Pacific National - Credit Asciano

Asciano weighs in on workplace relations

Asciano has voiced support for the Fair Work Amendment (Bargaining Processes) Bill 2014 that would mandate that productivity improvement discussions take place during enterprise bargaining agreements.

The parent company of Pacific National said industrial action is a somewhat Marxist approach to the relationship between employers and employees, in its recently published submission to the Productivity Commission’s Workplace Inquiry.

But Asciano accepted the notion that disputes are a bargaining tool that may reduce power imbalances between parties.

“Asciano recognises that the efficiency and quality of enterprise agreement negotiations to a large extent is in the hands of the parties negotiating agreements,” the company said.

“[But] there are aspects of the bargaining framework as set out in the Fair Work Act which hamper efficient and equitable negotiations.”

The company said it believes legislating productivity gains in enterprise bargaining should be approached with caution. However, the processes in place need to ensure genuine agreement is reached.

That said, Asciano voiced support for the requirement that the Fair Work Commission, when approving enterprise agreements, be satisfied productivity improvements were discussed during bargaining.

Complexities arising from negotiating process − as flagged by Asciano – include multiple stakeholders. Negotiators may have to manage multiple and potentially competing interests; trade-offs (e.g. between rostering, wage increases and other flexibilities); and maintenance of constructive relationships between parties.

Asciano suggests the Fair Work Commission give greater consideration to supporting negotiations beyond an approval and dispute resolution role.

The Productivity Commission is currently carrying out an inquiry into the industrial relations laws.

Initial submissions were due by March 13; however details of submission have only recently been published by the Productivity Commission.

A draft report is due in July.

Lloyd’s List Australia

FMG railway - photo FMG

FMG with its back against the wall?

As the spot price for iron ore continues its unprecedented descent, Australia’s third-biggest iron ore miner, and owner of one of the biggest private railways in the country, Fortescue Metals Group, could be on the cusp of operating below its ‘break-even’ price for the commodity.

FMG outlined a break-even price of US$52 a tonne for its Pilbara iron ore operations, six weeks ago, when the price of iron ore stood at US$65 a tonne.

Making about US$12 a tonne in cash margin translates to roughly US$2bn a year, before any quality discounts, other expenses, taxes and such are taken into account.

But since FMG made that break-even outline, the price has declined even further, dipping as low as US$52.90 overnight.

So the question becomes, has the unthinkable happened? Could Australia’s ‘third force’ in iron ore soon be operating at a loss, just 14 months after prices were at US$140 a tonne?

Analyst views are mixed.

Fairfax reported yesterday that Deutsche Bank mining analyst Paul Young believes FMG is losing cash at spot prices. Credit Suisse’s Paul McTaggert, however, reportedly said the miner could still be making US$2 to US$3 a tonne in cash margins.

Either way, there’s no doubt FMG is in hot water.

That might be why FMG chairman Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest last week made headlines when he more-or-less proposed a production-capping scheme between iron ore producers – a proposal which drew the attention of Australia’s peak anti-competition investigation body, the ACCC.

“The ACCC will be looking closely at Mr Forrest’s comments and the context in which they were made,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“In general terms, any attempt by Australian businesses to encourage competitors to restrict outputs is a matter of grave concern to the ACCC.

“Ultimately, any success in increasing the price of iron ore in an anti-competitive way would be expected to lead to an increase in prices that Australian consumers pay for items such as whitegoods and cars.”

Forrest made the comments in question at an AustCham event in Shanghai on Tuesday, March 24.

“I’m absolutely happy to cap my production right now,” Forrest said. “All of us should cap our production now and we’ll find the iron ore price will go straight back up to $70, $80, $90.

“The tax revenues which that will generate will build more schools, more hospitals, more roads, more of everything which Australia needs … by a quantum than this foolhardy attitude of deepening your expansions into a falling price.”

In response to the ensuing outcry from economists, commentators and the ACCC, FMG issued a statement late last week defending the comments.

FMG argued that Forrest’s comments were not in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, as they related exclusively to the export of goods from Australia, and thus were not a contravention, under Section 52(2)(g) of the Act.

FMG chief executive Nev Power backed Forrest’s comments.

“The comments made by the Chairman were highlighting the point that a last man standing fight for market share will damage shareholders of all companies and is not in the long term interests of our host nation Australia nor of our customers and those comments were intended to draw attention to the fact that there is provision in Australia’s competition law dealing with the potential for discussions to be held by exporters,” Power said.

