Julia Creek first freight train. Photo: Queensland Rail

AusRAIL: Rail vs. Road dominates opening day

The challenges faced by rail operators and infrastructure owners in shifting freight away from roads dominated the first day of the ARA’s AusRAIL PLUS 2017 event in Brisbane on Tuesday.

A panel facilitated by TasRail chief executive Damien White discussed the issue, and featured Neil Hamel from Arc Infrastructure, Priscilla Radice from Arup, the Port of Brisbane’s trade strategy manager Tim Cope, Jonathan Lafforgue from NSW Ports, and Geoff Smith, the managing director of SCT Logistics.

Smith said that SCT’s construction of intermodal terminals at Wodonga on the Victoria-NSW border and Bromelton in QLD’s south had helped facilitate their freight services in the Brisbane to Melbourne freight corridor, particularly in the context of competition with road operators.

“I think what we look at it from the end-to-end supply chain, rather than just the rail journey – it gives us a pretty good understanding of what we are competing against,” Smith said.

“On the north-south corridor, we don’t tend to think we are competing primarily against Pacific National or Aurizon, rather we are competing against the road freight industry.”

He said that SCT had gone from moving 50 rail wagons of freight per week in January to now shifting approximately 300, shifting freight off roads and on to rail.

Arc Infrastructure’s Neil Hamel also emphasised the importance of intermodal terminals in facing competition from road freight.

“We try to provide our customers with greater opportunities, so we are looking at building intermodal terminals away from the ports, which will help to bring road freight vehicles off the roads and ease traffic,” Hamel said.

Along with working towards eliminating inefficiencies within ports, improving signal reliability was also an important factor, Hamel said, in improving arrival reliability on Arc’s Perth freight network.

Lafforgue said the future potential capacity of the Port of Sydney, in terms of freight volume passing through it, could be unlocked by focussing on import freight.

“To do that, we will need intermodal terminals,” he said.

It will be important, he said, for the Port to work alongside stakeholders and use the intermodals now developing along the freight line directly into the port.

Tim Cope’s outlined the vast gap that presently exists between rail and road freighting at the Port of Brisbane.

“Our rail share for freight containers is around two and a half per cent – a little over 30, 000 containers out of 1.2 million comes to the port on rail,” Cope said.

Cope said that this transfer of freight from rail to road in Queensland was due to heavy road investment, including the Logan Motorway enhancement, the Toowoomba Range Crossing, and the port’s project to duplicate the road corridor.

“Once the Range Crossing is complete, a supply-chain manager can get freight to the port gate without encountering a traffic light,” he said.

Cope did nonetheless hold out hope for the transformative effects of the Inland Rail development in the long-term competitiveness of freight rail in the state, especially if a dedicated rail link to the port of Brisbane can be constructed.

Arup’s Priscilla Radice questioned the framing of what she termed the “rail versus road” debate, and claimed that “smarter technology”, such as open data platforms for supply chains, or even a future “uberisation” of freight, could undermine the “oppositional mentality” that she believes exists in the freight industry.

“Governments are shifting more and more towards city-shaping, and they need the freight industry to provide a co-ordinated and united voice to help provide a clearer vision of what the future will look like,” she said.

Smith responded by saying that rail’s advantages when competing with road were not merely just about potentially cheaper costs for customers, but also about providing a superior and more reliable service without the pitfalls of congestion that faces road freighting.

“As it stands at the moment, we are still competing.”

New ARA CEO Danny Broad. Photo: Shutterstock / ARA

AusRAIL: ARA launches Deloitte paper on Value of Rail

The rail industry contributes 1.6% of Australia’s GDP, injecting $26 billion into the economy per annum, according to a new Deloitte report commissioned by the Australasian Railway Association.

ARA boss Danny Broad used the opening of AusRAIL PLUS 2017 in Brisbane to launch the association’s new Value of Rail report, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics.

“As Australia’s population increases, so too does congestion and the demand for improved transport solutions,” Broad said. “To manage these challenges, Australia will have to develop its multi modal transport solutions with light and heavy rail as its spine to provide the solutions that Australia needs in shaping our cities and our regions into the future.”

