AusRAIL: Digitalisation centre stage for Thales

Rail technology provider Thales talks rail digitalisation, and its plans to showcase its digital rail solutions portfolio at AusRAIL PLUS 2019 in Sydney.


Rail experts like Mark Smalley all around the region are excited about what’s going on in the Australasian rail sector, and even more excited about what’s to come. Smalley, business development manager for Ground Transportation Systems at Thales, says the range of major capital works underway and the shift towards transforming existing operational systems as part of the “digital rail revolution” are key areas for the business.

“Thales is excited by the unprecedented levels of investment, particularly in NSW, with such a significant backlog of transport infrastructure programs and the ambitious Future Transport 2056 strategy,” Smalley tells Rail Express. “With a strong local presence in Sydney, a credible portfolio of references and a pool of global expertise, we are well positioned to support this vision and are committed to ensuring our customers realise maximum return from this once in a generation investment program.”

One of the key success factors to achieving this vision, he says, is internationally proven, next generation digital technologies.

“This is key to modernising the underlying operational infrastructure to deliver much needed capacity improvements, and significant operational performance, cost and safety benefits for passengers, operators and freight services. These benefits are realised by everyone: commuters, transport operators, businesses; the whole economy. New technologies mean adopting and adapting to new ways of working, however.

“It’s important not to forget the people and process elements of technology programs,” Smalley says. “Understanding how the end user will interact with the new system is essential to ensuring long-term success and acceptance of the technology. Recognising this, we aim to ensure these Human Factors elements are captured and addressed throughout the design, development and implementation phases.”

Digitalisation at AusRAIL

Thales presence at AusRAIL PLUS 2019 in Sydney will focus on the theme of rail digitalisation. Attendees will include key members of the Sydney-based Ground Transportation Systems business, with technical specialists on-hand to support demonstrations and showcase Thales’ urban and mainline digital rail solutions.

These include Thales’ SelTrac Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) solution, which helps move over three billion people annually across 40 major cities, including London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. Thales launched the future-focused seventh generation of SelTrac, SelTrac G7, at Innotrans 2018, and will demonstrate it again at AusRAIL. “This is something I’m particularly looking forward to,” Smalley explains. “Having worked in London for several years on CBTC projects on the Underground network, I’m excited to apply this knowledge and experience here.”

Thales’ internationally proven rail Traffic Management System, ARAMIS, in operation in 18 different countries including Germany, Austria, Portugal, Denmark and the UK, will also be on display along with its complementary digital services platform solutions, TIRIS and Naia. “Our innovative Digital Services platform supports applications which specifically respond to the needs of rail operators today,” Smalley says.

“Naia uses big data analytics to understand passenger behaviour and journey patterns to improve passenger experience and boost operator revenues. TIRIS provides predictive maintenance capability for the assets deployed on the physical rail network, reducing maintenance costs and improving asset reliability.”

Finally, Thales will show off its innovative smart sensing solution, Lite4ce, which Smalley says will “fundamentally transform the way we obtain, gather and analyse data from the trackside to the operational control room”. “Lite4ce is a passive fibre optic axle counter device, meaning no need for outdoor electronics, power supply or copper cable,” he explains. “It is a balance between a disruptive technology with its new capabilities and staying compatible with signalling and operational rules applied by our customers today. It also meets our primary need for reliable train detection with low life-cycle costs. We are really excited to bring these technologies to the Australian market”.

Four-pillar transport strategy

Thales has prioritised four target sectors for rail in the region: Metro, Light Rail, Mainline Signalling and Control Systems, and Through Life Support Services. In Australia, Smalley and director of strategy, marketing and communications Sita Brown explain, the company aims to serve each with a good balance of local and global expertise, drawing upon a pool of 3,600 people in Australia, 8,200 global rail specialists, and a workforce of 80,000 worldwide.

“Within Metro, we’re delivering the mission-critical Communications and Central Control System for Sydney Metro, one of the most high-profi le transport infrastructure programs I think in the world, but certainly in the Southern Hemisphere and one which will fundamentally improve mobility options for millions of Sydneysiders,” Smalley says.

