Australasian rail events updates

After a national cabinet meeting on March 17, the Australian Commonwealth and state and territory governments announced restrictions on indoor gatherings of greater than 100 people from Wednesday, March 18. In New Zealand, the government has banned indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

Although these bans do not apply to essential activities and schools, universities, workplaces, supermarkets, or public transport, they have impacted upon industry gatherings. As a resource for the industry, Rail Express will provide up-to-date information on rail industry events which have been impacted.

 

Event  Original date  New date  Organiser  More info 
ALC Forum 2020  March 17-19, 2020  Cancelled Australian Logistics Council  https://web.cvent.com/event/ed5c1f27-aa13-4add-b70a-c07b9ad3b23b/summary 

 

RTAA/RTSA Annual Dinner  March 26, 2020  Tbc  RTAA, RTSA  http://www.rtaa.org.au/services/annual-dinner-2020.html 

 

RISSB Rail Safety Conference  March 31 – April 1, 2020  27-28 October, 2020  RISSB  https://www.rissb.com.au/events/rissb-rail-safety-conference-2020/ 

 

MEGAtrans  April 1-3, 2020  April 2021  Prime Creative Media  https://www.bulkhandlingexpo.com.au/ 

 

BULK2020  April 1-3, 2020  April 2021  Prime Creative Media  https://www.bulkhandlingexpo.com.au/ 

 

CORE2020  May 11-13, 2020  June 21 – 23, 2021  RTSA  https://www.rtsa.com.au/ 

 

Australasian Industry Awards and Gala Dinner  July 2, 2020  November 19, 2020  Australasian Railway Association  https://railindustryawards.com.au/ 

 

Inland Rail  September 9-10, 2020  5-6 May, 2021  Australasian Railway Association, Australian Logistics Council  https://ara.net.au/events-and-networking/inland-rail-conference 
InnoTrans  September 22-25  27-30 April, 2021 Messe Berlin  https://www.innotrans.com/ 

The following events have been cancelled:Australasian Railway Association events

  • Diversity in Rail Lunch – 19 March, Sydney
  • Understanding Rail Course – 21 and 22 April, Melbourne
  • Rail Industry Networking Dinner- 6 May, Perth
  • Women in Rail Lunch – 20 May, Melbourne
  • Insight into Rollingstock Engineering Course – 28 and 29 May, Sydney
  • Insight into Track Engineering Course – 3 June, Brisbane
  • Insight into Rollingstock Engineering Course – 4 and 5 June, Brisbane
  • Rail Accessibility Forum- 23 June, Brisbane
  • Future Leaders’ Workshop – 30 June, Melbourne
  • The Dare to Lead courses – Sydney and Melbourne

Wearing a commitment to safety

In its column, the RTAA outlines its current initiatives in rail track innovation and safety.

Welcome to 2020! Last year ended on a high note with the AusRAIL Plus Conference and Exhibition in Sydney attracting over 7,500 visitors and delegates. The RTAA held its own technical stream as part of the AusRail program with a strong line up of excellent presentations on track construction and operation, asset maintenance, turnout, safety, and rail head management.

The RTAA Yellow Tie Dinner was the highlight of the conference with a record attendance of over 1,350 guests. A new addition this year was the silent auction of the RTAA One Less Dress. This one-of-a-kind dress was made by Erika Barnes from over 50 yellow silk ties for the rail safety cause with proceeds from the auction donated directly to the TrackSAFE Foundation. Gary Davey of JMD Railtech Group provided the winning bid.

The One Less Dress was officially unveiled at JMDR’s Sydney Office on 13 February 2020.

The new decade promises to be a big one for the Australian rail industry. This year the RTAA has returned with new vigour and enthusiasm for the year ahead and is focused on working collaboratively with public and private entities as well as other technical societies to make rail more inclusive for everyone, grow our national footprint, promote knowledge sharing, foster collaboration, and be sustainable.

To support this focus, we have elected a new and diverse leadership team comprised of amazing men and women working in rail

  • Thomas Kerr – president
  • Jonathan Barnes – vice president
  • Orla O’Sullivan – vice president
  • Kieran Navin – treasurer
  • Abbie Thomas – secretary
  • Laurena Basutu – marketing manager

We’ve planned some great events and initiatives for this year.

Nominations for the Emerging Rail Specialist Award are now open. This award has evolved from the Frank Franklyn Young Rail Specialist Award, which was first established in 2008 in honour of the great Francis Gustave Franklyn who passed that year. Francis was the chief civil engineer in NSW for eight years through the 1980s, was the RTAA vice president, and is an Honorary Life Member of the RTAA. The new award has developed out of a need to be more modern and relevant to today’s audience and environment. It recognises and encourages the contribution of emerging rail specialists in the early stages of their career within the rail industry and attempts to be more inclusive by not making age a limiting factor. The winner of the Emerging Rail Specialist Award will be presented at the Australasian Rail Industry Awards (ARIA) on 19 November 2020 in Melbourne.

