RISSB releases take-up survey results

Annual survey shows over 90 per cent of the rail industry is making use of RISSB products and services.

RISSB released its take-up survey results in July showing that more than 90 per cent of respondents use RISSB publications.

Comprising an online survey and face-to- face interviews, this independent survey was undertaken between May and July 2020.

A total of 44 rail organisations (including 19 companies/organisations who are currently not RISSB members) completed an online survey and eight one-on-one interviews were held with senior executives from the rail industry.

The results also show that In broad terms, RISSB’s external stakeholders believe that RISSB has improved in the past 12 months, that its credibility has continued to increase, and that RISSB publications are extremely influential in the rail industry with more than 93 per cent of survey respondents stating that their organisation has been influenced in some way by a RISSB publication.

For the first time ever, the survey also asked respondents to not only comment on the use of RISSB publications in their organisation, but also consider the use of RISSB services (conferences, forums, programs and events) by employees. All organisations surveyed indicated that their organisation utilised RISSB services and more than 90 per cent of respondents indicated that RISSB services influence their company or organisation’s internal documents, systems, practices or procedures.


  • There is an extremely high level of take-up of RISSB products in the rail industry with over 90 per cent indicating they use RISSB products in some way.
  • There is a growing trend in government procurement processes for RISSB standards to be used by the successful bidder.
  • The Australian National Rules and Procedures and the National Rules Framework are two of RISSB’s more valuable and influential publications.
  • 100 per cent of those surveyed indicated their companies/organisations utilise RISSB services.
  • The stand-out service provided by RISSB is its safety conference and it is an important industry learning and networking event.
  • Over 93 per cent of industry is aware of RISSB’s training programs and they are well used across industry with around 80 per cent of organisations surveyed indicating they had attended a RISSB training program.
  • The specialist forums offered by RISSB are well regarded with over 100 per cent awareness and 95 per cent responding that the forums benefitted their organisation.
  • The Horizons Program is actively promoting the next generation of rail industry leaders and has a wide of level of support within the industry.
  • RISSB’s The Whistle Board weekly newsletter is widely read within the industry and is easy to read.

A survey summary report is available to download from RISSB’s website: www.rissb.com.au/publications/.

RISSB releases its 2020/2021 work plan

RISSB’s projects in the next year expand the organisation’s role.

The Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) has released its 2020/2021 industry-driven work plan, which includes close to 30 publications and 16 major projects that will be delivered over a two-year horizon.

This work plan is a result of RISSB’s overhauled project planning process and heralds a new era for RISSB. In addition to delivering standards, guidelines, codes of practice and rules, RISSB now has a new major projects portfolio set up to address industry- wide issues focusing on business imperatives. This holistic approach demonstrates that RISSB is future-focused and is equipped to address industry’s current and future challenges, now.

Input from stakeholders directly informs the development of our priorities and the vital publications that we make available to industry. The work plan was developed after significant consultation with CEOs, other senior industry executives, and RISSB’s standing committees helped us determine the priorities that will create a safer and more productive industry.

Throughout the year, RISSB will be managing the development of a total of 29 publications comprising reviews, resubmissions from the previous year’s priority planning process (PPP), AS 1085 series of documents still transitioning from Standards Australia, and projects put forward and endorsed by Standing Committees.

A list of our Australian Code of Practice (ACOP) projects is available in the table below.