“We believe shareholders will insist that they do not want to see value destroyed and ultimately they will dictate to management that they prefer a focus on profit rather than a focus on market share.”

Leader Street Crossing. Photo: Google

ARTC dealing with two-train incident

A collision between a pair of freight trains resulted in the derailment of four wagons yesterday morning at Mile End, South Australia.

Just before 8am on Tuesday morning, an intermodal freight train caused another freight train to derail as it collided with its rear, causing four wagons to derail, the ARTC said.

There were no injuries reported. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is on site to investigate the issue.

The ARTC reported late last night that one of the two freight trains has been moved, clearing the Leader Street level crossing (shown above) and allowing it to operate as normal.

“The level crossings were activated and unable to be cleared this morning as a result of the derailment of a train which was blocking the Leader Street crossing and causing the Victoria Street crossing to operate continuously,” the ARTC said overnight.

“ARTC apologises to motorists and residents who were inconvenienced during their morning commute and thanks the SA Police and Passenger Transport Services for their close cooperation in working together to manage the impacts of the disruption.”

The ARTC is working with SA Police and Passenger Transport Services throughout the operation.

Roy Hill train - Photo GE Roy Hill

Hi-tech, high power: Exploring Roy Hill’s new locos

Gina Rinehart described them as some of the best looking machines she’d ever seen in the Pilbara. But just what is it that makes Roy Hill’s new General Electric ES44ACI locomotives so impressive?

Rinehart’s colleague, Roy Hill chief executive Barry Fitzgerald, said the miner was very specific when it drafted requirements for its locomotives, and was after “the most technologically advanced heavy-haul machines available”.

With the GE ES44ACI series, Fitzgerald believes that’s just what Roy Hill has got. And Fraser Borden, GE Transportation’s sales leader for locomotives in Australia, agrees with him.

“We don’t manufacture a locomotive with a higher ambient temperature specification than the Pilbara locomotive,” Borden said. “55 degrees Celsius.”

An advanced cooling system is crucial to the temperature management in the ES44ACI. But it’s just the first of many features Borden outlined. Another, GE’s Locotrol system, is a platform designed to fulfil three main functions for Roy Hill.

First, directed via tower control from the miner’s Remote Operations Centre (ROC) in Perth, the trains will talk ‘machine-to-machine’ to the mine-control system, so that the operator at the ROC can monitor the day-to-day loading process without direct intervention.

Borden explained Locotrol will automatically drive the locomotive with very fine speed control, taking direction from the mine-control system to ensure the loading process is optimised.

“When the train system is being brought into the mine area,” Borden outlined, “tower control, via Locotrol, takes over the loading remotely, and each wagon is loaded on a time limit.

“You need accurate control of the train to make sure it’s not over- or under-loaded.”

Second, Locotrol’s Remote Controlled Locomotive system allows a train to be moved via a hand-held controller from just metres away.

“If at some point during that 344km journey you need to check or sub out a wagon, the driver – instead of getting out and having to walk up to two kilometres to that wagon – gets out, stands by the train and, using Locotrol’s portable hand-held unit, controls it remotely to go past him, until it gets to the point he needs to attend to,” Borden explained.

Borden noted that drivers used to operating in the heat of the Pilbara would no doubt agree with him, in calling it “a pretty neat system”. And the same system will be used to speed up the shunting of locomotives at the main yard, at the mine or at the port or maintenance yards, again adding convenience to the operation.

The third feature the Locotrol system will provide Roy Hill is in managing the varied landscape around the Roy Hill mine.

Borden pointed out that a 2km train hauling a 30,000 tonne load is tough to manage in that kind of landscape. But by using its Distributed Power System, Locotrol co-ordinates the braking and power distribution between the locomotives on a train, to make managing hilly terrain much easier.

“If you have a two-kilometre train and you’re going over a hill, if the front two locomotives are going down the hill, you don’t want them accelerating,” Borden explained. “And the locomotive that’s in the middle of the rake still need to be pushing.

“This system automatically distributes the power appropriately, depending on where the locomotive is on the hill.”

The system allows safer haulage of bigger loads, with reduced fuel and operating costs, according to GE.

