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Railway_Digest__February_2018

News Newdegate line

News Newdegate line reopens after record 2017 flooding Grain train movements resumed in the Newdegate-Lake Biddy area on Wednesday 6 December following the completion of the works to repair and restore rail infrastructure extensively damaged by widespread flooding earlier in the year (see September 2017 RD, page 25). (Newdegate is situated in Western Australia’s Great Southern agricultural region – 399 kilometres south-east of Perth and 52 kilometres east of Lake Grace. It is the terminus of a line that runs east from Wagin on the WA Great Southern Line, and continues through Lake Grace, the junction for the Hyden line.) Large sections of the track, rail structures and culverts were completely washed away during the February 2017 flooding with other areas of the network in the Lakes District remaining submerged for months. Arc Infrastructure’s General Manager Asset Management and Projects Paul Lowney said the Company was committed to delivering a safe and sustainable solution that provided certainty to the growers in the region who depend on the rail line. “While we had wanted to restore services to this final section of the network earlier, large volume of water remained in the Lakes District and further recent rains delayed the safe return of rail operations in the area,” Mr Lowney said. “Throughout this process we worked closely with the sole customer of the line to ensure they were kept informed of progress and we thank our employees, contractors and CBH for their hard work, support and understanding during the clean-up efforts and look forward to working with them as services resume”. Arc Infrastructure provided the following overview of the project: • The project area included approximately 50km of freight rail line from Lake Grace to Newdegate. • The extreme weather conditions in February 2017 produced widespread damage throughout the Great Southern. According to Bureau of Meteorology statistics, the Newdegate-Lake Biddy area received more rainfall in two weeks in February 2017 than any similar period since 1955. • With most significant flooding occurring in the Lakes District, Arc Infrastructure worked with project partners to deliver a long-term solution to the affected rail line that raised the existing track formation up by up to one metre to enable it to withstand any further extreme flooding events that might occur. This is the last section of the network to reopen following other sections of the rail line throughout the Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Goldfields returning to normal operation earlier in 2017. Subsidy increased to encourage more freight on rail Increased financial incentives, introduced by the Western Australian Government to reduce truck congestion and get more freight on rail to Fremantle Port, commenced from Monday 1 January. As flagged prior to the March 2017 WA state election, the container rail subsidy increased from $30 to $50 per Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit. It is hoped that the increase will encourage more freight on to rail and reduce truck traffic on roads around Fremantle Port, as part of the State Government’s integrated plan for freight and trade in Western Australia. A target to boost rail mode share to 20 per cent has been set - an increase of about five per cent. “The rail service plays a significant role in achieving greater efficiency in the container supply chain as well as improving community amenity and environmental benefits along metropolitan roads that link to Fremantle Port,” said WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti. “That is why the McGowan Government has delivered Western Australia on its election commitment to increase the container rail subsidy to encourage more container movements on the port rail service. The subsidy will be paid for all loaded containers that move between North Quay Rail Terminal (NQRT), Forrestfield and Kwinana, as well as for containers filled with hay that are received by rail at NQRT for export. The subsidy per container will continue to be passed on in full to rail customers. Increasing the rail share for container haulage is one of several initiatives to improve efficiencies at the Inner Harbour to facilitate trade growth until additional port facilities are viable. Other initiatives include: • Facilitating the development of the Westport: Port and Environs Strategy which involves long-term planning for the Inner and Outer Harbours; • Enabling development of the broader rail supply chain, including intermodal facilities to enhance rail system efficiencies and minimise truck movements on Perth roads; and • Upgrading road infrastructure linkages to ease congestion to and around the Inner Harbour. Airport West, Belmont, and now Redcliffe – new name for Forrestfield Airport Link station After an online survey in October and November 2017, the name Redcliffe has been selected for the first station on the Forrestfield – Airport Link. This is the third proposed name for the under-construction station which was originally called Airport West, and subsequently Belmont. The station is located in the suburb of Redcliffe and is about 5 kilometres from the Belmont town centre (most of which is actually in suburban Cloverdale). Following the Redcliffe renaming there is now a move to change the name of the terminus from Forrestfield to High Wycombe, to also reflect the geographic position of that station. Western Australian Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti, has said that no decision in this regard will occur before a survey is held in 2018. Concern has been raised about contaminated soil and groundwater uncovered during railway excavation work. The contaminant is thought to be toxic fire fighting foam used in the past at the Perth Airport. While the issue has not halted work, it has caused the stockpiling of excavated soil until suitable disposal is arranged. By the end of 2017 tunnel borer Grace had tunnelled more than 1300m and Sandy more than 500m from the Forrestfield station site. The first tunnel breakthrough is expected at Airport Central station around late-February. The $1.86 billion Forrestfield-Airport Link is jointly funded by the Australian and Western Australian governments and will deliver a new rail service to the eastern suburbs of Perth – with three new stations at Redcliffe, Airport Central and Forrestfield. Perth stadium station testing The first major test of the new Perth Stadium station occurred on Saturday 21 October when dozens of trains were run through the station to test signalling, communications, lighting, and staff procedures. This was followed by a trial event on Wednesday December 13 when around 15,000 people attended a closed T20 cricket match between Perth Scorchers and England Lions. Transperth operated a shuttle bus service from Elizabeth Quay Bus Station to the Stadium, and trains from the station following the match. The station is planned to allow over 28,000 people to exit in the first hour after an event via its 6 platforms. Another extensive full-scale test using empty train sets occurred on the evening of Saturday 16 December. The first full-scale test occurred on Sunday 21 January when over 70,000 people were expected at a free ticketed family open day at the Stadium. 24 RAILWAY DIGEST

