Showing stories from August 2012

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Southland station election promise goes off the rails

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

AN ELECTION promise that a new railway station will be built at Southland for $13 million will not be honoured in the Baillieu government's first term.

Despite having waited more than 20 years for a new railway station at Southland, Melbourne looks set to wait a while longer yet.

Saving White Bay's rail tracks

Posted Wednesday, 1 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

 TRANSPORT lobby group is calling for the preservation of railway tracks at White Bay as part of an ambitious new plan which seeks to link Balmain and Barangaroo through a Harbour tunnel.

EcoTransit Sydney has been lobbying the state government to consider a White Bay Green-Link, a light rail and cycling corridor linking Balmain to the Dulwich Hill light rail extension and the city.

Miller's $0.3m engines

Posted Wednesday, 1 August, 2012 by DesL in International Rail News

THE arrival of five locomotives from Australian Sugar Mills valued at close to $0.3 million will facilitate the faster delivery of cane, says FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan.

Traders 'prisoners' of light rail works

Posted Wednesday, 1 August, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

SOUTHPORT business owners have likened their light rail limbo to a detention camp, saying the fences erected for the transport project in the CBD make them feel like prisoners.

Work on the Southport section of the $1.2 billion Gold Coast light rail project will continue for the next 12 months with a station on Nerang St expected to be finished in late 2013.

North West Rail Link design tweaks made at Norwest and Showground

Posted Wednesday, 1 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE State Government has tweaked the design of the North West Rail Link in response to community feedback.

Among the changes, the location of the underground Norwest station will be moved slightly to the south east to reduce the disruptions to Norwest Boulevard during construction.

Northern growth corridor residents driven to despair

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

THIS week a group of residents of Melbourne’s booming northern growth corridor began a sort of game on Facebook, comparing how long they spent on the road that day driving to and from work.

They also recorded the route they took, an exercise that had a distinct sameness to it. South Morang only has one north-south arterial road, and it has become increasingly choked as the suburb’s population grew by 32,000 in the 10 years to 2011, making it Australia’s fastest growing suburb.

For much of its length, Plenty Road has only one lane in each direction. A 2.4-kilometre stretch is being duplicated in response to the intense traffic growth, which leapt from 10,000 vehicles each weekday in 2008 to more than 17,000 last year, according to VicRoads.

Copper theft closes Sunshine Coast rail stations

Posted Wednesday, 1 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Two Sunshine Coast railway stations remain closed this morning after the theft of copper wiring used to earth the overhead powerlines.

Thieves stole the heavy-duty wiring from six Sunshine Coast stations yesterday.

Eumundi, Mooloolah, Palmwoods and Woombye stations have reopened but Cooran and Pomona remain closed due to safety concerns.

John Pistak from Queensland Rail says thieves are risking death.

Interstate rail proposal 'baffles'

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

THE grain industry has poured cold water on a Federal Opposition proposal to build an inland Melbourne to Brisbane rail link.

Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water Barnaby Joyce told the Australian Grains Industry Conference in Melbourne today Australia needed a rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane for bulk commodities.

Cross river rail a priority, but we've got to get costs down: Newman

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by Mouse in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has vowed to keep working to reduce the cost of the proposed new cross-river rail project to deal with Brisbane's looming capacity woes.

Mr Newman made the comment as he revealed the top three infrastructure priorities his government would outline in the state's latest submission to federal funding advisory body Infrastructure Australia.

The top three priorities would be fixing the Bruce Highway, tackling Brisbane's inner-city rail problems and building the second Toowoomba range crossing.

V/Line, Metro train switch planned

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by Apocalyptical in Victorian Rail News

GIPPSLAND rail passengers, already lumbered with Victoria's tardiest line, would be forced to catch Metro trains between Pakenham and the city under a plan to relieve congestion on the busy Dandenong line.

All V/Line trains from Traralgon and Bairnsdale would terminate at Pakenham station on Melbourne's eastern fringe, under a plan put forward by Metro so it could run more suburban services. The plan, which is being considered by Public Transport Victoria, would require at least 2 million more passengers a year to squeeze onto Pakenham trains.

It would also make Gippsland rail users the only people in the state required to switch from V/Line to Metro to reach the city.

Traffic, noise concerns over NW Rail construction

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The New South Wales Opposition has accused the State Government of ignoring warnings about potential traffic chaos during construction of Sydney's North West Rail Link.

An environmental impact statement and submissions report shows there will be about 6,500 extra trucks and cars making their way to and from construction sites while the link is built.

Roads and Maritime Services has recommended banning or limiting major works and truck movements during peak periods.

Rail service off the tracks

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail is spending thousands of dollars on buses and taxis to ferry Sunshine Coast passengers caught in rail hiccups.

A bus was used to take one passenger from Landsborough to Mooloolah station on Tuesday night after the trains on the North Coast line were disrupted by earlier thefts from temporary platforms.

The Daily understands that two passengers were taken to Woombye and Palmwoods by taxi after the bus that was supposed to meet their disrupted train service at Nambour failed to show after 30 minutes.

Transport network suffers worst day of the Olympics

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Two lines operated by Transport for London ran into problems, hitting services running to Olympic Park in Stratford and from central London to Greenwich Park, the site for equestrian events.

The difficulties were compounded by a suicide attempt at Dagenham Dock which threw three major mainline rail services into disarray for several hours, including the 140mph Javelin train linking Stratford to both St Pancras Station and Ebbsfleet in Kent.

Transport for London has sought to minimise delays by cancelling all engineering work throughout the network for the duration of the games.

Eyes on rail to get China moving

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

CLUTCHING at straws is, understandably, very popular among commodity watchers in these trying times, with Chinese railway spending providing the latest such straw.

Investors are looking desperately for signs that the sluggish demand for metals -- especially steel (hence iron ore) and copper -- is picking up.

The Ministry of Railways in Beijing has announced the capital spending budget for this year has been boosted by 12.4 per cent to 580 billion yuan ($87bn). The announcement is being embraced as a signal that China is stepping up to the stimulus plate at long last, bringing hope that infrastructure generally will save the country's economy -- and everyone else's bacon in the process.

An analyst at Korea Exchange Bank Futures was one of the first out of the gates, telling Bloomberg the rail news would lend support to the market.

Everyone is suffering, and it seems just about everyone needs a bailout.

Free WiFi on Queensland Rail trains

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A new brand campaign launched yesterday by the, publisher of this website, will bring free public Wi-Fi to Queensland Rail trains.

The move also marks the first time QR has allowed a coordinated commercial marketing campaign on the inside of city trains, bringing the network more in line with rail operators overseas where internal advertising is standard practice.

A QR spokeswoman said the transport provider began testing expansions to the amount of space available to advertisers early this year.

She said extra space would help make QR more commercially viable with benefits passed on to rail users.

Leighton group wins Qatar rail deal

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Leighton Holdings' Middle East operation has won a contract to build Qatar's first rail system as the country prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG), in which Leighton has a 45 per cent stake, will build a battery-operated tram system designed to move students around Doha Education City.

Queensland Rail to close North Coast line from Friday

Posted Thursday, 2 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail will keep the North Coast line open this afternoon but close it in off peak periods from Friday to address a series of copper wire thefts.

Plans to run uses instead of trains north of Caboolture have been postponed until tomorrow to limit disruption to commuters.

Genesee & Wyoming Australia Buys Alice Springs Rail Terminal, Sells Cook Fuel

Posted Friday, 3 August, 2012 by DesL in Press Releases

Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd (GWA), recently completed the purchase of an intermodal and freight terminal in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, from Asciano Services Pty Ltd (AIO), a subsidiary of Asciano Pty Ltd (ASX: AIO). Pursuant to the agreement, GWA will sell to AIO certain assets in the township of Cook, South Australia, that include a fuel-sales business.

Blackwood wants brakes put on Pakenham rail plan

Posted Friday, 3 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood, will lobby Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder to reject a plan to stop Gippsland passenger trains at Pakenham.

The operator of Melbourne's trains, Metro, has suggested Gippsland V/Line passengers get off their train at Pakenham and reboard a metropolitan train for the rest of their journey.

Firm suspends driver who stopped rail crash

Posted Friday, 3 August, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

A driver who ran down a railway line to stop a passenger train hurtling towards her after her bus broke down on the tracks initially received not praise but punishment.

Her employer, NZ Bus, sent her a letter saying it was investigating an allegation she positioned her bus across the line, and threatened her with dismissal.

But the Tramways Union challenged the decision and the driver, aged 42, was taken off suspension and commended.

Rail plans force farmers to question future

Posted Friday, 3 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A group of central Queensland landholders says farmers still face years of uncertainty about rail line routes to service the Galilee Basin.

The State Government has endorsed two rail corridor options from the basin to the coast but admits other lines could still be proposed by mining companies in the future.

As part of the Government approved Alpha coal project, a 500-kilometre line is planned to cross flood plain areas around the Belyando River and Mistake Creek.

Perth Station to close for rail-sinking work

Posted Friday, 3 August, 2012 by Mouse in Press Releases

Perth Station will be closed from 10.30am on Friday, August 17 to last services on Sunday, August 19.   The closure will allow the Fremantle tracks to be repositioned so that work can continue on construction of a tunnel through the rail yard immediately west of the Horseshoe Bridge as part of the Perth City Link rail project.   It will affect the Midland, Fremantle and Armadale-Thornlie lines but not Mandurah-Joondalup.  

Has Victoria’s Rail Project Hit the Buffers?

Posted Friday, 3 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A $5 billion proposed rail project that would link Melbourne's northern and southern rail networks and include the building of five new underground stations is looking increasingly unlikely to get off the ground.

Michael Hopkins, executive director of policy and communication at the Department ofTransport in Victoria said at a recent infrastructure conference that the chances of the commonwealth coming through with the funding in the lead-up to a federal election was going to be a "really tough call."

Kids at 60 Hunter schools eat lunch next to coal rail line

Posted Saturday, 4 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

MORE than 23,000 Hunter school students spend their lunchtimes within 500 metres of the Hunter's coal rail corridor.

A review of the locations of Hunter public and private schools has shown 16per cent of school grounds, 60 schools, are within walking distance of the region's coal railway lines.

It means students spend their lunchtimes playing while breathing air filled with coal dust emanating from passing trains.

Metro makes it tougher to get a seat on the train

Posted Saturday, 4 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne's rail operator Metro Trains is increasing standing room on trains to cope with overcrowding during peak periods.

Fifty-eight X'Trapolis trains will have 72 seats removed to make more standing room for passengers with hand rails.

Metro Trains spokesman Daniel Hoare says the reality of living in a growing city is there are more people to move.

