Loram appoints new director

Loram Holdings has appointed David Freeman to its Board of Directors.

Freeman previously worked for BNSF Railway, the largest freight railroad network in North America. There, Freeman held positions in engineering and operations roles.

Prior to becoming a director at Loram Maintenance of Way, Freeman was the executive vice president of BNSF Railway, and focused on improving cost structure using technology, finding cost-efficiencies and improving effectiveness. Before this role, Freeman was executive vice president of operations, senior vice president of transportation, vice president of transportation, and vice president of engineering.

Loram designs, builds and operates maintenance of way equipment used in rail grinding, ballast cleaning, top of rail friction management, material handling, track inspection and structural monitoring. Based in Hamel, Minnesota, Loram has had equipment used in Australia for many years, and recently acquired Aurizon’s rail grinding business, creating a wholly-owned Australian subsidiary.

AusRAIL: Loram outlines next steps after Aurizon deal

Rail maintenance outfit Loram tells Rail Express about its plans for the Australian market now its acquisition of Aurizon’s grinding business is complete.

Loram Maintenance of Way finalised its deal to buy Aurizon’s rail grinding business late in October. The purchase effectively increased Loram’s number of rail grinding service customers by four in Australia, with the notable addition of all mainline and turnout rail grinding for Aurizon Network.

Tom L. Smith, Loram Australia’s director of business development, spoke with Rail Express at the company’s stand at AusRAIL PLUS in Sydney, about the next steps for the business.

“The top priorities following the transition are to build upon the success of our customers’ rail grinding programs while building Loram’s brand as a contract service provider,” Smith said. “We will be listening to our customers’ toughest maintenance challenges in order to provide innovative solutions.”

Smith says customers should initially expect little to no change – the intent being a frictionless transition which he says is so far being successfully executed.

In the longer term, however, Smith is keen to see Loram’s newer and cutting edge technologies applied more in the Australian market.

Loram is very proud of providing more rail grinding kilometres per year worldwide on service contracts than all other suppliers combined,” he said. “That success is based upon unmatched reliability, continuously advancing machine technology, and through innovative rail grinding management programs.

“In Australia, as with our customers around the world, track maintenance windows are decreasing and we need to optimize production to provide the best return on investment.

“Optimised grind programs look to maximize the efficiency of using Loram’s leading production and specialty grinding platforms to be used when and where they are needed, efficiently removing the correct amount of steel off the rail.”

Loram’s latest machine – the RG419 – has recently been delivered and commissioned in Australia. The 120-stone machine uses Loram’s proprietary Rail Pro grind management system and will start delivering kilometres interstate in 2020.


Contact: www.loram.com.au




Loram finalises Aurizon grinding business acquisition

Loram Maintenance of Way, based in the US, has announced the finalisation of a deal to buy Aurizon’s rail grinding business.

The acquisition means Loram will increase its number of Australian rail grinding service customers by four, including the addition of all mainline and turnout rail grinding for Aurizon Network.

“This acquisition is a step-change in Loram’s continued expansion as a respected leader in railway maintenance contract service operations globally,” Loram’s president and CEO Phil Homan said.

Loram will now deliver its unrivalled customer service to Australasia and Southeast Asia with the strength of our experienced Australian leadership team from its base in Brisbane.”

Loram is the original equipment manufacturer of the fleet of rail grinders it acquires through the Aurizon deal, a factor it says puts it at an unmatched level of technical expertise operating its advanced equipment for the business’ customers.

Loram has over 50 years of experience providing innovative solutions for the unique challenges faced by the Australian rail industry, and we are honoured to deepen our longstanding relationship with Aurizon and our other Australian customers,” Loram’s local managing director Stephen Mannix said.

“This Acquisition has presented Loram with a strong team who share our commitment to safety and quality. Together, we will meet the challenges of the substantial growth of the Australian rail industry and propel the advancements of our Customers over the coming decades.”

Loram to acquire Aurizon grinding business

Rail maintenance equipment and service provider Loram Maintenance of Way has agreed to buy Aurizon’s rail grinding services business for an undisclosed fee.

The North American business, the original equipment manufacturer of Aurizon’s entire fleet of rail grinders, said on August 12 it would acquire all the assets of the operator’s rail grinding business.