For more information on RTAA activities, events and initiatives in 2020 contact: businessmanager@rtaa.org.au or follow the RTAA on social media Twitter: @RailTAA , LinkedIn: @Rail Track Association Australia – RTAA and Facebook: @RailTAA.

A message from the CEO to our partners

As Australia’s largest B2B publisher we have been looking at how we can best support our many industries through the changing COVID-19 situation.

We are committed to keeping our industries connected and supporting our clients and readers through this challenging time.

We recognise that meeting in person will be limited in the months ahead. Major conferences and events have been postponed for the next six months, including some of our own. Many companies are discouraging face-to-face meetings, and organising for team members to work from home.

With the potential for companies and individuals to become isolated we recognise communication within the industry has never been more important. Fortunately, through our media brands we are in a position to facilitate the necessary lines of communication that must be kept open between staff, suppliers, and clients.

We are in a strong position to support our industries through our media platforms: magazines, e-newsletters and websites. To that end, using print and digital platforms to communicate with the market has never been more important.

Prime Creative Media is committed to continuing our frequent communications. Our regular newsletters, web sites, and printed magazines will continue to be produced on schedule, with our entire team prepared to work remotely as needed. With so many other businesses moving to remote workplaces, we are now offering complimentary home address delivery of our publications to ensure continuity of service to our existing subscribers. Additionally we will offer three-month complimentary subscriptions to anyone else in the industry who would like a subscription to stay informed.

The economic challenges we face with COVID-19 are significant, but temporary. At Prime Creative Media we are taking a long-term view to our business, marketing, and investments, and it has been encouraging to hear this week from many clients who share our mindset.

We look forward to supporting our industries through our communication platforms in the coming months, so that our economy can push through this challenging time.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly to discuss your situation and how we can help.

Warm regards,

John Murphy
CEO
Prime Creative Media

New parliament bill to authorise rail construction

A Railway Amendment Bill put forward last year has been passed by the Western Australian government on Tuesday evening.

The Legislative Council passed The Railway (METRONET) Amendment Bill 2019 to have the Metronet Morley-Ellenbrook Line enshrined into the state law and authorises construction of the rail infrastructure.

The Bill will now be sent for royal assent by Governor Kim Beazley.

Early works are already underway as part of the major redevelopment of Bayswater Station, following Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) called Grace building the first twin tunnel from Forrestfield to Bayswater this week.

A Request for Proposal for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line’s main works contract went out to market last month and is the biggest of four works packages that will deliver the project.

Along with the main works contract, the Morley-Ellenbrook Line is also being delivered through the Bayswater Station upgrade, Tonkin Gap project and forward works contracts.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the Morley-Ellenbrook Line is happening.

“The enabling legislation passing shows that the Parliament acknowledges the importance of rail and serving the north-east corridor with first-class public transport,” she said.

“We have also been working with local companies so they are prepared to leverage opportunities and maximise local jobs that come with building Metronet.

“This enshrines in legislation our election commitment to connect Perth’s fast-growing north-eastern suburbs by rail – we look forward to continuing the work.”

Stations will be built at Ellenbrook, Whiteman Park, Malaga, Noranda and Morley, with allowance for a future station at Bennett Springs East also in the design.

Alstom to acquire Bombardier Transportation

Confirming weeks of rumours, Alstom has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bombardier Inc to acquire Bombardier’s transportation unit.

The MoU values Bombardier Transportation at between €5.8 and €6.2 billion ($9.4 to $10 billion).

Henri Puopart-Lafarge, chairman and CEO of Alstom announced the merger of the two rail manufacturing giants.

“I’m very proud to announce the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation, which is a unique opportunity to strengthen our global position on the booming mobility market.”

Although headquartered in Canada, Bombardier’s transport operations are led from Berlin, Germany. The deal, if approved, could create a European rail champion, a goal which Alstom previously pursued in discussions with Siemens, with whom Bombardier also pursued merger talks.

Puopart-Lafarge acknowledged that the two companies share similar operating areas.

“Bombardier Transportation will bring to Alstom complementary geographical presence and industrial footprint in growing markets, as well as additional technological platforms,” he said.

Bombardier representatives also welcomed the deal’s announcement.

“With a shared commitment to the next generation of green and digital rail solutions, a combined company would benefit from economies of scale resulting into improved investment and innovation capabilities, and a streamlined investment pipeline,” said Eric Prud’Homme, head of external communications at Bombardier Transportation.

