McMillan new boss for Bombardier Transportation Australia

Victoria’s Rolling Stock Development Division’s chief executive Wendy McMillan has been named the new managing director of Bombardier Transportation Australia.

Bombardier’s head office in Berlin this week named McMillan the business’ new head in Australia and South East Asia, and managing director of Bombardier Transportation Australia. McMillan will begin in the role on February 1.

At the Victorian Government McMillan was responsible for train and tram fleets, including the development of strategic business cases and delivery of capital projects, asset management and industry development.

“With her experience in business development, project delivery and rolling stock procurement, [McMillan] is a great addition to our senior team,” Bombardier’s president for Western Europ, Middle East, Africa and the Asia Region Per Allmer said. “With Australia and South East Asia together as one strong sub-region, combined with Wendy’s strategic leadership, our objectives are to increase customer satisfaction, drive business growth and deliver our transformation program.”

Paul Brown, who has served as Bombardier Transportation Australia’s interim managing director since August 2018, will return to his role as project director for Queensland’s New Generation Rollingstock fleet, and will continue to advise McMillan and the rest of the team.

“I sincerely thank Paul Brown for his leadership in Australia in the interim and for his ongoing contribution to Bombardier,” Allmer said.

“I also take this opportunity to thank Jayaram Naidu, Head of South East Asia, as he has been instrumental in the strong growth of our South East Asian region winning significant orders during 2018. Our powerful new team of Wendy, Paul and Jayaram will leverage the synergies, strengths and successes of both teams to jointly shape the new operations model for Australia and South East Asia in preparation for the market evolution to come.”

Digitisation adds new dimension to track maintenance

Specialty machine supplier Plasser Australia outlines its contribution to a “new era” in track construction and maintenance.

Plasser is using the latest in sensor and communications technology to give its customers direct access to machine data.

Through the company’s PlasserDatamatic 2.0 module, operators can monitor their machine through a desktop, smartphone or tablet, with live information covering the location and condition of the machine, the operations it is performing, and the condition of the track below it.

“The industry is moving towards data collection, and PlasserDatamatic fills this purpose,” Plasser Australia tells Rail Express. “For us, the next step was to connect a modem to the machine, and over the GSM network, analyse this data from afar.

“You can have engineers sitting in offices, rather than on machines, collecting data. This is ideally suited to perform preventative maintenance – predictive maintenance. The system also helps minimise downtime: If you have a fault, you can get online and pinpoint what the issue is.”

Plasser’s technology allows a wide range of factors to be measured, and reported back to base constantly.

The PlasserDatamatic program provides, in a single point of access:

  • Geo fence: a machine’s area of application can be defined, and when the it reaches or leaves this boundary, a message can be triggered. This system can be used to tell schedulers whether a project is on schedule or not.
  • Last events: A machine’s log entries are accessible and retraceable for one week.
  • Integrated user help: All data on the machine is available via one access point. Operating instructions are stored in PlasserDatamatic.
  • Event Wiki: Comments function for self-help. Recurring entries can be documented. Comments provide comprehensive help, independent of a single operator.
  • Dashboards for personalised configuration: Every user selects the machine parameters in the dashboard and creates a customised display.
  • Servicing: Reports of the MachineMaintenanceGuide (MMG) can be accessed centrally, including photos, check lists, notes and even audio files.

Plasser says the system can keep operators abreast of “anything from engine oil pressure, to battery voltage, right through to the condition of your hydraulic oil”.

From a production perspective, measuring systems can be fitted as means of increasing productivity.

“Operators are under increasing pressure to reduce maintenance costs and increase utilisation of the track occupation windows, as this increased track availability makes the railway competitive with other modes of transportation.”

Plasser says its machine-enabled measuring and monitoring can generate smart data, and a virtual track, which allows maintenance to be more efficient. There are many benefits to be gained from such systems.

“The quality of the works performed can be immediately inspected by the customer,” the company says. “The number of people in the danger zone is reduced. Works can be inspected from an office environment.

“The combination of trends and intelligent assessment methods makes it possible to analyse and recommend predictive maintenance actions for the track infrastructure.”

The wide reach of Plasser machines and data collected around the globe means the company is constantly able to improve its off ering to customers.

“If we receive information from a number of operators and see that there is a trend forming in one particular piece of equipment or system, then we can start looking at the potential cause of that, and get to a root analysis,” the company explains.

