Showing stories from February 2013

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Taree celebrates the centenary of rail services

Posted Friday, 1 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

TAREE celebrates the centenary of rail services to the Manning on Monday and a ceremony at Taree Railway Station will mark the occasion.

The opening of the rail line is one of the most important milestones in the history of the Manning Valley, Myall Lakes MP, Stephen Bromhead said.

"On February 4, 1913, the railway line from Dungog to Taree was officially opened after work had commenced in August 1909," he said.

Disability commissioner Graeme Innes wins case over garbled rail announcements

Posted Friday, 1 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

AUSTRALIA'S disability commissioner Graeme Innes, who is blind, has won a discrimination case against NSW rail authorities for not providing audible train announcements.

RailCorp has been ordered to pay $10,000 to Mr Innes, who complained it was discriminating against visually impaired people.

The Disability Discrimination Commissioner had lodged more than 60 complaints in the Federal Magistrates Court about inaudible train announcements on the NSW train network.

Magistrate Kenneth Raphael ruled RailCorp had breached the Disability Discrimination Act because in 18 to 20 per cent of the occasions for which complaints were made by Mr Innes, the network had failed to provide audible announcements.

Queensland Rail Train Loses Brake, Hurts 14 as it Runs Off Tracks, Rams Station Toilet

Posted Friday, 1 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A Queensland passenger train lost its brake on Thursday at 7:55 a.m., causing the train to run off the tracks and ram into a station toilet in Cleveland, east of Brisbane. The accident caused damaged to the toilets and injured 14 people.


Report said that there were 13 passengers, a train driver and a guard aboard the train when the accident occurred. The train's front carriage hit the platform and eventually the toilets, causing live power lined to snap and come down on the middle of the train.

Buswell joins attack on WA opposition rail plan

Posted Friday, 1 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

WEST Australian Transport Minister Troy Buswell (Mr. Chair Sniffer) has attacked the opposition's cost estimates for its key election focus, the ambitious Metronet rail project.

The opposition says the project will cost $3.8 billion but the government puts it at $6.8 billion, with Premier Colin Barnett saying for the past two days that Labor needs a reality check.

Mr Buswell, who is also the state's treasurer, says there is an $864 million "hole" in a major part of the project, a link to Perth Airport.

Tribunal orders drivers to end train boycott called in wake of Cleveland derailment

Posted Saturday, 2 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Transport Minister Scott Emerson says Fair Work Australia has debunked union claims that a passenger train crash was caused by brake failure.

Queensland Rail and police are investigating how a Brisbane train left the tracks and smashed into a toilet block at Cleveland station on Thursday.

The Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said its members would not drive the model of train involved over safety concerns, but was ordered to cease the ban by Fair Work Australia.

Mr Emerson said Fair Work Australia had informed him there was no evidence to support brake failure being an issue.

Transport Dept investigating boom gate closures

Posted Saturday, 2 February, 2013 by vanessa in South Australian Rail News

South Australia's Transport Department is investigating reports that level crossings in Adelaide's south are being triggered when there are no passenger trains going past. A driver says he was forced to wait for several minutes at Blackwood on the Belair line as the boom gates closed for no apparent reason. Similar incidents in other parts of Adelaide have also been reported.

Esperance Port upgrade to boost economy

Posted Saturday, 2 February, 2013 by vanessa in Western Australian Rail News

It's hoped a proposed upgrade of the Esperance Port will facilitate the growth of the burgeoning Yilgarn iron ore industry and create a 'jobs bonanza' for the State's south.
An economic study commissioned by the Yilgarn Iron Producers Association has found a 10 to 12 million tonne expansion of the port would have a substantial impact not only on the Goldfields and Esperance but across the state.
The study shows the expansion would employ up to 1,000 workers during the construction phase and could generate work for more than 3000 throughout the economy.

El Zorro quells financial rumours

Posted Sunday, 3 February, 2013 by Galron in Rail News

RAIL freight operator El Zorro Transport has sought to reassure its customers and backers the business is financially secure.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 2/2/2013

Posted Sunday, 3 February, 2013 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 108 sightings for this week. This is two sighting more than last week, making a total of 526 sightings for this year to date. On day 33 last year we had recorded 487 sightings. This is 39 sightings up on the same time last year.

Yes, they are out to get you ... to get you there

Posted Sunday, 3 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

IT'S as true in Melbourne as it is in Moscow and Manhattan. Residence of a large metropolis demands certain rituals and obligations, among them the conviction that your city's transport system is a disaster without rival - a mess, a joke, a blight on civilisation.

The trains will never run on time, all the time. Few things exercise the populace more keenly; few failures drive us more swiftly to anger and excuses for expletives.

In Melbourne, the people who run and work for Metro Trains know that they will always be hated, and the best they can do is minimise the hostility, while doing their best to tame an innately unwieldy beast.

Rail services to Cleveland resume after crash

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Rail services to Cleveland have resumed and were running on schedule after repairs were made to the station building, rammed by a train on Thursday morning.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said Queensland Rail worked around the clock on the repairs.

“We appreciate the hard work of more than 100 maintenance crew, facilities crew and demolition subcontractors who have worked tirelessly to get the network back up and running,” Mr Emerson said.

“The station is completely operational except the toilets which will be repaired over the coming months.”

Talks sought on 'one of the worst' level crossings

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The federal government has offered to hold bipartisan talks in an effort to fix a Melbourne railway crossing that has claimed 16 lives.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese inspected the St Albans crossing in Melbourne's west on Sunday and said he was prepared to sit down with his state counterpart to discuss how to improve it.

''This is obviously one of the worst in the country,'' he said.

''I know the state government made commitments about dealing with this issue prior to the last election"

Farm lobby backs CBH rail push

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The State's peak farm lobby group has backed CBH's plan to take over the running of grain freight lines in the heart of the Wheatbelt.

WAFarmers president and transport spokesman Dale Park said yesterday that Brookfield Rail had not done enough to justify holding on to its long-term lease over the Tier 3 lines, which are set to close on October 31 and be placed into care and maintenance.

Mr Park said he was confident CBH could operate the lines through experienced US company Watco, which took over the running of CBH's new $175 million fleet of locomotives and wagons last year.

Rail fiasco report out soon

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

PEOPLE deserve some “much-needed answers” from a report due out later this month on the botched North East rail project, a Border MP says.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation into the Melbourne-Sydney rail line is already six months late.

Member for Indi Sophie Mirabella said she was eagerly anticipating the findings of the inquiry, which was ordered by federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese in August 2011.

It was prompted by a series of incidents on the line, including one where a controller switched a Border-bound V/Line train with 300 people onto a closed track.

Fast-track for Surfers light rail

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE developer of the Gold Coast's $1.2 billion light rail will fast-track construction through the heart of Surfers Paradise to minimise disruption to struggling traders and tackle mounting pressure to finish the project by mid-next year.

Yesterday, GoldLinQ revealed it would dump a phased roll-out of the project through the Glitter Strip and replace it with an intense four-month program, which would see most of Surfers Paradise Boulevard shut until June.

Major underground service upgrades and track laying will take place during the "get in, get out" program, leaving street scaping and light work to be carried out afterwards.

SPV mulled for Thailand high-speed rail

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

Chairman Virabongsa Ramangkura said the SPV should mirror how the Japan Railways (JR) Group manages that country's network of high-speed lines.

His remark indicates the network should not be run directly by the agency in charge of rail development, the State Railway of Thailand.

Mr Virabongsa said the committee needs more time to study in detail an appropriate management structure for the project.

The SCRF at its meeting last week also approved a 6-million-baht budget for the Thailand Creative & Design Center to study value creation for the high-speed train project.

Australia by Rail (new mobile app)

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by Xoanon in Press Releases

AUSTRALIA BY RAIL is a vibrant guide containing nearly 100 reviews of rail experiences across the Australian continent.

Its listings are arranged in categories covering Tourist Railways, Rail Tours, Interstate Trains, Regional Trains, City Trains, City Trams, Museums, and rail-related Resources.

Adelaide Rail electrification remains on hold

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Adelaide Railway Station has reopened after a month-long closure but the complete electrification of the city's rail network remains on indefinite hold.

The closure of the city station interrupted the journeys of tens of thousands of passengers in the north of the city, with substitute buses completing city bound trips and delaying journeys by more than a quarter of an hour.

End of the line for Tasmanian heritage railway

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

There are calls for Tasmania's state-owned rail company to take over a heritage railway that is closing to tourists after more than a decade.

The Federal Group has announced the West Coast Wilderness Railway will stop running at the end of April.

The company has run tours between Queenstown and Strahan for the past 10 years.

Federal Group spokesman Daniel Hanna says the business is no longer viable.

Report outlines need for Gippsland rail investment

Posted Monday, 4 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A V/Line report obtained by the Victorian Greens under freedom of information laws suggests Gippsland's public transport woes are likely to worsen unless there is a major investment from the State Government.

The report says Gippsland's train line is the least reliable and runs at the lowest speed in the state because it shares the line with suburban services from Pakenham.

Aurizon plans to re-open coal rail

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Aurizon expects to re-open its Blackwater rail route by the end of this week following Queensland's floods but the Moura line's opening to miners has been delayed until the end of February.

Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald and subsequent flooding caused significant damage to both rail systems - particularly Moura's - forcing their closure more than a week ago.

The coal miners who have been unable to meet contracts due to the flooding include Xstrata, Yancoal, Wesfarmers Resources and Rio Tinto.

They declared "force majeure" to avoid liability.

