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ISSUE 2 | 2020

W W W. R A I L E X P R E S S . C O M . A U

Getting the community on board

How St Marys is a part of Pacific National’s future intermodal terminal strategy - SEE PAGE 36 CFCLA utilises its in-house expertise

CTEA traction systems built in regional Victoria

Thermit shares their standards journey





Contents Issue 02 2020


From the Editor


News up front


36 How Pacific National’s new terminal has the community behind it 36 40


CFCLA’s workshops are responding to changes in freight


Recent announcements to move more freight onto rail




CTEA commits to local manufacturing



Early adopters of GS1 technology




RISSB Column


ISSUE 2 | 2020

W W W. R A I L E X P R E S S . C O M . A U


ARA Column


ALC Column


Getting the community on board

How St Marys is a part of Pacific National’s future intermodal terminal strategy - SEE PAGE 34 CFCLA utilises its in-house expertise

4Tel develops a digital solution for port operations

Thermit shares their standards journey




Rail Express meets the local supporters of Pacific National’s intermodal terminal. See page 36.



From the Editor Issue 02 2020 Published by:

Connor Pearce 11-15 Buckhurst St South Melbourne VIC 3205 T: 03 9690 8766 www.primecreativemedia.com.au

Publisher Christine Clancy E: christine.clancy@primecreative.com.au Chief Operating Officer Zelda Tupicoff E: zelda.tupicoff@primecreative.com.au Group Managing Editor (Northern) Syed Shah E: syed.shah@primecreative.com.au Assistant Editor Connor Pearce E: connor.pearce@primecreative.com.au Journalist Brittany Coles E: brittany.coles@primecreative.com.au Business Development Manager Oliver Probert T: 0435 946 869 E: oliver.probert@primecreative.com.au Client Success Manager Janine Clements E: janine.clements@primecreative.com.au Design Production Manager Michelle Weston E: michelle.weston@primecreative.com.au Art Director Blake Storey E: blake.storey@primecreative.com.au Design Kerry Pert, Madeline McCarty Subscriptions subscriptions@primecreative.com.au

www.RailExpress.com.au The Publisher reserves the right to alter or omit any article or advertisement submitted and requires indemnity from the advertisers and contributors against damages or liabilities that may arise from material published. © Copyright – No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the permission of the Publisher.


Assistant Editor - Rail Express

Intermodal: Meeting the freight rail challenge


N THE AUSTRALIA COMPETITION & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) container stevedoring monitoring report, published in November 2019, the percentage of container movements by rail at Australia’s major ports fell once again. With the overall figure falling by 1.1 percentage points, dips were felt in the ports of Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney, with only the port of Fremantle noting a significant rise. These figures can stand in for the wider challenge of converting Australia’s containerised logistic network to rail. The benefits of doing so are known within the freight rail sector, with the Freight on Rail Group reminding decision-makers that reducing freight movements on road goes towards a reduction in emissions, improved safety, and increased amenity in cities, suburbs and regional areas. When the ACCC releases its next report, the rail industry will be hoping that the share of freight on rail to Australia’s ports will improve, as the awareness of rail freight’s benefits are acted upon. In just the past months, significant works are underway to increase the number of containers being transported to our ports via rail. In Sydney, the Australia Rail Track Corporation is moving ahead with the duplication of the line into Port Botany, announcing the shortlisted contractors who will deliver the project. In Melbourne, the Port of Melbourne, with the backing of the state government, has committed $125 million to rail infrastructure to improve rail access. Significantly, both these ports are close to the centre of each city, leading to premiums on space for port infrastructure to expand,

however increased benefits to rail include fewer trucks moving through congested urban streets. In this context, getting containers on rail to the port requires a network of intermodal hubs at key points in the city’s freight rail networks, close to manufacturing and distribution centres. It is these intermodal hubs that Rail Express has turned its attention to this issue. As increasingly vital nodes for the efficient shipment of containers to and from ports, in its discussion of trends in Australia’s development to 2040, Infrastructure Australia singled out intermodal terminals. The federal government’s independent infrastructure advisory body noted that intermodal terminals are under pressure to move freight on short-haul shuttles to and from ports and serve the long-haul movement of freight across Australia. In this issue, on page 34 we speak with Pacific National and find out how its proposed intermodal hub at St Marys in Western Sydney is already being backed by the community as not only a solution to logistics pressures, but a way to continue the region’s manufacturing heritage and discover the area’s potential. In Goulburn, we see how CFCLA is using its engineering know-how to flexibly respond to changing demands for the movement of freight. Read about that on page 38. And, as digitalisation sweeps through the rail sector, on page 42 we speak with one provider on the solutions they offer for the intermodal sector. With Australia experiencing a “renaissance of rail”, it will be important to not let intermodal slip from the picture.




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With several states simultaneously rolling out record transport infrastructure programs, reports of capacity constraints are on the rise. Allens international commercial law firm reported in a 2019 survey that infrastructure leaders in Australia are 77 per cent more concerned with the risks facing the sector than they were five years ago. Over 43 per cent of respondents said their top concern is being unable to deliver the immediate project pipeline. The Allens survey stated that the scale and number of projects are contributing to two major issues – an acute skills shortage that’s reaching crisis point; and escalating material costs that are putting unsustainable pressure on company performance. The survey also reported that tunnels and rail are considered to be the highest risk projects, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. Constraints are predicted to continue to spread, with the Cross River Rail in Brisbane and Stage 2 of Canberra Light Rail both expected to commence shortly. ANZ Research’s Australian Major Projects report said rail construction is expected to be lower this year. “Capacity constraints will only worsen with several more multi-billion-dollar projects set to commence over the medium term,” ANZ researchers said. “The Victorian Government has almost doubled the funding for level crossing removals, while there is significant upside risk to the $20 billion estimate for Sydney Metro West.” The Australian Major Projects report predicts public investment will detract from economic growth during the year, however small-scale projects or maintenance works will stimulate the economy during the short term. ANZ Research does not expect governments, at either the federal or state level, to commit to bringing forward major infrastructure projects or significant additional infrastructure spending in the near term. Catherine Birch, ANZ senior economist said there are timing lags between the completion of rail and road projects and the substantive phase of new ones. “Debt is cheap and will likely stay cheap for a long time but asset recycling offers a means to fund projects while limiting increases to government debt,” she said. “NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flagged the possibility of selling the



Major projects raise concerns of capacity constraints

Simultaneous large projects are stretching Australia’s construction capabilities.

remaining half of WestConnex to help fund projects including Sydney Metro West.” Currently costed at $20bn, the Sydney Metro City & Southwest is the largest new public project that will drive high activity within the sector and is not expected to be operational until 2030. “Without effective policy action, capacity constraints pose a material risk to both public and private delivery of necessary infrastructure,” ANZ researchers said. Infrastructure Australia, the federal government’s independent infrastructure advisory body, has also flagged the issue of funding constraints for major public transport projects. With fare recovery low by international standards, public investment is needed to subsidise infrastructure costs. “We have a limited capacity from governments to fund projects, so that is the community’s desire to be taxed more or to have other services cut so more money can go into infrastructure,” said Peter Colacino, chief of policy and research at Infrastructure Australia. As funding on capital-intensive projects increases, state governments and transport authorities are spending roughly $30bn on transport networks. Public transport can account for up to 60 per cent of state capital budgets. Colacino noted that with this

increased level of investment, the sector will be stretched to find people with the required skills. “We have a rail renaissance in Australia with large investment in both urban and regional rail projects. What we see happening is the ability for governments to deliver on their ambitious agenda will be constrained by the capacity of the market to deliver those projects, so there’s not enough people, particularly in key jobs,” he said. Colacino said that these positions range from trade skills including truck and train drivers to professional roles, particularly signalling engineers. With these capacity constraints increasing the risk of projects, Colacino expects that currently forecasted costs will change. “In a constrained market, we think you’ll see that forecast pipeline of projects plateau, so it won’t have the peak. We think the peak will be lower and will extend for longer.” One way to avoid these risks is to ensure that there is competition in the contractor market. “It’s desirable for Australia to have a competitive environment where we have many players in the contractor market vying for projects,” said Colacino. “That’s another way to keep costs down and constrain that risk of escalating costs.”

CFCLA is the leading provider of tailored transportation solutions including locomotive and rolling stock, maintenance, repair, specialised acquisition and build/rebuild solutions for Australia’s rail operators and shippers. Our main office is located in Sydney, with regional locations strategically situated on the Australian rail network. We are continually expanding the scope of our transportation and logistics solutions and our service and workshop facility footprint nationally.