This information is also helping Plasser in developing new and improved products. As an analogy, “when you take a modern car to be serviced, the OEM can connect to the vehicle with a laptop, analyse the data if something has failed, see when it failed, and diagnose the probable causes as to why it failed”.

“This is an industry-wide movement, and what we’re off ering our customers is right at the forefront of this progress.”


Parramatta Light Rail contracts awarded, 4km of wire-free rail

Winners have been named for contracts to build, and supply and operate rail systems for the first stage of Parramatta Light Rail, and the state says four kilometres of the project will be catenary free.

NSW transport minister Andrew Constance on Thursday announced the winners of a pair of major contracts for the project, which he said will have a total budget of $2.4 billion.

A joint venture of Downer and CPB Contractors has won the $840 million contract to build the light rail line.

A consortium of Transdev and CAF has won a $540 million deal to supply and operate the network and build the depot, light rail stops and power systems.

The State said the project will use 45-metre, fully accessible vehicles, capable of carrying up to 300 passengers each.

Constance said both contract winners had a demonstrated history of delivering successful light rail projects around Australia.

“We are excited to confirm the NSW Government is investing in not one but two experienced consortia to deliver us a world-class light rail,” the minister said.

“Between them, these teams have delivered the Newcastle, Canberra and Gold Coast Stage 2 light rail networks that have transformed these cities for the better.”

The State said Transport for NSW has signed agreements with the City of Parramatta, other government agencies and the major utility providers, clearly defining responsibilities and working arrangements during construction and operations.

The Government also announced on Thursday that roughly four kilometres of the twelve-kilometre route would be wire-free, with stretches between Westmead and Cumberland Hospital, and between Prince Alfred Square and Tramway Avenue.

CAF trams utilising an on-board power supply are part of another NSW Government-driven project, Newcastle Light Rail, which is entirely wire-free.

Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee thanked the community for engaging with the State throughout the three year planning and design process.

“In a few years, Parramatta Light Rail is going to get people out of their cars and transform the Greater Parramatta region with quick and easy transport,” Lee said.

Feedback from concerned local business owners led the State to proclaim earlier this year that construction along Eat Street would not begin until 2020. It also says a three-month ‘construction grace period’ will apply along Eat Street each summer.

The contracts announced this week also require construction teams to work around evenings and other busy times, and include commitments to employ local workers.

Targeted for first operations in 2023, stage one of Parramatta Light Rail will provide services every 7.5 minutes during peak periods.

The contracts announcement comes after remediation works began in October a the future site of the project’s stabling and maintenance facility at Camellia. Roadworks are also underway to prepare the Parramatta CBD and North Parramatta for the project.

Less downtime, more flexibility: Providing a better fastening solution

Infastech Engineered Fastening says it can provide wagon manufacturers, rail track and maintenance businesses with an alternative swage locking fastening system which also benefits from the Enerpac tooling service network.

The 734 AV Enerpac series of tools aims to leverage a node-based system, as well as the reach
of the Enerpac-authorised service centre network, to provide a better solution for its users.

Swage locking fastening systems have applications all around the rail sector, from the manufacturing or maintenance of wagons, bogies or locomotives, to installation of new or upgraded track, maintenance of heavy machines, and so on.

Common swage locking systems leave users with common issues. Different nose equipment is often required to install different-diameter lockbolts, and when a tool breaks down, it often must be sent away to be fixed.

Infastech Engineered Fastening has designed a platform which offers a better solution.

The 734 AV system consists of four separate parts: a placing tool, pump unit, hose, and easy-to-change nose equipment.

The pump unit is a high-performance custom Enerpac unit, with a high-efficiency 2-stage pump design with increased oil flow rate and bypass pressure, and 18% less current draw than comparable pumps.

Infastech Engineered Fastening National Sales Manager Ashley Gorman told Rail Express the capabilities of the company’s system made it perfect for the rail sector, especially in a large, sparse country like Australia.

“By using an Enerpac system, it allows customers who require after-service to take it to any Enerpac-authorised service centre around Australia,” he explained.

“That could be someone located in Port Hedland, for example. They don’t have to worry about sending the tool far away for servicing; they can go to their local area to have the tool serviced.