The report cites a potential 88% increase in freight kilometres travelled in Australia by 2050, an increase of some 2.5 million trucks and light commercial vehicles on the nation’s roads.

“This growth in freight underscores the need for an efficient supply chain and for a heavy vehicle pricing framework that accurately captures the cost of road infrastructure provision and the negative externalities of road usage, such as congestion, vehicle emission and accidents,” Broad said.

“It is precisely for these reasons that the ARA has been engaging with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments on the benefits of our National Rail Industry Plan.

“[Rail businesses] create over 140,000 jobs in our cities and our regions, provide safe, efficient, environmentally and socially beneficial modes of transport,” he continued.

“We ask governments to get on board and implement our National Rail Industry Plan to provide the rail industry and the broader Australian community with long-term certainty of improved transport solutions for the benefit of all.”

Hot off the presses: Read your digital edition of the AusRAIL PLUS 2017 Magazine

Rail Express is proud to release the digital edition of the official magazine of AusRAIL PLUS 2017, along with the Australasian Rail Directory 2018.

The AusRAIL PLUS 2017 issue of Rail Express includes an exclusive interview with Pacific National boss Dean Dalla Valle, a Queensland election preview, a sit down with the Federal Government’s Rail Manufacturing CRC, and much, much more.

The magazine coincides with the release of the annual Australasian Rail Directory, which provides a comprehensive index of every large, medium and small business working in, supplying, or servicing the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand.

Click here to read Rail Express, AusRAIL PLUS 2017

Click here to read the Australasian Rail Directory 2018

Instructions: simply use your mouse to drag the pages just like you were reading a magazine. Alternatively, you can use the left and right arrows on your keyboard. To zoom in on a page, use the magnifying glass icon on the bottom centre menu. To download the magazine as a PDF, click the downward arrow icon in the bottom centre menu.

Rail Careers Week kicks off

Secondary school students will visit AusRAIL PLUS at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, as part of this year’s annual Rail Careers Week.

Australasian Railway Association chief executive Danny Broad will officially launch Rail Careers Week at the opening of the AusRAIL PLUS Conference & Exhibition, on Tuesday, November 21.

This year’s program is themed around ‘Rail – The place to be’.

“With over $100 billion being committed by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments over the next 15 to 20 years, there is a growing need of professionals required within the rail sector,” Broad said ahead of the event.

“Job opportunities within the rail sector are extensive, diverse and open to all people.”

Broad said as major investment continues to grow in new and exciting rail infrastructure projects, action must be taken to match the increased demand for skilled and talented individuals.

“There is plenty of support provided through training and development regardless of your education or work experience,” he said. “With the rail industry in a period of expansion, it’s a great time to be involved in the sector. There’s no better time to join.”

The ARA will host secondary school students from Queensland to join the AusRAIL event.

“Students who will be joining us at AusRAIL PLUS 2017 will hear from young rail professionals and engage in guided tours of exhibitors throughout the three days of the conference,” Broad concluded.

Delegates at AusRAIL PLUS 2015. Photo: RailGallery.com.au

AusRAIL Preview: Industry panels highlight Day 1 program

A pair of panel sessions packed with big names from the Australasian rail and logistics industry will highlight the first morning of the AusRAIL Conference & Exhibition in Brisbane next week.

The annual Australasian Railway Association event kicks off at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on November 21, opening with a packed morning plenary session.

An 11.10am industry panel focused on technologies that will impact rail’s development will no doubt draw a large audience. Facilitated by Transport for NSW’s Tony Braxton-Smith, the panel includes Bombardier Transportation’s Australian managing director Andrew Dudgeon, Downer Rail chief executive Michael Miller, Arup principal Anna Squire, Siemens Mobility executive general manager Max Eichhorn, Alstom Transport’s signalling managing director Paul Gill, and Ansaldo STS Australia chairman Michele Fracchiolla.

A second panel, at 12.15pm, will focus on one of the most crucial challenges facing the sector: Getting more freight on rail.

