Regional Railway Development Investigation
Currently myself and a rail associate of mine are putting together documentation and evidence and intend to publish such in the ever-growing push for Country Rail in South Australia.

Currently the title of this documentation is "Regional Railway Development Investigation".

The title comes from a little side-project of mine which was called the Regional Rail Development. It was basically a bunch of ideas put into documentation form and it sat there for a while, until now.

The Development part refers to this, as well as a now wider collective group of ideas and documentation in relation to the push for regional rail, which also includes the various petitions and surveys that have been conducted in the past and still are being conducted to this very day.

The Investigation refers to the investigations that are also being conducted about why regional rail in this state was systematically shut down, the lies that were told to make the public believe it was unviable, as well as the continued systematic shut down and removal of country lines by rail operator Genesee & Wyoming Australia, including the illegal demolition of local rail infrastructures, some of which were HERITAGE listed.

Anyway, feel free to contribute, either on this thread or PM me.

South Australian Regional Rail Alliance
Here are some facts that may interest all in regards to SA Regional Rail

Fact 1: The regional railway system in South Australia was sold/leased by the then Federal Liberal Party in 1997 to the American rail company Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA) who at the time were known as Australian Southern Railroad (ASR) or Australian Railroad Group (ARG)

Fact 2: The land is leased to Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd (GWA) for a term of 50 years commencing 7/11/97

Fact 3: The lease to GWA provides that GWA must "to the extent necessary to avoid nuisance to neighbouring properties, to safeguard public safety and to maintain the Lessee's ability to conduct Railway Operations" .... "keep the Lessee's Property clean and in good repair and condition" ... "keep any buildings on the Land clean and in good condition"...

Fact 4: In their own annual report from 2010, GWA have stated:

“Our concession and/or lease agreements in Australia could be cancelled, and there is no guarantee these agreements will be extended beyond their terms. These concession and lease agreements are subject to a number of conditions, including those relating to the maintenance of certain standards with respect to service, price and the environment. These concession and lease agreements also typically carry with them a commitment to maintain the condition of the railroad and to make a certain level of capital expenditures, which may require capital expenditures that are in excess of our projections. Our failure to meet these commitments under the long-term concession and lease agreements could result in the termination of those concession or lease agreements”

Fact 5: In a response letter dated 13/8/14 from the Minister for Transport & Infrastructure, the Hon. Stephen Mullighan MP stated that: “The rail infrastructure is not a South Australian Government asset, however Genesee & Wyoming Australia is obligated to maintain it to a requirement to ensure the network is in such condition that trains could be operated at two weeks’ notice”.

Fact 6: We know that according to the facts and documents, and according to the their own admission, 3,4 & 5 of these lease agreement have not been upheld, especially when one takes a look at the condition of these lines, which include overgrowth and in one instance a wash away. AN made it possible to make sure that the regional passenger rail system made a loss by doing two things,

Fact 7: A document released in 2007 by Chris Hall from Bluebird rail states that:

“The AN Board was not happy about the positive performance of the passenger business. The Board’s aim was to get rid of the business at any cost, and for political reasons, it was considered that the electorate would oppose the sale of a profitable Government owned business. The aim therefore was to make the passenger business appear unfavourable and to be making a substantial loss. When an advertising campaign was launched over a Christmas period, Chris was called in to explain why the Business was being advertised. The Board made it clear that there was not to be any advertising of the AN Passenger trains.”

Fact 8: AN made it possible to make sure that the regional passenger rail system made a loss by doing two things:

1. they changed the time table of the trains so that it became inconvenient for the public to use the services. For example, the Victor Harbour trains were arriving back into Adelaide station at 1:10am in the morning to make sure that the trains ran empty.

2. When running trains to Mt Gambier, Broken Hill and Whyalla for example, AN ran less carriages as to make sure the train was not able to pay its way and lost money on these service.

Fact 9: We also understand that in a released document by the productivity commission report in 22/3/2010, it was stated that “SAFF Grains were given details of how Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty The South Australian Farmers Federation (SAFF) Ltd, who have a five-year agreement with Viterra have put unreasonable controls on their rail-lines in South Australia and are charging exorbitant fees, This pricing structure virtually precludes any other company but Viterra from using rail in South Australia easily and cost effectively”

Fact 10: In a emailed letter dated Wednesday, 20 August 2014, we have asked the Government and effectively putting them on notice in relation to the breach of the lease agreement when we asked a series of questions relating to GWA breaches of the regional railway. These questions were:

1) Is the Government aware that GWA have not been doing this, that GWA have not been maintaining the rail infrastructure to "ensure the network is in such a condition that trains could be operated on within two weeks’ notice."?

2) At what efficiency are the trains expected to operate on these lines? Would the infrastructure need to be reopened that the trains could be run at a reasonable speed or, could the clause in the agreement be interpreted in such a way that GWA would only need to reopen the infrastructures even if it meant that the trains could only operate at very low speeds but the lines are usable?

3) Who would have to pay the cost of these repairs so that the infrastructure could be operated on within a two week period?

4) In relation to the productivity commission report in 22/3/2010, has this type of action been rectified to make sure that other operators can use the infrastructure at a cost that is not considered to have a detriment to the operator? And

a) is it incorporated in the clause that any charges to reopen the infrastructure does not go to the incoming operator but is charged only to the lease holder that being GWA, who are responsible as stated that “GWA is obligated to maintain the rail infrastructure”?

b) And does the clause address the issue to make sure that these costs are not hidden in the track access fees charged by GWA?

5). Will the State Government hold GWA accountable for the condition of the rail infrastructures and bring them back to the standard to which they were before GWA took them on in a lease agreement in 1997? And as specified in the Ministers response letter that GWA is “obligated to maintain the rail infrastructure to ensure the network is in such a condition that trains could be operated on within two weeks’ notice”.

We are still waiting for a response to these questions.

South Australian Regional Rail Alliance
Some people say that what the ARTC needs is for a rail operator to take over it. But,here is clear proof as to why a rail operator is not always the best candidate for operating an 'open access rail network'.

There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that, various railways including the old AN, sure did not want to run passenger trains, and sure did what they could to have them closed with the least amount of political damage that they can arrange.
Privatisation, especially here in SA and especially regarding our State's Railways, has done nothing to benefit the State or it's people. You have greedy, American corporations such as Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA), which is a subsidary of the American Corportation Genesee & Wyoming Incorporated, who systematically run down the network and then do nothing with it. They are holding SA to ransom. If something isn't done soon, they will rip up the tracks and sell them for scrap $$$. They have done this before and will do it again.

The ARTC will not and does not want to take over the entire rail network. What we need is greater transparency in regards to open access, and greater regulations for private operators such as GWA who seem to be doing whatever the hell they want.

South Australian Regional Rail Alliance

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