Unconfirmed reports of Bombardier and Alstom in merger talks Neither Bombardier nor Alstom have confirmed reports published by Bloomberg, that the two rail companies are discussing a potential merger. An unnamed source told Bloomberg that the French rollingstock manufacturer and Canadian train maker have been in talks over the past few months. A spokesperson for Bombardier told Rail Express that the company does not comment on market gossip. Similarly, a spokesperson for Alstom said that the company does not comment on market speculation. The reports published in Bloomberg had an immediate impact on the share prices of both companies, with Alstom shares rising by 2 per cent in Paris, and Bombardier shares climbing 5.7 per cent in Toronto. In Australia, both companies have a major presence, with Alstom recently announced as the manufacturer of the rollingstock for Perth’s Metronet project. With a 50 per cent local content requirement, the company has committed to building the trains at a manufacturing facility

Alstom has recently signed contracts to provide rollingstock to WA.


in Bellevue. The $1.3 billion order covers 346 Metronet railcars, and maintenance of the fleet for the next 30 years. “The Metronet project provides a unique opportunity for Western Australia to manage Perth’s projected future growth while re-establishing its railway manufacturing industry, creating jobs, investing in infrastructure and supporting local manufacturing and supply chains,” said Ling Fang, senior vice president Asia Pacific at Alstom. Alstom’s light rail vehicles are running on the recently opened Sydney light rail line, as well as the Sydney Metro, where 23 more driverless trains were ordered in late 2019. The trains delivered for the Sydney Metro are fully-automated Metropolis trains, and Alstom also supplies the signalling equipment for the line, which will extend from its current route from Tallawong to Chatswood, to the Sydney CBD, and Bankstown. Bombardier’s Australian presence is spread across all states except Tasmania, and the company has manufacturing

facilities in Victoria and WA. In Queensland, Bombardier is delivering the state’s fleet of 75 six-car commuter trains, known as the New Generation Rollingstock project. Maintenance of the fleet will be carried out in Wulkuraka near Ipswich. “Our highly efficient commuter cars have been performing well, providing passengers in Queensland with a safe and comfortable ride. Bombardier is providing mobility solutions through its NGR and Gold Coast projects, helping the Queensland Government deliver its economic and public transportation development programs,” said Wendy McMillan, president, South East Asia and Australia, Bombardier Transportation. Bombardier provides rollingstock to the G:link Gold Coast Light Rail project from its Flexity family of light rail vehicles. Vehicles from the same family are also in operation on Melbourne’s tram network, having been built in the company’s Dandenong facility. In 2019, Bombardier was also successful in winning an order for 12 A-City electric multiple unit (EMU) trains to the government of South Australia to operate

on Adelaide’s suburban railway network. The company’s Dandenong site has been assisting in the delivery of this fleet, an extension on the trains Bombardier has supplied to Adelaide since 2005. Bombardier, which also manufactures aircraft, had previously been in talks with German rail manufacturer Siemens about merging, however the Munich-based rail manufacturer then swapped to negotiate with Alstom. The EU subsequently blocked this merger between the transport services arms of Siemens and Alstom based on antitrust laws. The EU cited concerns that competition to provide signalling and very high speed trains on the continent would be reduced if the two companies combined. At the time of that decision, French and German governments hoped a merged rail manufacturing enterprise would be able to head off competition from Chinese firms On January 20, Bombardier announced that it would provide maintenance for 656

Bombardier’s presence in Australia is spread across all mainland states.

high-speed train cars in China, on top of a an existing joint-venture contract. “In China, we bring together integrated designing, manufacturing and maintenance service expertise to support our customers’

strategic goals, and we look forward to contributing further to the development of China’s railway industry,” said Jianwei Zhang, president of Bombardier Transportation China.



Bushfires wreak havoc on rail services NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, highlighted that crews have been working on restoring services since the closure. “Sydney Trains’ engineers have worked tirelessly to develop temporary systems that will allow us to restore rail connectivity and safely operate a limited number of freight trains from Monday evening and passenger trains from Tuesday 21 January,” he said. “We recognise how important this rail connection is to passengers travelling to and from the west and to moving freight and we are doing everything possible to resume full services as soon as possible.” Freight on Rail Group (FORG) of Australia chair Dean Dalla Valle, praised the NSW government for its swift resumption of services, noting that without the rail line, more freight had to be moved via roads. “NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole MP and Sam Farraway MLC – both Bathurst boys – immediately understood the urgent need to restore rail freight services along the bushfire impacted section of track between Lithgow and Mount Victoria.”

The damage was so extensive that significant parts of the line will need to be wholly restored, said Toole. “This will be a long recovery process as we are essentially rebuilding some parts of the operating system from scratch.” Sydney Trains staff have removed over 300 trees and re-laid kilometres of communication, electrical, and signal wiring. Dalla Vale highlighted the nature of the NSW operator’s response. “I’d also like to call out Sydney Trains chief executive Howard Collins OBE for rolling up his sleeves, quickly travelling to bushfire impacted zones to assess first-hand what needed to be done, and liaising closely with industry,” said Dalla Valle. Schedules are still be altered to account for maintenance, said NSW TrainLink chief executive Pete Allaway. “The first Bathurst Bullet, the Broken Hill XPLORER and most Dubbo XPT services will resume to a slightly altered timetable, with the remaining affected services to continue to be replaced by coaches and buses while repair work continues.”


The NSW freight rail network was affected by bushfires, which caused the closure of the main western line during January. The Gospers Mountain megafire destroyed large sections of communications and signalling systems, power supply, and other railway infrastructure along 25-kilometres of the rail line. In early January, the Main Southern Railway line was also closed, as the ARTC suspended operations due to extreme fire conditions and high wind activity in the rail corridor between Macarthur and Goulburn. After two days, the line was re-opened. “We would like to thank our customers for their patience and cooperation during these unforeseen circumstances. We would also like to thank all emergency services for their support and acknowledge their continuing efforts at this time,” an ARTC spokesperson said. The line through the Blue Mountains, however, remained closed until Monday, January 21, when limited services resumed. This reopening was significantly faster than initially forecasted, with NSW Transport estimating that the damage would take two months to repair.

Freight and passenger rail traffic through the Blue Mountains were affected.

10 | ISSUE 2 2020 | RAIL EXPRESS

While drought conditions are affecting Australia’s agricultural industry, grain exporters are moving record amounts via rail freight. Grain storage, handling, transport, marketing, and processing cooperative, CBH Group has announced that their rail infrastructure moved the largest amount of grain in the company’s history. 8.9 million tonnes of grain was moved by rail to port terminals in the 12 months to September 2019. These figures included six million tonnes of grain from the Kwinana Zone to the Kwinana Grain Terminal for bulk export. These figures were the result of a record harvest of 16.4m tonnes, 13.8m tonnes of which was shipped from CBH Group’s four grain terminals. 6.2m tonnes were shipped from the Kwinana Grain Terminal. The 2019/20 harvest season has seen Viterra, the grain storage and handling network for South Australia and western



Record grain movements by rail

Bumper crops have been moved by rail this season.

Victoria, receiving just over 3.9m tonnes for the harvest so far this season. Within the last two weeks Viterra received 115,000 tonnes of wheat, barley and canola. In those two weeks, the grain handler’s outturn schedule continued with five trains

loaded with wheat, barley and canola from Gladstone, Snowtown and Bowmans. “Although receivals have slowed across the state, Viterra is continuing to provide delivery options for growers,” a spokesperson for Viterra said.



Barry Broe was previously coordinatorgeneral for the Queensland government.

