RailSA http://www.railsa.org Sun, 07 Jul 2013 10:35:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Entertainment Centre stop a hit http://www.railsa.org/entertainment-centre-stop-a-hit/ http://www.railsa.org/entertainment-centre-stop-a-hit/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 14:29:59 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1395 Continue reading ]]> The Entertainment Centre tram stop has been met with positivity with both commuters and the curious.

About 350 passengers got off at the Entertainment Centre station between 4 and 6pm on its first day of normal operations, with many parking their cars at the new car park.

About 50 passengers on the one tram was recorded by this reporter at 5:30pm yesterday.

Students were overheard on a tram talking about events at the Entertainment Centre, drawing ideas from the LCD screen for acts to see late yesterday afternoon.

Jane Petric of Parafield Gardens said she could catch the tram over the train to meet her partner, who works near the Entertainment Centre, and drive home together.

The $2 Park’n’Ride deal was welcomed by Catherine Day of Gladstone who said she’d save about $55 a week by using the tram over parking in town for work.

The parking meters seemed to not fully operate however; “Annoyed” on AdelaideNow said no parking meters were available this morning and one machine was confirmed inoperable at 4:30pm.

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Trains need to get on track http://www.railsa.org/trains-need-to-get-on-track/ http://www.railsa.org/trains-need-to-get-on-track/#comments Fri, 19 Mar 2010 16:45:38 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1020 Continue reading ]]> The duplication of services, questions about electrification and quality of service are all issues that will be pushed on the next government, minor parties say.

Spokesperson for Family First Nicholas Greer says Family First’s biggest concern is for a proper state wide planning of public transport to be done to better service everyone’s needs.

“Adelaide has laid and then ripped up 14 separate rail lines – including a line that already went right past Seaford…, we’ve closed passenger lines to the Barossa; and closed lines to places such as Mount Barker and Victor Harbor due to interstate gauge standardisation. In FAMILY FIRST’s opinion, Adelaide would be a more vibrant and easily accessible city if many of these lines had not been shut down,” he said.

Mr Greer says Adelaide’s wide range of public service vehicles would cause unnecessary costs in maintenance and that the party has pitched this to the government in parliament.

He says the Belair line should be electrified to reduce the later servicing requirements of the sole diesel line.

The party also says the Keswick station is poorly located but has doubts as to the cost effectiveness of the Liberal’s proposal.

Trains would better suit high-capacity travel to venues like AAMI and the Entertainment Centre, the party says.

Proper thought into public transport services is an issue for SA Democrats, Third candidate for Legislative Council Sandra Kanck says.

The party want to extend the Belair line as far as Murray Bridge and extend the Gawler line to Barossa Valley and Roseworthy for the proposed population expansion of 110,000 to the region, as written in the recent Adelaide 30 year report.

The Noarlunga line should also be extended to Seaford and Aldinga and potentially a new line to McLaren vale she said.

There was room to create a new freight line to the east of Mt Lofty Ranges.

How power for electric trains would be generated is an issue for The Democrats.

“If, for instance, the source is coal-fired generation from the Port Augusta power stations, that electricity would be highly greenhouse gas intensive, and to some extent would defeat part of the environmental upside of having more public transport,” Ms Kanck said.

Upgrades to the Keswick station to better assist travellers get to the suburban rail services was said to be a potentially more cost-effective option than the Liberal plan, she said.

Greens MLC Mark Parnell has panned the government’s developments of new housing and access to these sites.

In an interview with 5AA about the 30 year plan for South Australia last month, Mr Parnell said transport services need to be confirmed before land developments.

“…If the government is going to develop something like Buckland Park they have to commit to getting a fixed rail line out there … otherwise you’ve got people attracted out to the urban fringe by these cheap house and land packages and once out there they’re going to be marooned by incredible petrol prices because it’s nowhere near anything.”

Mark was a fan of the Smart Card ticketing system announced in February.

“At the moment, there aren’t many incentives to use public transport. People aren’t stupid – they weigh up the cost, convenience and reliability of driving versus catching a train, tram or bus, he said.

“If you get fifty or a hundred bucks off your car rego because you catch the train or the bus more, then that’s an extra bit of encouragement.”

He also believes public transport should be free to school children.

“The Greens call on the Rann Government to extend that to the next generation.

“We need to do everything we can to encourage school children out of cars and into more sustainable forms of transport,” he said.

