Trains will not cross Sydney Harbour Bridge for first 10 days of January


Trains will not be able to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first 10 days of next year, with the structure’s 88-year-old rail corridor to be completely replaced.

The timber deck will be traded for a concrete structure; the replacement of which will see no trains run across the bridge for the first 10 days of January.

The acting chief executive of Sydney Trains, Suzanne Holden, said the mammoth project had been five years in the making.

“This is a very innovative approach to dealing with our iconic bridge and making sure that we extend the life of the railway for 120 years,” she said.

“It is a huge piece of work. We will be working around the clock to make sure that we really maximise the use of the 10 days.

“We really have choreographed this down to the last minute.”

In a tip of the hat to the bridge’s history, the new concrete sections are being put together at the Chullora Railway Workshops — the same facility used to assemble components of the bridge in the 1930s.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said a downturn in bridge use over the New Year period provided an ideal window of opportunity for the work to be completed.

“Typically in the first two weeks of January patronage is down by 40 per cent, and of course with COVID the numbers are down even further,” he said.

“We are going to be running bus services from North Sydney through to various points across the city and replace the trains which would otherwise cross the bridge.

“This is also against another backdrop where we are providing across the entire summer period an additional 1,200 services across the week.”

He said the Harbour Bridge rail shutdown would not impact revellers returning home from New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“Obviously we’re going to provide the necessary transport services based on the restrictions that will be in place in terms of New Year’s Eve, recognising that there is going to be a requirement for people if they are coming to the city to be booked into functions and what have you.

“We’re working closely with NSW Health in the design of that response.”



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Victoria records zero COVID-19 cases for 11 consecutive days; Sydney commuters to be alerted about full trains; Pfizer vaccine ‘more than 90 per cent effective’


Here’s a look at the process:

How the studies work:

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have enrolled nearly 44,000 people in final testing of their vaccine. Neither participants, their doctors nor Pfizer know who gets the real vaccine and who gets a dummy shot. They get a second dose about three weeks after the first.

And then another week after the second dose, key tracking begins: Counting anyone who experiences COVID-19 symptoms and tests positive for the virus as participants go about their daily routines, especially in hotspots.

Late-stage testing of other vaccine candidates is similar, varying slightly in the number of volunteers and timing.

How to tell the shots work:

Every vaccine study is overseen by an independent “data and safety monitoring board,” or DSMB. These boards include scientists and statisticians who have no ties to the vaccine makers.

Before a study is complete, only the DSMB has the power to unlock the code of who got real vaccine and who got placebo, and to recommend if the shots are working well enough to stop testing early.

Those boards take sneak peeks at pre-determined times agreed to by the manufacturer and the US’ Food and Drug Administration. The first interim analysis for Pfizer came Sunday. The company reported its data monitors had counted 94 infections so far – and that among those initial cases, the vaccine appeared 90 per cent effective.

But the study isn’t stopping: To be sure of protection, it’s set to run until there are 164 infections. The more COVID-19 cases occur in the trial, the better idea scientists will have of just how protective the shots really are.

Moderna, AstraZeneca and other companies not quite as far along in their final testing all have set slightly different timepoints for when their data monitors will peek at how the shots are working.

Don’t forget safety:

Safety is the top priority. Monitors also watch for unexpected or serious side effects. Earlier this fall, separate studies of vaccine candidates made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson were temporarily halted after some participants experienced health problems, delaying the research until safety investigations allowed both to resume.

Pfizer has said no serious safety concerns have emerged so far with its vaccine.

But the FDA is requiring that companies track at least half of study volunteers for two months to look for side effects before asking the agency to review their vaccine. That’s about when side effects have cropped in studies of other vaccines.

Pfizer and Moderna both expect to reach that safety milestone later in November.

What happens then:

In the US, companies are expected to seek permission for “emergency use” of their vaccines, rather than waiting to fully complete their studies and then seeking traditional approval.

The FDA’s scientific advisers will debate each company’s study findings in a public meeting before the agency decides.

Manufacturers already have begun stockpiling vaccine doses in anticipation of eventual approval, but the first shots will be in short supply and rationed. And the first people vaccinated will need to undergo extra safety tracking.