Collision course: transport boss quits

Posted Saturday, 4 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE state's top transport bureaucrat has resigned from the body drawing up a 20-year infrastructure plan for NSW, signalling a big split over the O'Farrell government's agenda.

The split emerges from competing views about the relative importance of public transport or motorway projects to be built in Sydney in the next 20 years.

Les Wielinga, the director-general of Transport for NSW, was brought onto the board of Infrastructure NSW in September to provide a bridge between the transport bureaucracy and the new independent advisory body.

The government confirmed yesterday that Mr Wielinga quit the board of Infrastructure NSW last month but played down the reasons for his resignation. But sources said the departure confirmed and sharpened a tension that had been building since the early days of the government.

NASA chooses Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada to provide space taxi service

Posted Saturday, 4 August, 2012 by bevans in Other Transport News

NASA has picked three aerospace companies to build small rocketships to lift its astronauts into orbit.

This is the third phase of NASA's efforts to get private space companies to take over the job of the now-retired space shuttle. The companies will share more than $1.1 billion. Two of the ships are capsules like in the Apollo era and the third is closer in design to the space shuttle.

Government to spend $80m on Perth-Mandurah rail line

Posted Sunday, 5 August, 2012 by Mouse in Western Australian Rail News

THE Barnett Government is to spend about $80 million building WA's biggest park-and-ride train station and buying more rail carriages to ease the pressure on the state's busiest railway line.

Today, Premier Colin Barnett will unveil plans for the major new hub Aubin Grove on the Perth-Mandurah line to ease transport congestion for commuters in the southern suburbs.

The station, about 3km south of Cockburn Central, will be near the Gibbs and Russell roads exits of the Kwinana Freeway, with a bridge connecting passengers to a 2000-bay car park and a new bus terminal.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 4/8/2012

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

There were 127 sightings for this week. This is three sightings more than last week, making a total of 3645 sightings for this year to date. On day 217 last year we had recorded 3253 sightings. This is 392 sightings up on the same time last year.

Alignment of High Speed Rail Corridor yet to be decided

Posted Sunday, 5 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareed has said that only the preliminary survey as part of the feasibility study of the proposed High Speed Rail Corridor is being carried out in the district.

He said that the final policy decision would be taken by the State government. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will submit the feasibility report to the government in December. The decision regarding the alignment of the project will be taken only after that.

Man drives car onto railway tracks

Posted Sunday, 5 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

POLICE are investigating why a man took a potentially deadly drive along a suburban railway line.

The 31-year-old turned off the road and onto the tracks at Springvale railway station at 10pm on Saturday.

New link to Regional Rail Link updates

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A NEW Regional Rail Link Community Information Hub has opened in Wyndham Vale.

The hub, opening today, is on the site of the future Wyndham Vale station in the Manor Lakes estate.

Visitors can see 3D models of Tarneit and Wyndham Vale stations, watch animation on the future railway and its new upgraded stations, and through time-lapse photography, witness the progress of construction works.

Train derails; rail cars full of alcohol burst into flames

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A train traveling through Montana derailed on Sunday, and eight of its cars carrying alcohol burst into flames.

The Billings Gazette reports that no one was injured in the derailment and subsequent fire, which spread to eight of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train's 15 derailed rail cars. Fourteen of those cars are said to have been carrying denatured alcohol, a fuel additive, while the 15th car was carrying cardboard.

Work begins on major Vic rail link

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Work has started on a multi-billion dollar rail project that will improve transport links to regional Victoria and provide better public transport to Melbourne's booming west.

Federal Attorney-General and local member Nicola Roxon joined federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder at West Footscray train station on Tuesday for the sod turning on the 7.5km Footscray to Deer Park section of the regional rail link.

Work on Hunter rail tracks

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE Hunter’s rail network will shut down for 96 hours next week to allow for $30million worth of works to be completed including major maintenance and projects to upgrade the capacity of the coal chain.

About 15,000 concrete sleepers will be installed and more than 100 projects undertaken when the tracks are closed from 6am tomorrow to 6am on Saturday.

Passenger services will be disrupted, with buses to replace trains between Scone and Maitland during the day and Scone and Newcastle in the evenings.

British 'rail motor car' facing final journey in India

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

One of the world's most celebrated, romantic railway trains, the British 'rail motor car' of India's Himalayan Kalka-Shimla line may have made its last journey after officials said they could no longer source essential spare parts.

The train – one of four – which has plied the railway which once spirited colonial officials and their families away from the heat of India's northern plains to the summer capital Shimla in the pine forests foothills, was suspended last month.

Its suspension and likely retirement brought pangs of regret throughout India on Monday where it is warmly remembered not only by those who have made the five hour crawling rail journey to Shimla but by millions of Bollywood film fans who have seen the train star in countless romantic classics.

Railway station safety on track

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE number of train travellers at night is likely to dramatically increase once every station is patrolled by Protective Services Officers, a survey shows. 

Police Minister Peter Ryan gave the Herald Sun the results of an independent survey of 1700 night-time train travellers that was recently conducted at six train stations.

Mr Ryan also revealed PSOs would be permanently deployed at notorious trouble spots Box Hill, Epping and Noble Park train stations from 6pm today.

A police spokeswoman said the next available batch of PSOs would be sent to patrol the Frankston station.

Rail line to increase access to super pit

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Engenium have begun work on a railway line to increase tourist access to the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

According to the company this new extension will run from the disused rail line at Boulder train station, which was part of the Golden Mile Loopline built in the late 1800s.

The Golden Mile Loopline was once the busiest railway in Australia, carrying freight for the miners, hauling wood, as well as transporting workers to the mines.

Light rail taskforce completes report

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The Sunshine Coast's light rail taskforce has signed off on the first stage of the project.

The taskforce, comprising community and business representatives, has completed its pre-feasibility report.

Project leader Ken Deutscher says it is now up to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council to decide if the next stage goes ahead.

Trains rolling after 5 month flood break

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The first trains in almost five months have been scheduled for a western Queensland rail line this week.

The line has been closed since February, when flooding damaged the Darr River bridge between Longreach and Winton.

Winton Mayor Butch Lenton says Queensland Rail (QR) has notified the council trains are resuming from today.

Bail refused for copper theft accused

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A man has been refused bail after appearing in court charged with stealing hundreds of kilograms of copper wire.

Blair Edward Hudson, 28, of Nambour, appeared yesterday in the Caboolture Magistrates Court, in south-east Queensland, charged with 90 offences, including 26 counts of endangering persons travelling by railway, 29 counts of entering a premise with intent and 32 counts of fraud.

Group to highlight open coal train risks

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A former environmental engineer says the general public is oblivious to pollution caused by open rail wagons carrying coal in southern Queensland.

John Gordon says 100 trips are made between mines west of Toowoomba and the Port of Brisbane every week.

Call for safety improvements at level crossings

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

REPORTS of a motorist lifting boom gates at a major Melbourne level crossing have prompted renewed calls from Victoria's rail safety regulator for safety improvements.

Transport Safety Victoria's acting director of rail safety, Andrew Doery, has condemned the behaviour of the motorist at a Glenroy crossing.

There have also been several incidents recently at the Anderson Rd crossing in Sunshine.

Federal funds bid for road, rail projects

Posted Tuesday, 7 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Victorian Government has put forward several regional road and rail projects for Commonwealth funding.

The Government's submission to Infrastructure Australia features proposals for several major projects, including further duplication of the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell.

City residents rail at train racket that's a bridge too far

Posted Wednesday, 8 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

WHEN David Franzke and Victoria Huf bought a house across the road from a railway line 10 years ago, they knew they would have to live with the intrusive noise of the odd diesel train thundering by.

The railway flyover on the other side of their West Melbourne street is used each day by shunting V/Line trains and by passing freight trains, some of which pass at night at a loud enough volume to shatter sleep.

For years they accepted this as the price for a house on the city fringe. But the couple, who have an infant son, recently learnt that the line will become much busier once the regional rail link is built in 2016. V/Line trains using platforms one to eight at Southern Cross Station will use the flyover that passes just 12 metres from their house - not the new track being laid hundreds of metres away as part of Melbourne's first new railway line in more than 80 years.

Court bid to halt $1.6 billion Gold Coast light rail project

Posted Wednesday, 8 August, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

A GOLD Coast man is suing federal Treasurer Wayne Swan in a bid to stop the Glitter Strip's $1.6 billion light rail project in its tracks.

Self-employed carpenter and self-proclaimed "truthologist" Bruce Jeffree has launched legal action against Mr Swan, federal Finance Minister Chris Bowen, the Gold Coast City Council and light rail companyGoldLinQ.

He alleges government funding for the project is unconstitutional and is seeking an injunction to have it frozen. A hearing has been set down in Southport District Court this month.

Wire thefts force more rail chaos

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

ABOUT 1000 Sunshine Coast rail commuters have had to juggle their schedules or arrive late for work in Brisbane.

Eight Sunshine Coast stations are closed while Queensland Rail continues with emergency repair work after the theft of 530kg of copper wire from its sites.

It is unclear when the situation will be resolved.

Queensland Rail had hoped on Friday the closure of the stations would be only for one day.

Rail network maintenance 'piecemeal': minister

Posted Thursday, 9 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Maintenance on the southeast Queensland rail network has occurred in a piecemeal way, the transport minister says.

The state government has today issued the results of a passenger rail network audit commissioned soon after the election. It outlines 26 recommendations, largely dealing with technical issues, costing almost $60 million to implement.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson told an engineering breakfast in Brisbane the audit had found maintenance spending had increased by about 30 per cent in five years.

However, he said that figure was eclipsed by Queensland Rail's spending increases in other areas such as finance (166 per cent rise over two years) and marketing (68 per cent).

Dooen freight hub opens

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

The Wimmera's new freight hub is officially opening today.

The $17 million project has been talked about for more than a decade and has now been completed.

The facility at Dooen, near Horsham, will service road and rail transport of containers of grain and minerals sands.

No news on inner-city rail line

Posted Thursday, 9 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Newcastle MP Tim Owen says there is still no announcement on Newcastle's rail line as the State Government grapples with developing a full transport and urban design plan for the city.

The Urban Development Institute is today hosting a briefing in Newcastle where Mr Owen will discuss the progress of a $600 million joint venture between developers GPT and Landcom.

Dandy rail tops list

Posted Friday, 10 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

UPGRADES to the Dandenong rail line top the Victorian Government’s wish list for infrastructure projects. 

The Victorian Government has submitted its 2012 Priority Infrastructure submission to Infrastructure Australia in the hope of receiving Commonwealth funding for the projects. 

A Dandenong Rail Capacity Program, including grade separations, signalling upgrades and platform lengthening along the Dandenong line, is among the top six priorities. 

Also at the top of the list is planning and construction of the Port of Hastings.

