Showing stories from October 2013

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Living on wrong side of the tracks in Footscray rail development

Posted Tuesday, 1 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

CATHY Braniff dreads long weekends. With a bedroom just metres from Victoria’s biggest rail project, she has spent two years trying to shut out the bone-rattling clamour of heavy machinery and shouting workers. But it always steps up over public holidays, when minimum train timetables allow for maximum work on Melbourne’s $4.8 billion Regional Rail Link. “I could hand the workers a cup of coffee as they go past, it’s that close,” Ms Braniff, 55, said. “Sometimes it goes all through the night. The whole house shakes and it’s as noisy as all hell.”

Female rail workers lodge sex discrimination claim over mandatory urine testing

Posted Tuesday, 1 October, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Female rail workers in New South Wales have lodged a claim of sex discrimination with the Human Rights Commission over mandatory urine testing. All rail workers, male and female, have to undergo urine testing for drugs and alcohol. But the NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union says mandatory urine testing is a greater ask for women and amounts to sex discrimination.

Plan to upgrade rail platform

Posted Tuesday, 1 October, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE public has until Wednesday, October 9,  to comment on a proposal to demolish and rebuild the passenger platforms at Singleton railway station. The work only involves the platform and because of the heritage of the station, it requires approval by the heritage division of the Office of Environment and Heritage and Singleton Council.

Woman in Ukraine dies having sex on railway tracks

Posted Tuesday, 1 October, 2013 by JimYarin in International Rail News

A UKRAINIAN couple's inability to rein in their passion for each other ended in tragedy when a woman was killed by a train and her partner had his legs torn off during pre-dawn love-making on a railway track, police say. The accident took place in the southeastern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhia early on Saturday.

Hole in the wall may see more rail freight

Posted Tuesday, 1 October, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

WORK to improve the town’s western access through the notorious New England Highway ‘hole in the wall’ railway underpass may include some extra changes. In this year’s state budget the officially named Gowrie Gates was given $500,000 towards planning for the widening of the road located just north of White Avenue at Singleton Heights.

Greens to have a say on port use

Posted Wednesday, 2 October, 2013 by Newcastle Express in New South Wales Rail News

[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Maitland Greens will be one of the community groups to have a say on the state government’s plan to lease the Port of Newcastle under a 99-year arrangement.[/font][/size][/color]

Rail industry fearing an Abbott-led bottleneck

Posted Wednesday, 2 October, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

Australia's rail industry carried more freight and passengers last year but the industry has accused the Abbott government of turning its back on the transport mode in favour of roads. The rail industry carried 8.2 per cent more freight and 2 per cent more passengers in calendar 2012, according to the Australasian Railway Association's annual report, but the body is concerned about the Coalition's road-focused infrastructure policy. [color=#333333][font=inherit]The Australian Financial Review[/font][/color] quotes ARA chief executive Brian Nye as saying the share of freight carried between Sydney and Melbourne could rise from 5 per cent to 50 per cent without major rail infrastructure investment.

Company postpones plans for trial run of oil by rail to Churchill

Posted Wednesday, 2 October, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

CHURCHILL, Man. – Plans for a test shipment of crude oil by rail to a port in northern Manitoba have been put on hold, Global News has learned. Opposition to the scheme is growing in the aftermath of the [url=]Lac-Mégantic railway disaster[/url].

Gold Coast light rail completes first test run

Posted Wednesday, 2 October, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

They are calling it "The G". And what that means is the Gold Coast light rail project is nearing the station. Australia's newest light rail project had its first trial run on Monday night.

Rail freight, passenger numbers up

Posted Wednesday, 2 October, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

The rail industry has accused the Abbott government of favouring roads as it released figures showing railways moved 8.2 per cent more freight and 2 per cent more passengers in 2012. Australasian Railway Association chief executive Bryan Nye said rail was cheaper and more fuel-efficient than trucks in moving freight but government’s were focused on highways. “It’s not anti-trucking – it’s what do we want our freeways to be? Do we want bumper-to-bumper trucks going down the freeways from Melbourne to Sydney, or do we want to use the freight corridor that sits right alongside?” The annual rail industry report says total tonne-kilometres hauled by rail were 291 billion in 2011-12, up 11.2 per cent. Mr Nye claimed the federal government did not have a balanced view of rail. “The statement that we are just going to fund more roads is counter-intuitive to what’s happening around the rest of the world,” he said.

Why rail beats gridlock, hands down

Posted Wednesday, 2 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Rail News

There has been much discussion recently about where investments in transport should be directed for the best outcomes. I make the case that a leading role for rail – both freight and passenger – is crucial if we are to realise the best possible results socially, economically and environmentally. The much publicised investment in roads by the incoming government is welcome, but without a corresponding substantial investment in rail networks, our national highways will be clogged with trucks and our cities could be heading towards gridlock, frustration and ugly urban sprawl. Increased congestion will cost Australians an estimated $20 billion dollars a year by 2020 while also significantly affecting our lives in detrimental ways. Rail is essential to manage this congestion and increase productivity in our cities.

High-speed train system is a huge success for China

Posted Thursday, 3 October, 2013 by JimYarin in International Rail News

Changsha, China: The cavernous rail station here for China's new high-speed trains was nearly deserted when it opened less than four years ago. Not anymore. Practically every train is sold out, although they leave for cities all over the country every several minutes. Long lines snake back from ticket windows under the 50-foot ceiling of white, gently undulating steel that floats cloudlike over the departure hall. An ambitious construction program will soon nearly double the size of the 16-platform station.

Wheatbelt rail lines to close

Posted Thursday, 3 October, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The worst fears of Wheatbelt communities were realised yesterday when Brookfield Rail announced the closure of two grain freight lines because of safety concerns. he closure of the York to Quairading and Merredin to Trayning lines will create thousands of extra truck movements on roads as the Wheatbelt prepares for a bumper harvest. Brookfield Rail chief executive Paul Larsen said a major derailment on the 116-year-old York to Quairading line last month and a lack of State Government investment were key factors in the decision. "This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but in the absence of substantial investment from government to support a longer-term operation, Brookfield Rail is not satisfied the safe and sustainable operation of these two lines can be maintained past October 31," Mr Larsen said. "We are not doing this for politics. We are doing this because I have an obligation to run a safe business." The future of the four remaining grain freight lines referred to as Tier 3 is in doubt as Brookfield and CBH continue talks.

