Blue Mountains Commuters and Transport Users Association


Submission to NTC Freight Passenger Inquiry

Letter sent 3 Oct 2008

To The Chief Executive
National Transport Commission
L15/628 Bourke St
Melbourne Vic 3000

Dear Sir.

I thank you very much for the opportunity to submit our concerns to the Commission.

I will endeavour to reply to the questions raised in the Issues paper.

  1. What role does the Government play etc
    The Government has the role through the planning processes to agree to the implementation of rail services whether it be passenger or freight.
  2. The process should look to ensuring the Government has a positive role.
  3. A national regulatory body has a distinct advantage, as there will be costs
    Savings as all Government Authorities Rail Industry and Associated
    Companies will have one source of documentation to adhere to hence the
    Concentration will be on productivity that is delivering service.

Intervention Government.

If the Government can develop, the Australian Standards that Industry has agreed to then intervention will be kept to a minimum not the day-to-day activity.

The Association believes that intervention is only required in exceptional circumstances, policies are clear, consistent and concise

Note: My occupation was Senior Technical Office in PMG /Telecom on installation and Material Acceptance of Electronic and Cable products I did not meet nay politician when new or upgraded exchanges were install ted and new cutting edge at the time were accepted into the telephone system.

Setting Rail Prices Passenger and Freight.

The National Standards will or should set the standard of service that will set the pricing regime in freight and passenger.

Appropriate Authorities should address monopoly pricing

Market failures.

The market failures occur when the infrastructure cannot cope, the Government must have the mechanism to ensure the infrastructure i.e track signalling, network control fails to allow the services passenger and freight to deliver their services in accordance with the standards as agreed too

Regulation prices and infrastructure.

A regulatory body similar to the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal not every twelve months but within in a three year period.

Social and Community Needs

The Rail System address the community and social needs as follows

  1. Safe comfortable transport (There is a need for improvement).
  2. More economic for moving large populations
  3. Reduces congestion, pollution and health costs that occurs with road users.
  4. The passenger transport meets the social needs providing transport for educational, Work. Social events (as demonstrated in Sydney with the Olympics), entertainment, families can travel together. In the car the driver has to concentrate on driving
  5. The Government has the social obligation to provide services to those who are not able to drive a car, lower income persons, and the aged, those with a disability or are fearful of driving.
  6. The bus systems do deliver services that may match the previous mentioned community demands but for longer distant travel rail is the preferred option more comfortable, able to move around and less stressful than on a bus/coach on a busy Highway.

Impact on current industry etc.

The success of rail freight being used on the East West Adelaide–Perth demonstrates what can be done with rail freight.

Privatisation/Government Partnership.

The Infrastructure should be operated efficiently should be government owned the following are examples where the privatisation did not work.

  1. Rail Track Great Britain was renationalised after privatisation.
  2. Victorian Government bought back their rail infrastructure.
  3. The Airport Link Company in Sydney has been in receivership.
  4. The toll roads in Sydney have not been a raging success.

Impact of existing regimes etc. This is difficult as we do not have the information but observations in the changing ownership scenario in the rail industry do not show consistency. How does a Company arrange a long-term contract under these conditions?

Real competition etc

not sure for this question.

How is the relationship between freight and passenger rail managed?

This is one question we will have ask RailCorp.

Impact between operators.

The impact between freight and passenger services is one that relies on proper network control that ensures that all trains run to timetable.

This means excellent maintenance of all rolling stock and infrastructure that ensures 99% on time running.

The question that always arises is the Curfew. The Association has never been asked by the freight industry to discuss this issue; also we now has some movement in having a curfew in peak hours for truck movements there has to be dialogue.

Optimise capacity

The Association has a good overview of the capacity of the Western Line to Granville Lidcombe for freight and passenger but as far as incentives, No.

Proper Maintenance

The Association believes that there must be maintenance procedures and practices that meet Australian Standards that are independently audited no doubt this encompasses Risk Management and Health & Safety Requirements but there n must be common sense approach as we will tie down the system in over regulation and price the service off the market.

Shared Resources

This would up to the managers in the industry to arrange common agreement. That would see advantages on both sides... Easy ??

Economically Viable question.

