Showing stories from February 2012

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BlueScope Steel selling Iron Monarch

Posted Wednesday, 1 February, 2012 by freightgate in Rail News

BlueScope Steel will sell the Iron Monarch after reaching a deal to transport hot-rolled coil from Port Kembla to Western Port by rail from late this year.

The agreement with rail partner Pacific National will have BlueScope moving about 650,000 tonnes of hot-rolled coil to the Victorian facility each year.

But the Maritime Union of Australia said the decision could put another 30 Port Kembla wharfies out of work, on top of more than 100 who lost their jobs when BlueScope left the export market last year.

Clive Palmer sues QR National for $8b

Posted Wednesday, 1 February, 2012 by freightgate in Rail News

Mining magnate Clive Palmer’s China First Pty Ltd is launching an $8 billion lawsuit against rail operator QR National for competing with his plans to build a 500km rail link to carry coal.

Mr Palmer alleges a breach of confidentiality and misleading conduct over the proposed rail link between the Galilee Basin coal region and the Central Queensland coast.

QR National’s own proposed Central Queensland Integrated Rail Project was announced last week, when the state government granted it significant project status.

QR National leads the way in transport sector

Posted Wednesday, 1 February, 2012 by freightgate in Rail News

CATASTROPHIC floods, high fuel prices, ash clouds, fraught industrial relations on the waterfront and in the air, and consumers tightening their belts. By any stretch, last year was tough for the transport sector.

QR National was a shining light amid the shocks. Despite Queensland floods reducing the amount of coal it could haul early in the year, Australia's largest railway company rewarded investors who bought stock when it was listed in November 2010.

More than a year on, it remains a defensive stock. Analysts are favouring arch rival, Asciano, as a cheaper way of gaining exposure to Chinese and Indian demand for Australian coal reserves.

Light rail proposal for Sydney's north west

Posted Wednesday, 1 February, 2012 by freightgate in Tram and Light Rail News

A LIGHT rail-metro network connecting Rouse Hill and Castle Hill to Parramatta and Blacktown has been proposed by Parramatta Lord Mayor Lorraine Wearne.

Cr Wearne said a light rail system would be needed to cope with growth in western Sydney the next 20 years.

Stage one of the 44km light rail network would cost $3 billion, and connect Castle Hill, Parramatta and Bankstown to establish a north-south regional connection, as well as connect Parramatta to the UWS campus and Carlingford.

Perth: Work on sinking rail line to link city begins

Posted Wednesday, 1 February, 2012 by pandem in Western Australian Rail News

Work has started on sinking the Fremantle railway line as part of the Perth City Link project.

The $360 million rail component will help connect Northbridge to the CBD.

The Premier Colin Barnett says it is a major milestone.

"As of today, work will start on the major and most critical part of this project and that is the construction of the tunnel and the sinking of the rail line," he said.

Caroline Springs station in limbo

Posted Wednesday, 1 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE future of a much needed train station in Melbourne's booming western growth corridor remains in limbo with Premier Ted Baillieu refusing to name a date when the planned Caroline Springs station would be delivered - despite the government building a new road to the station site.

Quizzed on ABC local radio about when the Baillieu government would deliver the station, Mr Baillieu said: ''I will have to check on the date, but Caroline Springs obviously there are commitments there, and the timing of that I would have to double check on that.'

RACV urges rail link

Posted Wednesday, 1 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MELBOURNE must have a fast rail link from the city to Tullamarine airport within 10 years or Victoria's economic and tourism growth will suffer, the RACV has warned.

President Peter Chandler said: ''Melbourne's business sustainability, economic growth and tourism potential will not be realised if this link is not provided within the next decade.''

Axe hovers over RailCorp jobs

Posted Wednesday, 1 February, 2012 by snowy446 in New South Wales Rail News

Major reforms at RailCorp could lead to job losses, the state’s transport minister has warned.

The NSW Government launched a review into the train operator this morning, to be headed by former Sydney Ferries boss David Callahan.

Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian warned jobs could go under the review.

V-Line re-opens the rail to Rainbow

Posted Wednesday, 1 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

V-LINE has completed work on the Dimboola to Rainbow rail line.

Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder announced in September the State Government and GrainCorp would invest $6.3 million to reopen the 66km section between the towns by late December.

The line was temporarily reopened in 2010 but was last used to regularly haul grain in 2006.

The line deteriorated over time and was damaged during the floods in January last year.

Staff to go at 17 Illawarra train stations: opposition

Posted Friday, 3 February, 2012 by snowy446 in Gunzelling Reports

Seventeen train stations in the Illawarra could lose their staff under the State Government’s proposed shake up of railways authority RailCorp, Labor MPs claimed today.

Wollongong MP Noreen Hay made the claims citing media reports which suggested stations with less than 2000 passengers a day might fall victim to cost cuts.

The State Government is conducting a comprehensive review of RailCorp in an effort to make it leaner and more reliable. At present RailCorp costs the state about $10 million a day.

Rail minister on the right track

Posted Friday, 3 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN, the Transport Minister, has a lot more than vested interest to overcome in trying to lift RailCorp above her description of it as "one of the most inefficient railways in the world". To many customers, the organisation is characterised by a mindset on daily show. Sullenness in service and the attitudes that near enough is good enough and that customer comfort and convenience are cliches rather than aspirations, have taken hold in an organisation where pride in performance went the way of the steam engine.