What does urban rail really cost to build?

Posted Thursday, 3 October, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

[color=#333333][size=2][font=Merriweather, Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif]The official estimate of the cost to build the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel is $9 billion but some advocates claim it’s only $3 billion. What explains the huge difference in these two claims?[/font][/size][/color]

EDI rail to compete for a spot in Middle East rail project

Posted Thursday, 3 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Rail News

MARYBOROUGH's Downer EDI is competing to become part of one of the world's biggest rail links. The $79 billion Etihad Rail Project will connect the Middle East to Europe via Turkey and the Maryborough company has become a major contender for part of the work. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman met with Nassar Saif Al-Monsoori, chief executive of Etihad Rail, in Abu Dhabi to promote Downer EDI as a potential location to engineer the 1000 wagons and 100 locomotives that will be needed for Stage 2 of the project, which is a 275km stretch of rail.

High speed internet and no dropped calls pledge to rail passengers

Posted Thursday, 3 October, 2013 by JimYarin in International Rail News

The pledge was made by Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, when he announced that the rail industry will roll out a high speed network across the country over the next five years. “There are few things more frustrating than trying to phone a friend or access the internet, only to be thwarted by bad signal,” he said. “Passengers deserve to have the best mobile technology and that is why I am pleased that industry is coming together to make that a reality.

Rail exhibition on track for city

Posted Thursday, 3 October, 2013 by JimYarin in New Zealand Rail News

KiwiRail is celebrating 150 years of rail in New Zealand with a travelling exhibition heading to Mount Maunganui. Stopping at Triton Ave off Totara St this Saturday, Keeping NZ on the Move: The Exhibition Express showcases the evolution of the rail industry in New Zealand. The free exhibition includes displays about rail in New Zealand and four individually-themed educational rail containers.

Napthine against all-night public transport proposal

Posted Friday, 4 October, 2013 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne's public transport would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week under a proposal a Melbourne city councillor hopes the state government will adopt. Cr Richard Foster has called on Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and transport portfolio chair Cathy Oke to lobby Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder to introduce all-night public transport to the city, arguing it would reduce crime and benefit the economy. "We're trying to create a 24-hour international city and it's pretty hard to do that if you're not offering 24-hour public transport as well," Cr Foster said. "It's certainly practical, it's what the public has been calling for for some time, [and] if we seriously want to offer an international city that is safe and vibrant you've got to have an international standard public transport service."

Rail Association gauges big spike in train usage

Posted Friday, 4 October, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

[color=#222222][size=2][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]New research commissioned by Australia’s peak rail body has found that the use of passenger, freight and light rail increased in dramatically between 2011 and 2012, after the number of passenger journeys on trains and trams jumped by 15.4 million to 784.2 million.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#222222][size=2][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is pushing the new research as the hard evidence needed to justify increased investment in rail infrastructure by governments and private industry to help reduce congestion on roads.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#222222][size=2][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The evidence of the surge in popularity of trains is contained in the ARA’s ‘Australian Rail Industry Report’ conducted by Apelbaum Consulting Group Pty Ltd, which surveyed 22 rail operators and managers across Australia in the period between June 2011 and June 2012.[/font][/size][/color]

Rail failure a key focus

Posted Friday, 4 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

REGIONAL councils plan to hold a summit next March to put the spotlight on Victoria's deteriorating rail network. Frustrated by the lack of investment in rail by successive governments, the Alliance of Councils for Rail Freight Development wants the Victorian Government to put a plan in place to improve the network within the next 6-15 years. The push includes standardisation of the broad gauge track system and upgrading lines to cope with heavier train axle loads. The alliance, made up of Victorian councils with an interest in shifting road freight onto the rail system, wants the Government to make firmer commitments to upgrading the regional network.

Trespassing on rail tracks claims another life

Posted Monday, 7 October, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A MAN has been killed by a train in Sydney while apparently retrieving something from the tracks - the second such incident in less than two weeks. The latest death occurred this morning at Wentworthville Station in western Sydney, when the man was hit by an approaching train, NSW police say. He was dead by the time emergency services arrived.

Italy asks state rail operator for help on Alitalia

Posted Tuesday, 8 October, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's government has asked the state railway operator Ferrovie dello Stato to consider investing in loss-making national airline Alitalia, sources close to the matter said on Monday, as Rome explores alternatives to a takeover by rival Air France-KLM . Air France-KLM said last week it was open to raising its 25 percent stake in Alitalia and possibly merging with its Italian rival. But a deal is being held up by disagreements over strategy and finances. Alitalia has accumulated net losses of more than 840 million euros (684.1 million pounds) and debts of about 1 billion euros since being rescued by a group of Italian investors and Air France in 2009, and is fast running out of cash.

Grain rail pledge way off track

Posted Tuesday, 8 October, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

It is not quite seven months since the Liberal Party paid to splash this advertisement, right, across the front of rural newspapers. It was two days before the State election on March 9 and the clear message to farmers was that Premier Colin Barnett would keep the grain freight lines known as Tier 3 operating. The promise carried the proviso "viable" and now the State Government is trying to hide behind that term, described by WAFarmers president Dale Park as a "weasel word". Mr Barnett refused this week to answer a yes-or-no question on whether he would honour the promise. It might not be viable for the credibility of the Liberal Party in the bush not to honour it. CBH, which carts grain on the lines, and Brookfield Rail, which leases the lines from the Government, regard them as viable.

New Hope withdraws plans to expand, relocate rail facility

Posted Tuesday, 8 October, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

NEW Hope Coal has withdrawn an application to expand rail infrastructure associated with the New Acland mine coal handling facility at Jondaryan. The company was planning to move the facility a kilometre from Jondaryan. The expansion would have eliminated the need for trains to travel west of the facility and therefore close to Jondaryan.

