DJ Albo

Putting the Party back in ALP: Albanese to DJ in Sydney club

Shadow minister for transport and frequent rail advocate Anthony Albanese is headed back to the decks. The former deputy prime minister will DJ in a Sydney club later this month for a fundraising event.

‘DJ Albo’, as he is known by his fans, is backing up his debut performance at Bella Union in Carlton in May, where he pleased the crowd with a set including hits from The Cure, New Order, Hunters & Collectors and The Black Eyed Peas.

His next gig, scheduled for Friday, July 31 at the Newtown Social Club in Sydney’s inner west, is designed as a fundraiser for Reclink Community Cup, a non-profit which aims to provide and promote sport and art programs for disadvantaged people.

“During the last election campaign I hosted Rage, the show on the ABC, and some people liked my music selection,” Albanese explained in a May interview with Channel Nine’s Today show.

“One of my colleagues, Andrew Giles, instead of having the usual rubber-chicken fundraiser and gee-up for branch members and supporters, suggested having something at the trades hall here in Melbourne … they enjoyed it.”

Talking music with Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson on TODAY.

Posted by Anthony Albanese MP on Monday, May 18, 2015

 

The July 31 event is free to enter, but event organisers say there will be plenty of money raised.

“We’ll be passing the hat around on the night as well as offering up some great raffle prizes!” Newtown Social Club said on its Facebook page. “So head on down and watch everyone’s favourite former deputy prime minister slash DJ smash out some tunes in the name of a great cause.”

Parliament House, Melbourne. (Public Domain)

Don’t stall level crossing reform, Vic government warns opposition

Victoria’s Labor Government has stepped up pressure on the Liberals and Greens to support its plan to remove the state’s most dangerous and congested level crossings.

Acting Premier James Merlino on Thursday launched the Andrews Government’s new Don’t stand in the way campaign, which “allows anyone who is passionate about reducing road congestion, running more trains or saving Victorian lives, to send a message to Victorian Liberal and Greens Members of Parliament to support the Labor Government’s plan to get rid of these dangerous, deadly level crossings”.

The website, www.dontstandintheway.com, allows members of the public to sign a petition supporting the Andrews Government’s plan to remove 50 level crossings over the next eight years.

Merlino criticised Coalition and Greens MPs for last month opposing the removal of crossings, which Merlino describes as “death traps”.

“Removing level crossing will reduce congestion, create jobs and save lives,” Merlino argued. “It’s what Victorians voted for and it’s what the Andrews Labor Government is delivering.

“It’s time for the Liberals and Greens to stop playing politics and get out of the way.”

The Victorian Liberal Party is unhappy with Labor’s decision to scrap the East West Link tollroad project – which was launched by the Liberal Party shortly prior to the last state election.

The Liberals, now in opposition, have accused Premier Andrews of having something against roads, and the opposition’s campaign against level crossing removal spending is part of that focus.

But Andrews has appealed to the Victorian public, pointing out level crossings around Victoria are just as much – if not more – of a roads issue than a rail one. With boomgates in some places down for almost half of the two-hour morning peak, they are at least as detrimental to road users as they are to rail, Labor argues.

Labor’s acting transport minister Martin Pakula singled out opposition leader Matthew Guy, who he accused of mounting an anti-rail campaign on par with that of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“Victorians don’t want to see the Tony Abbott disease come to Victoria,” Pakula said. “They want the Liberals to keep their promises and help the Labor Government get rid of our worst level crossings.

“Matthew Guy is acting like the Federal Liberal leader Tony Abbott – saying one thing before an election and doing another thing after.”

Opal banner - Photo: Transport for NSW

Transport for NSW launches trio of customer-focused initiatives

A new customer service centre, cheaper tickets for job seekers, and website improvements are all part of Transport for NSW’s latest push to improve customer service on passenger rail.

The new centre was opened at Central Station on Monday. Fitted with an 11 metre digital information board made up of 20 individual screens, the customer kiosk is designed to provide timetables, up-to-date event and tourist information, Opal top-ups and more.

NSW transport minister Andrew Constance said the department is looking to improve customer service.

“Customers have told us they want convenience, and this is what the upgrades well and truly deliver”, Constance said.