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Trams need more thinking http://www.railsa.org/trams-need-more-thinking/ http://www.railsa.org/trams-need-more-thinking/#comments Fri, 19 Mar 2010 14:32:02 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1399 Continue reading ]]> The success of current tram developments and the greater vision for light rail in Adelaide needs more thinking, minor parties say.

Spokesperson for Family First Nicholas Greer says light rail services should be directed towards North Adelaide and the eastern half of the CBD and the port area should be serviced by heavy rail.

He says the party suggests a rail loop of the current trams network in the CBD and thinks there is little benefit in the current extension to the Entertainment Centre, preferring a heavy rail option over the “coast to coast” light rail option.

“Light rail does not cope well with large numbers of commuters leaving a venue at the same time (such as the Entertainment Centre),” he said.

He said the party also suggests the current tram line be converted to standard heavy rail gauge should the proposed ‘tram-trains’ be bought.

Third candidate for Legislative Council of SA Democrats Sandra Kanck says the party is “bemused by the duplication and even triplication of services” to the Bowden area and questioned the government’s intentions with heavy-rail networks in the area.

“What this (the current team extension) will ultimately mean to the Outer Harbor rail line is yet to be revealed by the state government, but it does appear to be policy on the run. Perhaps we will see the phasing-out of the heavy-rail system, ” she says.

She says the party wants the Grange rail line to go to AAMI Stadium and be converted to light rail and potentially the Outer Harbor and Grange lines become light rail services too.

The current extension to the Entertainment Centre would be used regardless of who wins this Saturday’s election, Ms Kanck says.

“Light rail is always a better option in urban areas where frequent stopping is involved. The fuel efficiencies are not there for heavy rail in this regard, and some of our heavy rail services in metropolitan Adelaide would be better served by light rail.”

Senator for Greens Mark Parnell did not offer a direct comment, however he referred to the 1993 report “Greening Adelaide with Public Transport” that supported the idea of a light rail network in general in Adelaide to increase public transport use.

The report says a light rail service would provide a more green and cost effective manner for future public transport development particularly over the O-Bahn system as there are more “green” developments in electrical supply than fuel use.

Mr Parnell was the Campaign Coordinator – SA Branch of the Australian Conservation Foundation when the report was published.

He was critical of the recently released 30 year plan for Adelaide where the proposed TODs were a bit haphazard and didn’t necessarily follow any current transport network, seeing further urban sprawl in Adelaide.

In the ABC story “Transport Trip” on Stateline last year Mr Parnell said the current government needed to carefully consider its sites, noting the Buckland Park green suburb.

“It has been roundly condemned by planning professionals as being entirely the wrong way to plan the city. You know, building dormitory suburbs on the outskirts of a city with no public transport is the thinking of last century and we can’t do things like that in Adelaide if we’re serious about reducing our pollution and increasing our quality of life” Mr Parnell is quoted as saying.

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Tram Stop 6 opens http://www.railsa.org/tram-stop-6-opens/ http://www.railsa.org/tram-stop-6-opens/#comments Mon, 15 Mar 2010 14:36:03 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1402 Continue reading ]]> A sausage sizzle, face painting and balloons helped celebrate the opening of Tram Stop 6 this afternoon.

Over 120 residents and tram spotters came to celebrate the stop’s opening and enjoy the free entertainment.

Clarence Park Community Centre’s Kindergarten used the celebrations to hold a cake stall at the site to raise funds for a new playland.

The $32 million project by McConnell Dowell Constructions has taken about a year to open, with some details of the site yet to be completed.

Locals were looking forward to using the stop again after being forced to use the Glandore and Black Forest stops.

Black Forest resident Gillian Alsbury said she’d “definitely use the tram stop, it’s the closest one.”

“We’ve been using the Glandore stop so we’ve just walked a little further.”

Gillian said she liked the idea of a lift as it made access to the stop easier with a pram.

High school student Patrick Marlin, of Black Forest, said he’d got off at the Glandore stop over the last year to watch the progress.

“My feet won’t be as sore from walking this way all the time,” he said.

David Williams, of Clarence Park, would use it to visit Mr Marlin.

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Public ride new Entertainment Centre extension http://www.railsa.org/public-ride-new-entertainment-centre-extension/ http://www.railsa.org/public-ride-new-entertainment-centre-extension/#comments Sun, 07 Mar 2010 14:37:10 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1404 Continue reading ]]> Commuters piled on to ride free trams to try the new Adelaide Entertainment Centre extension today.

