AusRAIL mentor rates, next gen scholarships make youth the focus

Ten young rail professionals have won scholarships to attend AusRAIL in Canberra later this month, with the initiative part of the event’s youth focus.

After a record number of submissions were received for the scholarship program the Australasian Railway Association opted to double the number of recipients from five to ten in 2018.

The following individuals were awarded under the program after they submitted ideas on how to disrupt, market and promote the rail industry in a positive and impactful way:

  • Darcy Carroll, Trainee Engineer, Vossloh Cogifer: Rail – The Key to The Great Australian Dream
  • Jisun Chang, Graduate Engineer (Currently a Vacation Student), Arup: Rail-KEA: The City-Wide Organisation Solution
  • Leah Griffiths, Intern, Siemens Mobility: Interactive Rail Network Display
  • Robert Hoffman, Consultant – Engineering & Asset Management Advisory, KPMG: Humans of Rail
  • Elena Marr, Graduate Civil Engineer, Public Transport Authority of Western Australia: A City Without Trains
  • Damen McCarl, Delivery Engineer, ARTC: Educating Future Industry Leaders
  • Elodie O’Sullivan, Graduate Engineer, WSP: Smartphone Applications Targeted at Schools
  • Laurence Palombi, Business Development Engineer, PHM Technology: Rail – Leading the adoption of Innovative Technologies
  • Chelsea Simanhadi, Graduate Overhead Wiring Engineer, Aurecon: Rail – More than Getting from A to B
  • Jack Vallis, Data Engineer, Lachlan Dickson Consulting: Leveraging Social Business Concepts to Increase Commuter Engagement

Each of the winners, all under 25 and active in the rail sector, will have their ideas displayed as part of a ‘Winning Ideas’ poster session within the AusRAIL Exhibition’s Innovation Hub.

Young rail professionals are also the focus of the ARA’s Mentor Rates initiative.

A Mentor Rate discount is available to rail professionals under 30 attending the event with a full-priced colleague.

Find out more:

Innovation Hub, swathe of new exhibitors highlight AusRAIL 2018

The exhibition hall at AusRAIL 2018 will be packed with big names and fresh faces, and leaders at the cutting edge of rail will be presenting their ideas at the event’s free Innovation Hub.

AusRAIL, the official annual conference and exhibition of the Australasian Railway Association, heads to Canberra in 2018, with a two-day event on November 27 and 28.

Located on the first floor of the exhibition, the Hub will be an innovation destination for all to enjoy, featuring live presentations, industry resources and an interactive social media experience.

Speakers from Transport for NSW, the Level Crossing Removal Authority, Sydney Trains and the Australian Centre for Rail Innovation will feature at the Innovation Hub, which is sponsored by Jacobs.

Meanwhile, nearly 100 exhibitors will be showing off across the two floors of exhibition space.

This year’s exhibition will showcase a broad range of products and services from the many annual exhibitors from Australia, and around the globe.

Names like John Holland, Wabtec, Ansaldo STS, CRRC, Laing O’Rourke, Speno, Progress Rail, Kennards, KH1, Trapeze Group, 4Tel, Sunlec, Noske-Kaeser Rail & Vehicle NZ highlight the program.

And with work in the rail sector booming the show has also see a jump in ‘first-time’ exhibitors, including Davidson, Huawei, Cooltek, Pyrotek, tm stagetec systems, Fränkische, Baden-Württemberg International to name a few.

Visit for more information on the exhibition and conference. Rail Express’ November-December issue will be the official magazine of the AusRAIL event.

Brightest young minds to shine again at AusRAIL

The 2018 Young Railway Professionals Innovation Pitching Competition will be a highlight on the first day of the Australasian Railway Association’s annual AusRAIL conference and exhibition taking place in Canberra on 27 and 28 November 2018.

The first day of the conference will feature pitches from five professionals under 30, all with bright ideas for innovation within the rail sector.

