Saturday, December 13, 2008

German Rail

While I am spending a year studying in Germany, I shall research as much as I can about the railways there.
How they are marketed, the cost of high-speed tracks, freight options, the optimum frequency-cost balance, and anything else that comes to mind.

It must be kept in mind that DB is a private company, and some records may be difficult to get from them. But I will try.

Anything interesting I find will be posted here, but I expect this to be infrequent. This blog is in pseudo-recess until Feb '10.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Airport Line

After closer observation of the Tonsley Line, and an acceptance of how the rail system is at the moment, I have come to the conclusion that a branch after the Mile End station following roughly James Congdon Drive, and then crossing South Road (read: passing over a new underpass) immediately south of Albert St. (To be renamed Albert Tce in recognition of its new status along side a railway.)

Now, with tumbling house prices and an economy in recession, is the time to make these investments in our long-term future.

Seaford Extension

Ah, the trials and tribulations. For some reason, the State Govt. wants to put the bridge at arguably the widest point on the Onkaparinga, while the Council organised an independent report which found an alternative and much cheaper place to build the bridge. The State Govt. has shown no signs of acknowledging the Council's report, let alone acting on it.

An extension to Seaford, Aldinga and even Victor Harbor is only to be desired- tourism and commuters can only benefit. An alternative route to Willunga would also not go astray, but would either have to transfer into Noarlunga line trains, or the route from Noarlunga to Adelaide would have to become actually independent from the road system: the volume of trains would otherwise mean, for example Cross Rd, would be closed most of the time. (I have long thought Cross Road should pass under the rail line at South Rd- then you have three significant arterials moving independent of each other.)

You may point out the inconsistency of that compared to my position on the Anzac Hwy/South Rd intersection, but the two are fundamentally different: the Cross Road underpass would allow an increase in **rail** traffic, whereas the Anzac Hwy underpass allows, presupposes, encourages an increase in **road** traffic.

In any case, it is to be hoped that the Federal Govt. sees Seaford of worthy of money, because in this climate where even AAMI is neglected, I have diminishing hopes for a rail extension.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Allan Scott

Yesterday a man died who will continue to play a large role in my life, even as I have never met him.
Allan Scott, trucking magnate, was the man I wanted to make poor by the increasing use of rail freight in interstate transportation. While never doubting for a moment the man's motives and good nature, it must be observed that he presided over unprecedented expenditure on road infrastructure at a time when environmental science (and economics!) would contra-indicate.
Trucks cause by far the most damage to highways, and highways must be built extra strong to withstand the stress placed upon them by frighters. Had Scott been a rail magnate, not only would Australia be spending less on its highways (which is a good thing, given their length!) but our CO2 emissions would be significantly lower, too. Road freight causes a large percentage of our greenhouse gas emissions- rail freight causes much less, even on a tonne/km basis.

So while I mourn the man, I hope that his legacy is a Port Adelaide Premiership and a fantastic Spring Racing Carnival, rather than an enduring reliance on motor transportation for Australia's ever-increasing interstate freight needs.

Train windows

It really bugs me that TransAdelaide is so proud of itself for finally replacing the windows in the 3000-class train carriages. In a private enterprise, this sort of presentation and commitment to customer service would be paramount. When I worked at Hungry Jack's, if a customer left a tray on their table after leaving, we had precisely 2 minutes to clean it up, as a matter of policy. It was immaterial if they had been the only person in the store: the place must be kept clean. Case in point: windows were cleaned professionally twice a week, and maintained by staff all day, everyday.
The trumpeting of this "upgrade" is disturbing spin on what is actually a backlog of basic maintenance work.