Facilitated by TasRail boss Damien White, the panel will include input from SCT Logistics managing director Geoff Smith, Arup Australasia business leader Priscilla Radice, Port of Brisbane trade strategy manager Tim Cope, NSW Ports GM of operations and environment Jonathan Lafforgue, and Arc Infrastructure GM of customer operations Neil Hamel.

For the full conference program, visit the official program: http://www.ausrail.com/conference/agenda/

Rail Express is the official media partner of the AusRAIL event.

Featured Exhibitor Q&A: ADLINK

Taiwanese technology firm ADLINK’s Asia Pacific general manager, Vincent Tseng, spoke with Rail Express about what the company has in store for AusRAIL PLUS 2017.


Rex: Tell us about ADLINK.

Vincent: ADLINK Technology designs and manufactures embedded computing, aiming to drive data-to-decision applications across industries.

Established in 1995, and headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, we have operations in America, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, India and Germany, and over 1,800 employees. ADLINK is a listed company in Taiwan and publicly traded since 2002.


Rex: What does your product range cover?

Vincent: ADLINK’s goal is to provide robust and reliable hardware platforms, data connectivity and complete Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions. To that end, our products include motherboards, blades, chassis, modules, gateways, systems, panel PCs, displays and end-to-end solutions based on industry standard form factors. ADLINK is also a premier member of the Intel Internet of Things Solutions Alliance; there are only 4 in the world.


Rex: What will you be showing at AusRAIL PLUS 2017?

Vincent: The recent emergence of IIoT has initiated a digital disruption of railway infrastructure. IIoT technologies are appearing more frequently in real-time signaling, machine-to-machine communication, train radios, lineside communication, level-crossings, station information and security checkpoints.

Taken together, all this railway technology forms a finely-tuned web of components and systems. Quality railway IT results requires quality equipment, and that’s where ADLINK enters into the picture.

Among other technology, ADLINK at AusRAIL will showcase its Modular 3U CompactPCI platforms, its Driver Machine Interface (DMI), and its rugged, fanless, EN 50155-compliant embedded computers.


Rex: What’s your target for railway market in Australia and New Zealand?

Vincent: By leveraging more than 15 years of railway experience, ADLINK is focused on railway signaling and digitalization applications in the Australian and New Zealand markets.

In particular, ADLINK has many digitalization projects experience in Train-to-Ground Communications, Maintenance and Condition Monitoring, Smart Railway Gateway, Surveillance, and Infotainment applications.


Rex: What are you looking forward to at AusRAIL PLUS 2017?

Vincent: We are looking forward to a deeper engagement with railway signaling system integrators, and to provide them with a cutting edge embedded computing platform to help them fulfil railway operators’ needs.


Rex: Who can visitors meet at your stand?

Vincent: ADLINK Australia and New Zealand’s Region Sales Head Ben Wei will be joined at the stand by sales manager Jennifer Chen. Exhibiting together with local distributor Micromax Technology, they will be happy to share details on our solutions and products for railway signalling applications.


Rex: Can visitors pre-book meetings at your stand?

Vincent: Yes, visitors can email news@adlinktech.com, or they can register online, at www.adlinktech.com/eDM/20171121_AusRAIL_PLUS/index.html.


ADLINK is exhibiting at Stand 25.

Featured Exhibitor Q&A: Siemens

Global technology giant Siemens will be a key exhibitor at AusRAIL PLUS, displaying a range of innovative solutions and digital technologies for the rail industry. Max Eichhorn, Executive General Manager of Siemens’ Mobility division in Australia and New Zealand, spoke about the company’s stand at this year’s event.


Rex: Tell us about Siemens in Australia and New Zealand.

Max: Siemens has been active in Australia for 145 years, with one of our earliest projects being an electric tramcar network in Hobart back in 1893. Today, you will find Siemens technologies across the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand, ranging from rail electrification technology in Auckland and Sydney to rolling stock in Melbourne, from locomotives in Queensland and the Pilbara to ETCS in Adelaide. With 500 employees, including the largest assembled group of rail signalling engineers in the Southern hemisphere, today we play a leading role in the digitalization of the rail industry, implementing proven global technology with local expertise across Australia and New Zealand.


Rex: What is Siemens exhibiting at AusRAIL PLUS 2017?

