Labor lays out details of city infrastructure plan

Shadow Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has elaborated on Labor plans to partner with local and state governments through its City Partnerships program.

The program is intended to replace the Coalition’s City Deals program in the event Labor wins the upcoming federal election. Minister Albanese referred to the Liberal and Nationals plan as “ad hoc and politically motivated”.

The scope of the program includes extensive public transport plans, including new and expanded services through the inner and outer suburbs and investment in high speed rail to grow regional cities.

Other plans include the implementation of a national Park and Ride fund to invest in parking facilities at train stations across Australia.

The deal is planed to re-establish Infrastructure Australia’s Major Cities Unit, establish an expert panel and make changes to the National Urban Policy.

Labor has also promised $10 billion towards Melbourne’s ambitious Suburban Rail Loop, as previously reported.

“Labor will pursue a genuine partnership with local government and state governments, as well as with business and community to deliver this vision,” Albanese said in a statement

The program will also look into areas such as housing affordability, national bike paths, technology investment and the expansion of the Western Sydney Deal to incorporate Blacktown City Council.

“This election is a choice between Labor’s plan to invest in communities around Australia, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals and Nationals,” Albanese continued.

“After six years of cuts and chaos under the Liberals and Nationals, our united Labor team is ready.”

Europe’s DUAGON-MEN-GROUP snaps up Aussie firm OEM Technology Solutions

Sydney-based railway control and automation firm OEM Technology Solutions has been acquired by major European firm DUAGON-MEN-GROUP.

DUAGON-MEN-GROUP in April signed an agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the shares of OEM Technology Solutions, which was launched in Sydney 25 years ago.

In addition to programmable controllers, I/O products and gateways, OEM Technology Solutions offers cloud software services for diagnostics and condition-based monitoring.

Since its inception OEM has delivered more than 35,000 systems for use in railways. 90 per cent of its revenue comes from the rail sector, and 45 per cent of its revenue comes from export markets, with OEM systems in use in South East Asia, China, Europe, the UK, North and South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Company founders James McLeod and Richard Gobee said they were committed to staying on at the business as it was incorporated into DUAGON-MEN-GROUP’s global network. They also said they remained committed to local jobs in railway electronics engineering – OEM employs around 35 at its headquarters in Artarmon, on Sydney’s North Shore.

“We are very excited to continue and further accelerate our success story together with the DUAGON-MEN-GROUP,” McLeod and Gobee said.

The DUAGON-MEN-GROUP will provide support for all of OEM Technology Solutions’ products and services globally, and has also committed to make further investment in OEM’s research and development centre in Sydney.

In return, the OEM Technology Solutions headquarters will act as an Australia and Asia Pacific sales and support centre for DUAGON-MEN-GROUP’s product range.

Since it was established in 1993, OEM Technology Solutions has specialised in the design and development of industrial computer and communications solutions for the global railway technology market. Its products include programmable controllers, remote I/O modules and wireless communication gateways for typical applications like climate control and air conditioning, internal emergency door release and powerpack control for rail vehicles.

OEM also provides a Software as a Service (SaaS) to connect all these on-board systems and devices to their Train Ecosystem analytics cloud, providing the client with a comprehensive view into their operations.

The DUAGON-MEN-GROUP is the result of a merger between Swiss based duagon, a leading supplier of train communication and control components, and German based MEN – a provider of robust embedded computing solutions.

Following the OEM acquisition DUAGON-MEN-GROUP has over 400 employees based in Switzerland, Germany, France, China, Australia and the United States.


Canberra light rail depot opens

ACT transport minister Meegan Fitzharris says Canberra’s new ‘nerve centre’ for light rail will help ensure the system works efficiently and is an enjoyable experience for Canberrans.

With operations expected to begin in April, the new Canberra Metro depot in Mitchell will house 14 light rail vehicles and operate 24/7, 365 days a year, Fitzharris said.

“It’s really exciting to see the depot now fully up and running, supporting the light rail system as it enters the final stages of testing,” the minister said.

“The commissioning of the depot is another important milestone in the light rail project that brings us closer to passenger services commencing.”

Roughly 100 staff, including 33 drivers and 16 customer service officers will be based out of the depot. A number of operational control centre duty managers will work at the site to monitor the light rail corridor day and night.

Canberra Metro CEO Glenn Stockton said the depot features some of the latest technology available.

“GPS tracking systems across the network enable us to provide real-time route information so that passengers always know when the next LRV is arriving,” he said. “Within the operational control centre, not only will trained operators manage and supervise the performance of the light rail system, they’ll also work with emergency services in responding to and providing an immediate response to any incidents along the alignment.”

“The first sod for the project was turned here on this site just over 31 months ago,” Minister Fitzharris said. “It’s come a long way during that time and it’s great to see the depot now up and running.”

Transperth launches safety campaign following escalator injuries

Perth’s public transport operator Transperth ran an escalator safety campaign in December to respond to a high number of safety incidents reported in the prior 12 months.

Trained staff were on hand to advise older passengers about the safe use of escalators, and when they perhaps should use station lifts instead.