Constance also announced that eligible NSW job seekers can now apply for a Concession Opal card to help them look for work.

“Access to an Opal card for job seekers means that for first time they can enjoy all of the benefits of Opal including a 50 per cent discount on the cheaper Opal adult fares, free trips after eight paid journeys, plus daily fare caps of $7.50 Monday to Saturday and only $2.50 on Sundays.”

An updated Transport website was also unveiled on Monday (transportnsw.info), which now allows customers to plan trips to and from regional NSW.

“Customers can now for the first time use the website to trip plan anywhere in NSW, as well as interstate to and from Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra,” Constance explained. “Previously you could only plan a trip in Greater Sydney.”

The website now provides access to all NSW TrainLink train and coach services and bus and ferry services in regional centres across NSW.

Think tank set sights on GPS monitoring for containerised cargo

Members of a National ICT Australia (NICTA)-led knowledge hub are seeking volunteers to gather data from trials of a global positioning system (GPS)-tracking system for containerised cargo.

Test runs will soon be underway to determine the viability of a system that reports on the temperature and humidity of containerised goods, said a spokesman for the think tank, which is called the Transport and Logistics Living Lab (TALLL).

NICTA said TALLL was established to increase the productivity, emissions reduction, efficiency and safety of Australia’s transport and logistics sector through collaboration.

The lab currently has a 50-strong membership of industry participants including the CSIRO, the Australian Federation of International Freight Forwarders, the Export Council of Australia, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and the New South Wales government.

“Bringing together government and industry is key to promoting digital innovation and the TALLL, along with the existing knowledge hubs, will do just that,” said NSW minster for innovation and better regulation Victor Dominello.

Meanwhile, many of TALLL’s members have welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with other industry leaders and researchers.

“This new facility has an important role to play in working with industry to ensure Australia uses world’s best practice to meet the ever-increasing demands of domestic and international business opportunities,” said ALC deputy chairman Ian Murray.

NICTA is an information, communications and technology research organisation, primarily funded by the Federal government but also by the states and universities.

NSW has invested $1.7m in TALLL over two years.

Collaboration underpins success of Regional Rail Link

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) wants the Federal Government to inject more funding for state passenger rail following the completion of the $3.65 billion Regional Rail Link project in Victoria.

The project came in $187.5m under budget and ahead of schedule and will boost capacity for passengers in Melbourne’s west and Victoria’s major regional centres of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

ARA Interim Chairman, Bob Herbert AM, said much of the project’s success was due to the collaboration and co-funding from both the Victorian and Federal Governments.

“The successful completion of this project is a shining example of a collaborative approach between governments with commitments that have endured their election cycles,” said Mr Herbert said.

“The Federal Government can take a leaf out of this book and consider where else they can assist state governments in building vital infrastructure needed in our capital cities and regional areas.

“The recent release of the Infrastructure Audit Report highlighted the dire reality of our nation’s current infrastructure challenge with congestion estimated to cost $53 billion in just over 15 years and road travel times in major city corridors expected to increase by at least 20 per cent in the same period.

“Population growth will swell the demand for public transport by 55 per cent in Sydney, 121 per cent in Melbourne and around 89 per cent in other capital cities.

“State governments cannot be expected to meet this challenge by footing the bill alone; it is time for the Federal Government, with the support of the private sector, to take decisive action to meet the nation’s burgeoning infrastructure needs,” Mr Herbert said.

The Regional Rail Link project has seen regional rail services separated from metropolitan rail services, providing additional capacity for passengers across the rail network, with trains running every 10 minutes for Geelong commuters throughout peak periods. The project was jointly funded with the Federal Government investing $2.7 billion and the Victorian Government contributing $931 million.

Tram Ride - Photo: YouTube / Schony747

Video: Driver’s view of a typical Sunday tram trip

Got a spare hour? Enjoy a typical Sunday tram ride on Melbourne’s Route 96 from a driver’s perspective.

YouTube user Schony747 uploaded the video in March 2015.

“Route 96 is the busiest tram line in Melbourne,” the user described. “Filmed on the 8th of March 2015, this shows first-hand how busy the line actually gets, especially through the city!”