“Then there’s Parramatta Light Rail, where we’re working with our customer CAF to deliver the integrated rail systems package. This is Thales’ first foray into the light rail space within Australia, which is a huge and exciting opportunity for us.

“In terms of Mainline Signalling and Control Systems, Thales is also targeting Transport for NSW’s Digital Systems program, which will bring ETCS Level 2, Automatic Train Operation, and a modern Traffic Management System to the Sydney Trains network. Along with Sydney Metro, this is the most exciting rail systems program to land in Australia and is something that we’re very much hopeful we can play a part in.”

The fourth pillar of Thales’ rail business in Australia is the most recently added – Through Life Support Services. Smalley explains: “One of our global strengths is that we prefer to form long-term collaborative partnerships with our customers, where we not only deliver the technology to meet a specific project outcome, but where we also support and enhance the systems over time in line with our customer’s evolving operational needs. From our perspective this is the best way to do business.”

Local skills investment key

A substantial skills and capacity challenge stands as a major obstacle to the success for all this transport investment, and Smalley believes a focus on developing local skills and competency is an absolute necessity, not just for Thales in the Australasian market, but for the industry as a whole.

“This is a fundamental issue for the successful delivery and long-term return on investment for these programs and for sustainability of skills, capacity and capability in the region,” he says.

Recognising the need for a sustainable answer, Thales established a transport competence centre in Sydney. Including a dedicated transport graduate program to develop the next generation of rail specialists, the centre supports skills and workforce development in the region. Complete with a digital rail integration and test lab as well as technology and system demonstrators, Smalley says it is allowing Thales to address some of the key challenges associated with deploying technologies from overseas into the local ecosystem.

Emphasis has also been placed to ensure work at the competence centre engages local rail specialists, as well as Thales’ global network of experts to leverage best practices and lessons learned.

Smalley is keen to see Thales’ customers and partners embrace skills development in a similar way.

“For example, the proposed Rail Technology Campus in Sydney is a concept we’ve been particularly supportive of,” he says. “Both in terms of establishing facilities for off-site testing and integration, and a dedicated training centre to support ongoing skills development and competency management. This approach provides access to new technologies whilst also supporting both training and familiarisation without disturbing rail operations.”

An invaluable component of Thales’ skills-building strategy has also been its successful integration with its major project portfolio. “Across the business, we’ve been able to benefit from that on each of our major projects that we’re undertaking, we now have a pool of talented and ambitious graduates coming through with fresh ideas and new ways of working, which in turn is helping to challenge the status quo and drive innovation in what we’re doing. As a result, we’ve seen a lot of positive outcomes,” Smalley says. “Furthermore, it’s been really impressive and rewarding to see how the next generation of talent and graduates have risen to the challenge and embraced the opportunities presented within the rail sector.”


Visit Thales at AusRAIL PLUS at Stand 107.

AusRAIL: The digitalisation of supply chain management

When the Australasian Railway Association announced the industry-wide adoption of GS1’s ISO data standards in 2015, Project i-TRACE was established to help industry with their implementation across all stakeholder companies. Head of product innovation at Siemens Mobility, Stephen Baker, spoke to Rail Express about Siemens Mobility’s Project i-TRACE journey.

The digitalisation of supply chain management is well underway across a range of industries, and GS1 Australia says it is committed to making this process easier for the rail sector.

As a not-for-profit provider of standards and solutions for over 20 industry sectors, GS1 introduced barcoding to Australia in 1979 to enable its more than 20,000 member companies to implement their standards more efficiently. The barcodes are now scanned across the world over six billion times daily. When the rail industry agreed in 2015 that GS1 standards were the right choice to enable best practice supply chain management, the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) led industry working group initiated Project i-TRACE to help implement consistent identification (globally unique codes) and automatic data capture (barcoding) in organisations and value chains across the rail industry.

Efficiency within the rail industry is heavily reliant on successful supply chain management practices. Assuring material availability of the right quantities, the right qualities, at the right place and time with minimum effort and cost is crucial. Stronger life cycle traceability is needed for this, and best practice requires the uptake of the innovative technologies that are disrupting the sector.