“And that’s a big thing, because you can’t afford to have downtime on tooling when you’re undertaking a major project.”

The electric hydraulic pump drives the power to swage the collar onto the pin, creating the fastening itself.

By using easy-to-change nose equipment and hydraulic hoses in different lengths, the tool can be adapted to suit local assembly requirements.

“The unit itself is unique because you can adjust its stroke setting, so if you’re doing a small diameter pin, you only have the pulling power for that pin,” Gorman explained. “If you’re pulling a large diameter pin, the tool can be reset for more stroke.”

The placing tool is designed to be robust and durable, while still being lighter weight, ergonomic, and highly manoeuvrable.

Large diameter Avdelok XT lockbolts, NeoBolts, as well as Avbolt fasteners can be placed securely in seconds with the 734 AV series of installation tools and pumps.

The Avdelok system

The 734 AV series is designed for the high-speed installation of Large Diameter Avdelok lockbolts.

These lockbolts are designed to offer high shear strength, high controlled clamp, within a wide selection of materials, head sizes, and collar options, providing for an extensive variety of applications.

The Avdelok system is designed to be quick to install, and easy to inspect for tampering, making it the ideal fastener for heavy engineering.

Avdelok structural lockbolts come in steel, stainless steel, and aluminium alloy, and range from 4.8mm (3/16”) to 28.57mm (1 & 1/8”). Headforms include brazier, countersunk, truss and large flange heads, and collars can be full, half or flanged.

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Harnessing processing power to develop smarter train assembly

Terence Vu sees a future where robots can work out the best way to assemble rollingstock components. The PhD student spoke with Rail Express about his project.

With research co-funded by the University of Wollongong and the Rail Manufacturing CRC, Terence Vu is working to advance the field of automated assembly for rollingstock fabrication.

Put simply, Vu wants machines to determine the best way to assemble components by learning and adapting to new processes on the fly.

“Traditionally in manufacturing, people program robots the step-by-step process to manufacture a part,” Vu explains. “But any time they have a new component, they have to program that additional component again.”

In Vu’s version of the ‘factory of the future’, that engineer would simply provide inputs and a desired result – a 3D model – and the robot would establish the steps required to get there.

“My PhD project is aiming to develop a certain brain for the robot to ‘think for itself ’, where it can determine how to assemble a product from many individual parts,” he says.

“When the parts are brought together, we want the robot to consider lots of constraints from the assembly configurations. We also want other requirements such as the assembly stability and the part’s tolerance to be considered, before making a decision regarding the sequence, and the path to bring those parts together into the final product.”

For every new part or assembly, the machine would be able to adapt and adjust to ensure its process was the most efficient possible, given the constraints.

Vu’s PhD research combines physics, mathematics, engineering and artificial intelligence. Given the large number of potential assembly routes to take, running software simulations helps to select the quickest, safest and most tolerant route when assembling components. The algorithms Vu builds currently work to assemble virtual components, but in the future may be trialled and adapted to be a real-world rail scenario.

Vu says this kind of capability is thanks to recent developments in computing power, and research, specifically within the field of artificial intelligence.

“In recent years, people started to think of many ways to present the different constraints and data efficiently, so the robot can make use of that information,” he says. “And certain algorithms have made the process faster as well.”

With an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Design Engineering, Vu gained industry experience working in robotics at the Rolls-Royce@NTU Corporate Lab – a collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, before relocating to Australia to pursue his PhD studies and continue progressing his passion in robotics.

Vu believes technology like this has a future not only in manufacturing, but in the maintenance and repair side of the rail industry. He says more students should be encouraged to enter the rail sector.

“I think the rail industry is very lively and very colourful,” he says. “It serves and employs people from all walks of life, and I believe that people of any disciplines can participate and contribute to this industry.”

The Rail Manufacturing CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) sponsors and directs collaborative research and commercialisation partnerships in rail manufacturing. It pairs researchers with commercial businesses, with the aim of furthering the rail manufacturing sector within Australia.

The Rail Manufacturing CRC also supports the next generation of rail leaders, with more than 30 students supported across industry projects, scholarships and internships run by the Centre.

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Alstom sends off final Sydney Metro Northwest train

The last of the 22 trains being built by Alstom for the first stage of the Sydney Metro project is on its way to Australia.

