The Queensland government will pour $17 million into upgrading railway tunnels to increase freight capacity between the Darling Downs and the Port of Brisbane. Transport Minister Scott Emerson said 11 tunnels through the Toowoomba Range and Lockyer Valley would be expanded to allow larger hi cube freight containers to pass through. Darling Downs farmers and the agricultural industry are expected to reap the benefits of the upgrades. "The amount of grain and cotton through the Port of Brisbane increased by 50 per cent last year," Mr Emerson said.
Sharn Juster likes to look up at the stars at night. From where he lives in Warragul they sparkle with an intensity that cannot be matched 100 kilometres away in Melbourne. This ''awesome'' star show is just one of the advantages of life in rural Victoria, and something he happily rediscovered when he moved to Warragul from Caulfield nearly two years ago.
The Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese conducted a whistle stop tour of sites across the Illawarra on Tuesday to help bolster Labor's electoral fortunes. At the centrepiece of a string of announcements covering Gerringong, Shellharbour and Wollongong came a further $50-million dollars for the Maldon to Dombarton rail line. When former Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited Wollongong in October 2011 she committed $25-million for studies to make the project shovel ready. Mr Albanese, who's vast portfolio includes Infrastructure, says the additional seed funding will be used to encourage private investment.
MELBOURNE Airport CEO Chris Woodruff has called for a rail link to be built "sooner rather than later" but warned it wouldn't be a silver bullet. Speaking at the airport's annual stakeholder event, Mr Woodruff said the aviation hub was spending tens of millions to improve access including "the mother of all elevated loop roads" but "there was only so much we can do". "We need on a rail link to Melbourne Airport and we need it sooner rather than later. But a train is not a silver bullet. It won't be enough on its own," Mr Woodruff said.
AN UNDERGROUND freight tunnel will be carved through Brisbane's southside as part of an ambitious $5 billion plan to build an alternative rail line connecting the Queensland capital to Melbourne. The Coalition will today announce $300 million in funding over three years to finalise plans for the 1800km inland track which promises to revolutionise freight movement in the eastern states. Central to the project is 25km of new track between Acacia Ridge in Brisbane's southwest and the Port of Brisbane - mostly underground. It comes just a day after Prime Minister [url=http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/special-features/kevin-rudd-to-move-australian-navy-north-report/story-fnho52jo-1226704659044]Kevin Rudd revealed his own multibillion-dollar plan to relocate Australia's major naval base to Brisbane[/url].
Buses will replace trains on the Albury to Melbourne line today and tomorrow after a fallen tree damaged a train. V/Line is working to repair the locomotive, which was significantly damaged when it hit a tree near Euroa on Friday. The line has been allocated three trains and with another already undergoing repairs, V/Line is unable to run its four daily services.
A group of Wheatbelt residents is circulating a petition protesting against the Western Australian Government's move to cut the AvonLink train service. As a cost-saving measure, and as a result of declining passenger numbers, the Government says the service, which runs between Midland, Toodyay and Northam, will end on December 30.
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Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer says bipartisan support would be needed if a fast rail link down the eastern seaboard is ever to become a reality. Yesterday, the Federal Government pledged $52 million to a fast train between Melbourne and Brisbane, to finalise the track alignment and station locations, as well as a detailed business case.
THE Gold Coast can be delivered a light rail extension from Griffith University to the Helensvale railway station before the 2018 Commonwealth Games for less than $100 million, according to planners. Documents obtained under Right To Information show Transport Minister Scott Emerson, his bureaucrats and Helensvale stakeholders have met privately to discuss a "missing rail link" plan. The landowners' proposal is funding a new route west from the Parklands Drive station along Smith St to Parkwood and north through bushland along the transport corridor by the heavy rail, ending on the eastern side of the train station next to the shopping centre. After briefing by Katarno strategic planners representing the businessmen, the Newman Government has agreed to funding $100,000 to "facilitate the proposal and ensure future transport requirements are not compromised". "At face value, extension of the light rail network as proposed by this development has merit and warrants further investigation," a meeting brief note to Mr Emerson said.
Welcome to [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talbot,_Victoria]Talbot[/url] - population 258 according to the 2011 census - a ''living ghost town'' that doesn't have a sewerage system but is about to get a brand new railway station. V/Line trains are scheduled to stop again at the quiet former gold mining town by year's end after a 20-year absence, and excitement is building among locals who were initially told they would be left out when it was announced in 2008 that the Maryborough line would be reopened. ''It'll be fantastic for the town,'' said Helen Green, owner of second-hand bookstore Slightly Bent Books. ''It's a little village, it's a bit marginal, but we've always been left out a bit.''
Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron believes the latest report on high speed rail, which sets a much quicker timeframe of 17 years for the Sydney-Canberra leg - sets a new benchmark for the transport agenda. The Federal Government's High Speed Rail Advisory Group recommends building a $23 billion link from Sydney to Canberra first, to create enough momentum for the overall project, worth an estimated $114 billion. The latest report says locating a station in Civic, rather than the airport, would deliver $2 billion to $3 billion more in benefits, but Mr Byron says any decision on station locations is premature.
MILLIONS were invested in Victoria's now-faltering freight lines, writes CHRIS McLENNAN It was 8.30am on a chilly, overcast Saturday just a few weeks ago. An empty freight train was making steady progress towards the northern outpost of Mildura to collect a consignment of oranges for a critical export market. The train was travelling slowly after a trip of 486km as it passed through the remote Bronzewing nature reserve, south of Ouyen. Only a few years earlier the Federal and State Governments had poured an impressive $73 million into this freight-only line. In a two-year project ending in 2009, more than 500km of line between Mildura and Geelong was upgraded. Yet at 8.30, the Pacific National train exploded.
Major delays are expected on the Frankston train line and on the Nepean Highway after a truck and a passenger train collided at a level crossing in Melbourne's south-east. The truck driver escaped with only minor injuries after his truck crashed into a train at Bonbeach railway station.
Passengers travelling on the Newcastle & Central Coast Line in both directions are advised to allow additional travel time due to a freight train with mechanical problems at Hawkesbury River earlier.
Borrowing big could be the answer to boosting Victoria's public transport network, according to the state's public transport boss. With a rail expansion "vision" - that includes the multibillion-dollar Melbourne Metro 9 kilometre rail tunnel through inner Melbourne, linking the Sunbury and Pakenham/Cranbourne rail lines, and new lines to Rowville, Doncaster and the airport - Public Transport Victoria boss Ian Dobbs said borrowing should be on the table.
Japan is resuming trial runs for the world's fastest magnetic-levitation train that will complement the Shinkansen bullet-train network when ready in 2027. Central Japan Railway plans to begin work on the 5.1 trillion yen ($51 billion) maglev line between Tokyo and Nagoya as early as April. Trial runs resumed on Thursday after the company spent five years building a 24-kilometre extension of a test track. The trains can run at speeds of up to 500 kilometres per hour. The maglevs will whisk passengers to Nagoya, a city of 2.3 million people, from Tokyo in as little as 40 minutes for the 286-kilometre journey, from as short as 95 minutes now, according to JR Central. Faced with the challenge of tunneling under Tokyo's skyscrapers and Japanese Alps, the project is unlikely to be completed on time even as Japan's population is projected to shrink.
A plan to build Australia's biggest port at Hastings, south-east of Melbourne, relies on also building the state's biggest public transport project, the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel, putting the Napthine government at odds with its federal allies. The federal Coalition has ruled out funding passenger rail projects, including Melbourne Metro, but on Wednesday committed $300 million towards building an inland freight rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane. The Rudd government on Tuesday committed the same amount to early work on the line, which would ultimately cost $5 billion to build. Nationals leader and shadow transport minister Warren Truss said the inland rail line ''has the potential to take up to a million semi-trailers a year off the road by transferring freight that otherwise would have moved by road onto the rail network''.
The Zero Carbon Australia Transport Project is currently completing a report assessing a High Speed Rail service operating from Melbourne to Brisbane via Sydney and Canberra. It is the product of 12 months of joint analysis by researchers from Beyond Zero Emissions, a non-profit climate solutions research organisation and the German Aerospace Centre, Germany’s national research institute. High speed rail in Australia has been discussed for decades. It is widely recognised as a desirable, exciting concept. Anyone who has enjoyed the experience in Europe or Asia is often left asking “Why don’t we have this back home?”. Yet multiple studies and political indecisiveness have made no progress, and positive support for the idea of HSR is often held back by misconceptions about Australia not having enough people to make it viable. The government-commissioned HSR Phase 2 report from AECOM released earlier this year suggested that HSR could pay its operating costs, but only after the $114 billion capital cost had been paid by the government.
THE Greens Party has promised $180 million for a rail line extension to Mernda if elected. Greens lead senate candidate for Victoria Janet Rice and Greens Melbourne candidate Adam Bandt released the party's Fixing Melbourne's Transport plan on Friday, August 30, which prioritises rail investment ahead of roads projects.