Western Australian Rail News

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Posted Sunday, 21 December by bevans

Transport expert and Curtin University professor Peter Newman has rejected the claim that all future Perth rail lines will need to be built underground because there is not enough land.

Department of Transport director-general Reece Waldock made the claim at a parliamentary hearing this week when he revealed plans for an underground line from Morley to the city.

"Underground railway would have to be part of the future solutions of the city," Mr Waldock said. "We haven't got any more road corridor left. There's no reserve left."

But Professor Newman said there was plenty of space for heavy rail, particularly in roads.

Posted Sunday, 21 December by wxtre

Perth's train station carparks are not filling up as fast as they did before the introduction of paid parking this year.

Posted Saturday, 20 December by wxtre

A report into the circumstances of a snapped powerline that halted Perth's rail services this year - and exposed the fragility of the city's transport network - has been completed.

Posted Thursday, 18 December by wxtre

GRAIN rail lines must be viable to remain open was the clear message delivered by Premier Colin Barnett during a tour of the Wheatbelt last weekend.

Posted Wednesday, 10 December by wxtre

WA's Public Transport Authority (PTA) is considering constructing heavy rail line through Perth's north east as part of its long-term planning to cater for the city's burgeoning population, it has been revealed.

Posted Thursday, 4 December by JimYarin

THE main players in the Tier 3 rail dispute need to "put all their cards on the table" and look at each line's viability to find a solution to the on-going issues.

Comparing road and rail quality and developing a long-term plan for freight is key according to Kulin Transport owner and Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association national president Grant Robins.

"All of the argument so far has been about Tier 3 as a whole, while some lines are still viable and some lines would be questionable," he said.

"We need to look at them individually and to look at the road networks alongside of them.

Posted Wednesday, 26 November by Bethungra

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman has confirmed that Cabinet was kept in the dark over deals which led to the closure of rail lines covering 500km of the Wheatbelt.

Mr Redman made the admission yesterday as the State Government came under pressure to re-open lines known as Tier 3.

A group of protesters led by WAFarmers and the Wheatbelt Rail Retention Alliance gathered outside Parliament House to present Transport Minister Dean Nalder with a list of demands on re-opening the lines.

They want the Government to act on the key recommendations of a parliamentary committee which lifted the lid on a secret profit-sharing deal between the Public Transport Authority and Brookfield Rail linked to the closure of Tier 3 on June 30.

Farmers also warned they would seek to recover $2 million a year in additional charges associated with carting their grain unless the lines were re-opened.

Posted Tuesday, 25 November by silvrail

Three now completed infrastructure projects at Fremantle Port have significantly boosted its total capacity, Western Australia transport minister Dean Nalder says.

The combined $65.6 million investment has also increased the use of rail to move containers to and from the port.

"Making rail more efficient increases its competitiveness and the government is committed to investing in rail projects to service current needs and to provide additional capacity for growth," he says.

The projects included an extension of the North Quay rail terminal line and the construction of a new crossing loop at Spearwood. This enables freight trains to pass on the rail line that connects the port with the Kewdale and Forrestfield area, home to several freight forwarding hubs.

Posted Friday, 21 November by wxtre

The West Australian Opposition is questioning why a multi-storey car park at a northern Perth train station is set to cost the Government almost three times as much as a similar sized one nearby.

Posted Wednesday, 19 November by wxtre

The Western Australian Government will pay consultants to make sure the public is "aware" of its airport rail link project.

The $2.2 billion project was a key promise at the last election and the rail line will run from Bayswater out to the airport and beyond to the marginal seat of Forrestfield.

Posted Monday, 17 November by Bethungra

CBH general manager of operations David Capper says the State's grower-owned co-operative is committed to the arbitration process involving its ongoing dispute with Brookfield Rail over the closure of Tier 3 grain rail lines. 

The Economic Regulation Authority's (ERA) process will involve the independent arbitrator considering submissions from both parties, over a one-month period. 

The arbitrator will then provide recommendations on its deliberations to both parties allowing them 90 days to reach an agreement. 

Meanwhile, Tier 1 and Tier 2 lines are operating on a six-month interim agreement between CBH and Brookfield, for this year's anticipated harvest of about 13 million tonnes. 

Assistant Transport Minister Jim Chown last week raised concerns the arbitrator's final recommendations are absolutely binding on Brookfield - but not CBH.

Posted Saturday, 15 November by wxtre

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said construction representatives from as far as Europe had expressed interest in building the twin-tunnelled line from Bayswater to High Wycombe. The State Government will call for tenders in January and hopes to award a contract by mid-2016.

State Government representatives and the Public Transport Authority yesterday met 270 potential proponents at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, where they were briefed on what would be required for the 8.5km link.

Posted Wednesday, 12 November by Bethungra

Public Transport Authority boss Reece Waldock has lashed out at CBH in the wake of revelations about the closure of Wheatbelt rail lines known as Tier 3.

Mr Waldock's defended the PTA's oversight of the State's rail freight network and its role in striking a profit-sharing deal with Brookfield Rail, which has a 49-year lease over the lines.

He rejected criticism of the PTA from a parliamentary committee which exposed secret deals between the Barnett Government and Brookfield, saying they reflected "sound public policy in the interest of the State".