“Around the world there is a realisation that the digitalisation of the rail industry is essential. Project i-TRACE is a fundamental building block towards achieving digital capability in the sector,” ARA CEO, Danny Broad, has said.

Project i-TRACE allows all stakeholders within the supply chain to follow a component, part or asset throughout its lifecycle (including maintenance) from procurement to disposal with ease. It is intended to help stakeholders identify products, electronically capture information about them and then share that information with relevant parties.

GS1 supplies a tracking technique to give a unique identification to all rail products including items such as point machines, tracks and signalling parts.

“Project i-TRACE allows us to trace every component from when it’s been manufactured all the way through to installation and to the whole of life performance of that asset,” Sydney Trains chief executive officer Howard Collins said when Sydney Trains began its digitalisation. “My message to all those involved in the rail industry whether you are a small supplier, all the way through to us as a big maintainer, is get on board with i-TRACE.”

Essentially, standardising the way materials in the rail industry supply chain are identified and marked enables “traceability and warranty management, which is fundamental for lifecycle tracking,” according to Stephen Baker, head of product innovation at Siemens Mobility in Australia. “This has always been a challenge for the industry,” Baker said.

Under Project i-TRACE, identification codes compliant with GS1 standards are encoded into a machine-readable GS1 DataMatrix barcode, usually directly laser-engraved. According to GS1, an engraved barcode is the best option in harsh environments where labels are likely to fall off, such as for rolling stock. One GS1 client developed a process whereby the DataMatrix barcode could be vulcanised into rubber parts, for others a sticker label is enough. Once the barcode has been affixed, product data can be read by using a scanner or smartphone with the appropriate software application installed. While Siemens Mobility is still in the process of implementing Project i-TRACE, Baker says the benefits of implementation are obvious.

“We’ve been able to laser engrave unique IDs onto black plate which are then placed on a product, which takes less than two minutes. Automating the manual processes saves time and eliminates the possibility of human error. The field technicians are then able to capture the maintenance history of these products while on site, which makes it so much easier and improves efficiency.”

Other benefits include reducing inventory write-offs and waste leading to optimal inventory management, improving maintenance and repair operations, and reducing cost with fewer transaction errors and better data quality.

“We see Project i-TRACE as an enabler,” Baker said. With Internet of Things (IoT) innovations allowing components to become smart, interconnected and capable of talking to each other for essential data capture which allows the monitoring of the performance of items, these components however need to become consistently identifiable.

“It’s easy enough to capture data in stock management, but how are you going to identify which component you are capturing? GS1 gives us the building blocks to implement these processes.

“i-TRACE is quick, and it’s comprehensive. It gives us access to all the necessary information, and we can understand the behaviour of our systems by looking closely into the analytics of the product’s lifecycle. For example, where before the only information you could get about a railway signal was that it was a railway signal, with i-TRACE you can now use the unique product ID to see an entire data matrix of information.

“With this ecosystem of knowledge, you can ensure best practice quality control, maintenance and accountability to your clients through a more agile process.”

While Project i-TRACE was designed to enhance supply chain management, for Baker it is more than that.

“For most, GS1 compliance is about getting the products to the end-user, but we see it as going beyond that. Once a product has been marked, it’s an asset,” he explained. “Traceability helps organisations provide a better service to their clients, with improvements to the maintenance and repair of assets. Implementing i-TRACE in our rail sectors will make railways easier and quicker to repair and cause a flow on effect to service delivery, helping reduce commuter disruption if things go wrong.

“Asset management is amazingly complex, the digitalisation enabled by Project i-TRACE makes it easier,” Baker said.

Especially for a manufacturer of safety equipment, wherein the high levels of accountability GS1 enables are vital. While Siemens Mobility is still in implementation mode, as one of the first in the industry to take part in the project which they commenced in March 2018, Baker has advice for organisations who want to implement the solution.

“The first step is budgeting, because the biggest challenge is the allocation of funding. Implementing Project i-Trace can be scaled up or down depending on the size of your organisation,” he said.

