New date for AusRAIL PLUS

AusRAIL PLUS, the largest rail rail industry event in Australia and New Zealand, will now take place from Monday, 28 February – Wednesday, 2 March, 2022, at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. 

Hosted by the Australasian Railway Association, the annual conference brings together all facets of the rail industry under the one roof over three days, incorporating an expansive conference program combined with an extensive trade exhibition. 

Current Queensland border restrictions, and the ongoing uncertainty about when they will be lifted, has resulted in the need to seek new arrangements for the event, originally scheduled for December this year. 

With NSW’s roadmap out of lockdown confirming the state will be open for business in the new year, organisers are optimistic about a successful AusRAIL PLUS at the new venue, giving attendees the chance to network, share information and take advantage of an outstanding program. 


All systems go at ARTC for Inland Rail

Work is well underway at the ARTC progressing all 13 stages of the Inland Rail project, for construction to begin as early as the second quarter of 2018, the project’s manager has told Rail Express.

ARTC executive general manager for interstate, and current head of Inland Rail, Peter Winder, gave Rail Express a project update ahead of his presentation on day one of the Australasian Railway Association’s Rail Freight Conference, which will take place in Sydney on August 17 and 18.

While the ARTC has been developing Inland Rail for some time, he said the 2017 Budget’s injection of $8.4 billion in equity funding had put the project team into “full-on delivery mode”.

“We’re establishing a team that’s focused on getting planning approvals, getting the final design locked in, finalising the alignment, and moving to commence construction in, roughly, the second quarter of next year,” Winder said.

“It’s really good news for the industry.

“We’re recruiting a range of people to start the program off; I think we’ve got a headcount of just under 100 full time on the project.

“That’s a combination of project managers, engineering design, contract administrators, and so on. We’re engaging with local businesses for a lot of the preliminary engineering work, that will lead us into formal design, lodging the planning approvals, and getting on with the formal construction.”

The 1,700 kilometre Inland Rail route, linking Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, is divided into 13 sections.

“Obviously the issues in each [of the 13 sections] are different,” Winder explained.

“For example in the sections where it’s an upgrade of an existing railway line, that’s a simpler task than a new greenfield project, where you’ve got land acquisition and so on.

“So the level of resourcing and the timeline for each of the sections is different, but we’re progressing them all at once. Each has a separate project manager, with the resources to manage their project; to get us to the next stage.”

Winder will on August 17 be providing the ARA Rail Freight Conference with a full update on Inland Rail, and says he’s also looking forward to touching base with others in the industry.

“The positive thing is, there’s a lot going on in our business, and our broader industry. It’s a good opportunity to see how and where it’s going,” he said.

“Sometimes rail freight, in the public debate, gets lost a bit, because passenger rail dominates the conversation. But without freight, you’re not going to be able to feed the population.

“I think just that this conference is on, will help that profile – raising the importance of freight to the economy. In a lot of the public comment, you see that get lost in translation sometimes.”


Rail Express is an official media partner of the Australasian Railway Association’s Rail Freight Conference, which takes place on August 17 and 18 at the Intercontinental Sydney.


CAF AM class train Auckland. Photo: Creative Commons / Dc4444

Young ideas sought for NZ conference

The Australasian Railway Association is calling for rail professionals under 30 to submit their ideas for the Young Rail Professionals Pitching Competition at the New Zealand Rail conference in Auckland later this year.

Eligible professionals are invited to submit their ideas by May 5.

The ARA’s NZ Rail 2017 event will take place on June 27 and 28, 2017.

Successful applicants will be flown to Auckland and given two nights’ accommodation, a complimentary pass to attend the conference, and a ticket to the ARA’s NZ Rail Dinner on July 27.

The ARA is seeking concepts that target any aspect of rail, including the technical and engineering, customer service, strategic business planning, marketing, and technological sectors.

Entries must be 400-600 words and include a concept title, name and contact details, the instution and qualification entrants have underway or completed, the issue being addressed and the idea itself.

Entries will be judged by the organising committee, and successful applicants will be announced by the end of May.

Visit the official NZ Rail website for more information.

Delegates at AusRAIL PLUS 2015. Photo:

ARA announces finalists for Young Rail Professionals Innovation Pitching Competition

The Australasian Railway Association has announced five finalists who will pitch their innovative concept to CEOs at AusRAIL 2016 in Adelaide later this month.

