skepticism about what the government actually delivers.

A rail loop or Queen St full of buses

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

You would like to think that the gaggle of planners trying to fulfil Mayor Len Brown's dream of creating the world's most liveable city might have the odd coffee with the transport planners designing the world's most excellent public transport network.

But returning for a second wade through the dense tome that is the draft auckland regional public transport plan, I'm having my doubts.

Transport NSW's $3M ticket to TeamBinder

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

In May this year, the NSW government purchased QA Software's TeamBinder application for AU$3 million, and which followed a two-year tendering process, according to QA Software CEO and co-founder Russell Mortimer.

The application was implemented in July, and is already being used to share documents in the early stages for the project to construct a new rail that services Sydney’s Northern Suburbs, including the AU$8.5 billion North West rail line.

Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash: Boy rescuer remembers devastation

Posted Monday, 8 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Sixty years on from one of the UK's worst train disasters, survivors, eyewitnesses and rescuers have gathered at a north-west London station to remember the victims.

Fourteen-year-old Gilbert Powell had just boarded a bus for Willesden Technical College on a foggy morning in 1952 when he heard "a great big smash" as three trains collided in the space of a few minutes at Harrow and Wealdstone station.

The scout jumped out of the bus and rushed to platform six and came face to face with "a massive pile" of train carriages, one of which had brought down part of a footbridge.

Response to Gisborne rail report fundraising 'overwhelming'

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Plans by a Gisborne lobby group to seek an expert independent economic analysis of the KiwiRail report used to justify the Gisborne-Napier railway line have had a boost with nearly $8,000 raised over the weekend.

Gisborne Rail Action Group member and District Councillor Manu Caddie said the response has been overwhelming. The group hopes to raise at least $10,000 to pay for independent economic analysis of the business case for the line.

$11b plan to build a rail link to Canberra

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

IT will cost $11 billion to build and passengers will be able to get into central Sydney in just 57 minutes.

These claims will be made in a report to be released today by Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron as he calls for the high-speed rail service to be built, linking the capital with the Harbour city and removing the need for a second Sydney airport.

The plan to upgrade Canberra Airport and the rail link is backed by Premier Barry O'Farrell.

Free-falling faster than sound

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

If the wind blowing across the New Mexican desert drops, a 43-year-old Austrian will step out of a small silver capsule on Tuesday and attempt to make history.

If all goes to plan, Felix Baumgartner will jump from the largest helium-filled balloon ever built for manned flight and hurtle towards the earth from near the edge of space, 37 kilometres up. As he reaches a speed of 1110km/h he will deploy his parachute, becoming the first man to break the sound barrier in free fall.

If it goes wrong -- as Jonathan Clark, medical director on the Red Bull Stratos team, which has spent five years and undisclosed millions preparing the stunt, says cheerfully -- "his skin will boil".

Shock at rail fee hike

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A BUNDABERG pensioner was shocked to learn he will now pay double the cost to use his rail travel entitlements after the booking fees were increased from November 1.

Max Grove recently booked return fares to Brisbane for himself and his wife and was astonished to find that the return cost for travel on November 8 was double the cost, due to changes in the latest State Government budget.

Electing to travel business class and use two travel entitlements for each one-way trip, the trip back will now cost the couple $100 instead of $50 just to book.

Rail fail tale

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

ALTONA loop and Werribee line commuters have rated their train service as the worst on Melbourne’s rail network, according to a new report.

Western region Greens MP Colleen Hartland obtained the quarterly monitoring report on public transport customer satisfaction for 19 of the city’s rail segments operated by Metro.

LNP cashes in on rail assets backflip

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE Newman government yesterday sold just over half its holding in QR National for a share price 35 per cent more than its Labor predecessor secured when it privatised the company two years ago.

The Liberal National Party opposed the privatisation but at the weekend it did a deal that will deliver it $1.5 billion to sell down its share from 33 per cent to 16 per cent. Under the terms of the privatisation, the government stake in QR National was unable to be sold until its results were announced to the stock exchange in late August. Since then the company's share price has been about $3.40-$3.60, well up from the $2.55 when it was privatised in November 2010.

PM pours cold water on high speed rail link hopes

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard says a very fast rail link for Canberra is "some time away" from even being viable.

Ms Gillard told a breakfast event in Canberra this morning that the long-mooted high speed rail system linking Australia's east coast capitals would cost a "lot of money" and that the population density did not exist at present to support the project.

Study on high-speed rail link 'to begin this year'

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A study examining the potential of running 250mph trains to the north of England and Scotland will be completed early in 2013, though Scottish Government officials said they were unaware of it.

The announcement follows a torrid week at the Department for Transport, which was forced to abandon the award of a £13 billion contract to run West Coast passenger trains between Scotland and London to First Group last Wednesday following a legal challenge by Virgin Trains.

First, which had £244 million wiped off its share value, is considering whether to sue the UK Government.

Study shows high speed rail from Canberra to Sydney CBD can relieve Syd airport

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) welcomes the findings released today in the Canberra Airport study The Impact of a Second Sydney Airport Not Being Built which confirms the ability for a high speed rail link to alleviate the need for a second Sydney Airport.

Building on the fact that Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport will reach capacity in 2027, needing alternative options by 2030 at the very latest, the study details the benefits that a Canberra Airport - Sydney CBD high speed rail link could provide.

Hear rail plea

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MARIBYRNONG City Council has branded the State Government’s draft Passenger Rail Infrastructure Noise Policy good, but not good enough.

In a response to the government’s noise policy, the council fears many of the community’s concerns about increasing passenger and freight rail noise from the Regional Rail Link are falling on deaf ears.

Rail line sold to Union Pacific by state

Posted Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

OKLAHOMA CITY - Union Pacific Railroad has acquired ownership a rail line that slices across Oklahoma from Kansas to Texas 30 years after state officials preserved the route by buying it from a bankrupt railroad.

During Monday's state Transportation Commission meeting, Union Pacific and state officials signed documents that transfer 351 miles of rail line - most of which runs parallel to U.S. 81 - to the Omaha, Neb.-based company.

Tony Love, assistant vice president of real estate for Union Pacific, praised state officials for "having the foresight to preserve these lines."

V/Line chief quits as passenger figures boom

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 by Apocalyptical in Victorian Rail News

THE chief executive of V/Line resigned yesterday, hours before the regional rail operator tabled its annual report, which confirmed 2011-12 was a record year for passenger numbers.

In total, 15.55 million people travelled on V/Line's rail and coach services - a 6.2 per cent increase on the previous financial year, and more than double the passenger numbers of 2004-05.

No high speed rail link: Qantas

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

Qantas boss Alan Joyce has dismissed the idea of a high speed rail link between Sydney and Canberra, saying a second Sydney airport is the only way to meet the growing demand.

However Mr Joyce says Canberra might be a viable origin point for international flights to Asia in the future.

"There's no point building fast train links to places like Canberra and assuming that will fix the problem," he said.

Exclusive: Minister - 'We will fast-track HS2 high speed rail'

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

The Government will defy "grief and hassle" from its own backbenchers and fast-track plans for a new high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham, the Transport Secretary has toldThe Independent.

Patrick McLoughlin dismissed suggestions that the Department for Transport's financial modelling errors behind last week's West Coast Main Line debacle would undermine High Speed Two. The project had the unequivocal backing of both David Cameron and the Chancellor, George Osborne, he added.

British rail at your service

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The fixtures board above the Ealing Cricket Club ground in London reads ruefully: Saturday - raining; Sunday - more rain; weekend sponsor - the Gulf Stream.

Downpours of the kind expected in the tropics have deluged crops, flooded some homes three times in the previous month and generally threatened to cast a pall over the eagerly anticipated London Olympics.

