New date for AusRAIL PLUS

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

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

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

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


New opportunities at expanded AusRAIL Live & on Demand

AusRAIL’s move online provides new, unique opportunities to hear from some of the top rail industry executives from across the globe, streamed direct to any home or office.

The organising committee have established an impressive line-up of international presenters for the event, including Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild, who is currently overseeing Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

With trial running on the project’s Elizabeth line expected to start next year, this is a good time to hear about the complexity of this major rail project, and the plans to bring the line into passenger service by 2022.

LA Metro chief innovation officer Joshua Schank will join us to talk about innovation and experimental program and policy, providing a new perspective on ways to move the industry forward.

Schank’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation is leading a range of projects that aim to provide faster, better options for passengers as part of a more responsive service that supports the creation of vibrant communities.

The presentation is expected to provide new insights into how the rail industry can continue to play an essential role in supporting our economies and communities for years to come.

Conference attendees will also hear from Grand Paris Express project director Nicholas Massart, who will tell us how that project is transforming Paris into a more sustainable city.

This front row seat to presentations on the projects that are shaping the future of the industry globally is an unmatched professional development opportunity.

There are also plenty of ideas, insights and lessons from 2020 that that are creating new opportunities for the industry right here in Australia and New Zealand.

Project updates on Inland Rail, Cross River Rail and more will be featured across the expanded three-day program.

We have also established a range of interactive panels featuring executives working in Australian and New Zealand rail organisations, so delegates can hear about the issues, concerns and opportunities that are preoccupying the minds of the industry’s leaders.

AusRAIL Live & On Demand will also provide more opportunities to hear from the operators, contractors, manufacturers and suppliers that are shaping the rail industry.

In total, 14 new streams have been added to allow delegates to tailor their conference experience and access more content than ever before.

New streams for contractors, suppliers, freight, and port operators and more will be complemented by dedicated streams on the critically important issues of technology, sustainability, and accessibility.

Perhaps most importantly, the live and on demand format of this year’s event means delegates will have up to six months to catch up on content and make the most of the many and varied streams on offer.

This will be a huge advantage for delegates, who can go back and reference presentations or specialist streams as they start new projects and initiatives in the new year, providing a rare professional development opportunity.

With delegates given early access to the platform, you can start your industry networking a full month before AusRAIL actually gets underway.

The ARA looks forward to seeing the rail industry come together again at AusRAIL Live & On Demand. To register, go to

supply chain

Supply chain vision in the Decade For Action

ASCI2021 promises to demonstrate how the Australian supply chain and others around the globe have weathered COVID-19 and provide insights to their future resilience.

If any images comes to define the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it may be the sight of normally well-stocked supermarket shelves emptied of consumer goods from pasta and flour, to toilet paper and hand sanitiser.

While panic buying was an irrational response to the nature of the COVID-19 threat – there was no chance of Australia running out of many of these items – what the rush on supermarkets and other stores did demonstrate was the finely calibrated nature of Australia’s supply chains. To meet the needs of consumers for fresh goods at any time of the year and to avoid overwhelming storage spaces, Australia’s supply chain managers have been working to ensure that products are ready just in time, and ready to be plucked from the shelves at a customer’s whim.

The massive increase in demand due to panic buying brought to light the fragility of this system. In addition, as international flights were grounded, Australia’s ability to export its world-renowned fresh produce was immediately curtailed.

What this did was bring the role of the supply chain manager, and the people who enable the links in the chain to connect, out of the back-office and into the public spotlight. Monique Fenech, head of sales and marketing at the Australasian Supply Chain Institute (ASCI), has seen this firsthand.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has really brought supply chain management to the forefront of people’s minds. We’re starting to talk about supply chain as an essential service, which has never been the case before.”

In a way by virtue of its success, the complexity of Australia’s supply chain has not often been on view to customers, however the critical role of the professionals in this field has never been more in demand as trade routes recalibrate and new markets are being identified.

