Transport Minister says ‘significant risk’ to passenger safety when trains leave station at night

Transport Minister Peter Garrett has warned of “significant risk” to passenger health and safety when train services from Darwin to Melbourne operate at night.

Key points:Mr Garrett said trains were not designed to operate at all nighttime hours as the Government works to reduce carbon emissions”The Minister has taken the decision that trains will not operate during night-time hours on any day of the week, but he said it was a decision he was prepared to make”There are a lot of questions that need to be answered and we’ll have to see how that develops.

He said trains would be modified to run during the night but said it would be an open and transparent process.

“I’m not going to be able to say at this stage that we’re going to do everything that we can to reduce emissions,” he said.

“But the Government has taken a significant risk in terms of our ability to provide high quality train services during the day, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops.”

The Government’s aim is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from train journeys by 2030.

Mr Garrett will release a full range of timetables on Tuesday morning, and it will be a key question for the Opposition, who have called for more investment in rail infrastructure.

Mr Gilmartin said a rail-only operation could reduce passenger safety, with delays and cancellations, and cost more money to run.

“The Government have got to take into account that this will increase the cost of running trains, it will increase travel times and it may increase the number of delays that we see,” he told 7.30.

“We’re not going there.

We’ve got to make sure that we understand what the costs are of the changes that we want to make to trains to allow for the highest quality service.”

And that’s a big undertaking that needs to be undertaken.

“Mr Garrett and Mr Gilmartins own company, Westfield, have been criticised for their failure to develop a plan to manage emissions and to manage the costs associated with their operations.

Mr Gilmore said the company had worked to develop an energy-efficient and low-carbon model, and that its carbon emissions were below the required limit.

He also said Westfield would not operate trains on weekends, unless it was to run the new train network in the winter, which is not a requirement.

Mr Giesbrecht said it is not the Government’s job to take away a train operator’s ability to operate, but it is a Government decision.”

It is not my job to dictate to train operators what they can and can’t do, but the Government do make a decision, and so the decision they make is based on that,” he added.”

Westfield will make that decision on the basis of what is the best outcome for the country and our economy.

“The ABC has contacted Westfield for a comment.

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