Aurizon has reportedly been working to sell its grinding division since around October 2018.

The move effectively gives Loram four new Australian customers for its rail grinding services business.

Loram president and CEO Phil Homan said the acquisition conformed to its plan for global technology but local service.

“While drawing upon our global technical expertise, Loram will deliver its unrivalled customer service to Australian customers under the leadership of its Australia-based team from our office in Brisbane and strategic sites interstate,” Homan said.

Loram’s managing director in Australia Stephen Mannix said the company recognises “substantial opportunities” in the Australian rail market.

“The acquisition positions Loram for significant growth,” Mannix said. “In addition to expanding this rail grinding business, Loram is committed to listening to customers’ challenges throughout Australia and developing Loram’s entire suite of innovative solutions to meet their unique needs.”

Mannix said the Aurizon acquisition was a great fit for his team.

“There is a natural affinity between our people because both organizations share a commitment to safety and quality. We are pleased to offer continued employment to each affected employee and are hiring for new positions to support our growth.”

Latest ballast cleaning tech from Loram

Below rail maintenance provider Loram says new shoulder ballast cleaning technology is making major efficiency gains for its customers.

Loram says its fourth-generation shoulder ballast cleaner, SBC2400, is the world’s most productive, revolutionising the best-practice for speed, power and productivity in shoulder ballast cleaning.

“With railroads facing ever-changing challenges today, it requires us to continue to develop and integrate technologies in order to optimize their programs,” a Loram Marketing Director Brandon Riddering tells Rail Express. “Loram has been working to further optimise the operation and production of the SBC2400, and it is conceivably the world’s most productive shoulder ballast cleaner.”

The self-propelled SBC2400 features synchronised 30-inch wide digging wheels to excavate ballast from the tie ends outwards, to the edge of the ballast section. It uses dual scarifer teeth to undercut the tie ends to five inches, helping break up mud pockets and restore drainage. It features exclusive elliptical throw agitation separators and variable screen levelling, like Loram’s market-leading High Performance Shoulder Ballast Cleaner (HP SBC).

The SBC2400 is designed to handle 2,400 cubic metres of ballast each hour, at speeds up to 6km/h at typical digging depths of eight inches below the bottom of the tie.

“The increased speeds of the SBC2400 have resulted in customers recognizing reduced unit costs and higher work volume completion while Loram delivers unmatched reliability,” Riddering says.

Outside of ballast cleaning operations it can travel self-propelled at up to 80km/h, and can be towed in-train at up to 95km/h.

“The increased traffic capabilities for the railroad’s remediation investment demonstrates a Loram shoulder ballast cleaning program ensures a healthy, robust railroad infrastructure while delivering maximum return on investment.”

The SBC2400 is capable of discharging separated fines up to 8.5 metres from the centreline of the track, and comes fit with a waste conveyor obstacle avoidance system.

Loram says it also has the ability to partner with customers to develop new machine deployment methods which can deliver further speed, performance and reliability improvements.

“For instance, railroads are including a shoulder ballast cleaner into a surfacing gang arrangement for consistent and increased productivity,” Riddering says. “Coordinating ballast equipment with gangs has proven to exceed individual machine deployment production and reduce overall costs for our customers.”

A global company, Loram has more than 1,000 employees and 230 machines spread across 16 countries. It was founded in 1954 in Minnesota, United States, and over 60 years has grown into an industry leader helping railways preserve their lines, from heavy haul, freight, transit, and commuter to short line railroads. The company is looking to advance technology and automation on its range of ballast maintenance equipment, allowing customers to accomplish preventative programs at minimal cost.

In addition to the SBC2400 and other shoulder ballast cleaners, Loram ballast maintenance program offerings include undercutting, high speed track lifting, and spot undercutting/excavating/trenching.

In Australia, where it has worked with companies like Aurizon, the Australian Rail Track Corporation, and Fortescue Metals Group, Loram says it boasts some of the most technologically advanced rail grinding equipment on the planet.

Contact: www.loram.com/contact

track inspection

A comprehensive solution to track monitoring and maintenance

Loram is building upon its history of providing the right services to the rail industry with sophisticated expertise in track and infrastructure monitoring technology.

For over 50 years, Loram has been providing rail grinding and track maintenance services to the Australian market. It has become only natural, then for the company to use its expertise in precision rail management to innovate and provide a comprehensive solution when it comes to the interaction of different rail infrastructure assets.

