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Online ozbob

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Letters to the Editor - not published.
« on: May 28, 2007, 02:11:35 PM »
28th May 2007  The Australian

Infrastructure

Reports of congestion on Melbourne suburban trains and Sydney suburban trains highlight the lack of proper infrastructure maintenance and long planning by both Governments and the private sector.  The editorial in the Australian (Exports off the rails Australian May 28th) only tells part of the story.  Competition regulators are also to blame.  Why would owners invest the hundreds of millions of dollars required to lead in major infrastructure when they are not certain of what fees, or whether or not they will win contracts that enable them utilise that infrastructure in a cost-effective manner?  Open access sounds fine in economic utopia but in the practical world acts as a major disincentive for infrastructure investment.  Possible plans by the Victorian Government or Melbourne City Council to take back the botched privatisation of Melbourne trains and trams is yet another display of why some community services are best kept for the public good.  Queensland Rail is an outstanding success, not only contributing to the huge export effort with coal, but maintaining a railway infrastructure for passenger and general freight.  Something private-sector railways in northwest Australia do not do.
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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2007, 10:05:09 AM »
2nd June 2007 The Australian

Queensland Rail Access

Queensland railways have long had open access.  Pacific National has been providing general freight rail transport services for a number of years in Queensland.  Recent statements by federal politicians indicate that they do not understand the details of rail transport in Queensland by claiming Queensland Rail (QR) has a monopoly on coal and freight transport in Queensland.

QR is not only a major contributor to the State?s export economy it is also a major player on the national railway stage with QRNational.  QR also provides the infrastructure for passenger rail transport and general freight throughout Queensland, a state characterised by dispersed population centres and long distance.  The QR long distance passenger trains are an important communication link and tourist asset.  The suburban rail system in South East Queensland is also undergoing constant expansion to meet increased passenger demands.

QR and QRNational are performers and will meet increased export demands. Rail infrastructure does not appear overnight. It is time proper infrastructure development and support became a priority for the federal government rather than failed attempts at political point scoring.
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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2007, 04:46:38 AM »
6th June  The Australian

The level crossing crash in Kerang is another needless disaster.  It is time all heavy vehicles were required to stop, look and listen, and then proceed with caution at all railway crossings without booms or other gates.  This would include all trucks and buses.  This could be enacted overnight in every state.
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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2007, 04:25:57 AM »
Melbourne Age 8th June

According to reports (Age 8th June), the Victorian Government is considering speed restrictions, rumble strips and additional warning lights on roadway approaches to  railway crossings to be implemented forthwith.  This is a sensible and timely action.  There will be longer term fixes and solutions arising from pending inquiries and other investigative outcomes but action is needed today.  To delay the imposition of simple but effective measures to improve safety is not in the best interests of anyone. These measures should be carried out in all states and territories without delay.
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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2007, 09:23:51 AM »
Australian July 26

There has been 'talk' about privatising Queensland Rail (QR). To allow QR to be sold off at this critical juncture would be a long term financial disaster for the State, and have serious consequences for the QR passenger services. Rail is once again going to the be the prime transport solution for long haul freight  and bulk commodities, as well as commuter transport, as fuel prices, fuel shortages, and environmental costs impact. Some scope exists for private enterprise to join with QR in some bulk freight ventures and these are to be encouraged. I note that Premier Beattie is reported as saying that an all-out privatisation is not an option. I support this in the strongest terms.

It is the Queensland taxpayer that has helped maintain Queensland Rail through the leaner years and now it is time for the Queensland taxpayer to reap the benefits, not private financiers!

The privatisation of the Melbourne suburban rail network has frankly been a disaster.  Queenslanders do not want a repeat of that fiscal destruction of a once great rail network.  At a time when our suburban rail network in Brisbane is proving to be the community asset it has always been, in meeting very significant increases in passenger loadings as traffic congestion becomes a nightmare in Brisbane,  the last thing the community needs is fare increases and restrictions on services which would be the result of privatisation.   On the contrary, rail is a community service and needs full Government support to be maintained in public ownership for the benefit of Queensland and the Nation!

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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2007, 08:10:18 AM »
Submitted to The Australian August 12

Governments around Australia are starting to respond with increased funding for rail based transport solutions.  This makes a lot of sense, particularly as the environmental costs and true cost of infrastructure support will start to hit hard less efficient systems. Increasing population pressures will dictate the rapid expansion of heavy rail passenger services; both commuter and long distance, as well as freight services.

RAIL Back On Track a web based community group for the promotion of rail  has been online now for one year.  During that year a solid membership has been built and a very wide readership and citizen feedback support base has also been established. RAIL Back On Track will continue to actively promote rail transport as the environmentally sustainable transport solution for long haul freight, passenger and commuter transport.

