30 September 2007

Third world rail system?

Last Thursday Adelaide commuters were, as the picture below shows , inconvenienced by a peak hour Noarlunga line train derailment just outside the Adelaide station . For reports see here and here.

The derailed Noarlunga bound train.

On Saturday The Advertiser published (not online) a letter from a passenger on the train who described the local railway system as of third world standard. IMO this is not an unfair comment as the system has been allowed to run down to the point where old rolling stock (see photo) and either decayed infrastructure or signalling or both impedes its smooth operation.

For example, see the photo below, which I took on 22 August this year. The window is typical of many on the rail cars: somehow the outer layer of glass/ plastic becomes corroded or scored and obscures passengers' ( not the driver's I hope) view. In the photo only a small portion of the window (on the right) is unaffected.

A view from TransAdelaide's window

I'm not aware that either Premier Rann or Transport Minister Conlon has commented, let alone apologised for or, radical thought, offered to upgrade the system (a plan for electrification would be nice) .

Update/ correction 2 October

There's a letter in today's Advertiser (not online) which refers to a comment about the derailment by Transport Minister Conlon: "accidents happen sometimes". The writer comments that this "is typical of the arrogant, pig-headed attitude of the state Labor Government. You were lucky this time, Mr Conlon. Next time, you may have blood on your hands." Strong words, but not unreasonable.

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