Spokesman David Hynes said 80 escalator-related safety incidents had been reported to the operator in the past 12 month, with many involving seniors.

“It’s an unfortunate fact of getting older that people are more at risk of falling in any situation, and the speed and close-quarters of escalator travel can increase that risk,” Hynes said.

“Trips and falls can and do happen on our network and can be very serious, which is why we’ve launched this campaign.”

Armistice poppies placed along George Street on Sunday

A section of light rail route along George Street was transformed on Sunday with rows of poppies in memory of those who lost their lives as a result of their service in war or armed conflict.

The bed of poppies were placed along George Street at the western end of Martin Place.

Sunday 11 November marked the 100th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War (1914-18).

Over the course of the war, 8,447 men from the NSW Railways and Tramways Department enlisted for service and 1,210 of them died as a result of their service.

The 2018 State Remembrance Service was held at the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park to mark the significant occasion and the completion of the Memorial’s Centenary Extension.

During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to bloom in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. Poppies have since been embraced as the flower of remembrance for Armistice Day.

BHP derails train after 90km runaway

News video has shown the chaotic aftermath of the derailment of a runaway BHP iron ore train in WA’s Pilbara on Monday morning.

BHP’s control centre in Perth was forced to derail the loaded train at a set of points 119 kilometres from Port Hedland on November 5.

According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which has launched an investigation, the train consisted of 268 wagons and four locomotives.

The number of wagons and locomotives derailed in the incident is yet to be reported.

The train, loaded with iron ore from BHP’s Newman hub, had runaway 92 kilometres up the track from the derailment site.

The train’s driver had alighted to inspect an issue with an ore car near Hesta, 211 kilometres from Port Hedland.

While the driver was outside the locomotive, the train began moving.

The reason or reasons for the runaway have not yet been reported.

It is not clear how fast the train was moving when it was derailed, but based on the widely-reported figures of a 50-minute runaway journey, its average speed during that journey would have been around 110 kilometres an hour.

Footage released by the ABC shows the aftermath of the derailment, with dozens of wagons piled upon one another.


The ATSB’s early investigation notes say the train was M02712, operated by BHP on its Newman to Port Hedland railway.

Damage to the train is listed as “substantial,” but no injuries have been reported.

It is unclear how long or how severely BHP’s operations will or have been impacted by the incident.

A spokesperson for the company reportedly told the Financial Review the company was working with authorities but could not speak further on the issue with investigations underway.

WA premier Mark McGowan told the ABC he had been briefed and would consult about what role the state would have in any investigations.

“Obviously it would have been very concerning for everyone involved,” McGowan was quoted as saying, “that a train was travelling down the track without a driver and obviously out of control.”

The ATSB’s investigation is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2019.

Anglo, FMG, Roy Hill, Rio, BHP all winners at Mining Awards

Anglo Coal’s Moranbah North Mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin has been awarded 2018 Coal Mine of the Year at the 2018 Prospect Awards.

The Prospect Awards are organised and hosted by Rail Express sister publication Australian Mining and were held on Thursday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Moranbah North Mine was recognised as the Coal Mine of the Year after it produced 10,143,726 tonnes between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, surpassing the previous Australian production record by 46,000 tonnes.

Anglo also took out the Minerals Processing of the Year gong for the Moranbah North Coal Handling Preparation Plant (CHPP), which since undergoing an upgrade in 2015 has demonstrated a capacity of 18 million tonnes per annum.

Mining and rail entrepreneur Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for his – and Fortescue Metals Group’s – contribution to the Australian mining and minerals processing industries.

Roy Hill took out the Community Interaction award for the work of the Roy Hill Community Foundation, which provides practical support and a self-sustaining program of social and community benefits to Pilbara communities.

Rio Tinto was awarded for Excellence in Environmental Management, for its Artificial Reef and Coral Translocation project at the Port of Dampier.

And Elsabe Muller, BHP’s general manager for the Jimblebar Mine, was awarded as the Mine Manager of the Year.

The full list of Prospect Awards 2018 winners is below:


Australian Mine of the Year (sponsored by Australian Mining)

Fosterville gold mine, Victoria, Kirkland Lake Gold


Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by Liebherr)

Andrew Forrest, Fortescue Metals Group


Safety Advocacy (sponsored by SICK)

Josh Bryant, General Manager – People and Risk, Mitchell Services


Community Interaction (sponsored by Safe to Work)

Roy Hill Community Foundation, Roy Hill


Contract Miner of the Year (sponsored by Epiroc)

Wolff Mining


Contribution to Mining (sponsored by BGC Contracting)

Maria Joyce, General Manager, MEC Mining


Hard Rock Mine of the Year (sponsored by Epiroc)

Fosterville gold mine, Victoria, Kirkland Lake Gold


Coal Mine of the Year (sponsored by SEW Eurodrive)

Moranbah North coal mine, Queensland, Anglo American


Excellence in Environmental Management (sponsored by Metso)

Rio Tinto


Excellence in Mine Safety, OH&S (sponsored by Flexco)

REDLINE Underground Conveyor System, Conveyor Manufacturers Australia


Mine Manager of the Year (sponsored by CRC Industries)

Elsabe Muller, Jimblebar mine General Manager, BHP


Minerals Processing of the Year (sponsored by Rockwell Automation)

Moranbah North CHPP, Queensland, Anglo American


Innovative Mining Solution (sponsored by Austmine)

Blast Movement Monitoring System, Blast Movement Technologies

Infrastructure South Australia established

The South Australian government has established its independent infrastructure advisory body, Infrastructure SA, which is to be chaired by former Business Council president Tony Shepherd.