Inaugural National Faster Rail Agency CEO appointed The inaugural chief executive officer for the National Faster Rail Agency (NFRA) has been appointed, the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge, has announced. Barry Broe commenced at NFRA on January 6 and serves as CEO for an initial five-year term. Broe came into the role after seven years as coordinator-general for the Queensland government. “Broe has spent over 40 years in major project, transport and public sector infrastructure delivery including over 17 years at executive or CEO level. “He has direct local and international experience in rail and planning,” said a government spokesperson. He has held senior roles across government agencies, including with Brisbane City Council as divisional manager Brisbane Infrastructure; with Transport for London as director of transport planning and policy; and with Queensland Transport as director transport planning South-east Queensland, according to his LinkedIn page. Broe’s role as Queensland’s coordinatorgeneral involved assessing and approving major infrastructure projects, oversight over projects in designated “state development

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areas” to promote economic growth. Broe also ensured that communities near large resource projects continued to benefit from the operation of those projects once construction was completed. The NFRA was created in July 2019, to support the delivery of the government’s 20-year Faster Rail Plan, which includes $2 billion for faster rail between Melbourne and Geelong and eight regional to capital city business cases along the eastern seaboard. “Faster rail networks are crucial to easing congestion pressures in our cities and shaping Australia’s future as our population grows,” Tudge said. “Investing in faster rail will create jobs and bust congestion, giving time back to commuters and enabling more people to live in our regions while working in our cities.” The NFRA will work in partnership with state and territory governments and private industry to develop the rail infrastructure between major cities and key regional centres necessary to for the project. The agency will have an expert panel to provide advice on faster rail related matters, including existing faster rail project business cases, new potential faster rail corridors, future developments across networks, and infrastructure requirements and priorities.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) congratulated Broe on the appointment. “Mr Broe has a strong reputation of achievement and we welcome his appointment to deliver faster rail in Australia,” ARA chairman and acting CEO Danny Broad said. “It will be critical that the Agency, under Mr Broe’s leadership, recognises the need to invest in existing and new lines to stretch Government dollars and provide a faster rail service offering that meets the needs of the Australian population.” The ARA, however, pointed out that not all faster rail projects require brand new rail lines. “Faster rail can be achieved through upgrades and modifications to existing rail infrastructure, such as passing loops, new signalling systems, and level crossing removals.” The industry association said that its member companies have identified a number of smaller projects that can deliver faster rail solutions without the expense of investing in new rail lines and trains. “The ARA also looks forward to discussions with the Agency about long term plans to acquire the corridor for Brisbane to Melbourne High Speed Rail,” Broad said.

More freight on rail and off Sydney roads Proposed St Marys Freight Hub will: • Take 70,000 to 80,000 container trucks off Sydney roads each year (incl. M4 Motorway) • Reduce distance travelled by container trucks on Sydney roads by 10-million km each year (equivalent to 26 trips to the Moon) • Create 60 jobs during construction • Create 150 new full time jobs in Western Sydney • Service major distribution centres and warehouses in Western Sydney



New South Wales

Report: Sydney Trains maintenance backlog soon to exceed $1 billion maintenance work. “Sydney Trains prioritises the maintenance of our assets based on a number of factors including age, life cycle, usage and condition. “This includes embracing new ways of working to help us become more efficient in our allocation of maintenance resources,” the spokesperson said. While the report noted that the overall condition of rail tracks is “good”, the backlog of deferred track maintenance is forecast to grow if more funding from the state is not forthcoming. The backlog will surge to $1.3b by the end of the decade, from $419 million last year, if there is no funding boost, according to the Herald. “Due to the significant growth planned for time-tabled passenger rail services, it is anticipated the levels of wear and tear on infrastructure will increase proportionally,” the report says.

The Sydney Trains spokesperson highlighted that extra maintenance was being conducted across the network. “Additional maintenance windows have been introduced to complete essential routine maintenance activities.” The report says there is “lack of long-term commitment for sustainable funding” by government to improve the condition of civil assets such as bridges, culverts, and tunnels. Sydney Trains’ maintenance program is certified to ISO 55001 Asset management – Management systems – Requirements, and the spokesperson said that the management of maintenance has incoporated new technological innovations. “In recent years, we have incorporated all asset information in to the one management system, which has provided greater efficiency and allows us to better coordinate our planning and delivery of maintenance on our network.” IMAGE CREDIT: RAILGALLERY.COM.AU

An internal NSW government report, completed in September, has forecast a $1.3 billion maintenance backlog on Sydney’s trains, reports published in January have revealed. “Escalating maintenance costs, increasing levels of technical and component obsolescence and the ability to integrate into future network systems platforms … are prohibitive and present short and mediumterm challenges,” quotes the Sydney Morning Herald from the report. Almost one-quarter of the passenger trains are more than 30 years old, while nearly half of the fleet is more than 20 years old. The report cites the compounding impact of increased services, leading to trains, tracks and other rail assets “wearing out faster”. In turn, the rail network needs “more regular maintenance”. A Sydney Trains spokesperson, responding to Rail Express highlighted that the operator is delivering $1.5b in routine and periodic

Increased utilisation of the Sydney Trains network is putting pressure on maintenance schedules.

14 | ISSUE 2 2020 | RAIL EXPRESS


Shortlisted contractors will deliver customer access gates to the South West extension of the Metro line.

NSW government awards key Sydney metro station contract and shortlists future contractors The NSW government has announced shortlisted and winning contractors for further projects on the Sydney Metro. In December 2019, the NSW government announced that John Holland and Mirvac would complete the Waterloo metro station in a $299 million contract. The contract includes the new Waterloo Station and an integrated development above it, drawing on both companies’ expertise in major transport infrastructure and community-oriented development and design. The Waterloo Metro Quarter will comprise of five building envelopes including three towers and two mid-rise buildings above and adjacent to the station. The project is expected to be completed around the time Sydney Metro City and Southwest opens in 2024. Five per cent of the residential part of the development will be set aside for affordable housing in addition to 70 apartments for social housing. Two new public plazas will be built at Cope Street and Raglan Street. “Drawing on our recent experience in

delivering Sydney Metro Northwest, we are excited to deliver not only a landmark station, but also a revitalised precinct for the community,” John Holland CEO Joe Barr said. “This project will transform Waterloo and improve community spaces in the inner city for generations to come. Our integrated team has worked together across development, investment and complex transport infrastructure to create an urban renewal project that will make commuting easier, create jobs, and improve community facilities.” Mirvac CEO and managing director Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said that the “vision for this precinct extends beyond the bricks and mortar. We will be a long-term investor in Waterloo and we are wholly committed to realising the potential of this site to help drive meaningful social renewal and enduring value for the broader precinct. “The ability to deliver a progressive, urban development of this calibre, is underpinned by our wealth of experience at the forefront of the industry, together with our unique

end-to-end capability. “We have finely honed our approach to place making, design and construction over 47 years, and this, together with our thorough understanding of how our customers live, enables us to create thriving communities that support and enhance people’s lifestyles.” The NSW government also shortlisted three companies to supply customer access technology on the Bankstown line. The shortlisted contractors will install mechanical gap fillers and platform screen doors as part of the Sydney Metro upgrade of the 10 stations between Marrickville and Bankstown. The three shortlisted companies are Gilgen Door Systems AG, Hyundai Movex Co. Ltd, and Kyosan Electric Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The next step of the procurement process will be to test the technology put forward by the three companies for Australian conditions. Once the customer access technology is


New South Wales



The announced contract comprises the underground Waterloo station and an integrated development above ground.

installed the stations will be fully accessible when metro rail services start in 2024. All Sydney Metro stations will have platform screen doors which keep people and objects like prams away from the tracks, and also allow trains to get in and out of stations much faster. The new platforms will be level with the updated metro trains, not requiring passengers to step-up into the train. These announcements came amid criticism from Sydney’s Inner West Council of the placement of a large ventilation stack for the upcoming Sydney Metro West line next to a community pool in Leichhardt, in Sydney’s inner west. The planned ventilation outlet is intended for a section of the rail line which runs through the tunnels between the Bays Precinct near Rozelle and Five Dock. It would be located adjacent to Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre as well as meters away

16 | ISSUE 2 2020 | RAIL EXPRESS

from the popular Bay Run walking and cycling path. “Leichhardt Pool had nearly 800,000 visits last year and the Bay Run is enjoyed by thousands of people daily. To propose a smokestack slap bang in the middle of this area is complete madness,” Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said. While every train station along the metro line will have fresh-air ventilation, three standalone facilities will be built for parts of the mostly underground rail line where there are long distances between stations. Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and the council have held initial discussions around the potential site for a ventilation facility, but are yet to decide on its location. A spokesperson for TfNSW said the impact will be minimal. “Services facilities, which are required to service the rail tunnels, are intended to be as unobtrusive as possible within their surrounding environment,” they said.

“Sydney Metro will aim to minimise impacts on the community wherever possible.” However, the Inner West council has received early advice that the air quality, noise and vibration impact from construction will force the pool to close, which it claims will have a devastating effect on our learn to swim classes, hydrotherapy programs and local sporting clubs. Of the council’s five pools, two are already closed for refurbishments. The council has also already supported plans for a new landscaped water park with BBQ facilities and shaded recreation space at the site of the proposed ventilation stack. Aside from the possibility of Leichhardt, the two other proposed sites are at Silverwater – on the corner of Silverwater Road and Derby Street – and at Clyde, near Parramatta, on a site occupied by Sydney Speedway.