This has been demonstrated with the freight movements East to West S.A to W.A with track improvements on the Vic.-NSW- Qld there should be increase in benefits such as overnight haulage on rail reduced travel times, congestion, accidents with truck drivers and other motorists also the improvement in track should improve the operational time of passenger services and thus increase the economical viability.

Scope Responsiveness

Imagination may be a key Timetabling a freight service to leave at a certain time from and advertised i.e. Have train will Travel, bring your freight other issues raised have been Road Railers, Tankers on Rail as per Darwin Rail think outside the square and market the service.

It is interesting the Flemington Fruit Markets have withdrawn their sidings for rail use B and T Doubles are the replacement.

Losing the Share

Over the years I have attended the Rail Summit at Darling Harbour my observation is the question time reveals some what reluctance to ask questions after the presentations, there is not enough agro if you like to ensure that Rail gets more funding for infrastructure the Road Lobby is more proactive politically and lobbying acumen to ensure that rail has just the same lobbying capability as the Trucking Industry. Should the Rail Industry Head Hunt Managers from Road Industry, also perhaps the Unions in the Rail Industry should look at their role to ensure that growth is assured.

Page 24 Barriers

The major barriers is the Rail Infrastructure is restricting growth of Rail freight in NSW. Track Capacity and Intermodal Freight Facilities Albury to Brisbane appears to be the barrier.

The Association suggests the locomotive fleet in the main is old ex NSW Freight Corp The acquisition of new locomotives that are dual power Diesel / Electric electric under the Overhead. (This requires NSW to Upgrade of the electric overhead in the Sydney Basin)

The Association is fully aware the 48-class Branch line Locomotives are in need of replacement without this initiative the Branch lines will close and thus put pressure on the local roads and put this cost on the Local Shires and Councils

The Association is very aware of the noise, emissions from locomotives are a concern of the Blue Mountains Community, and hence the locomotives should have the same standards that are being applied to trucks such as Euro 4. We believes Euro 5 is being considered.

National Standards.

Telecom / Telstra has had National Standards in accordance with CCIR International Standards this ensured that a National Network was installed and was able to be used National without the issue we have had different Rail Gauges in different States

This also was an advantage as the Equipment, Maintenance was maintained to a National Standard Training Engineering approach was Nation Wide.

The Rail Industry should have been following the same without the various different standards etc. It certainly was a more cost effective as the Manufacture was supplying to the Nation as a whole.

The Rail Industry should collaborate as a benefit to the Nation as a whole The approach should be “ Are we serving the Australian public to the best of our ability if so we will gain support from the Community and the profits will be forthcoming.


The lack of apprentices, cadet engineers, etc has been a problem for many years it is hopeful that the Industry will be more proactive in this area TAFE and Universities and other training areas should be improved. When State rail closed the training schools, we lost a training base that served the Industry very well.

Auditing Procedures Total Quality Management.

The Association Members have had experience in this field and recommend that Companies, Corporations should have Auditing Systems that ensure the Quality of Service is Customer Service Auditing Reporting direct to the Board to ensure this occurs.

Communication and Integration.

It is just common sense that communication between all branches, divisions should be communicating; the practice should be everyone is part of the whole and essential to delivering the service and products meets the customers needs. There has always been different fiefdoms have been part of rail for many years.

Queensland Rail has been vertical integrated for many years. When we observe Queensland rail moving freight Interstate and setting up Modal Interchanges in Yennora and Moorebank in NSW, they must have something going for QR.

Intermodal Hubs.

The rail industry must take a proactive roll in planning for intermodal hubs it is obvious in Eastern Creek precinct we observe trucking companies setting up freight interchange without any rail access is most disappointing.

There is another concern is that when the Great Western Highway is finally upgraded from Penrith to Lithgow the pressure for B doubles and B Triples could be an outcome.

“On Time”

Over years, we have observed that On Time theme has been used for the delivery of freight Interstate and Intrastate. The question has this arose for the following reasons.

  1. The shift of “Back up Stock” to the manufacturer who maintains stock holding area?
  2. The Store holder becomes slack in stock control.
  3. Has put the pressure on truck drivers to drive dangerously speed etc with the resultant accidents and deaths and injuries ( This should be investigated)

The Association supports freight on rail and with infrastructure improvement we hope to see improved operational times for passenger services.


I thank the Commission for this opportunity to comment on such a vital issue

Yours faithfully
Paul Trevaskis Hon Sect CLIT