Trams and Advertising

I have spent months considering this, and have come to a conclusion, which I back today, tomorrow and for ever. I like advertising on trams.
Which is to say, I do not have a problem with it. Since the decision was made to allow advertising on the new trams, letters appear regularly in the Advertiser deploring this crass commercialisation of the public transport system. The arguments include that it makes it difficult to see into the trams, that they are a tourist attraction, and that they mess up the streetscape.
I genuinely don't know which is the dumbest argument. Why do you need to see into the trams? What streetscape would that be: King William St with its tall grey squares, or Jetty Road with its (advertising-covered) buses? And for the love of all that is logical: trams are not a friggin' tourist attraction! They should be a basic part of every major city's public transport infrastructure- have been since they were invented. I can count on the fingers of one stump the number of people who have flown from Japan to Melbourne to marvel at this modern wonder, which, incidentally, are less comfortable and more covered in advertising than our own meagre offerings.
Further, that trams be exempt from interstate advertising, as Eldert Hoebee of Torrens Park would wish in today's Advertiser, is practically a trade embargo within a nation! A ridiculous idea, as anyone studying economics would be able to tell you.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Recent Discoveries

Since I moved to Ascot Park, I have noticed an old tram corridor which crosses Marion Rd at Mooringe St. I assume a lot of other people knew it was there, but sometimes you have to see these things for yourself before they make sense. While there are obviously other priorities, such as the electrification of current tracks, and expanding into lesser-serviced areas, I would like to see this tram line in use again in my lifetime.

I also have been thinking a lot about Adelaide Station, and how it's a dead-end. I'd like to see a Melbourne-style ring, but that could perhaps be part of a CBD subway. In any case, through-stations are much more efficient than dead-ends.

I love that they build Wayville Station each year for the Royal Show. But I wonder they don't build a permanent one and use it on all expo days. (Like Cheltenham Park Race Course used to be only on race days) I fully support the shuttle, though. Brilliant idea.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

South Road Tram Flyway

It is a really, really stupid idea to have an on-demand pedestrian crossing rather than widen the tram flyway enough to have a bike path through it.

I, for one, will spend its second day crossing South Road incessantly. If they haven't programmed the lights properly, traffic might bank up further than during peak hour!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Tram Extension

I fully support the tram extension, this is known. I wish they would build more to North Adelaide, Norwood and Unley. This is also not a surprise. But there is one thing they did wrong on the tram extension.
Pirie St stop is as far away from Waymouth St, yet it gets no mention. Rundle Mall stop is also Hindley St station, yet there is no mention. I think this should be rectified, and signs changed to show both names. If Victoria Squ can be known by its aboriginal name, then both streets should be equally noted further north.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

TODs and the All-You-Can-Drink Theory

"Transport-Oriented Developments" are high-density developments within walking distance of rail (or other) public transport. They are the centrepeice of the government's new urban development policy, and are to be applauded. They are, in my view, the first steps towards a more European-style of development, higher-density living and a more public-transport oriented society.
Having said that, public transport will not be effective if it is used only during the two peaks- it will be costly and inefficient to use all that space and capital for a service that runs essentially twice a day. People need to begin to consider the possibility that PT will replace, to a large degree, the use of cars. Not just augment traditional traffic flows or assist at the margins, when poorer people drop out of the car market for lack of funds, but actually to replace, significantly, cars as a form of transport.

While on the subject, the state budget included an announcement that registration fees for vehicles are again going up. I would argue this is negative policy, and will, at least to a certain degree, counter-act the Government's good PT policy.
Cars ought to be cheap to own but expensive to run. Everyone should know how to drive, and everyone will have need, sometimes, to drive. Perhaps you slept in and there's an important meeting in 20 minutes. Perhaps it's a Sunday night and you want to go to Church. Perhaps it's a Wednesday night and you need to cross town to go to a friend's birthday gathering. For this reason, cars ought to be cheap to own. This means low registration, competition among sellers, low stamp duty etc., etc..
But the price of petrol ought to be high, representing the cost of each additional journey. Then people will begin to ask, "is this journey necessary, could I make it on public transport?" It might be worth saving the job to spend $20 to drive into and park in town that day. It might be worth $10 to visit your friend on her 30th birthday- just in time to watch her cut the cake. It's all about free choice and market forces. If the price of petrol is high, people will consider making the journey by bus or train, leaving more time.
But if people are committed, but way of expensive registration, exorbitant taxes and a variety of other costs, to a year's worth of driving, PT will be less attractive at any given price of fuel.

