Tourism Australia Chairman calls for rail action – TravelMole true

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Tourism Australia Chairman calls for rail action

Tuesday, 04 Jun, 2006 0

Mr Fischer said yesterday that he feared further rail disasters unless more work is done, particularly on the critical Sydney-to-Melbourne line, adding, “There needs to be rapid execution of maintenance and upgrade.”  “It could be said that Mark Twain travelled by a faster and safer train through Benalla back in September 1895, than some of the freight trains that operate on that corridor today.”

Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators were still uncertain about the cause of a freight train derailment on Friday at Benalla, about 200km northeast of Melbourne, with investigator Mark Stallbaum saying, “It can be things like a problem with the track, a mechanical problem with the train, or it can sometimes be an interaction between worn wheels and an old track.”

Locals were amazed no one was killed when the 34-car train loaded with a range of goods, including steel and plastics, left the track near houses, with this accident coming only a week after a truck driver was killed near Lismore, in Western Victoria when he collided with a train.  Also, in April, two people were killed and dozens injured when a train came off the tracks near Ballarat.

Mr Fischer welcomed the Federal Government’s injection of cash into the Sydney to Melbourne rail line, but said accidents would keep happening if the line was not upgraded immediately.

Australasian Railway Association spokesman Brian Nye said the Federal Government had sunk more than $2 billion into the line in the past three years, adding, “This is a well maintained line that’s used daily, the cause of the accidents could be any number of reasons”.   He added, “The Government needs to upgrade regional and rural tracks”.

Report by The Mole



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