Type Title
Guideline Achieving compliance at railway station platforms with DSAPT
Under consideration Firmware, software and configuration management for operational rail assets
Standard LED Locomotive Headlights, LED Ditchlights
Standard Safety Critical Comms
Standard Light Rail Interfaces with Roads (Signals and Signage)
Guideline Australian Rail Industry Management System Framework
Guideline Fatigue Risk Management
Form SPAD Investigations Proforma
AS 7460 Operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (Drones) on the Railway Network
AS 7519 Bogie Structures
AS 7520 Body Structural Requirements
AS 7522 Access & Egress
AS 7533 Driving Cabs
AS 7640 Rail Management
AS 7651 Axle Counters
AS  7658 Level Crossing
AS 7664 Railway Signalling Cable Routes, Cable Pits & Foundations
AS 7703 Signalling Power Supplies
Code of Practice Wheel Defect Manual
AS 7474 System Safety Assurance for the Rail Industry
Guideline Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM) Guideline for the Australian Rail Industry
AS 7450 Interoperability
AS 7636 Structures
AS 7638 Earthworks
AS 7639 Track Structure & Support Systems
AS 7642 Turnouts and Special Trackworks
AS 7666 TPC Interoperability
Guideline Wheel Rail Profile Development
AS 1085.17 Railway track materials – steel sleepers


Taking into consideration the impact of COVID-19 on the rail industry, improved workflows, revised Development Group membership requirements, and streamlined internal processes will ensure ongoing Development Group commitments are optimised during what continues to be a challenging time for all.

Our new Major Projects portfolio will enable RISSB to address key challenges facing the industry, focus on activities that directly address the needs of its stakeholders, and deliver step change improvements for the benefit of the Australian rail industry through a number of workstreams: Track Worker Safety, National Rules, National Vehicle Register, Train Control Interoperability, Noise, Technology Benefit Realisation and the National Rail Action Plan.

The table below shows all 16 major projects.

Type Title
Report Exploration of Technological Solutions (RISSB / ONRSR joint project)
Action Plan Action Plan from Technology Study
Guideline Good Practice for Planning Works in the Rail Corridor
Standard Digital Engineering
Guideline Achieving a Positive Safety Culture in the Rail Corridor
 Training Explore the Viability of Nationally Recognised Protection Officer Training
Rule National Communications Rule
Plan Produce a Pipeline of Harmonized and Rationalized National Rules
Glossary Glossary of Terms
Standard Railway Rulebooks
Register National Vehicle Register
Report Interoperability Technology Solutions and Funding Models
Report The Case (SFAIRP) for (taking away/reducing etc) Horns in Built Up Areas
Code of Practice Industry Code of Practice on Horns
Report Current Good Practice in Wheel Squeal
Website Wed-based Technology Sharing Platform
Various National Rail Action Plan


  • Energy Storage
  • Heating, Ventilation and Airconditioning (HVAC)
  • Noise (especially in tunnels although its scope is likely to be expanded)

Capping off what has already been a successful year for RISSB, in 2019/2020 RISSB delivered an impressive 21 standards, codes of practice, and guidelines bringing the total number of publications RISSB has in its catalogue to more than 220. In addition to these projects, RISSB also published The National Rules Framework, and the seminal study into Rail’s Current Innovations and Trends and the Assessment of Interoperability Issues from the Proposed Introduction of New Train Control Systems; these are noteworthy achievements in themselves.

If you would like to see a list of publications delivered by RISSB in 2019/2020 and our 2020 /2021 work plan, visit rissb.com.au/work-program/.


Project i-TRACE: Have you departed Station 5?

2020 is the year to get moving on the digitalisation of rail asset management and implementing GS1 global data standards under the auspices of Project i-TRACE.

Project i-TRACE encompasses a range of digitalisation initiatives including the standardised identification and marking of parts, components and assets in the Australian rail industry.

Rail and network operators, suppliers, manufacturers and contractors should now all be on board to ensure international best practice in supply chain management; the first phase of which is the joint initiative of the ARA and GS1 Australia, involving 11 steps, identified as stations in a visual representation of phase 1 of the Project i-TRACE journey.

“By now, everyone should have departed Station 5, otherwise they are behind schedule,” said Bonnie Ryan, director of freight, logistics and industrial sectors at GS1 Australia.

Towards achieving a national approach, at a minimum suppliers should have attended a workshop, established a business case, obtained executive sponsorship, joined GS1 and received their unique global company prefix to enable GS1 identifiers to be assigned to materials.