The vehicle was number 6010, according to the user – one of the modern E-class trams built in Dandenong by Bombardier.

Watch the video below.

View of the harbour from the AMP Tower, Vivid Sydney 2014. Photo: Vivid Sydney / James Horan

Transport crucial ahead of Vivid festival

The NSW Government has encouraged visitors to Vivid Sydney 2015 to take advantage of thousands of extra public transport service.

An additional 3,500 extra trains, buses and ferries will run during the city’s annual festival of lights, which saw more than 1.4 million visitors last year.

Over three weekends, more than 700 train services will be added, with capacity to get an extra million people in and out of the city, including from Chatswood.

Minister for trade, tourism and major events Stuart Ayres is encouraging festival goers to take advantage of the increased public transport.

“We want to make sure visitors can easily move around our Harbour City to experience this must-see global event, which attracted more than 1.43 million people last year,” Ayres said.

“With so many extra services and all festival attractions close to major public transport hubs, there really is no better way to get to and from Vivid Sydney.”

Transport minister Andrew Constance echoed Ayres’ sentiment, emphasising the importance of people planning their trip ahead of time.

“We encourage everyone to leave the car at home and take public transport to and from the event with these additional services made available,” Constance said.

“As ferries are expected to be very busy, especially on weekends, those coming to explore this incredible festival should look to take advantage of the extra trains and buses.”

Paris - Roubaix level crossing incident. Graphic: Eurosport

Level crossing near-miss splits Paris-Roubaix bike race

WATCH: The 2015 edition of one of cycling’s classic one-day races was interrupted when half of the pack had to wait at a level crossing for a passenger train to pass.

The Paris-Roubaix is a one-day road race in the north of France.

German rider John Degenkolb from Giant Team took line honours in just under six hours overnight, but despite being famous for its rough terrain and cobblestone sections, the road itself was not the biggest obstacle some riders had to endure in this year’s event.

Instead, 85km from the finish, the peleton was split in two by a pair of lowering boom gates.

Some riders squeezed through the gates, roughly 12 seconds before the train went through the crossing.

In 2006, several riders were disqualified from the Paris-Roubaix for going through a closed level crossing. This year, however, race organisers opted to slow down the front pack so the peleton could be reunited following the incident.

Watch the footage below.

Mike Baird - Sardaka

Baird, Coalition secure NSW election win despite swing to Labor

Mike Baird has been re-elected as New South Wales’ premier, as the Coalition won 52 of a potential 93 seats at Saturday’s election.

With just over 70% of the vote counted at time of writing, Luke Foley’s Labor Party secured an 8.4% swing from last election, .

But despite the swing, which sees 13 seats move from the hands of the Coalition to those of Labor, Baird was able to claim his victory as early as 9.40pm on Saturday night.

“We sought a mandate to make NSW great,” Baird told his supporters on election night. “The people of NSW have given us that mandate, and to them we say thank you.”

Baird committed to do what he and the Coalition promised pre-election, which included several rail-releated commitments.

“That’s what we’re going to do and the reason we’re going to do it is because I love this state,” he said.

Baird thanked his federal counterpart, prime minister Tony Abbott, for his support during the campaign, saying Abbott “understood the need to put more funds into NSW, and he has done that as a Prime Minister”.

With seat results all but certain, Baird’s Liberal Party is set to win 36 seats, having secured 36.2% of the state vote. The National Party has 16 seats, with 9.5% of the vote.

Labor has secured 34% of the vote so far, and 33 seats.

Photo: Kabelleger / David Gubler

New website for Rail Express

Rail Express has continued its shift to a new era of rail news, with the launch of its new website, which is now available for all to enjoy.

The new site features a streamlined design suitable for viewing on desktop, tablet or smart-phone.

It offers a more robust product to Rail Express customers and advertisers, with more specified industry sector sections available for those looking to only hear news from a specific area of the industry.

The new website is the first step in Rail Express’ plans to provide readers with daily content, up-to-the-minute reports, a wider variety of news and a greater volume of content.

Enhanced social integration and commenting will let readers take part in the story more easily than in the past.

For advertising opportunities, please visit https://www.railexpress.com.au/advertise/