Defects found on 12 rail lines

Posted Friday, 10 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

BEIJING, August 9 (Xinhuanet) -- The Ministry of Railways has found quality defects on 12 rail lines that may endanger railroad safety, according to a document recently obtained by the media.

Seven of the 12 lines have been put into service, including high-speed passenger railways between Wuhan and Guangzhou and between Zhengzhou and Xi'an, according to the document.

The problems were discovered during routine inspections. The construction defects on the seven lines included cracks and leaks on tunnel arches, tilted communications towers and poorly arranged electronic cables, the Chinese news portal reported on Tuesday.

State significant rail plans for Hexham

Posted Friday, 10 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Plans are progressing for a massive rail project at Hexham with a State Significant Infrastructure Application lodged with the State Government.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation says its $90 million project includes five extra rail lines, known as relief roads, with a capacity to store a minimum of 90 wagons.

There will also be new signal infrastructure and access tracks.

Major rail problems on downward trend

Posted Friday, 10 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The number of major incidents on the southeast Queensland rail network has been on a downward trend over the past three years, an audit has found.

Despite the decrease, individual events have the potential to cause huge disruptions to Queensland Rail passengers, as was the case in February and March this year.

A report commissioned by new Transport Minister Scott Emerson investigates the reliability of the southeast Queensland rail network, triggered by concerns over major disruptions in the lead up to the March state election.

Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal open for business

Posted Friday, 10 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal at Dooen is officially open.

The $17.5-million project will provide a central location for grain handling and export processes and improved access to grain ports.

Victoria's Deputy Premier Peter Ryan officially opened the terminal on Wednesday morning.

The State Government provided $9.3 million for the project while the Federal Government contributed $6.5 million, with council and private enterprise providing the balance of money.

The capacity of the freight hub will be close to double that of the Horsham terminal.

Confusing tram super stop to be changed

Posted Friday, 10 August, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

It is less than a year old, but the super tram stop on Swanston Street outside Melbourne's State Library is poised for a make over.

The super stop has confused pedestrians and cyclists who are supposed to be sharing the space.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle says some changes should improve the situation.

Transoil buys 10,000 rail cars from Freight One

Posted Saturday, 11 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Aug 10 (Reuters) - Transoil has increased its fleet of rail cars by around 70 percent after acquiring 10,000 from Russian rival Freight One for an undisclosed sum, to extend its lead as the country's biggest transporter of oil and refined products by rail.

Transoil, which accounts for over a fifth of oil shipments by rail, said on Friday it now had 25,000 rail cars after the deal with Freight One, controlled by Vladimir Lisin, Russia's No.2 richest businessman.

Pipeline protests spur companies to consider shipping oilsands crude by rail

Posted Saturday, 11 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

OTTAWA — As battles rage over the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines, governments and energy companies are eyeing other options for transporting oilsands crude to foreign markets, including by rail, a pipeline through the Northwest Territories and shipping more oil to Eastern Canada instead.

The political, economic and environmental stakes are enormous. Billions of dollars of investment are on the line but, as the Northern Gateway saga has shown, there are also plenty of potential pitfalls for governments and project proponents.

Some in Sunbury not galvanised by train electrification

Posted Monday, 13 August, 2012 by railblogger in Gunzelling Reports

THE number of trains between Melbourne and Sunbury will double when Metro takes over running the line from V/Line later this year, creating capacity for thousands more passengers a day along the Sydenham line - but not all the locals are happy about it. The $270 million electrification of the Sunbury line that began in 2008 under the Brumby government is almost complete, after new overhead wires and signals were switched on during a recent 10-day shutdown of the line.

The Age believes railway operators aim to complete the handover in November, to coincide with the next chapter in Metro's progressive overhaul of Melbourne's train timetable. Express V/Line trains that run once an hour, on average, to the suburban outpost will be replaced by more frequent Metro trains that will stop at suburban stations, making for a slower journey. ''The electrification of the line will give Sunbury and Sydenham-line passengers a far more frequent and reliable service,'' a spokeswoman for Public Transport Victoria said.

Sunbury trains currently bypass the loop, forcing many commuters to change trains at North Melbourne station.

Rail commuters will miss station master

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

TURRAMURRA station master Paul Egan (pictured) owes a lot to the railway. But for what he has gained during his 36 years of dedicated service - a wife, a fulfilling career and now a Premier's Community Service Award - he has returned in spades.

But Turramurra commuters, many of whom have become friends, will no longer see his friendly face of a morning following his retirement last week after 16 years as station master.

Onkaparinga Valley's rail bridge north and south sections to meet this week

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

THE north and south sections of the 1.2km Onkaparinga Valley rail bridge will be linked this week, making the structure one of Australia's longest.

The bridge is part of the $290 million, 5.7km, electrified dual rail-line extension from Noarlunga to Seaford.

The extension includes two park-and-ride railway stations, the bridge over the Onkaparinga, an overpass at Old Honeypot Rd and road bridges over the line at Goldsmith Drive, Seaford Rd and Lynton Tce.

Major disruptions to rail services this weekend

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

There will be major disruptions to metro rail services this weekend with Perth station closed to allow work on the Perth City Link project.

The station will be closed from 10:30 on Friday morning through to the last service on Sunday evening, affecting the Midland, Fremantle, Armadale and Thornlie lines.

The Mandurah and Joondalup lines will be affected on Sunday night from 8:00 pm until the last service.

North Coast rail stations reopen

Posted Monday, 13 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Eight train stations on the North Coast line have reopened.

Emergency repairs are continuing after the theft of copper wiring used to earth overhead powerlines.

Conflict of interest raised over rail deal

Posted Tuesday, 14 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND'S Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney denies he's given his former chief of staff, a lobbyist, favourable treatment over a rail project.

Labor is demanding the issue be referred to the Integrity Commissioner amid conflict of interest claims.

David Moore took leave from his lobbying company to serve as Mr Seeney's chief of staff when he was opposition leader last year.

Police to crack down on track daredevils

Posted Tuesday, 14 August, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

The Gawler and Noarlunga lines are the worst for near misses between trains and people trespassing on the tracks, transit police say.

Police are cracking down on the practice this week, with more officers patrolling the lines.

Chief Inspector Ashley Gordon says there are several instances of trespassing a week, including people deliberately taking risks by running in front of trains.

Rail crossing awareness up

Posted Tuesday, 14 August, 2012 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

The number of near misses on Tasmania's railway level crossings have dropped by almost half in 12 months.

A near miss is when a train driver reports almost hitting a car.

In the 2010 financial year there were 118 reported cases, last financial year Tasrail received 69.

Metro's elite rail strategy hangs on a Baillieu promise

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

METRO'S ambitious five-year plan to provide Melbourne with a world-class train network has been revealed, but it relies on the Baillieu government honouring its 2010 election promise to purchase 40 new trains.

Documents released under freedom of information reveal Metro's strategy to boost Melbourne's train service by 2017. The plan spells out the major constraints to achieving this, including railway congestion, overcrowded trains and inefficient work practices. It forecasts chronic overcrowding on some of the city's busiest lines if the changes are not made.

Greens in court bid to access secret myki documents

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

Greens MP Greg Barber go to the Victorian Supreme Court today to seek access to secret cabinet documents on the myki ticketing system.

The Baillieu Government had considered scrapping the $1.3 billion project, but changed its mind after receiving a consultant's report on the system.

Government to fix problem with myki receipts

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

The State Government says changes will be made to the way myki vending machines issue receipts.

Consumer and transport user groups have raised concerns about sensitive credit card information that is printed on the receipts.

Many receipts are not picked up because they are sometimes printed even when card users have said they do not want one.

Daniel Bowen from the Public Transport Users Group says the receipts include more detail than is necessary.

Rail commuters on Caboolture line hit by delays

Posted Tuesday, 14 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

COMMUTERS on the Caboolture train line are still facing 30-minute delays due to a power fault north of Brisbane.

A TransLink spokeswoman an electrical fault at Burpengary meant trains in the area were forced to run at slow speeds, initially delaying passengers on the line up to 90 minutes but that figure later dropped to about 30 minutes.

Overseas interest in Sydney NW rail link

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

International consortiums may be among those bidding for the tunnelling contract for Sydney's North West Rail Link.

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday that six consortiums, including more than 60 companies, had flagged their interest in vying to build the twin 15.5-kilometre tunnels between Bella Vista and Epping.

Police to take over security on public transport

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

NSW Police will take over security on Sydney's trains and buses, the government announced today.

The move means the end of the dedicated division of transit officers who had patrolled CityRail trains.

Under the new structure, a smaller group of transit officers will be solely responsible for "revenue protection" on buses, trains and ferries.

The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, announced the restructure today with the Police Minister, Mike Gallagher, the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, and Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.

RailCorp says station announcements are 'unrealistic'

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

Railcorp has told a Sydney court it is unrealistic to expect it to announce stations on board every single train but Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, who has bought the civil suit, says Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth has managed it.

Man charged over armed robbery at Hexham

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

A 29-year-old Beresfield man's been charged over an armed robbery at a Hexham fast food store, that sparked a police manhunt and stopped train movements on the Hunter rail line.

Police say the man used a gun to threaten staff at the Hungry Jack's restaurant yesterday morning before climbing aboard a coal train.

Tilt trains seen as way to lure users to rural rail

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

THIRTY years after they were introduced, CountryLink's XPT trains have travelled more than three million kilometres more than they were designed to, and should be retired for ''premium'' trains offering faster travel times and better seating and entertainment options.

A confidential analysis into CountryLink reveals the state's ageing long-distance train fleet is suffering ''fatigue and corrosion issues'' and replacement parts are becoming difficult to obtain.

But the analysis, prepared for the director-general of Transport for NSW and obtained through a freedom of information request, points to a potentially bright future for regional rail if the state government was prepared to buy new and faster ''premium'' trains.

These new trains could shave travel times between Sydney and Canberra by more than an hour and, according to the analysis, attract 60 per cent more patronage than the state's regional train services do now.

Safety blitz: police plan rail-crossing crackdown

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

Motorists and pedestrians who take unnecessary risks when crossing train tracks face a hefty fine as well as the possibility of being seriously injured or killed, police have warned.

Victoria Police has announced a safety blitz at level crossings and at train stations across the state as part of National Rail Safety Week, which begins today.

Police, in a series of high-visibility and plain-clothed operations, will target motorists and pedestrians who cross train tracks against safety signals.

Figures released by police today show that 54 pedestrians and motorists were hit by trains between June 30 last year and July 1 this year, with 24 pedestrians killed as a result of the collisions.

Regional Rail Link: Footscray bridge shutdown 'necessary birthing pain'

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

A YEAR-long shutdown of a busy Footscray bridge is just one of the signs that work has begun on the 7.5-kilometre Footscray to Deer Park section of the multibillion-dollar Regional Rail Link project.