QR National rejects Palmer's $8bn allegations

Posted Sunday, 5 February, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

QR NATIONAL has brushed off claims by Queensland miner Clive Palmer that the company allegedly stole his idea for a rail link in central Queensland.

Mr Palmer has launched an $8 billion lawsuit against the rail operator.

''QR National strongly rejects these baseless assertions,'' a spokesman said yesterday.

Rail plan won't stall rail services

Posted Sunday, 5 February, 2012 by VRcasts in Victorian Rail News

THE Australian Rail Track ­Corporation is adamant plans to replace track ­foundations from Albury to Melbourne will not affect the Border’s train timetable.

Yesterday its chief executive, John Fullerton, said the $134?million project had been given priority to cure the ­ongoing issues of mudholes on the line but said the track would remain open.

Mr Fullerton denied the accelerated program was a knee-jerk reaction to a federal inquiry into the Melbourne-­Sydney line.

He also defended the method used to replace wooden sleepers with ­concrete sleepers in a $300?million project ­criticised by some for causing the ­sodden dips in the line.

Travellers shunted from Tonsley and Grange train lines

Posted Sunday, 5 February, 2012 by merlin in South Australian Rail News

THE State Government is closing the Tonsley train line for a year and slashing services on the Grange line.

The decision has angered residents, who say it flies in the face of Government commitments to encourage public transport use and foster transit-oriented development.

The lines will be disrupted from Monday, February 27, to reduce the number of trains entering and exiting the Adelaide Railway Station, in preparation for upgrades to the station, convention centre and the wider public transport system.

Two Adelaide rail lines facing disruption

Posted Sunday, 5 February, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Buses will replace some train services on the Tonsley and Grange lines for about a year.

The lines will close between Mondays and Fridays during work in the city to expand the Convention Centre, near the Adelaide Railway Station.

The line closures will start from February 27.

Derailment spill clean-up done but fears linger

Posted Sunday, 5 February, 2012 by bevans in Northern Territory Rail News

A Northern Territory safety authority says it is satisfied a hazardous mineral which spilled from a derailed Adelaide to Darwin train has been cleaned up.

About 1,200 tonnes of copper concentrate spilled into the Edith River, north of Katherine, when a freight train hit a flooded rail crossing in December.

Following the derailment, NT Worksafe issued a directive to miner Oz Minerals to clean up the spill by the end of January.

Concerns over staff cuts at Hunter train stations

Posted Sunday, 5 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery says she is concerned passenger safety will be put at risk at Hunter train stations if staff numbers are cut under the State Government's review of RailCorp.

RailCorp will undergo a major shake-up after a 30 per cent increase in operational costs since 2006.

Ms Hornery claims 21 of the Hunter's 43 stations risk losing staff under the review with Broadmeadow, Maitland, Cardiff and Fassifern stations all under threat.

Fears for local rail services

Posted Sunday, 5 February, 2012 by snowy446 in New South Wales Rail News

LOCAL train stations are in danger of losing staff under cutbacks signalled by Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian.

Shadow transport minister Penny Sharpe said that put staff at the Bomaderry, Berry, Gerringong, Kiama, Bombo and Minnamurra stations squarely on the chopping block.

“Reports the minister is considering removing staff from stations handling less than 2000 passengers each day proves she is putting her budget bottom line above the safety and needs of commuters,” Ms Sharpe said.

Australian thoroughbreds take to the rails

Posted Sunday, 5 February, 2012 by bingley hall in Press Releases

At a special ceremony held at the UGL workshops facility in Broadmeadow (Newcastle) on Thursday 2 February, representatives of leading railway locomotive and rolling stock leasing specialist CFCL Australia were handed the keys to two brand new, ‘state-of-the-art’, high-horsepower diesel locomotives.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 4/2/2012.

Posted Sunday, 5 February, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 4/2/2012. There were 124 sightings for this week. This is 14 sighting more than last week, making a total of 529 sightings for this year to date. On day 35 last year we had recorded 450 sightings. This is 79 sightings up on the same time last year.

Israel approvs key rail link of 'interest' to India

Posted Tuesday, 7 February, 2012 by freightgate in International Rail News

Israel on Monday approved the construction of the first rail link between its Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts, offering a new Asia-Europe trade route to compete with the Suez Canal, a project in which India is also said to have evinced interest. 

The so called proposal for Red-Med train link was unanimously approved by the Israeli cabinet and its construction is likely to take about 5 years from the time of start at a cost of approximately USD 2.3 billion. 

Rail services return to normal after Bletchley derailment

Posted Tuesday, 7 February, 2012 by freightgate in International Rail News

A "normal working service" has resumed on the West Coast mainline in Buckinghamshire, say Network Rail.

The line was closed for more than 12 hours on Friday after a freight train engine derailed at 02:30 GMT in Bletchley.

It had been partially reopened on Friday afternoon after initial repairs were carried out.

Bradken delivers 65 per cent profit leap

Posted Tuesday, 7 February, 2012 by freightgate in Rail News

Mining and rail equipment manufacturer Bradken says its first-half profit is up 65 per cent and its full-year expectations remain unchanged.

The company on Tuesday reported a net profit of $43.05 million for the half year to December 31, up 65.6 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

It said the booming mining sector had seen demand for Bradken products reach historically high levels, with the company expanding operations in Australia, North America and Asia.