“Supply chain management rolls off people’s tongues, they’re all talking about it from a consumer standpoint. But even more impact has been made within organisations because supply chain managers have been brought into the boardroom to fix this problem, look at these outages, look at these delays, look at these increased prices. Executive are asking, ‘We don’t have access to our air freight like we used to, what are we going to do?’ So that’s really changed the internal profile of supply chain management within the organisation,” said Fenech.

While the scale and magnitude of the current crisis may be beyond what was planned for at the beginning of 2020, Fenech counters that dealing with these kinds of issues, whether they be due to a pandemic or other cause, is actually the bread and butter of the profession.

“This situation is business as usual for our supply chain managers; they deal with risk on a day-to-day basis. A good example of that is where perhaps they might have a dual sourcing strategy in place already because for some, not all, supply chains that would be considered best practice, so they would already have set in place some business continuity strategies,” Fenech said.

The next step will be for companies to reset their risk management plans and contingency procedures to account for the ongoing restrictions and the likelihood of another pandemic happening again. This reality calls for supply chains to not simply return to a pre-COVID-19 status, but rather learn from the experience of the pandemic and bounce back more resilient than ever.

“As opposed to going back to the way things were, it’s about bringing all of the political, economic, geographic, and social impacts that affect our supply chains into the mix using really smart technologies such as artificial intelligence to give us a better idea of where our supply chains are vulnerable and how we can improve them in the new decade,” said Fenech.

This next decade will be the focus of the ASCI’s conference, ASCI2021, to be held on the 23rd and 24th of February at the William Inglis Hotel in Sydney. The conference’s theme is “Supply Chain Vision In The Decade For Action”, adapting the United Nation’s priority of the same name for the supply chain industry. Janet Salem, economic affairs officer, circular economy at the United Nations will deliver an international keynote highlighting the theme’s application for supply chain managers.

One area that Fenech sees as improving based on the experience during COVID-19 is the connection and collaboration between suppliers, something that the conference will highlight.

“Deepening the collaboration that we have with our suppliers is only going to make the supply chain more efficient and also more robust. Once that trust is there and the collaboration is there, the visibility inevitably becomes greater, and that is the end goal for a supply chain manager – to have complete visibility across the end-to-end supply chain and sometimes it takes something like a catastrophe to bring you closer to your supplier.”

For the past 60 years, ASCI has been working with the supply chain management industry to grow the career profile of supply chain management.

“Back in the early days, inventory management was a new career and we travelled to the US to find some global standards that we could use in Australia. We’re applying that same technique now to global end to end supply chain standards and in order to do that we’re looking at global compliance and global regulation and bringing that down to the level that we need to communicate to members,” said Fenech.

In Australia, ASCI provides best practice knowledge to build the standards of supply chain management.

“We call that our Professional Accreditation Scheme. Just like lawyers, engineers, and accountants, they have professional accreditation bodies that they belong to and they are registered within a professional accreditation scheme as well. That proves that they can practice within that field and they’ve proven their knowledge in that field,” said Fenech.

“We’ve never had anything like this in supply chain management in Australia so now is really good time to address it, considering the complexities of the end- to-end supply chain have been made so apparent through COVID-19.”

To assist its members in adapting to the disruptions of COVID-19, ASCI is conducting research and benchmarking global best practice so that Australian supply chains can come out of the pandemic more resilient that ever.

“Currently, ASCI is working with the University of Melbourne on a risk survey, to see how we’ve been redefining risk and that will be a really important part of our conference on day two where we will be presenting those findings for the first time and giving our supply chain managers who are delegates at that conference a first look in as to what they need to be doing to reset their business continuity plans.”

While discussions were held at the beginning of the pandemic to understand whether the conference’s theme should change to focus directly on the events of the past six months, the advisory board ultimately decided that the theme of “Supply Chain Vision In The Decade For Action” encompassed the ongoing challenges that supply chains would face into the future.

“If companies don’t change the way they do things and put their supply chains front and centre of their operational efficiency, then they’re just not going to survive in the new era,” said Fenech.

Over the two days of the conference, ASCI has assembled a panel of local and international supply chain leaders, who will share their insights from a range of sectors. These include the medical, industrial, defence, and fast-moving consumer goods sectors, as well as the transport and logistics sector.