So, Mr. Foley. Drop your registration increases and instead slap a little extra on the petrol excise. Use the funds to pay for your PT improvements, and everybody wins.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Budget

Last night was budget night. And a large, ridiculously so, sum of money has been set aside for transport.
I shall get back to you on this: it looks, on the surface, as though the government is hearing its people's cries for trains. I am looking forward to the future.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Exciting news in the paper today: FreightLink is in trouble, and is to be sold!
FreightLink, as I understand it, owns/operates the track from just north of Adelaide to Darwin. Aparently it's having trouble paying back the money it borrowed to build the track, so even though transport is doing well, the arm of the company which administers the track is losing money. But I say to that: there are tracks in Queensland which, 120 years after they were built, continue to carry grain from farms to ports. Apparently rail is a very, very long term investment.
The Australian tips Queensland Rail as a key stakeholder in the company, should the private sector indeed step in to bail out FreightLink. It also says that QR is branding itself as a national carrier, so I'm thinking a visit to Brisbane may be in order. I want to have ultimate responsibility for a company which runs all of Australia's rail operations. I will purchase shares in QR if it is a listed company (fingers crossed) and I am also looking out for the other companies named in the article on page 19-20 of today's Australian, and will look into purchasing some of their stock too.
Life is getting exciting!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Trams and the wet

The big issue in the paper tomorrow will be that trains were unable to operate in rain this morning. Which is fair.
There are lots of legitimate concerns about the choice of tram that was made: narrow despite wide roads, uncouplable despite large variation in traffic volume, and apparently we got the cheap version which doesn't include a sand box to made tracks less slippery in the rail.
I know we live in Adelaide, but it does sometimes rain and that's when you need the trams the most!
I hope that when I become manager of Australia's rail system, I take notice of these lessons and do things properly.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


So I recieved an unsolicited e-mail this morning from one Brian Leedham which fills me with hope and expectation. In it, he told me he was interested in my blog, in what I am banging on about, and has similar ideas himself. There is a link to his site on the edge of this page, "South Australian Rail"
While I am concentrating (perhaps too much, given my preferred mode of urban development) on rail lines within the metropolitan region, he has plans concerning the Barossa Valley and rural rail generally. I think we may complement each other, and I hope that I will be able to meet him and Trevor at some point in the near future.
I was just discussing with Sandy yesterday how hard it is to drive a wedge into the rail industry and build profitably from that. He suggested that I need a few friends, either on board or as silent partners, to set up a company and get into the business. It sounds like I'm part of the way there!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Building Australia Fund

It had better include, at the least, a high-speed rail link from Canberra to Sydney. I have lots of other plans for it, and I hope some of it would go towards purchasing houses between the city and the airport so the land can be made a railway.

As Sandy so eloquently texted:
BUILDING AUSTRALIA FUND? Better get to work on some plans!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

City <-> Airport Route

I can't get pictures yet, but when I do, I'll add a link. This is the proposed route of my City-Airport link, with stations included. It would require the purchase of around 120 properties plus land north of Scotland Rd, as well as getting permission from the Airport and some pedestrian foot paths for safety etc..
All in all, a massive development, I know.


Mile End


From GoogleEarth, there appears to be a space between the stadium and the outdoor courts which, with a pedestrian underpass, would allow for a station. It would serve sports fans, netballers, and people working in the nearby industries.

Richmond Oval
How precisely it interacts with James Congdon Dve and South Rd is a tricky one, but essentially the station would be on the NW cnr of the oval, on the south side of Albert St. This would serve footballers, local residents and match-goers.

Cowandilla Pmy
I would prefer, in this order: Milner Rd underpass, Milner Rd being blocked and renamed on one side or a Milner Rd level crossing. The train would continue on the South side of the drain reserve (which would, at the same time, be beautified similar to what is occurring at Breakout Creek) and stop approximately equal to the western end of Fenner Ave so that the kiddies don't have far to walk and the librarians don't have far to walk.

Marion Rd
My preference is N of Craig St (E side) but I could easily be swayed to south of Guy St (W side). In either case an underpass is absolutely necessary. Space, I feel, will not allow a fly way, and the slope from a flyway into a creek on the northern edge will not be possible. Although it might help with flood prevention, who knows. Anyway the route is fairly straight forward, and Weaver Ave would in future form a T-junction with Craig St.

?Morley St?
As the train line continues toward Export Park, then western end of Morley St sppears to be a good place to put an extra station. However, this would be subject to cost-benefit analysis, and I suspect it would not be viable just now. However, land should be acquired now for the possibility.

