TREASURER Troy Buswell will turn to the private sector to help meet the cost of his government's $4 billion rail projects. Mr Buswell today insisted the $1.8 billion light rail and $1.895 billion Airport Rail Link would be built, regardless of private investment. But he confirmed he was investigating private investment options to ease the burden. Treasurer Troy Buswell announced today the timetables for the light rail and airport rail link projects had been pushed out from 2018 to 2019. Work on both rail projects would begin in 2016.
TRAFFIC through Geelong's port is set to quadruple under a bold blueprint for Corio Bay. The plan would see 60 million tonnes of goods move through the port every year with massive cargo ships berthing on our northern shores. The council will vote next week on the plan, which would see Geelong secure its position as the second biggest port in the state.
There were 110 sightings for this week. This is the same number of sighting as last week, making a total of 3748 sightings for this year to date. On day 222 last year we had recorded 3739 sightings. This is nine sightings up on the same time last year.
The former Victorian premier who made his political mark as a debt-busting crusader for small government and privatisation has urged the Napthine government to borrow whatever it takes to build a comprehensive underground rail system for Melbourne. Former Liberal leader Jeff Kennett told Fairfax Media that an expanded metro network was Melbourne's top infrastructure priority. ''There's not a major world city that doesn't have one.'' He said future generations would appreciate that earlier governments had had the foresight to borrow while interest rates were low and build public transport. ''In 100 years people won't care about how much it [the rail system] cost.''
Police are appealing for public help to identify an elderly woman who was badly injured when she was hit by a tram in Melbourne's east. The woman was crossing the road near the corner of Harp Road and High Street, Kew, when she was struck by the tram just before 8am on Tuesday. She was transported to Royal Melbourne Hospital where she remains in a critical condition. Police believe the woman is aged between 70 and 80. She has short brown hair, is about 150 centimetres tall and has a medium build.
THE number of commuters slipping, tripping and falling at and on train platforms and concourses has almost doubled in two years, figures show. Transport Safety Victoria said there were 550 incidents in 2012-13, compared with 285 in 2010-11. One woman broke her leg after tripping on her husband's luggage at Southern Cross Station, while another broke her ankle running to catch the train at Narre Warren station. Of the 1284 slips, trips and falls on Metro and V/Line platforms in the past three years, Flinders St (132), Parliament (84) and Southern Cross (53) were the worst locations.
NEWCASTLE'S rail debate has returned to City Hall, with a Newcastle councillor alleging lord mayor Jeff McCloy overemphasised the role of the line's removal in $300 million of investment at a summit last month.
Melbourne Metro is the number one rail project for Victoria, a $9 billion north-south tunnel through the city centre that would add capacity for an extra 24,000 passengers an hour. It has been backed by the Rudd government and federal advisory authority Infrastructure Australia, but according to Premier Denis Napthine it is the right project, but at the wrong time and with the wrong name. "I think we've got to find a better name for it because that is a misnomer," Dr Napthine said of Melbourne Metro on Tuesday. "We are determined to build that rail capacity project. We're doing geotechnical work on it at the moment, it is essential for rail freight, for regional rail services and for metro rail services," he said.
Melbourne's truck traffic is expected to more than double within 30 years, threatening to choke roads and deliver an economic blow to the state unless action is taken soon. Planners have warned that the heavy traffic growth will make Melbourne less liveable without the construction of more roads and rail lines. A confidential draft of the state government's Victorian freight plan, obtained by The Saturday Age, predicts freight truck trips on Melbourne's roads will surge from 290,000 a day to almost 650,000 in three decades.
Premier Denis Napthine has declared his government is committed to the Melbourne Metro rail project – just not now, and not with its current name. He said the $9 billion north-south tunnel, which would run through the city centre and have capacity to carry 24,000 passengers an hour, needed a name that better reflected its importance to Victoria beyond carrying passengers through the CBD.
The rail operator whose tanker train blew up in a Quebec town last month, killing 47 people, will be shut down because the firm does not have enough insurance to pay clean-up costs and other damages. The Canadian transport regulator says it has ordered Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway's (MMA) local subsidiary to begin shutting down its operations a week after the company filed for bankruptcy protection. The closure comes as a result of that application revealing that MMA's insurance only covered liabilities of up to $27.6 million. The repairs and clean-up of the July 6 derailment, [url=http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-08/railway-in-deadly-quebec-explosion-files-for-bankruptcy/4873272]which destroyed parts of the town of Lac Megantic[/url], are expected to cost more than $223 million.
A dedicated inland rail line for freight is now a much more viable option which should be placed much higher on the infrastructure plans of both sides of politics, according to the [url=http://www.ara.net.au/]Australasian Railway Association[/url]. While the inland freight line has long been dismissed as too expensive, the chairman of the ARA, former Labor finance minister Lindsay Tanner, said on Tuesday that an extensive investment program over the past five years by the federal government meant that large sections of the rail line had now been put in place. There was only an area in southern Queensland that needed to be addressed before the inland corridor could be completed.