More immediately, it has brought chaos to the roads. The M4, one of the major arteries serving the west side of the British capital, is closed for three days for urgent repairs.

The resulting traffic snarls are stark evidence of the benefits of rail travel in the UK and the prospect of heading off around England using my Britrail pass is beginning to look like the right decision.

In previous visits to family and friends across the country, I have hired a car and whizzed on and off the motorway network. As users of the Mitchell and Kwinana freeways can vouch, these are superb when they are not congested. When there is an accident, roadworks or even peak hour, it's like driving through treacle.

Australia helps to rebuild Cambodian rail system

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

TONY EASTLEY: Today is World Homelessness Day so our focus is not just Australian.

In the post Pol Pot Khmer Rouge years the broken and rusting train wrecks in Cambodia were emblematic of the country itself. 

Through international aid, much of it from Australia, Cambodia's rail system is being rebuilt.

AusAID will step in to finish tracks, build a port link and a bridge in an effort to get the trains running again.

Statoil Delivers First Rail Load of Bakken Crude to Saint John

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Statoil ASA (STL) has leased 1,000 railcars for use in the Bakken formation in North Dakota and plans to deliver by rail to refineries on both coasts.

The Oslo-based energy company recently delivered a rail shipment of Bakken crude to Irving Oil Corp.’s Saint John refinery in New Brunswick, Bill Maloney, Statoil’s executive vice president for development and production in North America, said in an interview in Houston. The 298,800-barrel-a-day plant is Canada’s largest.

Connecting 'key' to buses, trains

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 by railblogger in Other Transport News

BUS services should improve when Metro trains are introduced in Sunbury, according to the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA).

The association, releasing its study into Melbourne public transport timetables, found that much of the town was still lagging in bus frequencies.

The study looked at routes which run frequently (every 15 minutes or better), and compared their peak times, off-peak (weekdays), weekend and evening services.

PTUA president Daniel Bowen said the general level of public transport services in Sunbury was "quite appalling".

Rail chaos in south-east

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Peak-hour services remain suspended between Caulfield and Moorabbin on the Frankston line after two separate fatalities today

Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman Lauren Novak said the two elderly men were found dead on arrival.

The death of the first man, believed to be aged in his 80s, is not being treated as suspicious.

His body was found near Edithvale at 1.10pm.

Commuters confused : Routes thrown for Loop

Posted Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

A commuter group says that City Loop is a "confusing mess" and is calling for a review of train routes that pass through underground tunnels. Public Transport Users Association says train passengers are left stranded by a Loop that runs to different patterns and directions on weekdays and weekends, depending on the time.

It has prompted the PTUA to create its own diagrams of how trains run around the City Loop uploaded to today.

PTUA president Daniel Bowen said loop routes had "far too many variations". "The Loop is actually four separate rail tunnels, with trains running one way during the morning, most reversing direction during the afternoon and yet another pattern on weekends." Bowen said.

Albanese wants priority given to Maldon rail project

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says the Maldon to Dombarton rail line is a vital project for the Illawarra and should be assigned a higher priority by the NSW Government.

Mr Albanese says he's disappointed the recent NSW Infrastructure report lists the major project as low priority for the next 10 to 20 years.

New push for light rail bid

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

A $100 MILLION passenger train could get commuters from Brighton to Hobart in 30 minutes and it wouldn't cost the State Government a cent to build, say proponents.

The Government has been urged to apply for federal funding for the Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail project, which would use the existing railway between Brighton and Hobart.

Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown and Greens Federal Denison candidate Anna Reynolds yesterday fuelled debate on the proposal, which was first suggested in 2009.

Bromelton Park development moves ahead

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Scenic Rim Mayor John Brent says council has been given approval to finalise a development scheme for the Bromelton Park industrial park near Beaudesert.

It has been four years since the Queensland Government earmarked 1,800 hectares for the development.

Councillor Brent says a state development scheme for the area should soon be finalised but there is more to do before work can begin.

Miner considers reinstating Pirie iron ore plans

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Mining company WPG Resources says it will look at re-implementing plans for exporting iron ore through Port Pirie, given the latest results for its Giffen Well tenement, south of Coober Pedy.

The company says the site is estimated to have one of the highest grades of iron ore in Australia, with almost 700 million tonnes averaged to be about 31 per cent.

Concern raised about north coast Countrylink

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Country Labor says north coast Countrylink services are at risk is the state government acts on an Infrastructure NSW report.

It points to ageing rolling stock and questions the wisdom of investing to replace it.

Among the options suggested in the report are privatisation and replacing trains with buses.

Port Macquarie Country Labor spokesman Jeff Condron said that would be a disaster for the region.

Railway deal with Thailand inked

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

BANGKOK — Transport minister Yuichiro Hata said Tuesday in Bangkok that he has signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in railroad services with the Thai government.

Speaking to reporters, Hata said he was told that Thailand wants to start a high-speed rail project sometime next year and he expressed his wish to extend as much cooperation as possible from Japan. 

Burke defends $6.9b coal terminal expansion

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has moved to assure green groups the expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal near Bowen in north Queensland will not cause environmental damage.

Greenpeace says documents gained under freedom of information identify a serious risk to the nearby Caley Valley Wetlands.

Mr Burke said yesterday the joint $6.9 billion GVK-Hancock Coal project, which includes a new mine, rail corridor and export terminal, would be subject to 60 strict conditions.

The project has now received all major state and federal approvals.

Western Australia's Tier 3 Rail Network to remain open

Posted Thursday, 11 October, 2012 by pandem in Western Australian Rail News

The State Government has reversed its decision to close Tier 3 rail lines, which transport grain from farms to port.

The lines were due to close at the end of the month but the Transport Minister Troy Buswell now says they will remain open until at least October next year.

Public Transport Users Association announces Tony Morton as new president

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by railblogger in Other Transport News

TONY Morton has been appointed Melbourne's new chief public transport campaigner.

Mr Morton, 41 was elected the president of the Public Transport Users Association at the organisation's annual general meeting tonight. He ran unopposed for the role and replaced outgoing president Daniel Bowen, who held the position for nine years.

Nick Greiner has 2020 vision of new road

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

COMMUTERS will have to wait until at least 2020 to benefit from the WestConnex and North West Rail Link.

Despite the wait, work on the $10 billion motorway from Strathfield to Beverly Hills via the airport will start well before the next state election in 2015, helped by the $1.8 billion already pledged by Premier Barry O'Farrell, Infrastructure NSW chairman Nick Greiner said.

Mr Greiner again urged the government to sell the $10- billion-to-$15-billion electricity poles and wires, telling Labor thinktank the McKell Institute that privatisation would not only build infrastructure, it would reduce power prices.

He said former Labor premier Bob Carr and his then treasurer Michael Egan were right to try to sell the assets in 1997, a move defeated by the Electrical Trades Union, a body Mr Greiner said had done more to damage the state than any other organisation.

Department of Transport secretary Jim Betts scored pay increase

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

DEPARTMENT of transport secretary Jim Betts got a $20,000 pay increase while Victoria recorded its worst on-time completion rate for road and rail projects in three years.

He took home at least $400,000 in 2011-12, up from at minimum $380,000 the year before, according to the department's annual report tabled in parliament yesterday.

A long serving fat-cat who left the body after 27 years received a whopping package of at least $500,000.

A further 55 DOT executives were paid between $100,000 and $379,000.

Avalon Airport gets international upgrade

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

Victoria's Premier, Ted Baillieu, has welcomed a Federal Government decision to give Melbourne a second international airport.

But he now wants federal money for a new rail link.

Avalon Airport, which is owned by the Defence Department, currently handles a small number of domestic passenger flights.

