Anthony Albanese. Photo: Shipping Australia

Who’s the boss? Albanese probes minister roles

Shadow minister for infrastructure, transport, cities and tourism Anthony Albanese has asked if anyone knows who actually is in charge of transport and planning spending in the Turnbull Government.

Albanese spoke at the ADC Forum Creating Healthy Cities Summit in Melbourne on Tuesday.

He once again welcomed the recent addition of Jamie Briggs as the new minister for cities and the built environment, under new leadership from Malcolm Turnbull.

But he questioned how the government could make funding decisions in its current state.

“I’m concerned that the minister for cities [Briggs] is working within the Department of Environment, rather than the department that actually drives infrastructure spending – the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development,” Albanese told the summit.

“I’m not surprised the Coalition is confused too.

“At least five of Mr Turnbull’s Ministers claim to have some level of responsibility in this policy area.

“First, there is the minister for cities, Jamie Briggs.

“Then there’s the minister for the environment, Greg Hunt, who is the senior minister to whom Mr Briggs reports.

“There is the minister for major projects, Paul Fletcher, who reports to the deputy prime minister and the actual infrastructure minister, Warren Truss.

“Off to the side is Josh Frydenburg, who as the minister for Northern development, is also talking about infrastructure.”

Albanese, a former deputy prime minister and minister for transport and infrastructure himself, said the government could not give Australians the service they deserve without some clarity on the matter.

“While I welcome this renewed interest in cities, I would prefer to see Malcolm Turnbull funding buses and trains, not just riding them,” he said.

“The national government must commit to tackling congestion. It’s not just about a wasted $53 billion in productivity because of congestion. It’s also about the wellbeing of people in our communities.

“Nobody wins when they’re stuck in a traffic jam. We need to do much more than commit to extra toll roads before there is any business case.”

“We must attack this problem at multiple levels to give all Australians the time and space they deserve to be more than just numbers on someone’s payroll, more than just cogs in a machine.”

Eurostar approaching the Medway Bridge in Strood, Kent. Photo: Creative Commons / ClemRutter

Birmingham – Crewe high speed link to go ahead of schedule

A further extension of the proposed high speed line between London and Birmingham will be opened six years early, the UK Government has said.

High Speed 2 (HS2), the government’s plan to build a high speed rail line from London to Birmingham by 2026, was to have an extension further north to Manchester and Liverpool by 2033.

But after hearing recommendations from HS2 boss Sir David Higgins, the government announced this week the line would be built as far as Crewe – a staging post between Birmingham and Manchester/Liverpool – while the line to Birmingham is under construction.

That means the London to Birmingham route should be completed by 2026, and the Birmingham to Crewe section by 2027, six years earlier than initially planned, the government said on November 30.

“Confirming that the route from the West Midlands to Crewe will open 6 years early is a major boost for the Midlands, Northern Powerhouse and beyond,” transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said.

McLoughlin said the government would work with landowners along the proposed section to protect the corridor from potential conflicting development.

“HS2 is a transformational scheme and we are committed to helping those who are affected by it,” he said.

“That is why we are proposing a comprehensive package of compensation and assistance for homeowners along the route, which goes well beyond what we are required to do by law.”

The government issuing safeguarding directions means owner-occupiers in the safeguarded area – usually 60 metres either side of the planned route – can serve the government with a blight notice, asking it to purchase their property.

“In addition to receiving the un-blighted value of their home, eligible owner-occupiers can also expect to receive a home-loss payment of 10% of the value of their home (up to £53,000) and reasonable moving costs,” the government explained.

Planning on High Speed 2 began in 2009, with the aim of extending England’s high speed rail network from London. High Speed 1 is the link between the UK end of the Channel Tunnel, and London.

In future, the high speed network could be extended to Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh, government and other bodies have proposed.

Melbourne Metro Train. Photo: Creative Commons / Zed Fitzhume

No transport representation on Frankston Station development board

The board tasked with delivering the Andrews Government’s master plan for the redevelopment of Melbourne’s Frankston Station Precinct does not include any public transport officials.

Public transport minister Jacinta Allan named the delivery board for the $63 million project on Monday, as follows:

  • Chair: Paul Edbrooke, Member for Frankston
  • James Dooley, mayor, Frankston City Council
  • Karin Hann, executive officer, Frankston Business Network
  • Superintendent Glen Weir, Victoria Police
  • Sue Williams, chief executive, Peninsula Health
  • Leon Piterman, pro vice chancellor, Monash University
  • Maria Peters, chief executive officer, Chisholm Institute
  • Kevin Hutchings, managing director, South East Water
  • Gabe North, centre manager, Vicinity Centres, Bayside Shopping Centre


Prof. Piterman is in charge of academic oversight and development of Monash University’s Berwick and Peninsula campuses. His specialty is in the mental health and healthcare sectors.