Flood-damaged Moura rail line's reopening delayed

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

ANGLO Coal is expected to be the coalminer most affected by coal carrier Aurizon's announcement yesterday that the Moura line running from the central Queensland coalfields to the port of Gladstone is likely to be closed for longer than forecast.

Floods associated with Tropical Cyclone Oswald cut two railway lines in central Queensland which service the coal industry, the Blackwater line, running down from Emerald due east to Rockhampton and then south to Gladstone, and the Moura line, which runs directly west from Gladstone to mines around Banana, Moura and Theodore.

Last week, Aurizon -- previously QR National -- forecast that both lines, which have been closed since January 25, should be open by the end of this week.

A statement from the company yesterday quoting network vice-president Mike Carter said that the bigger Blackwater line should be open by the end of this week but the Moura line would not open for another three weeks.

Redcliffe rail link tenders shortlisted

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The final two tenders for the long-awaited $1.15 billion Moreton Bay Rail Link, to run from Petrie to Kippa-Ring, will pitch their final design ideas and costs by May.

The decision on which company would build the rail connection will be made in the second half of 2013 and construction will start in late 2013.

The rail line will be finished by 2016.

It is one of southeast Queensland's fastest growing and most car-hungry areas, according to the project website.

Rail strike action threatens coal delivery

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

RAIL drivers will embark on a 24-hour strike on Friday, escalating a long-running dispute that threatens to delay the delivery of 300,000 tonnes of coal and cost Pacific National Coal million of dollars in lost revenue.

The rail freight operator's NSW coal division, responsible for hauling 80 per cent of the state's domestic and export coal, yesterday proceeded with its threat to scale down a pay offer if the dispute was unresolved, cutting the annual pay rises offered to workers from 4 per cent to 3 per cent.

But the company, owned by the ASX-listed Asciano, said 50 employees out of an 840-strong workforce had individually approached the company about accepting the offer, and they would receive the 4 per cent increase and backpay provided they attended work on Friday.

Pacific National Coal director David Irwin said the company was considering its legal options in response to the protected industrial action by the Rail Tram and Bus Union.

Rail union to challenge train brake ruling

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union says it will continue its campaign to have a model of train removed from service, after a crash on Brisbane's bayside last week.

About 12 people suffered minor injuries when a passenger train crashed into Cleveland Station on Thursday.

Fair Work Australia ruled on the weekend there was no evidence to support the union's claim of brake problems and ordered union members to keep driving that type of train.

'Snowball effect' caused Monday's rail paralysis

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Railcorp says it was a snowball effect that led to chaos on Sydney's transport system yesterday.

Problems with overhead lines at Waverton, in Sydney's north, yesterday morning meant no trains could run between Wynyard and Chatswood during morning peak hour.

Police had to be called in to control the crowds trying to get onto the replacement buses leaving from Wynyard.

There were also flow-on delays across the network.

No penalty for rail pull out

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

The Tasmanian Government has confirmed the operator of a heritage tourist railway will not be penalised for breaking its 20-year deal with taxpayers.

The Federal Group will stop running the West Coast Wilderness Railway in April because of rising maintenance costs and declining passenger numbers.

The company is halfway through a 20-year lease with the State Government which owns the infrastructure.

The Tourism Minister, Scott Bacon, has told ABC Local Radio the company approached the Government about breaking the lease late last year.

Train chaos as faults cause long delays

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Train commuters on several Melbourne lines are enduring lengthy delays as track faults and signal failures take their toll.

Passengers on the Belgrave, Lilydale and Alamein lines reported delays of up to 45 minutes during morning peak after a signal fault between Camberwell and Burnley stations. Earlier on Tuesday, buses were ordered to replace trains between Camberwell and Alamein, also because of a signal fault.

A Metro spokeswoman said the faults were caused by a power surge in a faulty signal at Camberwell at 5.10am, affecting the three lines.

She said crews were at the site and trying to rectify the situation, but the delays would continue while they worked.

Union demand Queensland Rail release brake failure reports following near-disastrous Cleveland train

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail is refusing to bow to union pressure to withdraw 64 trains from service despite claims drivers have logged numerous issues with those models.

Owen Doogan from the Rail Tram and Bus Union yesterday demanded Queensland Rail release reports made by drivers of instances in which the electronic brakes had failed and a back-up system was used to stop trains.

It followed last Thursday's near-disastrous crash at Cleveland station, in which the union claims both sets of brakes failed despite the driver's best efforts.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson has refused to speculate on the cause, but said the RTBU's allegation of "systemic brake failure" had been ruled out.

Peak-hour rail chaos looms as bat causes short-circuit and commuters told to 'seek alternative'

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

SOME train commuters from Melbourne's east are facing a two-hour trip home tonight after a bat short-circuited a section of line.

Some peak-hour journeys on the Belgrave and Lilydale lines are expected to take two hours after the short-circuiting at Camberwell blew out a large number of signals and switches.

Rail workers to bring coal sector to halt

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

THE massive NSW coal industry is set to come to a standstill for 48 hours as the dispute between Pacific National Coal and striking rail workers escalated.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) told Pacific National on Tuesday afternoon that it would extend its legal 24-hour strike from midday Friday to Saturday - announced on Monday - by another 24 hours to Sunday.

The move will bring the state's largest coal hauler to a halt for two days, which Pacific National says will affect up to 40 trains carrying more than 300,000 tonnes of coal a day worth more than $25 million a day at current prices.

Pacific National hauls 70 per cent of the state's coal, but other rail companies and coal producers will also be affected by idle trains on lines.

The union accused Pacific National of a "union busting" campaign after following through with a threat on Tuesday to cut its offer from a four per cent a year pay rise and $2500 back pay to three per cent.

$16 million rail bridge in design stage

Posted Tuesday, 5 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Plans are pushing ahead with a second rail overbridge in Gunnedah, following the appointment of contractors to carry out the concept design.

The studies will involve community consultation, geotechnical, environmental, heritage and hydrological and hydraulic investigations, as well as urban design, traffic and noise studies and modelling, strategic concept designs, identification of the feasible concept options and a preferred concept option.

Hiccups on the Newcastle rail line

Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

AS soon as the government announced a new rail terminus for Newcastle, transport buffs began asking whether the proposed Wickham site could accommodate all the necessary facilities.

That was an operational question, they were told, and such questions would have to be carefully analysed by rail experts.

The first hints of where some of that analysis might lead are now emerging, with suggestions that the new arrangement may not be a mere substitution of one terminus for another.

Marginal decision on Tasmanian rail upgrade

Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

FEDERAL taxpayers face a multi-million-dollar bailout of a loss-making Tasmanian tourism railway in a key marginal seat.

Labor MP for the federal seat of Braddon, Sid Sidebottom, told The Australian yesterday he had asked the Tasmanian government to advise Canberra "what it had in mind" for federal help to save the West Coast Wilderness Railway.

Private operator Federal Group has announced the tourist attraction will close on April 30 because the $15 million to $20m needed to upgrade the state-owned track had made the service unviable. The Labor state government has refused to meet the cost, saying it cannot afford it, and Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne yesterday confirmed an approach would be made to the Gillard government.

Mr Sidebottom, whose seat in Tasmania's west the Liberals are confident of winning at the September 14 election, said he had approached three federal cabinet ministers about the issue.

Atlas sees hope in shared rail bid

Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Atlas Iron managing director Ken Brinsden has given the clearest indication yet that the long-standing battle over shared infrastructure between it and other Pilbara iron ore miners is opening up, saying companies are now taking a more "pragmatic" approach to the scenario.

It comes as Mr Brinsden indicated the feasibility study into a landmark bid to build the Pilbara's first genuine multi-user iron ore rail line involving Aurizon (formally QR National), Atlas and Brockman Mining could be released within a month.

Speaking yesterday after Atlas lifted its ore reserves by 21 per cent to 499 million tonnes, Mr Brinsden said the resource upgrade was just one of the factors which helped justify an investment in independent Pilbara infrastructure.

Clover Moore digs in for a rail tunnel fight

Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE Surry Hills light rail link should go underground to stop residents losing their homes and to protect the area's character, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says.

Ms Moore has called for the trams to be put in a tunnel, from Central Station to Moore Park underneath Devonshire St, as part of Sydney's $1.6 billion light rail network proposal.

Residents are rallying for a tunnel, claiming the rail line would "destroy the heartland of Surry Hills", or urging planners to change the route to revive ailing Oxford St. Ms Moore said she had contacted state and federal ministers urging them to fund a tunnel from Central to the SCG.

Rail chaos spills over to second day

Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Belgrave and Lilydale line commuters are facing yet another peak hour of delays with Metro yet to fully resolve signalling problems at Camberwell.

A bat flew into power cables early on Tuesday morning, causing major disruption to signals that has severely disrupted trains since.

According to its twitter site this afternoon, Metro said it would take an extra 20 minutes to travel to Camberwell and an extra hour to travel to the end of the lines.

Metro again urged commuters on these lines to leave work early, if possible.

Services on the Camberwell-Alamein line will continue to be replaced by buses until at least tommorrow morning, Metro has tweeted.

Should the O’Farrell government lower Sydney airport rail fares?

Posted Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The NSW Government is about to land a big windfall from the airport rail line as revenue-sharing provisions kick in. But should it return the money to airport train travellers or keep it?

Rail delays drag on all night after bat strikes power line

Posted Thursday, 7 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

After two days of commuter disruptions, rail services have returned to normal  in Melbourne's eastern suburbs after a wayward bat forced a train go-slow on two  different lines.