Farmers welcome rail lifeline

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The WA Farmers Federation hopes the Government's decision to keep tier three rail lines operating for a further 12 months will mean a brighter future for the transport of grain by rail.

The rail lines were due to be shut this month but an agreement has been reached between the Government, the grain handler CBH and the rail operator, Brookfield to keep the lines open until next October.

Surat rail hearing airs consultation concerns

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The chairman leading an inquiry over a planned rail line in the Surat Basin says a public hearing yesterday was the first time rural lobbyists had met the project's proponents.

Surat Basin Railway plans to construct a 214 kilometre rail corridor linking Wandoan, in the Darling Downs, to the Moura railway line.

It would enable coal from the Surat Basin to be exported from the Port of Gladstone but rural lobby group AgForce has concerns about land access.

Rail line just not viable for now

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

LAST week’s announcement by KiwiRail was a big disappointment for everyone.

Local people worked hard to try and keep the Gisborne to Napier freight line open — and I lobbied hard in the Beehive. While we didn’t get the desired outcome, I managed to secure a boost of many more millions for our roads, which is very welcome.

It’s disappointing but predictable that some people are trying to make political capital out of this issue. But the reality is that successive governments have been in charge while there was a lack of necessary maintenance on the line.

Readying a Rail Bridge Over the Rio Grande

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Residents along the Texas-Mexico border last witnessed a ribbon-cutting for a railway bridge well before World War I, and before Mexico had fought its own revolution.

Expanded coverage of Texas is produced by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news organization. To join the conversation about this article, go to


That is set to change in December, when officials from both sides of the Rio Grande expect the completion of the Brownsville West Rail Bypass International Bridge, an eight-mile project that traverses a rural part of Cameron County in Texas and runs into Tamaulipas State in Mexico. The bridge, which has taken more than 10 years to plan and build, will be the first across the border since the 1900s.

Mitcham Hills community still wants rail bypass, ahead of opening of rail loop

Posted Friday, 12 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A HILLS community group remains steadfast in its calls for a rail bypass ahead of the opening of a rail loop that will see double the number of freight trains pass through Mitcham.

The Ambleside Crossing Loop, which will allow 1.8km long freight trains to use the Hills freight line, will open near Balhannah and Verdun by the end of the year.

Mitcham Rail and Transport Committee chairman and Mitcham Cr Mark Ward said the group still wanted the Federal Government to investigate options for a rail bypass to divert freight trains away from the suburbs.

Locomotive T413 on an El Zorro grain train catches fire near Ballan 12-10-2012

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in Gunzelling Reports

The down BG El zorro grain train departed Melbourne with locos G532-T413-T320-T341-T378 just after 20:00 hours (Friday.12.10.12), when the train got to Ballan station when heading towards Ballarat loco T413 (707's) is said to have gone up in flames.

Rail Back on Track's Robert Dow adds to criticism of State Government

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Action group Rail Back on Track has added to the criticism of the State Government's changes to the Centenary Highway upgrade at Springfield.

The changes delete 7.2 km of planned bikeways, in favour of two more northbound lanes between Springfield Parkway and Johnson Rd at Greenabank.

Swiss rail, Apple reach deal on clock

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

SWISS national train operator SBB says it has resolved a dispute with Apple after the tech giant used its famous clock design without permission on a new iPad and iPhone application.

"For the use of the clock face on certain Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones, the parties have negotiated an arrangement that enables Apple to use the SBB station clock under a licence agreement," SBB said in a statement on its website.

NR48 suffers fire damage near Kalgoorlie on 12-10-2012

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in Gunzelling Reports

Received an alert at 1245 this afternoon that NR48 leading 4MP5 was on fire around the 1598km mark (confirmed as 1597.950, so in the Zanthus-Coonana section, a couple of kms east of Coonana) - it had been detached from the train but the crew had used up all their extinguishers, apparently without getting the fire out.

Rub out rail crossing runners: lobby group

Posted Saturday, 13 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Motorists who ignore warnings at rail crossings should have their driver's licences cancelled for 12 months, the state's leading rail lobby group said yesterday.

Queensland Transport yesterday revealed boom gates on Brisbane's train network were struck by vehicles 80 times in 2011-12.

Already Queensland Transport has taken legal action against 38 people and recovered more than $200,000.

Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow yesterday called for licences to be cancelled.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 13/10/2012

Posted Sunday, 14 October, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 113 sightings for this week. This is 13 sighting more than last week, making a total of 4832 sightings for this year to date. On day 287 last year we had recorded 4479 sightings. This is 353 sightings up on the same time last year.

Rail upgrade to come but it won't save time

Posted Sunday, 14 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Patronage is up 9 per cent, reliability has improved and streamlined safety procedures have carved up to 15 minutes off the train journey from Canberra to Sydney.

Midday services are the most popular and Explorer trains hauling 42 first class and 104 economy seats have been packed during school holidays.

Yet NSW Transport is reluctant to divulge information and John Holland Rail, which began a 10-year contract to manage and upgrade the country network in January, won't comment on the latest track upgrades.

NSW Transport says $2.08 million will be spent on maintenance in the 2012-13 financial year.

Rail probe 'should be independent'

Posted Sunday, 14 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

An investigation into the West Coast Main Line rail fiasco must be transferred to a fully-independent individual or lose all public credibility, Labour has said.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is expected to appear before MPs when the Commons returns on Monday to explain the costly and embarrassing U-turn over the award of a new franchise.

He has already announced a review of the "unacceptable mistakes" by officials that led to the award being halted after Virgin Trains took legal action against the decision not to renew its contract.

Ron Christie: Comments on the Infrastructure NSW report

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by djf01 in Letters to the Editor

Whilst the report reiterates the need for major reform to produce a world class rail system particularly in the area of labour costs, repeating the issue without understanding the causes is not helpful. Nor is it particularly helpful to waste more money on consultants reports (which still seems to go on) to reveal what at least some of the many rail management teams in charge over the last 30 years always knew that other system have for many years instituted the necessary reforms. The underlying cost base at City Rail is too high by any reasonable comparison.

Virgin Rail to continue running West Coast line for now

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Virgin is the favourite to run the London to Scotland services on a short-term contract, which could be as brief as six months. The Department for Transport (DfT) has been examining whether there is a legal case that would allow Virgin, which has operated the West Coast Main Line for the last 15 years, to be awarded an extension or whether the state-owned Directly Operated Railways (DOR) could be mobilised quickly enough to take over the franchise on December 9.

Mr McLoughlin has pledged to inform Parliament of his decision by tomorrow. The West Coast franchise competition was scrapped 12 days ago because of “significant technical flaws” in the way the process was handled by the DfT, which named FirstGroup winner of the competition in August.

Greiner's traffic plan a real choker, says expert

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Read Ron Christie's full analysis of the Infrastructure NSW proposal

A PLAN to build motorways across the west, inner west and south of Sydney is a throwback to 1950s transport planning that will quickly lead to congested roads, says one of the state's most respected transport figures.

In rare public comments, the former chief road builder and rail bureaucrat, Ron Christie, has delivered a scathing critique of the plan being proposed by the head of Infrastructure NSW, Nick Greiner, as part of its 20-year strategy for the state released this month.

Fines for ignoring rail crossing warnings doubled

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Motorists or pedestrians who ignore warnings that a train is approaching a rail crossing and race into it can now be fined $8800, a frustrated Transport Minister Scott Emerson has announced.

The maximum fine has been doubled - up from $4400 - after a string of incidents last week caused accidents and triggered hours of transport congestion.

‘‘I have had a gutful of drivers who ignore the rules and go into these areas causing incidents at our level crossings,’’ Mr Emerson said.

