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Posts from the ‘Rail’ Category

Five new lines open in two days

Railway Gazette, 27 December 2018

CHINA: Revenue services began on two more high speed lines on December 25, with another inaugurated the following day, along with two new mixed-traffic railways. First to open on December 25 was the 293 km Harbin – Mudanjiang Intercity Railway, running southeast from the capital of Heilongjiang province to a major city close to the Russian border with a population of 2·5 million inhabitants. Authorised in 2014 at a cost of 33·6bn yuan, the line has been built for 250 km/h operation. It includes 109 bridges and viaducts totalling 103 route-km and 39 tunnels accounting for a further 69 km, leaving 121 km at grade. Intermediate stations have been built at Xin Xiangfang Bei, Acheng Bei, Mao’ershan Xi, Shangzhi Nan, Yimianpo Bei, Weihe Xi, Yabuli Xi, Hengdao Hezi Xi, and Hailin Bei; a further station at Mudanjiang Xi is expected to open in the summer. As part of the project, the existing main stations at Harbin and Mundanjiang have been remodelled and extended. Journey times between the two cities have been cut from 4 h 30 min to 90 min by the fastest non-stop services. In the longer term, plans are being discussed for a 380 km cross-border extension to Vladivostok.

Also opened on December 25, the 287 km Hangzhou – Huangshan Passenger-Dedicated Line forms the eastern section of the Hangzhou – Nanchang high speed axis, which is due to be completed throughout by 2022. This route has intermediate stations at Hangzhou Dong, Hangzhou Xi, Fuyang, Tonglu, Jiande, Qiandaohu, Sanyang, Jixi, Shexian and Huangshan Bei. The biggest engineering works included the 12 km Tianmushan tunnel and the 4·1 km Shinuishan tunnel as well as the 2·3 km Chuanfang viaduct. Designed for 250 km/h operation, the line is initially provided with 11 trains each way per day, offering a fastest end to end journey time of 1 h 43 min. The line is expected to provide a boost to regional tourism, as Huangshan is one of China’s four ‘sacred mountains’, while nearby towns such as Qiandaohu have become tourist destinations in their own right.

350 km/h network reaches Qingdao

December 26 saw the long-awaited opening of the 350 km/h Jinan – Qingdao trunk line, which boosted capacity on the important corridor connecting the two principal cities in Shandong province. Forming part of the national ’10 x 10’ high speed grid, the 307·8 km line is connected to the Beijing – Shanghai route at Jinan, this line allows travellers from those two cities to reach Qingdao entirely on 350 km/h routes, apart from a short section between Jiaozhou Bei and Hongdao which is restricted to 250 km/h.

Under construction since December 2015 at a cost of 59·9bn yuan, the line runs almost entirely on viaduct, with 87% of the route elevated. The fastest timing between Jinan and Qingdao has been reduced to 1 h 40 min, almost an hour faster than the best achieved by high speed trains using the upgraded conventional route. Intermediate stations have been provided at Jinan Dong, Zhangqiu Bei, Zouping, Zibo Bei, Linzi Bei, Qingzhou Bei, Weifang Bei, Gaomi Bei, Jiaozhou Bei and Hongdao. A 7·5 km tunnel takes the line under Qingdao Airport, where an underground station has been provided. Rather than running into the city’s main station, most trains terminate at the Qingdao Bei high speed hub, where connections are provided to the growing metro network.

The same day saw the opening of a new coastal line running south from Qingdao Bei to Yancheng in Jiangsu province. This 428·8 km route with 15 stations is initially served by two daily EMUs in each direction, the faster taking 3 h 5 min to complete the journey at an average speed of 139 km/h including stops. December 26 also saw the start of revenue operation on the 318 km Huaihua – Hengyang railway in Hunan province, which had been formally inaugurated on the previous day. Another 200 km/h mixed-traffic line with 16 stations, this line had been under construction since June 2014. It required 41 tunnels and 243 bridges totalling 57% of the route length. As well as the 17 km Liangshan tunnel, major bores include the Jianfengshan (6 406 m), Xiangjiashan (4 014 m) and Baishiwan (3 788 m) tunnels. Meanwhile, the National Development & Reform Commission has approved the construction of a 292 km high speed line between Xi’an and Yan’an in Shaanxi province. Budgeted at 55·2bn yuan, the line is expected to open in 2023.