Station 6 encourages the attendance of a Project i-TRACE training session while Station 7 involves the actual assignment of compliant identification numbers to products/materials/assets, adding these to internal systems and informing customers of same so they can also add to their systems facilitating the beginning of data alignment between suppliers and their customers. Support is provided for Project iTRACE training through GS1.

Many suppliers have already arrived at Station 8, which is where additional data elements can be added, such as serial numbers and production dates that can be embedded in data carriers such as barcodes.

Having assigned GS1 codes and associated data elements to materials, the next step is to physically mark and/or tag objects so that they can be electronically scanned. Choosing a data capture technology is an important and crucial element (Station 9) and vital to enabling data to be captured at the point of use, whether in a depot or out on the network.

GS1’s Ryan said that Project i-TRACE provides a critical foundation for the industry to digitalise common operational processes.

“In a couple of years, i-TRACE will no longer be a project but will be a normal part of business.

“Knowing that we are all working towards end-to-end traceability as a common goal is rewarding. The benefits are many and include improved maintenance and repair operations, reducing costs by automating operational procedures and improving traceability,” Ryan said.

Early adopters achieve success
One of Australia’s largest rail networks, Sydney Trains, has been very active driving improvements in their business.

The suburban passenger rail organisation is on track to having all the parts in its Rail Equipment Centre marked with an i-TRACE compliant label. It has also been actively involved in the Project i-TRACE Material Master Data work group, focussing on the efficient exchange of Material Master Data across the rail sector; a process which is currently very manual or non-existent.

Thermit Australia, a supplier of aluminothermic welding and glued insulated joints, began the journey of implementing GS1 standards in 2018. It worked with Victoria’s regional rail network, V/Line, to help standardise the identification (codification) and barcode labelling of stock to help fast track the management of inventory at V/Line’s main warehouse in Lara and the company’s additional 33 inventory depots across Victoria.

For assistance on Project i-TRACE contact GS1 on: itrace@gs1au.org

The National Operations Publications

In its ongoing efforts to standardise rail safety, RISSB has released a new resource for industry.

Last month RISSB reached a milestone in its work towards harmonising rail operations throughout Australia with the online publication of a set of documents that contain safe working instructions for Rail Transport Operators (RTOs) – The National Operations Publications.

The National Operations Publications webpage contains both the Operational Concept for the Australian Rail Network (the Concept) and the National Rules Framework (the Framework).

The Concept contains seven fundamental operating principles and provides the highest level of incident prevention for all RTO’s:

The seven principles are:

  • Rail traffic must maintain safe separation via an appropriate method of signalling;
  • Before any rail traffic is allowed to start or continue moving, it must have an authority to move that clearly indicates the limit of that authority;
  • Rail traffic and other transport modes must be separated, or the interface managed;
  • Rail traffic must be prevented from moving if the infrastructure’s integrity is suspected to be in an unsafe state;
  • Rail traffic must be prevented from moving if the rail traffic’s integrity is suspected to be in an unsafe state;
  • Rail traffic must only operate on compatible infrastructure; and
  • Safe separation must be maintained between people and rail traffic.

Rail Safety National Law requires RTO’s to demonstrate consideration of risk in all rail operations, that consideration includes the application or exclusion of risk controls. RISSB recognises that in a risk-based co-regulatory environment, every RTO has their own list of hazards and a unique risk profile and to that end, RTO’s implement operational rules.

The National Rules Framework consists of rules based on the seven fundamental operating principles, which are nationally applicable within the Australian rail industry. Each rule within the Framework has been mapped to one of seven fundamental operating principles providing RTOs with a logical progression for hazard and “top events” identification.

The Framework provides industry with a nationally consistent approach to the creation of risk-based operational rules and procedures.