Sydney Light rail suspended after double derailing

Posted Tuesday, 8 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Tram and Light Rail News

Sydney's light rail line is likely to be be out of action for days after two trams derailed at separate stops on Monday night. The operator of the line, Transdev, says it is still investigating what caused the trams to leave their tracks at nearby stops at a similar time of night. "It could be a couple of days," said a Transdev spokesman. The light rail line, which runs between Central and Lilyfield, is owned by the state government but run by the private operator. Bus services have been organised to replace the trams, and light rail tickets can also be used on inner west line trains and regular buses and ferries.

Russian Railways to meet with Italian officials

Posted Tuesday, 8 October, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

[center]ROME - The Russian transport company, Russian Railways, is in Italy to meet with transit officials and to study the country's high velocity (AV) train system.   The administrative director of the Russian company, Alexander Misharin, joined by a group of delegates, will meet with Mauro Moretti, the CEO of Ferrovie dello Stato S.p.A on Tuesday.[/center]

Training on wrong track, says rail union

Posted Wednesday, 9 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Metro train drivers are being instructed how to drive along newly changed tracks in Melbourne's west by watching an animated movie, instead of learning while inside a train. It is a move the drivers' union says represents a dangerous drop in safety standards. The Rail, Tram and Bus Union and Metro will face off in a dispute hearing at Fair Work Australia on Wednesday, with the union seeking to have the rail operator return to real-life training methods.

Dozens of rail workshop jobs cut at Redbank and Rockhampton

Posted Thursday, 10 October, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Road and rail freight company Aurizon has announced job cuts at its Redbank workshop in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, and in Rockhampton in central Queensland. Aurizon says it wants to cut 49 positions. The company has announced 85 positions are surplus at its Redbank workshop, which employs 485 people. Fifteen new jobs will be created at Redbank, along with 23 new positions in Rockhampton where the bulk of the company's coal and freight haulage happens.

Bid to save north-west heritage rail bridge

Posted Thursday, 10 October, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

There is a push in Tasmania's north-west to save an historic rail bridge with links to one of the state's mining pioneers. The heritage-listed bridge across the Forth River near Turners Beach was built in 1890. It is now being decommissioned as TasRail builds a new one alongside the Bass Highway. Chief Executive Damien White says the work is part of wider upgrades. "We've replaced or rehabilitated three bridges already in that north-west area; over the Don River the Leven River and the Blythe, and the bridge over the Forth River will be the fourth bridge we do," he said.

Google installs monorail carriages in its office

Posted Friday, 11 October, 2013 by 9034 in Tram and Light Rail News

Google, the search engine, technology and media multinational whose products and enterprises have become ubiquitous in the conduct of modern life, finally has a redundant piece of Sydney transport infrastructure to call its own. At 10.15am on Wednesday, a crane began the process of winching two carriages salvaged from Sydney's one-time transport system through a window in the building Google now shares with Fairfax Media.

Sydney light rail closure extended after derailments

Posted Friday, 11 October, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

Sydney's light rail line is expected to be out of action at least until the end of next week, after initial tests showed multiple potential causes of two tram derailments on Monday night. After first claiming the tram between Central and Lilyfield would be suspended for "several days", the private operator of the line now says services will not resume for at least another week. Transdev, which runs the line on a contract from the state government, has hired independent engineering firm GHD to investigate why the two trams derailed within 20 minutes of each other at separate stops on Monday night. “At this stage, we don’t expect to be operational until at least the end of next week, at which time we may be able to commence a partial service," said Matt Baynie, the deputy managing director of Transdev Sydney.

Tier three rail lines to close

Posted Friday, 11 October, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

AS of October 31, two Tier 3 rail lines (Trayning to West Merredin line and the Quairading to York line) will be closed. The Shire of Quairading expressed its disappointment and noted the safety reasons for the closure following a recent derailment west of Quairading.

Wimmera backs passenger train push

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by BigShunter in Victorian Rail News

WIMMERA residents have thrown their support behind Horsham Rural City Council’s push for passenger trains.The Mail-Times reported on Wednesday that council wants a passenger rail service to run through the Wimmera to Ararat, where it would connect with Melbourne-bound trains. Council met with the Southern Grampians and Glenelg shire councils, which have also called for passenger trains for their region.

Train line closed after person hit 13/10/2013

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A person has been hit by a train between Coburg and North Melbourne, suspending the Upfield line. Commuters face heavy delays, with buses on their way to replace trains. Passengers are also asked to consider using tram 19 along Sydney Road.

Ballarat V/Line trains run on time in September

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

BALLARAT trains have run on time for the first time in 12 months, according to the latest V/Line performance figures. In September, 92.3 per cent of Ballarat train services met the performance target for punctuality.

Myki phases out more paper V/Line tickets in Ballarat

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

ANOTHER set of paper tickets will be phased out as V/Line nudges Ballarat commuters towards a full myki service. From Monday, weekly, monthly and date-to-date V/Line paper tickets can no longer be purchased and all Ballarat train commuters using the periodical tickets will require a myki pass.


Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Victorian Greens Leader Greg Barber has accused the Victorian government of fudging the numbers to hide Melbourne's growing train overcrowding problem. "They used averages of all the trains across the sample studied. Individual trains could have over 1100 passengers, well in excess of the 798 benchmark, but the average train is found not to be overcrowded." "They only looked at overcrowding at city-edge stations, ignoring how far out the overcrowding extends, which leads to some people standing up as long as half an hour before they get a seat."

Bullet bid on right track: Rail advocates push for improved service

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by JimYarin in New South Wales Rail News

WE’VE got the shed for it, now all Orange needs is the train to have its own daily commuter rail service like the Bathurst Bullet. But first a number of practical issues and logistical problems will have to be resolved, according to member for Orange Andrew Gee.

Mulder in bid to use V/line and not buses

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

V/LINE passengers would take the train all the way from Albury to Broadmeadows under a plan floated by Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder. He has called on V/Line to consider running Albury line trains between Albury, Seymour and Broadmeadows where passengers would catch Metro suburban trains to complete their trips.

Boy, 13, killed by train while running across tracks at Riddells Creek railway station

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

FAMILY and friends have told of their grief for a teenage boy who was tragically hit and killed by a train yesterday. Friends watched in horror as Jamie Golden, 13, was struck as he ran across tracks trying to change platforms at Riddells Creek railway station northwest of Melbourne. The Kyneton Secondary College student was hit by a Bendigo-bound express train travelling in excess of 120km/h  about 2.30pm. Principal Mark Ridgeway said he believed Jamie tragically mistook the express for his train home.