The absence of a public transport figurehead from the public or private sector is a notable one, given the board’s focus, “to ensure the redevelopment meets the needs and wants of the community, as well as passengers and visitors to Frankston”.

Allan said the board “will oversee the transformation of Frankston into a safe, modern hub for transport, TAFE and shopping.

“More than 6000 commuters, shoppers and visitors use the Frankston Station Precinct every day,” she said.

Board chair and member for Frankston Paul Edbrooke said: “The $63 million redevelopment will make Frankston Station and Young Street safer, brighter and cleaner, driving investment and making Frankston a destination in its own right, which is what our community has so strongly advocated for.

“The new board will provide strong local leadership to ensure the new heart of Frankston we are building meets the needs and wants of the people who use it every day.”

Warren Truss

Truss unveils third Trainline report

Acting prime minister Warren Truss has released the third Trainline report on Australian rail.

Trainline 3 outlines the key role freight, urban and non-urban passenger rail plays in the national economy.

Truss, the guest of honour at Thursday night’s AusRAIL Gala Dinner in Melbourne, said the report would present rail enthusiasts and industry experts with key trends, statistics, and government commitments to rail.

Trainline 3 is a joint annual publication from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA).

“The publication provides an overview of freight, urban and non-urban passenger rail.

“The report reveals that the end of the mining construction boom has transformed into a production boom and rail is moving more bulk tonnage than ever. “

According to the paper, Australian railways moved almost 1.3 billion tonnes of bulk freight in 2013/14, with WA iron ore transport representing roughly 70% of that figure.

“On the passenger side, Australia’s rail network transported approximately 627 million passengers in 2013-14, with Sydney carrying 272.5 million via heavy rail and Melbourne moving 177 million passengers via light rail in the same year,” Truss said.

Truss, who is acting prime minister while Malcolm Turnbull is out of the country, said the Australian Government is committed to investing in rail projects that deliver economic benefits to Australia including freight rail, inland rail, the intermodal sector and passenger rail.

“Rail is no longer only being viewed as just a long distance and bulk carrier,” he said.

“Indeed, freight rail will need to play an increasingly important role in the movement of goods across the short distances between ports and inland freight terminals.”

Truss said the development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal would enable future expansion of Port Botany’s container handling capacity, and investment and employment opportunities in Western Sydney.

“Effective rail connections to our national ports are vital for economic growth, and the Government is committed to enhancing these connections,” he said.

“The Australian Governent is also committed to deliver Inland Rail which carries clear benefits for rail freight.

“It promises to deliver economic benefits of around $22.5 billion and create up to 16,000 direct jobs during it’s 10-year construction period.”

Truss also said the Australian Government recognises that investment in public transport is critical to easing congestion and boosting productivity in major cities and regions.

“Our $4.2 billion Asset Recycling Initiative, a key element of the Infrastructure Growth Package includes $60 million to support light rail development in the ACT,” he said.

“The Australian Government’s Infrastructure Investment Programme includes $95 million towards the second stage of the Gold Coast Light Rail which will link the Gold Coast and Brisbane and will be delivered in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“Up to $1.6 billion will also be contributed towards urban rail projects in NSW including the Sydney Rapid Transit and a second harbor crossing.

“The project will create around 7,700 ongoing operating jobs and more than 1,300 construction jobs in south-west Sydney.”

Trainline 3 is available to access online at

Anthony Albanese, ASA

Albanese tells Turnbull to do more

Shadow minister for infrastructure, transport, cities and tourism Anthony Albanese has urged the rail industry to demand more from the federal government.

“Rail is underutilised in this country,” the former deputy prime minister said on day three of the AusRAIL conference in Melbourne. “There’s much more we can do.

“The former prime minister [Tony Abbott] made the extraordinary statement that there is no role for the federal government in funding urban transport.

“I believe the former prime minister’s position on urban rail was one of the key elements that added the term ‘former’ to his title.”

Albanese said recent moves toward funding transport by the Turnbull Ministry were “pretty good,” but said more spending, and more direct policy making, would be “really good”.