For a small trader it’s simply a matter of adding the unique ID to a docket, whereas for Siemens it was possible to use more sophisticated machinery. Products get marked at downstream. The key at this stage, during budgeting, is to have a good business case according to Baker, who recommends hiring expert consultants to provide the necessary analysis. The next step is the project plan.

“We began with a deep review of the process, got sign off on the business case and in the months following, started our internal working group. In 2019, our internal working group and internal activities with our program were being finalised and we received our unique marking machine for over 18,500 trackable items to be marked at our Port Melbourne manufacturing facility.”

While compliance with GS1’s standards is necessary, having been determined as enabling best practice by the ARA and industry representatives, implementation has been made all the easier for organisations of all sizes by GS1’s Project i-Trace.


Visit GS1 at AusRAIL PLUS at Stand 236.

AusRAIL: Digitisation of trains leads to longer service times

What if you could anticipate rotating part issues on your train fleet without a major system installation? Or if you could schedule maintenance based on real conditions in the field? What if we told you it is actually possible?

Trains are usually serviced on the basis of specific time intervals or mileages, resulting in high operating and capital costs. However, SKF has shown that providers can use the SKF Insight Rail wireless condition monitoring system to reduce maintenance costs to a safe minimum.

Railway services can operate with greater economic efficiency and benefit customers more if there are fewer unplanned breakdowns, trains are left at depots less frequently and for reduced periods of time. With this in mind, SKF has developed SKF Insight Rail.

Using state-of-the-art condition monitoring technology, the wireless SKF Insight Rail system continuously analyses the condition of axle bearings and detects wear at a very early stage.

Maintenance is scheduled to take place when an axle bearing actually needs to be replaced and unexpected breakdowns are avoided. Due to this condition monitoring technology, train availability is increased and maintenance costs are reduced, positively impacting the railway operator’s balance sheet.

SKF Insight Rail is comprised of small sensor units that are easy to mount on the train’s axle bearing units. They can be retrofitted and the sensors can detect the tiniest vibration changes in the bearings. Sophisticated signal processing and complex algorithms then provide a reliable basis for analysis of this sensor data.

Measuring the vibration and temperature status of the bearing along the entire train, the sensors are all fitted with GPS modules. Triaxial accelerometers, motion detectors, temperature sensors, high-frequency vibration sensors and realtime clocks are also used.

The sensor data can be transmitted easily to a remote diagnostic centre and SKF offers qualified online monitoring and consulting via the cloud, so that volumes of data can be evaluated quickly and competently. SKF experts in the company’s global network of Remote Diagnostic Centres are highly experienced at looking for individually conspicuous values, so that they can recommend optimum (and if needed counter-) measures.

SKF expertise and digitization products allow many other applications to be monitored and their operation to be optimised.


Visit SKF at AusRAIL PLUS at Stand 286.

AusRAIL PLUS: Innovation Hub agenda released

With under a month to go until the Southern Hemisphere’s largest rail event, AusRAIL PLUS 2019, the agenda has been released for the Innovation Hub Seminar Series.

The Innovation Hub is incorporated into the AusRAIL Exhibition, and offers visitors the opportunity to hear about the latest technology and solutions from a wide range of engineers, manufacturers and suppliers, represented across the more than 400 exhibitors taking part in the event.

Rail Express returns in 2019 as an AusRAIL media partner.

The Innovation Hub agenda, released this week and available here, includes the following speakers:

