Showing stories from May 2010

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Labor accused of losing track on rail

Posted Sunday, 16 May, 2010 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

Tasmanian Labor Senator and Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry says he does not know if the Tasmanian Government lobbied for any rail funds.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz is angry that Tasmania has not received any of the one $1 billion earmarked for Australia's rail network.

The cost of upgrading Tasmania's rail network and rolling assets has been estimated at $400 million.

Senator Sherry is unsure whether the Tasmanian government lobbied for specific funding for rail.

"They're not areas where I was involved. I was involved in the overall preparation of budget expenditure that's my responsibility but it's always open for Tasmania to submit for spending programs in the rail or any other area of infrastructure," he said.

QR scores $45 million contract

Posted Sunday, 16 May, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

REDBANK'S Queensland Rail workshops has secured a $45 million contract to build 160 coal wagons for coal businesses in the New South Wales Hunter Valley.

The contract, which is expected to keep 100 workers at the QR Redbank workshops in work, comes after the business recently finished building 106 wagons for the same two firms.

Transport Minister Rachel Nolan announced the new contract at the site yesterday and said it proved the workshop and QR National was a competitive national business in the lead-up to its sale in September.

Freight plan snub angers Mayor

Posted Sunday, 16 May, 2010 by bevans in South Australian Rail News

The Glenelg Shire says the federal budget has let south-west Victoria down.

The shire was hoping the budget would include money for the Green Triangle Freight Action Plan.

The plan details the road and rail upgrades needed in the region before the blue gum harvest starts later this year.

Asciano snags $1b deal for Toll rail freight

Posted Sunday, 16 May, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

Asciano Group says it's signed a contract with Toll Holdings to haul intermodal rail freight, with expected revenues of up to $1 billion over five years.

Under the contract, Asciano's Pacific National Intermodal division will supply rail haulage services to Toll to move containers and cars interstate.

The contract includes options to extend the initial term of five years for up to another 10 years.

No money for crumbling rail network: Budget

Posted Sunday, 16 May, 2010 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

THE Budget has failed to deliver much needed rail upgrades for Tasmania, Liberal senator Eric Abetz says.

Mr Abetz said the island state had lost out in the budget for the second year in a row.

"Nothing was asked for by Tasmanian Labor and certainly nothing was delivered,'' Senator Abetz said.

Rail link upgrade at risk

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

THE Federal Government's proposed Resource Super Profits Tax could jeopardise the future of the rail link between Mount Isa and Townsville, according to the State Opposition.

Opposition spokesperson for transport Fiona Simpson said proposed new mining projects in the North West were being reviewed, which meant the rail link could miss out on money for upgrades.

Goldfields backs federal rail funds

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The Goldfields Esperance Development Commission has welcomed Federal Government funding for upgrades to a major railway line.

A total of $95 million has been allocated in this year's budget for works on the line between Kalgoorlie and Koolyanobbing.

The commission's CEO Robert Hicks says it is a critical piece of infrastructure that needs upgrading.

"We know that is a significant bottleneck, particularly given that 80 per cent of the freight that comes into Western Australia from the eastern states comes on that line through [the] City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder," he said.

Govt's transport commitment questioned

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

Infrastructure lobby groups are questioning the Federal Government's commitment to public transport projects and traffic congestion solutions.

Two years ago, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd established Infrastructure Australia as an expert panel to prioritise a range of projects including new road and rail developments in the nation's capital cities.

However, last night's budget revealed few new urban projects, and the lobby group Infrastructure Partnerships Australia is hoping any new money is being held back for election promises.

$71m Budget boost for Sydney freight hub

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

Plans to create a freight terminal in Sydney's south-west have been given a $71 million boost in the Federal Budget.

The facility, to be built in Moorebank, will integrate rail with other modes of transport moving freight across the Sydney basin.

The $71 million of the funds will be used to establish a project office and plan for the relocation of Defence facilities there.

Rail electrification plans down the track

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

THE state Department of Transport has a long-term plan to electrify the rail line between Frankston and Baxter and eventually the spur line to Mornington.

The plan has not been officially released but actions by the department and new rail operator Metro Trains Melbourne hint at the move. These include:

* The Peninsula Link freeway builder being instructed to build a multi-million flyover where the planned freeway crosses the disused rail line south of Baxter to allow for three rail lines.

* An email from Metro Trains Melbourne that discusses parking trains overnight at Baxter and electrifying the line to Baxter.

Shire backs 'responsible' rail repairs

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Mayor of the Cowra Shire has dismissed claims work on a local train track will hamper efforts to revive five central western New South Wales rail branch lines.

The Cowra Shire Council called for the viaducts on the Cowra-to-Eugowra route to be removed because they are in a state of disrepair and are causing traffic problems.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation will now remove them.

However, the Lachlan Regional Transport Committee has raised concerns that the decision to remove the three timber bridges may give the State Government "mixed messages" about how valuable rural train services are.

Schools slam Metro's late train

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

METRO train travellers have been hit by more delays as schools order their students to leave earlier to dodge the chaos.

Nine of 16 of Melbourne’s train routes were still disrupted by 8.30am after a string of issues triggered delays.

Among the biggest problems was on the Hurstbridge line, where buses replaced trains between Eltham and Hurstbridge in both directions after overhead wires came down in Diamond Creek about 6.05am.