In Australia, Alstom and Bombardier both have significant manufacturing operations. Bombardier manufactures diesel multiple units and light rail vehicles in Dandenong, Victoria while Alstom has a manufacturing base in Ballarat where it produces the X’Trapolis trains for the Melbourne network. Additionally, Alstom has been confirmed as the manufacturer of new rollingstock for Perth’s Metronet project, and will construct a local manufacturing facility in Western Australia.

Previous merger discussions between Siemens and Alstom drew the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which noted that a merger would raise competition concerns, however in the field of signalling. Ultimately, the European Commission blocked the proposed deal.

In the MoU announcement, Poupart-Lafarge said that all existing employees of Bombardier Transportation would continue to work for Alstom once the deal is completed.

“We will be thrilled to welcome all the talent and energy of Bombardier Transportation employees. We are deeply committed to step up the turnaround of Bombardier Transportation activities and deliver significant value to all stakeholders, particularly our customers,” he said.

Alstom expects that, subject to approvals from regulatory and anti-trust authorities, the deal will be closed in the first half of 2021.

ARTC to modify reference design for Inland Rail route

John Fullerton, Australian Rail Track Corporation CEO, said “the current route is not locked in,” at a senate inquiry hearing of the management of the Inland Rail project, held on January 30 in Brisbane.

Richard Wankmuller CEO for the Inland Rail Programme said “we understand we need to improve.”

One senator called out “Mr Fullerton, there are pitchforks waiting for you,” as the CEO addressed “white hot anger” concerns of the proposed inland rail route from QLD senators.

Fullerton said the potential “fatal flaw” is floods. 

The ability to construct a public safety model that aligns with the proposed Inland Rail route through the McIntyre floodplain is the main area of concern, Fullerton stated in the hearing.

“There are a number of areas of concern that we’re looking at,” Wankmuller said.

“We’ve finished about 90 per cent of the reference design phase and we’re modifying the reference design.”

Fullerton said ARTC’s main priority is investigating floodplains and “increasing transparency”.

“I get people are scared, and it’s our obligation to [construct] something that is safe,” Wankmuller said.

“This is not just an ARTC program, that is a community program and there is no way we can be successful without community, council, and private sectors.”

Fullerton’s hearing follows criticism that the major freight rail corridor will go through one of Australia’s largest floodplains, raised from the rural Senate Committee meeting in Millmerran on Wednesday evening. 

Goondiwindi Mayor Graeme Scheu said the regional council is an advocate for the project, but object ARTC’s decision-making process.

Scheu stated to the committee that the decision to announce D1 as the preferred design option “came as a major surprise to everyone in our region”.

“From the minute D1 was announced, it has been the opinion of Goondiwindi Regional Council that if the route had to cross the floodplain (primarily to appease the time restraints), then the only acceptable solution would be an elevated bridge from the Queensland side to Wearne on the NSW side,” he said.

“I must reaffirm that Goondiwindi Regional Council is supportive of the Inland Rail Project and have been for many years but the decision making process of ARTC leaves a lot to be desired.”

Goondiwindi Regional Council stated they are advocating to overturn the D1 route design option and “believes the decision should be over turned to the alternative option of A”.

“The route directly crosses the floodplain, minimising the flood potential once the Whalan escape route is fully addressed.

Community consultation results and opinion will support Option A over D1.”

Fullerton said that “this is a complicated project that is important to people,” and recognises that engagement in the past “wasn’t up to speed”.

“We are looking where we have made the right decision or where a different decision should be made.

“There is government procedures in everything we do, we meet with the minister’s department for monthly and quarterly reporting to look at each issue.”

The Inland Rail route will be about 1,700km in length across Queensland, NSW, and Victoria and is scheduled to be completed by 2025.

Rail ready to carry logs to Napier Port

The opening of a new log yard in Wairoa will see regular log trains running between Wairoa and Napier Port, in New Zealand.

Chief operating officer of KiwiRail, Todd Moyle, said that trains will run on the weekend.

“Moving forwards, now that our logging yard consents are in place, we will usually run two trains a week, on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said.

Having the new facility in place will also reduce the use of road freight for the movement of logs, with benefits for the environment.

“Each train could take up to 50 long distance truck hauls off the road between Napier and Wairoa, with 66 per cent fewer emissions per tonne of freight carried by rail compared to trucks,” said Moyle.

Forecasts indicate that the demand for these freight rail services will grow.

“Growing this business will assist local businesses to harvest and transport large volumes of logs, help bring profitability to KiwiRail, benefit the East Cape region with less congestion and road wear and tear, and bring added benefits from lower emissions,” said Moyle.

Funding for the project was sourced from the NZ government, indicating the level of support for the rail industry in NZ, said Moyle.

“The Government’s allocation of $6.2 million to the project through the Provincial Growth Fund is a recognition of the proven benefits rail brings.”

According to general manager commercial at Napier Port, David Kriel, the rail line will grow the region financially.