This year’s pitching competition received a record number of entries reflecting the skills, passion and creativity of an inspiring new generation of talent across the sector.

Presenting at AusRAIL will be:

  • Tyler Plowright, Operational Technology Engineer, Pacific National| Regional freight deliveries
  • Pranoy Banerjee, Advisor, CWG Project Services | Gamification of rail safety
  • Jessica Ghaleb, Track and Civil Engineer, Jacobs | Hands-free ticketing
  • Owen Plagens, Asset Strategy Engineer, Downer | Intelligent Seating Recommendation System (iSRS)
  • Henry Swisher, Strategic Consultant – Energy Markets, Jacobs | Producing hydrogen for Australia’s long distance freight network

Judging this year’s event are Transport Canberra and City Services Director General Emma Thomas, Queensland Rail Chief Executive Officer Nick Easy, Arup Australasia Rail Business Leader Anna Squire, and John Holland Rail Business Group Executive General Manager Steve Butcher.

In addition, the two leading group projects completed through the ARA’s Future Leaders Program will also be presented. The ARA Future Leaders Program is a six month program completed by the industry’s brightest talent. As well as developing their leadership skills, the participants complete group projects to address and issue or opportunity in the industry.

Other highlights of the recently released agenda include:

  • Consecutive speeches from Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Michael McCormack MP, and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
  • A discussion on supply chains including NSW Ports Chief Executive Officer Marika Califas, KiwiRail Chief Operations Officer Todd Moyle, and Pacific National’s FreightPresident Andrew Adams
  • A keynote speech from Tech Futures Lab founder Frances Valintine on futureproofing the rail industry
  • A site tour of the Canberra Metro Light Rail Depot
  • A welcome address from the ACT Government’s Minister for Transport Canberra and City Services Meegan Fitzharris MLA
  • An address from Australasian Railway Association Chairman Bob Herbert AM
  • And much, much more.

Conference places are available with special rates for ARA members and Young Rail Professionals. Full information available here.

Melbourne to host UITP 2021

The International Association of Public Transport has selected Melbourne as the host city for its massive Global Public Transport Summit in 2021, the first time the event has made its way south of the equator in over 25 years.

The association, known as UITP (Union Internatinoale des Transports Publics), announced Melbourne as the winning bidder for UITP 2021 on May 16, after it was shortlisted alongside Moscow and Hamburg late last year.

UITP said Public Transport Victoria would serve as the local host for the event.

“With the biggest tram network in the world and major projects expected to be well underway during 2021, it will be the perfect time to showcase what our city has to offer,” PTV chief executive Jeroen Weimar said.

Victorian public transport minister Jacinta Allan said the state was home to some of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects.

“With our massive program of major transport projects like the Metro Tunnel and level crossing removals, it makes sense that the world’s biggest public transport conference wants to come to Victoria,” Allan said.

Job Opportunity: Rail Express

Mohi Media, publisher of Rail Express, is seeking a very special sales person to spearhead the growth of Australia’s leading rail industry publication.

Rail Express has grown exponentially from a single annual edition in 2016 to six editions per year for 2018, now serving 13,000 people a day via email, 4,800 people bi-monthly via print and countless more direct to our website.

We’ve achieved this by focusing on high-quality editorial content, creating an efficient print and digital mix, and ensuring we always do our best to champion the challenges, achievements and interests of the people who keep Australia’s rail networks moving.

Our continuous growth now provides an opportunity for Rail Express to take on a strategic sales specialist to drive the publication forward.

However, we’re not looking for any salesperson. We’re seeking one who will bring in new ideas and new energy the publication and, most importantly, someone who puts our readers first.

One of the many reasons Rail Express enjoys strong editorial credibility is our strict policy that we don’t (and never will) accept advertorial disguised as editorial content, so our perfect candidate will be one who can come up with amazing display, digital and sponsorship ideas that sync with our content and provide compelling opportunities for the businesses that have highly relevant products and services to offer our readers.