On February 25, delegates will be able to tour the under-construction Western Sydney Airport site, the core of the future Aerotropolis and new logistics hub for Western Sydney. Attendees can participate in a panel discussion with local councils, moderated by Amanda Brisot, general manager Western Sydney Business Connection.

With multiple streams on each day, Fenech highlights that it is worth businesses bringing multiple attendees.

“Supply chain managers should think about bringing a few members of their team because there are certainly different experiences that each of their team members could have throughout the two-day conference. Team- members can come together afterwards to share key learnings across those functions.”

Streams on day one will cover procurement, operations management, and logistics management, while on day two streams encompass systems and technology, supply chain management, and the future supply chain management workforce.

“There are some great stories in there from Metcash, for example, about how COVID-19 brought about some great opportunity for them to work with Woolworths and Coles,” said Fenech.

ASCI2021 will also host the 28th ASCI awards’ dinner, and with so much upheaval during the past year, Fenech expects some engaging stories to come out of the awards. “It will be one of the best because we want to see where excellence exists, where excellence has been demonstrated through these really tough times, and often it’s during tough times that innovation really does
push through.”

For more information, to book tickets, and view the full program go to:

ASCI offers discounted registration to ASCI2021

With coronavirus (COVID-19) representing one of the largest disruptions to supply chains the world has faced since the era of globalisation, taking an informed view to the future of local and international trade will be key for the decades ahead.

The Australasian Supply Chain Institute (ASCI) is focusing its 2021 conference and awards on these long term challenges, under the theme of the United Nations’ Decade for Action.

Taking stock of the task that supply chain organisations and managers have faced since the beginning of 2020, the conference, to be held on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 February at the William Inglis Hotel in Sydney, will take a look back at a tumultuous 2020, and see what challenges lie ahead.

With international trade already beginning to rebound, especially for countries trading with China and other East Asian countries, being ahead of the trends in the sector will be key. Furthermore, the re-routing of international supply chains has seen rail take on an expanded role, with continental rail services competing with shipping and air cargo.

At the same time, the ongoing challenges of climate change, resilience, and building a circular economy, will continue to have an impact on the way that goods are exchanged across Australia and New Zealand and around the world.

Until July 31, ASCI is offering a discount on standard registration, with a saving of up to $400. This covers access to the conference and its speakers’ depth of expertise, as well as networking opportunities. At the conference, ASCI will also present the industry awards for supply chain excellence at a gala dinner.

There is also the opportunity to get an insight into the smart supply chians of the future, with a tour and a moderated panel discussion focusing on the opportunities that Western Sydney Airport will bring to the Sydney Basin and wider region. This will be held on February 25.

For more information and to book tickets click here:

Year in Infrastructure

Year in Infrastructure conference goes digital

Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure 2020 conference will be held digitally in October.

The move to digital will allow for greater global participation in the annual infrastructure conference.

The program includes the live judging of Year In Infrastructure 2020 awards and the final ceremony, as well as talks and workshops.

Confirmed sessions include Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems in conversation with top-tier infrastructure executives on how they are meeting resilience challenges through digital advancement.

Keith Bentley, founder and chief technology officer, will discuss examples of deployed digital twins with those who have successfully adopted the technology.

Six sector-specific sessions will be held on October 20, with one specifically focused on the implications of digital twins for the rail and transit sector. These will involve interactive panel discussions with industry and business leaders.

Finally, the latest advances in Bentley Systems applications and cloud services will be on display with interactive demonstrations of the technology in the field.

The Year in Infrastructure conference is hosted by Bentley Systems, a software provider of design, construction, and operations solutions for infrastructure.

Get on board with RISSB’s bold new rail safety conference program

Australia’s premier safety conference for the rail industry, RISSB’s Rail Safety Conference, returns to Sydney at the end of March with a bold new program and even greater opportunities to learn from the best.

The 2020 event promises greater interactivity, more topics that are timely and relevant, and sessions that will provide a completely new perspective on how the industry operates. With so much to choose from now’s the time to get on board.

