EXCLUSIVE: MELBOURNE’S myki woes could soon be fixed with plans to radically shake up the system that could see mobile, SMS and casual day tickets available for commuters. The State Government will spend more than $13 million over the next three years in a worldwide search for a better operating system to run the only ticket in town. There are no plans to put the myki train, tram and bus ticketing system on the scrap heap, but rather look for “innovative technologies” to end passenger pain.
The Coalition won office partly due to voter dissatisfaction with the former government's performance on public transport. But it was slow to realise the political importance of improving rail, tram and bus infrastructure. Now, with an election looming, it's come back with shock and awe, promising to commit an unprecedented $24 billion on new transport infrastructure. The centrepiece is a new rail tunnel designed to counter growing rail capacity problems in the CBD.
BIG sections of Troy Buswell’s research report justifying his expensive taxpayer-funded trip to Europe and Asia to study light rail last year are plagiarised from public websites and brochures. A simple check using Google reveals many parts of the disgraced former treasurer’s 20-page report have been lifted word for word from the internet. Mr Buswell, who resigned as WA treasurer after revelations he had smashed into four cars in Subiaco while driving home in his ministerial car from a February wedding, supposedly spent three months working on the research paper – which was handed in one month overdue. Some of the plagiarism is so blatant he did not even bother to update facts. For example, he refers to Bombardier being part of a consortium “selected in May” to build the Gold Coast light rail system, when it should be May 2011.
The Liverpool Road railway station in Manchester, dating from 1830, is the oldest surviving mainline station in the world.
IMAGINE boarding a train at Brisbane’s Roma Street at 9am and getting off at Sydney’s Central Station at noon. Imagine living near the beach on the Gold Coast and commuting to work in Brisbane’s CBD within 20 minutes. Both could be a reality in little more than a decade, according to a new report which says high speed rail is not only achievable and affordable, but essential to Australia’s future. Detailed research by Melbourne University’s Energy Institute, think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions and the German Aerospace Center, concludes that a 1799km network linking Brisbane and the Gold Coast to Sydney and Melbourne could be operating by 2025.
The standardisation of the Geelong to Mildura rail line proposed by the Napthine Government and the funds identified to be made available for the conversion and the construction of new rail link between Murtoa and Hopetoun are significantly insufficient. The financial standardisation will also remove any opportunity to reinstate a passenger service to Mildura, which the community has been demanding for 30 years. Speaking to colleagues and community leaders they would prefer the passenger service over the standardisation. The Premier has publicly stated that there wouldn’t be a passenger service to Mildura, while the Deputy Premier stated his endorsement of a reinstated passenger service when he opened the Mildura Airport. The whole plan is inadequately thought through by the fact that no strategic and technical plan has eventuated and is beginning to have the appearance of an erratic, unprincipled and undisciplined decision.
East African leaders and China formally signed agreements on Sunday related to the construction of a new multi-billion dollar railway to run from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Nairobi and on to neighbouring states. The deals were signed in Nairobi on the last stage of an Africa tour by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, although Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, had already signed up to the deal during his state visit to Beijing last year. “The costs of moving our people and our goods ... across our borders will fall sharply,” Kenyatta told a news conference with the Chinese and African leaders on Sunday. The existing narrow gauge railway in Kenya was built in the 19th century and only runs to Uganda whereas the faster new line is designed to go on to Rwanda and South Sudan and is aimed at cutting the hefty costs of trade between east African nations.
AN ELDERLY driver has become the second motorist to get stuck on the light rail bridge after driving more than 500m along the tram tracks this morning. The driver became confused at the intersection of Ada Bell Way and entered the tracks driving past the tram station along the corridor until his car tyres wedged in the tracks trapping him.