Buses replaced trains between Footscray and Watergardens stations in Taylors Lakes over the weekend to allow for works. Extensive changes to the road network, including the closure of Footscray's Albert Street, are now in place.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, visiting the intended site of the relocated West Footscray station last week to officially launch the works, said the project was Melbourne's first new passenger rail infrastructure since the Glen Waverley line opened in 1930.

November tipped for Metro train start

Posted Wednesday, 15 August, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

METRO trains are expected to start running between Sunbury and Melbourne by the end of the year, Public Transport Victoria says. The Weekly believes a start date of November 18 is being aimed for.

PTV's spokeswoman Caitlyn Hammond would not confirm the date, but said: "We hope to be able to make an announcement regarding the commencement date in the coming months, once service planning details have been finalised. "PTV and the rail operators are working through the final stages of service planning and timetabling. Once these details are locked in, we'll be in a position to announce a commencement date."

Queensland Rail says sorry

Posted Wednesday, 15 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Queensland Rail has apologised to customers affected by yesterday's disruptions.

Queensland Rail services on the Caboolture line were delayed yesterday morning following two power outages and a track fault between Morayfield and Narangba stations.

They said the first incident occurred between Morayfield and Burpengary at 7.02am and was rectified within minutes before a second outage occurred near Narangba station at 7.07am.

Light rail pain for Sarroff eatery

Posted Wednesday, 15 August, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

FAILED mayoral candidate Eddy Sarroff says he has fallen victim to the city's controversial light rail system, only months after being one of the $1.2 billion project's biggest supporters.

Shibui Restaurant and Bar, a Japanese restaurant in Southport owned by former councillor Sarroff's wife Leanne, is under new management, with his nephews now running it day-to-day as an Australian cuisine eatery. The business will only open on weekdays.

Branson reaches end of railway line

Posted Thursday, 16 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Richard Branson has signalled that he will exit the railway business after Virgin Rail Group lost a long-held deal with the British government to run a major route linking London with Glasgow.

The Department for Transport has awarded a new 13-year west coast train franchise to transport firm FirstGroup, which will begin services between England and Scotland from December.

Virgin Rail - which is 51-per-cent owned by Virgin Group and 49-per-cent owned by transport firm Stagecoach - has been running the route since 1997, during which time it introduced tilting high-speed Pendolino trains. It is Virgin's only railway franchise.

Three rail cars plunge into river as train derails in Miami County

Posted Thursday, 16 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A Union Pacific Railroad train hauling grain derailed early Wednesday in rural Miami County, sending three rail cars into the Marais Des Cygnes River. No one was injured.

The train of 106 rail cars loaded with wheat derailed about 1:45 a.m. near West 347th Street and Lookout Road, east of Osawatomie, according to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. The train was bound for Corpus Christi, Texas, from Colby, Kan.

Only 23 rail cars derailed, but some struck the railroad bridge over the river, said Mark Davis, a spokesman for the Union Pacific Railroad.

Peak services suffered in rail revamp

Posted Thursday, 16 August, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

The performance of Metro trains lagged significantly during the morning and evening peak times last year METRO'S superior punctuality after it rewrote Melbourne's train timetable last year was achieved on the back of off-peak services that carried far fewer passengers. But the performance of Melbourne's metropolitan rail operator lagged significantly during the morning and evening peaks, with suburban lines performing up to 16 per cent worse compared with quieter times of the day and night.

Ombudsman slams 'flawed' probe on inspectors

Posted Thursday, 16 August, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

VICTORIAN Ombudsman George Brouwer has criticised Metro and the Department of Transport for failing to correctly investigate a woman's complaint that she and another train passenger were subjected to unreasonable force by two ticket inspectors.

The woman was threatened with criminal charges after intervening when she saw a male passenger who allegedly did not have a valid ticket being pushed forcefully by two inspectors on a Sydenham train in November.

The woman stepped in to complain after the man was pushed to the ground by two officers at North Melbourne station and dragged along the platform. The officers threatened her with criminal charges for hindering their work.

Metro hopes to have line open for trip home

Posted Thursday, 16 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Metro is hoping this afternoon's peak-hour will provide a smoother ride than this morning as it works to ensure three suspended rail lines are back up and running.

Services on the Craigieburn, Werribee and Williamstown lines were all disrupted this morning, leaving some passengers stranded and others facing lengthy delays.

Trains have resumed running on the Werribee and Williamstown lines and Metro hopes that services will be available on the Craigieburn line for this afternoon's commute home.

Twenty buses are on standby in case the line has not been cleared by then.

Brisbane opts out of SEQ light rail revolution

Posted Thursday, 16 August, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

Light rail will not be considered as part of a $2 million prefeasibility study City Hall has charged AECOM Australia to produce by mid-2013 to find solutions to traffic congestion in Brisbane.

Despite moves by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council to incorporate light rail into their integrated infrastructure future planning, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said he wanted to see a new city bus link built instead.

But Robert Dow, spokesman for public transport advocacy group Rail Back on Track, said it would be foolish not to consider light rail for Brisbane as part of Brisbane City Council's future planning as buses only put more pressure on roads.

The big rail shutdown

Posted Thursday, 16 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The Perth Train Station will close from 10:30am on Friday 17 August until first service on Monday, 20 August for major works to proceed with the sinking of the Fremantle line. Travel on the Fremantle. Midland, Armadale and Thornlie lines will be affected. 


David Hynes, Manager of Corporate Communications for the Public Transport Authority says the shutdown will disrupt four train lines, but is essential.

Switch of rail plans for track to airport

Posted Thursday, 16 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE Gold Coast City Council has created secret plans to dump the heavy rail extension to the Gold Coast Airport.

The line would end at Elanora under the new proposal, which instead calls for an extension of the light rail from Broadbeach, where it is planned to end, to the airport.

While heavy rail is a State Government responsibility, the new option is part of the council's draft transport plan.

Council representatives also saw Transport Minister Scott Emerson last month to lobby for the light rail option.

Council projections indicate a heavy rail link from Varsity Lakes Rail Station to Coolangatta would only get 7000 passenger trips a day by 2031 but a light rail link going up the coastal strip would get closer to 50,000 passenger trips.

Karara Iron Ore rail spur up and running

Posted Friday, 17 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Karara Iron Ore has used its new integrated mine and rail logistics chain in mid-west Western Australia for the first time.

The 85-kilometre rail spur connects the Karara project's new mine to the existing rail network.

Rail work bans to start as Metro dispute gathers steam

Posted Friday, 17 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Rail unions will commence industrial action from Saturday over a dispute with Metro, largely focused on the rail operator's push for more night-time track and signalling work.

The actions will not have any immediate affect on train services for commuters, but will target non-critical infrastructure work, and place bans on working overtime.

The Electrical Trades Union and the Association of Professional Engineers Scientists and Managers Australia will start overtime bans on Saturday. The Rail Tram and Bus Union will follow the week after.

And the 700 rail workers represented by the three unions will also hold stop work meetings next Tuesday.

Cars impounded in police Rail Safety Week blitz

Posted Friday, 17 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THREE drivers have had their cars, including a Mercedes-Benz and a fruit delivery truck, impounded for 30 days.

The first driver had his fruit delivery truck impounded after he was caught driving through a level crossing in Fairfield yesterday.

Police watched the 25-year-old Heidelberg Heights man cross the tracks after going around two vehicles stopped at the flashing lights.

He is expected to be charged on summons with recklessly and deliberately entering a level crossing.

Safety rule at railway crossing a step too far for one commuter

Posted Friday, 17 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A COMMUTER has been taken to court and fined for doing what thousands of people do every day in Melbourne - walking through the open gates of an automated railway pedestrian crossing.

He was fined because he crossed while the warning signals at the nearby road level crossing were flashing, which is against the law.

The case, which was prosecuted by the Department of Transport, has sparked claims that the law fails to take into account the way many railway level crossings function, with automated pedestrian gates operating independently of nearby boom gates.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 11/8/2012.

Posted Saturday, 18 August, 2012 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 140 sightings for this week. This is 13 sightings more than last week, making a total of 3785 sightings for this year to date. On day 224 last year we had recorded 3380 sightings. This is 405 sightings up on the same time last year.

New low-floor trams miss first stop by seven months

Posted Saturday, 18 August, 2012 by railblogger in Tram and Light Rail News

PRODUCTION of 50 new low-floor trams for Melbourne has fallen a year behind schedule because Dandenong-based manufacturer Bombardier has battled with the complex demands of building them. The first of the trams was meant to be delivered to the state government on December 19 but will instead arrive by the end of July, seven months late.

Bombardier spokesman Andy Spink said it would take the company 12 months to catch up to its original construction timeline, and that the last of the 50 trams would be delivered by early 2018, as was planned when the former Brumby government contracted the company to build them in September 2010.

Adelaide Railway Station to close for a month

Posted Saturday, 18 August, 2012 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

ADELAIDE Railway station will be closed to all train services for at least a month because of convention centre renovations and rail line electrification.

As revealed on AdelaideNow yesterday, the work - expected to begin in January - means passengers will have to be bussed between city from inner-suburban stations.

The closure will affect tens of thousands of commuters and also restrict traffic along the Morphett St Bridge.

Bridge repairs to cut Top End rail line again

Posted Saturday, 18 August, 2012 by bevans in Gunzelling Reports

The Edith River bridge, which connects Darwin's rail line to the rest of Australia, will be closed for a week while repairs are carried out.

Line operator Genesee and Wyoming Australia says it needs to replace two girders on the bridge which was brought down last year by the derailment of a freight train in record flooding associated with tropical Cyclone Grant.

$25 million released for further studies into rail line

Posted Saturday, 18 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, says the Maldon to Dombarton rail line project could be included in the Labor government's next big program of road and rail spending.

The government has released $25.5 million to further plans for the long-awaited freight rail line to link Port Kembla to the Southern Highlands via 35 kilometres of new track.

13,400 commuters rail against myki ticketing system

Posted Sunday, 19 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

MORE than 13,400 commuters have lodged complaints about the much-maligned $1.35 billion myki ticketing system this year.

With the year only just half over, official figures reveal the number of disgruntled travellers is 13,429, closing in on the 14,576 complaints recorded in 2011.

Complaints included overcharging, an inability to top up cards, faulty myki cards and card readers that didn't work.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 18/8/2012.

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

There were 124 sightings for this week. This is 16 sightings less than last week, making a total of 3909 sightings for this year to date. On day 231 last year we had recorded 3513 sightings. This is 396 sightings up on the same time last year.

The missing link: North West Rail rail line

Posted Sunday, 19 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

IT'S the disappearing train line. Premier Barry O'Farrell's key infrastructure project, the North West Rail Link, was omitted from a national register of major projects because the state's bungling bureaucrats have no idea how long it will take to complete.