North West Rail Link's Hills Centre station under review

Posted Wednesday, 8 February, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

AN UPDATED proposal for the North West Rail Link's Hills Centre station could preserve the Castle Hill Showground.

Two options are being considered for the station's location after community feedback supported protecting the showground site.

Detailed railway station design plans are expected to be released after July.

But Castle Hill and Hills Agricultural Society president Peter Gooch, who recently met Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, said the northern option could see the Hills Centre station built in the vicinity of the showground's cattle rings.

A number of pavilions would also be affected.

Mr Gooch said this could effectively destroy the integrity and functionality of the showground.

Safety 'not jeopardised' with Waratah deal

Posted Wednesday, 8 February, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

A deal to prop up the Reliance Rail consortium with an injection of $175 million won't jeopardise safety checks on the state's long-delayed Waratah trains, the NSW government says.

The public-private partnership signed by the former Labor government has been beset by delays and despite an initial 2010 delivery date for all 78 of the trains, only six are in service.

The government announced on Monday that in 2018 it would invest $175 million in the debt-laden Reliance Rail, to keep the $3.6 billion Waratah train project afloat.

Aust boss of UK rail firm gives up bonus

Posted Wednesday, 8 February, 2012 by freightgate in International Rail News

The Australian chief executive of Britain's Network Rail says he and his directors have decided not to take any bonuses and to allocate the money to safety improvements instead.

The executives have been under political pressure not to receive any extra money this year amid a huge row over bonuses for banking and other bosses in the UK.

The company's Australian chief executive Sir David Higgins said on Monday: "I and my directors decided last week that we would forego any entitlement and instead allocate the money to the safety improvement fund for level crossings. I can confirm that remains our intention."

Quiet carriages trial for Sydney train commuters

Posted Wednesday, 8 February, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

Long-haul Sydney train commuters are to be offered the silent treatment, with CityRail to trial "quiet carriages" where passengers are asked to keep the noise down.

The front and back carriages of trains travelling to Sydney from Newcastle and Gosford will be designated quiet areas from next Monday.

New South Wales Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian says if the three-month trial is a success, it could become a permanent feature across Sydney's rail network.

Rail race to Galilee Basin

Posted Wednesday, 8 February, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

RURAL landholders across a vast stretch of Central Queensland from Alpha to Bowen are contemplating yet another player in the race to establish a rail corridor to transport coal out of the state's next big coal-mining hub, the Galilee Basin. 

This week Queensland Co-ordinator General Keith Davies declared QR National's Central Queensland Integrated Rail Project (CQIRP) a "significant project". It is now subject to completion of an environmental impact assessment and economic feasibility studies.

On Tuesday, mining magnate Clive Palmer took to Twitter to confirm he is launching an $8 billion lawsuit against QR National for "breach of confidentiality and misleading conduct" over the rail project.


Rio to spend $US3.4b on Pilbara expansion

Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Rio Tinto will spend $US3.4 billion ($3.16 billion) expanding its iron ore operations in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Rio shares 
were recently down 1 per cent, or 69 cents, at $70.32.

The miner will spend $US2.2 billion on work to extend the life of its Nammuldi mine and $US1.2 billion on early works needed for the expansion of the Cape Lambert port and rail facilities, the company said today in a statement.

The revised Rio expansion figures came as rival BHP Billiton announced a small drop in half-year profit to just under $US10 billion. BHP's iron ore divsion accounted for about half of its profit.

Train timetable blamed for traffic and safety hazard

Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

METRO'S new train timetable has throttled traffic flow in Cheltenham, as train drivers wait at the station for minutes at a time to keep pace with the slower schedule, forcing the boom gates on the nearby main road to stay shut until after they move on.

Drivers say the enforced delay has created a public hazard, as they regularly watch pedestrians dart across the level crossing on busy Charman Road rather than wait for the boom gates to reopen.

Buses replace trains on Glen Waverley line

Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Rail commuters on the Glen Waverley line face a long trip home with buses replacing trains.

An empty train at Darling station tangled overhead power lines, causing the line to be shut down just before 3pm, a Metro spokeswoman said.

Buses are running between Burnley and Glen Waverley stations. City workers have been advised to catch a train to Burnley and then a bus to their stations on the Glen Waverley line.

First PSOs ready to be deployed

Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2012 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

The first squad of protective service officers (PSO) will be deployed on Melbourne's train network by the end of the month. The 18 specially-trained PSOs are the first to graduate from the police academy. It is likely the armed officers will initially be deployed to inner-city stations.

Western rail links to be restored Monday

Posted Sunday, 12 February, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Trains will finally run west from Roma to Mitchell and Longreach by Monday after track workers today finish repairs to the flood affected main western rail line today.

The rail line was broken between Roma and Mitchell in last Friday's record floods.

A ballast train will this afternoon drop stones down in between rail tracks to add a final bracing to the rail line.

Looters clean up in wake of train derailment spill

Posted Sunday, 12 February, 2012 by bevans in Northern Territory Rail News

Looters have been taking goods, including alcohol, spilled into a Northern Territory river where a freight train derailed in December.

Chemicals, glass, nappies, alcohol and groceries spilt from freight containers when carriages of the freight train plunged into the Edith River, about 100 kilometres north of Katherine, during a flash flood.

Local MLA Willem Westra Van Holthe says it has been more than a month and the spilled goods and rubbish have not been removed.

Man critical after train smashes into car

Posted Sunday, 12 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A 22-year-old man is in a critical condition in Royal Melbourne Hospital after his car collided with a train near Shepparton.