Disability compliance the focus of $18m pedestrian crossing program

Railpage, 18 December 2018
An $18 million program to ensure Perth’s pedestrian level crossings comply with disability standards has begun, with 22 crossings to be upgraded over the next 12 months. Pedestrian crossings on the Midland, Fremantle and Armadale lines will be targeted by the Public Transport Authority (PTA) in the first wave of upgrades, between December 2018 and December 2019.
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Premier’s bold plan for Victoria’s ‘biggest ever rail project’

News, 28 August 2018
IT’S slaps on the back, high fives and “job well done” at the Victorian Premier’s office this morning after arguably his biggest announcement since taking the state’s top job. Daniel Andrews shocked the electorate and shook up the race ahead of November’s state election with plans to build a $50 billion underground rail network to revolutionise the way Melburnians travel.
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Perth airport tunnel construction grinds to a halt after water leak causes sinkhole

ABC News, 25 September 2018
A water leak, which has led to the creation of a sinkhole, is continuing to delay the construction of Perth’s new $1.8 billion airport tunnel.Tunnelling for the new Forrestfield-Airport Link project was brought to an abrupt halt on Saturday afternoon. The sinkhole appeared on Sunday morning, forcing the closure of Dundas Road.

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Tram tech gains speed

The West, 2 September 2018
State and local government officials were briefed this week on the suitability for Perth of “trackless trams” — a new concept of public transport that experts believe could revolutionise inner-city travel.

A team from Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute, headed by the recently announced WA Scientist of the Year, Professor Peter Newman, went to China last month to investigate the trackless tram technology.
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‘Crush capacity’: The worst time to get on Sydney’s light rail

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 August 2018
The number of passengers enduring “crush capacity” on Sydney’s inner west light rail line or being left behind on platforms will worsen unless the Berejiklian government buys more trams to boost the frequency of services, “sensitive” documents warn. And even if new trams are bought, it will be up to three years before they are running on the line because of the length of time it takes to procure and commission them.

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Plans for first set of 11,000 units to go near Sydney Metro stations

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 2018
The first detailed plans for new units to be built on government-owned land along the Metro Northwest train line have been released. Tallawong Station south in Rouse Hill will get about 1100 units in an area near The Ponds, with buildings up to 8 storeys tall. The plan includes parking for 1015 cars and 1210 bicycle spaces. One of the “key principles” of the development is to encourage greater use of cycling by residents. A minimum of 5% of the units will be used to provide affordable housing for at least 10 years.

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Three 20-plus storey towers to sit around new Waterloo metro station

Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 2018
Seven hundred apartments will be built on a large block around a new rail station in inner-Sydney Waterloo, government documents show. The Waterloo “Metro Quarter” proposal by the government’s UrbanGrowth Development Corporation and Sydney Metro, made available on Wednesday, includes four residential towers of 29, 25, 23 and 14 storeys.

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Let’s get moving with the affordable medium-speed alternatives to the old dream of high-speed rail

The Conversation, 14 May 2018
More than half a century has passed since high-speed rail (HSR) effectively began operating, in Japan in 1964, and it has been mooted for Australia since 1984. I estimate that the cost of all HSR studies by the private and public sectors in Australia exceeds $125 million, in today’s dollars. But the federal government is now less interested in high-speed rail (now defined as electric trains operating on steel rails at maximum speeds of above 250km per hour), and instead favours “faster rail” or medium-speed rail.
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Melbourne Airport is going to be as busy as Heathrow, so why the argument about one train line?

The Conversation, 24 April 2018
Public discussion of rail links to airports has been narrowly focused on the idea of a single line and where to run it. In Melbourne, the politics of this debate has so far prevented a railway from being built, because it is not possible for one line to meet all of the landside access needs of the airport. The issue of rail access for a new western Sydney airport has also not been resolved.
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