About 100 people departed the Entertainment Centre stop on Citadis 205, the first tram to carry public passengers along the extension, at 11:50am as part of a special community open day of the tram extension and the Entertainment Centre refurbishment.

Packed trams shuttled at 10-minute intervals from the Entertainment Centre to Rundle Mall stops for free during the early afternoon.

The extension officially opens to the public on Monday, March 22.

New tram timetables were handed out by government officials to the public at tram stops including the Entertainment Centre and Railway Station.

The free shuttle services will be extended to the Entertainment Centre for the first six months at this stage, spokesperson for the Department of Transport Ross Stargatt said.

Members of the public enjoyed the community ride and many also saw the Entertainment Centre Open Day.

Passengers Bev and Rob Miles, of North Adelaide, took their grand-daughter Scarlett, of Walkerville, along to the activities.

“It’s something new, it’s a new experience, a free ride and a chance to see the Entertainment Centre,” Mrs Miles said.

Mr Miles said “the trams are fabulous.”

Tram fan Terry Bourke, from Modbury Heights, thought the extension provided greater access to the area.

“I can catch a bus and a tram to see things like the Brewery Lights at Christmas,” he said.

Passengers Megan Bennett, from Clarence Park, and Dee Bluett, from Highbury said they’d definitely use the line to go to the Entertainment Centre.

Passengers thought the ride was comfortable and smooth on the Citadis and Flexity Classic trams.

Mr and Mrs Miles said the ride was very comfortable and smooth, whilst Miss Bennett said the new section of track was “better than the Glenelg to City West section of track.”

The first tram departed about 9:45am with Premier Mike Rann, State Minister for Transport Patrick Conlon, Adelaide Lord Mayor Michael Harbison, Mayor of Charles Sturt Council Harold Anderson and media on board.

Scones with jam and cream and a sausage sizzle were available for the public to celebrate the event.

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Extra rail services for AC/DC concert http://www.railsa.org/extra-rail-services-for-acdc-concert/ http://www.railsa.org/extra-rail-services-for-acdc-concert/#comments Mon, 01 Mar 2010 14:38:35 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1407 Continue reading ]]> Extra train and tram services will be available after the AC/DC Black Ice Tour at Adelaide Oval tomorrow night.

Trains with four and three cars will complement the regular Belair, Gawler, Noarlunga and Outer Harbor line services after 10:30pm until last service.

An extra two trams will also service the City West to Glenelg service from 10:30pm until the last service at midnight.

For further information on rail times visit www.adelaidemetro.com.au

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Old trams test new extension http://www.railsa.org/old-trams-test-new-extension/ http://www.railsa.org/old-trams-test-new-extension/#comments Sat, 27 Feb 2010 14:39:45 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1409 Continue reading ]]> Old met new when H type tram 367 was trialled on the Adelaide Entertainment Centre tram extension last night.

The tram was last in a fleet of seven as tests of the voltage supply at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre took place.

A tram spotter walked on the concrete barricade at the Entertainment Centre stop to take photos of the 367.

Overnight tram testing of the power supply along the new track started at 3:23am when Citadis 203 tram departed the City West stop.

Flexity Classic 103, 105 and 108 and Citadis 203, 204 and 205 trams ran along the new section of track simultaneously between 3:20 and 5:30am.

The Flexity Classic and Citadis trams travelled up and down the track twice with each test faster than the last.

A return trip at full speed took about 20 minutes.

At least three trams were tested for acceleration from the Entertainment Centre stop.

No obvious faults were evident during the tests.

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Indian Pacific turns 40 http://www.railsa.org/indian-pacific-turns-40/ http://www.railsa.org/indian-pacific-turns-40/#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2010 14:40:17 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1413 Continue reading ]]> The Indian Pacific’s 40th birthday marked a double-whammy in Australia’s rail history.

It was this train that ran Australia’s first east-west rail service on standard gauge, which departed from Sydney’s Central Station on Monday, February 23 1970 and arrived in Perth on Friday, February 27 to 10,000 people.

On the train’s 40th birthday locomotive NR21 pulled the Indian Pacific from Adelaide’s Keswick Station for Sydney.

The train comprised of 24 carriages, including one locomotive and three motorail with 164 guests and 19 crew members on board.