Alstom’s Sricity facility in Andhra Pradesh, in India’s southeast, manufactured the 22 vehicles, which will be Australia’s first fully automated passenger trains when they enter into service next year.

With the Sydney Metro Northwest fleet now built, Alstom said the Sricity site, which opened in 2014, will turn its attentions on a second export order for the light metro project in Montreal, while production for Mumbai’s Metro Line 3 will begin next year. The facility can produce trains at a rate of 240 cars per annum.

“We are immensely proud to have completed the last train for Sydney Metro in this landmark project for the Asia Pacific region,” Alstom’s senior vice president for Asia Pacific, Ling Fang said.

“We are also proud to see Sricity concluding its first export order on time, delivering on expectations and winning our customer’s trust. We firmly believe in India’s role as a manufacturing and engineering hub for international markets, and this milestone bears witness to that.”

Along with building the trains, Alstom is contracted to deliver the CBTC signalling system for Sydney Metro Northwest.

The Sydney Metro Northwest fleet is based on Alstom’s Metropolis platform.

Once the line opens next year, the trains will connect passengers from Sydney’s growing northwest to Chatswood, where they will connect with Sydney Trains services and buses to the city and elsewhere.

Protecting passengers and drivers: Impact testing glass in rollingstock

Ballistic & Mechanical Testing is working with train manufacturers and owners to ensure windows are properly impact-tested, and keep their strength throughout the life of the rollingstock.

Primarily, Ballistic & Mechanical Testing (BMT) is a laboratory that specialises in testing armour, primarily in military and law enforcement. But much of that testing pertains to transparent armour (i.e. glass) – and that’s where BMT is in a position to serve the rail sector.

“A lot of the glass that’s used in the rail industry is impact tested,” BMT General Manager Ben Eu explains to Rail Express. “That testing is for the laminate strength, and the impact resistance of glazing.”

Eu says there are several standards typically used in Australia for glass testing in public transport: the British Rail Board (BRB) 566 for high impact resistant windows, the US standard
issued by the Federal Rail Administration, and the Australian Standards for safety glazing on land vehicles, including AS2080 and AS7520.

“We work in two parts of the supply chain,” Eu explains.

First, BMT tests glass during the rollingstock delivery phase. “In some cases, for a glass manufacturer we’ll assist in their R&D phase, when they’re developing the product,” Eu says. “We also assist those manufacturers with the final stage, the certification process, before the glass is sold on.

“Often we’ll also find the train manufacturer may do some additional testing, and the end customer may want to do some additional testing as well.”

The second area of the rollingstock lifecycle BMT gets involved in is as the vehicle ages. “[Rollingstock owners] are looking at the through-life performance of the glass, as it’s
aging,” Eu says. “Typically [in a train window] you’ve got three different components: the glass, the inter-layer, and the internal film … and you’ve got different coefficients of thermal expansion through all these layers.

“So there is the opportunity, with heating and cooling thanks to environmental exposure, to see some delamination within the product, and that can lead to a reduction in performance.”

While delamination can often be observed through visual inspection, Eu says you can’t know the true performance of the glass without proper testing.

“A warranty period is nominated by the manufacturer of that glass. Once it starts to approach the end of that period, you would then take some samples and test them, to make sure they’re still offering the required impact protection,” he says.

“You’d then repeat that testing every twelve months, so you can monitor the performance of the glazing, to see if there is any reduction.

“Provided you are conducting a program like that, there is no reason you couldn’t expect glazing to last the full life of the train itself.”

BMT tests glass not only for its ability to prevent projectiles from entering the train cabin, but also to make sure external impacts don’t project small shards of glass from the window,
into the cabin.

“Small shards of glass can release from the inside surface of the glass, and could penetrate the skin or, more significantly, they could cause a very serious eye injury for a passenger,” Eu explains.

BMT is National Association of Testing Authorities Australia (NATA) accredited. Its laboratory, in Port Melbourne, Victoria, services clients in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Israel, Thailand and China.


Bombardier’s Brown sees ‘huge opportunities’ in Australia

Bombardier Transportation Australia Managing Director Paul Brown says the company’s service, maintenance and refurbishment capabilities will pay dividends as governments take a longer-term view of rollingstock procurement.

As a key global focus Bombardier Transportation is shifting fleet owners’ perception away from a rollingstock investment beginning and ending at the acquisition stage.