Reduced dwell times cut Sydney CBD light rail travel time Sydney’s light rail has become 10 per cent faster due to reduced dwell times. The 12-kilometre service between Randwick and Circular Quay had previously been running at around 45-50 minutes. In January the journey time was improved to 40-45 minutes. Instead of adjusting speed limits, the journey will be quicker due to reduced dwell times at scheduled stops. A Transport for NSW spokesperson said more services will be added to the network to increase passenger journey times too. “The new timetable introduced on January 20 will boost the number of weekday services on the L2 Line by an additional 215 services per week, as well as improving the journey time between Randwick and Circular Quay,” the spokesperson said. “Transport for NSW is continuing to work with ALTRAC to improve service reliability on

Changes to scheduling will make the service more frequent.

the new light rail.” The 19-stop service will become more frequent, running every 4-8 minutes between Circular Quay and Central. On the Randwick line, the service will run every 8-12 minutes between Central and Randwick during peak times on weekdays. Service operator Transdev told the NSW Parliament last year that projected travel times were 38-40 minutes. Transport for NSW anticipated that there

may be operational challenges and issues during the opening period of the L2 line. “More than 1 million trips have been taken on the new L2 Randwick light rail line since opening on 14 December,” the spokesperson said. “Transport for NSW is continuing to work with the light rail operator to improve service reliability and journey time, especially in the lead up to the start of passenger services on the L3 Kingsford Line in March.”

Major works begin on Parramatta light rail Construction has commenced on the Parramatta Light Rail project, following the closure of the T6 Carlingford Line. Acting Minister for Transport and Roads Paul Toole said it was an exciting time for Greater Parramatta. “[It] marks a significant step on a project that will transform transport connectivity in a growing part of Sydney,” Toole said. “The new 12-kilometre light rail project will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia, and is set to open in 2023.” This follows the removal of the last level crossing on Parramatta Road last week.

Decommissioning works are underway on the Carlingford Line.

Parramatta Light Rail program director Anand Thomas said the level crossing on Parramatta Road at Granville was one of the last remaining in Sydney. “With the closure of the 132-year-old T6 Carlingford Line on Sunday 5 January to make way for the Parramatta Light Rail, it was time to decommission this level crossing which regularly stopped traffic to make way for train services,” Thomas said. There are now less than ten active level crossings in Sydney, including seven on the Richmond line, one in Yennora and another in Fairfield. David Borger, executive director of the

Western Sydney Business Chamber said that the start of major works on Stage 1 should not be used as a distraction from the need to roll out the full Parramatta Light Rail network, including the extension through Ermington, Melrose Park, Wentworth Point, and Sydney Olympic Park. “The NSW Government has been reluctant to commit to delivering on its promise of building the full Parramatta Light Rail network. It would be a tremendous shame to risk Stage 1 becoming a white elephant by not connecting it to the growing communities springing up along the shores of the Parramatta River,” Borger said. The Parramatta Light Rail will be built by a joint venture of Downer and CPB Contractors, and will be operated by the Great River City Light Rail consortium, which includes Transdev and CAF Rail Australia. Toole said Transport for NSW was working hard to minimise the impacts of construction on businesses and the local community, although some disruption was inevitable. He said Transport for NSW will also pause construction from 1 November until 31 January each year to minimise disruption at Parramatta’s Eat Street until the line is complete.





ARTC gets started on North East Rail Line upgrade, notes IA report

Investigations and site assessments have begun on the rail line between Melbourne and Albury.

Investigation work has commenced towards the $235 million North East Rail Line Upgrade project in Victoria, after the contract was awarded to John Holland in December 2019. Over 90 kilometres of the 500 kilometres of track have been walked and site assessments are now underway. Site walks started at Albury and will continue south towards Melbourne. According to ARTC, a team of up to five John Holland and Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) project staff will be walking all 500 kilometres of track by midJanuary, in preparation for the major works commencement in the new year. Findings will inform site assessments about how impacts to the community can be minimised. Since October, early works have thus far included: 85 kilometres of tamping, the removal of over 2 kilometres of mudholes, and distribution of 6,500 tonnes of fresh ballast. Both tracks at the Summers Road level crossing in Springhurst have also be renewed. “With our main works contractor in place, progress on the track upgrade will start to ramp up in the new year,” ARTC’s general manager for Victoria Projects Ed Walker said. “Not only will people start to see increased activity in the rail corridor, but also John

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Holland and ARTC personnel out and about in local towns and businesses.” In early January, Infrastructure Australia announced the current business case for the North East Rail Line upgrade is not nationally significant. The business case, submitted by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), covers the 316km Victorian line from Melbourne to Albury, via Seymour and Wangaratta. The estimated cost would be $198.3m. In a statement, Infrastructure Australia noted that rail service disruptions are locally or regionally significant, but not of national importance. Infrastructure Australia’s independent review of the business case found that the estimated benefits were overstated, highlighted chief executive of Infrastructure Australia, Romilly Madew. “We know compared to other regional Victorian passenger lines, there is relatively poor punctuality, and reliability on the North East Rail Line. However, based on the current evidence available, the cost of the project would significantly outweigh its benefits.” Responding to the Commonwealth’s independent infrastructure advisory board, ARTC noted the findings, however highlighted that any project over $100m is required to be

submitted to Infrastructure Australia, and that the findings would not impact the delivery of the project. “We are confident about delivering the project on schedule in mid-2021 and within its funding envelope of $235m,” said an ARTC spokesperson. Infrastructure Australia noted that although 1,800 people use the line each day, demand has fallen due to poor punctuality, as traveller use cars instead. The lack of benefit to freight services was one reason that Infrastructure Australia turned down the project, along with the lack of new rail services, new rolling stock, or faster travel times. ARTC noted that the analysis conducted by Infrastructure Australia occurred prior to the awarding of the major contract. “It is an important project to improve passenger service performance between Melbourne and Albury,” said the ARTC spokesperson. Madew noted that a revised business case would be welcomed by Infrastructure Australia. “We recognise the importance of goodquality regional rail transport to give people genuine travel choices and equitable service levels,” she said.




Melbourne Metro Tunnel nears completion


A transport construction blitz began in early January on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel at South Yarra in Melbourne’s west. The underground work was conducted ontop of other ancillary work, according to Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan. Crews will excavate the final section of the metro tunnel entrance and shift existing train tracks to make room for the new track to connect existing lines to the tunnel as

Major work on the Melbourne public transport network have been underway during the summer.

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part of the blitz, dubbed “Victoria’s Big Build”. “During this quieter period we’re getting on with a massive amount of work on some of our biggest transport projects, to keep our city and state moving,” Allan said. The final sections of tunnel roof slab will be poured and tunnel support structures installed. The level crossings at Reservoir, Toorak Road, Carrum, Cheltenham, Mentone, Lyndhurst and Pakenham are to be removed, bringing the total up to 38 level crossing removals

completed out of the 75 intended for removal. Six new accessible tram stops will be built on Route 96, necessitating the closure of Nicholson Street between Barkly Street in East Brunswick and Johnston Street in Fitzroy until 19 January. “We thank Victorians for their patience and encourage them to plan ahead and allow extra time – we know it’s disruptive, but it will mean better trains, trams and traffic in the future,” Allan said.

Level crossing removal work progressing across Melbourne To pave the way for a construction blitz in Victoria in May, work towards the construction of two new stations at Cheltenham and Mentone on the Frankston line and the removal of three congested level crossings is underway. “We’re getting rid of these death traps – making Cheltenham and Mentone safer, and delivering brand new stations and more open space,” Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said. “Cheltenham and Mentone are going to have a busy year and I thank residents and traders in advance for their patience during construction, which will deliver more trains, more often.” The Frankston line will be closed between Frankston and Moorabbin in early to mid-February to enable the removals and continuing work at Cheltenham and Mentone. Construction on the rail trenches, which will lower the Frankston line under Park Road, Charman Road and Balcombe Road, started in late 2019. The crossings are expected to be gone by July 2020, and the new stations will open after finishing works by early 2021. The works are part of the state government’s $3 billion investment on the Frankston line, which includes the removal of 18 level crossings and 12 new stations. Five crossings have already been removed. In December, 2019, contracts were announced for the removal of level crossings at Manchester Road in Mooroolbark, and the Maroondah Highway in Lilydale.

The level crossing at Toorak Road may be gone by April.