According to Thomas Smith, director business development, cost and consistency are two major issues that are facing rail networks. Having a rich and understandable picture of the track asset can allow for better decisions to be made when it comes to maintenance.

“Having an advanced diagnostic profile of the current health of your track and identifying trends over time allows our customers to migrate to a preventative maintenance program which can save significant money by extending the life of their assets,” said Smith.

Having provided rail grinding, ballast cleaning, and track maintenance equipment and services for decades around the globe, Loram has seen where the gaps are when infrastructure managers are seeking to optimise the upkeep of their network.

“For decades, Loram has had the equipment for repairing and/or maintaining the rail and drainage, including ballast and ditches. Having the ability to know exactly where and how to apply that equipment has been a development process leading Loram to create or acquire the technology it offers today,” said Smith.

This technology has taken Loram’s knowledge of the dynamics affecting track condition and brought a level of precision engineering. For the past 30 years, Loram has been refining its rail grinding through the use of high-speed measuring and analysis, which uses laser camera technology. To analyse track for substructure maintenance, Loram has deployed cutting- edge technology for the last 15 years.

These developments in inspection services have been crystallised into three major areas. The first is rail inspection services, which use rail inspection vehicles (RIV) to collect rail profile, wear, gauge, and cant data. This data is then used to refine a rail grinding program, said Smith.

“Collected data is mapped to exact track locations to positively match the grind plan and applied to the grinder.”

The second area is Loram’s Aurora Track Inspection services. These use imaging technology to scan and reveal the exact condition of below rail infrastructure. Manual detection methods can only detect so much and are limited in terms of the speed at which they can be conducted.

“Aurora can perform inspections at over 65km/h and plays a critical role in prioritising and streamlining our customers’ capital maintenance programs,” said Smith.

Loram’s third area of inspection services are in the field of geotechnical inspection services. These services use tools such as ground penetrating radar and LiDAR scanning technology to measure and analyse geotechnics and substructure. The equipment that performs these scans can be mounted on the vehicle platform most suited to the task, including geometry cars, rail grinders, hi-rail trucks, or other track vehicles.

Taking the results of these services together, Loram can build a solution for a rail infrastructure owner or manager that includes track maintenance as well as formation analysis and remediation. With experience working in many different environments, Loram’s services are able to be delivered in any circumstance.

Loram hasn’t found a location yet where we couldn’t deploy and manage our services. We recently conducted a geotechnical survey in South America where there wasn’t even rail infrastructure present, only formation. Our technology is set up to be deployed in many situations and can be customised to help meet our customers’ demands,” said Smith.

With the data collected through a combination of these technologies, the next step is to ensure that it is presented in a way that enables actions to be taken and decision to be made. To simplify this, Loram is working on combining data from its various services into a comprehensive track maintenance platform, said Smith.

“The data we collect is technical, time consuming to analyse, and can be overwhelming. That is why the final output that Loram provides our customers simplifies the information into easy-to-understand reports that are customised to our customer’s specific needs.”

With these insights in hand, maintenance can be conducted in a way that uses resources in the most efficient way possible.

Loram’s scanning technology can be fitted to the vehicle required.

“Having the ability to accurately measure the condition of your track assets allows our customers to intelligently and precisely plan maintenance activities with regards to subgrade, ballast, sleepers, components, and rail,” said Smith. “When our customers understand the conditions of these assets and how they degrade over time, then they can take actionable measures to prevent degradation and truly maximise the life of their investments.”

What makes Loram unique, however, is that not only can it identify and monitor issues related to track and infrastructure management, but it has the ability to fix and remedy the issues.

“With all of these inspection and maintenance solutions provided by one company, we have the experience, expertise and historical data to understand how all of the different rail infrastructure assets and dynamics affect each other,” said Smith.

Loram’s own rail grinding and friction management equipment can be deployed to areas of track where defects have been found by rail inspection vehicles. When ballast maintenance is identified as an issue, Loram has an entire fleet of ballast maintenance equipment and geotechnical services that are designed to manage track drainage and quality, or material handling solutions that can pinpoint where extra ballast is needed.