From panel discussions to networking, plenary presentations to technical streams, the new and improved format truly has something for everyone.

New in 2020

  • A 2-day supercharged program featuring more than 40 Australian and international speakers
  • Concurrent technical streams on the afternoon of Day 1 focused on issues that matter most to today’s rail transport operators – track worker safety, data and information, rail level crossings, system safety assurance, contractor management and sharing investigations
  • Safety leaders panel
  • A night at the museum (Australian National Maritime Museum) conference dinner
  • A choice of site tours.

Two keynote speakers (one internationally recognised) join an already impressive speaker line-up of industry leaders who are ready to challenge conventional thinking and deliver actionable insights during two jam-packed days.

RISSB’s stellar speaker line-up includes:

  • Sue McCarrey, Chief Executive, ONRSR
  • Carolyn Walsh, Chair, National Transport Commission and Chief Commission ATSB.
  • Sandra Wilson-Ryke, SQE Director, Keolis Downer
  • Tilo Franz, General Manager, Operations & Maintenance, CMET
  • Kieran MacKenzie, CEO, Presien and Innovation Engineer, Laing O’Rourke
  • Scott Cornish, Executive General Manager, Safety, Risk and Assurance, Queensland Rail
  • John Langron, Rail Safety Manager, Sydney Metro
  • Rachel Wood, Lead Investigator – Rail Safety, Transdev Auckland
  • Associate professor Anjum Naweed, CQU University
  • Simon Vaux, Director, Digital Engineering, Transport for NSW
  • Stewart Haycock, Project Manager, Operations Services, Australian Rail Track Corporation
  • Tim Proctor, Senior Consultant, Indec Consulting
  • David McMah, General Manager Train Service Delivery, Queensland Rail
  • Daniel Upton, Manager Continuous Improvement Zero Harm, Metro Trains Melbourne
  • Neil Robinson, Consultant and Director, RGB Assurance
  • Bill Palazzi, Director, Palazzirail
  • Guy Widdowson, Compliance and Investigations Manager Safer Rail, New Zealand Rail Safety Regulator, Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency
  • Jamie Dean, Assurance & Improvement Manager Country Regional Network, John Holland
  • Paul Nheu, Systems Assurance Manager, Digital Systems Program, Transport for NSW
  • Celeste Young, Research Fellow, Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University
  • Lindsay Holt, Rail Safety & Compliance Manager, Laing O’Rourke
  • Nafiseh Esmaeeli, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Craig Dance, General Manager – Safety Risk and Assurance, V/Line
  • Russell McMullan, General Manager – CRL Assurance and Integration, City Rail Link Project NZ
  • Sudha Niles, G&R Lead – Compliance and HSE, Arc Infrastructure.

The Rail Safety Conference will be held at Aerial UTS Function Centre in Ultimo on March 31 and April 1, 2020.  For more information or to register to attend the conference, go to

Light Rail 2020 agenda to engage with current project pipeline

With one week left until Light Rail 2020, the conference agenda and proceedings are firming up, with light rail projects around the country passing milestones and announcing major components of their delivery.

Newcastle Light Rail recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, after carrying its one millionth passenger in December, 2019. In Sydney, the CBD to Randwick line carried two million passengers in just two months, with the spur to Kensington expected to open in March.

In the ACT, the government has announced that trams will travel along wire free tracks to preserve heritage vistas, and will travel over grassed sections, further committing the project to sustainable outcomes, having already sourced its power from renewable energy.

In Melbourne, an upgraded tram terminus opened to serve the city’s expanding fleet of new vehicles.

With these announcements occurring in the lead up to Light Rail 2020, the conference will be the forum for the discussion of the variety of operational approaches, and the appetite for Australian governments and transit authorities to continue to invest in the transport mode.

Confirmed sessions include seminars on data, integration, and customer service; safety and accessibility; corridor design to reduce collisions; on-board energy storage; and updates on key projects.

As these projects move into operational stages, the next generation of rail professionals will be needed to ensure their longevity, and young rail professionals under 35 receive a 50 per cent discount on registration.

