Sunday 12 April 2009

Trains, rains and porky-mobiles

Queensland Rail's decision to indefinitely cancel the Tilt Train service between Cairns and Brisbane, is nothing short of astonishing.

As Henry at Fosnez Blog rightly highlights, that at $310, you can go from Cairns to Brisbane at a half of the price it costs on the train. An internet deal today on Virgin and Jetstar, puts the price at just over $100.

Following a series of investigations, plagued by fatal collisions and level-crossing incidents, a new report now stunningly reveals that the design and construction of the tilt train is probably contributed to it's accidents.

Queensland Rail is staying mum over the Government's overnight decision to suddenly close the service down.

The Rail Safety Regulator's report was damming.

"I'd be speculating to say that there are any problems with the train," Paul Scurrah of QR told the ABC. "We're going through a process where some issues have been raised that we need to clarify and we need to confirm that we have met the regulatory and rail safety requirements.
"But I'd be speculating to say that there are actually any issues. We need to confirm that there are not."

QR said yesterday that they're going to make sure they put the safety of passengers and people first. What a preposterous statement, following the last two or more year's history with the Tilt service.

The Spirit of the Outback train will service the same route in the meanwhile.

I used to love travelling on a train. I guess many can recall the joys of train travel as a child. Growing up in New Zealand (it's a small island on the East Coast of Australia) we were blessed to have some of the world's great train journeys. The Tranz Alpine from Christchurch to Greymouth is breathtaking.

When I'm overseas, I always schedule this mode of transport for some of my journey. A couple of years ago, I took the train from Munich to Frankfurt, and the even have trained inland from southern China to Beijing. I've also ridden the Shinkansen, or Bullet, from Tokyo to Hiroshima. And who hasn't experienced London's Underground, sans backpack? It's the only way to get around the world's capital of style and history. Train travel is truly magical, relaxed, low pollutant and you can multi-task whilst getting to your destination.

The debate over a commuter train network around Cairns is something that seriously needs scoping, however so long as Barron River MP Steve Wettenhall insists we have the world's best bus service, the debate will not move forward one train track.

At least the Tilt Train, during it's relatively short life, earned its conspicuous name.

Rest in Pieces.

(NB: photo not taken by Glenn Walker of The Wilderness Society)


KitchenSlut said...

For anyone addicted to train travel The Man in Seat 61 may be of interest.

I have done the Tilt Train from here to Brisbane once and enjoyed the experience although it's a journey to be experienced rather than a competitor to flying. I would also say that it is much superior to the NSW equivalent XPT that has to be suffered when you change in Brisbane.

Still not up with those European and UK trains though.

John, Kuranda said...

I find, rather strange, all the secrecy regarding the cancellation of the tilt train. If the PM can promise to let us know whats happening with the asylum seekers at Ashmore Reef, why cannot we handle this information. Or is it a matter of compensation?

Queensland Rail keeps Tilt Train ills secret

Free Marketeer said...

If any of these governments were really serious about fixing Australian infrastructure, they'd standardize the rail width like the rest of the world has done. It would eliminate the need for silly "tilting" trains, and moving freight from one system to another.

BTW, while KRudd claims that "high speed broadband" built by the government is the same as railroads in the 19th century, in the rest of the world rail was built by private enterprise. In Oz it was built by the government. Leaving us with three systems that won't interconnect.

The fate of KRudd built broadband, I'm sure.