AP



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Two-time AFL premiership coach Denis Pagan trains Victoria Derby winner Johnny Get Angry


Two-time AFL premiership coach Denis Pagan has achieved a remarkable feat after training Johnny Get Angry to victory in the Victoria Derby just four months after saddling up his first runner as a trainer.

The 73-year-old Pagan, who coached North Melbourne to AFL premierships in 1996 and 1999, has had only 12 runners under his owner-trainers’ licence, which he took out six months ago.

Pagan was in tears after the $2 million race at Flemington, as was apprentice jockey Lachlan King, who also rode his first Group One winner in what was his only ride for the day.

“I can’t believe it. I didn’t think he could do it,” Pagan said.

“I just wanted to have a runner in it and now he’s won it.

King’s father Steven also rode two Victoria Derby winners, having triumphed on Star Of The Realm in 1991 and Helenus in 2002.

Pagan, who also coached Carlton in the AFL, said he had always backed young players as an Australian rules coach and that was why he stuck with the 22-year-old King.

“Everyone was telling me I should use a senior jockey,” Pagan said.

“I wanted to stick with Lachie, who has stuck with me. He’s ridden all of my starters.”

King rides Johnny Get Angry to victory at Flemington Racecourse.(AAP/Racing Photos: Pat Scala)

King, who considered giving away racing earlier this year, said Pagan had already had a massive impact on his young career.

The victory was his second city winner for the season.

“I can’t believe it, it’s so amazing,” King said.

Pagan thanked Troy Corstens for picking the son of Tavistock out as a yearling and buying him for $50,000 at the New Zealand sales.

Pagan trains from Flemington out of the Corstens’ Malua stables.

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Johnny Get Angry was a maiden going into the Victoria Derby and he became the fourth to claim the race in the past 30 years.

Johnny Get Angry defeated Hit The Shot by a length, with Young Werther a short neck away third.

Hit The Shot’s rider Fred Kersley was fined $10,000 by Racing Victoria stewards for excessive whip use and suspended for nine days over his Derby ride.

Stewards said Kersley struck Hit The Shot 14 times in total and on 10 occasions before the 100 metres, which was five over the limit.

AAP/ABC



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Metro Trains fleet manager Peter Bollas is questioned at the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission



Posted

October 28, 2020 19:26:31

Mr Bollas admits to accepting roughly $150,000 in corrupt cash payments from the director of a cleaning company, during today’s hearing of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).


Source: ABC News
|
Duration: 2min 48sec

Topics:

states-and-territories,

melbourne-3000



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New legislation is a ‘nail in the coffin’ for trains



THE passage of legislation through NSW parliament which will enable the establishment of a Northern Rivers rail trail felt like a “nail in the coffin” for at least one pro train enthusiast.

Beth Shelley of the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group described the passing of the Transport Administration Amendment (Closures of Railway Lines in Northern Rivers) Bill 2020 through the NSW upper house on Thursday as a “terribly sad thing”.

Although acknowledging the Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor would remain in public hands under the new legislation, it would remain much harder to get trains back to the region.

“We have been really let down by government,” she said.

“This area is rapidly growing and rail could be a fantastic asset for tourists into Byron and get them out to Lismore and Murwillumbah.”

While her group and others like it hadn’t given up hope of returning rail to the corridor they had yet to meet and work out a way forward.

She was encouraged by the rail study carried out for Byron Shire Council and remained hopeful that some form of rail services could be restored there.

“It is such a huge loss. I am bewildered to lose railway rail services. Moree and Armidale have less populations and they have rail services,” she said.

“All along the way there has been this underlying agenda to get rid of this railway.

“Now that this legislation is through there are people in government there that will think there is really no point as the rest of the line is cut off from Sydney.

“This kind of means it is less likely something is going to end up happening on the rail corridor.”

Ms Shelley said her group would definitely keep going.

“For rail trail members this is the first step for them and they will be fighting for the extension of the rail trail from Bentley to Eltham next,” she said.

“We are just ordinary little people with no money and nowhere near the skill level of people in the rail trail movement.

“We need to work harder and get better at lobbying and with the media and social media”





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Rail trail enabling legislation like a ‘nail in the coffin’ for trains



THE passage of legislation through NSW parliament which will enable the establishment of a Northern Rivers rail trail felt like a “nail in the coffin” for at least one pro train enthusiast.