An embarrassing email exchange between state and federal government staffers concerning the project, and obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, reveal one bureaucrat even resorted to Google to "guesstimate" an official competition date, saying it could be altered later.

Rail contract extended

Posted Sunday, 19 August, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

The French-owned firm responsible for the Rugby World Cup passenger rail shambles has quietly gained a two-year contract extension to keep running Auckland train services.

Despite the RWC opening night fiasco, Veolia Transport Auckland will be allowed to manage the new electric trains, the implementation of swipe card ticketing - and about 11 million passenger trips a year. Auckland Transport extended the company's contract without any public announcement, and without giving competing rail companies a chance to tender for the contract.

Too little spending on roads, rail

Posted Monday, 20 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

NOT enough money is being spent on maintaining Australia's roads, railways and utilities, a private sector research group says.

BIS Shrapnel's sixth review of the maintenance industry released on Monday said $35 billion was spent in the sector during 2011/12.

The report, Maintenance in Australia 2012 to 2027, said maintenance spending had risen during the past two years but it was not keeping pace with the investment surge in public infrastructure and mining over the past decade.

Metro reassures passengers

Posted Monday, 20 August, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

METRO has reassured passengers that strike meetings being staged tomorrow by infrastructure repair and maintenance workers will not shut down the rail network. Rail unions will lead the staff walkout as part of their campaign over a new enterprise agreement.

They want Metro to negotiate over its planned increase in night-time track, signalling and overhead power work.

Metro spokeswoman Geraldine Mitchell said the operator did not expect major disruptions, but any faults could take longer to repair, ''which may affect the evening peak and lead to cancellations and delays''.

Police get tough on daredevil drivers risking it all on rail crossings

Posted Monday, 20 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

POLICE have cracked down on drivers dicing with death at level crossings.

During a statewide police operation that ended yesterday, 314 infringement notices were issued to reckless pedestrians and motorists at level crossings.

Mates share rail tales at reunion

Posted Monday, 20 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

FORMER railway workers retold stories of yesteryear at the Workshops Rail Museum yesterday, as they celebrated the annual reunion among old mates.

The reunion was combined with the Ipswich Heritage Fair and held extra significance this year as the museum marked its 10th anniversary.

Rail stop-work won't affect public: union

Posted Monday, 20 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Rail maintenance workers are preparing to introduce overtime bans as part of an enterprise bargaining dispute with Melbourne's rail operator Metro.

Stop-work meetings will be held in Melbourne on Tuesday after five months of negotiations with Metro Trains.

Trevor Dobbyn, from the Rail, Bus and Tram Union, says commuters will not be affected.

Coal trains to be monitored for pollution

Posted Monday, 20 August, 2012 by Foamer in Queensland Rail News

The level of coal dust from freight trains passing through Brisbane will be monitored by Queensland Rail (QR) for the first time in a decade.

Raid super to pay for fast rail: Crean

Posted Tuesday, 21 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

A federal minister is suggesting Australia's massive investment in superannuation could be broken open to fund a high-speed rail network on the eastern seaboard.

The Canberra Business Council immediately welcomed the idea, predicting the project would be a ''game changer'' for Canberra.

The suggestion from Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean comes as a task force is finalising its report which might finally give the go-ahead for the long-awaited project.

''I can see it happening, but it's not going to happen if you think the government alone will fund it,'' Mr Crean told a Canberra Times business lunch yesterday.

Brockman, QR and Atlas in rail study

Posted Tuesday, 21 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Iron ore explorer Brockman Resources has entered into a pact with miner Atlas Iron and train freight operator QR National to jointly compile and evaluate a proposal for a rail link to port in Western Australia.

The Alliance Study Agreement will see QR National, Brockman and Atlas Iron share costs and resources required for the study "of a fully integrated mine, rail and port logistics solution" in WA's East Pilbara region.

The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Coalition figures restive over new rail plan

Posted Tuesday, 21 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

CONCERNS are mounting in the Coalition's northern suburbs heartland about the proposed north-west rail link and the disruption it will cause to existing train services.

In addition, with the state government almost two months behind schedule in releasing its draft master plan for transport, public transport advocates are anxious that the government is locking in long-term decisions with minimal consultation.

‘Please explain’ Qld rail project decision

Posted Tuesday, 21 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Mining magnate Clive Palmer says he'll seek a judicial review if the Queensland government can't explain why a competitor beat him to major rail project.

Mr Palmer is furious that his company, Waratah Coal, lost out to rival GVK-Hancock in June to build a rail corridor to link the Bowen and Galilee basins with the Abbot Point coal terminal.

His lawyers wrote to Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Jeff Seeney on Tuesday, asking him to explain the decision.

Mr Palmer said he wanted a response within 28 days.

Redcliffe rail link blowout a threat to LNP savings drive

Posted Tuesday, 21 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

MORE than 20 per cent of the State Government's hard-fought savings could be blown on the controversial Redcliffe rail link.

As Premier Campbell Newman searches for ways to save $3 billion over the next three years, his government is facing a bill of at least $650 million for the rail link - well in excess of the $300 million budgeted when the project became a hot topic at the 2010 federal election.

Rail crossings: where tragedy awaits

Posted Tuesday, 21 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

BRIMBANK police were on the beat at St Albans train station last week in a bid to promote railway safety.

Transit police patrolled the station for three hours last Tuesday as part of Rail Safety Week.

Transport Safety Victoria data released last week showed eight pedestrians were involved in rail crossing incidents last financial year, up from two in 2010-11. Neither Transport Safety Victoria nor Public Transport Victoria would provide the number of incidents in Brimbank.

On track to make railways a clean, efficient alternative to big trucks

Posted Wednesday, 22 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

THE next time the people of Perth order a book from Amazon, there's every chance the parcel that lands on their doorstep will have spent the last hours of its trip on a train. Early in July, Australia's main parcel carriers decided it was cheaper and faster to put their Perth-bound international deliveries off road and on to rail. What had been a 53-hour trip can now be done in just 44.

And a couple of months ago, Woolworths - one of the biggest freight carriers in the country - began transferring 34,000 tonnes of dry goods from road to rail on the Brisbane-Melbourne route because the line is now faster thanks to nine new passing loops, better crossings and signalling systems, and the removal of tight curves. That decision alone is removing 1000 B-double trucks from our highways.

It's been a bumper season for grain growers in South Australia, Victoria and NSW. Now track repairs mean rail can cope with the extra load. And seven new passing loops to the rail line linking the Hunter coal fields with Port Waratah are enabling output to grow from 97 million to 200 million tonnes a year.

Man electrocuted on Dorchester rail line

Posted Wednesday, 22 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A MAN was electrocuted on a railway line as he crossed the tracks inDorchester .

The 24-year-old visitor was killed on tracks near Dorchester South train station in the early hours, British Transport Police said.

It is believed he was trying to cross the line when he stepped on to the third rail which carries a 750 volt current.

An investigation is being carried out but the man’s death appears to be a ‘tragic accident’.

Train services on the Weymouth-Waterloo line were not affected because it happened so early in the morning and no services were running.

A super strategy for high-speed rail

Posted Wednesday, 22 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

Thanks largely to the introduction of compulsory, award-based superannuation in 1985 - and because households have become far more cautious in their outlook since the global financial crisis - Australia has become a nation of super savers. The pool of super savings is now estimated to be about $1.3 trillion, which is equivalent to 95 per cent of annual GDP, and with employer contributions now on the way from 9 per cent to 12 per cent that sum is expected to increase by about 30 per cent in coming years.

State grain rail network to be shut down

Posted Wednesday, 22 August, 2012 by pandem in Western Australian Rail News

The State Government has decided to close the railway line that transports grain in the Wheatbelt, despite calls from a parliamentary committee to keep it open.

Clive Palmer says he'll sue over rail-line decision

Posted Wednesday, 22 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

CLIVE Palmer's feud with the Queensland government has intensified after the mining billionaire said yesterday he would take legal action against the government unless it publicly stated why it had made a major business decision against his interests but favouring an Indian partner of his fellow mining billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Mr Palmer's legal representative has written to Deputy Premier and State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Jeff Seeney telling him that if he does not make public within 28 days his reasons for giving approval to a rail corridor between his coal deposits in the Galilee Basin region of central Queensland and the coal port of Abbot Point, they will seek a judicial review of the decision.

There are several proposals for major mining developments in the Galilee Basin, but the Queensland government and its predecessor wanted only one railway corridor to take coal to Abbot Point.

Asciano overcomes strikes to lift profit

Posted Wednesday, 22 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

Australian rail and ports operator Asciano reported a 19 per cent rise in full-year profit, spurred by rapid growth in its coal rail business.

The company, which vies against QR National to transport coal, said it expects "another solid year of growth" based on new contracts but did not give a specific forecast.

Net profit rose to $240.8 million for the year to June from a restated $201.6 million due to accounting changes. Earnings before interest and tax jumped 14 per cent to $616.7 million, topping analysts' forecasts around $608 million.

For 2013, analysts are expecting a net profit of $329 million, driven by new contracts in the coal transport arm and a pick-up in its ports business, where it was hit by industrial action last year.

Mulder defends rail line maintenance

Posted Wednesday, 22 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Victoria's Public Transport Minister, Terry Mulder, says it would have been hard to foresee a track washaway that disrupted Gippsland train services this week.

V/Line replaced trains with buses after a driver reported the foundations on a section of the track between Morwell and Moe had washed away.

Services were cancelled last month when a sinkhole appeared next to the track at Darnum.

Qld govt won't commit to keeping Qld Rail

Posted Wednesday, 22 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE Queensland government won't rule out selling the state's passenger rail businesses, Queensland Rail, after the next election.

Katter's Australian Party State Leader Rob Katter introduced a motion to parliament on Tuesday night, calling on the government to acknowledge community opposition to the privatisation of rail assets and commit to retaining ownership of Queensland Rail.

The opposition supported Mr Katter's motion.

But the government would not commit to keeping Queensland Rail Ltd in public hands, saying the state was $65 billion in debt.

ALP 'did not investigate myki problems' in planning stage

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by railblogger in Other Transport News

The myki ticket system was initially supposed to be running by March 2007. Photo: Rebecca Hallas THE former state Labor government failed to properly investigate other smartcard ticket systems around the world when preparing to introduce myki, leading to a costly underestimation of the project's complexity, a state inquiry has heard. The myki ticket system was initially supposed to be running by March 2007, but more than five years later it is still being introduced at a total cost of $1.52 billion - more than half the cost of NASA's recent Mars mission. Transport Ticketing Authority chief executive Bernie Carolan said the authority and the former government should have looked more closely at the problems other systems had struck. ''There wasn't so much effort, with hindsight, in taking jurisdictional soundings … either elsewhere in Australia or overseas to canvass the pitfalls of implementing a new smartcard system,'' Mr Carolan told a hearing at State Parliament. ''There were some examples that could have been looked at, and some lessons may have been learnt,'' he said.