After working around the clock, Metro this morning reports repairs on the  Alamein, Belgrave and Lilydale lines are finished and all services are to  expected to run to the timetable.

Train drivers were instructed to proceed slowly as automatic emergency brake  triggers were switched off on Wednesday, with buses replacing trains between  Camberwell and Alamein all night.

The system limped along with only one train at a time able to travel along  the lines between Camberwell and Glenferrie stations city-bound, and between  Auburn and Glenferrie outbound, until the line problem could be solved.

Rail users slam truncation plan

Posted Thursday, 7 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

NEWCASTLE MP Tim Owen has urged people to wait until the government has finished its planning before criticising the Wickham rail truncation but public transport groups are adamant the plan is flawed.

A robust debate ensued on Wednesday after the Newcastle Herald raised the possibility that Sydney trains would have to terminate at Broadmeadow, rather than Wickham, for operational reasons.

Newcastle agri terminal takes shape

Posted Thursday, 7 February, 2013 by DesL in New South Wales Rail News

EASTERN Australia's newest bulk grain loading venture, Newcastle Agri Terminal (NAT), is still a year from being fully commissioned but the operation is already set to expand into container exports, too.

Third day running: fresh woes hit rail network

Posted Thursday, 7 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne’s train network has been hit by major disruption for the third day in a row, with Frankston line trains suspended between Caulfield and Moorabbin.

Trains were halted after a person was struck by a train and killed at Bentleigh station at 12.50pm.

Buses have been ordered for passengers travelling between Caulfield and Moorabbin.

Fortescue confirms partial sale of rail assets

Posted Thursday, 7 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

FOLLOWING speculation last year, Pilbara iron-ore miner Fortescue Metal Group (FMG) has confirmed that it is to sell a minority interest in its rail and port assets.

During the second half of 2012, low iron prices caused potential liquidity problems for FMG forcing it to dramatically scale back its expansion plans and there were reports that the company was considering an asset sale.

According to media reports, FMG has hired two companies, Lazard and Macquarie Group, as financial advisers on any potential sales.

Rail plan gathers puff

Posted Thursday, 7 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

THE push for a northern suburbs passenger train continues to gain momentum as tripartisan support for the plan grows.

The proposal is shaping up to be a key issue in upcoming federal and state elections, with Tasmanian political figures from all sides throwing their support behind the project.

Federal Denison MP Andrew Wilkie spoke in Parliament yesterday, calling on the Liberal and Labor parties to each commit $100 million to the project.

Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown will host a meeting with 30 "civic leaders" next Friday, in the hope of forming a powerful lobby group to bolster efforts to secure federal funding for the light rail project.

Greens hound Buswell over WA light rail

Posted Friday, 8 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

A GREENS' bid to have the federal government disclose West Australian government attempts to secure Commonwealth funding for a light rail system has failed.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam moved to have the documents made public after WA Treasurer Troy Buswell this week indicated the Liberal's light rail plan for Perth may not be part of its state election campaign package.

"It was extraordinary to see the major parties unite to keep this information a secret," Senator Ludlam said.

Queensland Rail rules out kid-free carts

Posted Friday, 8 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

QUEENSLAND Rail has ruled out introducing child-free carriages, despite publicly testing the waters on the idea by asking customers to share their thoughts on Twitter this week.

The move came after Air Asia X launched quiet zones on its A330-300 fleet across Australia, Nepal, China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea, providing passengers with the option of sitting in a child-free section.

Despite asking quiet carriage users to express their opinion on the idea, a Queensland Rail spokeswoman said the company was simply generating conversation with rail users.

Brighton jumps the queue as death trap waits

Posted Saturday, 9 February, 2013 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

MONEY is tight in Victoria for TAFEs, teachers and hospitals, but the state government has found millions of dollars to upgrade a level crossing in the safe Liberal seat of Brighton.

The New Street crossing - ranked a lowly 223rd on a government priority list of level crossings in need of fixing - is to be upgraded this year.

The crossing is in the seat of deputy Liberal leader Louise Asher.

The Brighton crossing was closed after a train hit the gates. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

News of the upgrade comes in the same week Dianne Dejanovic visited the notorious Main Street level crossing in St Albans.

Ms Dejanovic's 31-year-old son Christian was killed at the level crossing a year ago - the 16th person to die at the crossing - and she has called on the government to fix it.

Firefighters at scene where reports of an Aurizon freight train is on fire

Posted Saturday, 9 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Firefighters have just arrived at a scene, north of Ambrose, between Gladstone and Rockhampton where a train has de-railed and is on fire.

It is believed the train is a diesel haulage train. It is also believed there is 1.5kms between the road and the train, which is stationery.

It's our station and we should have a real say in its future

Posted Saturday, 9 February, 2013 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

THE grand plan by the Baillieu government to redevelop Flinders Street Station is heading into its final stages. The 117 entries to the design competition are down to a shortlist of six, and by late July we will have a winner. The anticipation is building.

Before that happens, there will be a people's choice award, with Victorians being asked to decide which of the designs they support, to finally rescue a precious icon of Marvellous Melbourne that has been left to rot. We should be excited. The people will be heard. Vox populi triumphs.

Well, not quite. Read the fine print of the competition conditions and while the people might be given an opportunity to speak, it is, at best, unclear if anyone will be listening. At worst, it is a hollow exercise that gives the impression that the people will have a say, when they won't.

A jury of experts will make the decision on the winning design. As the competition rules stipulate, the jury will not be told the outcome of people's choice. Both the people's vote and the jury decision will be announced at the same time. The two may coincide, in a fabulous moment of serendipity. But maybe they won't.

The jury's winner is up for a $500,000 prize, and the prospect of seeing their design turned into reality, if this cry-poor government can find the funds to rejuvenate the 1910 landmark. (The government will also have to be re-elected, for this is a two-term plan.) There is no cheque for the people's choice award winner, just a warm inner glow that comes from being loved, if not embraced.

Woman hit by train posing for pictures

Posted Saturday, 9 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

A woman has had an amazing escape after being sent flying by a train travelling at 140km/h while posing for pictures on a railway track.

The student, who wanted to be known only by the nickname Xiaoli and her friend had decided to use the train track as a backdrop for pictures in Shaodong County in central China’s Hunan Province, reports the Changsha Evening News.

Steam rides back at rail museum

Posted Saturday, 9 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

New Delhi: From Sunday, visitors to the National Rail Museum can take a historical train ride. A restored relic of the country's first monorail—Patiala State Monorail Tramway (PTST) - is ready to spew steam and smoke again. Although the original tramway ran two routes in the princely state of Patiala between 1907 and 1927, at the museum the tiny engine will do only a 10-minute loop run.

Premier needed in rail debate

Posted Saturday, 9 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

THE West Coast community has called on Premier Lara Giddings to speak up on plans for the future of the West Coast Wilderness Railway.

More than 240 people attended a crisis community meeting in Queenstown yesterday, over plans to close the Abt railway.

They gave rousing applause to Tracks Cafe operator Joy Chappell, who told State Government ministers, tourism officials and Federal Government representatives she would be forced to sack eight staff if the railway shut down.

"Why isn't Lara Giddings here? Why doesn't she think we're important enough to turn up today?" Ms Chappell said.

Tickets will be punched - end of the line for rail bosses

Posted Sunday, 10 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

MORE senior RailCorp executives will be forced to reapply for their jobs as part of Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian's massive overhaul of the troubled network.

This week, 250 RailCorp big wigs were told to refresh their resumes or face losing their jobs, with 180 other senior employees given the same instructions last week.

The latest 250 positions will be advertised over the next month, beginning today. All 430 senior executives are on at least $130,000 and will lose their jobs unless they reapply.

The clean-out of some senior managers comes ahead of RailCorp's split into Sydney Trains and NSW Trains, scheduled for July 1.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 9/2/2013.

Posted Sunday, 10 February, 2013 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 122 sightings for this week. This is 14 sighting more than last week, making a total of 648 sightings for this year to date. On day 40 last year we had recorded 615 sightings. This is 33 sightings up on the same time last year.

WA Liberals pledge Perth airport rail link

Posted Sunday, 10 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

THE WA Liberals have promised to build an airport rail link if they win next month's state election, after Labor announced an ambitious Metronet project in late January.

If re-elected on March 9, the Liberals have pledged to build a $1.895 billion airport rail link transporting domestic and international passengers to and from Perth Airport.

Premier Colin Barnett says as well as offering public transport to travellers, the rail link will also offer more options to residents in the eastern suburbs wanting to travel into the city, as well as businesses at the proposed airport business and industrial park.

"Our airport line will take Western Australians and tourists straight to the doorstep of the airport terminal, delivering maximum convenience and cost savings for travellers," he said.

Under the Liberal model, trains would run at least every 10 minutes at peak times and airport trains would integrate with services on the existing Midland line, meaning increased train frequencies between Bayswater and Perth.

The passing of John F Dunn

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2013 by dw54 in Opinion

The sad news of John's death has spread rapidly, via friendship circles and hobby circles. Following the ravages of motor-neurone disease for most of this year, John died peacefully in hospital on 30.12.

Why High-Speed Rail Is a Ridiculous Fantasy

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

High-speed rail supporter Alfred Twu has gotten a lot of attention for having boldly drawna map of where he thinks high-speed trains should go. Never mind that Twu’s map is even more absurd than Obama’s plan. What’s sad is that the romance of trains still manages to hold peoples’ attention long after passenger trains have become technologically and economically obsolete.

Commuters around the globe ditch their trousers for 12th annual No Pants Subway Ride

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

Bare-legged riders around the globe braved the winter weather and some stares from fellow commuters on Sunday for the No Pants Subway Ride - an annual celebration of freedom, subways - and skivvies.