Max: We are displaying a wide range of technologies and solutions, including an ETCS simulator that lets visitors take control of a train along a route and switch between Automatic Train Operation (ATO) mode and human driven mode, and then compare punctuality and energy efficiency between the two driving modes. We’ll also be displaying our Mobility Services Centre, which demonstrates the enormous potential of data analytics in rail networks, showing how operators are able to achieve 99% availability on their networks using our digital services. The brand new locally designed, developed and manufactured M23A MkIII point machine, a robust and reliable machine that is already being trialled in various sites across Australia and South America, will also be on display. Visitors will find a range of rail automation and industrial communication technologies, along with a 3D printing and additive manufacturing showcase. A leading edge network capacity management tool from HaCon, and the locally developed digital track and wheel condition monitoring solutions from MRX Technologies, will also be on display.


Rex: Who will visitors be able to meet at your stand?

Max: There will be a range of local and international Siemens team members at our stand, including Dr Gerhard Kress – the head of our Mobility Data Services area. Experts in ETCS, rail automation, data analytics, trackside equipment and a variety of other areas will also be present, along with members of our sales and business development team.


Rex: Flipping things around for a moment: What is Siemens hoping to achieve at AusRAIL PLUS 2017? What are some things about the conference and exhibition you are looking forward to?

Max: At AusRAIL PLUS, Siemens is hoping to strengthen our existing relationships with customers and build new ones. We have been participating in this event for a long time and look forward to the opportunity to hear from experts and leading practitioners in our field, and of course we’re proud to have a number of papers being presented in the technical streams. Personally I am looking forward to hearing from Dr Gerhard Kress, a world-renowned expert on big data and ‘the internet of trains’, who will be presenting a keynote on digitalization in the rail industry during the plenary session on the final morning.


You can visit Siemens at Stand #142 at the AusRAIL PLUS 2017 Conference & Exhibition, which takes place in Brisbane from November 21 to 23. Find out more at AusRAIL.com.

Featured Exhibitor Q&A: Specialised Force

Now a nationally-recognised brand, hydraulic tools and specialised equipment supplier Specialised Force came from humble beginnings in Sydney, 35 years ago. Product and Marketing manager Kevin Harrold sat down with Rail Express, and explained how the company’s unique knowledge of the equipment supply sector has kept it in the game.

Rex: Kevin, how long has Specialised Force been in business?

Kevin: Specialised Force has been operating and expanding for over 35 years. Founded in 1982, the company has expanded from its head office in Sydney, to now operate in all states and territories, with an additional support distribution network covering all areas throughout Australia & New Zealand.

Rex: What makes you stand out?

Kevin: Specialised Force’s success rests on unique knowledge of specialised hydraulic, electrical tooling equipment and other products.

This includes synchronised lifting systems, torque equipment, heat exchanger, pipe maintenance equipment, Rail Equipment and overhead/underground power installation equipment.

We have a number of focused Business Areas:

  • RAIL – Maintenance, Construction & Safety Equipment
  • ELECTRICAL – Overhead & Underground Power Installation Machinery & Equipment
  • MINING – Jacking, Maintenance Tools & Tensioning Devices
  • OIL & GAS – Flange Maintenance, Alignment, Spreading & Torque Tools
  • CIVIL INFRASTRUCTURE – Bending, Crimping, Punching & Cutting Tools
  • INDUSTRIAL – Heavy Load Lifting/Shifting, Maintenance & Safety Equipment
  • COMMUNICATIONS – Drum Handling Equipment, Rollers & Winches
  • TRANSPORT – Jacks, Presses, Pullers, Repair Kits & Torque Tooling

Rex: What is Specialised Force looking forward to at AusRAIL PLUS 2017?

Kevin: We are looking forward to catching up with our existing customers and introducing new customers to our vast range of rail products.

Rex: What can visitors expect from your stand?