BHP Scrap Olympic Dam Expansion Project

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by Pressman in South Australian Rail News

BHP Billiton has scrapped its $US30 billion ($A28.73 billion) Olympic Dam expansion and is now investigating a cheaper alternative.

BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers on Wednesday blamed low commodity prices and higher costs for the decision not to proceed with the massive copper-uranium open-pit project that would have been one of the world`s biggest mines.

Those market conditions also led to BHP Billiton's full year net profit slumping by more than a third to $US15.42 billion ($A14.77 billion). Lower commodity prices and about $US2.5 billion in write-downs on US shale, Australian nickel and Olympic Dam have contributed to the loss.

"As we finalised all the details of the project in the context of current market conditions, our strategy and capital management priorities, it became clear that the right decision for the company and its shareholders was to continue studies to develop a less capital intensive option to replace the underground mine at Olympic Dam," Mr Kloppers said in a statement.

Push to bring Victorian transport museum to Ballarat

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by Apocalyptical in Victorian Rail News

TRAIN enthusiasts have launched an ambitious bid to bring the Australian Railway Historical Museum to Ballarat, providing a potential boost to the city’s tourism industry.  Currently located in North Williamstown, the museum features more than 100 objects and artefacts telling the story of Australia’s rail history including more than 40 locomotives.

The museum has been closed to visitors in recent years and a search is underway for a new location, with Ballarat joining Moorooduc on the Mornington Peninsula as possible sites for the collection.

Light rail a better solution

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

A PUBLIC transport advocacy group says light rail on Parramatta Rd is needed to ease congestion, instead of the "completely unnecessary" M4 East extension, but the idea has been panned by inner west motorists.

Infrastructure NSW is set to propose a "cut and cover" method for the extension.

It would involve the state government compulsorily acquiring businesses and properties along Parramatta Rd to allow the motorway to be built underneath the roadway in sections.

MetroTrains - Potential disruptions this Tuesday 28/8/2012

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by bevans in Press Releases

Melbourne’s Metro service has changed a lot over thepast two years. With 38 new trains increasing our fleet to 203 and 1,484 new services bringing total services per week to 14,353, we now have a Metro service departing somewhere across Melbourne every 30 seconds, everyday. This is all part of our journey to change from being a traditional suburban railway into a high capacity metro-style service the likes of which customers experience in London, New York and Hong Kong.
To date, good progress has been made to effect these changes. But change isn’t always easy.

V/Line off the rails

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

Buses will replace trains between Moe and Bairnsdale, with passengers told to expect delays of up 60 minutes on top of regular travel time.

Some trains will continue to run from Moe to Melbourne.

V/Line closed the rail track between Moe and Morwell yesterday after temporary repairs failed to secure the track.

A V/Line train driver discovered the damage at about 6.15pm on Saturday night after the train struck rough track.

Wheatbelt determined to fight State Government decision to close tier three rail

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The real fight to keep the state's tier three rail lines open to transport grain from up country receival sites to port has only just begun.

The Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance says it is disappointed by not surprised by the Transport Minister Troy Buswell's decision to close the lines next year.

A report tabled in the Legislative Council in June recommended the Government keep the tier three rail network open until the end of 2014 to allow grain handler CBH to assess its value.

Mr Buswell has rejected the recommendation and instead plans to spend $118 million upgrading local and state roads.

The Minister says the Government doesn't object to private investment in the line.

Mr Buswell was not available for comment.

Queensland Rail near miss figures show pedestrians and motorists across s. east

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Shocking reports of near-misses at railway level crossings show drivers continue to dice with death across the Southeast.

From the start of January to June 30 this year there were 130 near misses, with level crossings in the Quest Newspapers readership area among the worst offending locations.

The Cleveland Line had the most incidents, with 37 near misses at its level crossings. Florence St in Wynnum Central had 14 incidents where trains came too close to vehicles or pedestrians.

But the worst spot for motorists and pedestrians gambling with their lives was Boundary Rd at Coopers Plains, with 15 near misses recorded in the six-month period.

Double decker buses will return to the streets of Sydney from Monday 27/08/2012.

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by urailes0623 in Other Transport News

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the Government had ordered eight buses to trial along in the North West and Northern Beaches. 

Rinehart's Alpha coal mine approved

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The federal government has approved Gina Rinehart's multi-billion dollar Alpha coal mine and its associated rail line in central Queensland.

The $6.4 billion GVK-Hancock Coal project slated for the Galilee Basin is co-owned by Indian company GVK and billionaire miner Ms Rinehart.

It involves a mine 40km northwest of Alpha, which lies between Emerald and Barcaldine, and a 495km rail line to Abbot Point, north of Bowen.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke says the project was granted with 19 strict environmental conditions which would ensure the Great Barrier Reef was protected.

Road traffic rise amid WA rail closures

Posted Thursday, 23 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Truck numbers are set to spike on West Australian roads with the closure of all "Tier 3" rail lines criss-crossing remote parts of the state, farmers and the opposition warn.

A report tabled in WA's Legislative Council in June recommended the government keep the lines open until the end of 2014 to allow grain handling co-operative CBH Group to assess a possible investment in the network.

But Transport Minister Troy Buswell on Tuesday rejected the recommendation, saying the government would instead spend $118 million upgrading roads before closing the lines in 2013.

Commuters could face rail shutdowns if unions do not agree to more maint.

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

COMMUTERS could face lengthy shutdowns of railway lines if unions do not agree to more overnight maintenance work.

The railways union is resisting changes to the rostering system that would allow for more night maintenance.

Track, signal and overhead line maintenance staff are yet to settle a new deal with Metro.

Other divisions, including train drivers and customer service staff, have already struck new deals. A government source said more rail line shutdowns could happen if Metro did not get its way.

Landholders 'bitterly disappointed' about approval of Alpha coal project

Posted Friday, 24 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Federal Government's environmental approval of Queensland's Alpha coal project, rail corridor and port has reignited concerns of landowners in affected areas, who were hoping for significant changes to the proposal.

The proposed mine, 40 kilometres north-west of Alpha, marks the beginning of what could become a string of coal mines in the region.

Locomotive crashes into stationary coal train

Posted Friday, 24 August, 2012 by vanessa in Northern Territory Rail News

A LOCOMOTIVE crashed into a stationary coal train at Nundah Bank, north-west of Singleton, early this afternoon, rail company Pacific National has confirmed. Nundah Bank is one of the steepest sections of track on the main Hunter Valley coal lines. A Pacific National spokeswoman said a coal train had stopped on the hill, and a ‘‘rescue’’ locomotive was sent to the scene.

New rail infrastructure for East Pilbara

Posted Friday, 24 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Iron ore miners Brockman and Atlas Iron have partnered with QR National to build new rail and port infrastructure in the Pilbara.

According to the companies, they have entered into an Alliance Study Agreement to carry out "a joint evaluation of a fully integrated mine, rail, and port logistics solution in Western Australia's East Pilbara region".

CSX plans to resume train operations along Maryland rail line after derailment

Posted Friday, 24 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — CSX trains were expected to begin moving through Ellicott City Thursday, resuming freight service on a route that was blocked after a train derailment killed two young women, company officials said.

The derailment happened around midnight Monday when 21 cars of an 80-car freight train derailed. Two 19-year-old women who were sitting on one side of a train bridge were found buried under coal the train was carrying. Funerals for the two women, Elizabeth Conway Nass and Rose Louese Mayr, were planned for Friday and Saturday. An investigation into the derailment is ongoing.

QR National to cut 900 jobs, possibly more

Posted Friday, 24 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

RAIL freight company QR National has left the door open for more redundancies after confirming it will axe 900 jobs as part of a major cost cutting program.

The company will incur a one-off redundancy cost of $75 million in fiscal 2013, accounting for a total of 1,560 jobs shed since 2011 amid softening demand for Queensland coal.

QR National on Thursday said it would accept about 750 voluntary redundancies as part of its ongoing restructure.

Meera Thakrar and son Krish saved after falling on to railway line at Cambridge

Posted Friday, 24 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Meera Thakrar and her son Krish were rushing for a train at Kendall Station in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when they plummeted onto the tracks.

“After watching the video I'm thinking where was my mind. It was all excitement," said a relieved Meera Thakrar, of Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Rail safety will not be compromised

Posted Friday, 24 August, 2012 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says safety on the country’s rail network is and always will be the primary underlying factor in rail operations.

His comments come following the leaking of KiwiRail’s draft Infrastructure and Engineering Business Plan 2013 - 2015 to Radio New Zealand; a document KiwiRail has this afternoon released along with appropriate explanations of its purpose and contents.

Mr Brownlee says KiwiRail knew from the moment it took on the challenge of bringing its business onto a secure commercial footing that big operational changes would be necessary, and the document points to some of those.

"That is why the Government’s $750 million package of support for KiwiRail has been called a turnaround plan - KiwiRail was not a commercially viable business when we announced its 10 year plan in 2009, and it needs to become one.

Redman disappointed by grain rail decision

Posted Friday, 24 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman says he is disappointed by the government's decision to close the rail line that transports grain in the Wheatbelt.

A parliamentary committee recommended the Government keep the Tier Three rail network open until the end of 2014 to allow the grain processor CBH to assess its value.

Strong indication rail line will go

Posted Friday, 24 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The State Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has given the strongest indication yet that the Government is leaning towards cutting Newcastle's inner-city rail line.

Two years ago developer GPT scrapped its massive CBD redevelopment because of inaction on the rail line.

The State Government has since bought two-thirds of GPT's holdings for $20 million.

Waterfall train tragedy on stage

Posted Saturday, 25 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A theatre work about the Waterfall train disaster is being developed as the 10th anniversary of the tragedy looms.

Alana Valentine closely studied the accident and its aftermath and penned a short play after hearing of a teenage survivor who escaped the train wreck and dialled triple-0, only to be mistaken for a hoax caller.

"I became interested in the human side. Seven people died, but so many others were affected - the guard, the wife of the driver [who was killed]," Valentine said.

Red Sleeper to the red centre

Posted Saturday, 25 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

When it comes to beating boredom on long family trips, you can usually count on animals. The tally from our creature-spotting session through the train window is 62 cows, 43 sheep, 17 birds of prey, 12 kangaroos and one goat. The last fellow looks a bit lonely, but he doesn't hang around as 700 metres of the Ghan hurtles past. Perhaps he had heard what occurred after the old Afghan Express was stranded in the 1930s: when the food ran out, the engine driver began shooting feral goats to feed his passengers.