The collision occurred on a level crossing at Murchison East.

There were 34 passengers on the train which was travelling from Shepparton to Melbourne, but no-one was injured.

V/Line spokesman James Kelly says the level crossing has give way signs.

Train noise complaints fall on deaf ears

Posted Sunday, 12 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A Hunter Valley family is considering legal action over coal trains roaring past and rattling their historic house.

John Morrison bought historic Clifton House at Lochinvar nearly 30 years ago.

He says back then around four trains went past each day, but now there are trains every eight minutes.

Mr Morrison says empty trains are particularly bad, causing excessive noise and vibrations.

Radio towers boost rail safety

Posted Sunday, 12 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

RAILCORP has released details of 16 digital radio towers, up to 30 metres high, to be erected in St George and Sutherland Shire.

The locations, six of which were identified last month, are Wolli Creek, Rockdale, Penshurst, Oatley, Como, Jannali, Sutherland, Kirrawee, Miranda, Caringbah, Cronulla, Loftus, Engadine, Heathcote, Waterfall and Goomera Ridge (1.5km south of Waterfall station).

To be located within the railway corridor, they will range in height from 10 to 30 metres, with most around 20 metres, and will include a concrete base and equipment cabinets.

DB Schenker North Rail Express on a clear course of success

Posted Sunday, 12 February, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

One year ago, Schenker AS in Norway, Green Cargo in Sweden, and the Industry Sector Intermodal of European rail freight operator DB Schenker Rail started up a new train between the Norwegian capital Oslo and the Arctic Circle town of Narvik. The first year shows that the DB Schenker North Rail Express is on a course of success.

Schenker AS offers regular rail transports on the 1,960 kilometer route leading mostly via Sweden. The train brings consumer and household goods as well as part-loads and groupage to the industry and commerce in northern Norway, five days a week. On the return trip, the train transports native products like fish to the southwest. In an agreement with Autolink, up to 15 wagons per week are attached to the train, with new cars for the whole of northern Norway.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 11/2/2012

Posted Sunday, 12 February, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 124 sightings for this week. This is the same number of sightings as last week, making a total of 653 sightings for this year to date. On day 42 last year we had recorded 536 sightings. This is 117 sightings up on the same time last year.

Rail reprieve for Grange line travellers

Posted Monday, 13 February, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

A plan to cancel weekday trains on the Grange line in Adelaide has been modified, and shuttle trains will now run to and from Woodville.

The daytime weekday services will be affected by platform closures at Adelaide Railway Station during work above the station to expand the city's Convention Centre.

A shuttle train between Grange and Woodville will operate in conjunction with buses, possibly for a year from February 27.

Privatisation pushed for NSW trains

Posted Monday, 13 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A report has recommended the immediate privatisation of sections of the New South Wales rail network, to improve services and drive down costs.

Lobby group Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) commissioned the report, and is now pushing the State Government to act on its findings.

Earlier this month Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced the Government's own review to improve the efficiency of RailCorp, saying the organisation costs about $10 million a day.

Murchison shareholders OK deal with Mitsubishi

Posted Monday, 13 February, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

SHAREHOLDERS of Murchison Metals today approved the sale of its stakes in two iron ore-related ventures to Japan's Mitsubishi.

At a general meeting, Murchison shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the $325 million sale, which clears the way for Mitsubishi to acquire half stakes in the Jack Hills iron ore mine and Oakajee port and rail project. 

Murchison, meanwhile, expects to retain around $217m in cash from the transaction after settlement of debts.

Feet-on-seat fines net millions

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

After being <a href="">fined for having her feet on the seats</a>, Age journalist Jane Holroyd does an article on the revenue earned from those fines and paraphrases Daniel Bowen as calling for an awareness campaign on railway offences other than fare evasion.

Work underway to improve Cardiff railway station

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Work is finally underway to improve access to Cardiff railway station, one of the busiest in the Hunter region.

Residents have long campaigned for lifts at the station, which can only be accessed by a series of steep stairways.

Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell says after 16 years of neglect by Labor, the O'Farrell government has set up a team to fast-track the project.

Myki meltdowns: minister apologises

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A MAN whose myki card has failed four times in 18 months has forced the Victorian government to concede that there are still unresolved software problems with the $1.35 billion ticketing system, even as the phase-out of Metcards gathers pace.

Toby Nieboer, a web developer who commutes five days a week from Tecoma in Melbourne's outer east to the city centre, complained last month to the Public Transport Ombudsman over the serial software meltdowns, which have led him to spend $11 a day on train tickets while waiting for a new card, despite having already spent $1600 on a yearly pass.

Rail sell-off is not our plan: O'Farrell

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has rejected a lobby group's call for some train services to be franchised, saying rail privatisations are not on his agenda.

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) made the recommendations for the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line and CountryLink services in a research paper published on Monday.

The IPA paper says the changes could drive down costs and boost service quality.

Rail operator told it's time to finish clean-up

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2012 by bevans in Northern Territory Rail News

Chief Minister Paul Henderson says rail operator Genesee and Wyoming has had a big job to clean up after a derailment near Katherine but it is time to finish it.

The Environment Department has issued a legal notice to the company giving it until the end of the day to explain what it is doing to clean the site.

Katherine locals have complained that freight from shipping containers has spread through the Edith River.