Kevin: The major focus of the stand will be on the company’s new rail catalogue. We will be featuring products from the following manufacturers:

  • ALDON – 100 Year of Railroad Safety and Maintenance Products from Chicago USA
  • AIRTEC – Scottish Quality Master35 Petrol Impact Wrench, High Impact Sockets & Railway Trolleys
  • IPS (Innovative Parts and Solutions) – Rail Tongs, Pullers, Threaders & Measurement Gauges from Canada
  • TRAK STAR – Large range of Rail Drills, Twister Rail Cutters & Accessories out of the USA
  • FCS – Italian quality, Includes an extensive range of Railway Maintenance & Construction Equipment
  • DURAPAC – Rail (Toe) Jacks & High Pressure Hydraulic Pumps

Rex: Who will be there, representing the business at the event?

Kevin: Among those on the exhibition floor will be our Brisbane Branch Manager – Jason Wilson and Brisbane account manager and Rail Equipment Product Specialist – John Kelly. We’ll also have Ian Taylor – Sales Director for IPS Canada, a manufacturer of Rail Handling Equipment & Track Tools.

Rex: Can people pre-book meetings at the stand?

Kevin: Yes! Please email our Brisbane branch manager, Jason Wilson, at jwilson@specialisedforce.com.au.

Rex: Are you running any competitions or giveaways?

Kevin: Yes! Please leave your business card or register your details with us at stand 664 and go into the draw to win a St Andrews Golf putter, at the end of the show on Thursday. The putter has been kindly donated by AIRTEC International, manufacturer of the Master35 Petrol Impact Wrench, High Impact Sockets and Railway Trolley.

For a hard copy of Specialised Force’s newly-released 2017 rail catalogue, you can register at www.specialisedforce.com.au/catalogues/enquiry-hardcopy/2307 or download an electronic copy www.specialisedforce.com.au/catalogues/rail.

You can visit Specialised Force at Stand #664 at the AusRAIL PLUS 2017 Conference & Exhibition, which takes place in Brisbane from November 21 to 23. Find out more at AusRAIL.com.

Featured Exhibitor Q&A: Metromatics

Signage and passenger display manufacturer Metromatics will show off three new products at its AusRAIL PLUS 2017 stand. Rail Express spoke with Metromatics marketing manager, Janine Meade, about the business, and what it has planned for the AusRAIL Exhibition.

Rex: Tell us about the business.

Janine Meade (JM): Metromatics is a manufacturer of indoor and outdoor LCD digital signage displays, on board and platform LCD passenger information systems, public information displays and other LCD based display technology branded under our trademark name MetroSpec.

We have been representing quality suppliers of defence products and industrial sub systems and on-selling and supporting these products to our own customer base in Australia and New Zealand, since we were established in 1989.

Rex: Where are you based?

JM: Our Head Office is located in Brisbane, Australia, and we have sales & support offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Auckland.

Rex: What caused the expansion from defence and industrial, into public transport?

JM: In 2005, we were approached by one of our customers who had an interest in using LCD technology to provide public transport information to their customers and couldn’t find the right product on the market. So, we researched and developed our first MetroSpec Fully Sealed IP65 Rated LCD Passenger Information Display and won the project.

Rex: And since then?

JM: Since that time, over 2,500 MetroSpec LCD Passenger Information Displays have been installed in both indoor and outdoor conditions, in most major railway stations in Australia, as well as tramways in Melbourne, light rail stops on the Gold Coast, busways in Brisbane and ferry networks in Sydney.

Rex: What’s made them so successful?

JM: Our LCD displays are chosen because they are reliable, maintenance free, vandal resistant and built and tested to an IP65 standard to meet our public transport operators’ requirements.

We are ISO 9001 accredited, and we continue to be a leader in this industry, constantly researching and developing new technologies to make our LCD Passenger Information Displays more versatile and feature rich. They therefore provide our customers with an excellent return on investment.

Rex: What is Metromatics exhibiting at AusRAIL PLUS 2017?

JM: We will be exhibiting the following NEW products at AusRAIL PLUS 2017:

  • MetroSpec 32” Digital Display Bus Totem
  • Solar Powered, Wireless, E-Paper Bus Stop Passenger Information Display
  • Acorel’s Automatic Passenger Counting System
  • Durabook Rugged Lap Tops and Tablets

We’ll also be showcasing some of our other products:

  • MetroSpec 49” H Series LCD Passenger Information Display
  • MetroSpec Double-sided Slimline Passenger Information Display
  • DEWESoft Ride Comfort System

Rex: Who are the key people representing Metromatics at the stand?