Finalists for the Young Rail Professionals Innovation Pitching Competition were announced this week as follows:

Alexandra Baranksi, Graduate Engineer (Electrical), Aurizon
Title: CBD Solar Light Rail

Jason Bridgman, Systems Development and Support, Train Planning, Operations Planning, Operations, Sydney Trains
Title: A Smarter Rail Way – Intelligent Monitoring of Assets

James Donovan, Graduate Engineer, Metro Trains Melbourne
Title: The use of passive soundwave interpretation along rails to detect and predict rail defects, lubrication quality and thermal factors

Michelle Doolan, Civil & Environmental Engineer, Aurecon / MMRA
Title: Delightful diversion? – Generating public excitement for rail infrastructure

Ben Mason, Economist, Arup
Title: Revisiting economic appraisal for rail projects.

ARA boss Danny Broad said industry judges were impressed and inspired by the high calibre of submissions received from Australia and abroad with the topics covering social, economic, technical, engineering and marketing ideas that could dramatically enhance rail in Australia.

“We are extremely excited for the launch of the inaugural Young Rail Professionals Innovation Pitching Competition which will take place at AusRAIL on day 2 of the conference,” Broad said. “The bar has certainly been set high so don’t miss it.”

The winner of the Pitching Competition will be announced at the AusRAIL Gala Dinner.

AusRAIL bookings can be made on the official website.

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Tram stopped at Southport South on the Gold Coast Light Rail. Photo: Creative Commons / David Ansen

Light rail summit heads to Gold Coast in 2017

Presentations from GoldLinQ, Keolis Downer, Transport for NSW, Auckland Transport, the ARA and RISSB, as well as a sight tour and an International Keynote from MTR’s Terry Wong, will highlight an expert-packed agenda at Light Rail 2017, in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

After a successful Light Rail 2016 event in Melbourne, the Australasian Railway Association and Rail Express publisher Informa Australia will present the fourth annual Light Rail Conference and Exhibition, at the Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, on February 21 and 22, 2017.

Australia’s youngest operating light rail network, the G:Link, will provide a backdrop for what will no doubt be an invaluable networking and knowledge-sharing event. Speeches, panel sessions and seminars will provide delegates with updates, inside info and the potential for new business opportunities.

The full agenda (subject to change) is available on the event website:

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate will officially open the conference and welcome delegates.

Presentations will come from (subject to change):

  • Terry Wong, GM-Infrastructure Maintenance, MTR Corporation Limited (International Keynote)
  • Phil Mumford, CEO, GoldLinQ
  • Peter Papantoniou, Project Director – Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 2, Department of Transport and Main Roads
  • Ken Deutscher, Program Manager Light Rail Project and Corridor Development, City of Gold Coast
  • Loretta Lynch, Managing Director – Gold Coast, Keolis Downer
  • Tim Poole, Program Director Parramatta Light Rail, Transport for NSW
  • Doug Carter, Programme Manager Light Rail, Auckland Transport
  • Claire Stewart, Chief Investment Officer, Auckland Transport
  • Treasure Jennings, Public Transport Ombudsman Victoria
  • Danny Broad, CEO, Australasian Railway Association
  • Glenn Bentley, CEO, ALTRAC
  • Marg Prendergast, CBD Coordinator General, Transport for NSW
  • Paul Daly, CEO, Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB)

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Visitor registration opens for AusRAIL Exhibition

Rail sector employees, investors, pundits, gurus, and enthusiasts are invited to sign up for their free pass to visit the 2016 AusRAIL Exhibition, at the Adelaide Convention and Exhibition Centre on November 22 and 23.

Interested parties can visit the AusRAIL website to register for their free exhibition pass.

The pass grants entry to the exhibition hall, where more than 100 companies will be showing off their latest products, innovations and solutions at the biggest annual conference and exhibition in the Australasian rail sector.

AusRAIL is an Australasian Railway Association event, and Rail Express is proud to be the official media partner of the event.

Conference and exhibition visitors will be able to pick up their copy of the Rail Express AusRAIL edition, which will be available in print edition in conference packs, and on the exhibition floor.

Advertising opportunities are still available in the AusRAIL edition of Rail Express. Find out more by contacting our National Sales Manager, Patrick Roberts:, or (02) 9080 4015.

Exhibition passes do not grant entry to the conference itself. Tickets for the conference, and for the AusRAIL Gala Dinner, can be purchased here.


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Tram leaving Broadwater Parklands on the Gold Coast Light Rail

Site tour confirmed, call for papers open for Light Rail 2017

The Australasian Railway Association is inviting submissions to present at its Light Rail Conference and Exhibition on the Gold Coast in February.

Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise will play host to the two-day conference scheduled for February 21 and 22, 2017.

The fourth annual event, which is produced by the ARA along with Rail Express publisher Informa Australia, follows a successful Light Rail 2016 which took place in Melbourne earlier this year.