Ninety new train services on way

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Ninety new train services will be added to Melbourne's metro rail network next month, mostly along the Sunbury line, when a new timetable commences on November 18.

But V/Line passengers travelling beyond Sunbury to Bendigo, Echuca and Swan Hill face an extra five to 10 minutes' travel time from that date, to make way for the extra Metro trains travelling on the line.

A handful of extra peak-hour Metro services will also be added on the Craigieburn and Upfield lines, as well as new peak-hour V/Line trains for Melton and Bacchus Marsh.

Get ready for traffic chaos during Belair, Noarlunga rail line closures

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

THE closure of two major rail lines will lead to longer travel times and a move away from public transport, commuters say.

The Belair line will close for six months from January 2 to allow work to separate the commuter and freight lines at Millswood, while the Noarlunga line will close for eight months from the same date for electrification work.

Messenger Community News spoke to commuters at the Goodwood, Mitcham, Blackwood and Noarlunga stations last week about the closures.

$500 million price tag to get CountryLink fleet back on track

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by djf01 in New South Wales Rail News

Rebuilding the ageing CountryLink XPT fleet will cost nearly half a billion dollars, the state's transport tsar says.

Transport for NSW director general Les Wielinga revealed the price tag under questioning at a public hearing in Sydney this afternoon.

It is the first time a dollar figure has been put on what it will cost to keep dozens of towns and cities across NSW, Victoria and Queensland connected by rail.

The Bunbury Street Railcam Project update

Posted Monday, 15 October, 2012 by bevans in Railpage Australia News

The Bunbury Street Railcam Project kicked off around May 2011. A project I had been promising to do for a while and luckily I finally found the time. With help from a number of people including Tim, Rob, Peter, Michelle and others we managed to build what I thought might be of some interest to the railfan community.

My inspiration for this project came from the tremendous work undertaken by Graham Elliott at Gheringhap Loop ( I would also like to acknowledge the continued and dedicated support of Michelle who manages the annotations on the photostream with some assiatance from the community.

Never really expecting the site to be of significant interest almost 19 months on I decided it was time to take a look at the flickr stats.

Trouble Stops: Yarra Trams blind to the dangers

Posted Tuesday, 16 October, 2012 by Speed in Tram and Light Rail News

A blind Melbourne woman wants tram stops to be overhauled after trams struck both her and her guide dog in separate accidents in the city. Kathryn Beaton 28, fears tram drivers aren't being vigilant when pulling out from stops and is begging for action before "some elderly or a child gets killed".

No rush on rail

Posted Tuesday, 16 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

BRIMBANK residents are fighting to suspend Regional Rail Link works between Deer Park and Sunshine stations with fears the upgrade will lead to an increase in traffic, noise and air pollution.

The Residents Rail Action Group will rally to postpone construction works on the railway track until they believe the Regional Rail Link Authority (RRLA) has addressed their concerns about the impact the project will have on the community.

Extra rail resources on track for regions

Posted Tuesday, 16 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The State Government says V/Line is working out where to distribute extra train carriages and locomotives across regional Victoria.

The extension of some suburban train lines has freed up rolling stock for the regional network.

Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder says V/Line will work with Public Transport Victoria to find the best use for the carriages and locomotives.

"They have a great deal of information at their fingertips in terms of how patronage growth is running, what's occurring on different lines, where the demands are, how we are coping in peak [periods], where we have got people standing a lot of the time on journeys and they will make a decision to allocate those resources based on getting the best outcome across the board," he said.

Light rail, not buses, the only option to clear clogged roads

Posted Tuesday, 16 October, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

A PUBLIC transport advocacy group and a Greens MP reject Infrastructure NSW's conclusion that buses are the most "appropriate" option for Sydney over the next two decades.

The State Infrastructure Strategy, released by Infrastructure NSW this month, concluded that "buses will remain the most appropriate public transport mode for most of Sydney over the next two decades".

The independent body set up by the state government proposed a $2 billion underground bus tunnel in the CBD to ease bus congestion on city roads.

Greens committed to fast rail

Posted Tuesday, 16 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

A FAST rail system linking the nation's big cities will only happen with the Australian Greens maintaining the balance of power, leader Christine Milne says.

She has urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to get on with the job of nation building and commit, rather than complain about the likely cost, as she did last week.

"We've already seen the prime minister saying 'oh well, this is about financial viability'," Senator Milne told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

"Yes it is, but it's also about nation building."

V/Line train trips to take up to 10 minutes longer after metro rail revamp

Posted Tuesday, 16 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

COUNTRY train travellers have emerged as the losers of a metropolitan rail revamp, with some trips set to take up to 10 minutes longer.

An extra 90 rail services will hit Melbourne's train network from November 18, many along the newly electrified line to Sunbury.

But the changes have put the brakes on V/Line passengers travelling through the area via Bendigo, with no hope of a reprieve for years.

Public Transport Victoria chief executive Ian Dobbs said travel times wouldn't return to normal until the regional rail link project - aimed at easing congestion between country and city trains - was finished in early 2016.

"There's a slight slowdown of services on that particular corridor," Mr Dobbs said.

North West rail link demolitions begin at Norwest

Posted Tuesday, 16 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

HILLS residents have been promised a rail link for so long even Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian says there will be some people who will only believe it when they see it.

"I know there are some doubting Thomases out there," Ms Berejiklian said.

Learn a lesson from London's transport manual

Posted Wednesday, 17 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Thank goodness somebody with the stature of a Ron Christie has rubbished the Greiner plan (''Greiner's traffic plan a real choker, says expert'', October 15).

User-friendly cities such as London keep cars out with congestion taxes, build serious underground railways and maintain intensive bus services, using double-deckers to take up less road space.

What's wrong with another harbour crossing? London must have about 40 or 50 river crossings, both over the Thames and under it. Nearly half the crossings are solely for underground Tube railways or above-ground rail.

Please, no more ''studies''. We must have spent enough billions to build all the railways we need, simply on ''feasibility studies''.

Fight for rail line ramps up

Posted Wednesday, 17 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Regional leaders from Hawkes Bay and Gisborne have agreed to keep fighting for the Napier to Gisborne rail line following a behind closed doors meeting with KiwiRail.

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn met with the Hawke's Bay Regional Transport Committee in Napier yesterday to discuss its decision to mothball the East Coast rail line, which had been closed since March when storms caused severe damage.

Fears Bendigo trams getting 'stale'

Posted Wednesday, 17 October, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The Bendigo council says it is wise to consider fresh ideas for the city's tourist tramway.

The trams' operator, the Bendigo Trust, has raised concern that the attraction, first devised in the 1970s, is growing stale.

Opening door was child's play for 5yo who fell from a moving train

Posted Wednesday, 17 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A five-year-old boy was "easily" able to open the carriage doors of a moving train before slipping and falling on to the side of railway tracks, a report has found.

The boy fell from the Sunlander passenger train south of Cairns last December after slipping on water on the floor.

He was found when a motorist saw him walking near the Bruce Highway and meanwhile on the train, his mother had raised the alarm.

A Transport and Main Roads report, tabled in Queensland parliament, recommends Queensland Rail make the doors harder to open and install alarms that are triggered when one of the doors is opened while the train is moving.

Caulfield Cup trains back on track as rail workers back down

Posted Wednesday, 17 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A PLANNED strike by rail maintenance workers that threatened to disrupt services on Caulfield Cup day has been called off.

Rolling stock workers were going to fix only "safety-critical faults" during three days of industrial action due to start tomorrow and end at 1pm on Saturday.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union divisional organiser Grant Wainwright said it had done everything it could to minimize the impact on the travelling public."Agreeing to pull these stoppages is an act of good faith on our members behalf.’’ Mr Wainwright said.