Sleeper maintenance is another area where inspection technology can be used to determine the quality of individual sleepers and components, with the data management to deliver customised reports to the required specification.

“We have this broad range of track data and knowledge from seeing just about any track issue that allows us to help our customers precisely plan, prioritise, and execute track inspection and maintenance on their networks,” said Smith.

Combining service and production for customer satisfaction

Loram is expanding its innovative solutions in track and below rail maintenance in Australia.

In late 2019, global railway maintenance equipment and services provider Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. significantly grew its contract services operations in the Australian railway industry with its purchase of Aurizon’s rail grinding business and its fleet of Loram rail grinders.

Although Loram and its advanced equipment has serviced Australian railways for over 50 years, its increased scale is enabling its Australian-led operations
to draw on its global range of track maintenance solutions, Tom Smith, director business development, told Rail Express.

Loram has a 122 year history and what it’s rail maintenance service division is best known for is rail grinding but we have a portfolio of other products. Now that we’ve made this acquisition and with our base here, we are now in the process of introducing our other products that have had a lot of success in North America and other parts of the world to Australia.”

Having cemented itself as a market leader in North America, and with global expansion underway in its establishment of a UK-based subsidiary, and now Brisbane headquarters for Australasia and sub-Saharan Africa, Loram is taking its reputation for dependable and productive rail grinding service and combining that with product innovation.

Loram has experienced significant growth over the years, attributable to keeping a customer focus. Loram wants the railways to be successful using Loram services and equipment – our customers have come to trust Loram. When we finish our grinding, they know the rail is going to be improved and they receive useful reports that show the results and improvement of the rail,” said Smith.

“We are constantly in communication with our customers. They often come to us with a problem and Loram is here to develop solutions. New developments are almost always driven by our customers and the needs that they have.”

One example of where Loram has worked to provide a unique solution is with its Railvac excavator. Already in use across North America, Brazil and Europe, the excavation machine combines a powerful articulated arm to breakup compacted material with extremely strong vacuum pumps to remove ballast, clay, mud, water, sand, and soil. The machines have proven their value to railway infrastructure owners and network operators.

“The first Railvac we came up with went to work on a demo. It was supposed to be there 30 days and never left, it’s still on that same railway after nearly 20 years,” said Smith.

What distinguishes the operation of the Railvac is its versatility to work in places that traditional excavation equipment cannot, or has difficulty to complete in available track time. The machine can be used in applications varying from full section undercutting mainline mud spots, to removing all material in the ballast section right to the deck of bridges and tunnels, in yard clean-ups, along platforms, or around other obstacles and reconstruction.

“The Railvac is being used quite a bit in iron ore clean up at the ports and coal clean up at some power plants. It’s an excavating tool that finds limitless uses around a rail network,” said Smith. “Track windows keep shrinking for maintenance, if you don’t have the four to eight hours to go out and fully undercut a section or turnout you can perform work for just half an hour or the time available, clear to let trains run, return and get through the section or turnout in stages rather than all in one go.”

Initially, Railvac was developed for a specific, customer-driven requirement, said Smith.

“The Railvac was first thought up because there was a need to remove the ballast without cutting through the cables buried underneath the track. Trying to do that with traditional equipment, even manually with a shovel, you’re going to tear up your cables. That was the first application and is still being used for that same purpose.”

Other areas where the Railvac has been put to use is removing spillage in grain yards and to clean up areas around car dumpers. What ties these uses together with its other applications is the ability for the Railvac to get into areas that would be otherwise inaccessible.

“It works in places that’ve never been able to be maintained with traditional equipment – along a platform, on a bridge deck – and rather than tear out the panels and scoop up the fouled material, very much disrupting the track, the work can be done in small chunks with the Railvac sucking up everything right down to the floor of a tunnel, or the deck of a bridge,” said Smith.

In one project, on an iron ore railway in Brazil, the excavator was used to fully clean out a tunnel that was otherwise inaccessible to traditional equipment.

“They had tunnels where there were significant speed restrictions due to little maintenance over 40-years, no drainage, just a bunch of broken-up ballast, mud and iron ore dust,” said Smith. “With lengthy tunnels, the excavation averaged about 25 cubic metres an hour. It took some time with the limited track windows, but at the end of the job there was water rushing out of the tunnels that had been dammed up inside.

