Showing stories from March 2014

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Light rail will allow Canberrans to rethink their city

Posted Monday, 24 March, 2014 by JimYarin in Tram and Light Rail News

So many of us in Australia are obsessed with our own private mobility. We love driving our cars, but better still, we love buying new cars. We are buying cars in record numbers and, with more road funding flagged in what is otherwise expected to be a tight federal budget, there is little to dissuade us from our self-drive preferences. However, there are undisputed benefits - personal, environmental and economic - from moving away from a reliance on cars and making a shift towards low-emission public transport such as light rail. The focus on private cars for transport has influenced the design of our cities - and not necessarily in a positive way. It often manifests in increased congestion, air and noise pollution. Cities around the world are embracing light rail as they look to re-energise and reshape their cities to reduce congestion and improve the overall health and wellbeing of their citizens. Most Australian cities have very low public transport usage, but anecdotal evidence suggests that private car use has peaked or will peak soon.

Young business travellers favouring first class rail

Posted Monday, 24 March, 2014 by JimYarin in International Rail News

Young business travellers are more likely to travel in first class on trains compared to other age groups, the GTMC has found. A new survey by the association found 28% of 18 to 29 year-olds typically travel in first class when travelling on trains for work, compared to 16% of all respondents.

New VLocity train for the V/Line network

Posted Monday, 24 March, 2014 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

More passengers will be able to travel on Victoria’s regional rail network with the Coalition Government announcing that it would boost its existing order of rolling stock with local train manufacturer Bombardier. Premier Denis Napthine and Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder attended the Bombardier factory in Dandenong today and revealed that the Coalition Government would purchase an extra $17 million VLocity train on top of its existing order of 40 new carriages. “This new three-carriage train will be capable of seating an additional 228 passengers, each and every trip for commuters travelling from Traralgon, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo,” Dr Napthine said.

Sydney's North West Rail Link underway

Posted Monday, 24 March, 2014 by newsbot in Cityrail News

Work on Sydney's $8.3 billion North West Rail Link is running ahead of schedule with massive boring machines set to start drilling by the end of October.

Fortescue's rail and port give it cost edge over rivals

Posted Monday, 24 March, 2014 by newsbot in Western Australian Rail News

Fortescue Metals Group is now a cheaper producer of iron ore than Brazil's Vale and is closing the gap on its Pilbara rival BHP, analysts say. A team of Credit Suisse analysts led by Matthew Hope said Fortescue has bounced back from the company that hedge funds cornered during the iron-ore priced slump of mid 2012.

Rail, trails and public money

Posted Monday, 24 March, 2014 by JimYarin in Rail News

[ltr]The success of constructing and maintaining a road, a highway, a hospital or a school (the list goes on) is not measured by the direct return of the money spent. Those are not-for-profit businesses, whose only goal is direct monetary return on investment.[/ltr] [ltr]They are firstly  judged by their overall benefits, which they contribute to the region they are in, be it indirectly adding to the financial wealth of the region (creating jobs, attracting people who spend money which they otherwise would not).[/ltr]

Goods train derails at Pilol yard, rail traffic hit

Posted Monday, 24 March, 2014 by bevans in International Rail News

[color=#3f3f3f][size=2][font=georgia]A goods train derailed near Pilol railway station in Savli taluka of Vadodara district in the wee hours of Sunday. The derailment at around 2.30 am adversely affected rail traffic in the region.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#3f3f3f][size=2][font=georgia]According to officials of Vadodara railway division, one wagon of a goods train got derailed at Pilol yard near Pilol railway station on Vadodara-Godhra railway line. The goods train, with 49 wagons, was ferrying coal from Adani Petronet (Dahej) port and was supposed to reach Dadri substation near Delhi.[/font][/size][/color]

Homes near rail lines face exposure to harmful emissions

Posted Monday, 24 March, 2014 by newsbot in International Rail News

A University of Washington study has found residents near rail lines face increased exposure to harmful microscopic particles from diesel emissions. The study also found residents are exposed to larger particles, possibly from coal trains. The study, accepted for publication this month in the online journal Atmospheric Pollution Research, provides some of the first measurements of emission effects of coal train traffic through neighbourhoods in the Pacific Northwest.

Rail company play down asbestos risk on coal wagons

Posted Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 by newsbot in Asciano

ASBESTOS found in Chinese-built coal wagons posed a ‘‘negligible’’ risk to employees and the public, coal train company Pacific National said yesterday.

Three-minute limit suggested for rail interchange

Posted Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 by newsbot in Cityrail News

Three minutes should be the benchmark for changing between heavy and light rail at Wickham station, according to a Maitland City councillor. Some commuters from Maitland have expressed concern about a proposal to cut the heavy rail line at Wickham and replace it with a tram network into Newcastle CBD because of extra time and costs involved in changing from trains to light rail.