A team of Laing O’Rourke and Jacobs will form an alliance with Metro Trains Melbourne to deliver the project, Victoria’s Major Transport Infrastructure Authority announced on December 30. Each of the two crossings sits near a station on the Lilydale line, and both will be rebuilt under the newly awarded contract. A rail bridge was chosen in both instances, with the state saying in August 2019 a rail bridge design would avoid land acquisition and take up to 18 months less time to build than alternative options. The reconstruction of Mooroolbark station – just east of the Manchester Road crossing – will also deliver a new multi-deck car park with up to 450 new and upgraded stations. The state says the project has also been designed to “lay the groundwork” for further upgrades, including the duplication of the Lilydale line and a potential new station between Mooroolbark and Lilydale. Construction is expected to begin in mid2020, and completion is targeted for 2022. Work on the Toorak Road level crossing has been progressing quickly, with work to be completed six months ahead of schedule. Some level crossing are expected A revised completion to be removed ahead of schedule. date of April 2020 will see

the new rail bridge operational, with cars travelling underneath. Work currently being completed includes the installation of 18 concrete columns to support the new rail bridge. During February and March, U-troughs will be installed, which will form the rail bridge. Twenty of the structures will be installed along with retaining walls in Tooronga Park and Talbot Crescent. While works and being undertaken, the rail line will be closed during the next months. These will be scheduled during offpeak periods. In early 2021, 23,000 trees, plants, and grasses will be plated to finish the project. Other projects currently underway as part of the Level Crossings Removal Project include site investigations for upgrades to the Hurstbridge Line. Surveys and investigations have occurred in Greensborough, Montmorency, and Diamond Creek. As part of the Level Crossings Removal Project, the Victorian government plans to duplicate the rail line between Greensborough and Montmorency, and between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen. Work will also be undertaken at Greensborough and Montmorency stations. Train stabling at Victoria Park will also be upgraded and power and signalling will be improved along parts of the Hurstbridge Line. Submissions on changes to the Planning Scheme Amendment, which will enable the project, are now open.




Upgrades to the Geelong and Warrnambool line will be carried out by Downer, Rail Projects Victoria announced in February. As part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival program, Downer will deliver signalling upgrades between Waurn Ponds and Warrnambool and a new crossing loop at Boorcan to increase reliability and improve recovery times on the Warrnambool line. On the Geelong Line, Downer will construct a second platform, duplicated track, a pedestrian overpass, improved and new parking, bicycle storage facilities, and more CCTV, lighting, and myki machines. According to Mark Mackay, executive general manager transport projects at Downer, the project will draw upon Downer’s existing expertise. “Our committed team of experts will deliver an integrated solution, futureproofed to minimise rework and maximise opportunities for passengers and the

community,” he said. Construction will begin in mid-2020 and completion is hoped for by late 2021. In addition, Downer will construct a new stabling facility at Waurn Ponds for the overnight stabling of V/Line trains for more frequent future services. Elsewhere, as part of the upgrades on the Regional Rail Revival program, planning works are being undertaken on Stage 2 of the Geelong Line Upgrade, which includes the Waurn Ponds Duplication Project. Track will be duplicated from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds, and level crossings will be removed at Fyans Street and Surf Coast Highway. South Geelong and Marshall stations will also be upgraded. Downer will utilise its knowledge gained from the Waurn Ponds station upgrade in 2014, work on the Bendigo station upgrade, and the High Capacity Metro Trains maintenance facility.


Contractor announced for Geelong and Warrnambool line upgrades

Works include a new stabling facility at Waurn Ponds.

High-capacity signalling test site under construction A test site for high-capacity signalling is now being established at the Pakenham East Depot in Melbourne. The test site will allow for the introduction of high-capacity signalling, described as “moving block” signalling systems, instead of “fixed block” systems. The new signalling system will enable

The new technology will allow trains to automatically adjust their speed.

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trains to automatically adjust their speed, in order to maintain a safe distance from the train in front. This technology differs from current systems, which tell trains when it is safe to proceed to a new section of track via coloured signals. High-capacity signalling is delivered by the Rail Systems Alliance, a consortium of CPB Contractors, bombardier, Metro Trains Melbourne, and Rail Projects Victoria. The test site will be constructed at Nar Nar Goon, in south east Melbourne. This will enable access to the high-capacity signalling

platform and test track, situated inside the Pakenham East Depot. Trackside equipment will be installed between March 2 and 6. On the Melbourne network, high-capacity signalling will be installed on the Sunbury to Cranbourne/Pakenham line, as well as the Mernda Line between Epping and South Morang. Signal control centres will be built at Sunshine and Dandenong. Signallers will support train movements across the lines from here, including through the Metro Tunnel. In addition to the high-capacity signalling work, new high-capacity metro trains will be introduced on the Melbourne Metro network. On the platforms, floor-to-ceiling platform screen doors will be installed. These will reduce overcrowding, dwell times, and improve tunnel ventilation. These will be designed and supplied by Faiveley Transport. The platforms screen doors will also be tested at the Pakenham East depot.

Construction progresses at Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project’s new State Library station Melbourne’s State Library station will be 240m long and 30m wide, and its 19m platforms will be some of the widest underground metro platforms in the world. The first permanent building works for the station are now underway, and a concrete floor has been installed that will form part of the future platform. Three roadheaders have dug 36m under

Swanston Street while also excavating the station length of 240m between Franklin and La Trobe Streets. Later this year, they will go back underground to dig out the rail tunnels on each side of the central station cavern. State Library and Town Hall stations will feature ‘trinocular caverns’ – three overlapping tunnels dug by road headers which will allow

500 tonnes of rock are excavated everyday.

the concourse and platforms to be integrated on one level. 500 tonnes of rock are being excavated every day as the roadheaders are equipped with cutterheads that smash through rock three times harder than concrete. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan inspected progress on the construction happening at State Library station on Thursday morning. “A huge amount of work continues to be done at State Library Station, with the platform already taking shape,” said Andrews. Allan said the Metro Tunnel is the biggest public transport project in Victoria’s history. Major construction is continuing in the northern end of Swanston Street at the site of the future State Library Station throughout February this year. The $11 billion project is set to be completed by 2025.

Track repairs commence following V/Line and freight train crash An incident involving a freight and passenger train between Chiltern and Barnawartha in south of Wodonga, Victoria caused all services on the line to be suspended in January until further notice. The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) commenced work to replace more than 1,800 damaged sleepers and more than 180 metres of damaged rail. A northbound freight train derailed, and a passenger train travelling south on the adjacent track struck a wagon of the derailed freight train. A spokesperson from the ARTC provided an update on the investigation following the incident that occurred on Wednesday, January 29. “The ARTC is continuing to work with rail safety regulators and operators on the recovery effort,” the spokesperson said. After safety regulators completed their initial assessments the day after the incident, the recovery operation started involving around 60 workers.

“Work so far has focused on recovering wagons, components, and containers from the track and moving the V/Line train and majority of freight containers,” the spokesperson said. “While repairs are underway, timing for the line to reopen is not yet confirmed. “With temperatures reaching more than 44

degrees in the recovery site area, hot works are being extremely carefully managed and crews provided additional rest breaks and hydration measures. “ARTC will provide further updates to media and our customers as soon as they become available.”

The incident occurred on Victoria’s North East Line.




Work on Cross River Rail to ramp up in 2020 Construction towards the Cross River Rail project will commence at 11 new sites, adding to the seven currently active sites. “Already we’ve got 1,000 workers on Cross River Rail sites across the city. With new sites

Major works are underway at below ground and above ground stations in Brisbane.

