Showing stories from August 2013

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Getting on board: Frankston passengers first to take a rainbow ride

Posted Sunday, 18 August, 2013 by railblogger in Victorian Rail News

The pot of gold the Napthine government is splashing on the Frankston railway line will soon lead to rainbows. "Rainbow boards" - multi-coloured, live service information screens that are a feature of the London Underground - are coming to Melbourne's rail network too, starting with the line that helped deliver the Coalition to government. Frankston line passengers will be the first in Melbourne to get the London-style information boards, when they are installed as part of the three-year, $100 million bayside rail project the government announced in May. It is expected rainbow boards will eventually appear at all Melbourne stations as part of a new, city-wide system to inform passengers on the status of the public transport network.

Major Taree manufacturing plant is earmarked for closure

Posted Monday, 19 August, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A manufacturing operation established in Taree in 1975 is set to close in October with over 130 job losses. The U-G-L rail facility is on a 54 hectare site next to main north coast rail line. It has produced rail and mining related products for companies like Xstrata and Railcorp and has exported to areas including China, South Africa and Egypt. The closure is said to be largely in response to a slowdown in the manufacturing sector.

Protective Services Officers unleash capsicum spray on each other during a fight

Posted Tuesday, 20 August, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

A FIGHT between two Protective Services Officers (PSOs) reportedly led to the two men unleashing their capsicum spray on each other at a Melbourne train station. The incident is believed to have taken place in the last two weeks and was reported by 3AW. The Herald Sun has been told the two PSOs were of Indian descent.

Candidates promise to push for Mernda rail extension

Posted Tuesday, 20 August, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

[b]TWO minor party Federal Election candidates for ­McEwen have pledged commitment to lobbying for a rail extension to Mernda and beyond.[/b] If elected, Palmer United Party candidate Trevor Dance promised to push the State Government to act on the extension all the way to Whittlesea township.

AvonLink and MerredinLink Service Changes

Posted Wednesday, 21 August, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

Transwa AvonLink and MerredinLink Services will be changing effective December 30[color=#333333][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]th [/font][/color]2013.  The AvonLink train between Northam and Perth is to be replaced with a road coach service, which will operate twice as often as the current train.

New party launches to unveil high-speed rail link plans

Posted Wednesday, 21 August, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

A POLITICAL party established for the sole purpose of pushing for an east coast high-speed rail link says the September 7 election will be an "unofficial referendum" on the issue. The Bullet Train for Australia Party launched its election campaign on the lawns of Parliament House on Tuesday. It used the launch to unveil its plans for the first stage of the link between Melbourne and Newcastle, which it claimed would cost just 1% of federal and state budgets during the next five years and would be ready to go by the end of 2018.

East-west link of little benefit, claims council in marginal seat

Posted Wednesday, 21 August, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

The Napthine government is facing growing local government opposition to its east-west link, with a key south-eastern council covering Victoria's most marginal state electorate warning the road will delay public transport projects for years. The City of Glen Eira - headed by Liberal mayor Jamie Hyams - has unanimously passed a motion warning that the $6 billion to $8 billion project will offer the local area offer ''little benefit''. ''The east-west tunnel will effectively absorb funds for major transport infrastructure in Melbourne for many years, possibly delaying projects that potentially benefit Glen Eira,'' the motion says. The council wants the government to divert the money to fix dangerous level crossings and build the $9 billion metro rail tunnel.

State has failed to deliver, Vic Auditors-General

Posted Wednesday, 21 August, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

[b]A scathing report on transport failures has been tabled in State Parliament by the Victorian Auditors-General Office (VAGO).[/b] The report says, “over many years, the state has failed to deliver the transport infrastructure and services needed to support rapidly growing communities. This is adversely impacting accessibility, and risks the future liveability of metropolitan Melbourne. “Urgent action is required to address this serious problem. Inadequate public transport and growing gaps in the road network in these communities are creating barriers to mobility, including access to critical services, education and employment opportunities.”

Man found unconscious on train tracks

Posted Wednesday, 21 August, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Train services have resumed after a man in his 30s was assaulted and thrown onto the train tracks in Melbourne's north. Services to Keon Park, in Thomastown, were suspended while emergency services attended to the man who was discovered lying unconscious on the tracks. Train services have now resumed between Bell and South Morang but trains will not stop at Keon Park due to a police request.

