Wednesday 3rd of September 2014

shuffle shuttle shafted thingies...



The new line to Rouse Hill, which will also take over the existing Epping to Chatswood line, will run as a shuttle train to Chatswood.

For residents of nearby stations such as Beecroft and Cheltenham, this will mean that they will have to catch three trains to get to the centre of Sydney. At present they can catch one.

Mr Smith told the meeting at the Cheltenham Recreation Club that in time services on the north-west rail link would be extended from Chatswood to the city through another harbour crossing.

''Obviously it will be built after this north-west rail link is complete,'' Mr Smith, the Member for Epping and until recently the attorney-general, said.

''There's no doubt about that. But it is clear that the minister wishes to build it, she wishes to expedite it, and if we go ahead and do certain other infrastructure things, sell certain things, such as the powers and wires, there will be money available to build that second harbour crossing. I predict that that's going to happen. And it is going to happen in the next 10 years.''

In opposition, the Coalition promised to run trains from the north-west rail link all the way into the city. But it broke that promise in 2012 when it instead said it would build the $8.3 billion line as a privately operated shuttle to Chatswood.

This means the existing Epping to Chatswood line, which was completed only in 2009, will need to be handed over to a new operator and modified to carry a different type of train.

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a necessary disgraceful action...


Sydney ferry services face disruption during this weekend's Vivid festival after maritime unions voted to take industrial action that Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has branded ''disgraceful''.

Ferry workers will refuse to sell or collect tickets on Saturday and Sunday between 6pm and 10pm on all Sydney services. For Manly ferries the action will take place between 6pm and 3am.

Fewer services will operate at the weekend due to overtime bans, while workers will refuse to help with charter services organised to deal with Vivid crowds. They will also refuse to operate the lights on Vivid ferry services between 7pm and 7.30pm.

The action follows a breakdown in pay negotiations between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers and the private operator, Harbour City Ferries.

The union has rejected a 9 per cent pay increase over four years and a proposal it says would see deckhands have their weekly pay cut by $500.

In a statement on Friday night, Ms Berejiklian said she was ''dismayed that the unions would choose to sabotage the Vivid festival and disrupt the journeys of so many people, including families. "I apologise in advance to customers who experience delays or disruption due to this disgraceful action.''

But MUA assistant branch secretary Paul Garrett said the union had talks with Harbour City Ferries 21 times over the past six months, including four this week.

''The union has remained committed to getting a fair outcome for ferry workers but we can't cop workers taking a $500-a-week pay cut, particularly after Tony Abbott's budget just three weeks ago,'' he said. Mr Garrett said the union was ''not on strike'' and that services would still run.

Harbour City Ferries chief executive Steffan Faurby said the company would endeavour to minimise the disruption to passengers.

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derailment or delayed choochoo, even if you pay up...


Transport infrastructure planning rarely gets much more ad hoc and misleading than the Baird government's announcement this week. Or much more disdainful of the community’s intelligence.

Past “commitments” and “master plans” by the O’Farrell government have suddenly become conditional on our willingness to accept a blatant bribe. And the ostensible benefits of the proposed projects, glorious in their almost total absence of detail, hinge on the mindless repetition of old and demonstrably false assertions.

Superficially, the transport projects to be funded by the assumed $20 billion electricity privatisation magic pudding are attractive enough, at least in electoral terms: a second harbour rail crossing with three new CBD stations and a later conversion of the line to Bankstown, more “congestion attacking” toll roads in Sydney and a $1 billion “fund” for unspecified road and bridge upgradings in the bush.

It’s impossible to comment on the last of these elements, as there’s literally nothing of substance to like or dislike. But when details are provided, the first thing to check will be any double counting with existing commitments.

The timing of the harbour rail crossing project is actually a quiet backslide, not a step forward as claimed. Until Tuesday, this project was to have “followed” the completion of the North West Rail Link in 2019, and the Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian had been dropping sly hints it might start even earlier. But Premier Mike Baird now says, if his bribe is not accepted, the project “would otherwise be decades away”. And even if the bribe is accepted, there’s silence about the project’s timing.

What is being “promised” has changed, as well. There’s now no station in the northern CBD employment heartland, no inner west stations, no branch line from Sydenham to Hurstville and no extension from Bankstown to Cabramatta. The government’s 2012 Long-Term Transport Master Plan centrepiece has been gutted, probably because it would have necessitated major works to cater for displaced freight services.

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