Beth Shelley of the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group described the passing of the Transport Administration Amendment (Closures of Railway Lines in Northern Rivers) Bill 2020 through the NSW upper house on Thursday as a “terribly sad thing”.

Although acknowledging the Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor would remain in public hands under the new legislation, it would remain much harder to get trains back to the region.

“We have been really let down by government,” she said.

“This area is rapidly growing and rail could be a fantastic asset for tourists into Byron and get them out to Lismore and Murwillumbah.”

While her group and others like it hadn’t given up hope of returning rail to the corridor they had yet to meet and work out a way forward.

She was encouraged by the rail study carried out for Byron Shire Council and remained hopeful that some form of rail services could be restored there.

“It is such a huge loss. I am bewildered to lose railway rail services. Moree and Armidale have less populations and they have rail services,” she said.

“All along the way there has been this underlying agenda to get rid of this railway.

“Now that this legislation is through there are people in government there that will think there is really no point as the rest of the line is cut off from Sydney.

“This kind of means it is less likely something is going to end up happening on the rail corridor.”

Ms Shelley said her group would definitely keep going.

“For rail trail members this is the first step for them and they will be fighting for the extension of the rail trail from Bentley to Eltham next,” she said.

“We are just ordinary little people with no money and nowhere near the skill level of people in the rail trail movement.

“We need to work harder and get better at lobbying and with the media and social media”





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Mumbai Power Outage LIVE: Blackout in many areas; local trains, metro services disrupted


A major electricity supply failure in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) has led to a power outage all over Mumbai city. The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) which is responsible for supplying power to the city has confirmed the development.

“The electric supply is interrupted due to TATAs incoming electric supply failure. Inconveniences is regretted,” said BEST.

Many people living in the south, central and northern part of the city mentioned on Twitter about the outage. Large parts of Mumbai and some areas in Thane are facing a power outage from 10:15 am in the morning due to the grid failure.

Some of the places affected in Mumbai are Colaba, Mahim and Bandra. It has also come to light that the Mumbai Suburban train services have been disrupted due to the grid failure. The same has been confirmed by Central Railways Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO).

LIVE UPDATES BELOW

11:16 AM: Airline operations at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has not been affected due to the major power outage, confirmed the airport PRO.

11:15 AM: Adani Electricity, which is a major supplier of electricity in the city, also confirmed that the major power grid failure has affected supply in most areas.

“As per grid safety protocols, Adani Power System has been able to sustain and islanded,” Adani Electricity said in a tweet.

“AEML is currently supplying to critical services in Mumbai Around 385MW through AEML Dahanu generation. Our teams are working to restore the supply in the affected areas at the earliest. We regret the inconvenience caused,” it added.

11:08 AM: Preliminary information suggested that the power outage occurred at 10:15 am. It was reported by the BEST Supply Control.

The outage was caused by an electricity supply failure due to central grid failure of Tata Power at Kalwa. It will take 45 minutes to one hour to restore power supply. The failure has caused power disruption all over Mumbai city and suburbs.

11:05 AM: Senior Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has tweeted about the massive power outage in Mumbai. He said, “Almost total power blackout in Mumbai due to major grid failure. Multiple line disruptions. Only hospital-type utilities getting supply in the city.”

“Mumbai is separated from the rest of Maharashtra to avoid disastrous cascading effect on the city.”

11:00 AM: Local train services have been interrupted due to grid failure of Tata Power company. Services between Churchgate and Borivali stations stand suspended at the moment. The railway department said the services shall be resumed as soon as the traction power supply is restored.

It may be noted, however, that power supply from MSETCL is available at Vasai road and it has been extended for essential suburban trains between Borivali and Virar stations.

“Efforts are on to start services in Churchgate-Borivali section. Commuters are requested not to panic & maintain social distancing,” said the Western Railway in its statement.

10:55 AM: Reports coming in suggest that traffic signal and CCTV at road junctions in the city have been disrupted due to the power outage in the city.

10:50 AM: Several Mumbai residents took to Twitter to share their ordeal after the city faced a major power outage in the morning. The BEST has confirmed that the cause of the massive power outage was an electricity supply failure.

“The electric supply is interrupted due to TATAs incoming electric supply failure. Inconveniences is regretted,” said BEST



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Blow for Mali as Traore trains with Spain


Tug-of-war forward Adama Traore from English Premier League club Wolves is training with Spain, effectively ending Malian hopes he might play for them.