Prime Minister urged to resist Nimby rail protests

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

THE Prime Minister was urged last night to stand up to “nimbyist” objections that could delay the Government’s high speed rail project.

A North East business leader spoke in support of the planned route as it emerged the coalition may face a legal challenge to its £33bn project.

Opponents of the scheme have contacted the European Commission over concerns about its environmental impact.

Last month, Transport Secretary Justine Greening gave the go-ahead for High Speed 2, whose first phase will see a new rail line laid through Conservative heartlands, from London to Birmingham.

Obama budget contains nearly $35 billion for passenger rail

Posted Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

The Obama administration, which has been urging California to push through growing opposition to its high-speed rail project, asked Congress on Monday for nearly $35 billion in passenger rail funding over the next five years.

The request in its fiscal 2013 budget includes $1 billion for next year and nearly $8 billion in 2018, a massive funding plan that faces difficult odds of getting through Congress. Last year, the Republican-controlled House and even the Democratic-led Senate slashed a similar request and left no new money for any high-speed rail project.

The California project has about $3.3 billion in federal grants from prior years that it plans to use to start construction this year and another $9 billion in bond money approved by voters in 2008. But the project is short $86 billion, and Republicans are attempting to freeze any additional federal funding for it.

Rail, air top pitch for funds

Posted Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

AVALON Airport's case for $50 million Federal Government support for a rail link will be among priority topics as Infrastructure Australia chiefs view Geelong's big picture development ambitions this week.

A Geelong Ring Road extension through to the Bellarine Peninsula and expansion of Geelong Port will also dominate an agenda for Infrastructure Australia chief executive Michael Deegan and national ports advisor John Austin tomorrow and Thursday.

Govt to spend $134m, fix rail mud holes

Posted Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

he federal government will spend about $134 million fixing mud holes in the rail track between Sydney and Melbourne.

Australian Rail Track Corporation chief executive John Fullerton has told a Senate hearing there currently are about 65km of mud holes in the track - almost seven per cent of the 1500km track.

The upgrade is needed to reduce the number of slow spots on the line.

Genesee & Wyoming Update on Edith River Derailment

Posted Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 by freightgate in Press Releases

GREENWICH, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 14, 2012-- Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) (NYSE: GWR) today provided an additional update on the status of the restoration of the Edith River Bridge in Australia's Northern Territory following the December 27th derailment of a Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd (GWA) freight train in flood waters associated with Cyclone Grant.

The bridge is substantially repaired with earthworks and abutments on both ends of the bridge complete and the bridge deck aligned. In making the repairs, additional damage was found on the southernmost girder of the bridge. As a result, this girder will require additional strengthening before the bridge can be reopened.

Police to take on CityRail security

Posted Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 by snowy446 in New South Wales Rail News

Police will replace transit officers on the CityRail network, in a move welcomed by police but attacked by rail unions who say it will only reduce safety on trains in the Illawarra. About 300 extra police officers across NSW will be patrolling trains, ferries and buses within two years under the scheme, which will also mean the creation of a new police command unit.

Learn from past lessons and rail against proposal

Posted Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Does greed know no bounds? The private sector group Infrastructure Partnerships Australia wants the private sector to get its hands on the eastern suburbs rail line (''Rail study pushes for Bondi line to be sold'', February 13). As the former Labor member for the area, I can confidently say this is the best performing part of the CityRail network and has been the subject of substantial public investment and upgrading. It is well patronised and serves as a service model for other parts of the network. The IPA's solution to this public sector success story is to privatise it.

New train services go 'nowhere near' end of line

Posted Thursday, 16 February, 2012 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

THE state government has admitted that one-third of the new train services it boasted it had added to the congested Werribee line do not run to Werribee, but shuttle back and forth between five stops along the ''Altona loop'' or terminate part way along the line at Laverton. In April, Transport Minister Terry Mulder promised that Metro's new timetable would deliver ''185 new weekly trains on the Werribee line''. But the minister confirmed last week that only 117 of the trains run all the way along the line, making the admission about 280 days after western metropolitan Greens MP Colleen Hartland put the question to him on notice in State Parliament.

QR National slips but revenue grows

Posted Thursday, 16 February, 2012 by freightgate in Rail News

Rail operator QR National's first-half net profit has fallen by 32 per cent but the company expects improved coal haulage volumes in the second half of the year after the impact of floods. QR on Thursday reported a net profit for the six months to December 31 was $189.3 million, down from $278 million in the previous corresponding period.

The key reason for the profit decline was a $281 million tax benefit in the previous corresponding period. First-half revenue of $1.715 billion was up 1.4 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

Xstrata mulling new partner for Australia coal mine

Posted Thursday, 16 February, 2012 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

SYDNEY, Feb 15, 2012 (AFP) - - Swiss mining group Xstrata said Wednesday it was looking at bringing a new partner into its Wandoan coal mine in Australia, but did not say how much of the US$6.4 billion project was up for sale. A report Tuesday by Dow Jones Newswires said Xstrata was offering to sell 20.0 percent of the proposed project, which is expected to tap surging Asian demand for coal. Xstrata Coal, which owns 75.0 percent of the proposed Wandoan joint venture with Japanese partners, said it was investigating options for the project's development as part of its feasibility process.

VLine expects Bendigo services to improve

Posted Thursday, 16 February, 2012 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

V/Line says it expects the punctuality of trains on the Bendigo line to improve as the weather cools down. Just 83.7 per cent of Bendigo trains were on time during January, short of the 92 per cent target. The Bendigo line rate has been sliding since August last year, when it hit a high of 90.4 per cent.