[color=#333333][size=4][font=Times New Roman', sans-serif][b][b]RAIL operator Aurizon is looking to abolish workplace agreements that ban it from forcing staff into redundancies, as the company moves to cut another 480 jobs from its workforce.[/b] [/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#333333][size=4][font=Times New Roman', sans-serif]Aurizon said today it would apply to the federal Fair Work Commission to terminate 14 existing enterprise bargaining agreements in Queensland.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#333333][size=4][font=Times New Roman', sans-serif]The company wants to remove legacy conditions linked to the its past as a Queensland government-owned enterprise, including a ban on forced redundancies or relocations and free rail travel for employees.[/font][/size][/color]
A precinct dubbed “Australia’s largest urban renewal project” will be connected to the Melbourne city centre via rail, the Victorian government announced last week. The Fishermans Bend area, on a peninsula to the south west of the CBD, will be the largest urban development site in Australia’s history, according to planning minister Matthew Guy. "The precinct expands Melbourne's capital city zone by more than 50 per cent and is expected to eventually accommodate around 25,000 jobs and in excess of 40,000 residents,” Mr Guy said. At 240 hectares, the new zone will be larger than any of the Melbourne CBD’s existing developments, such as Southbank or Docklands. It will also be 10 times the size of Sydney’s Barangaroo project, according to Mr Guy.
Travel chaos struck amid torrential rains in Hong Kong and the worst flooding to hit Shenzhen in six years, crippling an intercity railway to Guangzhou and grounding flights. The disruptions continued today as the first Hong Kong-bound train, Number T801, schedued to depart Guangzhou at 8.19am was cancelled due to the weather, the MTR Corporation said. But other trains on the line would not be affected. At Chek Lap Kok airport, a total of 333 flights were delayed and 14 cancelled up to 9pm last night. Moments after, the red storm warning signal was hoisted, indicating rainfall exceeding 50mm an hour.
The group’s chairman, Cr Mark Byatt, said the $220 million funding promise was “great news for the state of Victoria, particularly regional Victoria”, but said this investment was “just the beginning” of what was needed to support the rail network. “The Alliance of Councils for Rail Freight Development have long advocated for upgrades to this line and this is an outstanding outcome,” he said.
The New South Wales Government has announced it will lease the Port of Newcastle to a consortium of financial investors for 98 years in a $1.75bn deal, of which $340m will be spent on the revitalisation of the Newcastle CBD, including the proposed new light rail.
[size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][b]Wollongong Council has hosted a debate on the future growth of Port Kembla and in particular the need for appropriate rail links to the port.[/b][/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Councillor Vicki Curran's motion for the council to oppose the ongoing expansion of the port until the appropriate infrastructure is in place was eventually lost.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Councillor Curran called on councillors at Monday night's meeting to oppose port expansion plans until it receives a detailed plan for sufficient rail and road transport infrastructure.[/font][/size]
The commonwealth could better support Victorian public transport projects by changing the way grants for rail and road are treated under the GST, the state treasurer says. Michael O'Brien said Victoria missed out on billions due to discrimination in the current arrangements. 'When it comes to GST distributions, commonwealth grants to states for rail are treated very disadvantageously compared to commonwealth grants for roads,' Mr O'Brien told a Committee for Economic Development Australia event on Tuesday.
[size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][b]The organisation managing the Maldon to Dombarton rail project in the Illawarra says there is no immediate need to build it.[/b][/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Transport for New South Wales provides analysis and forecasting of demand across the freight transports network.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]It's also in charge of the planning and pre-construction design work for the Maldon to Dombarton project.[/font][/size]
PASCAGOULA -- Jackson County supervisors decided Monday morning to join the Southern Rail Commission's effort to study whether expanding passenger rail service along the northern Gulf Coast is feasible or economical. The Board of Supervisors voted to send a letter of support for the commission's plans to apply for a $1 million federal planning grant through the TIGER program -- Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. The idea is to encourage daily passenger rail service again along the Gulf Coast.
No one was injured and no major environmental damage was done when 50 westbound BNSF Railway cars derailed and spilled coal late Sunday in central Minnesota. Crews were busy at work Monday to clear a massive mess of twisted metal and coal after the cars derailed at about 11:48 p.m. Sunday in Sylvan Township, west of Pillager, which is about 13 miles west of Brainerd, the [url=http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/content/50-coal-train-cars-derail-pillager-minn-0]Bemidji Pioneer reported[/url].