“I call on the government to not just ride on rail, but to fund rail,” he said. “There’s been more than a 20% decline in spending on infrastructure [during the Coalition’s current term].

“One thing that I learnt as both an infrastructure minister, but also as someone who lives in the largest city in Australia … it’s almost certain that every rail project that is proposed, will have actual passenger figures that are higher than forecast.

“It’s also the case that I can’t think of a new toll-road where the actual number of cars meets what the forecasts were prior to construction being approved.

“There’s a bit of a pattern. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or a statistician.”

Anthony Albanese on Alstom Citadis light rail simulator at AusRAIL PLUS 2015. Photo: Alstom
After his morning address, Albanese toured the AusRAIL exhibition, and took a turn on Alstom’s light rail simulator. Photo: Alstom

Albanese referenced the cancelled East West Link, and its 45-cents-to-the-dollar benefit-cost ratio as projected by Infrastructure Australia.

“I reckon if I went to every one of the exhibitors here [at AusRAIL] and made then an offer, ‘If you invest $100, I guarantee you’ll get $45 back,’ I doubt I would be run over by a stampede of demand.”

The Opposition minister zoned in on the need for a rail line to the planned second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek.

“When people arrive in a state, they tend not to bring their car on the plane,” he said.

“You should not have an airport there without access to public transport there from day one. Even if the airport wasn’t there, it would make sense for Western Sydney.

“But there’s a bit of a stand-off between the federal government and the state government over who’s going to fund it.”

Albanese concluded his address by calling for coordination between states and territories when it comes to transport project, a plan which he said would help stabilise the manufacturing sector.

“We can’t as a nation put all our eggs in the finance sector and the white collar workforce,” he said. “We do very well in certain sectors of transport … but we should be doing much more when it comes to manufacturing of rail.”

Grain. Photo: Shutterstock

For farmers, Inland Rail is about options

An Inland Rail line between Brisbane and Melbourne could give farmers the options they want and need to get their products to overseas customers, an industry representative has said.

“As a producer it’s all about getting product from farmgate to customer as efficiently as you can,” Victorian Farmers Federation vice president David Jochinke said at Wednesday’s forum on Inland Rail at AusRAIL in Melbourne.

“That’s where you’ve seen, previously, roads fill the void in many ways.

“We produce more than we consume, we have expanding markets, we have free trade agreements, which is all fantastic, but it doesn’t mean a pinch if we can’t get our product – efficiently – to the customers.”

Jochinke said a well-planned Inland Rail could provide a cost-efficient option for farmers to send their products to export markets.

“If the Inland Rail can give me more options, that’s the benefit of it,” he said.

The presence of an active Inland Rail line would also fit well with Australian farmers, Jochinke reasoned, because of the seasonal nature of their production.

“We’re probably the hardest customers you’ll ever have, because one year we’ll want to triple your service to us, and the next year we basically don’t want to know you, because we don’t have the product,” he said.

With well-selected intermodal hubs, and consistently-available capacity, however, he said Inland Rail could cater well to farmers’ needs.

Inland Rail could have the added benefit of providing farmers with a more traceable and direct freight path to customers, he added.

“My markets are getting very savvy about what they want,” Jochinke said. “I want to be able to look at traceability through my [transport] system, and I want to be able to deliver it on time.”

Jochinke was one of five members of the Inland Rail forum, which also included Genesee & Wyoming Australia managing director Greg Pauline, and deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture Lyn O’Connell.

Warren Truss. Photo: Cameron Boggs

AusRAIL preview: Star-studded lineup for final day

Anthony Albanese, Warren Truss, and CEO’s from Australasia’s biggest rail businesses will help wrap up AusRAIL PLUS 2015 in Melbourne on Thursday.

Former deputy prime minister and current shadow minister for transport and infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, will open proceedings with an Opposition address.

He will be followed by presentations by ARA chairman Bob Herbert, then Pacific National director David Irwin.

After morning tea, a forum including Qube managing director will discuss the role of short haul rail in ports and intermodal terminal.

An address by CEO of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator will be followed by a presentation by Keolis Downer CEO Benedicte Colin, and Keolis UK CEO Alistair Gordon.

Sydney Trains boss Howard Collins will make the final solo presentation of the event, before the highly-anticipated CEO Forum, which will feature leaders from just about every key rail business in Australia and New Zealand.

Delegates will re-convene on Thursday evening for the AusRAIL PLUS 2015 Gala Dinner, which will feature an address from deputy prime minister and minster for infrastructure and regional development Warren Truss.

