ARTC urges locals to stay safe around track works

The Australian Rail Track Corporation is asking residents along the North Melbourne to Albury section of the rail corridor to stay vigilant around the railway this holiday period as it undertakes a range of work.

The standard gauge track will be closed from 28 December to 31 January with further works taking place from now until mid-January.

ARTC’s executive general manager interstate Tim Ryan said despite many rail services not operating over Christmas and January, the North East Victorian rail corridor will busy with the ARTC undertaking a range of upgrade and maintenance work.

"With trains not operating during the Regional Rail Link shutdown period we’ve scheduled a range of works because it is a great window to get in and undertake them more safely and efficiently than we would otherwise be able," Ryan said.

"That means that there will be a greater number of work vehicles and workers around the track than usual and we ask residents to take care when travelling near the rail corridor for their own, and trackworker, safety.”

Most of the work will take place in daylight hours between 6am and 6.30pm, while some overnight work will occur at various sections of the track.

Ryan said some of the works will require road closures for short periods of time, but there will be traffic management in place and local residents will be informed.

"The work we are undertaking to rebuild this section of track is an important part of our major program to repair the line between Melbourne and Sydney," Ryan said.

Transfluid expands into Australia

Italian power transmission company Transfluid has opened a branch in Sydney.

Established in Milan, Italy in 1957, its subsidiary is registered as Transfluid Australia Pty Ltd and operates out of Smithfield in Sydney’s west.

“The branch will provide sales, service and after-sales support for all Transfluid products in Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines,” Transfluid said in a statement.

“The company has offices and warehouse which will shorten delivery times for certain products and ensure prompt assistance with the stock of spare parts.

The company had announced that it had opened an Australian subsidiary in March this year.

B-double driver fined for speeding

A B-double driver had his rig grounded after he was caught speeding on the Hume Highway near Jugiong, northeast of Gundagai, NSW.

Cowra Community News reports the fully laden truck, registered in Victoria, was clocked doing 120km/h yesterday.

The 54-year old driver was fined for exceeding the speed limit by more than 10km/h, with the vehicle grounded for inspection where it was found the speed limiter was noncompliant.

Traffic & Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, says heavy vehicles from other states needed to pay close attention to the NSW speed limits.

“Any truck travelling through NSW can expect to see our Highway Patrol vehicles conducting our various ‘National Highway’ operations, which are focused on speed,” Hartley said.

“The Roads & Maritime Service will now audit the involved company’s speed compliance in terms of point-to-point and safety-camera systems, to determine whether the Joint Heavy Vehicle Taskforce needs to conduct a further examination of the fleet."

Image: smh.com

Newcastle Port Corp says goodbye to long-standing chief

The outgoing chief of Newcastle Port Corporation said he is proud of the growth and diversification seen at the site over the last ten years.
 
Gary Webb finished his job at the company on Sunday after working for the corporation for more than 20 years.

Webb was made chief of NPC in 2004, and will be replaced by Grant Gilfillan, the former chief of Sydney Ports Corporation.

Webb said with Newcastle now importing bulk fuels and with a significant increase in grain, diversification at the port had been a great success, ABC reported.
 
“I’m feeling enormously proud of the organisation, and those who have gone before me, and the opportunity to be a steward for a period of time,” Webb said.

“What a great port, what a great community.

“What a great bunch of people to be able to work with to see an increase in diversified trade, to see an increase in coal, to see increase in technology and approach and innovation.”

Webb said the Pasha Bulker running around at Nobbys Beach would remain a lasting memory of his time as chief.
 
Webb was in charge of the recovery of the ship in June 2007.

“The ship on the beach was never in the right spot,” he said.

“We were always determined to get it off and I’m enormously proud of the expertise of the people, the ability for the National Plan to Combat Pollution to come together, the relationship that we have with the salvors, and the tremendous community support that we had at that time.

“It certainly put Newcastle on the map.”

Call for private sector to reopen Cowra Lines

Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay today called for registrations of interest from the private sector to restore, operate and maintain 200 kilometres of rail line known as the ‘The Cowra Lines’.

Gay said there is widespread community support to reopen the disused rail line between Blayney and Demondrille.

The line was closed in 2007 due to high operating costs and low freight volumes.