After events in cities like London and Madrid, North America followed suit, donning just their briefs and boxers in cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Mexico City.

It started off as a prank by comedy group Improv Everywhere that bemused a few embarrassed commuters but has since grown into a global phenomenon.

New push for State Government to fund the Oaklands Park rail overpass

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

TRADERS and Marion Council have renewed their calls for the State Government to fund a $110 million overpass at the Oaklands Park rail crossing, saying the intersection's already chronic congestion will worsen once the Noarlunga line reopens.

They say more trains on the line will cause longer delays at the bottleneck once the electrified trains start plying the line in September.

The Transport Department has drawn up artists' impressions of the multi-million dollar rail overpass but has not committed any funding to build it.

Rio wins long running iron ore rail battle

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Fortescue have lost their battle to access Rio Tinto’s iron rail network in the Pilbara.

The Australian iron ore miner had been fighting for access to Rio's Hammersly and Robe River lines.

However the Australian Competition Tribunal’s have ruled that Rio’s Hamersley and Robe rail lines should not be opened up to other users.

Fare-evader fines soar under myki

Posted Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Ticket inspectors have been busy since myki cards became compulsory on December 29.

Almost 7900 fines were issued on trains in January this year, nearly double the 4318 fines issued in January 2012.

However, ticket offences on trams and buses are down slightly this January, compared with this time last year.

Rail safety on track, says minister

Posted Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Southeast Queensland commuters could be assured their trains were safe, Transport Minister Scott Emerson said, despite Queensland Rail admitting there had been previous 'slip and slide' incidents before last month's train crash at Cleveland.

A commuter train failed to stop and ploughed into the Cleveland station, situated at the end of the line, on January 31, raising questions about braking issues surrounding particular classes of trains.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has been charged with investigating the incident east of Brisbane.

But Mr Emerson again sought to allay concerns - of both Queensland Rail drivers and passengers - that the service was safe.

Buswell unveils light rail plan for Perth

Posted Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The West Australian Liberal party's highly anticipated light rail plan will cost $1.8 billion and move 25,000 commuters a day.

Transport minister Troy Buswell unveiled the 22 kilometre tram network on Monday, saying it would reduce congestion and take Perth's public transport system "into a new era".

He says he's confident the total cost estimate is accurate.

On Sunday Liberals leader Colin Barnett joined Mr Buswell to launch plans for their airport rail link.

FMG loss in rail access case could affect smaller miners

Posted Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The Australian Competition Tribunal has refused to allow Fortescue Metals Group access to Rio Tinto's iron ore rail lines in the Pilbara.

FMG was claiming Rio forced unnecessary duplication of infrastructure by refusing other miners access to its rail lines, while Rio said any third party access would limit the efficiency of its network.

City "powerless" to stop light rail through malls

Posted Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The City of Perth says it is powerless to stop a light rail network being built through the CBD's outdoor malls, despite concerns it will "obliterate" the area.

The State Government has pledged $1.8 billion to create a line linking Mirrabooka and the city by the end of 2018.

It is yet to reveal what the CBD route is but the Transport Minister Troy Buswell says despite council objections, it will run through either the Murray or Hay Street malls.

Experts warn light rail imposes heavy burden

Posted Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THERE will be noise, dust, vibration, shops moving out, slower traffic and a nightmare underground of lost and mislaid cables - and that's just the beginning.

Sydney has been warned it will have to be patient to avoid construction fatigue during the expected five or six years it could take to build the $1.6 billion light rail network linking Circular Quay to Randwick.

Gold Coast authorities said the experience of retrofitting a 70-year-old city with 13km of track - two less than Sydney - had "well and truly disturbed the city".

It wiped out parking and retail vacancy rates soared from five per cent to 22 per cent. Drivers lost lanes and turning points. Every day they were told to expect the unexpected, with traffic conditions changing regularly. Hotels had to refund thousands of dollars because guests lost sleep in the 24/7 construction zone.

Derailment on the Victorian North East line

Posted Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 by bevans in Gunzelling Reports

A freight train has derailed on the Victorian North East rail corridor. Approximately 10 freight wagons are off the track just north of Avenel.

Police have been summoned to the scene and power lines have been damaged.  The train, a Qube Logistics regular intermodal service between Melbourne and Southern NSW, derailed on the west line between Avenel and Longwood (an ARTC 3MC1 service) at approximately 4.30pm.

Train collides with truck near Kerang

Posted Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A Melbourne-bound train carrying about 40 passengers and a truck have collided at Lake Charm, north of Kerang.

Nobody was injured in the smash, which happened about 1.30pm at the B McCann Road level crossing on Tuesday.

Fairfax Regional Media reported passengers were stuck on the train for almost an hour, while the wreckage was cleared. They finished their trip by bus.

Railway Centre Under A Cloud

Posted Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 by Loco in Victorian Rail News

TURMOIL continues to plaque the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre as operations manager, Terry Hughes, resigns from his post amid claims of misconduct by key members.

The allegations of a “complete breakdown” of compliance with rules and procedures follow the North Central Review’s reports on May 8 and July 27 last year and an exodus of volunteer staff in 2012.

Public transport complaints soar

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Public Transport Ombudsman has received 70 per cent more complaints against Victoria's public transport authorities in the last half of 2012 compared to the same period for the previous year.

Figures released in the ombudsman's e-newsletter On Track for February show that the ombudsman dealt with 1997 cases in July to December 2012, compared to 1173 for July to December 2011.

The most common complaint – unsurprisingly, given myki was being phased in – was ticketing. There were 817 complaints against the Transport Ticketing Authority in the second half of 2012 compared to the 457 for July to December 2011.

Decision on Newcastle rail line not finalised

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

SYDNEY trains could terminate at Broadmeadow rather than Wickham, under the state government's plans to cut the Newcastle train line.

Government artwork showing the Wickham interchange as more suited to four-car trains than the eight cars usually used on the Sydney service has triggered the speculation.

Govt considers axing subsidised rail routes: Emerson

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

BOUTIQUE tourist services could replace rural rail journeys in Queensland's west and north as the State Government considers axing heavily subsidised routes.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said there was an average of just 30 passengers on the Westlander rail route between Brisbane and Charleville and the Inlander route between Townsville and Mt Isa.

He said he believed most people would be shocked to learn the routes were subsidised more than $2000 per journey and was increasing each year.

Senator says SA repaying rail funds

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

he Federal Opposition says the South Australian Government has failed to make good use of federal money allocated for electrification of the Gawler rail line.

The project received $294 million of federal funding, but was abandoned as part of last year's state budget, despite some preliminary work having been done.

Queensland crash train's brakes tested

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

INVESTIGATORS are examining the brakes of a Brisbane train that overshot the end of a rail line and crashed into a building.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says it will test the brakes of a similar train in the next few days.

Fifteen people on board and four people at the station were lucky to escape serious injury on January 31 when it careered into the station house, all but destroying the toilets.

Several suffered minor injuries.

Fortescue considers fresh appeal after losing battle for Rio rail access

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

FORTESCUE Metals is considering another appeal after suffering a defeat in its long battle for third-party access to Rio Tinto's rail infrastructure in the Pilbara.

After almost six years of legal dispute, the Australian Competition Tribunal decided on Monday Rio did not have to open up its Hamersley and Robe rail lines to Fortescue.

The decision, which Rio described as ''great news'' and Fortescue said was ''regrettable'', came as the Northern Territory government offered to provide 10 years' gas supply to support Rio's Gove alumina refinery in Nhulunbuy.

Sandeep Biswas, chief executive of Rio's struggling Pacific Aluminium division, acknowledged the ''important'' offer from the Territory government which would be considered along with the future of the loss-making Gove refinery at Rio's board meeting this week - ahead of Thursday's 2012 profit result.

McCloy says rail must go

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

NEWCASTLE’s ‘‘dying’’ centre could be revived in less than five years if the rail line and ‘‘dingo fence’’ separating the city and harbour were removed quickly to allow private enterprise to flourish, lord mayor Jeff McCloy told business leaders on Tuesday.

The keynote speaker at the Newcastle Business Club’s first luncheon of 2013, Cr McCloy gave an upbeat appraisal of the city’s progress but emphasised his ongoing concern about the ‘‘serious’’ financial woes faced by Newcastle City Council, including a backlog in infrastructure maintenance works.

‘‘The other elephant in the room is that we’ve been running at a $20million-a-year deficit, and that is unsustainable,’’ he said.

Criticism grows over Rowville Rail report inaction

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

PUBLIC transport advocates continue to seethe over the failure of the state government to release the final feasibility study report into the Rowville Rail. The Public Transport Users Association has joined in criticism being levelled over the state government's silence. PTUA spokesman Terry Konstandelis said the report must be released right away. "The PTUA is concerned, as stalling the report for at least half a year clearly shows a lack of interest in getting it done," Mr Konstandelis said.

Claims further billion dollar black hole on Metronet

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by Mouse in Western Australian Rail News

[b]Western Australia's Treasurer claims to have exposed a further billion dollar black hole in Labor's Metronet rail costings.[/b] The Opposition has estimated the plan at $3.8 billion but Troy Buswell says it would actually cost $6.4 billion. Mr Buswell says part of the difference is due to Labor not factoring in the cost of upgrades to the Midland line he says would be needed to cope with three proposed new services to the airport, Ellenbrook and a northern line.