Export Park
From Morley St, head due west to the southern end of Clifford and swing north. The station would be at Comley St- fairly convenient for people seeing of friends and families who don't want to park, people who work at Export Park and, if pathways were made available and safe, local residents.

[Spur line] [Terminal Foyer/Hotel Lobby]
Not part of the main line, this would be a dedicated track for a dedicated City-Airport express train painted and fitted out specifically for tourists rather than commuters. I'm thinking something along the lines of the KI Ferry with televisions playing a short tape about South Australia (Episodes of Postcards?), information booklets and hotel location information. It would be attractive, and the station would be actually inside the terminal or the hotel lobby for ease of access.

?Business Park?
Meanwhile, on the main track, it would kep going north through Export Park and run parallel with Sir Donald Bradman Drive to a station close to the intersection of that road with Tapleys Hill Road. This would support the new Business Park and local residents. It is in question marks because I don't know how far away the Business Park is, or where it's at with planning etc., and I don't want to pre-emptively put the station where their is going to be a building.

Harbour Town
The train would then continue south along Tapleys Hill Road to Harbour Town and, for the time being, terminate there. However, this is the beginning of a long-term plan to have trains run not only to and from the city, but straight up and down the coast, too.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


In testimony to how important this is to me, it is my first procrastination tool of choice. Tonight's topic is freight, and I refer throughout to an article, "Track and Ruin" in The Weekend Australian, pg. 25.
The gist of the argument is, Australia is making the same mistake twice. Just as we failed to capitalise on the coal boom (fuelled partly, we must not forget, but the constrained supply of Australian coal), so we are likely to miss out on a wheat boom because grain cannot be moved from the farms to the ships fast enough.
There are many issues here. Firstly, grain supply in Australia is irregular. There are boom years and bad years. This means much capacity is lying idle some or even most of the time. Apparently a lot of the infrastructure is old- like, 1890's old. Moreover, there are two guages in Victorian grain fields alone, and 22 Australia-wide. The traditional operator (the one with all the know-how I want to have) is Pacific National, which recently pulled out because the business was no longer profitable. There has been systematic underinvestment in infrastructure for years, apparently 12 decades' worth.

It's easy to see these problems from an armchair (or snuggled up in bed with a hot water bottle) and pass judgement, but I have (as ever) a few opinions to add:
Pacific National was short-sighted to pull out just before a projected boom in wheat prices. The cost of transport becomes relatively less, even as absolute costs grow. It could have been profitable.
The government should be investing more (or subsidising private investment) in rail infrastructure. I appreciate that different guages are better for different terrains, but this is ridiculous. I travelled the same train from Budapest to Karlsruhe without once changing. I assume there is some variation in terrain, yet somehow they managed to agree on a guage.
Once it gets to the ports, there are problems with overcrowding there, too. Even at the current rate, the ports are overstocked and choked up- imagine if the rail were operating efficiently! I have no designs on Australia's ports, but I hope whoever does own them manages them better when I'm in charge of Australia's rail freight.
Unlike the coal boom, which is at least partly caused by Australia's inability to supply demand, the wheat boom is completely separate and has nothing to do with us. So a lack of export facility is a really dumb thing. This means we should be doing everything in our power- re-laying century-old line, building new tracks, building new hoppers, exploring more efficient locomotives- everything- to capitalise.

Let me reiterate. I aim for nothing less than to be the owner-operator (personally or through a company) of all of Australia's rail infrastructure. I am willing to take all the risks and make all the sacrifices necessary.
All you have to do is walk to the train station and hop on the band wagon.

Northern Suburbs Rail

Obviously I have been concentrating on the western suburbs so far because that is what I know. However, people have been pressing me with plans for the northern suburbs, and the Facebook group, "Adelaide Needs New Trains" is dead-set keen on rail link to the Barossa so that people can live the rural life and still hop on a train and work/play in the city.
This is precisely the end to which I work, and I urge all readers with a half-baked, uncosted, selfish plan to build an express route from their town to the city to send it to me. If I am to make seriously useful policy, I need to know where people are going, when and how often.
Your thoughts on ticketing and other, non-timetable issues which affect your decision to take public transport or not are also humbly requested.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Company Progress

Today I took big steps in making myself known.
I joined many Facebook groups, and put a link to this blog on every one. (They all have to do with public transport, it's OK!)
I spoke to more people at HJs- Scott still wants his monorail, but when the train is built, he'll get over it.
I decided that I'm going to speak at H2One about it, too.
Decided to make a concept sketch and send it to as many people as my uni printing quota will allow me.