Gay said the rail line was important in ensuring economic growth adding that council involvement will be essential to make sure the local road network connects efficiently to intermodal terminals located on existing lines, so regional businesses and primary producers can more efficiently move goods to market.

"The Cowra Lines project is an important and innovative pilot that could help pave the way for other parts of the state’s rail and road freight and transport network," Gay said.

Transport for NSW is calling for Registrations of Interest from suitably qualified parties to restore, maintain and operate the railway lanes from Blayney to Demondrille as well as between Koorawatha to Greenthorpe on a commercially sustainable basis under a fixed term licence.

This follows a Memorandum of Understanding between the NSW Government and the Blayney, Cowra, Harden, Weddin and Young Shire Councils signed in July 2013 to investigate how a regulatory and operating model for the lines could be improved.

The Nationals Member for Burrinjuck, Katrina Hodgkinson, welcomed the initiative to reopen the rail line.

“The reopening of this line will significantly benefit grain farmers and councils allowing the transport of the grain harvest by rail, reducing heavy vehicle traffic on local roads and also boosting tourism opportunities in this region,” she said.

Community asked to get on board Sydney’s light rail plan

The NSW government is seeking community feedback on plans to build a light rail line from Sydney’s CBD to the city’s east.

The 12-kilometre rail line would start at Circular Quay and run through the CBD and past Moore Park to connect Randwick and Kingsford to the city.

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian said she wants community feedback on parts of the design that have not been finalised.

Berejiklian was subject to criticism earlier this year by Surry Hills locals who say the consultation process has been lacking. Many are angry over plans to acquire houses on Devonshire Street in order to build the train line, ABC reported.

Berejiklian said the government is seeking community input on where stops will be located and the hours of work during the construction period.

Engineers are also assessing whether to build a tunnel under Moore Park or construct a viaduct over it.

"I've said since day one that there will be disruption while we construct this project but the positive benefit light rail will provide this city for decades to come will be immeasurable," Berejiklian said in a statement.

"The feedback received will be carefully considered as part of the Environmental Impact Statement that will be submitted to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure later this year."

Five community information sessions about the project will be held over the next week.

If the project is approved, the government plan to begin construction of the light rail line in 2014, with a completion date slated for 2020.

Image: abc.net.au

B-triple network expanded to Newell Highway

Modular B-triple truck configurations will be allowed on the Newell Highway from Narrabri to Goondiwindi from late August.

In announcing the move as part of the national heavy vehicle reforms, Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay said the B-tripled would be allowed to operate on the road train network west  of the Newell under the same conditions as type 1 road trains.

“Under this reform transport operators travelling from Far Western NSW, say on the Kamilaroi Highway, will now be able to access the Newell at Narrabri to use the 225 kilometre stretch of highway to Goondiwindi, and then beyond,” Gay said.

Gay said the B-triples were safer than some of the older and heavier combinations using the routes in terms of manoeuvrability and handling performance.

Industry research has shown that a semi-trailer operating at a higher mass limit (HML) takes approximately 37 trips to transport 1,000 tonnes of freight, whereas for the same tonnage a modular B-triple operating at HML only requires about 17 trips.

The stretch of the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Goondiwindi has been determined as having suitable infrastructure to accommodate these types of trucks.

“The bottom line is that modular B-triples – also referred to as high productivity vehicles – will provide a safer, more efficient way of carrying road freight; not to mention reducing truck moments and therefore ‘wear and tear’ on our roads,” Gay said.

The roads west of the Newell on which Type 1 road trains and modular B-triples currently operate have significantly lower traffic volumes than the Newell itself.

For this reason, and to ensure consistency with the existing approach taken for routes on and east of the highway, modular B-triples using the Newell itself will be required to meet additional requirements including:

  • Accreditation under the maintenance module of National Heavy Vehicle accreditation Scheme (NHVAS);
  • Road friendly suspension; and
  • Enrolment in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP).

Gay said the requirement for enrolment in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) is a key safety and risk management component to facilitate additional access to the Newell.

“The IAP is a regulatory framework that uses GPS tracking to ensure route compliance, and is aimed to provide governments and communities alike with the confidence that the right loads are travelling on the right roads,” he said.

Gay said the implementation of the B-tripled would assist in linking key supply chains in NSW.