GE says that together, the various aspects of the Locotrol system should in the future enable automated train operation, (i.e. driverless trains), which the manufacturer says Roy Hill will likely add to its operations in the near future.

250 sensors and 10.7km of on-board wiring not only enable communication between the locomotives and Roy Hill’s ROC, but also allow the machines to communicate with GE’s Remote Monitoring and Diagnostic Centre in Erie, Pennsylvania.

“The locomotives go past a wireless access point at various points in the track – at the mine, at the port and at the maintenance facility,” Borden explained.

“Every time they go past that point, they transmit data that’s received at [GE’s monitoring centre], and that enables us to get a status update of the locomotives.

“If that system detects that there’s an issue, it sends a recommended-repair notification to the customer.”

For all the brains Borden described, he said the GE locomotives have a lot of brawn, too.

At Roy Hill, the GE Evolution locomotives will be tasked with pulling 55mtpa of iron ore from the Roy Hill mineto the purpose-built port stockyard in Boodarie Industrial Estate, south of Port Hedland.

Each 4,400 horsepower, 12-cylinder diesel loco is so powerful that it can pull the equivalent of 160 Boeing 747 jetliners, while using 5% less fuel than its precursor model and giving off 40% lower emissions, GE says.

Roy Hill’s ore trains will be configured with two locomotives up the front, followed by 116 ore cars, then another loco, then another 116 ore cars.

Because it’s a hilly route out of the mine, each of the five daily ore trains will get an assist for the first 30 kilometres of the journey to port from manned banker locomotives at the rear of the 2km train, according to GE.

Loaded up with ore, travelling at around 80 km/h, each ore train will have a payload of approximately 31,133 tonnes.

Locomotive 1001 was christened “Ginny” at a celebration on March 23. It is one of 14 already delivered to Roy Hill by GE, with a further seven set to arrive down the road.

John Anderson - Toowoomba City Council

Anderson calls for rail innovation

Australian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI) boss John Anderson says innovation in the rail industry could be the key to the future prosperity of Australia’s logistics sector.

“For every kilogram of weight removed from a locomotive, you can add another kilogram of goods,” Anderson told the Australian Logistics Council’s annual forum last week.

“When carriages are made stronger and lighter, again more freight can be carried.”

Addressing some 400 guests at the ALC forum, Anderson said alternative materials that do not compromise safety, performance, recyclability or add to maintenance costs present great opportunities for rail and more research into materials technology is needed.

Given Australia’s world-leading position in the area of heavy haul, he said, export opportunities await.

As well as research into materials technology, Anderson believes further nuanced research is needed to highlight the safety and economic gains before governments and the public can be persuaded of the case for change and the case for investing.

“When the research base is persuasive, a national bipartisan rail policy is more likely to emerge. That will benefit all in the industry and, more importantly, consumers and business who directly or indirectly use rail.”

Anderson said more research was also needed in areas of:

  • track conditioning monitoring
  • technologies for improving rolling stock performance
  • new technologies for improving worker and passenger safety and operational efficiency
  • improving transport mobility in urban centres
  • economic analysis for calculation projections for population and freight movements for planning purposes
  • calculating the costs and efficiency of links between rail and other modes of transport

The former deputy prime minister stressed the importance of concentrating on where rail does well or where expansion will pay off rather than wasting resources, saying: “You can only make that judgement after the research has been done”.

“Australian rail manufacturing faces strong competition,” he added, “particularly from China, and suffers from inadequate infrastructure, historic under-investment and the legacy of interstate rivalry.

“This is perhaps why the case for research into better methods is more pressing.”

Anderson said ACRI hopes to “publish research to the widest possible audience and to contribute more broadly to the Australian and New Zealand public debate about rail transport and transport more broadly, with the aim of delivering economic and safety benefits to the whole community”.

He argued that rail needs national standards and national regulation in matters like product approval and validation, bidding processes, safety, wayside energy storage, data and communication, intermodal cargo handling, electronic systems, and risk management.

ACRI was launched in 2014 to build upon the research base generated by the Cooperative Research Centre for Rail Innovation, which was part of the Federal Government’s general program of scientific research and ended after seven years on June 30, 2014.

Originally published in Lloyd’s List Australia.

Elections - Photo Bidgee

NSW Election: No easy choice for voters

MARK CARTER: With New South Wales election campaigns in full swing, once more it has quickly become obvious that transport policy in Australia is something that is usually dreamt up on the run to suit the current electoral cycle, with sometimes no thought for what might actually be the best outcomes for long-suffering commuters.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has attempted to sift through the various commitments and promises from the major parties, with a full list available here.

