Bryan Nye fired a parting shot at Prime Minister Tony Abbott shortly after announcing his retirement as ARA chief. In an interview with Track + Signal he described Mr Abbott’s refusal to fund urban rail project as “myopic”. “I think it is quite a myopic view of the current prime minister … the federal government should be involved in cities as they are such a key element of the Australian economy. You think what congestion is going to do to our productivity. Surely the federal government, being so keen on improving our productivity, (would see) getting our cities right is a key element of that.”
The “severe” weather event that swept across NSW in April created havoc in the Hunter Valley with dozens of coal trains stopped in their tracks. It required special approval from the rail regulator to allow coals trains to be parked on the main line. ARTC crews and contractors worked double shifts across 18-hour days to restore rail services ahead of what had originally been anticipated. Rail industry sources put the bill for the disruption and damage as high as $10 million.
Not even Inland Rail, the federal government’s “poster” project, received any additional funding in a disappointing federal budget for the industry. The budget was greeted with disappointment by the ARA, which said that Australia’s biggest cities were approaching a funding cliff because of Canberra’s refusal to allocate any new money for important rail infrastructure projects.