Posted Thursday, 6 November by JimYarin

ASSISTANT Transport Minister Jim Chown has called for calm over reports of an alleged "secret" profit-sharing deal between Brookfield Rail and the WA Government, on the WA grain rail network.

The arrangement was revealed when the grain rail network's lease and other details were publicly released last month during tabling of the WA parliament's Economic and Industry Standing Committee report into the rail network's management.

Under the deal, the WA government can take 15 per cent return from potential profits extracted from Brookfield's operation of Tier 1 and Tier 2 lines, in the 5000 kilometre network, out to 2025.

Posted Thursday, 30 October by pgrimbles

The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is appealing to the Department of Transport to change its preferred route for a new rail link in town.

As a part of the PortLink project to connect the Goldfields city with ports in the Pilbara, mid-west and Esperance regions, both a new rail and bypass road will be built around Kalgoorlie.

The department is hoping to build a line on the north-west side of town connecting to the existing rail lines on the Goldfields and Great Eastern highways.

However, Kalgoorlie Mayor Ron Yureyvich said that route would inhibit the future growth of the town over the next 30 years.

Posted Thursday, 30 October by pgrimbles

CBH says a potential conflict of interest in the WA Government's oversight of Brookfield Rail operating a privatised State-owned monopoly asset, while being incentivised to profit share with the commercial entity, must be urgently addressed.

A previously undisclosed profit-sharing deal between Brookfield and the Public Transport Authority (PTA) sparked fresh controversy last week over the grain rail network's complex operations.

It was unveiled when the rail network's operational lease and other details were publicly released earlier this month, along with the WA parliament's Economic and Industry Standing Committee report into the rail network's management.

Posted Friday, 24 October by Wallip

Revelations of a deal struck with Brookfield Rail to give the Western Australian Government a slice of grain rail profits has been described by farmers as 'a scandal of the highest order'.

Posted Thursday, 23 October by Bethungra

BROOKFIELD Rail is unlikely to pursue legal action against the WA government for publishing the lease and other critical contract documents underpinning management of the State's grain rail network. 

Brookfield had requested the documents remain confidential when handing them over during the Economic and Industry Standing Committee's inquiry into the rail network's management, which started in March. 

But that request was controversially ignored when the papers were publicly unveiled last week along with the comprehensive 251-page committee report which made 22 recommendations and 35 individual findings.

Posted Wednesday, 22 October by Bethungra

A freak storm caused a cargo ship to break lines and smash into Fremantle Rail Bridge in the space of eight minutes, a preliminary report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau shows.

On August 17 a bollard that was holding all three of the AAL Fremantle's stern lines and two from the car carrier the Grand Pioneer ripped off a wharf at Fremantle Port, causing both ships to swing away from berth.

Posted Wednesday, 22 October by Bethungra

BROOKFIELD Rail chief executive Paul Larsen says the WA government's inquiry into local grain rail operations delivers an "emphatic no" on the key question of whether lease arrangements hamper State development. 

"The question the committee was asking itself to address was: Is there anything in the arrangements of the network, whether it be the lease or the access, that is hampering the development of the State?" he said. 

"I would point to page five of the report which shows the tonnages on the rail network have grown from 30 million tonnes to more than 70mt in the past 13 years which has come about directly as a result of us investing in the network and pursuing those freight opportunities.

Posted Thursday, 16 October by Bulbous

A parliamentary committee wants the Government to attempt to reclaim closed parts of the state's grain freight network, if it cannot otherwise ensure they can be accessed.

The Economics and Industry Standing Committee released its report into the management of WA's freight rail network, which was critical of the state's management of the lines and the lack of transparency around their management.

Posted Thursday, 16 October by JimYarin

CBH and Brookfield Rail have signed an interim agreement to extend the existing rail access agreement as the 2014-15 harvest cranks up.

The deal will ensure access to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 lines of the grain rail network until April 2015.

Tier 3 lines, which were shut down on June 30 this year, will remain closed.

CBH and Brookfield are still to negotiate a longer term access agreement through an arbitrator appointed by the Economic Regulation Authority.

Posted Saturday, 27 September by BenGibbons

FORTESCUE Metals Group has failed in a legal attempt to prevent a rival from using its Pilbara railway line after the West Australian Supreme Court yesterday ordered it to enter start negotiations with aspiring iron producer Brockman Mining.

Judge James Edelman found Brockman’s application to use Fortescue’s railway line was valid under WA’s railway access code, which is aimed at ensuring third-party access to rail infrastructure.

Posted Thursday, 25 September by JimYarin

Brookfield Rail says it accepts the umpire's decision and is ready to play on after WA's economic regulator revealed yesterday that it had rejected the company's costs proposals in a bitter row with CBH.

The Economic Regulation Authority released a redacted version of its determination on floor and ceiling costs for CBH to negotiate a new long-term deal with BR over access to the State's freight rail network.

Posted Saturday, 13 September by BenGibbons

A deal to build a $7 billion port and rail complex in Western Australia's Pilbara, which could become the biggest port in Australia, has been signed off.

The West Pilbara Iron Ore Project will include a deep-water port at Anketell and a new railway network.

Australian transport and logistics company Aurizon will have exclusive rights to develop the infrastructure, with the first exports planned for 2017.

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