  • Sarah Alexander: Senior Consultant – Social Impact Investment and Innovation, Cities and Places Advisory, Asia Pacific Middle East, Jacobs
  • Kirsty Drury, Programme Delivery Manager, Transport for London
  • Dr Florian Auer, Director of Technology and Innovation, Plasser & Theurer
  • Rod Hemassi, Senior Sales Consultant – Enterprise Project Performance, Asia-Pacific, Hexagon PPM
  • Tim Dighton, General Manager – New Generation Rollingstock, Department of Transport and Main Roads
  • Luke Davey, Manager Strategy, Downer
  • Bryan Lai, Interface and Integration Manager, Downer
  • Luke De Jager, Systems Assurance Manager, Downer
  • Luis Fernandez-Barrena, Business Development Manager, NEM Solutions
  • Shirley Gregor, Professor of Information Systems, Australian National University
  • Gary Beavan, Manager Security, Transport for NSW
  • Ivo Anic, Engineering Manager, Gemco Rail
  • Jonathan Taylor, Technical Director, Transport Economics and Policy & Section Leader – Transport Advisory, Jacobs
  • Saad Khan, General Manager Capability & Asset Management, Downer
  • Gonzalo Ruiz, Business Development Manager, CAF
  • Norman Frisch, Marketing Director, Enterprise Business Group and Transport Sector, Huawei
  • Cherie Lee, Founding Director, Maxem Consulting Group
  • Joel Schroeder, Head of Land Mobile, INTELSAT
  • Gao Chao, CRRC Datong Electric Locomotive Co
  • Zhang Guicheng, CRRC Yongji Electric Co
  • Shi Hongbin, CRRC Taiyuan
  • Wang Jinfeng, Shanxi Shangfeng Technology
  • James Cao, Shanxi Chunguang Forging
  • Zhi Yanping, Shanxi Haokun Flanges Group
  • Zhang Xinguo, Shanxi Dorun Advanced Materials Co
  • Wang Hanqing, Datong City Heneng Actívated Carbon Co
  • Jack O’Donoghue, Project Engineer, Martinus Rail
  • Ilan Sagi, Head of Engineering and Value Creation, ARTC Inland Rail
  • Dr Ooi Lean Hock, Director of Geotechnical, Martinus Gamuda
  • Pete Adams, Global Market Director for Power, Jacobs
  • Anne Perot, Deputy Project Director, Great Paris Express_L18, Egis
  • Ronan Collins, Head of Project Information Management, Martinus Gamuda
  • Cameron Collie, Global Industry Expert – Rail, Dassault Systemes
  • Jonathan Herguais, Director Structures & Civil Infrastructure ANZ, SYSTRA

For more information on the AusRAIL PLUS 2019 event in Sydney from December 3-5, visit the official event website.

AusRAIL PLUS: ADT Western Australia to show off Hydrema range

ADT Western Australia, a Hydrema distributor, will showcase the ultimate in hi-rail excavators with the AS7502-compliant MX20-Rail and MX Rail Lift at this year’s AusRAIL PLUS in Sydney.

ADT WA is the Western Australian distributor for all Hydrema road-rail vehicles and the whole of Australia distributor of Hydrema excavator road-rail vehicles.

“While Hydrema’s road-rail vehicles are manufactured in Europe, the effort is made to make the equipment wholly compliant to Australian standards,” says ADT WA’s general manager Darryl Moore.

The new AS7502 standard, introduced at the end of 2016, mandates that all road rail equipment must be designed by a qualified engineer and that the standard covers all aspects of the vehicle, from braking systems, wheels, axles and event recorders, to engineering, design and manufacture.

In fact, the Hydrema 912FS-Rail dump truck and MX20-Rail were the first machines that met this standard. The 912FS-Rail was delivered to the Karratha based Pilbara Rail Maintenance earlier this year.

With rail infrastructure managers seeking OEM levels of quality alongside this compliance, the Hydrema rail excavator MX20-Rail and the Rail Lift attachment are at a significant advantage.

MX20-Rail is a compact excavator with the flexibility of both low (type 3) and high (type 2a) rail capability. While it is designed for heavy lifts, it is the most compact rail excavator in the +20 tonne segment with the a rear-wing radius of just 1839mm. Rear rail gear assembly allows a platform for carrying tools for ease of movement “so that you don’t have to run up and down the tracks,” said Moore.

The MX20-Rail has engine power of 123 KW, greater than its competitors, and the highest hydraulic performance in its class, with a combined flow of 407 litres per minute.

The machine is “ready for the railway tracks,” says Moore.

The elevated work platform and crane, that makes up the MX Rail Lift, enables two people to work safely at height while three hydraulic extensions offer a maximum reach with the man basket of 12.2 m.