Qld Government derails 'Rattler' railway funds plea

Posted Wednesday, 17 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Queensland Government has ruled out funding to save the Mary Valley Rattler Heritage Railway at Gympie in the state's south-east, which is struggling to remain economically viable.

The steam train has been shut down for the second time this year after another derailment and services will not resume until at least Thursday.

The Rattler is being run on a month-by-month basis due to financial problems.

Ardeer locals want a rail solution

Posted Wednesday, 17 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

ARDEER residents will hold a rally on Saturday, calling on the Regional Rail Link Authority to address their concerns with the billion-dollar project.

In June they formed a group, "Fix the Links", and are circulating a petition.

They say the project is continuing without the RRLA addressing their noise, pollution and traffic congestion concerns.

John Holland fined over fire affecting trains

Posted Wednesday, 17 October, 2012 by vanessa in Western Australian Rail News

The construction company John Holland has been made to pay $300,000 over a fire which brought Perth's trains to a standstill. Thousands of commuters were affected after an electrical fire shut down several rail lines in March.

Ticket inspectors leaves passenger with drunks

Posted Thursday, 18 October, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder concedes Metro ticket inspectors made the wrong call when they left a man alone in a train carriage with drunks. Ticketing inspectors got off the train when they were confronted on the city loop by an angry group of men, three months ago.

Oberon jumps on board Bathurst commuter link

Posted Thursday, 18 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Oberon Council is hoping to tap into a new commuter rail link from Bathurst to Sydney to meet the needs of its elderly residents.

The council has unanimously passed a motion to ask the state MP Paul Toole to introduce a stop at Tarana which is the closest station to Oberon.

The Mayor John McMahon says the time it would take to stop at Tarana would not delay the rail service.

Next stop: light rail?

Posted Thursday, 18 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Tram and Light Rail News

In the 2008 election race, the Labor, Liberal and Greens parties all made commitments to the viability of the fast link network as the future of ACT transport. But there could be good reason for the lack of action from the politicians. Canberrans may want light rail, but they don't want to pay for it, and they would sacrifice the benefits of the proposed transport link in favour of a far cheaper bus rapid transit.

According to a community survey, commissioned by the ACT Government, over two-thirds of respondents favoured light rail over a rapid bus link. This dropped to less than half after respondents were informed that the cost of light rail was more than double the proposed bus price tag.

Gindalbie Metals Ltd. : Karara ships first commercial iron ore

Posted Thursday, 18 October, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX: GBG - "Gindalbie") is pleased to announce that the first commercial shipment of iron ore from the Karara Project in Western Australia has been dispatched from the new Karara Export Terminal in Geraldton, marking another significant milestone for the Karara Project and the first time the integrated Mine, Rail and Port logistics chain servicing the Project has been utilized.

Loading of the shipment of hematite direct shipping ore (DSO), onto the Panamax vessel M.V.Jai Tai, was completed yesterday afternoon and the ship departed Geraldton on last night's high tide, bound for China.
The maiden shipment comprised approximately 58,000 tonnes of hematite DSO.

Grain receival site opens in west

Posted Thursday, 18 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A Narromine based company has opened its first grain receival site in 30 years, at Coonamble.

The owner David Ringland says grains including wheat, barley, lupins, chickpeas and faba beans will be packed for export at the Agrigrain site, so they do not have to be repackaged at a Sydney port.

"Most of the grain that we sell in containers we sell on a direct commodities trading basis," he said.

Scone transport solutions put on table

Posted Thursday, 18 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Nationals Party says it supports a move for a heavy vehicle bypass of Scone but it is not sure if the Federal Government has the funds to support the project.

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport has confirmed it is considering five options for Scone including the long heralded rail overpass, as well as a bypass to the west of Scone.

The five options are expected to be open to public comment next month, with a preferred scheme to be announced by the end of the year.

Plan approved for longer Hunter coal trains

Posted Thursday, 18 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has approved a plan for longer, more efficient trains on the Hunter's coal chain network.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation has amended pricing for coal producers to encourage them to utilise the longer trains.

Marshals hired to ease squeeze on train times

Posted Friday, 19 October, 2012 by djf01 in New South Wales Rail News

IN TOKYO subway companies hire ''pushers'' to help cram commuters onto trains.

Sydney is not there yet. But next month the city's train operator will trial posting two guards per train door on the most crowded morning platform at Town Hall Station to help marshal the worst of the peak-hour crush.

The guards, hired in the past fortnight, will try to reduce the amount of time it takes for trains to stop, pick up and unload passengers before leaving the station.

Psychiatrist says extension to coal haulage hours to cause sleepless nights

Posted Friday, 19 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A retired Hunter Valley psychiatrist is warning any extension to rail hours in the Gloucester Basin will have a detrimental impact on hundreds of residents.

Duralie Coal is seeking State Government approval to increase its hours for receiving and dispatching coal on a haulage train from 15 to 19 hours a day.

The Planning Assessment Commission will hold community meetings in Stroud tonight and tomorrow morning.

Oil and gas boom boost Union Pacific

Posted Friday, 19 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Union Pacific, operator of the largest US rail network, illustrated the industry’s continued robust earning power in the face of the global downturn when it unveiled record quarterly profits despite a sharp fall in coal volumes.

Union Pacific, which operates in the two-thirds of the US west of the Mississippi, reported a 15 per cent rise in net income compared with last year’s third quarter to $1.04bn on operating revenues up 5 per cent to $5.34bn.

Rail boss frustrated over public debate

Posted Friday, 19 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Rail News

QR NATIONAL chief executive Lance Hockridge has deplored the level of public debate dominating the airwaves, pointing out that it is even distracting large foreign investors from the real issues at hand when they talk to Australian companies. Echoing sentiments from other business leaders, Mr Hockridge said he had become ''terribly disenchanted with the level of debate'', which was masking ''real issues'' facing the Australian economy such as the need to make it more competitive. ''We need a hell of a lot more, frankly, than a national conversation dominated by the latest outrageous comments by the shocks jocks or gender-warring politicians,'' he told a business gathering in Sydney yesterday.

Federal funding sought in rail campaign

Posted Friday, 19 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A group of central west councils is hoping to secure commonwealth funding to help reopen a local rail line which is expected to cost $30 million.

A delegation has met representatives from the Department of Regional Development in Canberra.

The group wants to see the Blayney to Demondrille Line reopened to help transport grain and mining freight.

Contemporary Site Investigations: Flinders Street ballroom

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Australia's oldest railway station is being transformed with contemporary art and you can watch the full process unveil on Federation Square's Big Screen.   In what will be the first creative use of Flinders Street Station in more than 20 years, art collectives Contemporary Site Investigations and A&D Projects will develop a series of creative installations in the hidden spaces throughout the building, 19 - 21 October.

Electrify? And have port owner run rail?

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2012 by JimYarin in New Zealand Rail News

The recent debate around the rail link to Napier has culminated in some crackpot ideas.I think everyone accepts that increased usage is needed to make the business more than marginally profitable, but the idea Gary Hope has to electrify the line would ensure it would not be profitable. Not only would there be millions more in capital costs, there would be added operational costs as well.

Bus usage highlights rail need

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE demand for all-stops bus services running to and from the Gold Coast Airport has renewed the call for the light rail project to be extended south and quickly.

Gold Coast City Council transport manager Alton Twine said the success of an all-stops bus servicing the airport illustrated the demand for a light rail service to the southern Gold Coast.

"It is a reasonable expectation that an express bus service for part of the coastal route would similarly be successful, particularly linking directly to light rail at Broadbeach," he said.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 20/10/2012

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 109 sightings for this week. This is four sighting less than last week, making a total of 4941 sightings for this year to date. On day 294 last year we had recorded 4611 sightings. This is 330 sightings up on the same time last year.