“The track structure has been engineered to provide stability. Internally there was the understanding there was a serious mud problem, but they had no idea there was that much water dammed up. When you think of the heavier loads being hauled, similar to here in Australia, when the track shows signs of movement, track slip potential shows the importance of drainage. The study proved the advantages of using the Railvac as it provided the most efficient and effective solution as compared to the alternative options. Most important, now that the tunnel is properly draining and the track is performing as designed, the speed restrictions have been removed,” said Smith.

Currently, Loram is in the process of upgrading and modifying one of its existing Railvac designs for operations in Australia.

With 50-years’ experience in rail grinding, the rail-wheel interaction for extending rail life is well known to Loram. Optimising the rail life is also influenced with friction management.

Again, listening to customers’ needs, ten- years ago Loram acquired a small company specialising in friction management and has grown that to become a major supplier to the industry. Today, Loram is able to offer the next generation of friction management systems to Australia.

For decades, gauge face lubricators (Greasers) have been used to lubricate the gauge corner of rails in order to help the wheels roll through a curve, thus reducing gauge-face wear and extending rail life, as Smith explains. Noise reduction is also important through metropolitan areas, a calculated combination of top-of-rail friction modification and gauge-face lubrication can assist in this.

Not stopping there, in addition to the traditional gauge-face lubrication, Loram helped spearhead heavy-haul railroads’ system centric implementation of top- of-rail friction modification program as a solution to reduce fuel usage and reduce rail wear. Smith, who himself has a 40-year history within Loram – starting in the rail grinding operations department – and speaks with railways around the world, understands how valuable saving fuel can be.

“Fuel is often one of the biggest operating expenses a railway has these days and it is easily quantifiable with Australian heavy haul traffic.”

“The top-of- rail (TOR) friction management is really where a big cost savings for railways can be realised. Unlike grease, the TOR friction modifier are specially designed such that when applied in very small amounts, the modifier is carried by the train wheels for up to seven kilometres. Loram’s TOR modifiers do not affect tractive effort or braking conditions of a train. The traffic and track conditions are analysed and the modifier is strategically applied in very small amounts, maybe every third or even sixth wheel.

“The fuel savings are tremendous.”

In tests conducted by Loram’s customers, savings of seven per cent on fuel have been observed when using Loram’s top-of-rail friction modifiers.

Already, thousands of units have been installed or converted to use Loram’s modifier and greases across North America in the 10 years since Loram has started selling this range of products.

The friction management range comprises three types of top of rail friction modifiers and two types of greases. Friction modifiers consist of a water-based, synthetic, and hybrid modifier and two heavy-haul greases where one has an ECO certification. These are then applied with Loram’s range of application systems and backed up by Loram’s service offering.

Smith highlighted the experience and knowledge that the Loram’s team has in servicing and maintaining any type of brand of lubricators. Proper maintenance and unit up-time is key to maximising investment. The team understands that it’s not just about equipment, consumables and parts, it’s the unique combination of all three categories coupled with field maintenance that provides the winning ROI to its customers. There are many companies that claim to understand this, but Loram live this day in and day out. Each customer has unique operating parameters and as such friction management is not a ‘one size fits all’ application.

With decades of experience in the production of friction management systems, all the way from research and development, through manufacturing, installation, field service and maintenance to analysis, Loram expects to continue to innovate in this field, both in response to the emerging needs of its customers globally and locally in Australia.

Aurizon’s revenue rises to $1.53bn

Aurizon Holdings Limited revenue has increased by $73.4 million or five per cent in the 2019/20 first-half earnings before interest and tax.

Australia’s largest rail-based transport business has released a half year report for the period ending 31 December 2019, detailing new growth in the company.

Aurizon stated in the report that the higher revenue is offset by the sale of the rail grinding business.

A spokeswoman from Aurizon said the large sale transaction for the rail grinding business was completed with Loram in October 2019 for $167m with $105m net gain on sale (not included in underlying earnings).

With revenue up five per cent to a total of $1.53 billion, the company’s underlying net profit rose 19 per cent to $268.9m.

The group credited the UT5 Undertaking as a factor that improved revenue. In December last year, Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) approved the agreement that governs access to its rail network. 

Aurizon executives stated that the company’s financial position and performance was partially affected by the closure and sale of Acacia Ridge Intermodal Terminal. 