It includes as standard a heavy-duty slew system specifically designed for working in the rail industry, which is able to hold the lift in position even on sloping tracks offering high levels of stability also with a height and slew limitation (dubbed a “virtual wall system”).

The basket can be stowed when the crane is folded behind the machine in a transport position, providing a mobile unit on rail. It has a manual Volvo wheel loader quick hitch and is fully detachable from the base machine, with adjustable stabilisers for ease of removal and storage.

According to Moore, “Hydrema is uniquely placed to supply these machines at a faster rate than its competitors.” This is due to a streamlined production process. In fact, “our lead times are a month or two faster than our competitors,” says Moore.

While it is just as flexible in its offerings, “Hydrema is smaller than its competitors, which makes it the more agile supplier during a time when Australia’s rail infrastructure construction most needs it.”

With a pipeline of 206 infrastructure projects in the rail sector alone, Hydrema/ADT’s agility is sure to be welcomed by Australia’s rail infrastructure suppliers.

See the MX20-Rail and MX Rail Lift at Stand 35 at this year’s AusRAIL PLUS.

AusRAIL program tackles growth, opportunity and technology

After months of meticulous planning, the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)’s AusRAIL PLUS 2019, the southern hemisphere’s largest rail conference, has released another diverse and informative agenda.

With the Conference theme ‘Delivering Growth; Creating Opportunity; Embracing Technology’ in mind, the agenda focusses on broad topics such as: Making Cities Livable; Supporting Employment; Technology for the Future.
Delving deeper, the event features several keynote addresses, panel discussions, technical streams and much more; including the exciting Young Rail Professionals Pitching Competition, which sees five rail industry professionals (30 and under) present their revolutionary idea to the AusRAIL audience.

“AusRAIL PLUS 2019 provides the opportunity for all sectors of the rail industry to come together and network in an environment conducive to engagement, discussion, learning and debate over three full days of informative speeches and panel sessions, technical presentations, networking dinners and exciting exhibits.” Danny Broad, CEO, ARA

AusRAIL PLUS 2019 commences on the 2nd December with a Welcome Reception from 4pm giving delegates the opportunity to beat the morning rush the following day, pick up their conference passes and begin networking with other attendees in a relaxed environment.

The official day one of AusRAIL commences on the 3rd December with a welcome from ARA CEO, Danny Broad before Eleni Petinos MP provides a NSW Transport outlook. Prior to the first networking break, representatives from Sydney Metro, CFB Contractors, John Holland, UGL and Northwest Rapid Transit will hold a panel discussion regarding ‘Delivering Innovation in Industry Partnerships,’ primarily focusing on the new Sydney Metro and North West Rail Link.

Following the morning tea break, Bernard Tabary, International CEO, Keolis Group will speak to ‘Innovation in Integrated Transport’ before delegates hear insights into three nation-shaping project updates from Cross River Rail, Melbourne Metro and NZ City Rail Link.

The Young Rail Professionals Pitching Competition completes the mid-morning sessions prior to the lunch break in the exhibition halls, giving all attendees the opportunity to vote for the most innovative pitch.

The conference program will then split into five technical streams – RTSA, RTAA, IRSE, Rail Suppliers and the ONRSR, affording delegates to choose the sessions that align with their areas of interest. The first full day concludes with exhibition networking drinks sponsored by McConnell Dowell.

Day two begins with an Inland Rail update from Richard Wankmuller before a special keynote presentation on the Future of High-Speed Rail.

Two industry panels looking into supporting employment takes us to the lunch break prior to four technical streams. The second day concludes with the first of the two networking dinners, the RTAA Yellow Tie Dinner sponsored by Bombardier, to be held in the Grand Ballroom at the ICC Sydney.

The final day of AusRAIL PLUS 2019 begins with an address from Bob Herbert AM, ARA Chairman, closely followed by a presentation on the benefits of digital transformation for rail freight from Deutsche Bahn. Back-to-back industry panels covering working with customers to make rail more competitive and investment: what’s needed to continue to fund rail infrastructure for the future? take us to the ARA Future Leaders Program Project pitches. Again, these innovative pitches from some of the brightest young professionals in the rail industry will be judged in part by the conference audience via the event app. Discussions on these exciting and worthwhile projects often continue through informal networking during the lunch interval.