Train, truck collide near Bindoon

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A TRAIN has derailed after colliding with a truck at Mooliabeenee, near Bindoon, spilling more than 1000 litres of diesel.

The train clipped the back of the truck just after 8.30am.

No one was injured but a Fire and Emergency Services Authority spokeswoman said more than 1000 litres of diesel had spilled as a result of the crash.

Butler Station moves step closer as track laid

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by Mouse in Western Australian Rail News

Transport Minister Buswell today inspected progress on the $240million railway expansion project to extend the Joondalup Line 7.5km north, to the new Butler Station.

The visit coincides with the start of work to lay the track and install the overhead traction wiring equipment. The track work starts near the southern end of the Nowergup railcar depot, just north of the existing end-station at Clarkson, and progresses north.

A Trans-Siberian Railway odyssey

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Boarding an international train under the soaring arches of St Pancras Station always produces a shiver of anticipation. But when you’re setting out on an 8,000-mile odyssey across 11 time zones ending in Vladivostok – the sense of occasion is multiplied.

My journey across Russia on the glorious Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express exceeded its promise as one of life’s great travel experiences.

From the moment my partner and I were greeted in London by the expert tour manager from Great Rail Journeys and we began to mingle with the select few passengers who would be sharing our journey, it was luxury and exquisite dining all the way.

$900m road and rail wishlist

Posted Sunday, 21 October, 2012 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

TASMANIA is seeking nearly $900 million from federal coffers for new road and rail projects.

The wishlist includes $240 million to upgrade railway tracks, $128 million to improve safety on the Midland Highway and $142 million for a Perth bypass and associated works linking the Bass and Midland highways.

Twenty-two projects worth $895 million have been proposed in the State Government's submission for the next round of federal infrastructure funding Nation Building 2 which covers the five years from July 1, 2014.

Amtrak testing high-speed rail

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

CHICAGO — In a modest milestone for President Barack Obama's high-speed rail vision, test runs have started zooming along a small section of the Amtrak line between Chicago and St. Louis at 110 mph.

The 30-mph increase from the route's current top speed is a morale booster for advocates of high-speed rail in America who have watched conservatives in Congress put the brakes on spending for fast train projects they view as expensive boondoggles. But some rail experts question whether the route will become profitable, pose serious competition to air and automobile travel, or ever reach speeds comparable to the bullet trains blasting across Europe and Asia at 150 mph and faster.

Big bonuses paid to Queensland Rail and Translink execs

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail and Translink executives pocketed almost $13 million in "performance bonuses" in 2011-12 despite public transport experiencing one of its worst years on record. Figures published in annual reports show 1490 staff at Queensland Rail received bonuses totalling $12.7 million - up from $9.3 million in 2010-11. Just three Translink executives shared in $147,000 in sweeteners, based on "Translink targets and key performance indicators". The pay top-ups came despite a series of network meltdowns that stranded and delayed thousands of commuters, prompting a "fare free day" that cost around $2 million.

Light rail carpark 5km from station

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Tram and Light Rail News

THE Gold Coast City Council is eyeing off a block of land at Parkwood for a 6000-space park and ride stop for the light rail -- but it will not be within walking distance of the nearest station.Business leaders fear patronage on the $1.2 billion light rail will suffer without proper parking facilities.

Council's city planning boss Cameron Caldwell said a Smith St block of land had been identified for a park and ride facility but it would have to be for the unconfirmed stage two of the light rail.

Bathurst commuter link on track for success

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

More than 200 people have jumped on board the first commuter rail service from Bathurst to Sydney

The inaugural service left yesterday morning after the local state MP Paul Toole cut the red ribbon.

The New South Wales Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian was on the platform in Sydney to welcome the travellers.

Light rail, climate top of wish-list for Greens

Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The Greens will take a policy wish-list which includes the construction of a light rail system and greenhouse gas reductions to their negotiations with the major parties.

The minor party may lose two of their four seats after Saturday's territory election but retains the balance of power in the Assembly.

Greens Leader Meredith Hunter said the ultimate make-up of the Assembly would not be known for some time and her colleague Amanda Bresnan still had a chance of holding onto the final seat in Brindabella.

Ms Hunter said policy would be the Greens' starting point with Labor and the Liberals over the make-up of the next government.

Castle Hill Showground finally safe from North West Rail Link construction

Posted Tuesday, 23 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

CASTLE Hill Showground users breathed a collective sigh of relief upon hearing that construction of the nearby North West Rail Link station would have minimal impact upon the community facilities.

Following consultation with Peter Gooch, president of the Hills District Agricultural Society, the government announced that the location of the station and the construction site have been moved to reduce impacts on the Showground.

Mr Gooch said he was over the moon that "this little gem" of a showground would remain largely intact.

SA's Transnet signs multi-billion rand deal with Chinese rail company

Posted Tuesday, 23 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Transnet has inked a deal to purchase 95 locomotives from Chinese company, CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, to replace a portion of its ageing fleet.

Siyabonga Gama, the CEO of Transnet's Freight Rail business, said that the value of the deal was confidential but that an approximate number was R2.6bn.

According to the CSR website, which announced it had won the tender on 12 September, the deal was worth $400m which is closer to R3.4bn at current exchange rates.

Minister calls railway workers 'bludgers'

Posted Tuesday, 23 October, 2012 by djf01 in New South Wales Rail News

In May, Ms Berejiklian said 750 middle managers would be made redundant at the train operator as part of an effort to cut costs and overhaul the culture of the rail operator. But more than five months later, she has signed off on fewer than 400 redundancies.

Push for Flagstaff to open 7 days

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

CITY traders and residents are pushing to have Flagstaff railway station re-opened on weekends, arguing its closure has a deadening effect on the life of the north-west end of the CBD.

Flagstaff is the fifth-busiest railway station on the metropolitan network but the only one not open seven days a week.
Kirsty Chiaplias, owner of the Workers' Food Room on Little Lonsdale Street, said the north-west end of the city was a ghost town on Saturdays and Sundays, which discouraged traders from opening.

''If the train station was open and the council supported this end of the city I would open and other businesses would open [on weekends] because we pay enough rent to justify it,'' Ms Chiaplias said.

War of words on light rail

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Tram and Light Rail News

TASMANIA'S Sustainable Transport Minister Nick McKim is standing by his commitment for light rail to Hobart's northern suburbs despite criticism from the federal independent member for Denison Andrew Wilkie.

Mr Wilkie said the Tasmanian Greens were not being fair dinkum about restoring passenger rail between Hobart and the northern suburbs.
"The Tasmanian Greens are all talk and no action on light rail," Mr Wilkie said.

Norfolk Southern rail hit by fuel switch

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Norfolk Southern, one of the two main railroad operators in the eastern US, broke the industry's run of robust results when it announced third-quarter net income down 27 per cent as natural gas displaced its coal traffic.

NS, which handles coal moving from the Pennsylvania and Kentucky coalfields to power stations, steel mills and ports, also warned the fourth quarter was likely to reflect the weak trends of September.

Peak rail services pick up the pace

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

GEELONG rail commuters will be marginally better off when a new V/Line timetable comes into effect next month.

Three morning peak services to Melbourne will run a total of four minutes faster, while a number of off-peak services will take longer, according to the timetable.

In all, five services will arrive up to three minutes earlier than the previous timetable, while seven services will take up to six minutes longer.

Maldon Dombarton rail link work gets push from Wollondilly Council

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

WOLLONDILLY Council has met with other key organisations in a bid to push the recommencement of construction on the Maldon to Dombarton rail line.

The line was partially built by the state government from 1983 to 1988 before it was abandoned because of doubts over its economic value.