Ahead of AusRAIL 2018, Brown spoke energetically with Rail Express about Bombardier’s recent success as a long-term services business in “more forward-looking markets,” like Australia and the UK.

“It’s not just about the capital cost of the train. We need to take a view of the whole lifecycle cost of the project,” Brown says.

“The capabilities we bring to operators helps solve their problems in that more modern thinking of improving reliability, improving lifecycle costs, and helping them be a lot more efficient and effective in the overall running of their fleet.

“If you think about the 30 or 40 years of the project, then you can get a much better return on your investment than a government paying huge amounts of capital upfront for a project. We compete strongly on overall ‘value for money’.”

Brown says this concept was a key part of many of his discussions during his first 30 days in charge in Australia, after he was made managing director in August.

Bombardier Transportation President Laurent Troger also spoke highly of the Australian market in an interview with Rail Express in Berlin in September.

“Australia has quite a fantastic momentum,” Troger said. “Urbanisation in Australia is growing very fast. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth; these are very big localisations. The demand is going to be important.

“Politicians have realised the mobility equation cannot be solved by cars, and by new roads. There is a need for an alternative solution, and they have realised that rail and trains are a very good alternative as a mobility solution.”

In his exclusive interview with Rail Express, Paul Brown also discusses Queensland’s New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) project.

Prior to being promoted to Managing Director, Brown was the Project Director for NGR. Brown says the NGR fleet is a fantastic set of trains, regardless of illinformed and often-cynical media coverage.

“Despite the noise, the NGRs are delivering – and will continue to deliver – excellent services around the South East Queensland rail network. They’ve been absolutely fantastic,” he asserts.

“Our customers are highly delighted with the trains. The feedback is incredibly positive, and we’re getting on with delivering new generation, highly reliable trains – more reliable than we expected it to be at this stage in fact – and so it’s been really positive.

“That’s what we’ve always said. If you strip away the noise, and the politics around NGR, you’ve actually got a very successful project.”

For our full interviews with Paul Brown and Laurent Troger look out for our Rail Express AusRAIL Edition, which will be available in print and digital format on Tuesday, November 27.

Andrews promises more VLocity trains for regional lines

The Victorian Labor government has committed to ordering 54 new VLocity carriages to the value of $340 million for the Geelong and Ballarat lines if re-elected in next week’s state election.

The 18 new three-carriage trains are to be delivered by Bombardier Transportation. The government has said it would place the order within the first year of being re-elected, with all the trains to be completed by 2021.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the investment would see the creation of 500 jobs in Dandenong and the south east.

“We’re upgrading every regional rail line and with this order we’ll see more trains, more often on the busy Ballarat and Geelong lines. Even better, we’ll do it while backing local jobs,” Andrews said.

“When it comes to delivering real projects and a real plan for regional rail, only Labor has the track-record locals can rely on.”

As part of the investment, platform work at Southern Cross Station will also be completed and funding provided for new stabling and cleaning facilities to support the new trains.

State transport minister Jacinta Allan said the government’s $848.5 million investment in regional trains had already provided a 40 per cent increase in regional rail services, with V/Line now running more than 2,000 services every week.

“We’ve added hundreds of services across the network. But we know there’s more to do and these new trains will deliver a more reliable and comfortable journey for thousands of passengers,” Allan said.

“Labor is delivering real projects now and planning for our next big build to make sure regional Victorians have reliable public transport they deserve.”

LINX unveils Port Botany shuttle livery

PICS: LINX Cargo Care Group has revealed the new livery for its existing ‘G’ class locomotives, with the fleet to operate out of the LINX Intermodal Terminal at Enfield in Sydney’s west.

LINX took over the lease to operate the NSW Ports-owned Enfield intermodal terminal in February, and says it has been building its rail business and attracting new customers to Enfield’s dedicated Port Botany shuttle service.

On November 6 the company revealed the livery for that service.

LINX said the new locomotives would complement the current fleet operating the port shuttles, adding capacity and ensuring reliability on the service.

“Effective and reliable rail operations at the LINX Intermodal Terminal is critical to the terminal’s success for our customers and the NSW freight and ports economy,” LINX Cargo Care Group chief executive Anthony Jones said.

“We are excited by our rail operations and remain committed to delivering on our promise to our customers.”