Rail decision must be made by middle of year

Posted Friday, 17 February, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

A DECISION on whether or not the dormant Blayney-Demondrille rail line should be reopened must be made by the middle of the year, Blayney Shire Mayor Bruce Kingham has said following a meeting with senior NSW government ministers.

Cr Kingham said a pulp and paper company that transports around 270,000 tons of logs and chips through Blayney each year, has committed to using the line for the next 20 years if it is reopened and the cost of transporting the goods is comparable to road freight.

Queensland Rail train fare evader ordered to pay $1625 after unsuccessful appeal

Posted Friday, 17 February, 2012 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

A MAN accused of evading a $2.65 train fare is now facing a bill of $1625 after unsuccessfully appealing against the fine.

But Mark Littler, 31, who was facing deportation if he had a conviction recorded against him, will be able to remain in Australia after a Brisbane District Court judge agreed it was "overly harsh" to record a conviction. A magistrate had found Mr Littler guilty of getting on a train without a valid ticket in December 2009 and recorded a conviction against him.

Rail repairs to take more time

Posted Friday, 17 February, 2012 by freightgate in Northern Territory Rail News

REPAIR works on the Central Australian Railway have blown out again, with interruptions to the important export route set to stretch beyond two months. The railway has been broken north of Katherine, in the Northern Territory, since December 27 when flooding washed away a bridge and caused a freight train to derail. The train was carrying copper concentrates, produced by OZ Minerals, which were bound for export through Darwin, and the substances spilt out of the train and into the Edith River.

Brennan demands Cooroy rail fix

Posted Friday, 17 February, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A major safety concern faced by Cooroy residents caused by lack of pedestrian and cyclist access over the rail line that cuts the town in two was raised by Cr Lew Brennan this week with the State Government.

In a letter to state representatives Cr Brennan acknowledged community concerns and sought commitment from the them to fix the hazard.

Cr Brennan said this issue has existed for as long as he could remember.

Rail recruits on track: Lay

Posted Sunday, 19 February, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

CHIEF Commissioner Ken Lay insists police will meet the state government commitment to put protective services officers on every metropolitan railway station before the next election, despite only 40 being expected to graduate in the first six months of the $212 million program.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 18/2/2012.

Posted Sunday, 19 February, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 129 sightings for this week. This is five sightings more than last week, making a total of 782 sightings for this year to date. On day 49 last year we had recorded 644 sightings. This is 138 sightings up on the same time last year.

No armed guards for country stations until 2014

Posted Monday, 20 February, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

COUNTRY Victorians will have to wait almost two years before they see the first signs of an armed guard on a regional train station. As the first group of protective services officers (PSOs) start work on Melbourne's rail network this week, Chief Commissioner Ken Lay has admitted it might take until 2014 before they begin guarding country stations in Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong and Traralgon.

He said the current priority was to target ''high-risk stations'' - those with large numbers of patrons and high rates of reported crime - to ensure police would get ''the biggest bang for our buck''.

Rio Tinto's driverless trains set for Western Australia

Posted Monday, 20 February, 2012 by wolfpac in Western Australian Rail News

RIO Tinto has splashed out $US518 million ($481.86 million) on a project to run the world's first driverless long-distance, heavy-haul rail network

RailCorp bushcare work suspended

Posted Tuesday, 21 February, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

The state government has called an immediate halt to volunteer bush regeneration work at RailCorp sites across NSW following the discovery of lead, arsenic and asbestos in soil along the route for Sydney's Inner West Light Rail extension. NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian on Monday announced she had suspended Bushcare activities on all RailCorp land after preliminary tests showed "concerning levels" of contaminants, which also included copper and hydrocarbon.

Rail workers stood down in coal terminal dispute

Posted Tuesday, 21 February, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

Industrial action at the Port Kembla Coal Terminal has resulted in more than 100 rail workers being stood down, even though they are not the ones on strike. The union representing workers at the terminal has signalled another 50 hours of protected industrial action this week, on top of more than 300 hours taken over recent weeks. Negotiations between the CFMEU and terminal management are continuing today, but train drivers who bring the coal to the site have now been caught up in the dispute.

Mitsubishi takes stake in new port-rail

Posted Tuesday, 21 February, 2012 by freightgate in Western Australian Rail News

Developers of Western Australia's troubled $6 billion Oakajee port and rail project are hopeful it will go ahead after Japan's Mitsubishi took full control of the company on Monday. Mitsubishi completed its $325 million acquisition of former joint-venture partner Murchison Metals' 50 per cent stake in Oakajee Port & Rail, after the debt-laden mid-west miner was forced to offload it. The acquisition, which included Murchison's half stake in fellow mid-west iron ore miner Crosslands Resources, means Mitsubishi will now need to seek a new joint venture partner in the project, which has been plagued by uncertainty over funding.

Sunbury rail project on track

Posted Tuesday, 21 February, 2012 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

THE Sunbury electrification project is on track to be completed this year, despite reports it could be delayed by up to 12 months. The $270 million project, which started in July 2010, will extend the Metro network to Sunbury. It was originally expected to be completed by the middle of this year. At last week's Hume Council meeting, Cr Jack Ogilvie said he had heard reports the project was going to be delayed. "I was told by a pretty reliable source that it will be held up and won't be ready for at least a year," Cr Ogilvie later told the Weekly. "It's to do with electrical cabling [being] all in the one channel, which has caused a lot of problems and has to be redone."