Fire in Railway Signal Box

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by whiteknight in New South Wales Rail News

Trains on Sydneys Western Lines delayed due to a fire in the Strathfield Signal Box.It was reported that trains to the Western,Liverpool and Bankstown Lines would be delayed for up to 30-40 minutes due to a fire in the Strathfield Signal Box this evening.

NTSB blames southbound crew error for 2010 rail crash north of Two Harbors

Posted Wednesday, 13 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

The National Transportation Safety Board released its determination Tuesday that a head-on collision between two ore trains in 2010 north of Two Harbors was the result of crew error. The federal agency also said the Canadian National Railway Co. also deserves part of the blame for a lax policy on train right-of-way communication on a route without signals.

The NTSB said the Sept. 30, 2010, accident that injured five crew members from both trains was the fault of the southbound CN train carrying 116 rail cars full of ore. The crew left a siding and entered the main track before getting permission. It later collided with a CN train headed north out of Two Harbors with 118 empty rail cars.

Jokowi pushes for monorail project to be completed this year

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by Speed in International Rail News

[Jakarta] Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has given PT Jakarta Monorail (JM) a year-end deadline to complete the long-awaited monorail project, with the aim of the project starting operations in 2014.

In a public hearing at City Hall on Tuesday, Jokowi told the consortium to submit final documentation related to its bid, so the project could materialize soon. “The target [I have set] is for at least one monorail train to be placed on the track by the end of this year. It should be operational the following year.”

Rail works close streets, congest traffic

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

TRAFFIC chaos has erupted on the Gold Coast as light rail works shut down main streets in the tourist heart of the city.

Underground works have been under way in Surfers Paradise for months, but roadblocks put in place on Surfers Paradise Blvd and Elkhorn Ave last Friday caused massive congestion across the city for weekday traffic.

Surfers Paradise and Chevron Island have been reduced to car parks during peak periods and suburbs as far west as Parkwood are experiencing longer delays than usual.

Central community anxious about light rail

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

Amidst concern over traffic and building demolitions due to the impending light rail line through central Sydney, community stakeholders have called for further consultations with the State Government.

The move follows uncertainty about the residential impact of light rail development in the area.

In December, the State Government announced a light rail route along George St and from Central Station to Randwick. The line cuts directly through Surry Hills and may cause traffic obstruction through Elizabeth, Crown, South Darling and Bourke Streets, Anzac Parade and Olivia Lane.

Despite giving her overall backing for the development of light rail in Sydney, City of Sydney Labor Councillor Linda Scott spoke at a public meeting last Sunday and expressed disquiet about the potential impact of light rail on local homes.

Chaos across rail network after fire alarm

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A SIGNAL box fire triggered peak-hour commuter chaos across Sydney yesterday as trains stopped for 30 minutes.

Passengers were stranded on platforms from the Blue Mountains to the Central Coast after a fire alarm went off at the Strathfield Signalling Centre.

A Transport Management Centre spokeswoman said services were stopped in both directions on the approach to Strathfield after the alarm forced the evacuation of staff.

Rail services back to normal at Adelaide Railway Station after switching glitches

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

SERVICES out of Adelaide Railway Station have been restored after problems with switch controls caused delays earlier this evening, according to the Transport Department.

Overweight drivers forced off the rails

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE days of the fat controller are numbered with CityRail train drivers facing stiff new obesity tests to ensure they are not at risk of falling asleep on the job.

Under changes to national rail safety standards, all safety-critical CityRail workers - including drivers - will now have to keep their body mass index (BMI) under 40 or face being declared temporarily unfit for work.

Rail Tram Bus Union NSW branch secretary Alex Claassens said there used to be a joke that you weren't a real train driver "unless you had an overhang" but attitudes had now changed.

"There's broad support for these changes," he said.

Rail land on the market

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

IT'S finally happening - parts of the vacant former rail land near Naracoorte's town centre are up for sale.

Around eight years since the Naracoorte Lucindale Council approached the State Government about donating the land, the Department of Transport and Infrastructure has instructed the sale of three vacant lots on Smith St.

The lots - lot two (7794 sq m), lot three (13,921 sq m) and lot four (13,540 sq m) - represent a substantial portion of the former rail land.

$1.5 billion shale plan for Julia Creek

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE Queensland Government's move to overturn a 20-year ban on shale oil mining could pave the way for a $1.5 billion production facility at Julia Creek.

Blue Ensign Technologies CEO Dr Darryl Smith said his company owned leases at Julia Creek and the Government's announcement would revitalise investment interest in the industry.

"We think it will encourage investors to put money into this resource," he said.

"The ban on mining shale oil sent a negative message to investors but now it has been lifted things are more positive."

Major upgrade for Waterfall station

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Waterfall station will be given a major upgrade to make it more accessible to large numbers of commuters.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced this afternoon that the station would be the site of major works likely to include a new lift, platform roofing, CCTV cameras, improved drop-off zones and upgraded bicycle storage facilities, among other works.

Video shows Maribyrnong River rail link bridge construction

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A LONG wait for trains may be frustrating some commuters in the west, but a video showing the Regional Rail Link coming together shows some things rail-related are moving at speed.

The timelapse video shows the progress of construction work taking place on the Regional Rail Link Maribyrnong River bridge.

Why a slipped fan belt caused rail chaos

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

How can one slipped fan belt in one air-conditioner in one building at Strathfield bring much of Sydney's entire transport system to a gruelling, frustrating, crippling, halt?

The answer, it would seem, owes to the pros and cons of progress. And a train system that is always on the verge of improvement, but never seems to get there.

When smoke emerged from the airconditioner in the relay room at RailCorp's Strathfield signal box just after 5.30pm on Wednesday, it triggered the evacuation of staff who, in essence, control the running of most of the city's trains.

For more than half an hour, during one of the busiest parts of the day, these trains were shut down.

Labor off track over rail project: Barnett

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

PANICKED thinking is behind Labor's plan to fund its rail project, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says.

The opposition announced on Thursday a proposal to help pay for its $3.8 billion Metronet project by scrapping the new $400 million Perth museum, moving a planned stadium from Burswood to Subiaco and clawing back $339 million earmarked for the mothballed Oakajee port project.

Mr Barnett said the Burswood stadium option was far better and would be delivered by 2018, while the Subiaco plan would see construction complete two years later.

No dumb luck: Metro claims safety success

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Metro's quirky Dumb Ways to Die campaign – which has amassed 40 million hits on YouTube after going viral – has cut the number of "near-miss" accidents by more than 30 per cent, according to the rail operator.

The campaign, launched in November, is also being expanded into schools and may be licensed by overseas train operators.

The campaign theme song Dumb Ways to Die features a three-minute music video of 21 cartoon characters dying through stupid mistakes, such as swimming with piranhas. Three of the characters die after being hit by trains.

Stadium, Oakajee, museum pay for Metronet

Posted Thursday, 14 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Labor will axe a suite of big ticket infrastructure projects – including a pledge to build the new football stadium at Subiaco’s Kitchener Park instead of Burswood – to fund its $3.8 billion Metronet rail plan.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan says Labor will save $313 million by building the stadium at Kitchener Park instead of Burswood, which he claims can still be delivered in time for the 2018 AFL season to be played at the new venue.

He claims this is because the Subiaco site would not require 18 months of siteworks as the Burswood site does.

Close call as teen falls from rail bridge on Gold Coast

Posted Friday, 15 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A TEENAGER has escaped serious injury after he fell from a railway bridge and landed on the ground, three metres from the railway tracks.

The 19-year-old fell just before midnight on Thursday at Ormeau train station off Mirambeena Drive in Pimpama, on the Gold Coast.

Taylor fronts forum on freight rail future

Posted Friday, 15 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Angus Taylor, the Liberal Candidate presented a session on the future of freight rail in Australia at the fast train and freight rail forum in Goulburn yesterday.

Mr Taylor presented at the forum in his professional capacity, rather than as the candidate for Hume. However he said solving the freight rail problems in the way he envisages will be “very good for Hume and very good for regional Australia.”

Mr Taylor has worked on many freight projects in the course of his career as a business consultant with a focus on agriculture, resources and logistics. He is recognised as an authority in this area, and has advised leading agricultural companies, miners and logistics companies on rail and infrastructure issues.

Vline announces Albury service changes

Posted Friday, 15 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Due to the derailment of a freight train on the Albury line some V/Line passenger trains travelling between Melbourne and Albury will run as coaches to allow track repair work to take place.

The ARTC have advised this work should be complete by tonight (Friday 15 February). 

Labor rejects PTA's rail price tag

Posted Friday, 15 February, 2013 by Mouse in Western Australian Rail News

WEST Australian Labor Leader Mark McGowan is sticking by his $3.8 billion price tag for his party's election-defining Metronet rail plan, despite the state's transport bosses estimating the cost at almost double that amount

Today Treasurer Troy Buswell released the Public Transport Authority's costing of its interpretation of the ambitious city-wide rail system, which put the price at almost $6.4 billion.

Mr Buswell described the difference as a "massive funding black hole'' that proved Labor's "inability to add up''.

Flinders to get new rail station by 2014

Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Shellharbour rail commuters can finally celebrate today, with plans for a railway station at Flinders back on track.

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian, and Kiama MP Gareth Ward, will this morning announce plans to spend $39million building the long-awaited station, improving access to train services for Flinders, Shell Cove and Shellharbour residents.

‘‘You’ve got a growing population in Shell Cove, particularly with young families and they need access to public transport to get to work, to get to school,’’ Mr Ward said yesterday.

Corbell promises minimal rail pain

Posted Sunday, 17 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE ACT government says it has learnt from the problems that have plagued the Gold Coast light rail network as planning for Canberra's network begins.

