QUEENSLAND'S coal and bulk freight network has overcome another hurdle on the way to privatisation thanks to a decision by a national competition watchdog announced yesterday.
In April, the State Government announced its intention to apply to the National Competition Council (NCC) to keep regulation of rail access in the hands of the Queensland Competition Authority. But a month later, transport giant Asciano applied to the NCC for a “declaration” of the network, meaning it would be regulated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
NEWLY confirmed Greens’ Senator, Lee Rhiannon, says she will push the federal Government to provide rail options for regional New South Wales to halt the increasing numbers of trucks on the state’s roads.
Final counting by the Australian Electoral Commission yesterday (Wednesday) confirmed the former State Greens’ MP has been elected as a Senator for NSW. Ms Rhiannon will take her seat in July next year.
“Better public transport for NSW will be a priority,” she says in a statement.
“The federal Government must invest in . . . rail options for regional NSW to stop the growth in trucks on our roads.”
WASHINGTON—The head of the federal agency that regulates railroads said Wednesday he is considering wading into a fight between shippers and freight rail companies to give farmers, coal companies and other freight customers more leverage to fight rail industry price increases.
Daniel R. Elliott III, appointed last year by President Barack Obama to chair the Surface Transportation Board, pointed to concerns that railroads are using market dominance to charge "excessive" rates for the shipment of goods. Mr. Elliott also suggested that the Staggers Act, signed by President Jimmy Carter, was outmoded and may have given railroads too much pricing power over farmers, grain merchants and other shippers.
The Queensland government says it will work closely with property owners affected by a proposed north-south rail line that will run under the Brisbane River.
The government has estimated 66 properties will need to be resumed to make way for the Cross River Rail project.
The project involves building a 19km rail line that reaches from Salisbury, in the south, to Wooloowin, in the north, via the CBD and Bowen Hills and a tunnel under the river.
Survey work will start at the end of next month for the Redcliffe rail line in Brisbane's east.
The Petrie-to-Kippa-Ring link is going ahead after both sides of federal politics guaranteed support.
Queensland Transport Minister Rachel Nolan has told Parliament the project is no longer just a planning exercise.
TOKYO (AFP) - California's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday took a ride on Japan's latest model of its high-speed bullet train as his US home state looks to modernise its rail system.
The long-time Hollywood action star is on an Asian tour with nearly 100 technology, tourism and entertainment industry leaders, in a trip aimed at boosting the state's economic links across the Pacific.
At a busy Tokyo Station, the governor got aboard the operators' cabin of the latest Series E5 bullet train prototype -- a sleek, metallic green vehicle with a massive 15-metre (50-foot) nose dubbed "arrow-line".
The NSW Government has announced today that tenders are being called for the supply of Automatic
Train Protection equipment for the OSCAR and Tangara train fleets and 600 km of the CityRail network.
During Wednesday evening (15/9/2010) Railpage suffered a service provider outage. Whilst the systems are now back online due to the fabulous work by the service provider team in Sydney, there appear to be some database integrity issues.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald of 17.9 10, transport minister Robertson "has yet to make a final decision on whether to build a CityRail CBD relief line under Sussex Street".
Consultants on Melbourne's troubled myki public transport ticketing system pocketed $3.1 million last financial year.
The Transport Ticketing Authority (TTA), which is responsible for the rollout and operation of myki, paid almost $2.4 million for six consulting projects involving fees of more than $100,000 in the year to June 30.
An additional $700,000 was spent on 26 consultancies where fees were less than $100,000, according to the authority's annual report tabled in state parliament on Thursday.
THREE strikes and you're out - that's the way myki chiefs will decide on commuters unfamiliar with the new ticketing system.
Myki documents show that commuters who forget to touch off will be given two chances before they're slugged with a penalty fare.
Regular commuters who forget to touch off could be charged as much as $20 a week.
Commuters will need to closely check their bills first and contact the call centre to demand their money back.
THE government authority behind Victoria's $1.35 billion myki card has not maintained effective controls on cash collection, Auditor-General Des Pearson has said.
In a sign the audit office does not have full confidence in the Transport Ticketing Authority's financial management, Mr Pearson gave only a qualified sign-off to the agency's annual report, which was among the hundreds released yesterday.
Swiss-based miner Xstrata is to launch its own rail service in NSW.