Queensland Rail seeks new rostering system

Posted Wednesday, 21 August, 2013 by JimYarin in Queensland Rail News

Queensland’s rail operator has begun an overhaul of its rostering solution that will see it consolidate workforce management across three discretely operating divisions. Queensland Rail has [url=]called on providers[/url] to pitch their designs as part of the first procurement stage of its workforce management system replacement. The current systems architecture at Queensland Rail is siloed between the service delivery, rollingstock maintenance and train operations branches of the organisation, and is hampered by inflexible and legacy applications. The train service delivery branch is looking to phase out the 10 year-old sapiens system it uses to generate job cards, and the legacy Rail//Table timetabling tool which it said fails to communicate with other key systems in the cycle.

Worries aired over AvonLink rail service axing

Posted Wednesday, 21 August, 2013 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The manager of a regional business centre has expressed concern over the Western Australian Government's move to cut the AvonLink train service. Transport Minister Troy Buswell says the service, which runs between Midland, Toodyay and Northam, will cease at the end of December because of low passenger numbers. He says it will be replaced by twice-daily bus services. The general manager of the Small Business Centre in Northam, Mike Jose, says the last thing the region needs is more heavy vehicles on Wheatbelt roads.

Spain rail operators 'suspected' in crash

Posted Wednesday, 21 August, 2013 by JimYarin in International Rail News

A Spanish judge suspects operators of the state rail infrastructure company of recklessness in a train derailment that killed 79 people last month.

Sydney's rail network in disarray

Posted Thursday, 22 August, 2013 by JimYarin in Cityrail News

Thousands of Sydney commuters have had to endure another lengthy journey home after broken down trains and equipment caused significant delays across the CityRail network. Some passengers reported as much as 50 minutes had been added to their regular commute.  Signalling lights at Wynyard broke down this afternoon and are still causing delays for passengers travelling out of the city on the Western and Northern Line this evening. Trains travelling from the North Shore into the city are also affected.

Greens calls for evidence on Newcastle light rail

Posted Thursday, 22 August, 2013 by JimYarin in New South Wales Rail News

The state's Transport Minister has refused to detail what evidence was used to justify the government's change of mind on the feasibility of light rail in Newcastle. Earlier this year the Planning Minister Brad Hazzard said light rail in Newcastle was not economically viable or sustainable given the size of the population. But the government has now committed to building light rail and has called for tenders to explore where the line should go and how it will revitalise the Newcastle CBD.

Truck stuck beneath bridge

Posted Thursday, 22 August, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

A truck is stuck beneath an overpass in Goodna, west of Brisbane. The driver was trying to negotiate the 3.8 metre low-level road underpass on Layard Streeet when the truck became stuck. Police are directing traffic around the scene. Goodna councillor Paul Tully said it appeared the truck driver had ignored multiple low-level warning signs before the incident.

Freight train breakdown causes rail chaos in shire

Posted Thursday, 22 August, 2013 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Eastern Suburbs, Illawarra and South Coast railway lines are closed partially between Sutherland and Waterfall because of a freight train breakdown at Loftus.

Ausgrid worker blamed as power blackout causes rail, roads chaos

Posted Saturday, 24 August, 2013 by MikeyJackson in New South Wales Rail News

A maintenance technician at an Ausgrid facility in a Canterbury substation is suspected of causing the power blackout that struck large parts of Sydney on Thursday afternoon, closing roads and rail lines and triggering another peak hour nightmare for tens of thousands of commuters. The fault at the Canterbury subtransmission substation occurred at 4.35pm, at the same time an Ausgrid employee was conducting what a spokesman described as ''urgent'' but unrelated maintenance work. The fault caused a power outage that shut electricity to about 60,000 homes and businesses in the inner west and inner south, suspended services on the Bankstown train line and closed the M5 tunnels at peak hour.

Rail networks to increase carrying capacity after retaining radio spectrum

Posted Saturday, 24 August, 2013 by MikeyJackson in Rail News

The number of train services on rail networks in Australian cities could eventually increase by 40 per cent because of a recent decision about access to radio bandwidth, operators say. The Australasian Railway Association has retained the use of a crucial radio spectrum that will allow new wireless rail control and safety systems. There had been concern the spectrum would be lost to mobile phone companies when the bandwidth licence expires in 2015. The association says the licence is needed for an upgrade of the nation's rail safety network planned for the next 10 years.

Holidays to Treasure Introduces New Packages

Posted Sunday, 25 August, 2013 by kunvar in International Rail News

If you book your trip directly with Holidays to Treasure you are entitled to get special offer on booking for luxury train packages or you can avail complimentary night at the ITC Maurya with airport pickup and sightseeing with the English speaking guide.