Lac Mégantic rail line remains closed

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by JimYarin in International Rail News

Transport Canada has ruled more repairs are needed before rail traffic can resume through the town of Lac Mégantic. The federal body conducted an inspection on the line on Thursday. A July 6 derailment and subsequent explosion in the town killed 47 people. On Sunday, Transport Canada concluded the track is still not safe for trains to pass on the line that runs between Lennoxville and Lac Mégantic. “Transport Canada detected deficiencies on that portion of the track. Therefore, in order to ensure public safety, no train can travel on that track until corrective measures are taken by the company owner of the track,” Transport Canada spokesperson Marie-Anyk Côté said in a statement.

Pacific National Launches New Mobile Application

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by bevans in Asciano

Pacific National has launched the industry’s first smartphone application and an enhanced on-line customer interface system to boost customer service across its freight business. The custom-built app and on-line system will provide customers with access to real-time data on freight movement and delivery along with their service details, container location and freight terminal activity. The new smartphone application has been designed, built and tested in-house and is available for download through a number of on-line app stores. The industry first has been designed to cater to the specific needs of customers across Pacific National's freight business, allowing customers to check bookings and access real time information on service details, train performance, container or bulk freight locations and truck turnaround information at major freight terminals. The application will provide real time container location searches for all containers in the Pacific National network.

Bandanna revises commencement of rail haulage services for Springsure Creek

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by bevans in Asciano

[b]Brisbane[/b], 25 September 2013: Bandanna Energy Limited ([b]ASX: BND[/b]) today announced that it has agreed a  revision to the timing of commencement of rail haulage services for the Springsure Creek Project. The timing of the commencement of rail haulage services and take or pay charges for up to 4Mtpa from the  company’s Springsure Creek Coal Mine Project to Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal at Gladstone (WICET) with  provider Pacific National Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Asciano Limited ([b]ASX: AIO[/b]), has been revised from  1 July 2014 to 1 January 2016.

Rail relics now rolling rubbish

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Queensland Rail News

IF YOU have about 100 too many disused rail wagons and need a handy parking place in Gympie, the Mary Valley Heritage Rail wants to hear from you. MVHR manager Jim Walker says the heritage rail organisation is looking for another customer after the wagons' owner, Aurizon (formerly QR National) decided they were worth more as recycled steel. With the help of two powerful cranes, the wagons are being loaded onto trucks and taken to Simsmetal, which has bought them for scrap.

Asciano delivers strong earnings performance for 2013

Posted Monday, 14 October, 2013 by bevans in Asciano

We are extremely pleased to report that [b]Asciano[/b] has delivered another strong earnings performance in the 2013 financial year, despite the challenging macroeconomic environment, both in Australia and in global markets. Our performance reflects the benefits of new contracts, organic growth in some of our markets and the strength of our business activities across the Australian transport and logistics industry.  We have continued to pursue our strategic objective of becoming Australia’s leading provider of critical logistics services within essential infrastructure-based supply chains and have taken further steps to promote and embed our core values of Performance, Customer, Safety and People and Teamwork.

30-year-old railway computers take a byte out of the past

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2013 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne's train network is still run by a vintage computer system that was rolled out in 1982, two years before Apple released its first Mac. The system, called Metrol, has been the technological nerve centre for Melbourne's rail network for more than three decades, running custom-made software that is badly outmoded. A series of delays have set back the planned replacement of the train control centre by more than two decades. From opposition, Terry Mulder called Metrol ''a sad Labor tale of delay and rapidly mounting bills'', but as Minister for Public Transport he has overseen an additional blowout in its completion date of almost two years.

Maribyrnong council to call for ban on trucks after Cootes Transport checks

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2013 by bevans in Other Transport News

The municipality that provides roads to Melbourne's largest fuel storage terminal is expected to call for a ban on trucks in its streets after safety inspections found dozens of heavy trucks were too unsafe for the road. Maribyrnong council has estimated that 500 unsafe truck trips a day are made in its streets. The estimate is based on VicRoads safety inspections that grounded 79 Cootes Transport prime movers and trailers for major safety faults. The inspections followed the death of two people last month when a Cootes Transport petrol tanker careered out of control and crashed into another car in Mona Vale, NSW.

Amtrak sets ridership record and helps move the nation's economy forward

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2013 by JimYarin in International Rail News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amtrak carried a record 31.6 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2013, delivering nationwide benefits, providing vital transportation services, advancing America's economy and demonstrating the value and convenience of the national passenger rail network. It is the tenth ridership record in 11 years. "Amtrak moves people, the economy and the nation forward everywhere the trains go," said President and CEO Joe Boardman. "In towns all across America, Amtrak brings economic opportunities for people, businesses and communities to grow and prosper," stated Tony Coscia, chairman of the Amtrak board of directors. During FY 2013, state-supported services set a new record of 15.4 million passengers. In addition, all long distance routes combined had the best ridership in 20 years with 4.8 million passengers. Ridership for all Northeast Corridor services reached 11.4 million passengers, the second best year ever. As evidence of a strong ridership rebound following Super Storm Sandy, the Northeast Regional service set a new record.

Newcastle rail plans to double travel time

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2013 by JimYarin in New South Wales Rail News

Commute time between Maitland and Newcastle via rail would double if the state government agrees with the Newcastle Renewal Taskforce recommendation that the line should be cut at Broadmeadow, rail user Kim Cross said.  Ms Cross, the Maitland Save Our Rail president, said travelling on the heavy rail line between Maitland and Broadmeadow and then moving onto light rail for the remainder of the journey into Newcastle CBD would disadvantage commuters and discourage them from using public transport.

New rail timetable a better deal: Ward

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2013 by JimYarin in New South Wales Rail News

A war of words has broken out over changes to the Illawarra’s train timetables, with Kiama MP Gareth Ward hitting back at Labor’s criticism of the number of services running to stations in the northern suburbs. Mr Ward accused Keira MP Ryan Park of ‘‘scaremongering’’ over the NSW government’s timetable, because he last week told the Mercury it was a ‘‘disaster’’ that northern Illawarra residents had been overlooked in favour of those in Mr Ward’s electorate.