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set to open, we’re looking at employing an extra 1500 workers this year,” Cross River Rail Minister Kate Jones said in January, 2020. Cross River Rail Delivery Authority’s CEO, Graeme Newton, said that 2020 will see

work on the project increasing, and passing critical milestones. “2019 was a big year for the project. We appointed our major contractors, established multiple new worksites, revealed the location of three new Gold Coast stations and launched a Precincts Delivery Strategy that will be the catalyst for up to $20 billion of investment,” Newton said. “But 2020 is where things really kick up a gear. We’ll complete demolition at Roma St and Albert St, start tunnelling from Woolloongabba to Boggo Road, start work on station upgrades and the new Gold Coast stations and we will have workers live on the project at as many as 18 sites across the city.” In late December 2019, the demolition of the Brisbane Transit Centre got underway to make room for the new Roma Street transport interchange. An 85-metre tower crane will be used to bring down three buildings at the site, including Hotel Jen, the East Tower, the West Tower and then the podium they sit on. Each building will be demolished level by level, which will take up to a year. According to Cross River Rail Authority’s program director, David Lynch, speaking at the AusRAIL event in early December, the Roma Street station is “Brisbane’s primary intermodal connection”. “It is also the next natural extension of the CBD area and a prime redevelopment site. It is the site of the proposed Brisbane Live, 18,000 seat stadium – the business case of which is currently under government consideration,” Lynch said. The Cross River Rail Precinct Strategy sets out that Roma Street is to become the western gateway to the City’s cultural and entertainment offerings. “While the precinct benefits from its proximity to a range of destinations, there is still significant potential for growth in lifestyle and knowledge industries including greater professional office space, as well as stronger physical links east to the CBD and west to Caxton Street and the Suncorp Stadium,” the Strategy sets out. As such, the Cross River Rail project’s focus at the site will be to facilitate it as the key arrival destination for the central CBD, and the western gateway to the City’s cultural, leisure and entertainment offerings. Crews are progressing with the installation of 280 concrete piles for the station box at Woolloongabba. At Boggo

The European Train Control System will make for a safer and more efficient network.

road, piling rigs were delivered to the site in January and work has begun. At the Albert Street site, demolition is expected to be completed in March. Station box piling will then follow, along with excavation and the installation of a large acoustic shed. Work is also underway towards piloting the European Train Control System (ETCS) on the Shorncliffe line. The authority says the system, delivered by Hitachi Rail, will make the network safer and more efficient. A Cross River Rail spokesperson told Rail Express, drivers will be trained in a live, yet contained environment, while training and familiarisation for maintenance personnel will be provided. “This approach helps the project understand the impact of changes at a technology level as well as from a people and process point of view. It will also help with operational readiness as greater understanding of necessary changes for ETCS implementation will inform the level of training and process transformation,” the spokesperson said. Extensive work has begun in the rail corridor between Roma Street and Exhibition stations where the northern tunnel portal will be constructed. Meanwhile, work is already underway towards the project’s southern tunnel portal south of Boggo Road. Work on three new stations on the Gold Coast line will commence in 2020, along

with upgrades to stations at Fairfield and Yeronga. In addition, site investigations will be carried out at Yeerongpilly, Moorooka, Rocklea, and Salisbury stations. Early construction work has begun at Exhibition Station, with an old cattle crossing bridge removed. The renovation of the station will see the station equipped to handle year-round services, once the Cross River Rail project is completed. Currently, the station is normally only used during the Ekka show, held each August. The redevelopment of Exhibition Station and the surrounding precinct will involve a new 165-metre-long island platform and canopy, as well as accessibility upgrades. Connections between the station and the surrounding area are also part of the upgrade. Acting Minister for Cross River Rail Grace Grace, highlighted that the station will service surrounding institutions and growing suburbs in Brisbane’s north. “Cross River Rail will deliver a new station at the RNA Showgrounds, providing year-round rail services for both the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, as well as the growing King Street lifestyle precinct,” she said. Grace noted that the station’s redesign will allow for more frequent services. “It will be open all year round for the growing number of residents, workers and visitors, who will benefit from the kind of

‘turn up and go’ public transport that Cross River Rail is designed to make possible.” Construction of Cross River Rail will create 7,700 jobs in total throughout South East Queensland and opportunities will increase for trainees and apprentices. The total construction workforce will increase from around 1,000 people to 1,500 in 2020. The uptick in work will benefit local companies looking to sub-contract, according to Newton. The spokesperson for Cross River Rail said that the uptick in work will allow for more local contractors to get involved. “In addition to jobs, the increase in construction work will increase the opportunities for subcontractors looking to work on the project and suppliers to provide necessary materials. “We have awarded contracts for three major works packages and these contractors are now sub-contracting works to a wide variety of companies,” the spokesperson said. The Queensland Procurement Policies and Best Practice Principles will guide the inclusion of local content in the delivery of Cross River Rail. The procurement policies require major contractors, including the tunnel stations and development public-private partnership, which includes CIMIC Group, CPB Contractors and UGL group, to engage local and regional Queensland suppliers and manufacturers, said the Cross River Rail spokesperson. “Local jobs and local businesses are already benefitting from the project with Toowoomba-based construction company Wagners as an example of a Queensland company working on CRR, with the company being recently awarded a $40 million contract to manufacture all the precast concrete tunnel segments for the project. “Early in 2020, our major contractors will go ‘live’ with lists of sub-contractor opportunities and multiple planned ‘meet the buyer’ procurement events will be advertised in due course,” the spokesperson said. In addition to the construction works, consultation with local communities has been carried out on a number of stations and precincts. “Further consultation will be conducted throughout the year for the other five stations on Brisbane’s south which will be given accessibility upgrades as part of the Cross River Rail project,” said the spokesperson.



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Key to the competitiveness of the Australian rail sector will be its approach to digitalisation.

| 2020 ISSUE 1

Already a wave sweeping through numerous industry sectors, the digitalisation of rail to date has taken many forms, from the provision of information and leisure services for passengers, the monitoring of assets, and the automation of operations.

Bringing a forward Parramatt w es intervie Thal Exclusive 22 - SEE PAGE Alstom's big year

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for New skills ustry the rail ind

rship ARA leade changes

Now, as systems become ever more complex there is even greater opportunity for the digitalisation of all facets of rail. Further changes will be driven by the aggregation and analysis of large volumes of data, the increasing sophistication of automated rail systems, inter-sector connectivity, and digital customer access.

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These developments have been brought under the banner of Industry 4.0, which at a policy level, is shaping the way that advanced industrial economies are responding to changes in technological possibility. There is potential to use these systems in a concerted way to reduce operational costs, improve performance of assets, and widen the range of products and services offered. Much of this innovation is driven in devices connected to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Through sending and receiving data, systems can be autonomous, connected and ‘smart’. In the May edition of Rail Express, we will explore how this trend is affecting the rail sector as well as its interaction with wider trends in smart cities. Opportunities are available for organisations engaged in this field to have their voice heard.



Despite criticism, Siemens will provide signalling to the rail line serving Adani’s mine.

Siemens commits to Adani project Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of German industrial conglomerate Siemens, has written an open letter clarifying the company’s decision to provide signalling services to Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in Queensland. Siemens was the target of protests at AusRAIL 2019, when protestors locked themselves to the stage during the AusRAIL gala dinner. Siemens offices around Australia were also targeted by anti-Adani protestors. Kaeser wrote that Siemens’s commercial obligations tied the company to the project, highlighting that, “There is practically no legally

and economically responsible way to unwind the contract without neglecting fiduciary duties.” Other reasons that Kaeser identified in support of Siemens pursuing the project were reassurances from Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matthew Canavan, a due diligence report, competing companies that would have completed the signalling project if Siemens had pulled out, and the mine’s approval by the Wangan and Jagalingou people. The Siemens signalling project forms part of the 189km rail line that will link the

Adani mine to the Port of Abbot Point. The railway will travel from the mine to Moranbah, where it joins the Goonyella rail system. In response to the environmental concerns raised by protestors, Siemens will establish a Sustainability Committee, to give input to the company on environmental concerns. Key to activist’s opposition to the Siemens rail project was the potential for a rail line to open up the entire Galilee coal basin for development, which according to Climate Analytics, would be equivalent to 2 per cent of global emissions, once burnt.



Western Australia

Alstom finalises $1.3 billion contract for WA’s biggest railcar order

Alstom will build and maintain railcars in WA.

Alstom will build 246 Metronet railcars as well as a manufacturing and assembly plant in Bellevue, Western Australia, after the project contract was finalised this week. According to the state government, the railcar manufacturing order “has come in $347 million under the original budget of $1.6 billion”. Under the 10-year contract at least 50 per cent of the railcars will be built locally. As part of the project, Alstom will establish a base in WA at the 12,000sqm plant near the old Midland Railway Workshops where railcar maintenance will also be carried out for the next 30 years. “Work will start on building the new production plant in Bellevue and completed in 2021 next year, on top of six other Metronet projects that will be under construction in 2020 alone,” WA premier Mark McGowan said. Since the closure of the Midland Railway Workshops in 1994, WA’s trains have been predominately built in Queensland with only two per cent of the work completed in WA. The local work will create 200 jobs as well as a number of indirect jobs, according to the WA government. “Not only were local jobs lost, it was also more expensive to outsource railcar supply. The cost per railcar under the last order of B-Series trains was $4.05m, while the cost under the new C-Series contract is around $2.97m,” a government spokesperson has said.