Presentations in the afternoon session will delve into technology for the future, headlined by a keynote from Ian Jefferies, President & CEO, Association of American Railroads (AAR)* as he gives a talk on rail’s role in keeping the economy on track and an update on how technology fuels the American rail network. The conference concludes with the Gala Dinner, sponsored by Downer to be held at Luna Park Sydney.

400+ Exhibiting Organisations

In addition to the conference agenda, AusRAIL PLUS 2019 features the largest rail exhibition in Australasia. With over 400 organisations on display, visitors will need the full three days to take it all in.
Entry to the exhibition is free should you wish to browse. Exhibitors range from large multinational companies to small-medium local businesses all with interests in the Australasian rail industry.
A selection of organisations that are participating in the exhibition includes Alstom, Downer, McConnell Dowell, CAF, Loram, Thales, ABB, Broadspectrum, CRRC, Faiveley Transport, Liebherr-Australia, Knorr-Bremse Australia and John Holland.

The exhibition also features the Innovation Hub, sponsored in 2019 by Jacobs, where attendees can listen in on the exciting interactive sessions during exhibition opening times across all three days.

“Clear your calendar now and join us in Sydney, December 3-5, for AusRAIL PLUS 2019. This event is not to be missed!”


For more information and to book your place at AusRAIL PLUS 2019 visit:

*subject to final confirmation

More technical speakers added to AusRAIL lineup

More than a dozen speakers have been added to the lineup across four technical streams at the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)’s AusRAIL PLUS 2019 conference and exhibition in Sydney.

Always a valuable component to the biggest annual week in Australasian rail, the technical presentations split the plenary conference schedule into separate technical streams, each covering a distinct segment of the rail sector.

The ARA this week added 15 speakers to the technical streams lineup:

  • David Anderson, Senior Project Manager Rolling Stock, Department of Transport Victoria
  • Jonathan Barnes, Network Rail Engineer, Sydney Trains
  • Guy Collishaw, Project Director, Transport for NSW
  • Georgia Gosse, Sustainability Manager, ARTC Inland Rail
  • Georgina Hartwell, Associate Rail Systems Engineer, WSP
  • Matthew Kwong, Engineer, Track, Yarra Trams, Keolis Downer
  • Peter Laumen, Research Associate, RWTH Aachen University
  • Igor Perin, Senior Electrical Engineer, Aurizon
  • Dr Hadi Sanei, Global Technology Director – Systems Engineering, Jacobs
  • Prof Maksym Spiryagin, Deputy Director of the Centre for Railway Engineering, CQUniversity
  • Charlotte Stanfield, Technical Director – Transport and Transport Infrastructure, Calibre
  • Dr Richard Stock, Milling Technology Manager, LINMAG Rail Milling Service
  • Simon-Pierre Trezeguet, Area Director – APAC, ENGIE Ineo Rail
  • Carlos Valente, Rail Asset Integrity Leader, Queensland Rail
  • Bertha Wai, Asset Strategy Analyst, Downer Group

AusRAIL PLUS will run from December 3 to 5 at the ICC Sydney. For the full, up-to-date speaker list, and information on how to book, see here.

ARA seeking next CEO; Broad endorsed to replace Herbert as chair

Danny Broad will finish up as CEO of the Australasian Railway Association, and has been endorsed to succeed Bob Herbert as Chairman at the end of 2019.

The ARA announced on Thursday evening both Broad and Herbert would conclude their terms as CEO and Chairman, respectively, at the end of the calendar year.

Herbert, appointed as Independent Chairman in 2015, said he was happy to leave the ARA in a strong position.

“The new constitution that was ratified by members in July 2016 has strengthened the governance arrangements of the organisation whilst providing an agreed structure that allows members to better direct the affairs of the ARA,” he said.