Build over rail lines, inquiry concludes

Posted Tuesday, 21 February, 2012 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

DEVELOPERS could build almost 50,000 new apartments and 3000 day-care places and create more than $2 billion worth of value if the state government made it easier to build over Sydney's rail lines. That is the message from the chairman of a government inquiry into development over rail corridors. Charles Casuscelli, a former general manager of the RTA's Transport Management Centre and the chairman of the government's Transport and Infrastructure Committee, said he hoped the inquiry would facilitate a fast-tracked development process.

More grain by train as Dimboola to Rainbow line reopens

Posted Wednesday, 22 February, 2012 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

The Coalition Government's reopening of the Dimboola to Rainbow line with the first grain train meant that up to 100,000 extra tonnes of Victorian grain would move annually by rail, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Edward O'Donohue said today.

Mr O'Donohue represented Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder at Rainbow joined by Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Development Damian Drum, representing Deputy Premier Peter Ryan. Mr O'Donohue said that it was exciting to watch the first Pacific National grain train depart.

"Under the previous government, the line faced closure. The Coalition Government has worked through the Department of Transport, V/Line and Regional Development Victoria to partner with Graincorp," Mr O'Donohue said.

MYKI - Too easy to top it up

Posted Thursday, 23 February, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Q: Where do you top up your Myki?

A: At a 7-Eleven in the city.

On hot days, I can pick up a Slurpie at the same time.-- Aeron ChamaraPublic transport passengers will soon be spoilt for choice as hundreds of myki top-up locations are introduced in the coming months.

'We literally flew through the air': dozens dead as trains collide

Posted Thursday, 23 February, 2012 by freightgate in International Rail News

A packed commuter train ploughed into the buffers at a Buenos Aires station during Wednesday morning's peak hour, killing 49 people and injuring more than 600 in Argentina's worst rail accident in more than 30 years, officials said. Passengers told of chaos and panic as the impact of the collision propelled the second train car into the first carriage, trapping dozens of people as others looked on from the busy platforms at the central Once station. Officials said faulty brakes were suspected of causing the accident.

Grain Train derails at Gunning in NSW

Posted Thursday, 23 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Just in from a driver that an empty grain train, believed to be 3930 has derailed at Gunning. Wagons are all over the place, blocking both tracks. Locos and crew condition unknown.

ST21 has been terminated at Goulburn and BA6 is also being held there. 3232 grain is held at Bredalbane because there isn't a clear route through Goulburn yet.

The northbound queue on the down side of the derailment hasn't yet started however it looks like it going to be at least AB6, MB7 then ST22. ST22 (The XPT service) could possibly stable at Junee and depart as close to ST21's departure as possible then run Junee - Melbourne until the line clears.

Metcard closure starts this week

Posted Thursday, 23 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE first Metcard machines at suburban train stations will be shut permanently from Friday.

Williamstown station will be the first, with other stations on the Williamstown, Werribee and Sydenham lines to follow from next week.

The development comes after the recent removal of Metcard vending machines from CBD stations.

Commuters will still be able to use Metcards on the suburban train network as the switch over to myki continues.

Station guards hit the beat on our busiest railway stations

Posted Friday, 24 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

POLICE command has been slammed for taking the "soft option" and starting armed guards at Flinders St station instead of crime-riddled suburban stations.

Protective Service Officers stepped out at Flinders St and Southern Cross stations for the first time last night.

Assistant Commissioner Andrew Crisp described it as a historic day.

"Southern Cross and Flinders St are two of our busiest train stations and it is highly fitting that this is where they undertake their first shifts," Mr Crisp said.

But the Opposition and crime victims groups said the armed guards should be patrolling vulnerable outer-suburban rail stations.

Ute hits Tilt Train in Rocky

Posted Friday, 24 February, 2012 by freightgate in Queensland Rail News

UPDATE 12.00pm: More than 120 passengers on the Cairns Tilt Train which collided with a utility in Rockhampton early this morning were unharmed. Queensland Rail confirmed that some 120 passengers and staff on the train were conveyed from the collision site on buses to their destinations, with some still enroute to Brisbane. The Morning Bulletin understands the 17-year-old utility driver is still in Rockhampton Base Hospital awaiting surgery.

'Rogue' truckies in spotlight over fatal smash

Posted Saturday, 25 February, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

New South Wales Police say they are targeting a number of "rogue" trucking companies, after raids this morning on a firm linked to a fatal smash on Sydney's southern outskirts last month.

Officers and officials from the Roads and Maritime Services Authority arrived this morning at the headquarters of Lennons Transport Services at Enfield in Sydney's west.

The operation was launched after police charged Lennons driver Vincent George over a crash last month that killed three people on the Hume Highway at Menangle.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 25/2/2012

Posted Sunday, 26 February, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 123 sightings for this week. This is six sightings less than last week, making a total of 905 sightings for this year to date. On day 56 last year we had recorded 739 sightings. This is 166 sightings up on the same time last year.

Teen killed by train while trying to save dog

Posted Sunday, 26 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A 15-year-old boy was hit and killed by a train while trying to save a dog near Ballarat last night.

The teenager was fatally struck by a Ballarat-bound V/Line train about 9pm.