JM: Grant Williams, our General Manager and Mitch Callon, our Technical Sales Engineer will be at our stand and they will be available to talk about our MetroSpec Public Transport Display product range, Durabook Rugged Laptops/Tablets  and the DEWESoft Ride Comfort Testing System.

We are sharing our booth with Acorel, manufacturer of the Automatic Passenger Counting Systems, and Arthur Tete will be able to show visitors how this system operates.

Rex: Can visitors pre-book meetings at your stand?

JM: Yes, visitors can pre-book meetings at our stand. Send us an e-mail sales@metromatics.com.au and we can schedule a time.

Rex: What is Metromatics looking to achieve at the event?

JM: We are looking forward to catching up with our existing customers, meeting some new potential customers, and showcasing our range of display technologies and systems.

You can visit Metromatics at stand 591 at AusRAIL PLUS 2017, which takes place at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from November 21 to 23. AusRAIL.com for more information.

Countdown to AusRAIL PLUS 2017: Technical Streams Preview

With less than a week to go until the largest rail gathering in the southern hemisphere commences, Rail Express is taking a look at the technical streams occurring during this years event.




The RTAA has selected a diverse range of papers and has welcomed the large number of responses from the rail industry to participate in this year’s RTAA Stream. Most papers generally centre on this year’s theme “Rail’s digital revolution”. Day 1 in the morning focuses on the latest technologies in the analysis and maintenance of railway infrastructure. The afternoon session focuses on advances in track maintenance vehicles but also touches on innovations in data capture of network assets. Day 2 in the morning sees a change in gear with notable presentations on the development in asset management and contracting strategies to deliver business efficiency. The afternoon session concludes the stream with an assortment of other high quality presentations from rolling stock standards to innovative Metro viaduct designs.


The RTSA stream highlights the theme of the Conference with four sessions covering Rollingstock operations, Safety and Power Systems, Light Rail and Driverless vehicles and the Digital Revolution. The papers to be presented cover the digitisation of an automated wheelset maintenance operation, asset management, depot protection systems, driver assistance, training and power distribution, amongst other advanced innovations. Delegates will gain an insight of the impact and benefits that digitisation is having on the day to day operations of the railways and tramways in Australia and overseas.


The presentations and highly informed presenters bring with them a unique look into what is happening right now in the industry, both here and abroad-plus the opportunity to ask questions, network with people whom have ‘lived it and done it” and bring real world information to the attendees. The topics covered are enlightening and visionary with insights into communications based train control systems and how it will change the face of traditional signalling, along with how human factors elements play an important part in rail and operations, a look into rail modeling and timetabling and operational aspects, and more with 3D modeling of how a railway looks before being even built. And to add even more to the value of attending AusRAIL and the signalling and rail systems stream is the networking and the probability of encountering many hundreds of people, sponsors and exhibitors whom provide knowledge, engineering wisdom and ingenuity, opportunities for employment and education, and a great group of friends whom you can then network with into the future and beyond.

ARASuppliers Stream

A fascinating array of presentations covering data and its application to condition monitoring, inventory and asset management, smart railways of the future, digital technology and train control, technology and railway stations, future ticketing and virtual reality.


Hear the latest on ONRSR’s transition into a fully-fledged national regulator, the direction for the organisation and the key topics that are the focus of regulatory attention across Australia. Understand how ONRSR is working with industry and government stakeholders to drive the development of a nationally consistent legislation framework and explore how it is positioning itself to deal effectively with the ever changing landscape around rail safety. And find out how, in a co-regulatory environment, ONRSR walks the line between being good cop and bad cop.

If you haven’t confirmed your attendance yet, it’s not too late:

  • Book a conference ticket – Be part of the massive 3 day agenda featuring 150+ speakers over 5 streams presenting the very best the industry has to offer both locally and abroad. For more details about booking your place at the conference, click here.
  • Visit the exhibition – If you would like to just browse the latest rail industry related products, services and technologies you can visit the exhibition for free. Click here for your free visitor registration pass.