PREMIER John Brumby and Treasurer John Lenders have received a swift rebuke for their lobbying over Canberra's dwindling infrastructure dollars, with the federal minister declaring their comments irrelevant.
Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese has dismissed as a "speculative bid" recent suggestions from Victoria that the state is expecting $10 billion worth of federal funds for transport upgrades.
"Public comments by state and territory leaders will have absolutely no impact on the outcome," Mr Albanese told The Age in an interview yesterday.
THE operator of Australia's $1.2 billion north-south freight railway, which links the port of Darwin with southern cities, has been put into receivership after a group of second-tier debt holders cruelled a plan to sell the business.
Directors of FreightLink, which manages all rail transport between Darwin and Tarcoola in South Australia, believed proceeds from the proposed sale would have fully repaid the $330 million owed to a syndicate of 15 banks.
FORT WORTH, TX, Nov 06, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- BNSF Railway has completed construction of a third main rail line through Cajon Pass in Southern California that will increase capacity on BNSF's Chicago to Los Angeles Transcontinental (Transcon) route from 100 to 150 trains a day. The $90 million project adds almost 16 miles of third main track to BNSF's route into the Los Angeles Basin.
Cajon Pass is located between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges, just north of the City of San Bernardino. Approximately 75 to 100 freight and passenger trains currently traverse this route on a daily basis. Each intermodal train on these tracks can take more than 250 long-haul trucks off of the region's local highways. Additionally, freight trains are more fuel-efficient than trucks and can move one ton of freight more than 400 miles on one gallon of diesel fuel.
This weeks sightings included the Melbourne Cup holiday and there were 94 sightings for this week, which is 11 sightings less than last week, making a total of 4454* sightings for this year to date. On day 313 last year we had seen 4653 sightings.
We have seen no sightings on the B/G this week.
Rural lobby group AgForce has welcomed the Queensland Government's reassurance that cattle train services will not be cut without industry consultation.
Transport Minister John Mickel met AgForce yesterday to discuss reports that Queensland Rail (QR) is planning to close some cattle train loading centres and raise freight rates.
AgForce president John Cotter says they covered a range of issues and agreed to meet again in January.
"It was a useful meeting in so much as that [John Mickel] has given us a reasonable amount of commitments," he said.
The New South Wales Government has broken an election commitment to build a train station at the University of Western Sydney, near Penrith.
A day after the Government reneged on two other promises, Transport Minister David Campbell has confirmed the station will not be built following a review by retired Carr government minister Andrew Refshauge.
"The review included targeted meetings, letters to identified stakeholders, advertisements in local newspapers, a letterbox drop in the area surrounding the proposed station site and a public hearing," Mr Campbell said in a statement to the ABC.
Queensland is stepping up a push for its share of infrastructure funding from the Federal Government, despite concerns the economic downturn will lead to spending cuts.
Brisbane City Council has asked the Federal Government for $2.2 billion to fund new and ongoing roads projects.
Lord Mayor Campbell Newman says the council submission to Infrastructure Australia includes a request for an additional $850 million towards the Northern Link tunnel, which will link Toowong to Kelvin Grove.
The Rudd Government will pump more than $6 billion into Australia's ailing car industry over the next 13 years under a plan unveiled in Melbourne today.
An extra $3.2 billion in funding was announced as part of the Government's strategy to protect automotive jobs and focus the country's car industry on becoming greener.
The Government's 'A New Car Plan For A Greener Future' followed a review of the future of car industry assistance headed by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks released earlier in the year.
Connex's changes today to the way Melbourne's trains run around the City Loop have affected thousands of rail users on their morning commute.
The operator says the changes will ultimately mean the rail network can carry thousands more commuters more efficiently each morning.
Fast ferries linking Port Phillip Bay to Federation Square and the Docklands is being touted by a lord mayoral candidate as part of his election plan.
Cr Gary Singer told The Age the high-speed ferries, capable of carrying 150 people at a time, would open up Melbourne's waterfront and offer alternative means of transport to people living in bayside suburbs.
"I've worked out a strategy of how we can work out a fast-ferry service to link points along Port Phillip Bay to Federation Square and Docklands and even look at the feasibility of taking it up the river as far as Hawthorn," Cr Singer told The Age.
CUT-price train fares to rural Victoria during off-peak times will be promoted to shore up tourism in country areas.
V/Line is planning an advertising blitz to encourage Melbourne families to take advantage of cheaper fares to places including Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Echuca.
The campaign, See Things Differently, was launched yesterday by Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky.
It comes as Connex today launches 277 new services and 51 extended services a week on the overcrowded Melbourne train network.
In the V/Line deal, commuters will save $5.30 for every child that travels to regional and country Victoria.
MELBOURNE'S busiest train lines are also the worst for crime, with Pakenham the No. 1 hot spot for bashings, sex offences and theft.
The figures also reveal crime is increasing on lines with the least staff, prompting new calls for the State Government to man the whole network.
There were 199 assaults, 20 sex attacks and 45 weapons offences on the Pakenham line in 2007-08, transit police data shows.