Rail depot's 200 jobs on the way

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Queensland Rail News

CONSTRUCTION on the $110 million Wulkuraka train maintenance depot is set to begin this year, creating 200 jobs and rejuvenating Ipswich's rail industry. The announcement comes a week after 85 positions at Aurizon workshops at Redbank were axed. The Ada St site will service 75 of QR's six-car rolling stock fleet. The purpose-built maintenance centre is part of the New Generation Rollingstock Project, bringing increased passenger services and more rail jobs for Ipswich. The project is currently in the final bidding phase by two proponents with the contract expected to be awarded later this year.

Greens question NSW rail costs

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2013 by JimYarin in New South Wales Rail News

The cost of New South Wales rail projects is being questioned by the Greens, who say prices are consistently over-inflated. The party's transport spokeswoman, Mehreen Faruqi, says huge differences between the cost of comparable projects in New South Wales and other states show a bias against rail. Dr Faruqi says the government needs to justify how it comes up with its figures.

T4 opponents to air concerns over Newcastle coal expansion

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Environmentalists say it is crucial Hunter residents get the opportunity to voice their concerns about a controversial fourth coal loader in Newcastle. Coal Terminal Action Group spokeswoman Fee Mozeley says 20 groups will be represented at a 'people's hearing' at City Hall tonight. Port Waratah Coal Services' preferred project report for T4 is on public exhibition, despite the company announcing in May there is no urgent need for it unless industry conditions improve.

Rail usage increasing rapidly, ARA reports

Posted Wednesday, 16 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Rail News

The ARA’s new report, the [color=#000000][font=Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, sans-serif][size=1]Australian Rail Industry Report, features contributions from 22 rail operators. The association’s chief executive officer, Bryan Nye, said he was encouraged by the statistics outlined in the report, with activity in passenger, light rail and freight all increasing on the previous year.[/size][/font][/color] “This report has shown that passenger journeys on rail increased by 15.4 million in one year taking the total annual figure up to 784.2 million journeys,” Nye said. The report also shows light rail journeys on the rise, growing by 7.3 million in 2011/12 to reach 166.5 million in total.  “If you look back to 2008, there has been a staggering increase of 84 million passenger journeys on rail, proving that Australians are seeing rail as a viable transport option now more than they ever have before,” he said.

Buswell urges rural rail deal

Posted Wednesday, 16 October, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Transport Minister Troy Buswell has put the onus on grain handler CBH and rail infrastructure operator Brookfield Rail to reach an agreement on the future of Tier 3 rail lines to prevent their closure. "What we have said to CBH is you have to go off and broker an arrangement with Brookfield to operate those railway lines," Mr Buswell said. He was responding to accusations by the State Opposition that the Liberal Party misled voters by taking out front-page advertisements in rural newspapers two days before the March election stating it would keep viable Tier 3 rail lines open.

State Government refusing to confirm when Noarlunga rail line will reopen

Posted Wednesday, 16 October, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

SOUTHERN suburbs rail passengers are likely to be waiting until early December for the Noarlunga line to reopen but the State Government continues to refuse to specify a date. The Advertiser understands the Transport Department now believes the line is most likely to re-open sometime in early December, rather than mid to late November. But a spokesman for Transport Minister Tom Koutsantonis said yesterday there was no change to the45 to 60-day delay announced at the start of the month.

Putin Builds North Korea Rail to Circumvent Suez Canal

Posted Wednesday, 16 October, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

[url=]Vladimir Putin[/url] is inching closer to his goal of turning [url=]Russia[/url] into a major transit route for trade between eastern [url=]Asia[/url] and [url=]Europe[/url] by prying open North Korea, a nuclear-capable dictatorship isolated for half a century. Russia last month completed the first land link that North Korea’s Stalinist regime has allowed to the outside world since 2003. Running between Khasan in Russia’s southeastern corner and North Korea’s rebuilt port of Rajin, the 54-kilometer rail link is part of a project President Putin is pushing that would reunite the railway systems of the two Koreas and tie them to the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Two teens charged with attempting to steal train from Mary Valley Heritage Railway, Gympie

Posted Thursday, 17 October, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A pair of smooth-talking teenagers has been charged with attempting to steal a train from Mary Valley Heritage Railway in Gympie yesterday. The two teenagers allegedly conned staff at the Tozer Street railway museum into letting them board a working diesel train about 10.30am Tuesday. Mary Valley Heritage Railway (MVHR) President Tony Hallam says a man entered the group's Gympie workshop on Tuesday pretending he was "a person of authority" and a qualified train driver. His claims were backed by one of the organisation's volunteers who accompanied him. But Mr Hallam said another volunteer realised the man wasn't who he said he was, when he clearly couldn't operate the train's braking system.

Building rail in NSW 50-times more expensive than Victoria

Posted Thursday, 17 October, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

COST estimates by the O'Farrell Government, 50 times more expensive than reinstating regional Victorian rail lines, are hampering the re-establishment of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line, say the Greens. NSW Greens transport spokeswoman Dr Mehreen Faruqi said high costs were preventing Northern NSW getting vital rail infrastructure reinstated. "The O'Farrell Government has estimated the cost of reinstating the 130km Casino to Murwillumbah line at $900 million," she said.

'Captive' Rail Shippers Plead: Set Us Free

Posted Thursday, 17 October, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

Shippers who are dependent upon a single railroad to move their freight are asking regulators and legislators for relief. Producers of coal, steel, grain, energy and other commodities located in certain rural areas complain that a lack of transportation options places them at the mercy of just one railroad, which is free to charge whatever it wants — or even not to haul their goods at all.

State-owned Tasmanian rail operator posts loss

Posted Thursday, 17 October, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

Tasmania's state-owned rail operator has posted a cash loss of $2 million for the last financial year. But TasRail's annual report shows customer revenue rose $1 million, or 3 per cent, driven by increases in container traffic and cement transport from Railton. TasRail says the business is generating more revenue from freight as customers turn to rail as an alternative. While it recorded a cash loss of $2 million, there was a $50 million loss on paper.