See the full day three schedule below:

  • 8.00 – Welcome coffee
  • 9.00 – Welcome and opening remarks
  • 9.10 – Federal Opposition Address – Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • 9.30 – ARA Chairman’s Address – Bob Herbert AM, Chairman, Australasian Railway Association
  • 9.50 – Rail’s role in the modern logistics chain – David Irwin, Director, Pacific National
  • 10.10 – Morning tea served within the exhibition
  • 10.40 – Forum: The role of short haul rail in ports and intermodal terminals
    • Facilitator: Phil Allan, Chief Operating Officer, Australasian Railway Association
    • Marika Calfas, Interim CEO, NSW Ports
    • Robert Comley, General Manager of Ports Logistics, SCT Logistics
    • Maurice James, Managing Director, Qube Holdings
    • Andrew Adam, General Manager National Intermodal, Pacific National
    • Jim Stevenson, Chairman, The Intermodal Group
  • 11.30 – National approach to rail regulation and performance – Sue McCarrey, CEO, The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator
  • 12.00 – Lunch served within the exhibition
  • 1.10 – It’s not rail alone but an Integrated Transport Solution – Bénédicte Colin, CEO, Keolis Downer, and Alistair Gordon, CEO, Keolis UK
  • 1.30 – Making public transport smarter – Howard Collins, Chief Executive, Sydney Trains
  • 1.50 – CEO Forum
    • Nick Clark, CEO, Transdev Australasia
    • Peter Winder, Executive General Manager Interstate Network, ARTC
    • Kevin Wright, Chief Operating Officer, Queensland Rail
    • Geoff Smith, Managing Director, SCT Logistics
    • Bénédicte Colin, CEO, Keolis Downer
    • Greg Pauline, Managing Director, Genesee & Wyoming
    • Howard Collins, Chief Executive, Sydney Trains
    • David Irwin, Director, Pacific National
    • Andrew Lezala, CEO, Metro Trains Melbourne
    • Paul Larsen, CEO, Brookfield Rail
    • Rob Mason, Chief Executive, NSW TrainLink
    • Peter Reidy, CEO, KiwiRail
    • Clément Michel, CEO, Yarra Trams
  • 3.00 – Close of AusRAIL PLUS 2015
  • 7.00 – AusRAIL PLUS 2015 Gala Dinner, featuring Address from Warren Truss, Deputy Prime Minister; Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Your digital edition of Rail Express AusRAIL PLUS 2015 has arrived!

The electronic version of Rail Express AusRAIL 2015 magazine is now available to read online, free of charge.

Click here to read our AusRAIL 2015 edition.

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 left menu.

Our AusRAIL PLUS 2015 edition is 92 pages and includes:

  • ARA: Introducing new CEO Danny Broad.
  • Workforce: Women have more to offer in rail.
  • Inland Rail & Intermodal: Looking in to the Inland Rail Implementation Group report
  • Research & Technology: Experts meet to talk wheel detection.

We hope that you enjoy the magazine. If you have any feedback, please feel free to email our editor:

For more information about advertising in Rail Express, please click here.

Delegates at AusRAIL PLUS 2015. Photo:

AusRAIL day two preview: Inland Rail takes centre stage

The day two schedule for AusRAIL PLUS in Melbourne is highlighted by a panel discussion on the massive Inland Rail project.

After a constructive first day of talks, delegates will return on day two, to hear first from Public Transport Victoria boss Gary Liddle, who will talk about people and productivity in the passenger operations sector.

Siemens Mobility executive general manager Miximilian Eichhorn – an active member of the rail suppliers CEO Forum on day one – will discuss the journey to intelligent infrastructure, and ABH Consulting’s Anthony Hatch will teach lessons learned on US freight rail productivity.

After morning tea, a group of five key stakeholders will host a forum focused on Inland Rail.

The multi-billion dollar Inland Rail, still in its early stages, aims to see a heavy haul line connect Brisbane to Melbourne via an inland route which avoids much of the metropolitan congestion and bottlenecks along the eastern coastline.

Sydney Trains’ Rino Matarazzo will round up the morning’s plenary session to discuss the customer experience.

After lunch delegates will again split into the four technical streams: the RTSA Stream, which will focus on electrification and infrastructure projects; the RTAA Stream, which will focus on track solutions; the IRSE Stream, which will focus on smart design, and the Rail Suppliers Stream.