An election commitment of Liberal Marshall government, Infrastructure SA will be tasked with developing a 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy, a document which will be renewed every five years. The body is also expected to develop annual Capital Intentions Statements that will prioritise potential major projects for government decisions over a five-year time horizon.

Responsibilities also include maintaining oversight of delivery and performance for all projects with a capital value of $50 million and over, and providing policy advice, relating to infrastructure planning, delivery and use, including advice on appropriate funding and financing models.

“Infrastructure SA is an independent body that will combine the expertise of the private and public sectors to develop a 20-year state infrastructure strategy and 5-year infrastructure plans,” premier Steven Marshall said.

“Planning and building infrastructure according to the geography of marginal seats and the timelines of electoral cycles has ended – Infrastructure SA will ensure we have better planning to support long term economic growth, more jobs, and better, more affordable services.”

Marshall said that Tony Shepherd’s experience in the infrastructure space made him a natural choice to chair the new body. Shepherd was formerly chair of the WestConnex Delivery Authority and has worked on projects such as the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, Melbourne City Link and East Link.

“We’re thrilled to have Tony take up the role of chair, as South Australia’s approach to infrastructure planning is overhauled to deliver better, more strategic outcomes and projects,” he said.


Light rail at centre of Auckland planning

A light rail link to Auckland’s northwest is a top priority of a new planning alliance between the city’s transport department and the New Zealand Government.

The alliance, between the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport, is tasked with planning and confirming around 60 transport projects to support growth in Auckland.

The 30-year program of works is worth NZ$8-10 billion.

The alliance also includes consultancies AECOM and Beca, and legal providers Bell Gully and Buddle Findlay.

An early role for the alliance will be to consult with communities and various stakeholders to assess options and opportunities and develop recommended corridors. It will partner with KiwiRail and Auckland Council’s land use planning and infrastructure teams, and mana whenua – the land’s historic and territorial owners.

The aim is to protect the full network over the next five years, with projects staged for funding allocation and delivery over the next two decades.

NZ transport minister Phil Twyford on August 6 said the alliance would build on Auckland’s proposed rapid transit network for the future, including Light Rail to the northwest.

“Previously we haven’t been able to provide certainty to communities, landowners and other stakeholders about transport infrastructure to support development,” Twyford said.

“Now we can start to answer some of their questions.”

The alliance’s program will support the initial development of growth areas in north, northwest and south Auckland, and Warkworth.

It’s estimated these areas will make up around 30% of the region’s growth by 2050; about 15,000 hectares of undeveloped land has the capacity for 137,000 new homes and 67,000 new jobs.

Mayor Phil Goff said the scope of works represented Auckland’s largest ever infrastructure investment.

“The Alliance will ensure projects can get underway and be delivered on time, providing certainty for developers and our local communities,” Goff said.

“One of the main aims is to plan and design future communities that are well connected with public transport, facilities and employment so they are great places to live, work and play,” Twyford added.

Rail Express acquired by Prime Creative Media

The team at Rail Express is excited to announce its acquisition by Australia’s largest independently owned business-to-business, multi-platform publisher, Prime Creative Media.

Prime Creative Media formally acquired Rail Express, and sister publication Australian Bulk Handling Review, from former owner Mohi Media, on July 2, 2018.

Since its inception with a single printed title in 2003, Prime Creative Media publishes business magazines across Australia’s critical industrial sectors including: road transport, manufacturing, logistics, engineering, mining and resources, infrastructure, waste management, and education.

The Rail Express team has joined Prime Creative Media’s Sydney office, which was opened in 2015.

“Australian Bulk Handling Review and Rail Express are highly regarded publications in their industries,” Prime Creative Media Managing Director John Murphy said.

Mr Murphy says he was excited to acquire titles that are clearly aligned with Prime Creative Media’s current portfolio offering multiple platforms of print, digital and experiential touch points, as well as strong links to industry associations.

“They are titles that will not only complement our current offering to the manufacturing, transportation, and logistics sectors, but also reflect Prime Creative Media’s brand promise of giving our clients the best exposure to key decision makers,” he said.

“They come to us with a strong, engaged readership and qualified databases. We look forward to continuing to grow the key relationships within the industries these products serve.”

Mr Murphy said he is equally excited to welcome some very talented people to the company, crediting Mohi Media founder Michael Mohi and his team for doing an incredible job of rebuilding these print and digital products.

“I couldn’t be happier with the new home for these titles,” Mr Mohi said. “Prime Creative Media and Mohi Media share similar values and ways of doing business, with a focus on growing individuals, organisations, and industries.”