To be honest, I’m largely uninspired.

Most of the Coalition’s major policies have already been announced in various forms; which is not necessarily a bad thing. I may not agree with all their rail policies, but to be fair they are getting on with the job and to an extent have broken the nexus of changing policy every time an election comes around.

The cornerstone of their rail policy remains the North West Rail Link and its part in creating the Sydney Rapid Transit ‘brand’, with a second harbour crossing for rail coming eventually, which will link up with a converted Bankstown line.

Very big ticket items; the latter two only happening if voters succumb to the emotional blackmail of selling of half of the State’s electricity assets. I suppose there would still be half left for the next round of big ticket items a few years down the track, but after that it’s anyone’s guess where the money will come from.

Labor says it will allocate $3.4bn for a second Sydney Harbour crossing subject to rigorous cost benefit analysis.

The Coalition has made a big deal of the opening of the South West Rail Link (SWRL) while at the same time accusing Labor of not having opened a single rail line during its 16 years in power from 1995 to 2011.

Of course this is all a bit rich given that the SWRL was initially planned and started by the previous Labor administration.

The ABC reports transport minister Gladys Berejiklian as being dismissive of the opening of the Epping-Chatswood line, calling it only ‘half a railway’ because it the Parramatta to Epping section of the line never went ahead.

This is surprising, as Ms Berejiklian conveniently forgets to mention it was the incoming NSW Coalition government that effectively ruled against proceeding with the Parramatta extension, despite some $2bn plus in Federal funding being available for the project.

Funny game politics?

Berejiklian would also be aware of the old adage, “What the government gives with one hand, it takes away with the other.”

While the Coalition has been making the most in spruiking the opening of a new railway in the shape of the SWRL, reportedly under budget and ahead of time, this has coincided with the closure of the heavy rail link to the Newcastle CBD.

If the Newcastle link really had to go, then surely it should only have been after the planned light rail alternative was in place. Policy on the run once again.

Personally I’m still yet to see anything from the Coalition that they are serious about light rail in Newcastle and the whole debacle may well cost them a seat or two at the weekend.

Of course the beads and trinkets have come out for country voters with opaque promises of an upgraded fleet to replace the XPT trains on regional routes and even the spectre of ‘tilt’ trains raised again after a 20-year hiatus.

No surprise either to see the Federal Government announcing less than three weeks before the state election the first tenders for preparatory works associated with the Inland Rail project, a large part of which will pass through regional NSW.

Given the $300m currently available for the project has been sitting in the bank for four years now, and there is still no genuine indication of how the project will be paid for, will this $300m end up being used as the biggest political slush fund in Australian history?

Voters in NSW may well find themselves between a rock and hard place if rail transport policy is one of their key deciders.

As I have already suggested, despite some contentious decisions the incumbent Coalition government have initiated a number of rail related projects with a few to the future, including the SRT and further light rail expansion.

Despite my earlier defence of Labor’s past record, it has to be admitted that it prevaricated over its public transport policies for much of its time in office and while many of its plans could be viewed as positive, it regularly failed to deliver, the various ‘metro’ proposals being a case in point. I’m not seeing much yet that will lead them out of that wilderness.

I should add that this lack of bi-partisan long-term transport is not something exclusive to New South Wales and in a future column we will take a look at some of the policy reversals going on in Queensland, Victorian and Western Australia – not always generated by a change of government either.

Central station tram stop. Photo: Gareth Edwards

NSW Election: Breaking down parties’ promises to rail

NSW voters will go to the polls just 24 hours from now, and all the major transport promises have now been put on the table.

A list compiled by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) this week comprises promises made by the NSW Liberals, NSW Labor and The Greens over the past month.

It reveals that while few promises have been made by any party on freight rail and rolling stock, there are true battle grounds established on passenger rail, and services and administration.

“The rail industry has released its key election platforms for rail and now we hope to work with the government elect in ensuring our concerns are registered, priorities pursued and action is taken,” ARA chief Bryan Nye said.

The full list, available here (PDF link), shows the only promise made to freight rail is the Baird Government’s $1 million commitment towards upgrading the Dubbo rail triangle – a drop in the bucket compared to other commitments.