Fire Next To Enfield Yard

Posted Thursday, 17 October, 2013 by Silver S Set in Cityrail News

Fire Next To Enfield Yard-Luckily, No-one Was Injured And There Were No Passing Trains

Truck driver 70 charged over train death

Posted Thursday, 17 October, 2013 by fabricator in Victorian Rail News

A truck driver has been charged over a collision with a train that claimed the life of a rail passenger last year. A 43-year-old man from Cranbourne West died after the collision. Thirty passengers were on the train – 12 of whom were taken to hospital. The incident all but destroyed half of a six-carriage train.

Massive decline in national infrastructure investment: IPA

Posted Saturday, 19 October, 2013 by oldghan in Rail News

There was been a 35% decline in national infrastructure investment between 2011/12 and 2012/13, according to industry body Infrastructure Partnerships Australia. But rail investment is declining at a slightly slower rate than road investment, IPA chief executive, Brendan Lyon, has told Rail Express.

Railway robbery as Aurizon plans to hike coal rail prices

Posted Saturday, 19 October, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

AURIZON'S proposed tariff hike for its coal rail network would slug mining companies an extra $1.2 billion over four years, QRC boss Michael Roche says. Mr Roche has hit back at the rail network provider, saying the resources council is "prosecuting the coal industry's concerns with vigour through the Queensland Competition Authority and the Queensland Government". The resources industry says the recently privatised Aurizon was clearly working in a "significantly different operating environment to its major customers". In a draft submission to the Queensland Competition Authority (known as the 2013 Undertaking or UT4) Aurizon submits its tariffs should rise by an average of 36% on a dollar per net tonne basis compared with the last year of the 2010/UT3 undertaking.

New freight gateway

Posted Sunday, 20 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Latrobe Valley could become the rail freight gateway for Gippsland businesses transporting goods to port before the year is out, through an inter-modal precinct at the Maryvale paper mill.

NSW bushfires causes millions of damage to Lithgow's iconic Zig Zag Railway

Posted Monday, 21 October, 2013 by fabricator in New South Wales Rail News

Lithgow's Zig Zag Railway has been left with a damage bill as high as $4 million after devastating bushfires ripped through the Blue Mountains on Thursday. Director Alexander Robinson-Mills says trains, carriages and equipment have been completely destroyed. The site was on the verge of restarting passenger services when the fire hit. Properties in the area remain under threat, with residents of Bell, Dargan Berambing and Bilpin told to take shelter and stay put.

Rio rail line will displace 10,000

Posted Monday, 21 October, 2013 by JimYarin in International Rail News

RIO Tinto's $US20 billion ($20.8bn) Simandou iron ore project in Guinea will see more than 10,000 people relocated to make way for a railway to move the raw material to the coast, raising potential issues over who will be responsible for their wellbeing. The extent of the relocations were revealed yesterday by Rio's iron ore counsel Philip Edmands in a talk to a resources and energy law association conference. "We need to move in excess of 10,000 people and there is a patchwork quilt of titles that have to be acquired," Mr Edmands told the AMPLA conference in Adelaide yesterday.

Driver collides with CN rail train

Posted Monday, 21 October, 2013 by JimYarin in International Rail News

A woman was taken to hospital early Sunday morning after a car collided with a CN Rail train in east Calgary. Paramedics, police officers and fire crews were called to the crash scene at 17th Avenue and Hubalta Road S.E. just before 3:30 a.m. When they arrived, they found a car that had sustained significant damage to the driver’s side, EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux said.

Hurstbridge, Eltham train lines suspended after person hit

Posted Monday, 21 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Train services on the #Hurstbridge and #Eltham lines have been suspended after a person was hit by a train. Metro Trains says that trains in both directions would be replaced by buses and has suggested passengers seek an alternative transport where possible.

State of Transport: Public forum

Posted Monday, 21 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

ABC 774 Presenter [url=]Jon Faine[/url] will host a State of Transport Public Forum on November 21, 2013. With just 12 months before the next State election, what is the state of transport in Melbourne? The Liberal Party in opposition at the last state election was granted government by the people of Victoria arguably on a public transport reform agenda.   Since the election what promises have been delivered? The Napthine government are arguably yet to make any substantial improvements to the rail network despite winning seats along the Frankston Railway Line which has been deprived of much needed investment for a very long time.

Bleak future for Bathurst EDI staff

Posted Monday, 21 October, 2013 by DesL in New South Wales Rail News

STAFF at a major Bathurst employer face an uncertain future after Downer EDI yesterday announced a major review of its operations. About 100 employees could be out of work before Christmas if the company goes ahead with plans to close its Bathurst facility. Company executives yesterday notified Bathurst staff that they were starting a 20-day period of consultation on plans to move all local work to Cardiff, near Newcastle, and the Newport plant in Victoria.

MacTiernan calls for Barnett to fund Tier 3 rail

Posted Monday, 21 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Western Australian Rail News

Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan wants the Western Australian Government to honour its election promise and keep the Tier 3 rail lines open. Prior to the recent state election Premier Colin Barnett said Tier 3 lines would remain open until October 2013 and he’d then determine with CBH, growers and Brookfield Rail which of those lines are viable into the future. “We’ll put money into lines with permanent viability," Mr Barnett said.

Finding due into fatal Vic rail disaster

Posted Monday, 21 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Victorian Rail News

The state coroner will on Monday deliver her finding into the Victorian train crash that killed 11 people in 2007.

The battle for Qld rail gets uglier as Aurizon submits to regulator

Posted Monday, 21 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Queensland Rail News

The contest between Aurizon and the customers of its Queensland railway monopoly has taken a turn for the ugly with a scarifying submission to the state competition regulator by the Queensland Resources Council. The latest trigger for anxiety is a new set of operational undertakings offered by Aurizon to the regulator. Known as UT4, the undertakings are the first offered since Aurizon was released from government ownership and their effect, according to QRC, would be to “significantly reduce the constraints on its monopoly power”.

Witnesses of Vic rail crash recall horror

Posted Tuesday, 22 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Jodie Burford, who was a conductor aboard the V/Line train when it was hit by a truck, was flung into the air. Six years on from that tragic day, she still struggles with the memories. "Glass was flying everywhere," she told reporters on Monday. "I was up near the roof of the carriage. "I was airborne. "It was black, completely black.

