MEDIA RELEASE / NEWSLETTER / August 1978 / ISSN 0155-8234

WHAT'S ON? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


APT meeting- Great Southern Hotel Bistro Lounge- George St. opposite Rawson. Pl.- 5.30 till about 7.30- all welcome.

AUG. 16-

APT's Geoff Dawson addresses Macquarie Uni. seminar on "Low cost Improvements in Public Transport". 2pm, Room 201, building C5A- FREE.

AUG 16-

"Commuter Transport- Today & Tomorrow"- Chart. Inst. Transp. Seminar & Dinner; $35- Seminar only; $17.50. Registration was required by Aug. 9, so ring P.B.Clarkson, 522.0522, if you're interested. Venue- 11 Macquarie St. Sydney. Program; 3.15, Formal opening by Ken Trott, Under-Secretary, Ministry of T'port; 3.30, Richard Cox (NRMA)-"The Role of Roads in Urban T'port"; 4.45, Alan Reiher (PTC)-"The PTC & the Commuter"; 6.30, Summing up by Prof. N.K.Wills (UNSW) 7.15, Dinner- 8.30, Derek Scrafton (Director Gen. of T'port, S.Aust.)-"The Local & International Experiences & Technologies". "Questions" will follow each speech.

AUG. 26-SEPT 3-

Bicycle camping trip on Sandy Hollow "line". Contact; Bob Duce, 21 Aldyth St. New Lambton. (Newcastle Cycleways Movement)

SEPT. 13-

"Lifestyle Issues Related to T'port & Energy"-Susan Young, (MSJ Keys Young, Planners)-- 2pm, Macquarie Uni, as above.

SEPT. 19,20-

T'port Outlook Conference-Canberra-(BTE) We will be represented by Don Morison.

SEPT. 23-

Bicycle Inst, Rally, 2pm, Victoria Pk. (City Rd, & Cleveland St.) Riding to Domain to promote cycling. Enq. - 233 5388.


Action For Public Transport and the Bicycle Institute of New South Wales are sending a joint questionnaire on public transport policy and bicycle policy to the major political parties. It is proposed that the information gathered will be summarized in leaflets that will be distributed in key electorates before the next state election. Areas we may cover include Sutherland Shire, Fuller Electorate (Hunter's Hill, Gladesville and North Ryde), Manly, Burwood, Gosford-Wyong and the Blue Mountains (Glenbrook to Lithgow). We need people who are prepared to collect information about local transport issues in these areas for the backs of the leaflets and to organize their distribution. If you are interested, please contact Don Morison - Try 95 5731 day or night-if unsuccessful try 233 5388 and ask for the Bicycle Institute.


Our new leaflet, "Freeway Fictions" has now appeared (copy enclosed). It went into the letterboxes of the Earlwood Electorate before the by-election and we hope that it counters some of the fanciful viewpoints about the role of freeways that are currently receiving so much coverage in the media. Copies are available for mass distribution, at 1c a leaflet plus $1 postage and handling. New badges with the messages "Give Way To Public Transport" or "A Freeway Is The Wrong Way" will soon be available at 30c per badge plus 30c postage and handling - discounts on bulk orders. For these materials, write to Action For Public Transport, Box K6O6 Haymarket 2000.


For many years there existed an old, wooden, single-lane road bridge which spanned the main northern railway at Cheltenham. Plans by the PTC to increase to four the number of tracks on that line led to a need to replace the old bridge.

It is the PTC's policy to merely replace such structures; the cost of any improvements to the base design must be borne by the relevant road authority. In this case, the PTC offered to build a bridge with similar dimensions to that replaced. Since the local council, Hornsby Shire Council, was unwilling to pay for a larger bridge, the initial PTC design went to tender. A contractor was found, demolition of the old bridge begun and excavations for the new one started.

This was the stage at which Hornsby Shire Council again entered the planning process, voting to fund a dual-lane road bridge and a separate one for pedestrians. Presumably, construction work will now be delayed to allow for further discussions between the council and the PTC and for design and contractual amendments to construction plans.

The reason given by the council for its belated decision to widen the bridge was that the extra lane was necessary to "ease traffic congestion". When the project was initially announced, local residents favoured the retention of the single-lane feature, fearing that a wider bridge would allow a greater number of cars onto Sutherland Road during peak hour. (Sutherland Road is a residential access road which can be used by motorists to bypass the heavily congested Epping area). A decision to build a dual-lane bridge at Cheltenham will indeed "ease traffic congestion" - by "easing" traffic off a nearby main road (Beecroft Road) onto a residential one which is totally unsuitable for high density traffic. The poor visibility encountered on Sutherland Road, the relatively high speed of through-commuter traffic and the high density of that traffic will increase the danger to pedestrians. Since that road must be crossed by the majority of patrons of Cheltenham railway station, there is a real risk that rail commuters will be met by a barrier of cars. While the PTC's "replacement" policy is open to strong criticism, the procrastinations of the local council and the reasons given for its belated decision must raise doubts as to the ability of that body to make a serious contribution to transport policy. The belief that widening this bridge will "ease traffic congestion" is a myth which must be laid to rest. If precedent is any guide, however, the most likely candidate for burial will be some unlucky pedestrian.


New double-deck suburban passenger carriages are proving more troublesome than their age and apparent technical sophistication would suggest.