Baluchi, Pashtun, Punjabi and Sindhi cameleers once transported goods along a track connecting the South Australian coast with the towns of Marree, Oodnadatta and Alice Springs. What began as an overland camel-train route has became one of the world's great rail journeys.

Rail decision safety fears

Posted Saturday, 25 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

THE State Government will press ahead with plans to close the Tier 3 rail network to the Wheatbelt, a decision that will force thousands of heavy grain trucks on to Perth’s already overcrowded roads.

A Parliamentary committee report tabled in the Legislative Council in June recommended the Government keep the 700km Tier 3 network open until at least the end of 2014, to allow grain processor Co-operative Bulk Handling (CBH) to fully assess its value to wheatgrowers.

But Transport Minister Troy Buswell rejected the recommendation, saying the Government would instead spend $118 million to upgrade regional roads before closing the lines next year.

Platform fumes: Railing against smokers

Posted Sunday, 26 August, 2012 by Speed in Victorian Rail News

Commuters say there are too many people illegally smoking on train platforms, despite laws introduced in 2006 banning smoking in sheltered areas. Smoking in a no-smoking zone can attract a $207 fine but passengers have told mX they don't know who to contact to report people breaking the law.

John Alexander on a ride to nowhere with the Epping-Parramatta Rail Link

Posted Sunday, 26 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

PREMIER Barry O'Farrell has steadfastly ruled out building the Epping-Parramatta Rail Link - but his federal party colleague John Alexander has clearly missed the memo.

A hilarious war of words has erupted between Mr Alexander, the federal MP for Bennelong, and federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese over the ill-fated link.

The Sunday Telegraph has obtained letters exchanged between the pair, with Mr Alexander ordering Mr Albanese to detail when the federal government will begin work on the project.

Airport keeps buses at bay

Posted Monday, 27 August, 2012 by railblogger in Other Transport News

THERE are 23,000 car parking spaces at Melbourne Airport - and one public bus stop. The bus stop is in a remote, unsheltered location near the Tiger Airways terminal - the airport's quietest - and is an 800-metre walk from Qantas' domestic terminal. Attempts to boost bus services to Melbourne Airport are being strangled by the airport's reluctance to provide extra space for bus parking.

Documents obtained under freedom-of-information laws reveal transport planners have been negotiating with airport management since 2010 for a better bus stop, which would be outside the main terminals and big enough to park two buses.

Report says high-speed rail under threat

Posted Monday, 27 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Business leaders say the New South Wales Government's rail transport plan could jeopardise the future of an interstate high-speed rail network.

The New South Wales and Sydney Business Chambers have commissioned a report which makes six recommendations on how Federal and State Governments can improve how they work together on infrastructure projects.

The report says $10 to $15 billion could be saved from the cost of building the interstate high-speed rail, if it is integrated into Sydney's existing rail network.

China's rail link to hit Indian exports

Posted Monday, 27 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

BEIJING: The $707 million Yuxi-Mengzi rail line, linking Kunming in southwest China to Singapore in southeast Asia, will become operational by the end of this year, posing a threat to Indian exporters competing for market space with China. The rail line, originating in China's Yunnan province, will traverse throughVietnamLaos, Thailand and Singapore, completing a course of over 2,000km.

Are railway passengers sitting ducks?

Posted Monday, 27 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

The recent incident on Piravom road, Kerala, where a bomb was placed on the rail track and remained there undetected, for close to nine hours, is an eye opener for railway police and authorities.

The current security scenario is alarming as it is easy to get access to platforms through unofficial entry points even in key stations like Ernakulam Junction, not to mention rail tracks.

Sydney rail staff get speech training

Posted Monday, 27 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Rail staff in NSW will be sent to speech classes to make their announcements at stations and on trains easier to understand.

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian says tenders will be called this week for a pilot program to teach rail staff how to deliver clear, consistent and accurate announcements.

The aim was to eliminate muffled and incomprehensible announcements on trains and at stations, she said on Monday.

Initially, more than 300 staff on the Illawarra Line will attend the training and, if successful, the program will be rolled out more widely, Ms Berejiklian said.

JFK rail passengers stranded in malfunction

Posted Monday, 27 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Authorities say about 140 passengers on a train that travels to and from Kennedy International Airport were stranded for hours following a computer malfunction.

A tram to Mooloolaba? Sunshine Coast considers light rail

Posted Monday, 27 August, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

A $4 million feasibility study for light rail on the Sunshine Coast has been approved by Mayor Mark Jamieson, although it remains unclear how the project, likely to cost billions, would be funded.

In signing off on a two-year study into a proposed corridor between Caloundra and Maroochydore today, Cr Jamieson said stage one could be established as soon as 2020.

But the council will be unable to pay for the plan unless a deal is struck with government or the private sector. Given the state government's current cost-cutting mission, such a deal seems unlikely any time soon.

We need a high-speed vision for our rail network

Posted Monday, 27 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

NSW was once a state that built big, bold, forward-looking infrastructure. Our predecessors built the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Snowy Hydro Scheme and the Sydney Opera House. They turned an isolated penal colony into a world-class city in the booming Asia-Pacific region. But what will we have to show for our time as leaders of our great state?

Sydney is a great city, but it's a city that is losing its mojo as we fret over the challenges of being a successful modern city – housing affordability, transport congestion and cost-of-living pressures. Our predecessors looked at challenges like these as an opportunity to take calculated risks and build grand projects that solved the problems of the time and of which we now stand in awe.

Rail commuters facing lengthy delays

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

Rail commuters are facing hour-long delays this morning, after trains were suspended on the Cleveland line.

Trains were suspended between Dutton Park and Murarrie, in both directions, due to a signal fault at Cannon Hill from about 5am.

Great Southern Rail to spend millions on Gold cabin upgrades

Posted Tuesday, 28 August, 2012 by bevans in Gunzelling Reports

CHRIS Tallent never had a train set as a boy. Now he's got a doozey - 116 carriages to run on 11,000km of tracks.

As CEO of Great Southern Rail, Mr Tallent has responsibilities with that train set: running 400 employees, negotiating with seven owners of various sections of the rail tracks, maintaining and upgrading that rolling stock and setting long lead time schedules for international marketing of the long-distance passenger trains.

The Ghan which runs between Adelaide and Darwin via Alice Springs; the Indian Pacific which runs Sydney to Perth via Adelaide; the Overland between Melbourne and Adelaide; and the Southern Spirit between Brisbane and Adelaide via Melbourne are GSR's products. Successful ones, too, given that GSR is reigning SA Tourism Awards holder for the category of major transport operator.

Fast and loose: trains on the new north-west line predicted to run at 60 km/h

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

WHEN it comes to talking a big game, Sydney's train planners are world class.

Consider this: the most recent prediction is that the north west rail link will deliver commuters from Rouse Hill to Chatswood at an average speed, including 12 stops, at about 60km/h.

This might be technically possible. But if the predicted speed, included in planning documents for the $9 billion project, is achieved it will make the link one of the fastest metro-style train lines in the world, quicker than feted metros in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.

The former Labor government made similar predictions for its ill-fated north west metro in 2008. Some planners struggled to believe those predictions, just as some struggle with the latest.

Rail overpass touted to overcome highway congestion

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

A railway overpass or alternative route could be considered to tackle congestion at a major intersection on the Newell Highway.

The Parkes Shire Council has been in talks with the Sydney-based operators about the long delays traffic faces when trains are blocking the Hartigan Avenue crossing.

The Mayor Ken Keith says a truck passes through the intersection each minute and if the crossing is closed it can cause significant problems.

Airport unveils plans for transport hub

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

DRIVERS won't be able to drop passengers off at the front doors of Melbourne Airport under a far-reaching airport development plan.

Instead, a new elevated road would be built to funnel airport traffic into a multi-storey, multi-modal transport hub situated further away from the terminal.

Covered pedestrian fly-overs would bridge the new transport hub and the terminal buildings, but will mean a longer walk for passengers and their bags after being dropped off.

The changes, which are only at the concept stage, are designed to alleviate traffic congestion and the current forecourt clash between cars and pedestrians on zebra crossings.

The airport envisages the hub will handle passengers using private cars, taxis, SkyBus, public buses, and - if the airport rail link ever gets Victorian government go-ahead - will also include scope for the long-awaited train station.

Queensland Rail cuts six executives in move towards 'more efficient service'

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

THE Newman Government 's overhaul of Queensland Rail has begun with six senior executives getting the chop.

They are either being replaced or made redundant as part of what is expected to be a massive shake up of the government-owned passenger transport service.

Acting chief executive Jim Benstead said the changes were part of the move to a "more efficient railway service".

"One of the key areas for focus involves reviewing and refreshing our current management structure," said Mr Benstead.

FirstGroup warns against rail franchise delay in Branson row

Posted Tuesday, 28 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Sir Richard Branson's hopes of clinging on to the west coast rail franchise are fading as the government prepares to formally strip Virgin Trains of the London-Glasgow route.

The Department for Transport has rejected Branson's offer to run the franchise for free if it delays its decision to award the 14-year contract toFirstGroup. It is expected to sign the new £5.5bn deal as soon as Wednesday morning, although Virgin was still considering last-ditch legal action.

FirstGroup's chief executive, Tim O'Toole, warned that any delay in awarding the contract would wreak havoc as the industry prepares to bid for a slew of high-profile routes, including the Great Western and east coast franchises.

Building of Alpha rail line could encourage other coal developments

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

A Brisbane energy company says the approval of a massive coal and rail project in Queensland's central-west may boost prospects for other developments.

Coalbank is exploring for thermal coal south of Blackall and says the green light for the GVK Hancock rail line between Alpha and Abbot Point, near Bowen, will help to bring infrastructure to the remote region.

Chief executive Bruce Patrick says the lack of rail has always been an obstacle in developing the Galilee Basin.

Transport firm Toll posts 77pc profit slump

Posted Tuesday, 28 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

Transport firm Toll Holdings has reported a 77 per cent slump in its net profit, partly as a result of write-downs in the value of its Japanese assets and some Australian properties.

The freight and logistics company reported a full-year net profit after tax attributable to shareholders of $65 million, down from $281 million in 2011.

Cane crushing restarts after rail death

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Crushing will resume today at the Marian mill, after work was suspended on Saturday following the death of a man struck by a sugar locomotive.

The accident occurred on the Hampden line near the Nabilla housing estate early on Saturday morning.

Now Gonski asked to help recruit heads of rail system

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

FRESH from devising a new regime for school funding for the federal government, the businessman David Gonski has been asked to help select the new heads of NSW's revised rail bureaucracy.

The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, will run an international recruitment drive to find the next chief executive of the city's train system.