A STATE government blueprint for freight networks lists better road maintenance as a critical priority and recognises the south-west’s key role in agriculture, timber and minerals industries. The Freight State plan released this week also looks at improving rail, port and air infrastructure for freight and logistics towards 2050 and beyond. While most of the big projects will be geared around expansion of the Port of Melbourne and Port of Hastings, the regional areas rate highly.
An Australian-designed safety device that warns rail workers about oncoming trains is being launched this week, after months of trials on Hunter Valley rail lines. The 'Track Awareness Support System' or TASS is a portable safety beacon that links into the Australian Rail Track Corporation's 3G national train communications network. It has been trialled in several locations including in the Hunter Valley, where two rail maintenance workers were killed by a coal train near Singleton while working on the tracks in 2007.
THE candidates jostling to win Kingston both say extending the southern rail link is too far down the track to make a federal funding commitment. The Southern Times Messenger asked Liberal candidate Damien Mills and sitting member, Labor's Amanda Rishworth, if they would push for funding for three projects put up by Onkaparinga Council. On the council's funding wish list is the extension of the commuter rail line from Seaford to Aldinga. Mr Mills said the Aldinga rail extension was a State Government project and it was not slated for construction for 20 years.
TRAINS are expected to return to service between Traralgon and Bairnsdale by the end of October with rail grinding works set begin next month. Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan said V/Line expected the rail grinder to arrive from Austria at the Port of Melbourne on Thursday, September 19 with work to begin on Tuesday, September 24.
EASTERN Australia's largest grains handler GrainCorp has urged governments to invest in rail infrastructure to benefit more greatly from China's growing demand for the nation's food. [url=http://www.afr.com/]The Australian Financial Review[/url] reported on Wednesday that China was poised to become the biggest buyer of the nation's wheat, leapfrogging Indonesia and South Korea. More than 2 million tonnes of wheat from this year's yet-to-be-harvested crop has already been sold to Chinese buyers.
Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced the NSW Government will make trains at Redfern Station accessible to customers in wheelchairs and parents with prams for the first time. Ms Berejiklian said the improvements were part of the $770 million Transport Access Program – a NSW Government initiative to deliver real improvements for public transport customers which has more than 100 projects underway or completed.
Heritage Express will be operating the Legend of Steam Riverina Tour with Steam Locomotive 3642 from August 29th - September 1st 2013. From Thursday 29th - Friday 30th August, Heritage Express will be running the Riverina Steam Safari Tour. An Express Diesel Loco will haul the train from Sydney - Picton, then 3642 will take over the train from Picton. The train will make its way along the Southern Highlands Line to Goulburn, where the train will stop at Goulburn where passengers can have at the historic Steam Mill Restaurant. After Goulburn, the train will continue it's journey through Yass, Harden and Cootamundra. The next morning, 3642 will haul it's train from Cootamundra to Junee, then it will travel on the branch line for a whistle stop at Coolamon. 3642 will then return back to Junee station. Then the XPT will take the passengers from Junee back to Sydney.
A BIZARRE incident caused havoc for commuters from Perth's northern suburbs by bringing the rail and freeway system to a virtual standstill late yesterday. Train services on the Joondalup line were disrupted for about two hours last night during peak hour traffic when a motorist crashed on the freeway and then walked onto the rail line and was killed. The male driver had been travelling south on Mitchell Freeway, when he veered off and hit a bank. He was then seen walking across the freeway onto the rail line into the path of a train.
A train derailment near Ouyen, south of Mildura, this week highlighted the issues facing regional Victoria's rail network. The incident delayed citrus bound for export and prompted Ken Wakefield, the managing director of a freight transport company, to call on the state government to upgrade the region's train tracks. "I get really concerned if government doesn't take the steps appropriate to ensure that we can get this cargo to market," he said. "There's other suppliers that can supply these markets as well. "We need to have an efficient and reliable rail freight network in Victoria."
The O'Farrell government and Transport for NSW should release analysis proving single-deck trains are a better fit for Sydney than double-deckers with more seats, transport experts say. Sydney's train plan, released last year by Premier Barry O'Farrell and Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, commits to converting about a third of Sydney's rail system to single-deck trains.
The Latrobe Valley could become the rail freight gateway for Gippsland businesses transporting goods to port before the year is out, through an inter-modal precinct at the Maryvale paper mill. Coming as part of a recently signed rail freight contract with Qube Logistics, Australian Paper has agreed to allow the company to develop a third-party rail freight agreement, for which it has already begun seeking proposals. Under the plan, businesses will be able to truck goods to the proposed terminal, the exact location for which is yet to be determined, where they will be transferred into 40 foot shipping containers for rail freight onto the Port of Melbourne and beyond.
Gheringhap Sightings will be off the air for at least two weeks, as tomorrow I am having a knee replacement. See you all on the other side. There were also a range of camera upgrades over the Saturday as bevans and michelle12 were here upgrading the setup for HD. Previews can be found at: http://www.railpage.com.au/flickr/tag/railpage:railcam=4/ and also http://www.railpage.com.au/flickr/tag/railpage:railcam=3 see the forums for more details. There were 101 sightings for this week. This is nine sighting less than last week, making a total of 3849 sightings for this year to date. On day 229 last year we had recorded 3875 sightings. This is now 26 sightings down on the same time last year.