[size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][b]Burdekin Shire Mayor Bill Lowis says rail infrastructure in the region needs to be replaced so farmers can transport their stock more safely.[/b][/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]A Queensland Government rail inquiry today will look at what farmers returning to the rail network need to consider.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Councillor Lowis has been asked to appear before the inquiry and says farmers in his region have given up transporting their goods by rail.[/font][/size]
Financially struggling Russian Railways has cancelled all foreign rail purchases, instead opting to rely on a recently modernized rail mill in western Siberia in an effort to drive down overall costs. The state-owned corporation, responsible for running and maintaining Russia's expansive rail network, ceased foreign rail purchases in January and began placing its orders with domestic suppliers Evraz and Mechel.
In the 1880s, Spokane was becoming the premier rail hub of the West and tycoon James J. Hill wanted it on his Great Northern line to the coast. The first GN train rolled into Spokane in May 1892, starting a long association between the company and the city. Because Hill was trying to catch up to the Northern Pacific and others, he needed a right of way through Spokane. He dropped hints that he could drop shipping rates if he was given the land and rights of way he needed. Although he eventually got the land, the shipping rates, which made everything more expensive in Spokane, never came down. But Hill went on to build a new station on Havermale Island downtown. Another clever dodge was the placement of the extensive rail yard outside city limits to avoid city taxes. The yard would become the biggest rail shop west of the Mississippi, including a 20-stall engine house and shops to repair engines and rail cars. The Hillyard shops produced the largest and most powerful steam engine to date, the R-1 Mallet, based on the designs of Swiss inventor Anatole Mallet. Between 1927 and 1930, 26 were built there.
A new competitor to refrigerated trucking officially launched Monday with the start of TransCold Express, a hub-to-hub refrigerated boxcar service, running in both directions between Wilmington, Ill., and Selma, Calif. Operated by multi-mode third-party logistics provider McKay TransCold, it is reportedly the first refrigerated boxcar unit train connecting the Midwest and West Coast in over half a century. TransCold Express will haul products such as vegetables, fruit, cheese and butter from California to the Midwest and carry meat, eggs, cheese, butter, finished goods and dairy creamers westbound. The service takes four days to reach the Midwest from California. Service operations claim they can move freight the same speed as by truck and depending on the circumstances, a shipper could save between 5% and 15% percent by using the boxcar service versus trucking.
[size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][b]The Federal Government will cut shipping costs, upgrade links to ports and make a start on the 'inland railway' from Brisbane to Melbourne.[/b][/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]And all states and territories will share in highway upgrades funded by the Budget's $50 billion infrastructure package.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss says the rate of the Protection of the Sea levy will drop by three cents a tonne from July, saving ships visiting Australian ports about $9 million a year.[/font][/size]
CONCERNS have been raised that more grain will be trucked into Port Lincoln by road after Viterra cut its trains from two to one. As of this month, Viterra has only one train operating out of Port Lincoln and city councillors are worried about the potential impact on local roads. Councillor Jim Papzoglov said he had heard the company was reducing its trains from two to one longer train and raised concerns that this could mean trains running longer hours and, or, more road trains bringing grain into Port Lincoln.
[color=#2b2b2b][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][b][b]VICTORIAN Premier Denis Napthine says the government properly considered the Melbourne rail link the billion dollar centrepiece of his budget.[/b] [/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#2b2b2b][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Dr Napthine said the rail link will significantly boost capacity across the rail network, and rejected suggestions the government tried to make last-minute changes to ensure south-eastern suburbs remained connected to the city loop.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#2b2b2b][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]"We've had a long and considered process of proper consideration, proper evaluation of this project, to deliver a better outcome for the people of Melbourne and Victoria," he told a budget estimates hearing on Tuesday.[/font][/size][/color] [color=#2b2b2b][size=3][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Dr Napthine said the southeastern lines of Cranbourne and Pakenham remained connected to the city loop under the project, with stops at Flinders Street and Southern Cross, but passengers would need to change trains to get to other parts of the city.[/font][/size][/color]