Great Southern Rail’s Marketing and Executive Coordinator Robyn Williamson said the company is proud to be part of the train’s history.

“It’s good to be part of the history of something historic. The Indian Pacific is such an Australian icon,” she said.

Its popularity has seen it attract tens of thousands of passengers per year.

“There are people who go on trips on the Indian Pacific every year because they love it so much,” Ms Williamson said.

The 65-hour, 4,352km trip crosses the Nullarbor, the crossroad of Australia Port Augusta, historic gold-rush town Kalgoorlie and the Blue Mountains.

At 478km, the world’s longest section of railway track in the Nullarbor Plain is part of the Indian Pacific’s journey.

The Indian Pacific today can carry up to 348 passengers with 25 carriages and get up to 686 metres long.

With a two metre wing span, the wedge-tailed eagle, Australia’s largest eagle, was chosen as the Indian Pacific’s symbol to represent the train’s “epic journey,” Great Southern Rail spokesman Russell Westmoreland said to a WA Today reporter.

East-west travel by rail started in 1917 when all track sections between colonies were completed, but non-uniform gauges between the colonies meant passengers had to change several trains along the way.

The uniform standard gauge across the continent was completed in 1969.

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That’s the Spirit http://www.railsa.org/thats-the-spirit/ http://www.railsa.org/thats-the-spirit/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2010 13:03:11 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1499 Continue reading ]]> It was the movement some thought would never happen. Train number 2AL8, better known as Great Southern Rail’s ‘The Southern Spirit’, pulled out of Adelaide Parklands Terminal shortly after 8:30AM this morning bound for Alice Springs. At its head was locomotive NR85, the first NR locomotive painted into the striking green and white livery, known by railfans around Australia as the ‘Spearmint’ livery.

NR85, formerly an unnamed locomotive, has been christened ‘Southern Spirit’, its divine right in hauling the first train which is due to pick up guests in Alice Springs on Wednesday for the epic 2 week journey to Brisbane, along the way taking in sights such as South Australia’s unique Kangaroo Island, and Ned Kelly’s own bushranger territory in Victoria.

In a rare move, the transfer consist included a Pacific National FAM crew car, also given the polish treatment, as well as 5 Platinum Service BRG cars and a single Gold Service ARM car – with deluxe cabin and manager’s office on board.

On board, guests will be treated to the finest luxuries on the rails in Australia. The 5 star Platinum Service accommodation will be complimented with fine gourmet foods in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant, a luxurious lounge and bar carriage and round-the-clock room service to patrons paying up to nearly $14k for a ride on Australia’s most exclusive train. The tour is the first of its kind in Australia, boasting inclusions such as Uluru, a Coober Pedy opal experience and even breakfast in bed for passengers wishing to have a more leisurely start to the morning.

The Southern Spirit will next grace Adelaide’s tracks when it returns carrying guests bound for Kangaroo Island early Thursday morning.

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Australia’s ship of the desert, 80 years on http://www.railsa.org/australias-ship-of-the-desert-80-years-on/ http://www.railsa.org/australias-ship-of-the-desert-80-years-on/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2009 13:06:13 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1506 Continue reading ]]> At 10:15am, Sunday August 4th, 1929, Adelaide Railway Station played host to the moment that changed Australian transport forever. The first leg of a then break-of-gauge journey to the centre of Australia departed Adelaide to the cries of a cheering crowd. The epic journey these passengers were about to experience was one that would become so entrenched into the Australian spirit, it would itself become legendary. Nearly 80 years later, after a tumultous and coloured history, this train would still be making its journey to the centre of the continent.

The Ghan, now operated by Great Southern Rail with motive power provided by Pacific National, is this train and it could not be further removed from these humble, yet significant beginnings. Today’s train consists generally of up to two thundering, 4020 horsepower, gleaming red NR class locomotives hauling between 14 and 24 gleaming silver carriages and a wagon carrying private cars for passengers who plan to drive at the other end of the journey – now extending beyond its original terminus at Alice Springs to the Northern Territory capital of Darwin. By comparison the original train known as the Ghan consisted of a single steam locomotive and 6 to 12 wooden carriages.

The train historically operated on a narrow gauge alignment between Port Augusta and Alice Springs, and until 1929 the final leg of the journey between Oodnadatta and Alice Springs was completed by Afghan Camel, earning it the nicknames “The Afghan Express” and “The Ghan”, the latter of which stuck and came to be synonymous with the route itself.