I was speaking to Jacqui this morning, and it turns out that under 'hobbies', I should write, 'expanding public transport'.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tram Congestion and Level Crossings

There has been much made recently of a couple of passengers fainting on peak hour morning trams, allegedly as a result of the stifling atmosphere caused by the crowded conditions. Below is my proposal to fix this admittedly significant problem- congestion.
So first we must identify the problem.
The problem is over-crowding. A combination of poor roads (particularly South/ANZAC Hwy at the moment), good publicity (do your bit for the environment) and service improvements (now takes you all the way to where you want to go) has left the tram system overwhelmed and under prepared.

What is the solution?
Make the trams longer (they're not linkable, but the government is allegedly looking into how to lengthen them) or get more trams (at present not possible because boom gates are not allowed to be down more than they already are).
The first is obvious and should be taken care of as a matter of urgency. Additionally, Memo Ministry of Tranport: all future trams must be couplable, as this makes life much easier for everyone.
The second is more interesting. It suggests a natural limit to services. But this is a fallacy: it just means that the tram must be, as far as possible, which is to say completely, independent of the road system. No major road should have a level crossing, and minor roads should be either blocked, or the government should accept that during peak hour, the boom gates will be down more often than not. If the trams were separated from Morphett Rd and others, it could cross there almost permanently during peak hour without disrupting the traffic flow along those other roads.

In summary, the short-term solution to tram overcrowding is to lengthen the trams. In the long term, the government must make a point of completely separating the rail and road transport systems so that the two can operate independently, and increase frequency of train services. This means an expensive infrastructure development programme, dotting Adelaide with under- and overpasses. Another major problem is the Park Tce level crossing on the Grange/Outer Harbour routes.

Fix it now, Minister Conlon!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Proposed Addressees

Here is a list (complete at the time of viewing: I will update this post rather than create new ones in the future) of people to whom I will send a copy of my plan for the rail link to the airport, when I have completed it.

My parents.
My sister.

Federal and state leaders of government.
Federal and state ministers for transport and infrastructure.
All sitting federal and state politicians along the proposed route.
All sitting federal and state politicians along the proposed route extentions firstly to Glenelg and Grange, and then to Sellicks Beach and Outer Harbour.
All local councils along the proposed route and route extentions.

Other Interested Parties:
Southern Cross Railway.
Broadspectrum Oval.
Cowandilla Primary.
Marion Rd businesses.
The Adelaide Airport Corporation.

Other bodies:
The Property Council of Australia (SA Branch).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Airport Rail Link

I have decided upon a project for my Resource and Environmental Economics major essay: it will be a cost benefit analysis of a rail line from Keswick to the airport.
I have decided that rail, being independent of roads, is preferable to light rail, which is more efficient than cars but operates on the same infrastructure and therefore stops at traffic lights, etc., but that both are better than buses, which are a stop-gap measure while you're fixing rail lines or building new ones.
Keep an eye here for a detailed proposal, coming soon, to build a train line from Keswick to the airport and beyond. It will come in the form of a letter, which I will post to TransAdelaide, Charles Sturt, West Torrens and Adelaide City Councils, the premier, the transport minister, the local, state and federal tourism organisations, members of state and federal parliament in all seats through which the line will run, Adelaide Airport Corporation and anyone else I can think of. It'll be fun :D

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Level Crossings

Level Crossings kill. People get trapped on them, dumb people drive in front of trains, in country areas, people don't look properly and get run over. Besides which, trains should always have right of way, but that shouldn't have to mean cars stop.
Against cars though I am.
But cleveRail will endeavour to build a city without level crossings. Main roads will pass over or under, and minor roads will simply stop. They will then either be renamed on one side, or, as in Goodwood, "Essex St Nth" and "Essex St Sth" will eventuate.
A city where the rail and road systems are completely independent of one another, and where, even at night, trains are actually faster than cars at moving you from A to B. That is my vision for Adelaide/Australia.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Tale of Two Modes of Transportation