“NSW is a state that relies heavily on the freight industry – worth approximately $58 billion each year and employing 500,000 people. The introduction of modular B-triples on the northern section of the Newell will assist in linking key supply chains such as grain, cotton, livestock and farm and mining equipment with the Port of Brisbane and other parts of western, central and southern Queensland,” Gay explained.

Safety device to protect rail employees

A safety beacon designed in Australia that warns rail workers about oncoming trains is set to launch this week.

After months of trials in the NSW Hunter Valley, the Track Awareness Support System' or TASS has been launched to this week to coincide with National Rail Safety Week.

TASS is a portable beacon that feeds into the Australian Rail Track  Corporation’s 3G train communication network.

It has been trialled over the last few months in several locations along the NSW rail corridors.

ARTC spokesman Michael van de Worp said the device is easily deployed and will save lives.

"It's a device that tells the people out in the field, that are working on the track, that there's a train within 10 kilometres," he said.

"It flashes and makes a lot of noise, and they acknowledge that and hop off the track.

"We've got lots of good systems now, but paper-based systems, and this brings rail into the 21st century.

"It's a technology project that we've put together to give an extra layer of warning."

van de Worp said will help prevent accidents by ensuring rail workers remain aware of possible danger.

"It gives you that early warning, brings back to your conscious level that there are trains in the area and you've got to acknowledge the noise and the flashing light.

"You've got to take action, so it certainly makes you make conscious decisions about being on track.

"We did a video with some of the chaps that are working with it and they like the portability and it acted as an extra level of warning," he said.

Image: ABC

PTV Group joins the Future Logistics Living Lab Australia

PTV Group has become a new member of the Future Logistics Living Lab Australia at NICTA. 

An innovation platform for the Australian logistics industry, the Living Lab is an interactive demonstration space for cutting-edge technologies and a living community of industry, research and government experts working together to find innovative solutions to operational challenges facing the Australian logistics industry. The Future Logistics Living Lab also provides a productive platform to develop, test and demonstrate new technologies. 

Joost Bekker, Business Development Director at PTV Asia Pacific explains that PTV Group can bring tangible experience and innovative technology to support the lab in developing new solutions.

The Lab’s primary objective is to develop innovative solutions for the Australian logistics industry, bringing more efficiency, safety and environmental benefits to logistics transport chains. Special emphasis is placed on aspects such as rising fuel costs, high levels of congestion, reduction of emissions and improvement of traffic safety.

PTV Group offers solutions for the traffic, mobility and logistics industries. The PTV Concepts & Solutions division unites experts from the transport and logistics industry, transportation planning, development planning, economics, information technology and project management. 

According to Leader of the Lab Neil Temperley, the Lab supports different industries in becoming more efficient and productive, and in sustainably reducing the costs with reference to the emission of exhaust gases. He adds that a strong community of active participants is the key to the lab addressing these challenges, testing new ideas and implementing change. The size of the laboratory enables low-cost development of really new ideas and prototypes in a low-risk environment.

The Future Logistics Living Lab in Sydney, Australia was established by NICTA in collaboration with Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering and SAP AG. Set up at NICTA’s premises in the Australian Technology Park in Sydney, the Living Lab features an exhibition, event and workspace, with futuristic demonstrations showcasing technologies created and tested by participants of the Lab. The Lab is also a member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).

Semi carrying grain catches fire on NSW highway

A semi-trailer carrying grain caught fire on the Kamilaroi Highway, 30km east of Narrabri, yesterday after an accident with a utility.

Emergency crews were called to the scene just before 2.00pm on Tuesday, the ABC reported.

A spokesperson for the New South Wales Ambulance Service said paramedics treated two drivers.

"A male aged about 28, suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported by road ambulance to Tamworth Base Hospital in a stable condition," she said.

"The second patient, a male aged about 30, was treated for cuts and abrasions and was transported to Narrabri Public Hospital in a stable condition."

The Kamilaroi Highway was closed for nearly three hours while fire crews fought the blaze.

Superintendent Michael Brooks, with the Namoi-Gwydir Rural Fire Service, says five tankers responded to the accident.

"The first units found a large truck alight, semi-trailer, the cab and also the body which contained grain, I believe it was sorghum," he said.

"We responded tankers from around the area to give us the adequate water supply and that was required, with the assistance of the mines, who sent a 20,000-litre bulk water cart."

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