The route followed the tracks of explorer John McDouall Stuart, but was particularly unreliable. Subject to the harsh conditions of outback South Australia, the track was prone to flooding in the wet and buckling in the heat. As a result of this, trains would still be considered on time as long as they arrived in the same week as they departed, the often mysterious delays providing opportunity for the Ghan train to enter local legend. The most famous legend is still told by Great Southern Rail today, and tells the story of a driver stranded in the outback who shot feral goats to feed his passengers through a two week delay. By 1957 the route was split in two, operating as a standard gauge service until Marree before passengers transferred to the narrow gauge train for the rest of the journey to Alice Springs.

The Commonwealth Railways ceased to exist in 1975 and operations were handed over to Australian National Railways, who by 1980 had opened a new standard gauge alignment to replace the unreliable narrow gauge route. The new line was laid well west of the original line, branching off of the Trans-Australian Railway at Tarcoola before taking a more direct route to Alice Springs. The train also now operated from Port Pirie, then the southern-most point of the standard gauge network in South Australia. Passengers were transferred from Adelaide by a broad gauge train until the mid-80s, when the standard gauge line between Redhill and Port Pirie was completed. The cars from the broad gauge trains were then converted to standard gauge and became sitting cars for the Ghan trains.

The Ghan (by this time marketed as “The Legendary Ghan”) was operated by Australian National from Keswick Terminal, just outside of the Adelaide CBD, to Alice Springs skipping the previous terminus in Port Pirie altogether. When AN was split up in 1997, the service was taken over by Great Southern Rail, becoming one of the first passenger trains to be privatised in Australia along with the other routes still operated by AN at the time. The train now offered two levels of service, Red Kangaroo (economy seating and sleeping) and Gold Kangaroo (a higher level of sleeping, with restaurant service). The service has since been extended to Darwin with the opening of the Alice Springs – Darwin rail link in 2004.

In 2008 Platinum service was also introduced in refurbished BRG type cars, offering passengers the opportunity to sleep in double or twin beds rather than the previous bunk arrangement – a striking contrast to the original cars of the 1929 train, which can thankfully still be experienced on the Port Augusta to Quorn leg of the original journey thanks to the Pichi Richi Railway. Using an NM class steam locomotive from the old Ghan, and wooden cars (some of which travelled on the first service 80 years ago) Pichi Richi operate a train they call the ‘Afghan Express’ along the narrow gauge tracks through the Pichi Richi Pass in the Flinders Ranges.

Issue 8 of Great Southern Rail’s Platform magazine celebrates the long and colourful history of the Ghan, including the popular joke of the pregnant woman close to delivery, who claimed to have not been pregnant when she boarded – indicative of the original train’s poor reliability. Great Southern Rail have introduced a booking special to celebrate the milestone of the train that opened up the heart of Australia.

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The Spirit to carry on in 2010 http://www.railsa.org/the-spirit-to-carry-on-in-2010/ http://www.railsa.org/the-spirit-to-carry-on-in-2010/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2009 13:05:23 +0000 Alyx http://locomotiv.es/?p=1504 Continue reading ]]> Great Southern Rail’s all Platinum and Gold luxury rail cruise train, the Southern Spirit, has been revitalised for its 2010 season following a 2008-09 season which saw all planned tours cancelled. Several routes, including ‘The Grand Tour’ from Brisbane to Darwin were cancelled in 2009 due to lack of interest, despite the stylishly refurbished Platinum service cars and the specially repainted locomotives for the train – tipped to become Australia’s answer to the Orient Express.

In 2010 tours will commence or terminate at Uluru, arguably Australia’s most famous landmark located near Alice Springs, the attraction’s closest railway station. A season of four tours will operate between Brisbane or Sydney and the internationally celebrated sandstone mound, including stops at Coober Pedy’s Opal Fields, seal colonies at Kangaroo Island, Ned Kelly’s home town of Glenrowan, and Sydney Harbour – with one service including the harbour’s Australia Day fireworks on its itinerary – as well as other tours at stops along the way.

The first train for 2010, ‘The Grand Tour’, is a 14 Day epic adventure operating between January 9 and January 22, and will cost punters $13,990 for Platinum Service and $10,590 for Gold.

Full details of the tours have been released on the official website, showing the four tours as well as information about the experience and service passengers can expect of Australia’s most luxurious train.

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