Part of our mission is to garner strong support for public transport. RAIL Back On Track is committed to being a strong advocate for public transport commuters, commuters who have not always had a collective voice or been properly heard with their concerns and suggestions for improvement.

Anyone who is interested in Australian railway solutions for the benefit of all members of the community is most welcome to join us at www.backontrack.org
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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2007, 08:50:31 AM »
Submitted to The Australian August 14

Today's Australian (Ports 'need extra $3bn' to ease logjam, August 14) briefly mentions the report tabled yesterday in Federal Parliament, namely the Integration of Regional Road and Rail Networks and their Interface with Ports.  This is perhaps the most significant inquiry conducted by Parliament for many a day. 

Highlighting the infrastructure failures that are holding back trade and investment it details solutions to the years of chronic infrastructure neglect and catch-up which has characterised recent infrastructure development.  Governments around Australia are starting to respond with increased funding for rail based transport solutions.  This makes a lot of sense when viewed in the context of the report tabled yesterday, and particularly as the environmental costs and true cost of infrastructure support will start to hit hard less efficient systems, particularly road. Increasing population and economic pressures will dictate the rapid expansion of heavy rail passenger services; both commuter and long distance, as well as the essential freight services to improve trade and investment outcomes.

Robert Dow
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Online ozbob

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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2007, 07:02:25 AM »
Submitted to The Australian August 18th.

Rail Renaissance

Congratulations to the Australian for the special report 'Railways, August 18th'.  Governments around Australia are starting to respond with increased funding for rail based transport solutions.  This makes a lot of sense, particularly as the environmental costs and true cost of infrastructure support will start to hit hard less efficient systems. Increasing population pressures will dictate the rapid expansion of heavy rail passenger services; both commuter and long distance, as well as freight services. And this is happening.

RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community group for the promotion of rail has been online now for one year.  During that year a solid membership has been built and a very wide readership and citizen feedback support base has also been established. RAIL Back On Track will continue to actively promote rail transport as the environmentally sustainable transport solution for long haul freight, passenger and commuter transport.

Part of our mission is to garner strong support for public transport. RAIL Back On Track is committed to being a strong advocate for public transport commuters, commuters who have not always had a collective voice or been properly heard with their concerns and suggestions for improvement. Rail is the bulk people mover.

Anyone who is interested in Australian railway solutions for the benefit of all members of the community is most welcome to join us at RAIL Back On Track.
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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2007, 06:24:57 PM »
Submitted to The Australian August 22

Sadly, another fatal level crossing incident yesterday in Victoria. Australia has many railway crossings.  It is time that a national policy was implemented. The recent level crossing crashes continue to demand that decisive action is needed today.  It is time all heavy vehicles were required to stop, look and listen, and then proceed with caution at all railway crossings without booms or other gates.  This would include all trucks and buses, and could be enacted overnight in every state. The ultimate solution is grade separation of road and rail, under-pass or over-pass.
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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2007, 07:30:30 AM »
Submitted to the Australian August 31

The Australian 'Rail industry outrage at price hike, August 31' correctly highlights the massive distortion that is the transport industry in Australia. It is time that bulk freight is put back onto rail, away from the nations highways.  This would help to relieve congestion, environmental damage and the sheer physical ruin to the nation's roads.

Australian Governments are generally not governing for the nation as a whole, but are governing for 'political donors'.  Australian Governments are in infrastructure and policy meltdown pandering to 'donors' and it is time that the practice of donating to political parties was ceased.  It  has disastrous consequences for all  Australians.  If road transport was paying real costs it would be clear that rail is the way to go. Australia would breathe a collective sigh of relief.
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Re: Letters to the Editor - not published.
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2007, 04:18:58 AM »
Submitted to the Australian November 19

Australia's cities are struggling with backlogs of infrastructure investment ignored for the last decade. Foremost of these is investment in urban passenger rail.
Federal intervention is needed to fund the massive investments needed to prevent our cities from grinding to a halt.

No major party has any plans for supporting urban investment of any kind, except roads. The last time the Australian Government funded urban railways was during the Better Cities era of Minister Brian Howe, during the Hawke government.

The Howard government has refused to fund urban rail or any other sustainable urban infrastructure. The regions represented by the National Party have been pork-barrelled in many ways, but not for the infrastructure needed in regional towns.

Rudd has 'me-tooed' his way around urban issues, and has failed to promise urban rail development funds, even though he has promised lots of money for extravagant road projects and even more extravagant desalination plants, probably the worst public policy decisions that could be made.

Most Australians live in metropolitan cities. They are getting tired of congestion in these cities and also realise that more roads don't solve anything. Massive public transport and rail investment is urgently required for cities and country. Only the Federal Government has the money to do it.
Metropolitan voters will remember who neglected their cities!
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“You can't understand a city without using its public transportation system.” -- Erol Ozan