“Recognising the substantial contribution Danny Broad has made as CEO of the ARA and the importance of maintaining leadership continuity, the Board has unanimously endorsed Danny assuming the Chairman’s role at the end of 2019.”

Broad paid tribute to Herbert’s work helping transform the ARA.

“Bob is a hands-on Chairman, who played a leading role in setting up the new structure, and positioned the ARA to be advocating not just for increasing rail investment, but as a strong voice on key strategic issues, such as the need for a National Rail Plan and action on skills shortages.”

As for his news, Broad said after more than four years as ARA CEO, he feels the time is right to pass the reigns on to a new leader.

“Since taking on the role in October 2015, ARA membership has grown significantly, our engagement with member companies has strengthened, and the ARA has maintained its position as a respected industry body,” Broad said.

“The ARA is now well placed to work with the Australian and State and Territory governments as they implement substantial passenger and freight rail projects, and deal with significant infrastructure policy issues.”

The ARA Board has established an Appointments Committee, convened by Sydney Trains boss Howard Collins, to oversee the recruitment of a new ARA CEO over the next few months.

Herbert will maintain his role as Chairman of the TrackSAFE Foundation, the ARA-endorsed harm prevention charity for the rail sector.

Delegates at AusRAIL PLUS 2015. Photo:

Last minute tickets for AusRAIL 2018

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA)’s biggest annual conference, exhibition and networking event heads to Canberra next week, and it’s not too late to secure your ticket.

Over 700 delegates are already signed up to for the AusRAIL 2018 Conference & Exhibition, which kicks off next Monday, November 26 with the Welcome Reception, before the conference sessions begin on Tuesday, November 27.

This year’s conference program includes a keynote address from Frances Valentine, founder of Tech Futures Lab, who will present a customer-centric exploration of futureproofing the rail industry.

The conference also includes addresses from transport and infrastructure minister Michael McCormack, and shadow infrastructure, transport cities and regional development minister Anthony Albanese.

A round table on rail’s future will include Metro Trains Melbourne’s rollingstock head of engineering Amy Lezala, AECOM Track & Civil engineer Michelle Doolan, Unipart commercial and compliance manager Jamie Ross-Smith, V/Line regional manager Dallas Martin, and will be facilitated by author and digital strategist Dr Polly McGee, who will also address the conference on creating customer connections in a service economy.

The conference will also see the return of the massively successful Young Rail Professionals Pitching Competition, with judges this year including Transport Canberra director general Emma Thomas, Queensland Rail chief executive Nick Easy, Arup Australasia rail business leader Anna Squire, and John Holland rail business group EGM Steve Butcher.

All delegates will also receive the 2019 Australian Rail Directory and the AusRAIL 2018 edition of Rail Express magazine as part of their delegate packs.

Accompanying the stacked conference program will be five technical streams, and of course the AusRAIL Exhibition, which this year will see more than 90 companies on show. Check out the full list of exhibitors here.

With the event now just days away, it’s not too late to reserve your ticket: Visit the AusRAIL website for more information, or head right over to the booking portal.

App launched ahead of AusRAIL 2018 in Canberra

With the Australasian Railway Association’s AusRAIL 2018 conference and exhibition just a week away, the official event app has been launched to help rail professionals network and stay on top of everything going on at the industry’s biggest annual get-together.

AusRAIL 2018 conference delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors are being encouraged to download the event’s official app to enhance their AusRAIL experience.

The app, available for Apple and Android devices, contains everything needed to plan a visit to the conference, organise exhibition stand visits, and connect with other attendees.

Users are able to set up their own profile so they can be contacted by others, and bookmark other exhibitors and delegates for further action.

The app also allows the user to take extensive notes for each conference session, speaker, sponsor, exhibitor and delegate for later reference.

This year’s Young Rail Pitching Competition will also use the app for its audience voting component, and the app also includes a feedback portal and information on next year’s AusRAIL PLUS event in Sydney.

More information on how to install and set up the app can be found on the official AusRAIL website.

AusRAIL takes place in Canberra on November 27 and 28, and it’s not too late to buy a ticket: visit for more information. Rail Express is producing the official magazine of the event.