The Airport wants to build a hotel. I was at first skeptical of the demand for through-passangers at Adelaide, I see us as an end-station, rather than a transit airport. But Jas convinced me that there is demand enough to justify it.
Miners, principally. And their attendant beaurocrats shuttling about from Perth to mines in central South Australia- their flights are often early-morning or late-evening, and so a place of rest at the airport would be most welcome.
And of course it will suck some tourist trade, it will be promoted that way since the Airport Corp. stands to gain significantly from premium services on site. But I still think a better (rail) link from the airport to the city is necessary- the current tram could be extended along North Tce, down West Tce and then out to the Airport via Sir Donald Bradman Drv. This will improve access and replace the truly inadequate bus 'service' that currently runs.
Of course, my preferred option is to build an actual train line, probably turning West south of Mile End station and running parallel to Richmond Rd right into the airport. It would stop at IKEA, the airport terminal/hotel and then terminate at Harbour Town, unless I could convince people to make it go to West- or Henley Beach and terminate there.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Getting Rich

I spoke about my plans yesterday in a German oral entitled, "Was taete ich mit meinem Reichtum, und wie kaeme ich daran, reich zu sein?"
Out tutor expressed a concern that I might not get rich building rail, and that a much better way to go about it would be to go into politics and let others go broke providing the environment with a good rail system. But I am certain in my own mind that getting rich is possible. She didn't think that DB was actually a successful company. But I'm sure they are, even if it requires government subsidies or relatively few services compared to when it was a public company.
I'll just campaign for better subsidies to support a public-service similar system.

As though it were that easy.

My latest idea for the tram is extending it to West Tce, down to Sir Donald Bradmad Drive and then terminating at the airport. (With stops at Export Park, Harbour Town and the new industrial park as well as the terminal itself.)
Then you would make both this and the Glenelg service terminate at Adelaide Train Station. Then you extend the tram around to South Tce and Hutt St/East Tce and have it connect back up. You make this ring tram free and the others paid, even within the city. Stops all this confusion with shuttle trams and whether you have to buy a ticket and when.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Competition

So today I read two interesting things. Sir Rod Eddington today proposed $18b worth of road and rail infrastructure for Melbourne, finally extending the lines beyond the 1950's teminuses. Taking ten-fifteen years to build, it will be a while before anything actually happens. But it will be interesting to watch.
On the same page, a private concern, "Australian Transport and Energy Corridor Ltd." has announced it wants exclusive rights to build a railway from Toowoomba and Moree. This would form part of a rail link from Melbourne to Brisbane.

I'm worried other people are doing what I wanted to do. But I'm glad someone's doing it. And I'm hopeful I'll be able to buy it off them in time, and my company will be the one to own all of Australia's railways.

On the other hand, that particular rail project (the one from Melbourne to Brisbane) has been on the cards for over 100 years, so it's not really desperate. Or maybe it is?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Deaths/Passenger Kilometre (& Richard Branson)

I was involved in a car crash today, so my next big thing will be safety: rail has a better deaths/passenger kilometre ratio than either cars or planes. I had a look at the ABS website, and I can't find any stats for Australia. The ones I found for Europe and America on the web are from an unreliable source- I might utilise JSTOR for this purpose, I'm sure academic papers have been written on the subject. I'm also interested in things like how much CO2 that works out to be per person, the cost per kilometre, the size of the smallest place to have a station, the size of the largest place not to, etc., etc..

In other news, I learn from NewsRadio today that Virgin owner Richard Branson also owns BritishRail, or some British lines or something, and that he has been invited by the Premier of NSW to fix the rail problems in Sydney.
To that Goliath, this David says: HANDS OFF! But not in a rude way. Apparently the guy tries to make up for his CO2 emissions from planes by promoting rail, too. So he's not all bad. Besides, he could be an invaluable investor.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I wanted to publish a comment I posted on the Independent Weekly's website in response to a letter to the editor of that publication about a suggested tramline extention to Thebaton. If I find it (and I will continue to search) I shall do so.

