Fw: Fri.22.3.19 daily digest, part 3
  Roderick Smith


That backfired: still truncated. 

Light rail driver back on the job after running red light March 22, 2019. 3 comments
A light rail driver who was suspended after running a red light and nearly colliding with a car is back on the job, Canberra Metro has confirmed.
Meanwhile new footage has emerged of a Canberra driver illegally parked on the light rail tracks during a red light.
Canberra’s light rail is set to launch on April 20. Credit:Karleen Minney
Both the light rail consortium and Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris are urging people to be careful around the tracks, ahead of the start of services on April 20.
Ms Fitzharris said "people are really taking notice of light rail now" with testing occurring along the entire Civic to Gungahlin route and a major community awareness program going on.
However The Canberra Times has been supplied with video of a driver sitting on the light rail tracks at Mitchell on Thursday afternoon waiting to turn right.
Witness Dion Kirkland said the driver sat there for the entire light cycle. Stopping on the light rail tracks can result in a fine of up to $3000.
Ms Fitzharris said it was a "big change" and would take some time for motorists to become familiar with light rail.
"Please be alert as you’re travelling on near or across the light rail route, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists but also for motorists as well," Ms Fitzharris said.
But it's not just car drivers behaving badly around light rail. Canberra Metro chief executive Glenn Stockton said the driver who was under investigation for running a red light and almost taking out an Uber driver was back at work.
A car stops on a red light on the light rail tracks at Mitchell.Credit:Dion Kirkland
“That driver went through some retesting, some recertification and that driver is now back in service. I’m confident in the driver’s ability," Mr Stockton said.
Canberra Metro is also looking for more drivers ahead of the light rail launch.
A Transport Canberra spokesman said Canberra Metro Operations was seeking to "complement its existing team of trained drivers who have achieved their driving competency certificates with a small number of new trainee drivers"..
"This is a regular part of managing our human resources as we approach the commencement of light rail services," he said.
Meanwhile, the light rail project is likely to gain accreditation just before its public launch next month.
Asked whether it was a good idea to announce the start date before project accreditation was finalised, Mr Stockton said that was "a question for government" but it was always expected accreditation would be granted "just prior to going to service".
"As I said we need to ensure that we've gone through the testing and commissioning process because that allows the accreditation authorities to have confidence that the process has been completed," Mr Stockton said.
Mr Stockton also said there were no impediments to achieving accreditation although there was "there’s a tremendous amount of work still occurring along the project".
"A lot of it is finalisation of elements along the alignment so they’ll be works to complete the landscaping, finalise curb and gutter intersection alignments as well but we’re also continuing our testing and commissioning," he said.
Ms Fitzharris said a "responsible government always has contingency plans" and the public would be advised if the date ha to be pushed back.
"What the certification process will provide to the government and the Canberra community assurance that this is a safe light rail project and one that will provide enormous benefits for years to come," she said.
Ms Fitzharris will also meet with the federal minister for the national capital and external territories about light rail to Woden in the coming weeks..
Asked whether Canberra Metro was in talks with the government about also building the second stage of light rail, Mr Stockton said their focus was delivering stage one.
"At the appropriate time the government will take their own decisions around stage two," Mr Stockton said.
Related Article Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris for her first ride on Canberra's light rail. We got a sneak peek at riding Canberra's light rail

Frankston trains resume after major delays near Southland
Herald Sun March 22, 2019
Trains have resumed after commuters were hit with major delays on the Frankston line. Generic picture: Chris Eastman
Trains have resumed on the Frankston line after an earlier incident shut down the line near Southland, as footy fans rush to make the first bounce at the MCG
Commuters faced major delays ahead of the clash between Collingwood and Geelong tonight after a person was hit by a train near Southland railway station.
Buses replaced trains on the Frankston line between Moorabbin and Mordialloc after the incident just before 4pm.
Metro Trains reported about 6.40pm that services resumed on the line.
Something big going down on Bay Road near Southland. An ambulance, 3 buses, multiple police cars and a crime scene van all parked in a row. And now a fire truck has arrived. pic.twitter.com/cQMa4eDscu — George Ivanoff  March 22, 2019
Frankston line: Buses are replacing trains Moorabbin - Mordialloc (a person hit by a train).  40 buses are currently in operation with an extended journey time of up to 90 minutes.
More details https://t.co/9k2eekuBcm pic.twitter.com/OGryHR7bQJ — Metro March 22, 2019
Earlier, Metro Trains spokesman Andrew Nelson said passengers were being warned to plan ahead and expect delays.
He urged fans travelling to the MCG to take special care in getting into the city.
“With extended travel times expected, passengers are being urged to use alternative transport options to get to the MCG.”

Geelong fast rail backed by Andrews Government but more cash needed after PM’s $2 billion March 22, 2019
video: Bullet train between Melbourne and Geelong
Scott Morrison is open to upping his $2 billion contribution to a radical plan to run bullet trains between Geelong and Melbourne as the state government warns it could cost as much as $15 billion.
Victoria has cautiously welcomed the election-eve Budget commitment, revealed by the  Herald Sun, to slash travel times between the CBD and the state’s second biggest city to just 32 minutes.
But it is expected to take a decade to complete the overhaul, with the state government identifying several expensive projects which must be built first to make Mr Morrison’s fast rail vision a reality.
Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said: “We welcome more infrastructure funding for Victoria and the federal government’s interest in this project — but the funding put up by the Prime Minister won’t deliver what he’s promising.”
She said Victoria was “already well and truly committed to delivering fast rail for Geelong” after kicking off a $50 million planning process last year.
Scott Morrison and his federal colleagues at Geelong station. Picture: Alan Barber
Early work by the state government shows the total bill could be between $10 billion and $15 billion, with the immediate priority to electrify a metropolitan rail line to Wyndham Vale so regional rail services can run on a separate line.
Authorities would also need to remove 14 level crossings between Southern Cross station and Geelong, tipped to cost almost $2 billion.
New electric trains to run to and from Geelong would cost at least several hundred million dollars as well, while further track duplications and station upgrades would also be expensive.
The other main priority to enable fast regional trains is improving rail access from Sunshine to the CBD, which is being investigated as plans are developed for the $13 billion rail link to Melbourne Airport.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Daniel Andrews earlier this month.. Picture: Stefan Postles (AAP)
A massive tunnel under Melbourne’s inner western suburbs is one option being considered.
Mr Morrison said the $2 billion announcement was “a serious investment” but added: “If the costs are greater than that, then we’ll have to address that at the time.”
Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said trains to Geelong could run up to 200km/h, with some express services and others to stop at stations along the way.
Geelong Melbourne fast train art HS
Melbourne to Geelong in half an hour under PM’s rail plan
But the state government is understood to believe a service that takes 35-45 minutes with slightly slower trains will be more feasible.
The federal and state governments have already co-operated on major regional rail upgrades, after patronage nearly doubled over the last decade with similar growth forecast by 2030.
* Travel reviews at least state that the journalist was a guest of the airline.  This opinion piece didn't state the journalist's Liberal affiliation.  The project is ill conceived and useless, and has been spruiked with useless figures.  Geelong platform to a remote Melbourne Southern Cross platform is only part of a commuter journey.  The proposal won't 'slash' travel times: that part comes down from 45 min to 32 for some people some of the time.  A trivial improvement for excess money.