Strike hits Heathrow rail services

Posted Monday, 27 February, 2012 by freightgate in International Rail News

Heathrow Express services were disrupted as a strike among drivers and other staff in two separate disciplinary disputes was said to be "solidly" supported.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union walked out for 24 hours just after mid-day, forcing the company to operate an amended service between the airport and central London. The union said the strike had a "serious impact" on services which would continue into Monday's rush hour.

Three killed in Canadian train derailment

Posted Monday, 27 February, 2012 by freightgate in International Rail News

TORONTO (Reuters) - A passenger train derailed near Burlington in southern Ontario on Sunday, killing at least three people, according to the train operator VIA Rail. "There were 75 passengers on board the train at the time of the accident. There are reports of several injuries to passengers and three fatalities," VIA Rail said in a statement.

The six-carriage train, which was travelling from Niagara Falls, Ontario, to Toronto, derailed at 1530 EST (2030 GMT). "They were in the locomotive, so at this point we know for sure that they (the three people killed) were VIA employees," VIA Rail spokeswoman Michelle Lamarche told CBC News. A spokesman for the Halton Regional police was able to confirm only one fatality. The cause of the derailment is not yet known.

Rail link urged to quell Tullamarine's growing pains

Posted Monday, 27 February, 2012 by freightgate in Victorian Rail News

THE head of Melbourne Airport says a rail link needs to be built "sooner rather than later" as it prepares to process 40 million passengers annually by 2020. Melbourne Airport chief executive Chris Woodruff also questioned why the Baillieu Government favoured a train line to Avalon Airport ahead of Tullamarine, which faced a growing transport crush.

About 28 million passengers used Melbourne Airport last year and 1.5 million are set to be added annually in the next eight years. The increase will add to traffic woes for motorists on the Tullamarine Freeway as the number of vehicles using the airport soars from 28,000 to 40,000 a day by the end of the decade.

Rail gravy train goes off tracks, as minister prepares the budget

Posted Monday, 27 February, 2012 by freightgate in International Rail News

The rail budget is only a fortnight away but Indian Railways' balance sheet looks far from impressive. Lower-than-expected earnings are bleeding the public carrier in at least 10 out of 16 zones.

Except for mining and port-driven zones such as eastern, south-eastern and western railways and, to some extent, northern railway, the bottom line of the other zones is far from rosy, hurt by drip-feed investment and pressure to add new tracks and trains.

Freight earnings, the prime source of income for the railways, fell below forecast between April and November 2011 and the public carrier is unlikely to meet revenue targets this fiscal.

DP World unveils upgraded rail yard

Posted Tuesday, 28 February, 2012 by freightgate in New South Wales Rail News

Services resumed today at the DP World Port Botany rail terminal after a four week program of upgrades aimed at offering new rail windows that provide up to 500 additional rail moves per week.

Engineering company Downer EDI was contracted to undertake works, which began 30 January and included the creation of a dual-entry and exit point for rail and a third operational rail siding within the terminal. In addition, the existing dirt rail buffer has been replaced by three new concrete buffers in order to increase safety within the rail yard.

DP World Port Botany will now operate with two dedicated rail entry and exit points, enabling rail operators to enter and exit independently of each other where previously, a single entry and exit point constrained the rail capacity of the terminal.

State looks at ways to ease peak hour train crush

Posted Tuesday, 28 February, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE state government is looking at speeding trains up, placing more staff on crowded inner-city platforms, and introducing ''screen doors'' between platforms and trains to alleviate Sydney's worsening peak hour crush.

In the longer term, Transport for NSW continues to pursue plans to convert large parts of the CityRail network to higher-frequency single-deck train operations.

But tender documents released by the department show it is trying to come up with a short-term fix for Sydney's peak-hour capacity constraints, well before it can try the radical transformation to higher-frequency trains.

Brisbane rail services resume after morning chaos

Posted Tuesday, 28 February, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

TRAIN services have resumed across the Brisbane network after peak hour chaos this morning.

Talkback radio and social media sites were inundated with complaints about Queensland Rail and the Bligh government, after power problems at one of the city's busiest stations.

Government-owned transport operator Translink said Queensland Rail had technicians working as fast as possible to remedy the fault at Roma Street station. Buses were also brought in to help move commuters from South Bank, Milton, Corinda, Albion and Northgate into the Brisbane CBD to help with congestion. Some commuters reported one and a half hour delays, with congestion also on the road network.

Land exchange back on track

Posted Tuesday, 28 February, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

AFTER years of negotiation the Swan Hill Rural City Council is set to reclaim prime foreshore land following a land exchange with VicTrack.

The land, totalling 3.6ha will ensure council can move forward with its plans to revitalise the Swan Hill riverfront precinct.

The land sits at the northern edge of the Swan Hill town centre and will eventually incorporate the fuel and oil depots, pending environmental clearance.

Swan Hill Rural City Council Mayor John Katis said council first approached VicTrack in 2002, hoping to acquire the land for tourism and open space purposes.


Posted Wednesday, 29 February, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

The mining and transport infrastructure needs of the north and north-west Queensland over the next 50 years will be examined at a forum in Townsville today.

An interim report commissioned by the Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone (MITEZ) group will also be made available online for communities in the region.

The report covers the current challenges with developing rail, port and mining facilities to meet the demands of the resources boom.

MITEZ chief executive Glen Graham says the mining industry has had significant input into the report, providing information on growth forecasts in coming decades.

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