The National Rules Framework:

  • Incorporates nationally applicable rules to cover rail operations and alignment to specific roles within rail operations;
  • Contains content derived from the Australian National Rule and Procedures to ensure each rule meets the intent of a set of rail operation principles;
  • Incorporates new technology to ensure that it is captured in the Framework; and
  • Demonstrates traceability to the associated risks for which the rule is providing guidance on mitigation.

In the coming months, RISSB will continue to refine the Framework by:

  • Reconvening the National Rules Advisory Group;
  • Consulting with senior executives of RISSB members;
  • Conducting industry workshops to identify opportunities for harmonisation;
  • Identifying and drawing upon on those rules and procedures, which currently remain, within the ANRP and can be refined to a nationally applicable; and
  • Gaining commitment from its members, to move towards national harmonisation and interoperability.

The following diagram illustrates the conceptual relationship and traceability between documents within the National Operations Publications and those within an RTO’s network rules.

Based on seven fundamental principles, the Publications attempt to provide high standards of incident prevention.

Members seeking to help refine the Framework, or requiring assistance in the training and application of the Framework within their organisation, should contact RISSB for further information.

To access the National Rules Framework and the Operational Concept for the Australian Rail Network, RISSB members should visit www.rissb. com.au/products-main/national-operations.

Union supports speed restrictions in Wallan following fatal derailment

The Rail, Train and Bus Union (RTBU) stated that it is pleased that the rail industry is taking the union’s concerns seriously.

The union wrote to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Pacific National, V/Line and NSW Trains to request detailed information regarding plans for resuming services services through Wallan following the fatal XPT derailment last week.

ARTC advised the union on Thursday, February 27 that it would be imposing a 20km/h speed limit through Wallan. It also advised that the signalling infrastructure through Wallan was now operational.

Pacific National has advised the RTBU that it has imposed an 90km/h speed restriction between Seymour and Albury, and drivers are being instructed to adhere to an ARTC’s temporary speed restriction of 20km/h.

An RTBU spokesperson said the union’s Victorian branch has commenced discussions with V/Line, and the union’s NSW branch has also begun discussions with NSW Trains.

“At this point, we’re pleased that ARTC, PN, V/Line and NSW Trains are taking our concerns seriously. In particular, the companies have taken action on our concerns regarding track speed and signalling,” an RTBU spokesperson said.

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has inspected the corridor and consented to the recommissioning of the track.

An ARTC spokesperson said services on the North East Rail Line resumed on Friday, February 28, with the first Melbourne-Brisbane freight service passing through at 2.50am on Friday morning. 

An RTBU spokesperson said there are still more questions that need to be answered.

“It is important that all workers involved in services along the corridor are fully informed, and are able to raise any safety-related concerns,” an RTBU spokesperson said. 

On Monday, March 2, John Fullerton, ARTC CEO appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, Canberra to address ARTC’s response over the past eleven days following the XPT derailment.

Fullerton said despite working hard to prevent accidents and prepare extensively in case they happen, the worst possible outcome happened earlier this month.

He said over the past 11 days, ARTC have supported staff and contractors, been working with emergency services and Transport for NSW to safely remove the train, repairing the track so it is available again for use and cooperating with investigations underway.

In terms of supporting staff and contractors, many of our staff personally knew the people who were killed in the accident, and many others were involved in the first response,” Fullerton said to the committee.

We are very aware of the potential impact that this could have on staff, and have been widely advising those who need to, to access the services they need through our Employee Assistance Program. We have also been asking them to take care of one another.”

Fullerton said the industry collectively owes it to John Kennedy, the driver from Canberra, and Sam Meintanis, the pilot from Castlemaine, to work with the investigators to understand what happened and what actions need to be taken to prevent it ever happening again, as they were “two employees in our industry who went to work and never came home”.

He said ARTC has been providing full support to investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), ONRSR and the Victorian coroner.

AusRAIL: The digitalisation of supply chain management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Visit GS1 at AusRAIL PLUS at Stand 236.