“It’s great to be able to assist in offering our Wairoa customers a safe, direct, and sustainable alternative to trucking logs via State Highway 2, and it will really help to unlock the economic potential of the Wairoa region.”

Information sessions to be held for local involvement in N2N

Local suppliers in Narrabri and Moree can meet the shortlisted contractors for the Narrabri to North Star (N2N) leg of the Inland Rail project.

Inland Rail will hold two networking events in the two regional centres with the three shortlisted construction contractors. Local and Indigenous businesses can hear from the contracts and connect through one-on-one meetings.

According to chief executive of Inland Rail, Richard Wankmuller, the major contractors will be looking for local businesses to partner with.

“There are three excellent organisations bidding for this project including Lendlease Engineering Pty Ltd, RailFirst (a joint venture between Downer EDI and Seymour White) and Trans4m Rail (a joint venture between Rhomberg Rail Australia, John Holland and SEE Civil),” said Wankmuller.

“Each one will have representatives at this event to meet with local businesses and answer questions regarding potential supply opportunities on the N2NS project when construction starts.”

To make the most of the sessions, local contractors are encouraged to prepare and ‘elevator pitch’ and be able to showcase exactly what their business does and where it is located.

“I know there is excitement building along the N2NS alignment as we move towards construction and local businesses should be taking advantage of opportunities like these to promote their capabilities to the shortlisted contractors,” said Wankmuller.

According to Wankmuller, the successful primary contractor will be mandated to incorporate local industries.

“The successful contractor will be required to deliver significant local industry and workforce participation and training outcomes, and the Australian Rail Track Corporation will work very closely with them and other stakeholders to achieve these outcomes,” he said.

“We see Inland Rail as a way to create meaningful change in communities along the alignment by developing a pathway to support longer term economic development and employment outcomes.”

The sessions will be held on January 21, in Narrabri, and January 22, in Moree.

Monadelphous purchases a major rail infrastructure provider

Monadelphous has announced they’ve purchased a rail infrastructure maintenance service provider based in New South Wales.

The Australian engineering group have acquired the business and assets of Harbinger Infrastructure.

Monadelphous will also takeover the engagement of their operational team and NSW-based rail maintenance contracts.   

Through this acquisition, Monadelphous will expand their rail maintenance support and service offering into NSW, and other east coast regions. 

The Perth based organisation provides large-scale multidisciplinary project management and construction services, sustaining capital works, and services for public sector infrastructure and facilities.

Monadelphous secured new contracts and additional work valued at approximately $1.35 billion since the beginning of the 2019 financial year.

Harbinger Infrastructure stated in a social media post on January 9 that they’re pleased with the acquisition.

“Monadelphous, which has more than 45 years’ experience in the mining and oil and gas sectors, commenced providing rail infrastructure and rolling stock maintenance support services in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in 2017,” they said.

Monadelphous Managing Director Rob Velletri said in the company’s 2019 annual report that there will be ongoing growth and diversification of the business into the infrastructure sector.

“Maintenance activity in the resources market is expected to be strong as production levels in Australia remain at record levels,” he said.

“Customer focus on optimising production and increasing productivity levels will continue to drive demand for ongoing maintenance support and sustaining capital work.”

T6 Carlingford Line permanently closes for construction

Parramatta Light Rail and Sydney Trains commenced decommissioning works on the T6 Carlingford Line on January 5 as part of its conversion to dual-track light rail last Sunday.

The Parramatta Light Rail team are currently undertaking decommissioning works on the rail track at Clyde Station and near the Parramatta Road intersection at Granville for the next few weeks. 

The $2.4 billion Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia

From January 10th the high priority has been piling works, installing rail signage, and assembling construction cable routes and pulling at Rosehill Station to Clyde Station within the rail corridor.

24/7 operation works will commence between January 18 and 19 that will involve track removal, construction of concrete wall, rail cutting and welding, and reconfiguration work at the level crossing on Parramatta Road.

Parramatta Light Rail said equipment will include, but is not limited to, concrete saws, boring machines, jackhammers, compactors, power tools, trucks, light vehicles, light towers, and vacuum excavation trucks.  

Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee said Greater Parramatta will see new light rail bridges built, 60,000 tonnes of concrete poured, and more than 215,000 tonnes of earth moved to make way for the Parramatta Light Rail.

Hi-rail equipment will include excavators, dump trucks, and elevated work platforms. 

“The community will start to see work ramping up with fencing and hoardings installed along the future light rail route, and construction sites established,” Lee said.

Decommissioning works are due to conclude at the end of the month.

Over 1,000 people attended a farewell event hosted by Sydney Trains and Transport Heritage NSW to ride a historic Red Set F1 before the closure of the rail tracks on January 5th.

The light rail is expected to open in 2023 and transport around 28,000 people through the Parramatta CBD every day.