Kevin Rudd keeps high-speed rail hope alive

Posted Monday, 26 August, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

KEVIN Rudd has sought to re-energise his election campaign today by announcing a fresh Labor commitment to a high-speed rail line along Australia's east coast. The move follows the completion of a $20 million feasibility study, promised by Labor at the last election, which found a high-speed rail link between Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne would cost $114 billion and take 45 years to complete. Mr Rudd today unveiled the next step in Labor's preparations for the project, talking up the capacity of the project to drive jobs creation. However, it was understood the Prime Minister was to stop short of making any definitive commitment to go ahead with what Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese called a “monumental endeavour”. Mr Albanese tweeted earlier this morning: "Releasing High Speed Rail Advisory Group Report today shows a return of $2-10 for every $1 invested on Sydney-Melbourne."

$400m boost from Metro rail tunnel

Posted Monday, 26 August, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Building the Melbourne Metro rail project would improve train times, tackle disadvantage and boost productivity by almost $400 million, according to high-level advice prepared for state and federal governments. As Premier Denis Napthine pushes ahead with plans for an east-west road between Clifton Hill and Flemington, an economic report has argued in favour of the alternative rail proposal: an underground train line between South Yarra and Kensington. The report was prepared last year for the Council of Australian Governments reform council. It says the Melbourne Metro would improve travel times, reshape employment opportunities, and ''significantly'' mitigate disadvantage in Melbourne's west by giving people more access to work. In turn, labour productivity would increase by about $384 million over the next 30 years, and ''equality of opportunity'' would improve.

East-west rationale to stay secret

Posted Monday, 26 August, 2013 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Victorians will never get to see the economic rationale for the state's most expensive transport project, with the Napthine government ruling out public release of the business case for the controversial east-west road tunnel, even after contracts are let. Treasurer Michael O'Brien confirmed that the business case for the $6 billion to $8 billion tollway to link the Eastern Freeway and CityLink, will never be made public, citing commercial sensitivity. Secrecy around the business case for the east-west public-private partnership has fuelled concern about the reasoning for a project that the government has struggled to justify. It is also at odds with a call last year by former Kennett government minister Mark Birrell for the release of business cases for PPPs in light of the financial collapse of toll tunnels in Brisbane and Sydney. Mr Birrell is now the head of private infrastructure lobby Infrastructure Partnerships Australia.

Tony Abbott 'misses chance to play trump card' says rail group

Posted Monday, 26 August, 2013 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott could have 'all but guaranteed' a win in Brisbane on Sunday if he'd backed the city's proposed cross-river rail plan, argues a lobby group, but he missed the chance. "There were lots of R words - Rudd and Roads, but no Rail" said a disappointed Rail Back On Track's Robert Dow. "We really do need ongoing investment from all levels of Government for urban rail. At the moment we are seeing projects advanced in Perth, Adelaide and regional Victoria (but) Cross River Rail is the number-one priority according to Infrastructure Australia.

Twenty New DL Locomotives Providing Further Grunt for Rail Freight

Posted Monday, 26 August, 2013 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

KiwiRail’s second generation DL Locomotives were officially launched today in Auckland by the Minister of Transport, Hon Gerry Brownlee. These 20 new locomotives are about to join the other 20 DL’s that have been hauling rail freight for almost two years in the Upper North Island. According to KiwiRail Chief Executive, Jim Quinn, the first ten of these huge machines are already in operation after only being delivered two months ago and several of the second tranche are operational. “We now have over 30 DL Locomotives in operation around the North Island and they have been instrumental in providing enough capacity and grunt to ensure we deliver for our customers,” he said.

Canberra-Sydney high-speed rail link backed in advisory group's report

Posted Monday, 26 August, 2013 by bevans in Rail News

An Australian government report recommends a Sydney-to-Canberra high speed rail link be up and running in 17 years, with a $23 billion price tag and a fare of $42 to $69 to compete with the airlines. Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will release the High Speed Rail Advisory Group's findings on Monday, which takes the focus off a 30-year time frame for the overall Brisbane-to-Melbourne project. Drawing on international experience, the report goes for smaller stages to build momentum and garner public support, including the first leg over 64 minutes from Sydney to Canberra. The report's authors say a $23 billion first stage is far less intimidating than the overall $114 billion price tag for the Brisbane-Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne journey.

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