The full plenary schedule for day two is as follows:

  • 8.00 – Welcome coffee
  • 9.00 – Welcome and opening remarks – Danny Broad, CEO, Australasian Railway Association
  • 9.10 – People and productivity – Gary Liddle, CEO, Public Transport Victoria (PTV)
  • 9.40 – The journey to intelligent infrastructure – Maximilian Eichhorn, Executive General Manager, Siemens Mobility
  • 10.00 – US freight rail productivity lessons – Anthony Hatch, analyst/consultant, ABH Consulting
  • 10.30 – Morning tea served within the exhibition
  • 11.10 – The impact of Inland Rail on the agricultural supply chain
    • Peter Winder, Executive General Manager Interstate Network, ARTC
    • Greg Pauline, Managing Director, Genesee & Wyoming Australia
    • David Jochinke, Vice President, Victorian Farmers Federation
    • Lyn O’Connell, Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Water Resources
    • Rob Perkins, Business Development Manager, Ettamogah Rail Hub
  • 12.00 – Enhancing the customer experience – Rino Matarazzo, General Manager Customer Service NorthWest Region, Sydney Trains
  • 12.30 – Lunch served within the exhibition
  • 2.00 – Technical streams begin

Click here for the full AusRAIL schedule.

AusRAIL Preview: Andrews, rail suppliers to highlight day one

Rail Express will report live from day one of Australasia’s biggest rail event, AusRAIL. Highlights of Tuesday’s schedule will include an address from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and a forum with ten leading executives in the rail supply sector.

Andrews, attending the first AusRAIL since he became Victorian premier in December 2014, will lead off proceedings in the Tuesday plenary sessions, about how he plans to keep Victoria “number one” for transport.

The premier’s address will be followed by a forum focused on the future of rail infrastructure, featuring ARA chairman Bob Herbert and Infrastructure Australia chairman Mark Birrell, among a number of other key infrastructure leader.

After morning tea, Metro Trains Melbourne CEO Andrew Lezala will discuss the role of the private sector in rail.

Related story: Metro boss excited for ‘rail renaissance’

Related story: British Railways career inspired Lezala’s metro method

Lezala’s presentation will be followed by the first of AusRAIL’s two major CEO forums: the Rail Suppliers CEO Forum. The latest in a series of annual AusRAIL suppliers forums, the ten-member panel will include executives from UGL, GE, Bombardier, Downer, Siemens, CAF, Knorr-Bremse, Comsteel, Alstom and Faiveley.

After lunch the AusRAIL 2015 conference will split into its four technical streams: the RTSA Rollingstock Stream, the RTAA Project Delivery, Construction & Delivery Stream, the IRSE Signalling Stream and the Rail Suppliers Stream.

See the detailed Tuesday schedule for the main plenary sessions, which will be held in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s Plenary 2 room, below:

  • 7.30 – Registration and morning coffee
  • 9.00 – Welcome and opening remarks – Danny Broad, CEO, Australasian Railway Association
  • 9.10 – State Premier’s Address – Daniel Andrews, Victorian Premier
  • 9.30 – Forum: Establishing an infrastructure pipeline for the future growth of Australian rail
    • Bob Herbert, Chairman, Australasian Railway Association
    • Mark Birrell, Chairman, Infrastructure Australia
    • David Quinn, CEO, Building Queensland
    • Jason Peasley, Head of Infrastructure, AustralianSuper
    • Anissa Levy, Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Programs – Head of Investor Assurance, Infrastructure NSW
  • 10.20 – Morning tea and official exhibition opening
  • 11.10 – The role of the private sector in rail – Andrew Lezala, CEO, Metro Trains Melbourne
  • 11.30 – Rail Suppliers CEO Forum
    • Alan Beacham, Executive General Manager Rail, Defence & International, UGL
    • Dwight Van Roy, Executive General Manager – Rail, GE Transportation
    • Rene Lalande, CEO, Bombardier Transportation Australia
    • Michael Miller, Acting CEO, Downer EDI Rail
    • Maximilian Eichhorn, Executive General Manager, Siemens Mobility
    • Iñaki Mendizabal, Area Director, CAF
    • Michael McLellan, Managing Director, Knorr-Bremse
    • Lindsay Reid, General Manager, Comsteel
    • Mark Coxon, Managing Director, Australia & New Zealand, Alstom
    • Jean-Marie Guerin, Managing Director, Faiveley Transport Australia
  • 12.30 – Lunch served within the exhibition
  • 2.00 – Technical streams begin

Click here for full AusRAIL schedule.

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