The person we’re looking for has a passion for the Australian rail industry, loves to network at industry events, is familiar with product we currently produce, is someone who can see the possibilities of we already have and is not afraid to think outside the box when putting forward concepts for improvement and/or new offerings for our readers and advertisers alike.

This is full-time position based in the Sydney CBD, with flexible working arrangements negotiable, and an appropriate remuneration package will be offered based on what you have to offer.

If you can relate to the above and would like to become part of a well established and fun team, we’d love to hear from you!

Please express your interest directly to Mohi Media managing director, Michael Mohi, via email:

Call made for AusRAIL 2018 papers

Following the success of AusRAIL PLUS 2017, the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is delighted to confirm that their flagship event, AusRAIL 2018, is set to be held on 27-28 November at the National Convention & Exhibition Centre in Canberra.

It is the first time since 2012 that the event returns to the nation’s capital, fittingly with the current construction of the Canberra Light Rail Network.

“Join us at AusRAIL, the rail industry’s pre-eminent conference and exhibition to hear from rail industry leaders in the Australasian region and beyond,” said Danny Broad, CEO, ARA.

For further information and to register your attendance, click here.



A key component of AusRAIL are the technical stream sessions. The streams are run by the technical committee consisting of members from the Railway Technical Society of Australia (RTSA), the Rail Track Association Australia (RTAA), the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE), the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR).

The technical committee is calling for abstracts surrounding the overall AusRAIL theme: Rail – For a Better Future. If you would like to present a technical research paper at AusRAIL 2018, the deadline for abstracts is 9 March 2018. Successful applicants will be notified of their acceptance in May with details of next steps.

For further information and to submit a 400-600 word abstract, please click here.



Australasian Railway Association

Your Rail Express January-February digital edition has arrived

Rail Express is pleased to release its latest instalment for online readers in a digital, true-to-life format.

The January/February issue of Rail Express is now available to view, for free, on your desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device.

  • Click here to read the main magazine (68 pages)
  • Click here to read our special Light Rail pull-out supplement, sponsored by Transdev

“With the ARA’s Light Rail Conference coming up, we’ve put together a great supplement on light rail in our first issue for 2018,” editor Oliver Probert said. “We’ve also got plenty of coverage on the recent AusRAIL Coference & Exhibition in Brisbane, and of course our regular, reliable updates on rail news across the country.”

Instructions: simply use your mouse to drag the pages as if you were reading a magazine. Alternatively, you can use the left and right arrows on your keyboard. To zoom in on a page, use the magnifying glass icon on the bottom centre menu. To download the magazine as a PDF, click the downward arrow icon in the bottom centre menu.

Next edition features: Light Rail, Passenger Rail, Urban Infrastructure

The first 2018 edition of Rail Express magazine lands in just a few weeks time,  with three strong features to kick-off our brand new bi-monthly schedule:

Light Rail (special pull-out supplement)
Rail Express’s first special supplement in 2018 will focus on the light rail revolution taking place across Australia. Published ahead of the ARA’s Light Rail 2018 event in Sydney in March, and distributed at the event, the supplement will cover new and ongoing light rail developments in Sydney, Newcastle, the Gold Coast and Canberra, as well as the latest from Melbourne, the site of the largest urban tram network on the planet. The supplement will also address the latest technological trends and other research and development going on around light rail, and will discuss the potential of future light rail networks in places like Perth, Adelaide and Auckland.

Passenger Rail
Rail Express’s special feature on passenger rail will expand on the magazine’s regular coverage with in-depth features on ongoing projects like the Sydney Metro, the Melbourne Metro Project, the Forrestfield-Airport Link in Perth, and the City Rail Link in Auckland. New and ongoing passenger rollingstock contracts will also be reviewed, with a particular focus not only on the key manufacturers, but their suppliers as well. The feature will also include the latest offerings from the academic community, and analysis of recent state and federal politics, and what it will mean for the sector.