The platforms of light and heavy passenger rail, however, give voters more to sink their teeth into.

“I applaud the strong commitment from all parties, in particular the Baird Government, regarding passenger rail funding for projects such as the second Sydney Harbour crossing and the Western Sydney light rail project, both of which were outlined as priorities in our key platforms document,” Nye said.

“I am, however, disappointed to not see a greater commitment across the board for rail freight, in particular infrastructure investment for long and short haul rail in the state’s mining and agriculture industries, through key policies such as duplicating the Port Botany rail line upgrading existing regional freight lines and connections to the planned Inland Rail network.”

Nye did credit the incumbent Baird Government for its 2013 Freight and Ports Strategy, and said the rail industry “would like to see more of the recommendations implemented,” with one example being the continued separation of passenger and rail.

“With new projects come new trains and new technologies, therefore we would also hope to see benefit brought to the local manufacturing industry with a strong focus on stimulating the local economy and in turn creating jobs and a stronger future for rail manufacturing in Australia,” Nye added.

Straight railways throw a curveball in heavy haul rail

Heavy haul rail presents many singular challenges, particularly in established markets where interoperability is a requirement that can cripple the implementation of new technologies.

Tom Hewitt is Project Manager of Rolling Stock, CANARAIL Consultants (Canada). He will be one of the international keynotes at the Heavy Haul Rail 2015 Conference in Perth, 22-23 June 2015.

Having worked on rail systems from North America to Saudi Arabia, Tom will bring a global perspective to the issue of heavy haul rail, particularly the unique challenges of long-haul desert tracks.

Tom, can you tell us a little about your professional background and the  path to your current role?
After graduating from university in Mechanical Engineering, I got a job at a small Montreal-based railway supply company where we designed and manufactured air brake and truck (bogie) equipment. Due to the small size of the company I was able to not only design components but to travel across Canada, the United States and Mexico instructing railways and car builders in their installation, eventually participating in the Brake Systems Committee meetings of the Association of American Railways (AAR). This firsthand interaction with railways and committees reignited a childhood passion for trains that I forgot I had.

Since coming to CANARAIL in 2008 I have performed engineering studies, developed technical specifications for the acquisition of rolling stock, shop equipment, and maintenance of way equipment for new railways, and I have acted as an on-site inspector in Asia, North and South America, and Europe. Additionally, working on projects in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Canadian Arctic, has given me a unique experience in understanding railroading in extreme environments. I now act as project manager for procurement-related projects and a rolling stock technical specialist for feasibility studies.

You will be speaking at Heavy Haul Rail 2015 on “designing a heavy haul desert railway: lessons learned”. In the lead up to the event, can you share any one lesson in particular?
One lesson I can share with my experience in Saudi Arabia is that a relatively straight railway with few curves can initiate greater wheel wear than a curvy railway. This conclusion may seem counterintuitive; however, the drawback of a straight railway is that the lack of curves means that the wheelsets have limited opportunity to displace laterally on the rail head, thus producing a single wheel contact band resulting in hollow wheel treads. Once hollowing of the wheel treads sets in, the wheelsets will have high conicity that can result in unstable bogies and flanging. This phenomenon is further exaggerated by the extremely high coefficient of friction between the wheel and rail in a desert environment.

Multiple rail profiles should therefore be considered for predominantly straight railways that produce different contact bands on the wheels. A minimum of two rail profiles should be engineered for the tangent portions of the railway and additional rail profiles may be required for the low and high rails in curves. These rail profiles distribute the wear across the wheel tread.

Where do you see the biggest challenges in the various international heavy haul markets you have worked in?
Countries and regions with mature heavy haul railway operations have difficulties in implementing new technologies due to interoperability requirements – electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) braking, positive train control (PTC)/European train control system (ETCS), and increasing axle loads immediately come to mind. For example, a freight car sitting in a yard anywhere in North America must be interoperable with the other 1.5 million freight cars in North America, and must be “repairable” in any workshop on any railway across Canada, the United States and Mexico. It is therefore considerably easier to implement new technologies on mining railways that do not need to connect with other railways (such as Northern Quebec), or in regions where entire railways are being built from scratch (Such as Saudi Arabia).

The requirement for almost universal interoperability places particular challenges on system designers, railway management and policy makers and demand solutions that are not always evident.