In a policy announced in May, Ms Berejiklian is collapsing the train operator RailCorp and replacing it with two organisations: Sydney Trains and NSW Trains.

Mr Gonski, as well as mining veteran Peter Coates, will advise on the recruitment of the two new chief executives. They will be helped by a director of operations of Hong Kong's railway, Andrew McCusker, and professional recruiters.

Greece Plans Road, Rail, Airport Projects To Boost Growth

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

The Greek government presented 10 priorities for boosting growth including the expansion of road and rail networks, the creation of a Greek investment fund and setting up special economic zones.

Our goal “is to pull Greece out of its current crisis and to rebuild the country’s confidence and optimism,” Development Minister Konstantinos Hatzidakis said today, according to a transcriptof the comments e-mailed from his ministry in Athens. These priorities are “specific, achievable and measurable.”

QUEENSLAND Rail has left a commuter in limbo

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail has left a commuter in limbo after a tree in a train station car park came smashing down on top of her car.

Nursing student Crystal Davies had been parking her car at Goodna for the past six months and commuting into the city to attend university.

But two weeks ago, she returned to Goodna Train Station to find a borer-ridden tree had fallen on top of her car, causing her roof to cave and snapping off her antenna and rear spoiler.

A Queensland Rail (QR) worker onsite at Goodna told the Brookwater woman they would look after the matter, but after reporting the incident to the company she was informed she would have to foot the costs herself.

Gippsland rail line repairs to take months

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

V/Line engineers are still working out how to repair a water-damaged section of the Gippsland train line.

The line was closed earlier this month when a driver noticed the foundations of a section of the track between Moe and Morwell had washed away.

NSW rail line work to begin within weeks

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

PRELIMINARY work will begin on Sydney's North West Rail Link within weeks, with Transport NSW naming Baulderstone as the managing contractor.

The $70 million early works package includes the relocation of services and utilities, and demolition along the 36 kilometre building site.

The rail line will connect Chatswood, on Sydney's north shore, with the Hills district in the city's northwest.

Myki bill mounts as fare evasion adds $350m to tally

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Myki is set to cost Victoria another $350 million, with the Auditor-General blaming a sharp rise in fare evasion on the transition to the beleaguered smartcard ticketing system.

In a report tabled in State Parliament today, outgoing Auditor-General Des Pearson said the state would have to cover an estimated $350 million shortfall in public transport revenue caused by fare evasion since myki was introduced in 2009.

The government's contracts with Metro and Yarra Trams guarantee that the private operators will realise their forecasts of fare revenue from the start of myki until a year after Metcard tickets stop being sold.

Omya rail spur sidetracked indefinitely

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

A proposed $32 million rail spur that would take Omya’s marble ore hauling trucks off Route 7 has been put on hold with no timetable for moving forward with the project.

Omya plant manager Jim Stewart said ”given the economic climate, sluggish economy and the cost” the company and Vermont Rail Systems are not pursuing the project.

Low crime levels raise doubts on armed officers

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by railblogger in Gunzelling Reports

MOST Melbourne rail stations go months without serious crimes being committed, raising doubts about the Baillieu government's plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars placing armed guards at each one.

Figures obtained by The Age show many stations experience no serious crimes in a typical year while many more see just one or two, with the safer stations bundled together in the east and south-east.

The most dangerous suburban station is Dandenong where more than 55 assaults and 12 robberies were recently recorded in one year, along with 60 drug offences.

Salvos plan to patrol trains and stations

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

METRO is backing a new Salvation Army program to patrol trains and railway stations to help the needy and improve public safety.

Salvation Army commanding officer Major Brendan Nottle said a project called Train Teams will be launched in two weeks.

The Salvos last night held an information session at their Bourke Street headquarters for members of the public wishing to take part. They would be required to work on trains and train stations, with the program operating six days a week from Mondays to Saturdays.

Rogue rail car rolls undetected across bridge from N.Y. to Niagara Falls, Ont.

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

No one noticed the rogue rail car cross the border from Niagara Falls, N.Y. to Niagara Falls, Ont., in the wee hours of Aug. 12.

Somehow, the rail car left the CSX rail yard on American soil and rolled across the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge before halting in the Niagara Via Rail station, which was closed for the night.

CSX didn’t notice. Neither the U.S. Customs and Border Protection nor the Canada Border Services Agency noticed. The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, owner of the bridge, didn’t notice.

Transport expert slams South Coast Line

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by snowy446 in New South Wales Rail News

The Wollongong to Sydney journey is one of the slowest in the country, a transport expert has said.

The Wollongong to Sydney train line is part of the slowest rail network in the country, according to a University of Wollongong academic.

Rail transport expert Associate Professor Phillip Laird said the average train trip from the South Coast to Central Station was embarrassingly long compared with those in other states of Australia.

Rail and air transport policy left in chaos

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Virgin's application for a judicial review means the government cannot sign the west coast mainline franchise over to FirstGroup on Wednesday as planned. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/PA

Government transport policy has been thrown into chaos after Sir Richard Branson blocked ministers from stripping Virgin Trains of the west coast rail franchise and a row over Heathrow expansion saw Nick Clegg and David Cameron under attack from senior backbenchers asking for a U-turn on a third runway.

Rail lobby group calls for increased services on Doomben line to reduce traffic

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A public transport lobby group has called for Sunday services to be introduced on the Doomben line.

Robert Dow from Rail Back on Track said on top of increasing frequencies in the area, the addition of trains on Sundays would help boost patronage by making the line more attractive.

``The road situation in that area is getting worse by the day, the Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade is at a stalemate, why wouldn't you add trains to the Doomben line?''

Regional Rail Link: works hit hardest those who reap the least

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

RESIDENTS are bearing the brunt of Regional Rail Link works without reaping the benefits, a public meeting has heard.

RRL construction manager Adam Maguire, Maribyrnong mayor John Cumming and Bicycle Network Victoria's Jason denHollander fronted an at-times fiery meeting hosted by Greens transport spokesman Greg Barber in Seddon on Monday night.

Mr Maguire outlined the next phase of the project, detailing plans for improvements to West Footscray station.

Lend Lease unit wins rail link contract

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Infrastructure and construction group Lend Lease's subsidiary Baulderstone has won the contract to manage the early works component of the $70 million North West Rail Link.

The long-anticipated project is scheduled to deliver a new 36 kilometre long rapid transit rail link between Chatswood on Sydney's north shore and the growing Hill's district in the North West of Sydney.

Under the contract, Baulderstone will work on the relocation of services and utilities; site readiness and demolition works; and the provision of HV electrical supply for the main works.

In a statement today Baulderstone's NSW general manager, Frank Lorenzetto, said completion of early works is due in mid-2014.

Branson image exposed in franchise fight

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Sir Richard Branson would appear to have little to lose in his legal fight over the government’s decision to strip him of the West Coast main line rail franchise.

The £14m Virgin Rail spent on its bid is already down the drain, while a court order to reopen the tender – however unlikely – would give the group another chance to compete for £20bn in passenger revenues over the next 15 years.

Metro Trains brings free wi-fi trial online

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Metro Trains has kicked off a three-month trial of free wi-fi services at Melbourne's Flinders Street Station.

The transport operator made the service available to commuters today following private product testing, a Metro Trains spokesman told iTnews.

Metro Trains announced in February this year its intention to trial the free wi-fi service, but the start-up of the trial has come later than first expected.

Transport Secretary 'acted unlawfully' claims Virgin

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

Transport Secretary Justine Greening “acted unlawfully”, “irrationally” and in contravention of EU law when she awarded the £13.3bn West Coast rail contract to FirstGroup, Virgin Rail has claimed.

Virgin Rail’s legal challenge over the franchise bid focuses on three main alleged failings by Ms Greening, who it claims “breached her obligations of equal treatment, transparency and her duties to act consistently and rationally”.

Statoil Leases Rail Cars to Ship Bottlenecked North Dakota Oil

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

HOUSTON—Statoil STL.OS +0.41% ASA said it is leasing more than 1,000 railroad cars to carry crude oil from fields in North Dakota to refiners across North America, in a bid to overcome pipeline bottlenecks that plague the booming oil-producing region.

The Norwegian oil giant's railroad effort is a new sign of how the U.S. pipeline network is having a hard time keeping pace with the oil boom triggered by hydraulic fracturing, forcing companies to come up with creative workarounds.

Nowhere is the challenge more apparent than in North Dakota, which this year unseated Alaska as the country's second-largest oil-producing state. In May the state produced 639,000 barrels per day, or about 10% of the oil produced in the U.S., up from 364,000 barrels per day in May 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Greens' plan to deliver light rail

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The ACT Greens have unveiled an election promise to start building light rail in Canberra by 2015.

The party, which holds the balance of power in the current Legislative Assembly, wants to commit $200 million from next year's budget for the first stage of light rail.

It also wants $1.4 million spent on designing a light rail network across Canberra, including between Civic and the Molonglo suburbs.

Under the plan, $5.2 million would fund a new independent body to manage the construction, investment and funding of the project.

High-speed rail link study touts benefits

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The federal Treasurer says a group proposing a high-speed rail link between Bundaberg, Gladstone and Rockhampton will need to apply with Infrastructure Australia before the project could get Federal Government funding.

Labor pledges 30 new rail carriages

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The state opposition will immediately order 10 new, three-car trains if it wins the state election, leader Mark McGowan pledged today.

A Labor government also would initiate planning to meet WA's long-term rail needs.

Mr McGowan said the initial extra 30 rail carriages would cost about $110 million.

He claimed the Barnett Government's poor planning had created an overcrowded rail network that made life difficult for West Australians.

Rail conference: buzz belies demise of mining boom

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in Rail News

It appears that recent pronouncements of the mining boom’s death were greatly exaggerated, judging by the roll out at Informa’s Heavy Haul Rail conference.

The Newcastle event wound up yesterday, posting a record attendance of over 200 delegates. Held in the heart of coal country, the event swarmed with heavy haul’s heavy hitters.

In the midst of what some are calling an inexorable commodities downturn, the industry discussed grand plans for mining infrastructure set to sweep the nation incoming years.

Runaway rail car crosses Whirlpool Bridge

Posted Thursday, 30 August, 2012 by bevans in International Rail News

NIAGARA FALLS, ONT. - A runaway rail car that crossed the Whirlpool Bridge from the U.S. into Canada wasn't investigated by law enforcement agencies for 11 hours.

The Aug. 12 security breach and subsequent response is now being investigated by law enforcement on both sides of the border.

The incident happened about 1:30 a.m. when an auto rack -- a two-level vehicle carrier train car -- somehow broke free from the CSX rail yard in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and started rolling down the tracks toward the Whirlpool Bridge.

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