Urban Infrastructure
Coupling nicely with both the passenger rail feature, and the light rail supplement, the January-February feature on urban infrastructure will cover the interaction between rail and the urban environment. From new station construction in Sydney and Melbourne, to the major rearrangement of rail corridors south of Melbourne and in metropolitan Adelaide, the feature will consider the latest trends and challenges facing rail developments in Australia’s and New Zealand’s rapidly growing city centres.

Please click here to download our media kit.

Missed the previous editions of Rail Express? Please click here to view all of our 2017 digital editions.

If you’re looking to target the Light Rail, Passenger Rail or Urban Infrastructure markets, or run a general branding/awareness campaign, this edition will reach well over 30,000 unique eyeballs in the Australasian rail sector. As Australia’s leading business-to-business rail publication, with an industry only circulation, we can offer you an unparalleled audience of rail industry specific leaders, buyers, decision makers and influencers to ensure maximum yield from your marketing spend.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Daniel Macias on 0427 270 774.

Delegates at AusRAIL PLUS 2015. Photo:

AusRAIL: Artificial intelligence pitch wins young professionals comp

The Young Rail Professionals Pitching Competition, a feature of the final day of the AusRAIL PLUS conference in Brisbane last week, saw five newcomers present their ideas to innovate the rail industry.

This is the second time the competition has been held, after Aurecon engineer Michelle Doolan took out the inaugural prize at the 2016 AusRAIL event in Adelaide.

This year’s winner, announced at the 2017 Gala Dinner on the final night of AusRAIL, was Jamie Ross-Smith, the head of asset systems at UGL Limited.

Earlier that day Ross-Smith presented his concept of an “intelligent asset management system” (IAMS) – an innovation, he said, that would enable the rail industry to ride the wave of the coming “data revolution”.

The IAMS combines artificial intelligence capabilities – such as machine learning and pattern recognition and prediction – with the integration of data system networks. Such a system, Ross-Smith said, enables fast, data-driven solutions to a variety of incidents across the areas of asset condition and maintenance planning, network control and operation systems, safety management and logistics, and resource planning and scheduling.

According to Ross-Smith, the IAMS can take an incident, such as the failure of an asset, and compare the details of this failure with millions of historical data points, thus providing a list of previous incidents with the same features for the system’s probability and prediction monitoring functions. Once the system determines the incident’s causation, again by using the system’s historical data, it will then point technicians towards procedures for its rectification.

Another finalist in the competition who made her pitch at AusRAIL was Victoria Burke, a graduate engineer with Metro Trains Melbourne.

Burke outlined her idea of powering station facilities –  including lighting, ticket barriers, and wireless hotspots – using the kinetic energy generated by passenger footsteps.

This elegantly simple idea involves installing special energy-harvesting tiles into station floors, platform surfaces and stairs. Downward pressure upon the tiles caused by the steps of those walking over them stimulates rotations in electro-magnetic generators lying beneath the surface, converting the kinetic energy of the footstep into electrical energy.

Up to 20 watts per module can be produced in this manner, Burke said, and can either be utilised immediately for low-voltage applications or stored in batteries for later use.

Burke’s analysis of Melbourne’s busy Flinders Street Station determined that, on an average day, 5,600 watt-hours could be produced there using foot-traffic, “which is the equivalent to powering 20,000 mobile phones in a day”.

Indeed, one person can generate 5 watts of continuous power while they walk, producing enough power to light up an area of 15 square-metres. In this way, Ms Burke said, walkways featuring user-generated LED lighting could be established, providing safer journeys at night for passengers moving between station platforms and carparks.

With steadily increasing population growth and rising energy prices, this kind of pollutant-free, energy efficient electricity generation could be, Burke proposed, “the future advance we need to create a smarter approach to our stations by increasing sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint”.