Infrastructure NSW's State Infrastructure Strategy, released this month, stated the line would not be needed for another 10 years and recommended it be predominantly funded by the private sector. If completed, the line would be a major transport link between Wollondilly shire and Wollongong for freight and, hopefully, passengers.

Union fears over train driver fatigue

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Laws to prevent fatigue among NSW train drivers could be weakened under proposed reforms, the national rail union says.

The reforms could lead to drivers working for longer than 10 hours at a stretch, according to the Rail, Tram and Bus Union.

The union was responding to the draft regulatory impact statement of new national rail safety laws, which will replace state-based laws.

The states have agreed to the new laws, but the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, won an agreement to retain stronger fatigue management provisions in NSW that were put in place following the Waterfall train disaster.

EMD power shines in Caterpillar colors

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Caterpillar, the parent company of Progress Rail Services, of which Electro-Motive Diesel is a subsidiary, showcased a new EMD SD70ACe locomotive decked out in familiar yet new-for EMD colors—Caterpillar’s distinctive yellow, black, and gray scheme—at two venues during the past month: its 52,000-square-foot MINExpo International® 2012 exhibit in Las Vegas, and the Caterpillar Visitor Center grand opening event in Peoria, Ill., on Oct. 20.

At MINExpo, held the week of Sept. 24, the locomotive “gave the mining world an opportunity to explore the railroad technology that transports minerals to market,” Caterpillar said.

Road-rail scheme 'could save $1b'

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

The Government could save more than $1 billion by shelving its Puhoi to Wellsford motorway extension plan and instead installing a rail link with Marsden Point and upgrading State Highway 1 from Puhoi to Whangarei.

That's the view of councillor Aaron Edwards, who has joined his Whangarei District Council colleague councillor Brian McLachlan in calling on the Government to take a new look at the $1.7 billion motorway extension plan and instead put money into ensuring the Northland rail line is retained.

Rollingstock Contract to China

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by GrahamH in Tasmanian Rail News

State owned-company TasRail has awarded a multi-million dollar contract for its new fleet of wagons to a Chinese-owned company.
China Northern Railways has won the contract to replace TasRail's 40-year-old rolling stock.

About $20 million will be spent buying 120 container wagons, 36 ore, 18 cement and 17 coal wagons.

City Loop safety slammed

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by merlin in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne's underground rail Loop is a disaster waiting to happen and the city's busiest railway station had no effective fire plan until very recently, the state's public sector watchdog has said.

Underground rail safety maintenance ignored

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A damning report from Victoria's ombudsman has found there has been inadequate maintenance of the safety infrastructure on the Melbourne underground rail loop for much of the past ten years.

It found the problems were identified in seven engineering reports over 11 years.

More than 700 train services travel through all four underground tunnels and an estimated 130,000 people use the three loop stations.

Truck crashes into rail bridge, causing 30 minute delays

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Trains are suspended between Morayfield and Caboolture stations after a truck hit a rail bridge north of Brisbane, causing 30 minute delays for rail commuters.

One of the world's largest coal mines gets go ahead

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Planning Assessment Commission has approved one of the biggest open-cut coal mines in the world in north-west New South Wales.

Whitehaven's Maules Creek Project, near the Leard State Forest, will extract 12 million tonnes of raw coal a year.

Whitehaven expects production at the mine to start mid-2013, with operations predicted to last around 30 years.

NSW signs up to national rail safety law

Posted Thursday, 25 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The number of jurisdictions signed up to national rail regulations has grown to three, with New South Wales passing legislation yesterday. 

The Rail Safety (Adoption of National Law) Bill, which will establish the National Rail Safety Regulator (NRSR), cleared both houses of Parliament with bipartisan support. 

NSW joins South Australia and Tasmania in passing the reform, with other jurisdictions expected to do the same in the coming months to allow the regulator to begin operating on January 1 next year. 

It will replace the seven regulatory authorities and three investigative agencies currently in place.

Central Victoria celebrates 150 years of rail

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Ceremonies have been held in central Victoria to mark 150 years of rail services.

The line between Melbourne and central Victoria cost more than three million pounds to build and the first train arrived in Bendigo in October 1862.

To mark the 150th anniversary, the event was recreated yesterday, complete with a refurbished steam train.

Railway fuelled by donation

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by fred59 in Queensland Rail News

MARY Valley Heritage Railway volunteers are doing what they can to keep the tourist attraction running. And, at this point, every little bit counts.

Outcry over railway disabled access

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Train stations in Brisbane with no wheelchair access are at the centre of a social media storm sparked by one woman's frustrated Facebook post.

Nearly 1000 people have reacted to Nuala Furtado's comments shared last night after she caught the train with a disabled friend and discovered firsthand the transport challenge her friend faced daily. “We got to [Sherwood] train station and I said, 'oh, this is the suburb that you live in,' and he said 'yes I know but for my entire life that I've been living in this suburb, I've never been able to get off at Sherwood because it's not wheelchair accessible,” Ms Furtado told ABC612 Brisbane this morning.

“Then he explained what he usually does, which is to get to Corinda, the next stop, hop off and then get the elevator up, and then his mum has to drive him home. So that's what we did.”

However the lift was broken, so Ms Furtado climbed the stairs to the ticket office to alert staff to the problem.

Newman challenged to get Rattler train back on track

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has been challenged to help keep a Gympie tourist icon, the Mary Valley Rattler steam team, operational.

The Mary Valley Rattler service, in the state's south-east, has been suspended for the second time this year after two derailments.

Wedding on Wheels! Palace on Wheels and Rajasthan Royals to host weddings

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by kunvar in International Rail News

The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC), already popular overseas for selling the state as a sought after destination for weddings in age-old & magnificent forts, palaces and havelis, now plans to use its two luxury trains - Palace on Wheels and Rajasthan Royals on Wheels - for marriages from next year.

State Government rapped over train door safety

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

A PLAN to fix train doors has not been developed more than a year after the issue was raised, the transport safety regulator says.

Transport Safety Victoria has placed a condition on train operator Metro's accreditation: repair the doors on 96 Comeng trains from 2017 when the first train reaches the 35-year life expectancy or replace them.

It comes after TSV issued a safety notice to the Transport Department in September last year requiring the doors be fixed as they can be opened while the train is moving.

The issue was also highlighted in a scathing Ombudsman's report tabled in Parliament yesterday, which told how the City Loop was a ticking time bomb and blasted Transport Department officials who got seven reports over 11 years but taken "little effective action" to fix problems.

Fare satisfaction up but has long way to go

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Commuter satisfaction with TransLink fares edged higher in the past four months, according to figures released yesterday, but the score of 50 out of 100 remains well short of benchmarks.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the TransLink Tracker results for the first quarter (July to September) had seen satisfaction with affordability improve following record lows from January to March.

He said a $9 million investment in affordability, particularly the initiative offering free travel after nine journeys in a week, was a decisive factor in lifting the satisfaction score from 45 to 50.

Scores are out of a possible 100, with levels of 75 and above classed "best practice" and 60 and above considered "satisfactory".

Off the rails: Uncertainty over Airtrain monopoly

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Buses could provide public transport direct to Brisbane Airport after 2014, according to Brisbane City Council.

The restricted timetable of the Airtrain service, which has a virtual monopoly on public transport to and from the airport, has long been an issue for travellers.

The contract between the state Transport Department and the rail provider is confidential and it appears unclear when the monopoly could be broken, with a spokesman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson saying Airtrain had exclusive rights to service the airport until 2036.

However in April 2011, council told the Productivity Commission that a change in the contract to allow the introduction of buses was possible after 2014.