The 24-year-old was born in Barcelona to parents from the west African country, making him eligible to play for either national team.

He got two call-ups last week — from Spain for fixtures against Portugal, Switzerland and Ukraine and from Mali for matches against Ghana and Iran.

Here, AFP Sport rounds up African team news ahead of an international window, which is being used to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying next month.

Mali

Having seemingly failed to convince Traore his international future lay with Mali, coach Mohamed Magassouba must also do without forward Sekou Koita for the two friendlies in Turkey.

His Austrian club, Red Bull Salzburg, have quarantined the entire team after three players tested positive for coronavirus.

Other Africans affected by the Salzburg clampdown are Zambians Patson Daka and Enoch Mwepu and Cameroonian Jerome Onguene.

Tunisia

Two stars of US Monastir, the surprise side of the just-completed domestic season, have been rewarded with call-ups by Tunisia for matches against Sudan and Nigeria.

Goalkeeper Bechir Ben Said and forward Ellyes Jelassi are among seven home-based stars in a 27-man squad selected by coach Mondher Kebaier.

Monastir shocked Esperance to lift the Tunisian Cup and win their first trophy since being formed 97 years ago.

Uganda

Rather than play friendly matches, Uganda will fly to the United Arab Emirates for a 10-day training camp under Irish coach Johnny McKinstry.

The getaway will serve as the Cranes’ preparations for back-to-back Cup of Nations Group B qualifiers against South Sudan.

Egypt are the only other country among the top 20 by rankings in Africa who will not be in action, preferring to complete their national championship.

Gabon

Arsenal captain and former African Footballer of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be the star Gabon attraction when they face Benin in Lisbon.

The prolific scorer and Fulham midfielder Mario Lemina are the two Premier League players chosen by French coach Patrice Neveu.

Aubameyang skippered hosts Gabon in the 2017 Cup of Nations tournament and they suffered a humiliating first-round exit after three draws.

Algeria

All but three of the 11 starters and three substitutes who won the 2019 Cup of Nations for Algeria have been picked for matches against Nigeria and Mexico.

The missing trio are defender Djamel Benlamri and forwards Youcef Belaili and Islam Slimani, all of whom have been inactive while involved in transfer talks.

New faces in the Desert Foxes’ squad include Portugal-based defender Abdeljalil Medioub and Bordeaux midfielder Mehdi Zerkane.

Tanzania

Domestic league pacesetters Azam, Simba and Young Africans supply 15 of the 25 Tanzanians chosen for a friendly in Dar es Salaam against fellow east Africans Burundi.

But the crowd pullers are two foreign-based forwards — Mbwana Samatta of Turkish club Fenerbahce and Thomas Ulimwengu from Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe.

The match pits Burundians against each other with Etienne Ndayiragije coaching Tanzania and Jimmy Ndayizeye standing in for Burundi coach Olivier Niyungeko, who is getting married.

Gambia

The Gambia squad named for matches against Congo Brazzaville and Guinea in Portugal has a strong Italian Serie A flavour.

Sampdoria defender Omar Colley was called up along with forwards Musa Barrow and Musa Juwara from Bologna and Ebrima Colley from Atalanta.

Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet also included Cody Drameh, a young full-back who joined Leeds United two months ago from fellow Premier League outfit Fulham.



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Victorian Government received ‘assurances’ forced Uyghur labour not used for state’s new trains, Daniel Andrews says


Premier Daniel Andrews says he’s been assured that forced labour is not being used to build Victoria’s new trains, despite the train manufacturers’ links to Chinese Uyghur forced labour programs.

Chinese train manufacturer CRRC is part of the Evolution Rail consortium, which was awarded the $2 billion contract to build 65 new high-capacity Metro trains in 2016.

In February this year, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) identified CRRC as one of 82 companies which were benefiting either directly or indirectly from the use of Uyghur workers through potentially abusive labour programs.

Major international brands including Apple, Google, BMW, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren and Samsung were also included on the list.

The report’s lead author, researcher Vicky Xu, said 41 Uyghur workers were transferred to KTK group, which lists rail transport manufacturers CRRC, Alstom and Bombardier among its customers, in July 2019.

Bombardier manufactures Melbourne’s trams and regional Victorian trains, while Alstom manufactures trains for Melbourne’s metropolitan network.