Xstrata said on Tuesday its three-train fleet would have a capacity to haul 12 million tonnes of coal per year, servicing all the company's coal mines in the Hunter Valley, north-west of Newcastle.
Xtrata will operate ten locomotives and 300 wagons, complementing existing services operated by Pacific National.
QUEENSLAND Treasurer Andrew Fraser has accused the opposition of trying to sabotage the float of the coal and freight rail business.
Mr Fraser said the attacks by Liberal National Party leader John-Paul Langbroek on the $5 billion-plus Queensland Rail privatisation were irresponsible, hypocritical and could slice hundreds of millions of dollars off the value of the initial public offering of shares in new company QR National.
But Mr Langbroek said the sale was wrong on every level.
Ports Minister Eric Roozendaal yesterday announced he would be regulating freight prices in response to Port Botany stevedore Patrick increasing their fees by 67 per cent.
“The NSW Government has a very clear commitment to moving 40 per cent of freight by rail. I will not allow this to be compromised,” Mr Roozendaal said.
“Government and industry have been working hard for over two years to provide certainty, fairness and equity for all elements of the supply chain and I will not allow Patrick to side-line those efforts.
“The prospect of having thousands of extra trucks on our roads, especially the M5, because of Patrick’s price rise is simply unacceptable.
AUSTRALIA must increase dramatically its spending on infrastructure to make up for years of underinvestment, according to a report.
Estimates put the bill for the Commonwealth and the state governments at $100 billion a year over the next six years. The modelling by ANZ found the investment required represents the equivalent of about 8 per cent of GDP.
SPEEDS have been slashed on the rail line between Beenleigh and the Gold Coast amid concerns about trains being pelted with rocks and other objects.
After 6pm, trains are restricted to 100km/h down from 140km/h from Beenleigh to Varsity Lakes.
Despite the significant slowdown, Queensland Rail said timetables were unaffected.
The move follows repeated attempts to damage and derail trains using objects such as rocks and concrete blocks.
Asciano has appointed former Boral chief information officer Kelvin McGrath to the same post at the transport infrastructure provider.
McGrath held the job at Boral since 2001. He was due to start work at the ASX-listed Asciano late next month.
Confirming industry speculation, SCT Logistics today confirmed that they had recently placed a locomotive order to satisfy their current and projected growth requirements. CEO, Geoff Smith, confirmed that the production of locomotives designed and developed in conjunction with China Southern Railways (CSR Ziyang Locomotive Co., Ltd.) and MTU Germany had already commenced.
Mining company Xstrata says it is only a matter of time before its rail network expands into central Queensland.
The company this week launched Xstrata Rail, where UK company Freightliner will service mines in the New South Wales Hunter Valley.
Xstrata chief executive Peter Freyburg says Queensland mines face similar transport problems.
Queensland Rail (QR) has reopened the north coast line between Cairns and Townsville in the state's far north after a train derailed at Babinda last Friday night.
Eleven empty carriages of a QR National freight train left the tracks.
Australia's state and national governments need to be more inventive about raising the money to fund public transport, a key lobby group says.
It suggests congestion charges for motorists, levies on developers and abolishing concession fares for wealthy retirees.
The Tourism and Transport Forum says higher ticket prices may be necessary in some cases but governments should make a greater effort to increase patronage and raise money by developing the land and airspace around rail stations.
Asciano has welcomed the Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) decision to reject the QR Network’s 2010 Draft Access Undertaking.
The ports and rail operator says the decision not to approve the Undertaking was based on QCA concerns about third party access to the Central Queensland Coal Network, and possible impediments to competitive initiatives given the prospect of a privatised, vertically integrated QR National.
“The QCA has proposed a number of changes to the Draft Undertaking addressing the concerns which were raised by Asciano and other stakeholders,” says Asciano Managing Director and CEO Mark Rowsthorn.
The state government's decision to abandon the Sydney Metro project means Wynyard station will ''exceed safe operational capacity'' in evening peaks once Barangaroo is built, city planners have warned.
In a report circulated to City of Sydney members, planning staff have urged the Department of Planning to refuse an application by Barangaroo's developers, Lend Lease, for an extra 60,000 square metres of floor space even if the government's promised light rail proceeds.
''Light rail may well relieve a component amount of the ''crush capacity'' but the mitigation will be insufficient to relieve unsustainable commuter congestion,'' the document says.