Recently, the Chief Commissioner of the PTC, Mr Alan Reiher, expressed concern at the in-service failure rate of the new carriages. APT understands that the PTC may "freeze" further orders for new suburban carriages until the builders come up with solutions to these carriages' electro-mechanical problems.

Another type of problem recently came to the attention of a member of APT. While travelling in a crowded double-deck carriage during a period of heavy rain, he noticed that several roof leaks had rendered 5 wide upper-deck seats unfit for occupation. A complaint by APT to the Minister for Transport and Highways, Mr Peter Cox, resulted in priority being given to the repair of the carriage concerned. Further enquiries by APT established that the PTC is investigating the method of reporting roof leaks to ensure speedy repair of faulty carriages. That such a proceedure should be thought necessary is disturbing, considering the newness of the carriages; the abovementioned . faulty carriage (D 4011) was built in 1974.


Stage One of the long overdue resignalling of Sydney's rail system will reach completion during October of this year. By that time, four old signal boxes in the vicinity of Central will have been replaced by a single, computerised one situated near Redfern. In addition, the ancient signals will have given way to more modern structures.

The state of the "system" of signalling replaced in this initial project can only be described as appalling. Cables carried in above ground troughs were generally exposed; bad weather and minor accidents (eg. a person stepping on a cable trough) often led to major signal interruptions and resultant rail chaos. The signals were 50 years old and badly corroded. Delays to some trains led to others being forced to wait between Central and Redfern to ensure that trains proceeded through the city in their correct order; out of order running often led to incorrect or hastily altered indicator boards at city stations.

With the completion of Stage One, commuters will obtain the following benefits:

  1. no standing off Central awaiting delayed trains to proceed in a predetermined order;
  2. when out of order train running does occur, indicator boards at city stations will be altered from the new central control box to ensure correct information;
  3. fewer delays caused by signal failures;
  4. a reduction in the number of "total stops" when approaching Central, due to improved speed-signalling which will enable trains to run closer; and
  5. fewer delays on the Sydney rail system as a whole due to smoother train running through Central.
Stage two of the program centres on the Strathfield area and will be completed by June, 1980. Stage one cost $11M and was made possible by the then (Whitlam) federal government's policy of funding urban transport projects; 60% of funds for this type of project were provided by the federal government. Stage Two is estimated to cost $13M, most of which will have to be provided from State funds as a consequence of the Fraser Government's severe cut-back in urban transport funding.


We applaud the suggestion of the Tasmanian Government to replace existing motor vehicle sales tax, registration and insurance charges with an additional petrol tax. The object of the exercise (apart from administrative savings) would be to redistribute the cost of car operation by making cars cheaper to own and more expensive to run. At present the more you drive the cheaper it is per mile; where the marginal cost of an individual journey is low a motorist is encouraged to use his car for every possible purpose to justify the annual cost of simply keeping it in the garage. If the whole tax burden was paid per mile this would encourage motorists not to make poorly motivated journeys, or to use public transport where it is available. It would encourage transport of long-distance freight by rail rather than road. All would contribute to efficiency, reduced congestion and energy conservation.

The main drawback of the proposal is that it would penalise country people who use a lot of fuel and have no alternative, but some subsidy could be worked out to ease such local hardship. In this respect it is interesting to note that one of the few bodies to support the proposal was the Queensland National party.

We feel that the general opposition to the proposal is simply a mindless knee-jerk reaction from politicians and public so afraid of the idea of a new tax that they fail to realize that the proposal does no more than replace an old tax.

Riverina Express Scandal Continues.

Although the New South Wales government has made some real progress in rehabilitating the State's rail passenger services it is regrettable that no attempt has been made to return to passenger service the five out-of-service airconditioned railcars which formed part of the Riverina Express. Four of these cars were used as part of the Royal Silver Jubilee train and during May the Premier, Mr Wran, announced that these carriages would be converted into a travelling art centre. Action for Public Transport has condemned this decision in view of the shortage of comfortable, airconditioned passenger cars in New South Wales at present. The needs of a travelling art centre could have been adequately met by converting older passenger vehicles thereby allowing the four former Riverina Express cars to be used on country rail services.

DRUMMOYNE SEMINAR: APT was represented at a seminar on public transport in Drummoyne on 29 July. Arranged by State Member, Michael Maher, the seminar featured Transport Minister Cox, who was questioned on Clearways, bus services, cycleways, the energy crisis, & the Commuter Council. Ferries were very popular with the body of the meeting. Mr. Cox revealed that he was currently receiving 1200 letters a week on matters affecting his portfolio.

MINI-BUSES: The PTC's still-born Mini-bus was on display at Willoughby Depot's Open Day, last month. Elsewhere, 'Truck & Bus' reports an encouraging response to 2 Dial-a-bus experiments in Melbourne. In what must be a rare example of co-operation, the bus operator uses the local taxi radio station for controlling bus movements. Costs, which naturally exceed revenue, are being met by the Victorian Government. Adelaide's Dial-a-bus experiment folded some months ago.

POLLUTION- VERBAL & OTHERWISE; We are pleased that an independent authority is to report to the Federal government on the effects of vehicle emission controls (ADR 27A). There has been far too much biased criticism of this regulation.

Dear Readers,

Only another two months and it will be that time of year again, but we're getting in early to give you the chance to let your membership fee earn interest for our bank account. So all you kind members, new, old, am-going-to-get-round-to-it, or even just-thinking-about-it, are cordially invited to pop your money in the post to the place shown below. Then you'll be members until 31st October 1979, so you won't have to think about it for another fourteen months.