Another finalist, Sydney Trains rolling stock engineer Oliver Lake, gave a compelling outline of how providing technicians with augmented reality glasses (AR) can improve asset maintenance strategies and procedures, and thereby enable rail operators to meet the demands of increasing passenger numbers and rising freight volumes.

AR glasses provide technicians with superimposed computer-generated images and text relating to precise data on rolling stock equipment, and can display procedural instructions in real-time for the safe and efficient repair and maintenance of this equipment.

This would therefore eliminate, Lake said, “the need to constantly stop and refer to procedurals and manuals,” and speed up the process of getting rolling stock back on to tracks to resume services.

Ross Anderson, an engineer with Frazer-Nash Consultancy, pitched his app-based approach to an integrated, multi-modal transport system that would help secure the future of rail by “reimagining” a more desirable commute for passengers.

After entering the start and end points of their journey into the “Corridors” app, the user would be presented with the various times and costs for the range of travel options – partly determined by user-data collection – for their journey’s completion. These would include a selection of privatised transport modes best suited to the “first and last mile” of the commute, such as short-term car rentals, e-bikes, and taxis, alongside public transport services such as rail.

Presented in this app-format, Anderson said, transport options can be integrated and available via single method of access and payment for the entire journey.

And finally, Tyler Plowright, a rolling stock engineer from Pacific National, guided the audience through the complexities of using dynamic brake batteries to save energy on heavy haul freight operations.

The fuel and energy wastage of diesel locomotives can be mitigated, Plowright said, by utilising batteries to store energy – generated by dynamic braking and currently emitted as heat – which can be used by the locomotive at a later point in time for auxiliary and traction power. Plowright said heavy haul services would be best suited to the application of these dynamic brake battery systems, despite the lack extensive testing so far.

Each year locomotive diesel locomotives use 84 billion litres of diesel, pumping out 250 million tonnes of C02 annually worldwide. And, as demand for diesel locomotives remains robust, Plowright said, it is therefore important for the industry to move towards dynamic brake battery technology and thus improve the sustainability and efficiency of freight fleets.

AusRAIL: Albanese condemns Nicholls over Cross River Rail

Shadow transport and infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese has slammed Queensland’s Liberal National Party ahead of this weekend’s state election, saying party leader Tim Nicholls “should stand condemned” for his opposition to the Cross River Rail project.

The shadow minister spoke with Rail Express on the sidelines of AusRAIL PLUS in Brisbane on Thursday, and voiced his support for the ARA’s National Rail Plan.

“The industry is very clear. The National Rail Plan, put together by the industry, is a plan full of merit, full of thought, full of not just the interests of the rail industry, but the impressive thing about it is it clearly outlines why it is in the national economic interest to have a strong rail sector,” Albanese said.

The member for Grayndler said that while the ARA plan calls for a bipartisan approach to infrastructure development, it isn’t Labor’s fault Cross River Rail has become a divisive issue ahead of Saturday’s state election.

“[The plan] does call for bipartisanship,” he said.

“I find it remarkable, that Tim Nicholls, as treasurer in the Newman Government, presided over all of those cuts, one of which happened to Cross River Rail.

“We sat down [in 2013] with the treasurer, with the premier, Campbell Newman, who acknowledged this just recently in an interview I did with him on Sky News. It was all signed off in 2013, following Infrastructure Australia’s 2012 recommendation.

“Tim Nicholls presided over that delay after Tony Abbott said he wouldn’t support any rail projects, and now he’s saying that this Saturday, if he is elected premier along with One Nation, who also oppose the project, that they will stop Cross River Rail in its tracks.”

Albanese said the cancellation of Cross River Rail would have “disastrous consequences for urban congestion here in Brisbane, and also disastrous consequences for those growth corridors on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast”.

“For that reason, I’m very hopeful that the Palaszczuk Government will be re-elected on Saturday; they deserve to be so.

“And Tim Nicholls deserves to stand condemned, for walking away from a project that every expert agrees is absolutely necessary.”