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Local companies have already been awarded contracts for fitting out the Bellevue railcar plant, including a $3.8m contract awarded to Vector Lifting for the delivery of lifting jacks, a bogie press and bogie turntables has. An $850,000 contract for the supply of four cranes was recently awarded to Bassendean manufacturer Eilbeck. “We’ve secured a quality deal for the state, by bundling multiple railcar orders into one super-contract, we have encouraged the market to make very competitive bids for the work,” minister for transport Rita Saffioti said. “Importantly, this project will also deliver two three-car sets to replace The Australind and provide south-west residents with the reliable rail service they deserve.” The contract includes 246 railcars,

arranged in 41 six-car electric multiple unit (EMU) sets, for additional Metronet capacity and to replace the A-Series. It also includes six railcars to replace the existing Australind service, which will be delivered as two threecar diesel multiple units (DMU) sets. The first C-series trains produced at the Bellevue plant will be ready to use on the network in 2022 and will have an operational life of 35 years. The new Australind railcars are expected to be ready in 2022-23. Alstom Australia and New Zealand managing director Mark Coxon said the contract would allow the state to manage Perth’s projected future growth while reestablishing its rail manufacturing industry. “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract and look forward to partnering with the state of Western Australia to deliver this significant project,” Coxon said. Better technology including LED lighting, USB charging points and regenerative braking will also be installed to make the new trains more efficient. Once operational, Alstom’s HealthHub predictive maintenance tools will be used to optimise performance and reliability. “The project will see the transfer of the latest railway technologies and manufacturing processes to Western Australia, establishing the most technologically advanced train manufacturing and maintenance sites in Australia,” an Alstom spokesperson said. The company is also set to partner with local TAFE and training organisations to create new fast-tracked training and skills development programmes.

The contract covers 246 railcars.

Metronet: $1.25b contract finalised for ThornlieCockburn, Yanchep projects WA premier Mark McGowan has hailed another “historic” Metronet milestone, awarding a $1.25 billion contract to add 32 kilometres of rail to Perth’s transport network. The NEWest Alliance, comprising CPB Contractors and Downer, will deliver both the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and the Yanchep Rail Extension under the deal inked on December 17. The team was announced as preferred bidders for the work in November, but finalisation of the deal was delayed until recently due to negotiations over the Thornlie-Cockburn Link, the cost of which has been upwardly revised by $180 million to $716m. Up to $366m of this will come from WA, while $350m will come from the Commonwealth. The state said the upward cost revision is mostly due to the additional cost of relocating third-party infrastructure ($82.7m), improved wages for workers ($20.2m), minimising network disruption and meeting environmental requirements. The state government noted the extra cost was more than accounted for by the recently signed Metronet Railcar Program deal, the final cost for which came in $347m under budget. The project will add 17.5 kilometres of rail to connect the Armadale and Mandurah lines through existing stations at Thornlie and Cockburn Central. The new link will include two new stations at Ranford Road and Nicholson Road. Federal finance minister, Mathias Cormann, noted the Thornlie-Cockburn Link would be the first east-west connection between rail lines on the Perth network. “The project will also replace the pedestrian level crossing at Elliot Place with a footbridge, making rail travel much more user friendly for our community,” he said. “The Canning River Rail Bridge will also be duplicated and the Ranford Road Bridge modified.” The Yanchep Rail Extension, meanwhile, will deliver the last proposed section of the Joondalup Line, from Butler to Yanchep, along a 14.5-kilometre route. The Yanchep Rail Extension Federal cities and urban infrastructure minister, Alan Tudge, said the Yanchep Rail Extension would support 1,370 jobs during

Upgrades include new lines, stations, and crossings.

construction, to go along with the 1,680 expected from the Thornlie-Cockburn Link. “The Yanchep Rail Extension will cut public transport journey times by at least 30 minutes to and from the city, getting people home sooner and safer,” Tudge said. It’s estimated that by 2031, the ThornlieCockburn Link and Yanchep Rail Extensions will serve a population catchment of 400,000 people. Premier McGowan said the contract packaging both projects, along with the many others signed under the Metronet banner, would make 2020 the year of Metronet projects moving forward. “Next year is shaping up to be a defining year for Metronet construction,” he said. “Perth will have six Metronet projects under construction at once, creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities for local business.” “The start of the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail Extension projects marks the beginning of a new era of rail construction in WA,” WA transport minister Rita Saffioti added. “Along with bringing railcar manufacturing back to WA, our Metronet transformation will initiate ongoing work and training opportunities for locals. “Today’s contract signing is a major step towards giving Perth the public transport system it needs to grow and succeed in the 21st century. Connecting our communities and having efficient public transport links is the backbone of a strong, well-functioning city.” While the governments have budgeted

the two projects at a combined $1.25bn, Downer and CPB Contractors each said their split of the revenue as $423m apiece – for a total of $846m going to the construction alliance itself. Downer managing director, Grant Fenn, said the projects would be added to the company’s history of safely delivering transport projects around the country. “We are pleased that our expertise in the design and construction of heavy rail, tracks, stations and rail bridges has been recognised,” Fenn said. “We look forward to working with our partner, CPB Contractors, to deliver this important and landmark Metronet project for the government and the people of Perth.” The Metronet project is also on the hunt for contractors for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line. The McGowan Government has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the market, calling on companies to design, construct, and commission the new Metronet rail line in Perth’s north-eastern corridor. The main works contract is the biggest of four works packages that will cover the Bayswater Station upgrade and Tonkin Gap projects. The main works contract will include the design, construction, and commissioning of rail track, systems, and five stations. This will include bulk earthworks and retaining, structures, grade separations, roads, and drainage. The two best submissions for the main works will be shortlisted, and contractors



Western Australia

will have to provide a detailed bid indicating how they plan to deliver the project. This RFP process will lead to the main contract being awarded later in 2020, adding to the construction that will already be underway as part of Bayswater Station and Tonkin Gap. The Morley-Ellenbrook Line is a 21km long rail line that will run off the Midland Line at Bayswater, down Tonkin Highway, north of Marshall Road. The line will continue along the western side of Drumpellier Drive and finish in Ellenbrook town centre. Early works for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line started at Bayswater Station in late2019, while construction of the rail tie-in will be part of the Tonkin Gap project. Five stations at Ellenbrook, Whiteman, Malaga, Noranda, and Morley will be built as part of the project, with a sixth station at Bennett Springs East in provision for the future. Premier Mark McGowan said major Metronet infrastructure projects like the Morley-Ellenbrook Line will create thousands of local opportunities, as well as improve public transport across Perth. “This year alone we will have an unprecedented six Metronet projects underway, creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities for local businesses,” McGowan said.

The WA government is searching for contractors for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the RFP for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line marks another milestone for the Metronet project. “I would urge local companies to put their best foot forward and bid for the chance to deliver this key rail line,” said Saffioti. On February 3, the WA government

announced that construction on the Thornlie-Cockburn Link can proceed. “These approvals mark an important step forward for this much anticipated project,” said Saffioti. Concerns included the clearing of native vegetation.

WA businesses receive capability funding West Australian businesses have received funding to prepare to locally deliver

Local businesses are part of Alstom’s railcar manufacturing program.

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rollingstock for the state’s Metronet project. Eight businesses have won funding as part

of the Local Capability Fund (LCF) under the Metronet Railcar Procurement round. Businesses that have received up to $20,000 include refurbishment services provider Frontline Rail, the WA branch of rail transport maintenance and engineering business Chess Engineering, as well as specialist engineering and service providers. The funding can be used by the businesses for capacity-building, planning, improvements to internal infrastructure, equipment, training, and certifications. Under the contract to deliver new rollingstock for the Metronet project, rail car manufacturer Alstom will utilise local businesses for 50 per cent of the contract. When complete, Alstom will produce 246 new C-series railcars and six diesel railcars. The railcars will be built in WA at the new Bellevue Assembly Facility.

Global Rail Australia will provide maintenance services for the state.

TasRail awards track maintenance deal TasRail has awarded a track maintenance contract incorporating project management, site management and supervision for a range of below rail infrastructure components. Global Rail Australia has announced it was awarded the maintenance contract by the Tasmanian operator. The contract, procured by TasRail’s IIP2 Programme Management team, is based on Category 1 Track Defects, and covers daily

track patrolling, rectification and associated works including re-sleepering, re-railing, ballast cleaning and more. The contractor’s Track Construction Division will be providing the service. As part of its social policy, Global Rail Australia said it plans support a local procurement programme, and engage where possible with SME suppliers to source both components and services from businesses in Tasmania.

Global Rail Australia will also provide a 24/7 emergency response service for all track construction works. “This is an important success for our Track Construction Division and is testament to the hard work and support of the entire team,” CEO Ivan Holloway said. “We look forward to maintaining a safe railway for TasRail and becoming a partner of choice through a collaborative, innovative and inclusive approach to project delivery.”