Queensland Rail rewrites timetable to roll out extra 200 train services per day into Brisbane

Posted Tuesday, 22 October, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

COMMUTERS within 10km of the city will no longer have to wait more than 15 minutes for a train under a radical $25 million timetable overhaul. In what will be the biggest rewrite of Queensland Rail's train timetable, an extra 200 services a day will be added from January 20, with every train on the rails most of the time. The trade-off is fewer express services and some longer waiting times at stations for signalling changes. The overhaul includes 44 inner-city stations serviced every 15 minutes from January 20. There will be seven more peak period trains running to and from the Gold Coast each day plus 12 more peak period trains running from Beenleigh to the CBD each day.

Kerang rail crash findings spark V/Line pledge for better safety resources

Posted Tuesday, 22 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Victoria's regional passenger rail operator, V/Line, says it will prepare a formal response by early next year to the coronial findings into a fatal train collision at Kerang in the state's north. Eleven people were killed and 23 others were injured when a truck slammed into a Melbourne-bound train in 2007. Coroner Jane Hendtlass has recommended more medical equipment on regional trains and tools to remove passenger seats during emergencies, as well as better training for train drivers and conductors.

Gold Coast on track for more rail services

Posted Wednesday, 23 October, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

There will be additional peak-hour services on the Gold Coast train line from next year. The Member for Coomera, Michael Crandon, says 93 weekly services will be added to the timetable from January 20. Mr Crandon says that will include three more morning peak services and four extra in the afternoon.

Footscray Forum: Melbourne’s Transport Crisis

Posted Wednesday, 23 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

"Melbourne has a transport crisis not just in congested roads and unreliable public transport but in lack of vision and creative thinking to solve these problems. We are failing to learn the lessons from cities that are already finding better solutions to transport problems.

Unsung heroes of the railway celebrated in Boyanup

Posted Wednesday, 23 October, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

THE UNSUNG heroes who kept train drivers and their passengers alive will be celebrated at the first FettlerFest celebrations at Boyanup’s South West Rail and Heritage Centre this month.  The festival will pay homage to the humble fettler – the workers who built and maintained railway tracks, ensuring the safety of everyone who travelled on them.

Rail line will be built on flood plain and spells ‘disaster’

Posted Wednesday, 23 October, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Corridor to the Coast Galilee Network said the rail line from mines in the Galilee Basin to the ports goes right through a flood plain and spells disaster. Network member Peter Anderson urged the Premier to have a look at it for himself. "We want the government to encourage these companies to investigate a single corridor which connects all the mining tenements on the western side of the Belyando and cross the river once, down stream where it isn't on the flood plain," Mr Anderson said.

Signal failures are causing chronic rail delays

Posted Wednesday, 23 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A signal failure occurs five times per day on average on Melbourne's railways, creating chronic delays for commuters as trains are forced to slow down or stop completely to avoid a collision. In all, there were more than 1900 signal failures on Melbourne's rail network in the 12 months to August, Metro figures show. Metro said each failure caused train delays, sometimes for short periods, but sometimes major. The signal failures occur most often at some of Melbourne's most highly trafficked stations in the inner city, and at stations where suburban lines converge. The worst-hit stations include Flinders Street, Southern Cross, North Melbourne, Camberwell and Dandenong. Reasons for faults include blown globes, arson, lightning strikes and copper theft. The Public Transport Users Association said the high rate of signal faults was proof the existing technology was in desperate need of modernisation.

Could Melbourne have airport rail sooner rather than later?

Posted Wednesday, 23 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

I’ve long been surprised that so far no Victorian government has caved in to the intense public pressure to build a rail line from the CBD to Melbourne Airport. There’s been plenty of posturing but so far no government has ever bitten the bullet. The idea was back in the media this week with this peremptory command to the Napthine Government from The Age’s editorial writer: [url=]Build airport rail, now[/url]. If only it were in caps with an exclamation mark!

Greiner calls for rail privatisation

Posted Friday, 25 October, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

Former New South Wales premier Nick Greiner has called for the privatisation of Australian Rail Track Corporation, saying that its ownership of coal lines would be much sought after. Mr Greiner said he would be surprised if the Commission of Audit of the federal government's finances commissioned by Joe Hockey did not look at the ARTC. "It's not primarily to aid Joe's financial problem, even though it would do that," he said. He said private ownership would enable it to be much more responsive to the coal industry's needs rather than having to go through the demands of a government agency, however well meaning.

Future of Tonsley rail line clouded as federal government pulls funding

Posted Friday, 25 October, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

COMMUTERS will be left in limbo and the state could be left with a transport white elephant as a furious slanging match erupts over the future of the Tonsley rail upgrade. [url=]The federal Coalition pulled $32 million funding from the project when it came into power - however, the State Government believes it later had the funding approved.[/url] Work on the duplication and upgrade was meant to be finished within weeks but now the works might be left unfinished.

Governments urged to keep regional rail lines open

Posted Friday, 25 October, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

The rail industry urges governments to look at the bigger picture when considering the ongoing operation of rural rail lines. Chief executive officer of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Bryan Nye expressed his concerns on the issue saying that governments around Australia must decide whether or not they want more and more trucks forced onto already congested rural highways and roads. “Viable grain and other agricultural rail lines right across Australia are being forced to unfairly compete with other transport modes that do not pay their fair share of infrastructure maintenance costs,” said Mr Nye. “This leads to situations where impasses over maintenance costs can lead to rail lines unnecessarily closing. It is akin to a government shutting down a highway because they won’t pay to fix a pothole,” he said.

Rail will put us on the road to success

Posted Friday, 25 October, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

THE interactions between rail networks and ports are of paramount importance to the broader economy. This is where the largest capacity mover of freight on the sea meets the largest capacity mover of freight on land, and together they contribute to the bulk of Australia's importing and exporting economies. Not all supply chains are created equal, however, and issues such as fragmentation of planning processes, diversity of infrastructure ownership type, inconsistent regulatory environments, partially distorted markets and misalignment of incentives all act to add unnecessary costs to the transport of goods. Freight movement accounts for up to 10 per cent of our GDP and supports employment in about 250,000 businesses. With our freight task doubling over the next 20 years, it is clear freight networks are a key part of our economy.