Two years ago the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) opposed the sale of Acacia Ridge Intermodal Terminal and commenced proceedings against Aurizon and Pacific National in the Federal Court. Aurizon and the proposed new owner of the terminal, Pacific National, both filed notices of cross-appeal that will be heard by the full Federal Court later in February. 

Aurizon executives highlighted its full-year earning guidance to $930 million from $880 million. This figure was noted before assumed impacts from the Australian bushfires and the world health emergency, coronavirus.

The coronavirus has delayed the arrival of 66 rail wagons being made in the epicentre of the disease, Wuhan in China. 

A spokeswoman from Aurizon said an initial order of 66 wagons have already been delivered and the remaining 66 wagons are planned for delivery in February or March.

The first batch of 132 coal wagons have been completed by our supplier. The construction of the second tranche of 132 wagons has been delayed due to a slow down of production in China,” the spokeswoman said.

Operating costs increased $13.9m or 2 per cent, which were identified as due to to increased labour costs.

Aurizon’s network operates the 2,670km CQCN, the largest coal rail network in Australia. 

Aurizon executives stated in the 2019/20 half year report that 58 per cent of the company’s revenue, a total of $887.5m, was from transporting coal from mines in Queensland and NSW to customer ports.

Operational performance across the network  “remained strong” during the first half of the new financial year, according to Aurizon.

Total system availability improved from 81 per cent to 82.2 per cent, and cycle velocity improved 4 per cent.

Aurizon’s executives said the focus has been on the trial and implementation of schedule adherence in the Blackwater system in QLD.

Compared to the previous half, the network delivered an average reduction in turnaround time of 1.2 hours per service and both on-time arrival to mine and to port increased.

Aurizon’s executives said the network is now working with operators to improve the current scheduling process by realigning maintenance constraints to unlock capacity and optimising the weekly Intermediate Train Plan to avoid pathing contests between operators. The report stated that system throughput is expected to increase, in the third quarter of this year.

Complete shutdown for major maintenance on Hunter rail network

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will commence a three-day shutdown to conduct over 120 maintenance works from Tuesday 11 February.

Maintenance shutdown will affect the Hunter Valley Network on the rail network from the port of Newcastle through to Narrabri and out to Ulan.

Majority of the works will be on the coal lines between Kooragang and Maitland as well as the main lines from Muswellbrook to Ulan, Narrabri and Maitland.

The maintenance will include removing and replacing almost 14 kilometres of rail, upgrading approximately 1.5 kilometres of track subgrade across six sites, continue ongoing signal upgrade work between Islington and Sandgate, routine maintenance and defect removal, and various other major upgrades.

A new 120 stone Loram grinder will be introduced to the Hunter Valley to improve rail grinding performance.

Wayne Johnson ARTC group executive Hunter Valley said the work requires a total shutdown of the rail network.

“As days of extreme heat can have an impact on the track, such as causing signal faults, circuit breaks or track buckling due to intense heat conditions, we need to carry out this work to ensure the track remains safe, particularly in recent extreme weather conditions,” Johnson said.

“We continue to also carry out spot maintenance as required, to ensure the safety and reliability of the track and limit ‘hot works’ on these days, such as welding or rail grinding to reduce risk.

“We remind residents to remain vigilant as there may be more vehicle movements in and out of work sites in residential areas around the work sites.” 

1,200 workers will assist the three-day maintenance shutdown.

The work is set to start at 6.30am on Tuesday, February 11 and is expected to be completed early in the morning on Friday, February 14.

Overnight outages will impact the passenger network from Islington to Maitland and alternative bus services by Transport for NSW will be in place.

The next major maintenance shutdown is scheduled from 1 to 3 April. 