The 13 kilometre Gold Coast light rail network is set to be completed in 2014 and expected to cost $1.2 billion, but last week the proponents warned political leaders about massive disruptions to traffic, business and basic mains services such as water, electricity and gas during construction.

Canberra's system is expected to cost about $614 million and under the agreement which returned Labor to government, construction must begin by 2016.

But ACT Planning Minister Simon Corbell, who has carriage of the Canberra project, said the government has learnt from the pitfalls the Gold Coast suffered.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 16/2/2013.

Posted Sunday, 17 February, 2013 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 119 sightings for this week. This is three sighting less than last week, making a total of 767 sightings for this year to date. On day 47 last year we had recorded 746 sightings. This is 21 sightings up on the same time last year.

High-Speed Rail Buzz Overpowers Daily Chug Of Freight Trains

Posted Sunday, 17 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

From the steam engine to visions of a national high-speed rail system, railroads have made their mark on American culture.

In his first term, President Obama promised to create a national system of high-speed rail, though he was scarcely the first politician to have done so. The January 2010 stimulus bill allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, but Congress rejected federal funding for the project.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president reiterated the goal of having passenger rail rise again.

But these new projects could conflict with the freight systems that go largely undetected for many Americans.

Snarls signal size of new rail chief's job

Posted Monday, 18 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

SYDNEY'S traffic congestion makes an impression.

''Boy, the congestion in Sydney, road wise, it makes London look a very quiet place,'' said the incoming head of the city's train system, British rail executive Howard Collins, who was in town a fortnight ago to interview for the job.

''It did strike me as I walked around the CBD the last couple of weeks or so. There's traffic everywhere and people spend so much time sitting in their cars.''

Murray Railway Modellers Annual Show

Posted Monday, 18 February, 2013 by mrmshow in Press Releases

The Murray Railway Modellers Inc. will be holding their annual show on May 25th and 26th at Mirambeena Community Centre, 19 Martha Mews, Lavington, Albury, NSW. Model railways from many different regions of Australia are booked to attend.

Rail closure to hit honey, Huon pine access

Posted Monday, 18 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

Leatherwood honey and Huon pine industries on Tasmania's west coast could be left without a freight carrier if the wilderness tourist railway is closed.

The Federal Group will stop operating the heritage railway at the end of April.

As well as tourists, the trains carry bee hives and salvaged Huon pine in and out of the Teepookana Plateau.

Speed is of the essence

Posted Monday, 18 February, 2013 by djf01 in New South Wales Rail News

GEN Okajima would have loved to have caught the train to Goulburn’s transport forum last Thursday.

But the general manager of Japan’s Central Railway Company said it would have taken “twice as long as driving” from his Sydney office.

Mr Okajima, whose company runs the 515km long Tokaido Shinkansen rail line in Japan, said the day would have been very different had he jumped on a fast train for a 40-minute trip to Goulburn.

That may be some time off but for now, Mr Okajima, like others, is rattling the cage.

“I’m very excited to see high speed rail back on the government agenda and I hope it doesn’t derail again,” he told the Goulburn Soldiers Club gathering.

Sydney's rail network is running 25 years behind London's Underground says new rail boss Collins

Posted Monday, 18 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

SYDNEY'S train system is like London's Tube "25 years ago", according to the new boss of our creaking rail network.

Howard Collins, outgoing chief operating officer of the London Underground, will take up his $530,000-a-year post as the CEO of Sydney Trains, which, together with NSW Trains, will replace Cityrail, in June.

He admits to being taken aback by the Harbour City's congestion problems.

He said there was a place for more single-carriage metro train services to replace double decker trains and in a warning to his new employer, the state government, he said not to invest in new infrastructure, such as new train lines, would be a mistake that would cost Sydney being a "world city".

Madness as drivers dice with death at rail crossings

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A FRIGHTENING number of motorists are dicing with death on Sunshine Coast level crossings and Queensland Rail officials fear it will end in tragedy.

IN one incident, a motorist drove around lowered boom gates directly in front of an approaching train.

Motorcyclists, pedestrians and even a bus were involved in six level crossing incidents reported to QR on the Sunshine Coast last year.

QR acting chief executive officer Jim Benstead said two near misses occurred on the Bray Rd level crossing at Mooloolah.

Light rail bid on a roll

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

SUPPORT for a light rail development between Hobart and the northern suburbs is gaining traction.

In a rare instance, the proposal is beyond the usual party politics, all sides of Parliament, state and federal, giving it in-principle support.

That those behind this project have managed to achieve such tripartite support is a credit to their vision and hard work.

The Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group believes it will cost $100 million to convert the existing rail corridor to be able to take passengers from Bridgewater to Hobart in under half an hour.

North West Rail Link

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today said the North West Rail Link is another step closer with two key milestones reached.

Tenders have closed to build the billion-dollar tunnels, and expressions of interest have also closed on a separate contract to operate the rail link.

“I’m really pleased to announce these milestones – we are getting on with the job of building the North West Rail Link,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We are on track to have tunnel boring machines in the ground next year, which is exciting not just for the north west, but the whole of NSW.”

Spin-offs from rail plans

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A NEW railway line to Perth Airport and beyond to Forrestfield would improve the quality of life for residents and boost property values, a WA real estate expert says.

Real Estate Institute of WA president David Airey said the proposed rail link to Perth’s foothills – promised by both the Labor and Liberal parties in the lead-up to next month’s election – would inevitably push up home prices and attract more buyers to the area over the long term.

“In general, homes near train stations have been more sought after and values have improved when compared to suburbs with weaker public transport options,” Mr Airey said.

Court case may delay light rail

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

THE Gold Coast's controversial $1.2 billion light rail project is facing "critical delays" as a court case over two bridges on the Nerang River drags on, risking a multimillion-dollar blowout.

New court documents lodged by Gold Coast Rapid Transit reveal the project is getting close to breaking point and has been put behind schedule by the ongoing dispute.

McConnell Dowell, the construction arm of contractor GoldLinQ, has been battling the Gold Coast City Council through the Planning and Environment Court over design details.

The council opposed parts of the bridge design, fearing it could cause flooding upstream on the Nerang River.

New calls for big investment in Ballarat rail infrastructure

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE Committee for Ballarat has renewed calls for serious investment in Ballarat’s rail infrastructure, after train punctuality fell to an 18-month low in January.

Committee for Ballarat chief executive officer John Kilgour said improving connectivity between Ballarat and Melbourne was vital to the region’s development.

Sydney rally to save rail

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The campaign to save Maitland’s rail link with Newcastle CBD must not falter if the public is to stop more taxpayer dollars being spent to reinstate it, Cessnock MP Clayton Barr said.

Mr Barr said any progress the state government made on its decision to cut the Maitland-Newcastle rail line west of Stewart Avenue in Wickham would have to be reversed should Labor be restored to power in 2015.

Singapore, Malaysia to build high-speed rail link

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

[left][size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][b]Singapore and Malaysia are to build a high-speed rail link between the city-state and Kuala Lumpur with a target to complete it around 2020.[/b][/font][/size][/left] [left][size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The deal was finalised in a meeting between Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.[/font][/size][/left]

Rail supporters march on parliament

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Save Our Rail is continuing its fight by marching on state parliament this morning, in an effort to show the Premier how unpopular cutting Newcastle's rail line is.

The group says Barry O'Farrell needs to know there is still a lot of support within the Hunter to keep the heavy rail line.

After the rally, the group will return to Newcastle to hear from a transport planner about its economic benefits.

Headaches for travellers on road and rail

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Melbourne’s traffic and trains are flowing normally – for the most part – after a morning of disruptions and delays.

The Upfield line remains suspended between North Melbourne and Upfield after a person was hit by a train during the morning peak. Buses are replacing trains through that leg, but rail operator Metro has urged commuters to consider other modes of transport, such as the route 19 tram along Sydney Road.

This morning, there was traffic chaos following an eight-car pile-up at the intersection of Punt  and Domain  roads in South Yarra.

Federal question over rail funds

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

The Federal Member for Braddon has indicated there is competition for federal funding being sought by Tasmania for the tourist railway.

The West Coast Wilderness Railway is being abandoned by its lease-holder, the Federal Group, at the end of April and money is needed to upgrade the track for potential new operators.

At a telephone conference today, the State Government reaffirmed its commitment to providing some of the money.

But the Federal Member for Braddon Sid Sidebottom said the railway was up against applications for funding from around the country.

Traders consider light rail class action bid

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

TRADERS crippled by the billion-dollar light rail construction are considering taking legal action against the State Government.

Southport-based law firm Evans Lawyers has called on business owners and traders who have been financially affected by the project to join a proposed class action bid for compensation.

CEO Troy Manhire said many Southport businesses had been "devastated" during the light rail's construction and a class action against the State Government, the Gold Coast City Council and consortium GoldLinQ was "worth exploring".

"Our firm is based in the heart of Southport and we have been very disturbed by the number of businesses that have closed or been affected by this construction," Mr Manhire said.

Toowoomba-Brisbane rail services back on track

Posted Tuesday, 19 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

[b]Trains are once again able to travel between Toowoomba in southern Queensland and Brisbane.[/b] [left]Queensland Rail says last month's wet weather caused a land slip on the Toowoomba range railway, washing away about 9,000 cubic metres of soil.[/left] [left]Queensland Rail spokesman Graham Brown says several sections of the line were damaged in a similar way to the 2011 flood.[/left]

Sydney rail link already $35m over: Labor

Posted Wednesday, 20 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

TENDER documents for Sydney's North West Rail Link reveal the NSW government is overspending by $35 million even before construction work begins, the state opposition says.