A further 363 passengers reported theft from their cars while 92 cars were stolen from station car parks.
CEC National Secretary Craig Isherwood today called on Australia’s state and federal governments to embark on the greatest public infrastructure development program in history, to save Australia from collapsing into an economic depression worse than the 1930s.
Mr Isherwood pointed to the two seminal CEC publications that deal with this crisis: What Australia Must Do to Survive the Depression (published 2001), and The Infrastructure Road to Recovery (published 2002), which detail a series of grand water and transportation infrastructure projects that would spearhead an industrial revival in Australia, create millions of jobs, and build the nation out of depression.
TRAIN travellers have told of "chaos" and additions of up to 20 minutes to morning trips caused by new Connex timetables for three of the city's busiest lines.
Connex, still reeling from last week's Oaks day rail fiasco that left thousands stranded at Flemington racecourse, changed operating patterns on Sunday on the Werribee, Hurstbridge and Epping lines.
The changes mean Werribee line trains no longer run around the city loop.
And all Epping and Hurstbridge line trains go direct to Flinders Street, and then around the loop.
PRESSURE is building on Asciano to deal with rejected US takeover predators after the port and rail group's shares went into free fall and were placed in a trading halt.
Asciano's shares plunged by $1.03, or 59.9%, to 69¢ before the trading halt was called, and the Australian Securities Exchange queried Asciano about the share fall. The company's stapled securities reached a high of $11.43 shortly after listing in June last year.
Anti-nuclear campaigners have warned the Alice Springs Town Council against a plan to increase the amount of radioactive material freighted on the Adelaide to Darwin railway.
The Olympic Dam mine in South Australia has applied to increase the amount of uranium it transports on the line, as well as radioactive copper concentrate.
As Australia edges closer toward the introduction of an emissions trading scheme, it is high time for a serious discussion about the climate debate's poor third cousin: transport.
The transport industry is the third largest emitter of carbon in Australia, behind manufacturing and agriculture.
While all the talk has been about manufacturing and clean coal technology and how the government will offset the costs to business, there has been little serious talk of the need to address our increasing reliance on road transport.
A new timetable designed to boost the capacity of the Melbourne's public transport network begins today with 328 new weekly services.
Many of the changes affect the way the Werribee, Hurstbridge and Epping lines use the city loop.
Connex spokesman John Rees says some commuters will experience longer journeys as a result.
THE NSW Government is planning to convert Sydney's rail network back to single-deck trains. NSW Transport Minister David Campbell confirmed the plans to buy single-deck trains, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
"There is a long-term strategic direction to start investing in single-deck rolling stock," Mr Campbell told the Herald.
Under franchising, Melburnians get better value for money.
FOR years, Paul Mees has been arguing that there is some overseas city whose public transport system Melbourne should be emulating, but in his article "Travelling second-class", published on this page on Wednesday, Dr Mees has added a temporal comparison to his usual geographic ones.
While he eulogises the performance of the Melbourne rail network in the 1920s, he is apparently unaware of the experience of F. W. Eggleston as minister for railways in that decade. Eggleston's attempt to improve the railway was so disillusioning that it converted him from being a firm believer in state control of all common services to an advocate of private enterprise wherever possible.
There were only 79 sightings for this week, which is another 15 sightings less than last week, making a total of 4533* sightings for this year to date. On day 320 last year we had seen 4746 sightings.
We have seen no sightings on the B/G again this week.
CONNEX has defended itself against complaints from passengers that its new timetable, designed to add more peak-hour trains and improve services, has instead made travelling conditions worse.
The timetable changes coincided this week with cancellations as trains malfunctioned due to hot weather and storms.
Weather bureau meteorologist James Taylor said yesterday's storm was at its peak between 6.30am and 7.30am, leaving commuters struggling to get to work after lightning and heavy rain disrupted services throughout the rail network.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the death of a man hit by a train as he walked on tracks at Newport, in Melbourne's inner west last night.
A police spokesman said the man was groceries in plastic bags along city-bound tracks about 50 metres south of Newport station when he was hit from behind by a freight train at 11.20pm.
A NEW chapter in the history of the Port of Melbourne has been opened with the launch of a major container logistics centre at Victoria Dock by Westgate Ports.
The centre, located on a 21-hectare site on the Yarra River at the foot of the Bolte Bridge, will cater for bulk, break bulk (steel, paper, wood products) and eventually container trade, and is directly serviced by a rail link. Westgate Ports, the new kid on the block in the port, is a subsidiary of Salta Group.
The company aims to make the upgraded Victoria Dock the staging point for a system that will deliver freight efficiently by rail and specialist trucks to intermodal terminals in suburban Melbourne.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) chief executive officer, David Marchant, has rejected claims rail infrastructure on the New South Wales Hunter's coal chain is shoddy and out of date.
In a submission to Infrastructure Australia, the Minerals Council of Australia has labelled the coal chain a planning failure.
It says it contains old mismatched rail infrastructure and ancient train signalling systems that in many cases only work one way.