Train Derailment at O'Hare Leaves 32 Injured

Posted Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 by bevans in International Rail News

Thirty-two people were injured — none seriously — when an eight-car Chicago Transit Authority train continued through the end of the platform and struck the escalators leading to the terminals at O'Hare International Airport early Monday morning. "The train actually climbed over the last stop, jumped up on the sidewalk  and then went up the stairs and escalators," Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Jose Santiago said of the crash, which happened just before 3 a.m. on the CTA's Blue Line.

Wagga Mayor confident council will secure private investment for Bomen rail hub over coming months

Posted Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 by newsbot in New South Wales Rail News

[size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][b]The Wagga Wagga City Council is taking a new approach to attracting private investment to the proposed Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub, allowing operators to join the project at a lower cost.[/b][/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Mayor, Rod Kendall, says council has set aside $50,000 to facilitate negotiations with industry for firm commitments to the Bomen project, which already has around $20m of federal and state government support.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Councillor Kendall says the next few months will be critical in determining the project's future.[/font][/size]

Poor rail threatens food boom

Posted Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 by newsbot in Western Australian Rail News

[color=#333333][size=2][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]THE disgraceful state of rural railways means grain growers could become uncompetitive and miss out on big profits from the Asian food boom, warns GrainCorp chairman Don Taylor.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#333333][size=2][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The chairman of eastern Australia's biggest grains handler says urgent spending is needed on the railways.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#333333][size=2][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"We don't have any right to benefit from the food boom; we have to earn it," Taylor tells [url=][color=#1b759a][size=2][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][i]The Australian Financial Review[/i][/font][/size][/color][/url].[/font][/size][/color]

Disabled train and tram passengers forgotten

Posted Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Passengers with disabilities are being left stranded on Melbourne's trains and trams because drivers ''forget'' to help them off at their requested stop or station, an inquiry has heard. Drivers at Metro and Yarra Trams use a ''post-it notes system'' to remind themselves of which stop a passenger in a wheelchair needs to get off the train or tram, but sometimes fail to do this because the sticky note falls to the floor or the vehicle has a change of driver, an inquiry into the social inclusion of Victorians with a disability was told on Monday. Public Transport Ombudsman Janine Young raised concerns at the parliamentary inquiry that lifts, ramps and adequate seating were not being provided across the public transport network for people with disabilities. Ms Young told the inquiry that as a result, some ''might not use public transport at all''.

State government plans overhaul to Melbourne public transport zones, ticketing

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

Travel within Melbourne's CBD and Docklands would be free and commuters travelling from the outer suburbs would be charged the same amount as zone 1 passengers under election-year changes proposed by the Napthine government. The state government has pledged to cap maximum daily fares at the zone 1 rate across Melbourne if it wins November's state election, News Corp Australia reports, with all trams in the CBD becoming free from New Year's Day. The free-zone grid would include the Queen Victoria Market and Docklands, and ticket inspectors would no longer police inner-city tram routes. Full-fare commuters travelling from zone 2 into zone 1 now fork out $6.06, while those living within zone 1 pay $3.58 for a two-hour journey.

Rail deals force major miners to operate at a loss

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by JimYarin in Rail News

Some of the world's biggest miners are running Australian mines at a loss because the fixed costs of their rail contracts mean it would cost more to close them. Several coalmines in Queensland are understood to be operating under such a scenario, because of long-term ''take-or-pay'' rail access contracts that miners struck when commodity prices were high. Several coking coalmines run by global miner Anglo American are understood to be affected in this way and one source said he was confident that Anglo was not ''Robinson Crusoe'' in that regard.

Epic 53-day round-the-world train journey launched

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by bevans in Rail News

It's 27 days shorter than Phileas Fogg's round-the-world attempt in Jules Verne's classic adventure novel, Around the World in 80 Days, but still offers train lovers a rail trip of a lifetime. Beginning and ending in London, Great Rail Journeys' [url=]53-day escorted trip[/url], which launches next year, covers sites including Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon, Xi'an and the Terracotta Army, and the steppes of the Gobi desert. Trains included on the trip include the Tsar's Gold Private Train from Mongolia, the Venice Simplon Orient-Express and the British Orient Express Pullman. The price for the trip, which departs on May 18, 2015, is from £21,995 per person ($A39,711, with a single room rate of £26,345, or $A47,565). That works out at £415 ($A749) per day, and the price includes four- and five-star accommodation throughout, all air and rail travel, most meals and the services of a tour manager.

Train and car collide at Reservoir level crossing while drivers exchange details, South Morang line suspended

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

[color=#000000][size=3][font='Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][b][b]POLICE have warned motorists to take better care around level crossings after a peak-hour accident that injured one woman and has caused trains to be cancelled on the South Morang line.[/b][/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#000000][size=3][font='Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Leading Senior-Constable John Bateman from Epping Highway Patrol said the accident at the Reservoir junction crossing was the result of what started as a minor “nose to tail” collision between two cars at about 9am.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#000000][size=3][font='Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]He said the two drivers got out of their vehicles to exchange details, leaving the rear car still on the tracks.[/font][/size][/color]

No mandate: Give Victorians a chance to vote on the East-West toll road

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by newsbot in Letters to the Editor