Light Rail 2017 will include a site tour of Bombardier’s Light Rail Depot Facility in Southport, which operates as part of the local Gold Coast Light Rail line.

Site tour attendees will visit the facility where the network’s FLEXITY 2 trams are maintained, cleaned and stabled overnight, and will also see the light rail control centre at the depot.

A call for papers to present at the event has been made, with submissions invited in the following areas:

  • Project delivery case studies
  • Planning and financing projects
  • Safety systems and collision avoidance technology
  • Human factors/ergonomics
  • Ticketing/smart cards
  • Data collection
  • Customer care
  • Security/use of CCTV
  • Integration with other transport modes and land use planning
  • Maintenance/condition monitoring
  • Power transmission
  • Communications/signalling
  • Rollingstock technology

Abstracts of no more than 150 words, including the presentation title and the name and job title of the proposed speaker, are to be submitted to

The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 30. Presenters who are successful will be notified in early October.

Click here for more information about the event.

Delegates at AusRAIL PLUS 2015. Photo:

Free AusRAIL trip for three young rail professionals

If you’re 30 or under, and have an idea for the rail industry, you could win a paid trip to AusRAIL to present your concept to some of Australia’s most respected rail leaders.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is on the hunt for ideas from young minds which could make a difference to the future of the rail sector.

Three young winners will receive a paid trip to Adelaide, the site of AusRAIL 2016, to deliver a 10-minute presentation to the key rail CEOs who will be in attendance.

Ideas may target any aspect of rail – technical and engineering, customer service, strategic business planning, marketing, technological opportunities… If you have an idea that may increase rail’s safety, improve engineering or maintenance practices, better rail’s performance records or ultimately offer freight or passenger customers an improved service, the AusRAIL conference wants to hear from you.

Submit your idea, large or small and contribute to Australia’s rail future.

Entries are open until 5pm AEST on Friday 23 September. To enter, submit your idea to or online at

If you have queries, please contact Tina Karas, Conference Manager via + 61 02 9080 4306.

New ARA CEO Danny Broad. Photo: Shutterstock / ARA

Innovation, efficiency to remain crucial to heavy haul: Broad

In this Q&A with Rail Express publisher Informa Australia, Australasian Railway Association boss Danny Broad talks about the crucial role heavy haul rail plays in the Australian economy, and the global trends which will continue to shape it.


Informa: How is Australia leading the way in heavy haul rail?

Danny Broad: Australia’s heavy haul coal and iron ore rail operators are world leaders in terms of capability, efficiency and innovation.

In the Pilbara, the Hunter Valley and the Bowen Basin, Australia’s heavy haul operators are recognised as leading the world in the application of new technology to stretch their assets for maximum safe performance and delivery.


Informa: How have recent shifts in commodity markets impacted the Australian rail sector?

Broad: Heavy haulers [are] increasing the efficiency of their operations, driving costs down and implementing new technology to achieve maximum performance from their assets.

Total iron ore shipments at Port Hedland increased in March 2016 to 39.53 tonne from 36.63 million tonnes in February. [The March figure] eclipses the previous high of 39.4 million tonnes set in September 2015.


Informa: How does rail help create value in the commodity sector?

Broad: Rail provides the most efficient means to haul bulk materials from mine to port. These trains are state of the art in terms of the tonnages they haul while providing improved environmental benefits and safer outcomes.


Informa: The issue of ‘jobs and growth’ was much discussed during the recent Federal Election campaign. How can Government support the Australian rail suppliers and manufacturers?

Broad: Governments, both Federal and State, can support Australian rail suppliers and manufacturers by collaboratively working together to commit to a smoothed long-term pipeline of projects while also focusing on greater harmonisation of standards, regulations and procurement practices across all rail sectors.

A report developed by Deloitte in 2013 for the ARA indicated substantial savings for the industry from such an approach.

It is pleasing to see the Victorian Government leading a push for local content in manufactured rolling stock in order to strengthen the rail manufacturing industry, grow employment as well as significantly developing the local industry supply chain.


Informa: As the voice of the rail industry, what do you believe are some of the key indicators that will shape the heavy haul rail industry in 2016 and beyond?

Broad: As commodity prices vary and worldwide demand for coal and iron ore changes, heavy haul rail operators will have to continue to be flexible and innovative further to provide a competitive offering while maximising efficiency.


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Danny Broad will be providing an industry update at the ARA Heavy Haul Rail conference in Mackay on the 24 & 25 August 2016. ARA Members receive a special 20% discount to attend.

For more details, including a list things to see in Mackay after the Heavy Haul Rail conference, visit the website here.