In July, the United States’ Department of Commerce blacklisted KTK Group over its links to Uyghur forced labour.

‘No evidence’ Uyghur labour used in supply chain, Minister says

When asked about CRRC’s links to Uyghur forced labour, Mr Andrews said it had been raised in the past and dealt with.

“We have sought assurances that that is not an accurate statement in relation to the work that we have contracted them to do and we’ve received those assurances,” he said.

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said when she heard of the “serious and troubling” allegations some months ago, she asked her department to investigate the matter.

“I was advised that there was no evidence of that,” she said.

“I made immediate inquiries with my department and was provided assurances, when it came to the project for the Victorian trains, that those allegations were not correct.”

The Department of Transport said in a statement Alstom, Bombardier and Evolution Rail had investigated claims KTK Group used forced labour at its factories and were satisfied that forced labour had not been used within their supply chains.

When asked if his Government had sought any national security advice about the company’s ongoing role in the contract given recent tensions with China, Mr Andrews said if a national security issue were to be raised “we would take the appropriate action”.

“I don’t spend every day on the phone to national security agencies asking ‘what if’ questions,” he said.

“If they’ve got an issue then I’d be confident they would raise it with us. To my understanding they haven’t.”

Mr Andrews also highlighted the New South Wales Government’s decision to engage CRRC to deliver its Waratah trains in Sydney.

Researcher says Government’s acceptance of assurances ‘particularly troubling’

Ms Xu said it appeared the Government was ultimately relying on assurances from KTK Group that it was not involved in forced Uyghur labour programs.

“Considering how Victoria is also the only state in Australia that has signed up to China’s geopolitical blueprint Belt and Road Initiative, this blind confidence in KTK’s assurances is particularly troubling,” she said.

She said the United States had recently passed a Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act which required publicly listed companies to review and actively audit supply chains for forced labour.

“What’s critical here is more transparency,” she said.

“Yet this statement [from the Premier] is still making broad statements by referring to internal assurances instead of directly addressing the specific accusations of forced labour and the companies that are involved.”

Premier points to safety checks when asked about delays

The high-capacity trains were initially due to be up and running along the Cranbourne/Pakenham line in 2019, but that deadline has been missed and the trains are still undergoing testing.

When asked about the delay, Mr Andrews said safety could not be compromised when big changes were being made.

A graphic illustration of a high-capacity train on tracks in daylight.
A graphic illustration of the trains, which are being tested on the network before passenger services can begin.(Supplied: Evolution Rail, file photo)

“This will I think represent probably the most rigorous piloting, proving, safety testing program that has ever been rolled out, not just in Victoria but perhaps anywhere across the nation,” he said.

“We are not only meeting those standards at a national level … we are going beyond that and that is exactly the way that I want it.”

The Premier also pointed to the regional jobs created by the contract, saying a 60 per cent local content quota meant many component parts being built in regional Victoria and Melbourne.

“We don’t agree with everything that’s done in every country around the world but ultimately we are about getting things done,” he said.



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Adelaide Crows player Tyson Stengle trains instead of facing court for alleged drink driving



The Adelaide Crows have defended young forward Tyson Stengle after he trained with the side this morning, at the same time his drink-driving case was going before an Adelaide court.

Stengle was reported for drink driving in April after he was stopped by police in Adelaide’s south-western suburbs.

At the time, the club said the 21-year-old was also in an unregistered car and “recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.125”.

The Crows subsequently imposed a four-match ban.

Stengle’s first appearance was scheduled to occur in the Adelaide Magistrates Court at 10:00am, but he did not attend.

His lawyer unsuccessfully tried to enter a plea without him present, and the matter has now been adjourned until October.

The Crows are due to face Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval tomorrow and Stengle trained with the club this morning.

Crows coach Matthew Nicks did not comment on the court proceedings, but reaffirmed his club’s support for Stengle.

Nicks also declined to comment when asked whether Stengle had opted not to attend court to avoid breaching AFL coronavirus protocols.

“Part of our job is to help Tyson through it,” Nicks said.

When asked why Stengle did not attend court, Nicks said that was a question for “his legal representation or manager”.

Nicks said he did not know what plea Stengle intended to enter.

“It’s not something I should talk on. It’s a legal matter and it wouldn’t be right for me to make comment,” he said.

“I don’t have an involvement in the case.”



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