[color=#4b4f4f][size=4][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]My name is Danita. I'm the mother of two young children and right now I'm feeling abandoned by our Victorian political leaders. [/font][/size][/color] [color=#4b4f4f][size=2][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][b][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]It frustrates me that politicians promise one thing and then deliver the opposite. Back in 2010, a new government came to power saying they would fix our public transport system and now they want to build the dirty, expensive and unpopular East-West toll road instead.[/font][/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#4b4f4f][size=2][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][b][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]They don't have a mandate for this toll road. We should be given the opportunity to vote on this expensive and excessive misallocation of public money.[/font][/b][/font][/size][/color]

End of the line for rail link

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by JimYarin in New Zealand Rail News

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has poured cold water on a Hawke's Bay Regional Council-backed initiative to restore the Napier-Gisborne railway. However, backers of the plan say the minister's rejection of it is based on a "significant misunderstanding" of their proposal and they will continue lobbying Central Government for assistance to re-open the line. The council has floated the idea of investing just under $5.5 million of ratepayers' money over five years to re-establish a rail service on the mothballed line but its proposal depends on the Government also spending several million dollars repairing the damaged track and other infrastructure. The plan is outlined in the council's 2014-15 draft annual plan, which will be voted on at a meeting today before being released for public consultation.

US company Genesee and Wyoming puts the Ghan on track

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by newsbot in South Australian Rail News

It was a proud nation-building moment, the biggest project of its kind since the Snowy Mountains scheme was finished in 1974. When the first train from Adelaide arrived in Darwin in January 2004 - with the prime minister John Howard in the driver's cab - it was the realisation of a 150-year dream: a north-south transcontinental railway. Via its connection with Darwin port, the line was to be Australia's gateway to the lucrative markets of Asia, one that would transform trade to the region by slashing travel times. From the day the first sod was dug in 2001, however, the railway's critics predicted it would not attract enough business. The $1.3 billion line was built and operated by private operator FreightLink, but it took $800 million in federal and state government subsidies to get the project started. Interstate trucking and coastal shipping operators predicted a white elephant. Memorably, Patrick boss Chris Corrigan said returns on the line would be ''smaller than a tick's testicles''. Unfortunately, Corrigan's doubts proved justified. FreightLink made profits but the company was heavily indebted by the line's construction. Investors were not satisfied and in May 2008 the company was put up for sale. In June 2010 it was purchased by American operator Genesee and Wyoming, which had entered Australia in 1997 with the purchase of freight lines in South Australia.

Rail inquiry launched

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by newsbot in Western Australian Rail News

WA’S freight rail network will be the subject of a Parliamentary Committee inquiry. The Economics and Industry Standing Committee last week resolved to investigate and report on whether current lease agreements and management of the network promote or hamper State development. Central Wheatbelt MLA Mia Davies said the inquiry would provide more clarity on how the State’s freight rail network is positioned to service the grain industry in to the future Ms Davies, who recently toured the region with Agricultural Region MLC Paul Brown and Main Roads representatives to assess the impact of additional road traffic during harvest season, said the committee would investigate the entire 2600km network’s strategic direction and regulation, including Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 lines.

Australasian Rail Industry Awards Website launched & Dates announced

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by newsbot in Rail Events

[color=#1c1c1c][size=2][font='PT Sans', Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif]The Australasian Rail Industry Awards website has been launched and the dates have been announced.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#1c1c1c][size=2][font='PT Sans', Helvetica, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif]The Awards will take place on Thursday 17 July 2014 in Melbourne at the stunning Crown Casino River Room.[/font][/size][/color]

Trains That Could Be Better Than Planes

Posted Thursday, 27 March, 2014 by newsbot in International Rail News

Driving traffic-clogged roads to Baltimore is no fun. Ditto taking a crowded shuttle from Washington D.C. to New York. Which is why for the commuting masses (like yours truly), something tantalizing’s in the air: a privately funded company’s vision to build a $10 billion, high-speed, magnetically propelled train that would cut travel between the nation’s capital and Baltimore to 15 minutes, about the time it takes to casually walk a dozen city blocks. Compare that with today’s hours-long commutes by car, train or plane between cities on the East Coast or, for that matter, anywhere in the country. That travel in the Northeast — among the nation’s densest population corridors — can be so irksome is telling: As bad as it is, it has the best, most extensive passenger train service in the country, albeit one woefully in need of new cars, new tracks, new everything.

Fast track for light rail ignores obvious flaws

Posted Thursday, 27 March, 2014 by newsbot in New South Wales Rail News

[color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]GOVERNMENTS are obliged to be rigorous in spending public money.  The NSW government has committed to lease the Port of Newcastle and direct almost half a billion dollars to terminating the rail line at Wickham with a light rail shuttle. Has this project been rigorously assessed? [/font][/size][/color] [color=#333333][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Last year Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy baulked at spending $7million on extensions to the Newcastle Art Gallery, claiming the project was  not ‘‘shovel ready”. Is the Wickham project ‘‘shovel ready’’? [/font][/size][/color]

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