Ditch cars for rail or 'cities will pay price

Posted Friday, 26 October, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

AUSTRALIA'S cities will become less productive and less competitive than their global rivals unless governments abandon their fixation with building new roads and embrace rail projects.

The warning comes from three transport and sustainability academics, who say, given energy costs will soar over the next 50 years, the golden age of car-based cities is over.

Peter Newman, an authority on urban sustainability with Perth's Curtin University, warns that Australia risks a catastrophic drop in productivity if cities press ahead with road projects such as Sydney's proposed $10 billion WestConnex motorway.

Professor Newman told The Australian WestConnex, which is set to link Sydney's west with the CBD and the airport, was the "last gasp of the dying baby boomer world's addiction to oil".

"There is no economic rationale for WestConnex rather than some vague idea of connecting a lot of loose ends, as if building a transport network were some kind of work of art," Professor Newman said.

Railways signs MoU with Spain for high speed rail service

Posted Saturday, 27 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Railways today entered into an agreement with Spain for exploring possibilities of introducing bullet train service and improving safety features in train operations in the country.

The MoU was signed by Railway Minister C P Joshi and visiting Spain Minister of Public Works and Transport Ana Pastor Julian for technical cooperation in the rail sector.

Spain has a modern railway network linking all major towns and cities.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 27/10/2012.

Posted Sunday, 28 October, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 107 sightings for this week. This is two sighting less than last week, making a total of 5048 sightings for this year to date. On day 301 last year we had recorded 4737 sightings. This is 311 sightings up on the same time last year.

Jolimont rail yard deck back on track

Posted Sunday, 28 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

AMBITIOUS plans to link Melbourne's arts and sporting precincts with a deck over Jolimont rail yards, creating a new riverfront precinct to the east of Federation Square, have been revived by the Baillieu government.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy confirmed that a formal proposal would be launched by Major Projects Victoria, following community consultation and discussions with urban planners and developers.

A similar vision by former premier John Brumby was shelved last year by the Baillieu government, after more than $1 million had been spent on feasibility, engineering and design reports since 2006.

Mr Guy said the previous research would be incorporated into a new planning framework for the site bounded by Flinders and Russell streets, Batman Avenue and Birrarung Marr.

White Bay rail lines reprieve

Posted Monday, 29 October, 2012 by JimYarin in New South Wales Rail News

THE Department of Planning has issued a rebuke to Sydney Ports Corporation over the destruction of rail tracks at White Bay that residents had hoped to preserve for a light-rail line. About a month ago Sydney Ports Corporation started to tear up disused rail tracks at White Bay for the construction of an access road to a new cruise terminal on the site. This alarmed residents who had hoped to retain the tracks and the corridor for a possible light-rail extension from Lilyfield to the Balmain peninsula.

Grain project stymied by government

Posted Monday, 29 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The owner of a grain receival site at Coonamble says he's been unable to move tonnes of grain because due to bureaucratic red-tape.

The Agrigrain facility opened earlier this month and its silos are full of faba beans ready for export.

The director David Ringland says while he has been given permission to use a recently upgraded rail line between Dubbo and Coonamble, Transport New South Wales has not signed-off on it.

Light rail may determine who governs ACT

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Tram and Light Rail News

he sole Greens politician in the ACT has hinted that light rail could be a pivotal issue when he comes to decide who to back to form government. Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury holds the balance of power in the ACT, after the two major parties ran a dead heat and won eight seats each in the election. The vote count was only finalised on Saturday and just 41 votes across the Territory separate the Liberal and Labor parties on primary vote. Serious discussions have begun between the party leaders and Mr Rattenbury to decide who will govern for the next four years.

FIFO worker struck by lightning in the Pilbara

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A fly-in fly-out worker remains in hospital after being struck by lightning, south-east of Port Hedland in Western Australia.

McConnell Dowell says two of its employees were injured as a result of a lightning strike during construction work on Fortescue Metals Group's Solomon rail line on Sunday.

One man was struck directly while the other was knocked to the ground by the force of the lightning.

Union 'disappointed' about Moreton Bay rail link decision

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) says it hopes the State Government will reconsider blocking Queensland Rail (QR) from the tender process of the Moreton Bay rail link.

The RTBU has appealed for Federal Government intervention after QR was blocked from a tender process for track-laying work on the new Moreton Bay rail link.

The Commonwealth has contributed about $800 million for the $1.1 billion project between Petrie and Kippa-Ring to the north of Brisbane.

Fears closed freight terminal may reopen

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The federal Member for Mallee has urged authorities in Horsham to address concerns raised over the town's closed freight terminal.

The site in Mill Street was closed earlier this year, after the opening of the Wimmera Intermodal Freight Hub at Dooen.

Plans to cut train coal dust offer new hope

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

An anti-mining group has welcomed an energy company's announcement that it will try to reduce coal dust from trains on southern Queensland's Darling Downs to address fears about dust.

New Hope Coal says it will trial a water-based solution to stop coal dust blowing away from its wagons at the New Acland mine, north-west of Toowoomba.

Queensland Rail donates lost property to Salvation Army

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Queensland Rail News

TYRES, teeth and toys, if you left yours on the train they may be headed to their new home. The eclectic loot in the Queensland Rail lost property office is getting a clean out to help Salvation Army clients. Queensland Rail Acting Executive General Manager for Customer Service Martin Ryan said many weird and wonderful items have been left on trains. "Among the unusual items that have made their way to the lost property office are a tattooing kit, stethoscope, false teeth, a television and the contents of a kitchen including cutlery, crockery, spices and an electric jug," he said.

Subway Flood Toll: Tunnels, Tracks, Yards, Stations

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said six under-river subway tunnels had been penetrated by floods on Monday night, with water in all five tunnels connecting Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn as well as the Steinway Tube between Midtown and Queens.

The authority also reported flooding in the no. 1 train tunnel between from Chambers Street south to South Ferry at the tip of Manhattan, rail yards at 148th Street in East Harlem and at Coney Island, and inside some stations on the hard-hit Rockaways peninsula. The North Channel Bridge was underwater during the storm surge, a spokesman said.

New rail line to slash car trips

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by JimYarin in New South Wales Rail News

IT will take less than an hour to get from the furthermost station on The North West Rail link into the city, a new report says. Commuters will spend 57 minutes traveling from Cudgedong Rd Station into Wynyard, which includes time taken to swap trains at Chatswood, details revealed in the project's second Environmental Impact Statement show.The trip to Macquarie park will take 28 minutes, while it will be a 37 minute ride to get to Chatswood.

Commuters rail against dirty trains

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The State Opposition says Hunter commuters are being forced to travel on dirty trains.

Last year's official figures show the Newcastle and Central Coast Line recorded 138 complaints - around a dozen more than the Western Line and North Shore Line.

There were more than 1,000 complaints overall.

Group for rail link but want proper planning

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by JimYarin in Victorian Rail News

MORE than 100 angry Brimbank residents rallied at Ardeer Station last weekend, calling on the Regional Rail Link Authority to postpone construction work on the multi-billion dollar project.The ‘Fix the Links’ Residents Rail Action Group voiced their concerns about an increase in noise, pollution and traffic congestion in the area as a result of the Regional Rail Link.Brimbank resident Maurice Sibelle said the group wanted the rail link to go ahead, but were asking the authority to address their concerns before commencing construction work.

Commuters ditch cars for trains and bikes

Posted Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The car is still king in Melbourne, but its crown is slightly askew.

Data from last year's census reveals 1.25 million Melburnians – or 66 per cent of the greater city's workforce – travelled by car to get to work last year.

The figure dwarfs every other transport mode, but is well down in percentage terms on 2006 levels, when the last census was taken. Then, about 1.1 million people used a car as their main way of getting to work, a whopping 78.1 per cent of the workforce.

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