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: www.ausrail.com

*subject to final confirmation

?Transformer? to hit the tracks

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> One of the most up-to-date track maintenance machines in Australia, dubbed, “The Transformer‟ by Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) staff, will soon be hitting the tracks between Melbourne and Sydney. </span> <p>The $10 million dollar, state-of-the-art, LORAM Shoulder Ballast Cleaner is currently in testing in South Australia after safe delivery from the United States last month.</p><p>Almost 100 metre-long, the shoulder ballast cleaner is expected to be in operation along the Melbourne to Sydney rail corridor in late August following completion of the testing and commissioning process.</p><p>“This new piece of machinery illustrates ARTC’s long-term commitment to ensuring the track condition between Melbourne and Sydney is at a high quality standard,” ARTC CEO John Fullerton said.</p><p>“Current testing of the 240 tonne machine in the Adelaide Hills has been promising with production rates of 1.7km per hour, improving drainage by helping remove mud-holes and returning high quality ballast onto the track.”</p><p>This production rate means more than 1400 tonnes of freshly cleaned ballast is being returned to the track each hour.</p><p>The Loram HP Shoulder Ballast Cleaner is a self-powered machine that uses twin 660mm-wide digging buckets to clean ballast from the sleeper ends outward to the edge of the ballast section, digging as deep as 400mm below the top of sleeper. Scarifier teeth undercut the sleeper ends to 125mm, breaking up mud pockets and restoring drainage.</p><p>’The Transformer’ is seen as playing a key role in ARTC’s ongoing $134 million Ballast Rehabilitation Program on the Melbourne to Sydney corridor.</p><p>“While temporary speed restrictions remain in place on some sections of the line between Melbourne and Sydney, we have been able to reduce a significant number of speed restrictions across the entire corridor with the works completed so far. The new shoulder ballast cleaner will help us continue these improvements,” Mr Fullerton said.</p><p>“We’d like to thank the North East Victorian community for their ongoing patience while these important works are being undertaken and particularly those customers that have had passenger train journeys replaced by coach as a result of recent works.</p><p>“The new shoulder ballast cleaner is a symbol of the continued investment ARTC is making in areas that will improve performance, reliability and transit times for our customers,” he said.</p>

Largest track maintenance machine in the southern hemisphere unveiled

The US-built and Australian-assembled machine, the largest in the southern hemisphere, will commence work on the Goonyella coal network in late April.
QR Services executive general manager, Lindsay Cooper said the new machine would cut rail grinding maintenance time by up to 75 per cent, which allowed more freight and coal trains to use the network.
QR is Australias largest rail infrastructure business, we have a network of more than 10,000km of rail and the responsibility and capability to maintain it, Cooper said.
As well as maintaining the track we own and operate in Queensland, we are also providing similar services in other areas of the country.
We were recently successful in securing a $100 million, eight year contract to provide rail grinding for 3,000km of track throughout four mainland states, as well an additional contract for similar work in Western Australia.
The purchase of this machine shows our confidence in the future of coal and freight hauling in Queensland we want to provide an efficient, safe and well maintained network for all of our customers.
Rail grinding repairs the wear and tear on train tracks caused by trains carrying heavy loads over extended periods of time. By effectively shaving the top of the train tracks to restore them to their original shape, the track lasts longer and locomotives and wagons running on the tracks use less fuel and have reduced wheel wear. This results in large cost savings on maintenance and provides a safer and more economical railway, according to QR.
Everything about the Loram machine is big: the machine has 5 x 1000hp engines delivering a combined 5000hp of power (a family sedan has about 230hp), it has 80 x 30hp grind motors providing 2400hp of power to rectify and maintain the rail and it carries up to 90,000L of water for fire suppression and 48,000L of diesel to keep the machine running.
Onboard lasers and computer systems measure the track in real time, effectively allowing the minimum amount of metal to be removed from the top of the track to restore it to back to original condition.
Because the machine produces sparks, it has sophisticated fire suppression equipment, including three tiered spark containment shields and foam injected water to pre-wet the track.
Large extraction fans produce 15,000 cubic feet per minute of suction to capture all the waste metal and sparks in large hoppers on board the machine.
The machine also has a fully self-contained fire fighting operation including remote controlled fire cannons, hoses, a series of different water spray systems and fire fighting support vehicles.

Pallas to open VTA annual conference

<p>Victorian roads and ports minister Tim Pallas will address the Victorian Transport Association’s two-day annual conference starting on July 17.</p> <p>"Minister Pallas will address a number of pressing issues, including congestion, CBD clearways, freight strategy and infrastructure developments, including the Eddington East-West Study," VTA chairman Brian Lovel said today. </p> <p>The conference &#8211 which will be held at The Country Place, Kalorama, 50 minutes’ drive north east of Melbourne &#8211 will be open to all industry participants.</p> <br />