Don’t miss Tom’s presentation – book now for the Heavy Haul Rail Conference 2015 conference. Other featured speakers include:

  • Mark Manion, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Norfolk Southern Corporation, USA
  • Alexander Kosarev, Deputy Director General, JSCo Railway Research Institute (JSC VNIIZHT), Russia
  • Zara Fisher, General Manager Railway Operations, Rio Tint
  • Matt Dowd, General Manager Railroad Operations, BHP Billiton
  • Mike Franczak, Executive Vice President, Operations, Aurizon
  • Roger Johnston, CEO, Pilbara Ports Authority
  • Michael Roche, Chief Executive, Queensland Resources Council
  • Alan Langford, Chief Economist, Bankwest
SA train derailmend April 2014. Photo: ATSB

SA derailment: ATSB says ARTC risk control ‘ineffective’

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has found that the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s risk control processes were ineffective in the lead-up to a derailment in South Australia midway through last year.

Early in the morning of April 10, 2014, SCT Logistics train 3MP9 derailed after travelling over track that had been undercut by floodwaters near a culvert between Tarcoola and Malbooma, SA.

Around 300 metres behind the lead loco, 18 wagons derailed, with eight rolling onto their sides.

SA derailment. Photo - ATSB
Photo: ATSB


There were no injuries to the crew or bystanders, but there was significant damage to the track, rolling stock and freight goods, according to the bureau.

What the ATSB found during its investigation launched shortly after the incident, was that floodwaters caused scouring of the track formation, compromising its capacity to support the train.

The ATSB determined that runoff from the heavy rain that had fallen in the catchment area adjacent to Malbooma on April 9, 2014, caused a flash flood event.

“The volume of floodwater exceeded the capacity of a double drainage culvert designed for a 1:50 year average flood recurrence interval,” the ATSB said in its report, released yesterday.

“This resulted in water overtopping the track formation with ballast and sub-grade scouring on the south side of the track.”

As a result of the scouring, the track couldn’t support the train in certain areas. The resulting deformation caused the derailment, according to the bureau.


Role of the ARTC

According to the report, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) risk control processes were ineffective in developing and implementing changes to operational procedures from the findings of previous incident investigations.

“The ARTC did not have a comprehensive system in place to identify and actively manage the risks to their network from severe weather events, and had not established a register for recording ‘special locations’ for the management of track infrastructure prone to flooding,” the bureau found.

There were no anomalies found with the operation of the train or the condition of rolling stock before the derailment.

SA derailment. Photo: ATSB
Photo: ATSB


As a result of the investigation, the ARTC has implemented Operational Procedure OPP-01-05 ‘Monitoring and Responding to Extreme Weather Events in the East-West Corridor’ and has purchased and installed remote weather monitoring and recording stations at Barton, Cook, Rawlinna and Zanthus, according to the ATSB.

Automated alerts will be provided by the weather stations, which will be linked to the Early Warning Network.

The ARTC has also installed four water flow monitors at culverts identified through a hydrology study of the Trans Australia Railway. Field evaluation of this equipment is currently being undertaken.

The ARTC is also optimising its inspection and maintenance activities with upgrades to its electronic asset management system underway. This process will include the recording of ‘special locations’ affected by severe weather events.

“To ensure that the safety of rail operations is not compromised during severe weather events, it is essential that rail transport operators have robust and responsive systems in place to actively monitor and manage the foreseeable risks,” the safety bureau concluded.

Click to view the full ATSB report.

Rail turnout - RISSB

ARA rejects leadership, membership unrest

The Australasian Railway Association has rejected speculation in regard to leadership changes and membership unrest.

This follows an article published today on the Rail Express website today which reported on the separation of the ARA board and the Rail Industry Safety Standards Board (RISSB) and also an ARA announcement to members that it will undertake a review of its role in the Australasian rail industry.

The Rail Express article quoted un-named sources which speculated on ramifications of the split in the ARA and RISSB boards.

“The fact that Rail Express sourced and published the content of this member communique is disappointing in itself but to rouse speculation on the roles of the ARA staff is completely pre-emptive not only to the ARA and our staff but also to the review process currently underway,” the spokesperson said.

FOOTNOTE: The earlier Rail Express article indicated that the ARA Chief Executive, Bryan Nye, had not responded to calls further information. Rail Express acknowledges that Mr Nye was not contacted personally about this matter.