Public opinion wanted on light rail expansion

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The New South Wales Government is calling for public submissions into its light rail pre-construction study looking at the new 5.6km extension from Lilyfield and Dulwich Hill.

The Premier Kristina Keneally says it is the first step in the roll out of Sydney's light rail expansion.

The Dulwich Hill expansion is the first stage, while stage two goes from Central to Circular Quay.

Ms Keneally says the study looks at a number of issues, like station locations.

Rail freight authority needed

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

VICTORIA needs a rail freight authority, says BILL RUSSELL

Victoria's intrastate rail freight industry continues to be in a parlous condition, with declining traffic in key areas.

The Victorian Government deserves credit for the positive planning and investment that has taken place, but the rail share keeps falling.

Rail's share of grain freight has fallen from 90 per cent in 2001-02 to 35 per cent in 2007-8. Meanwhile, non-grain rail freight has fallen by 40 per cent a year during the past four years.

These are very serious declines, with multiple causes.

There have been bad seasons for primary producers and vigorous competition from road freight.

Derailment in Alice Springs Yard

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by sar700 in Northern Territory Rail News

It has been reported to Railpage that approximately 30 minutes ago, AN2 derailed in the yard at Alice Springs.

South Africa transport strike seen widening

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in International Rail News

OHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Talks between striking South African transport workers and logistics group Transnet have failed to end a dispute, threatening to widen action that has crippled the country's rail and port operations.

The strike, in its second week, has hit exports of metals, fruit and wine to customers in Europe and Asia after nearly two-thirds of Transnet's 54,000-strong workforce joined in.

"The Transnet strike is set to intensify with no resolution in sight. Management effectively walked away from any negotiated settlement (last night) after stating an unwillingness to budge on any item of money substance," the Satawu and Utatu unions said in a statement on Monday.

Govt releases Sydney light rail proposal

Posted Monday, 17 May, 2010 by bevans in Tram and Light Rail News

The NSW Government has released a draft study into a planned multi-million dollar light rail extension through Sydney's inner-west.

Construction is likely to begin by the end of the year.

The 10km light rail extension to Dulwich Hill was announced in February's Transport Blueprint and would take existing city services from Lilyfield along a disused rail line.

Coal terminal sets export record

Posted Tuesday, 18 May, 2010 by bevans in Queensland Rail News

The operators of Queensland's largest coal terminal says a new export record was set during April.

About 6 million tonnes was shipped through the Dalrymple Bay terminal south of Mackay, in the state's north, which is an annualised total of 71.3 million tonnes.

Hopes build for south-west budget funding

Posted Tuesday, 18 May, 2010 by bevans in Western Australian Rail News

The Bunbury City Council is hoping infrastructure funding for south-west Western Australia will feature prominently in the state budget when it is handed down later this month.

Mayor David Smith says upgrades and expansions to the port, roads and railways are needed if the city is to cope with major industrial development and the region's rapidly growing population.

Councillor says rail land under threat

Posted Tuesday, 18 May, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

A Lismore City councillor says the state government is making a back-door grab for rail corridor land.

Simon Clough says the new Local Environment Plan framework will force local councils to rezone rail corridor land to reflect the zoning of adjacent property.

Rail shutdown to allow coal haulage boost

Posted Tuesday, 18 May, 2010 by bevans in New South Wales Rail News

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) says a three-day shutdown of the Hunter Valley rail corridor will allow it to complete a project to improve coal haulage to the Port of Newcastle.

All coal and passenger trains between Maitland and Scone have been stopped to allow for major maintenance works until Thursday.

GrainCorp reduces rail freight rates

Posted Wednesday, 19 May, 2010 by bevans in Rail News

Grains marketer GrainCorp Ltd says it has cut rail freight rates for the 2010/11 harvest.

GrainCorp said on Tuesday that it had reduced the average freight rate per tonne by two per cent across 197 GrainCorp sites served by rail.

"For more than 100 sites, we have reduced rail rates by an average of $2.40 per tonne, or over six per cent," GrainCorp said in a statement.

Fears for Northland rail link

Posted Wednesday, 19 May, 2010 by bevans in New Zealand Rail News

Transport campaigners are concerned that mothballing the rail line to Northland would reduce options for diverting freight from Auckland's congested Auckland waterfront.

KiwiRail yesterday disclosed that as part of its $4.6 billion "turnaround plan" - into which the Government will pump $750 million over three years - it is considering mothballing four under-used railway lines, including the link between Auckland and Moerewa.

No financial woe, says Metro chief

Posted Wednesday, 19 May, 2010 by bevans in Victorian Rail News

SPECULATION that Metro has threatened to walk away from its $8 billion contract with the Brumby government is incorrect, the boss of the train operator has said in an extraordinary letter to his 3600 staff.

Metro chief executive Andrew Lezala told staff, in a letter posted to each of them, that widespread reports the operator is going broke just six months into its contract were wrong.

Among rumours and reports that Mr Lezala said were incorrect were that the state government was paying all wages, that Metro had asked to be released from its eight-year contract, and that it planned mass redundancies. ''We are making money and will not make mass redundancies,'' Mr Lezala wrote.

Minister says rail funding on track

Posted Wednesday, 19 May, 2010 by bevans in Tasmanian Rail News

The Federal Government says Tasmania has not missed out on money to improve rail infrastructure.

There was criticism after last week's Federal budget when Tasmania failed to share in any specific funding allocation.

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