Western Australia CBH Group – ARC Infrastructure extends interim rail access agreement The CBH Group has signed a one-year extension to its current interim rail access agreement with Western Australian network operator Arc Infrastructure. The agreement provides grain growers’ cooperative CBH with access to the WA rail freight network for 12 months from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. CBH General Manager Operations David Capper said it will be business as usual for the current harvest. “The agreement ensures there are no disruptions to growers and their harvest programs,” Mr Capper said. Meanwhile, on-going confidential negotiations to gain long-term (10 year) access to Arc’s freight rail network – including reopening most of the Western Australian Tier 3 railway lines - continue under the Commercial Arbitration Act before independent arbitrator Sydney-based Queen’s Counsel, commercial law expert and retired Federal Court judge Kevin Lindgren (see October 2017 RD, page 28). According to a Monday 4 December report in The West Australian the independent arbitrator could call an end to the protracted access agreement negotiations, which began in March 2016, by the middle of this year. CBH triggered an arbitration process with Arc in February 2017 after formal negotiations to gain long-term access to Arc’s freight rail network failed. Leaders of both parties have declared the arbitrator’s decision as final. CBH chief executive Jimmy Wilson said he hoped the decision would work in the co-operative’s favour. “Obviously there will be one disenfranchised party and one not so disenfranchised,” he said. “And if you speak to Paul Larson (Arc Infrastructure chief executive) you will hear a view as to who that might be. We are hopeful our position will be heard and that’s all I can say”. Arc Infrastructure customer operations general manager Neil Hamel said the group would be bound by the determination, “whatever it is”. “We continue to work well with CBH at an operational level and are pleased with our part in helping shift record harvests,” he said. News Public warned to stay off the tracks The Public Transport Authority of Western Australia (PTA) has reminded Perth residents to stay off rail lines after the number of reported incidents of trespass almost doubled in 2017. A total of 412 reported trespass incidents occurred on the Transperth network up to Wednesday 20 December, significantly more than the 2016 total of 220. The PTA has launched a new branch of the highly-successful Stay off the Tracks campaign using urban art to share the rail safety message. PTA spokesman David Hynes said it is worrying that people continue to ignore safety warnings and trespass on the rail network. “It is illegal to be on train tracks unless you are walking across a pedestrian level crossing, or driving across a level crossing. If you enter the rail reserve or step on to the tracks for any other reason, it’s called trespass and the penalty is $200 or your life,” Mr Hynes said. “There are no second chances when it comes to trains”. Mr Hynes said Perth street artist Drew Straker would paint a multi-dimensional replica of an oncoming train to engage passers-by at the front of Perth Station in the lead up to Christmas. Staff were also be on hand to talk about rail safety with passengers and others in the city. Stay off the Tracks is aligned with the PTA’s successful Right Track program, which aims to promote positive behaviour around the rail network through education campaigns, urban art projects, and other youth-oriented events. For more information on the program, visit: www.righttrack.wa.gov.au Mr Wilson said he thought a decision would be reached in coming months. “It’s only an estimate, but it is looking like the arbitrator will probably come to some kind of decision in the first half of the year,” he said. Goninan/GE units NR43 and NR2 are seen stabled on the Forrestfield Yard Long arrivals track with 7PM5 Perth-Melbourne intermodal on Saturday 16 December 2017. Evan Jasper FEBRUARY 2018 25

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