Key sessions are:

  • Data, integration and customer service;
  • Modernising safety; operational excellence and accessibility: Adapting to melbourne’s growing needs;
  • Global safety developments and innovation in light rail;
  • Tram corridor design, configuration and strategies to minimise tram collisions;
  • Sustainable innovation in power and automation: On-board energy storage systems (OESS) in light rail;
  • Light rail and rejuvenation industry panel;
  • Parramatta Light Rail: The contract model and key learnings to date;
  • Sydney Light Rail;
  • Successfully delivering technology to the Sydney Light Rail project;
  • Canberra spotlight;
  • Canberra’s light rail network: Lessons learnt, stage 2 and beyond; and
  • Benefits of early collaboration and system integration.

To register, click here.

ARA Light Rail agenda revealed

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has announced the agenda for the Light Rail 2020 Conference, to be held in Canberra on March 4 and 5.

Under the theme “Light Rail: Building Better Connections for a Smart and Sustainable Future”, talks and panels will range from updates on the latest light rail projects, to technical discussions, and forums on the future of the transport mode, the Canberra conference is situated amid the expansion of light rail systems across Australia.

Opening the conference will be Caroline Wilkie, the new CEO of the ARA, ahead of a focus on light rail developments in the nation’s capital. These sessions will be followed by a presentation from Glenn Bentley, chief executive officer of ALTRAC, the consortium which delivered the Sydney Light Rail, and includes Alstom, Transdev, Acciona Infrastructure Australia and Capella Capital. Updates on light rail on the Gold Coast and in Parramatta will also be delivered.

Light Rail 2020 will also showcase the latest in light rail systems and technology. Sessions in this area will cover safety developments, tram corridor design, and performance regimes.

As governments turn to light rail as a cost-effective solution to reducing car use and congestion, Light Rail 2020 will look at where the future of the transport mode is headed. Sessions on onboard energy storage systems, the use of data, and new cooling technologies, will point towards where the sector is heading, while Andrea Bastianelli, light rail product line manager at Thales will share insights from upgrading light rail signalling in an operating environment.

To gain a full insight into a current light rail project, there will be a site visit to the Canberra Metro Operations depot.

In between sessions there will be the opportunity to network with industry leaders, and the Conference dinner at the end of day one will be held at the National Portrait Gallery.

Packages are available now, with discounts for ARA members and young rail professionals.

Confirmed speakers are:

  • Caroline Wilkie, CEO, Australasian Railway Association (ARA)
  • Glenn Bentley, CEO, ALTRAC;
  • Julien Dehornoy, CEO, Yarra Trams;
  • Chris Steel MLA, Minister for Transport, Minister for City Services, Minister for Roads and Active Travel, Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction, Minister for Multicultural Affairs;
  • Duncan Edghill, chief projects officer, Major Projects Canberra;
  • Brian Brennan, chief officer, Light Rail Operations, Transdev Australasia;
  • Tilo Franz, general manager, Operations & Maintenance, CMET;
  • Michelle Batsas, executive director, International Association of Public Transport (UITP);
  • Anand Thomas, program director, Parramatta Light Rail, Transport for NSW;
  • Michelle Blicavs, CEO, Consulting Surveyors National;
  • Jean-Francois Blanc, solution director, Tramway Systems, Alstom;
  • Dr Ali Parvizi, national marketing & sales, Traction, ABB Australia;
  • Becky Wood, global service leader, Rail & Mass Transit, Aurecon;
  • Steve Dudley, technical director, Aurecon;
  • Mike Ford, senior track & civil design engineer, Jacobs;
  • Anna Loughnan, graduate civil engineer, Jacobs;
  • Michael Charlesworth, HSEQ manager, Speno Rail Maintenance Australia;
  • Ash Athukoralalage, wheel/rail interface engineer, Speno Rail Maintenance Australia;
  • Paul Fergusson, team lead project management services (Newcastle), SNC-Lavalin Atkins;
  • Kenneth Ooi, senior consultant, SNC-Lavalin Atkins; and
  • Scott Ney, section executive, Transport Advisory and Planning, WSP.