The 23-kilometre rail line will connect Chatswood, on Sydney's north shore, with the Hills district in the city's northwest and will include eight new train stations.

NSW Labor says rail contracts for which $33 million was budgeted have hit $68.5 million.

Transport spokeswoman Penny Sharpe said cost blow outs included $31 million to be spent on engineering, instead of the expected $19.7 million, and $8.8 million to be spent on legal services, though the tender was for $735,000.

Rail and ports operator Asciano on track for growth spurt

Posted Wednesday, 20 February, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

RAIL and ports operator Asciano expects to maintain growth momentum in the second half after posting a 74 per cent jump in net profit for the first half as new contracts and the disposal of land helped buffer the group from tough economic conditions.

Its results presented yesterday showed a climb in net profit to $199.9 million.

Chief executive John Mullen said the group was on track with its five-year targets of 15 per cent earnings growth and $150m of cost savings and was confident about the next six months despite the recent subdued environment, with higher coal prices and improved volumes.

"We see coal volume continuing and with a bit of luck we'll see net coal pricing improve again in line with the increases that we're seeing in the iron ore price," Mr Mullen told The Australian.

Minister denies rail link budget blowout

Posted Wednesday, 20 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

New South Wales Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian says the North West Rail Link is well within budget and there and been no cost blowout.

The state opposition says tender documents show there has been a $35 million overrun in costs before a single metre of track has been laid.

Ms Berejiklian says that is not the case.

Ellenbrook rail line to wait: Barnett

Posted Wednesday, 20 February, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

A rail line won't be built to Ellenbrook in the West Australian Liberal party's second term if it wins the March 9 poll, Premier Colin Barnett says, in what commentators deem a promise broken twice.

The initial promise was made during the party's 2008 election campaign but instead, $60 million has been spent on planning and development.

Figures reveal rail delays

Posted Wednesday, 20 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Trains on the Bendigo line have recorded their worst punctuality result in more than a year.

Commuters have had to deal with delays and service changes as a result of the summer heat, signal faults and the Regional Rail Link in recent months.

Removing Newcastle rail foolish

Posted Thursday, 21 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

I ATTENDED the Save Our Rail rally at state Parliament on Tuesday with my three children. 

It was a great day and we had great support. I was a proud Novocastrian. 

Prior to the rally, I spent a couple of days speaking to small businesses and handing out flyers about keeping the rail to Newcastle.

To my surprise I had overwhelming support for keeping the rail. I had a handful against the rail and three didn’t care. 

Our business has been in Newcastle since 1996.

Federal cash needed to stop early rail closure

Posted Thursday, 21 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

THE West Coast Wilderness Railway will close earlier than April 30 if the federal government does not provide an answer soon, West Coast Mayor Darryl Gerrity believes.

Key players in the railway's operations could leave in search of new opportunities and force the early closure of the railway.

A stakeholders meeting was held yesterday morning where representatives from Federal Group, the federal government, Tasmanian Tourism Council, West Coast Tourism, Cradle Coast Authority and the West Coast Council discussed the situation.

Vic PSOs nab 1400 on rail network

Posted Thursday, 21 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

ALMOST 1400 people have been arrested on Melbourne's metropolitan rail network in the past year thanks to the successful rollout of protective services officers, the Victorian government says.

A total of 278 PSOs are in place across 35 stations on the network as of Thursday, the first anniversary since their deployment began.

Working with police officers, the PSOs have helped arrest more than than 700 drunks and nab more than 500 people with outstanding warrants, government figures show.

Community anger over rail shows

Posted Thursday, 21 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

THE decision to cut Newcastle’s rail line was officially ‘‘not up for discussion’’ but it still managed to dominate debate at two community meetings held on Wednesday to discuss the state government’s urban renewal plans.

The Department of Planning’s director of community and stakeholder engagement, Liam McKay, told about 200 people at the first City Hall meeting that the government’s rail plan was definitive.

‘‘That decision has been made by cabinet,’’ Mr McKay said.

Modern rail must be about the people on the trains

Posted Thursday, 21 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

SYDNEY'S rail service is, in many respects, decades behind services in other global cities and, as a result, people are reluctant to leave their cars at home.

I'm looking forward to arriving in Sydney and I'm ready to hit the ground running.

I've been overwhelmed by the support, encouragement and advice I've received since being appointed CEO of Sydney Trains. Sydney Trains will be established as the city's new rail operator on July 1 and I'm well aware it needs to do things better than RailCorp did.

It can't - and won't - be a wolf in sheep's clothing. But the transformation will take time. Cultural change doesn't happen overnight.

Road freight better on rail

Posted Thursday, 21 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

VICTORIA's freight loads are set to double by 2035 and Roads Minister Terry Mulder would like to see "as much of it as possible" go on to rail.

To enable that, he wants the Government to form more joint partnerships with the private sector, such as grain companies.

And air freight was another major future opportunity for Victorian exporters. Two international export airports not subject to a curfew would "set up the state for a tremendous future".

Rail cut to depreciate properties

Posted Friday, 22 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

NEWCASTLE’S inner city property values will most probably plummet if the rail line is removed, a Western Australian-based land-use and transport planner has predicted.

James McIntosh also told a Save Our Rail forum yesterday  that removing the rail line would make the city’s future growth largely dependent on car travel.

‘‘When people ask me about the reasons for taking the rail line out I don’t have an answer. Within my sphere of professional and academic knowledge I can’t come up with a reason why [it should be removed],’’ he said. 

Yesterday’s forum, attended by seven people, followed Mr McIntosh’s Politics at the Pub presentation on Tuesday to an audience of about 100.

Staff in line for cuts as Queensland Rail seeks efficiencies

Posted Friday, 22 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A BITTER industrial stoush is brewing at Queensland Rail as the State Government seeks further efficiencies in the workforce to help rein in rising costs and ticket prices.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson yesterday confirmed Queensland Rail management was looking at removing conditions currently enjoyed by employees, including "no forced redundancy and no forced relocation".

He said the clauses had led to situations where workers with little or nothing to do continued to draw a full-time wage while other QR areas were short-staffed.

Not good enough, new Yarra Trams boss tells staff

Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2013 by Speed in Tram and Light Rail News

YARRA Trams' new chief executive has used his first day in the job to fire an extraordinary rocket at his staff, telling them much of the work they did was ''not good enough'' and promising to ''fix'' a host of problems for the benefit of the travelling public.

Metro chief Andrew Lezala's high-speed rail plan

Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

ELEVATED tracks alongside freeway emergency lanes could be the way to make high-speed rail viable in Australia, Metro CEO Andrew Lezala says.
There is no point considering high-speed rail unless it can be built for $10 million a kilometre - very cheap by overseas standards - he insists.
"You have to get it down to that figure - $8 billion to $10 billion (total cost from Melbourne to Sydney) is viable, $80 billion to $100 billion is not," he said.
A high-speed rail service to the quality of the TGV in France or Japan's bullet trains would cost up to $100 billion, he said.

Gear up for a steamy ride at rail museum

Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

[color=#1d1d1d][size=2][font=Arial, Tahoma, Verdana]Steam rail locomotive enthusiasts can look forward to this Sunday.  [/font][/size][/color] [color=#1d1d1d][size=2][font=Arial, Tahoma, Verdana]Two working steam locomotives, a miniature one and an exhibition on the machines, will be on display at the National Rail Museum in the Capital. The presentations will help people understand the operations of [/font][/size][/color][color=#1d1d1d][size=2][font=Arial, Tahoma, Verdana]the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, which use steam locomotives[/font][/size][/color]

India votes on Rail Budget, wants 180-200 kmph trains

Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

The government should focus more on safety and modernisation besides improving existing railways tracks and separation of passenger and freight train lines in the forthcoming Rail Budget, Assocham today said.

In its survey of about 7,000 people, the chamber claimed that about 65 per cent of the people voted in favour of moratorium on new passenger trains and wants Railway Budget to focus on safety and modernisation.

"The passengers want trains to run at much higher speed, even at 180 to 200 kms per hour and heavy investment in safety related areas like more efficient signalling, GPS based train control," it said.

Train passengers trapped in wild weather for 17hrs

Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

About 100 passengers were trapped on a train in wild weather for nearly 17 hours in northern New South Wales.

A destructive low pressure system has dumped heavy rain on the region and whipped up strong winds.

The Countrylink XPT service from Sydney to Casino was interrupted overnight at Coramba, about 10 kilometres north of Coffs Harbour, by fallen trees on the railway line.

Railway workers removed the blockage, but the train encountered floodwater about 30 kilometres north near Glenreagh.

Review reveals later Swan Hill trains

Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

There has been a big drop in the punctuality of Swan Hill trains this year.

V/Line's performance review of its long-distance services show only 77 per cent of Swan Hill trains were on time in January.

West Springfield train derailment: Homes on Bridge, Railroad, Globe streets evacuated

Posted Saturday, 23 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

Updates have been added below to include comments from West Springfield mayor Gregory Neffinger. This post updates stories published at 6:44 p.m. Thursday and 8:00 a.m. Friday.

International rail station sought at Nedumbassery

Posted Sunday, 24 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

New Delhi: Union Minister of Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal assured Union Minister Kodikkunnil Suresh and Anto Antony, M.P that Kerala's request for a new train service connecting temple town Guruvayoor with Punalur via Kayamkulam, Chengannur and Thiruvalla would be considered favourably.

Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, has also written to Bansal demanding an international standard railway station at Nedumbassery for the users of Cochin International Airport, which is the fourth largest international airport in the country in terms of the number of passengers.

WWII bombs disrupt Japanese subway

Posted Sunday, 24 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

Japanese troops have removed two unexploded wartime bombs in central and western Japan, forcing thousands of residents out of their homes and disrupting bullet train services.

Removal work began Sunday morning at a factory in Hamamatsu, central Japan, where a dud shell, believed to have been fired by a US naval ship during World War II, was found in October, a city official said.

Gheringhap Sightings w/e 23/2/2013

Posted Sunday, 24 February, 2013 by GheringhapLoop in Gunzelling Reports

There were 117 sightings for this week. This is two sighting less than last week, making a total of 884 sightings for this year to date. On day 54 last year we had recorded 869 sightings. This is 15 sightings up on the same time last year.

Tasmanian Rail Rescue

Posted Sunday, 24 February, 2013 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

The Federal Government will come to the rescue of Tasmania's troubled West Coast Wilderness Railway. It was due to grind to a halt at the end of April after the Federal Group announced it would close the taxpayer-owned tourist attraction.

Goods train collides with abandoned car near Geelong 25/2/2013

Posted Monday, 25 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A goods train has collided with an abandoned car near Corio north of Geelong. Police are investigating the incident and are unsure at this point why the car was left on the tracks and if the car is stolen.

Fix this rail crossing deathrap at St Albans, no matter the cost

Posted Monday, 25 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

SOMEWHERE in Melbourne's west today there is a person doomed to die at the Main Rd rail crossing in St Albans.

They might be in a car, they may be a pedestrian. They will be in the way of a train perhaps speeding towards Sunbury or making its way to the city.

And they will have a number. Seventeen.

Like most of our rail network, the line to St Albans was built at a time when there were no traffic lights and in any case "traffic" consisted of horses and pushbikes.

Newcastle to fight cuts to rail line

Posted Monday, 25 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

[color=#000000][size=1][font=Arial, Helvetica, 'Bitstream Vera Sans', sans-serif]The first day of NSW parliament this year was met with a strong protest against the announced shortening of the heavy rail line to Newcastle.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#000000][size=1][font=Arial, Helvetica, 'Bitstream Vera Sans', sans-serif]Organised by Save Our Rail, a large contingent boarded the 8:03am express from Newcastle Station. Supporters saw them off, while others hopped on at outer stations.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#000000][size=1][font=Arial, Helvetica, 'Bitstream Vera Sans', sans-serif]Leaflets were distributed and petitions were signed as activists explained to the other passengers what the state government was proposing. The media were regularly on the mobile phone to Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson.[/font][/size][/color]

Light rail cheaper than high-speed

Posted Monday, 25 February, 2013 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

HIGH-SPEED rail will never be a reality in Australia unless it can be built at the ultra-low cost of $10 million a kilometre, the head of Melbourne's train operator says.

Andrew Lezala, Metro's chief executive, says ''high-speed rail in Australia is just a dream'' unless it can be constructed at less cost than the world's other high-speed railways.

''In Australia - in any country, really, unless there's a huge political objective - unless we can build a high-speed line for $10 million per kilometre, it's not going to be commercially viable and therefore it's not going to happen,'' Mr Lezala told the Engineering Futures Forum at Swinburne University of Technology on Thursday night.

But Mr Lezala said there was a solution: his own concept, eight years in the making.

Man critical after hit by a train at Caringbah

Posted Monday, 25 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A man believed to be in his 40s has been taken to hospital with severe head injuries after he was hit by a train at Caringbah this afternoon.

A helicopter landed in Jenola Park, Woolooware, about 500 metres from where the man was hit near Denman Avenue, a CareFlight spokesman said.

Commuters to have their say on Sydney's rail network for Seeing Red on Rail survey

Posted Monday, 25 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

COMMUTERS will be able to have their say on Sydney's rail network in a new survey to vote on the worst train stations.

The nation's peak motoring body, the NRMA, will launch the first survey of its kind today to give frustrated rail commuters the chance to tell State Government what they'd like to see fixed onSydney's rail network.

NRMA president Wendy Machin said the Seeing Red on Rail survey would make it easy for people to have their say and the results would be used to lobby the Government to fix the most pressing issues on the network

New city rail tunnel 'not the answer'

Posted Tuesday, 26 February, 2013 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

BUILDING extra lines and tracks in the outer suburbs and modernising slow signalling systems would do far more to ease rail congestion in Melbourne than a new tunnel under the city, the state's public transport lobby group says.

In its submission ahead of the state budget, the Public Transport Users Association says the Baillieu government should put aside its top public transport project, the proposed Melbourne Metro tunnel, in favour of plugging the many gaps in the existing network.

This includes duplicating nine sections of single track, building extensions to Doncaster, Rowville and Mernda and introducing high-speed signalling to enable trains to run closer together.
The association's president, Tony Morton, said these steps would do more to bolster Melbourne's rail network than the multibillion-dollar tunnel, and could be achieved sooner.

Lake councillor opposes rail line removal

Posted Tuesday, 26 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Lake Macquarie Council says cutting Newcastle's heavy rail line should not happen unless it is immediately replaced with a better transport option, such as light rail.

Councillors voted overnight to write to the Premier and the Transport Minister to reaffirm their concern that the line's removal will have a negative impact on those living outside of Newcastle.

Minister hopeful passing loop will add to rail flexibility in the south-west

Posted Tuesday, 26 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

TRANSPORT Minister Terry Mulder has left the door open for more passenger train services between south-west Victoria and Melbourne.

In response to criticism from Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber claiming there were no plans to improve the service, Mr Mulder told The Standard he remained optimistic about the prospect of extra trains.

Mr Mulder said the new $10 million passing loop being built at Warncoort would give the Warrnambool line operational flexibility it lacked and allow longer freight trains.

Thousands stranded by transport shortfall

Posted Tuesday, 26 February, 2013 by railblogger in Other Transport News

NEARLY 10,000 new commuters will miss out on access to public transport to travel to work each day in Melbourne's outer areas if sufficient funding isn't allocated over four years, a report says.

The report, One Melbourne or Two?, released by the 10 'interface' councils — including Hume, Wyndham and Melton — says inadequate funding for service delivery and infrastructure, including public transport and roads, is leaving them behind Melbourne's inner suburbs.

The 'interface' councils ring the inner city, forming a buffer between it and the country

The report estimates $968.4 million will be spent on public transport in the buffer areas over four years starting from the previous state budget. It's estimated that $1.4 billion is needed.

Electric vehicles won't solve the suburbs' transport woes

Posted Wednesday, 27 February, 2013 by Speed in Other Transport News

Griffith University's Jago Dodson compares data on distances travelled and fuel consumed by private vehicles in Brisbane to conclude that electric cars will increase financial inequity and do little to reduce pollution in Australia's cities.

Interstate rail link held up by Toowoomba Range tunnel

Posted Wednesday, 27 February, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A $2 BILLION price tag to build a tunnel through the Toowoomba range is the sticking point for a Brisbane to Melbourne rail link.

The planned freight line, being advocated by the Australasian Railway Association, has already had the Melbourne to Parkes leg built, but the cost of the range tunnel is holding up the project.

ARA CEO Bryan Nye spoke about the project at a Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday, held at the Downs Steam Tourist Railway.

New rail station planned for Wayville

Posted Wednesday, 27 February, 2013 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

Unley Council is backing a Transport Department plans for a permanent train station at Wayville in Adelaide.

It would replace temporary facilities used for the Royal Show and a current stop at nearby Keswick.

A permanent station is due to open in time for this year's show in September, but still needs Development Assessment Commission approval.

Focus on rail essentials in Newcastle

Posted Wednesday, 27 February, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

IT seems the problems for the anti-rail faction are growing.

We have Maitland and now Lake Macquarie voting against the truncation of the heavy rail line.

We also see in yesterday's Herald that there will be an increase in the number of long, heavy coal trains through Newcastle to the south, increasing delays at Clyde Street and St James Road by 40 minutes per day ("Potential crossing delays increased" Herald 26/2).

France Is Making High-Speed Rail Travel Incredibly Cheap

Posted Wednesday, 27 February, 2013 by bevans in International Rail News

In an effort to boost ridership on its high-speed rail system, France is offering a new low-cost service, with fares from the Paris suburbs to the Mediterranean coast for as little as €10 ($13).

Ouigo (as in "We Go"), an independently run subsidiary of the SNCF, France's national rail company, will begin operation on April 2. SNCF President Guillaume Pepy calls it the best high-speed rail deal in the world, according to La Tribune.

Ouigo will operate its own trains, with more frequent service than the SNCF currently offers. To allow for such cheap fares, it will adopt the budget travel model offered by airlines like easyJet andRyanair.

That means cutting service and adding fees. Passengers can bring only one small bag (about the size of an airplane carry-on) and a purse or backpack.

Major engineering hurdles remain for new rail tunnel beneath city

Posted Thursday, 28 February, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

SILTY soil, the cancer centre currently being built, the City Loop's four tunnels and aquifers beneath the murky bottom of the Yarra River are all major hurdles to building a proposed new rail tunnel beneath the city.

Investigative work is well under way on building the proposed Melbourne Metro tunnel, before the required federal funding to help pay for the major project has been secured.

But project planners have yet to solve a number of engineering challenges, the greatest of which is how to tunnel beneath the Yarra River, which is risky due to the presence of aquifers and softer ground.

Cracks have previously appeared in CityLink's Burnley tunnel near the river, leaking water and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair.

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