In other tram-related news, when visiting my parents yesterday, I was given a copy of Portside Messenger, whose front page story was a suggested tramline extention. Holdfast Bay, West Torrens, Charles Sturt and Adelaide City join Port Adelaide Enfield in pushing for a tram to replace the Port train line, extending down Sempaphore Rd and then to Outer Harbour.
This of course forms the beginning of what I planned to be cleveRail's very first new line: from Outer Harbour to Sellick's Beach along the coast.
I strongly support the move, despite it encroaching on what was going to be flagship cleveRail territory. Perhaps, by the time they're done hammering out the deal, cleveRail will exist and be in a position to bid for the right to build. It will likely be many years yet.

A Letter to the Minister for Transport

Here, a copy of my e-mail to Mr. Pat Conlon, minister for Transport, dated 10.3.8:

Dear Mr. Conlon,
I would like to show my unreserved support for your position on the building of an ULTra rail on Port Rd. Please be aware of this when making further policy decisions on this issue in the future. However, having said that, your Liberal counterpart, Mr. McFetridge has an identical position, and articulates a genuine policy alternative: more mass transport.
While the ULTra rail functions essentially as a car (if you built one rail, you'd build four more before the decade was out, just like you do with South Road- a project for which you do not have my unreserved support), mass transport is an efficient way of moving lots of people from where they are to where they want to be.
While cars may eventually be battery powered, and buses solar, there remains the physical presence of so many vehicles. Observe America: even if the cars were carbon-neutral, they would still need multi-lane highways criss-crossing the nation.
Multi-lane highways are expensive to build and maintain, and rely similarly on products derived from oil, of which there is a finite amount. Rail, on the other hand, represents a far more efficient mode of transport, capable of moving large loads of people and goods long distances at low cost and relatively high speed. To show you how seriously I consider this, I would like you to be the first officially to be informed of my intended career:

In the future, your office will table from my yet-to-be-founded company a range of public transport solutions which will solve many of these issues. Without giving too much away, or allowing you to steal my thunder, they include a tram link to all the UniSA campuses (simply as a starting point, rather than a desire to unite them all), down various arterial and commercial roads from the city, and a rail link from Outer Harbour to Sellicks Beach, stopping at all the main suburban beaches on the way. At a national level, all mainland capital cities will be connected by high-speed rail links, reducing air traffic significantly, and helping Australia to meet its post-Kyoto commitments.

This is to say nothing of the freight and tourism arms of the company, which will manage the present-day Southern Cross Rail routes as well as other, purpose-built scenic railways, and reduce the amount of Diesel burnt between Adelaide and Melbourne specifically, and around Australia generally, by at least half. The company will be headquartered in Adelaide, hopefully in a new (yet-to-be-designed) building in Victoria Square, and be entirely carbon-neutral from its first year of operation.

I appreciate your time in reading this. Be aware that I am at heart a Labor voter, and I look forward in five to ten years time to discuss this matter with you or your Labor follower.



Saturday, March 22, 2008

Urban Meltdown

Grandpa recommended the book to me, sometime last year. I recently purchased it, and I am currently reading it so that I can lend it to Sandy, who is helping me make a tilt at the ACC in 2010.
Urban Meltdown, by Clive Doucet.
The book fills me with hope in two ways: it shows me many of the arguments I can make to support the reintroduction of rails to Adelaide/Australia, and it fills me with hope that they can be made to pay, and it is only unfair advantage to the motor companies which caused rail to go under, all those decades ago.
On the other hand, it shows me just how significant the control of the motor companies is, and how high a mountain it really is I need to scale in order to beat them.
I am only one person, but if people like Murdoch, Scott, Fox and Packer can do it, so can I.


Sunday, March 16, 2008


cleveRail is the concept name of the company which I imagine to be a Deutsche Bahn-style commuter, freight and tourist rail company in Australia. I will be CEO and managing director, if possible with a controlling stake.
For the idea I am indebted to John Brookes, who helped me, on my recent holiday to visit him in Canberra, to crystalise my ambitions in this area. It was he who first suggested my job description would be "Rail Tycoon", and the idea kind of grew from there. There is a room in Bruce Hall Upper East which will always have a special meaning to me and cleveRail.
The name came to me on a later leg of the same holiday- this time while hiking to Bushman's Bay near Portsea in Melbourne's south. I was staying with my great uncle and aunt, and we were spending a glorious Sunday afternoon communing with Nature.