Asciano growth affected as bushfires damage rail network

Posted Friday, 25 October, 2013 by bevans in Asciano

ASCIANO shares were down after the rail and stevedore operator warned of slower growth this year and said its rail network had been damaged by the bushfires. The company said the fire damage would affect how much coal it hauls this month. However, its coal and port operations continued to drive the business during the September quarter while its rail business struggled with lower volumes due to a sluggish Australian economy. Chief executive John Mullen has maintained the company's forecast for growth in full year earnings but at a slower rate than the 9 per cent increase last year, when it posted a $340 million profit.

Let's get rail sorted, once and for all

Posted Sunday, 27 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

NORTH East MPs say they want to end the rail “blame game”. So Bill Tilley, Bill Sykes Tim McCurdy and Seymour MP colleague Cindy McLeish will meet Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder and V/Line and the Australian Rail Track Corporation representatives on Tuesday to seek answers to the woes that have dogged the beleaguered railway line for years.

Underground rail link gone from 30-year transport plan for Adelaide

Posted Sunday, 27 October, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

A proposal for underground rail to a redeveloped Bowden village has been scrapped in the South Australian Government's 30-year transport plan. The draft plan suggests trams should replace trains on the current Outer Harbor rail line and that they use Port Road to enter and leave the CBD. Transport Minister Tom Koutsantonis said that would remove the need for an expensive rail junction in the parklands and the potential need for an underground link to Bowden.

Train stuck in Melbourne tunnel

Posted Sunday, 27 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Trains travelling to Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs have been delayed for up to 20 minutes due to a broken down train in the city loop tunnel.  Metro spokeswoman Larisa Tate said the Frankston, Pakenham, Cranbourne and Sandringham lines will be travelling directly from Flinders Street station and by-passing the City Loop.  Ms Tate said the broken train, travelling from Frankston, became stuck between Melbourne Central and Parliament stations because of a faulty pantograph, the mechanical link connecting the overhead power lines. A Sandringham train, travelling directly behind the broken down Frankston train, was also forced to stop between Richmond and Parliament stations.

Rail lease shrouded in mystery

Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Wickepin shire president Steve Martin knows more than most about the grain freight debate raging in the Wheatbelt. He was the local government representative on the Strategic Grain Network Committee in 2009 and knows rail freight, road freight arguments inside out. Mr Martin also shares the fears of many shire presidents and ratepayers about the road safety and financial consequences of closing the ageing rail freight network known as Tier 3. He is concerned about the huge cost of supporting grain freight infrastructure being shifted from Brookfield Rail, CBH and the State Government to shires. "I want to see more trucks on the road this year because it means we have a lot more grain. But in the long term, it is clear we are going to be left with a task that the Government, a private company and a co-operative did," Mr Martin said.

Still no return to full light rail service and no explanations

Posted Monday, 28 October, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

Part of Sydney's light rail line will remain out of action until early next month amid growing frustration with the failure of the operator and government to explain the lengthy suspension of services. The light rail line between Lilyfield and Central, used for almost 100,000 trips a week, has been completely or partly suspended for almost three weeks after two trams derailed within 20 minutes on October 7.

Government claims safety works in rail loop on track

Posted Tuesday, 29 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Works to make Melbourne's underground rail loop safer are largely complete following the release of a withering Ombudsman's report 12 months ago, the state government says. About 100 passengers were trapped inside the City Loop for more than two hours on Sunday afternoon when a train broke down between Melbourne Central and Parliament stations. Fire crews who were called out about 2.20pm manually evacuated people from the tunnel, before the train was finally moved on and the line cleared about 10.25pm. Concerns about public safety in the event of an emergency or train breakdown in the loop emerged last year after the Victorian Ombudsman released a damning report on the tunnels' condition. The report blamed the Department of Transport for ignoring warnings about the Loop's deteriorating condition for about a decade.

Warren rail bridge to be repaired

Posted Tuesday, 29 October, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

With Warren’s Guningba rail bridge damaged in last year’s Queensland Cotton gin fire, local grain growers have been anxious to see the bridge repaired.  Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries this week announced that replacement of the timber rail bridge had now been included in the Department of Transport’s 2014-1015 works program.

Federal government rules out funding for Melbourne Airport rail-link

Posted Tuesday, 29 October, 2013 by JimYarin in Victorian Rail News

THE federal government has ruled out partnering with the Victorian government to build a Melbourne Airport rail-link. Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said any airport rail-link would need to be funded by the state government, despite its capacity to boost the national economy. "We see those as projects that are better provided by states and local governments," Mr Truss said at the announcement of multi-billion dollar expansion plans for the airport. The renovations will reportedly see passenger numbers double to 60 million within the next 20 years, an increase that would swamp current transport options for getting to and from the airport.

Turkey realises Ottoman dream with Marmaray underwater rail link between Europe to Asia

Posted Wednesday, 30 October, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

Turkey has opened the world's first underwater rail link between two continents, connecting Asia and Europe in a project envisioned by Ottoman sultans more than a century ago. Called the Marmaray, the engineering feat spans 13 kilometres some 60 metres below the Bosphorus Strait, and it will carry subway commuters in Istanbul and eventually serve high-speed and freight trains. Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan has referred to the Marmaray as the "project of the century" and says it fulfils an age-old "dream of our ancestors".

V/Line passenger trains return to Bairnsdale

Posted Wednesday, 30 October, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder today announced the return of V/Line trains to Bairnsdale from Thursday 31 October.  "The success of the rail milling work and the safe operation of level crossings means the six daily passenger trains between Southern Cross and Bairnsdale will resume on Thursday," Mr Mulder said.  “Trains have already returned to Sale, but the Victorian Coalition Government was always committed to returning passenger trains to Stratford and Bairnsdale.  As a longer term fix, the Coalition Government is funding the installation of axle counters between Traralgon and Bairnsdale.  Work to 'shave' the track to enhance level crossing detection is complete. Test trains have triggered the timely activation of boom gates and bells.  Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said that the local community would welcome the return of their trains.

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