New Zealand

Summer shutdown allows for major repairs Parts of the rail network in New Zealand were shut down for upgrades.

A work blitz which kept some of New Zealand’s major transport networks closed over the summer break is now over and passenger services have returned. A 10-day shutdown, ending on January 5, enabled a crew of more than 200 to perform maintenance work across 15 different sites in Wellington. Foundations were installed for 80 new masts for overhead power lines, some of which were more than 80 years old and needed to be replaced.

Some masts were over 80 years old.

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“Under normal circumstances this work would take 20 weeks to complete, without the network being closed to trains,” a KiwiRail spokesperson said. The crew, comprising KiwiRail staff and contractors, also began work on a new pedestrian underpass at Trentham Station. As part of the work, rail tracks were temporarily removed, signal and power systems disconnected, and major earthworks completed before the tracks and power were reinstated so trains could travel through the

section of line. “We successfully fitted months of essential maintenance activities into just 10 days. “Our staff and contractors operating at these sites completed a huge amount of work and deserve a well-earned break after working through the holiday period,” KiwiRail’s chief operating officer of Capital Projects, David Gordon, said. The work was a resounding success, according to Gordon. “We completed rigorous inspections of the track and overhead equipment and ran test trains through critical sites to ensure the network was safe for trains to be back up and running.” Meanwhile, in Auckland, the track around Mt Eden Station had to be re-aligned for City Rail Link tunnel works to commence. This will also allow for the redevelopment of the station. Work continued in Ōtāhuhu as KiwiRail worked on the rail infrastructure so that Ōtāhuhu Station can facilitate more frequent train services once the City Rail Link opens in 2024. Auckland Transport is operating a special timetable to accommodate this work.

NZ aims to boost passenger numbers to cut carbon emissions.

NZ reveals rail plan, investments If implemented, a draft plan would facilitate a long-term planning and funding model for rail in New Zealand. The NZ government aims to boosting passenger figures and freight share on rail to help achieve the government’s zeroemissions goal by 2050. The draft New Zealand Rail Plan, released by the Ministry of Transport on December 13, outlines the government’s long-term vision and priorities for New Zealand’s national rail network. It stems from the recommendations of the Future of Rail review, a cross-agency project led by the Ministry of Transport working alongside KiwiRail, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, and the Treasury. The plan aims to put in place a sustainable approach to rail funding over the longer-term. Key to this is the Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill, presented to Parliament on December 12. The Bill proposes the implementation of a new planning and funding framework for the heavy rail network owned by KiwiRail. It also proposes funding for the rail network from the National Land Transport Fund and giving rail ministers decision-making rights on funding rail network investments. The Bill would make amendments to the Land Transport Management Act 2003 and the

Land Transport Act 1998, to implement the new framework. It also introduces track user charges. “After years of rail being run into the ground by the previous government, our government is getting rail back on track,” deputy prime minister Winston Peters said. “We need our rail network to be able to cope with New Zealand’s growing freight needs. Freight is expected to increase by 55 per cent by 2042. Freight carried by rail not only reduces wear and tear on our roads, it reduces carbon emissions by 66 per cent.” This year’s federal budget included $1 billion in funding for the national freight rail network, $741 million for the first phase of works to restore a reliable, resilient and safe freight and tourism network. “Passenger rail is also the key to unlocking gridlock in our largest cities and boosting productivity,” transport minister Phil Twyford said. “The more people take the train, the more our roads are freed up for those who have to drive. “Building alternative transport options for people and freight is a vital part of achieving the government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. It also helps make our roads safer by reducing the number of cars and trucks on our roads.”

In January 2020, the New Zealand government announced a range of projects to grow the rail sector. Transport Minister Phil Twyford said $6.8bn is being invested in road, rail, and public transport infrastructure across New Zealand. $1.1bn is part of targeted rail investments aiming to get trucks off the road in the six main growth areas of Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury, and Queenstown. The rail package will include completing the third main rail line to remove a key bottleneck for freight and passenger services, as well as providing additional capacity for the increased services once the City Rail Link is completed. Two new railway stations in Drury Central and Drury West will be funded, and the railway track between Papakura to Pukekohe will be electrified to speed up commutes to the CBD. Twyford said additional Wellington rail upgrades, including in Wairarapa, will make the lines north of the city more reliable to meet a growing demand for rail services. “Our decision to fund these projects by taking advantage of historically low longterm interest rates means this programme will free up funding in the National Land



New Zealand

Transport Fund and Auckland transport budgets.” Twyford said this programme brings forward and funds significant projects, allowing them to be built sooner. “Many of these projects have been talked about for a long time, but we are the first Government to fund them, and we have also made important changes,” The investment announcement follows recent plans to revitalise KiwiRail’s Hillside workshops with demolition of disused and dilapidated buildings on the site currently underway. Last year the government announced a $19.97m investment through the Provincial Growth Fund. This investment allowed KiwiRail to begin redeveloping the Dunedin site. Stephanie Campbell, KiwiRail group general manager property, said Hillside will become a vital part of KiwiRail’s South Island freight and tourism operations.

$1.1 billion will be invested in rail.

“Demolishing some of the existing buildings is the first step in doing this, and contractors have begun work on the site, taking down two vacant workshops. “The next step is to upgrade the main rail workshops on the site, including overhauling

the aging heavy-lift crane and traverser. “The planned improvements for the site will allow us to maintain more locomotives and wagons, as well as undertaking new types of work, such as heavy maintenance and upgrades,” said Campbell.”

Auckland metro rail seeking new operations contractor following network boom As Transdev Auckland’s contract to provide metro rail services comes to an end, Auckland Transport (AT) is seeking industry participants to operate the city’s metro rail passenger network from 2021. Mark Lambert, executive general manager of integrated networks, said AT is now

The city is experiencing high levels of patronage across the rail network.

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undertaking a tendering process for a future rail franchise agreement, with Expressions of Interest (EOIs) now open. “We have the determination to reinvigorate the region’s rail services. With the City Rail Link to be completed in 2024 and the other recent rail upgrades just announced by central government, the future of Auckland rail is very bright,” he said. AT is moving towards a more integrated operating environment for rail services, this will see the incoming rail operator having greater responsibility and control for service delivery for the next phase of rail public transport growth in Auckland. Last year public transport patronage totalled 103.2 million passenger boardings. “We have made great progress in reinvigorating passenger rail in Auckland with the system now carrying 22 million passengers per year, with growth of 5 per cent in the past year,” Lambert said. An AT Metro train services spokesperson said that figure is the highest rate ever of train patronage. The first three of Auckland’s new trains have arrived and are currently being tested and certified, allowing larger trains to run

during the morning and afternoon peak times. The remaining 12 new trains will arrive before the end of the year, bringing the fleet to a total of 72. Peter Lensink, Transdev Auckland’s managing director, said the increasing passenger numbers are also a reflection of the work being put in by the company’s train crew on behalf of AT. “Aucklanders want to get to their destination safely, on time, and in the care of highly-trained and friendly staff,” Lensink said. Mayor Phil Goff says investment in infrastructure and improvements to services are encouraging the strong growth. “Our record investment in transport infrastructure and services has seen public transport patronage grow at more than five times the rate of population,” he said. The current rail operating contract for Auckland metro train services has been in place since 2004. Following the evaluation of EOI responses received, AT will shortlist participants, who will be invited to respond to the RFP process for the Auckland Rail Franchise. The contract is expected to be awarded in February 2021.


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Intermodal Pacific National

It takes a village Getting the community on board for a major transport project can be hard, but Pacific National found the people and businesses of St Marys to be their staunchest advocates. As the January day began to heat up, David Trist OAM, stood by an unused rail siding in St Marys and began peeling back the history of what will soon become Pacific National’s new intermodal freight terminal. “The historical significance of the area goes back to the third governor of Australia, Governor Philip King. He left Australia at the end of his term to go overseas and left his wife and children here. They each received a land grant from the incoming governor and Mrs King got this area and the children the areas around.” Trist is referring to the semi-urban region that lies between Blacktown and Penrith, in

Pacific National project director, Leigh Cook, drove community engagement throughout the consultation period.

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Sydney’s West, which now alters between housing, industrial estates, and grassland. “The King family ended up with 7-8,000 acres of land and as Mrs King came from a place in Britain called Dunheved, she built a homestead, and that name has gone on and this is the Dunheved Business Park.” With this layer of substrata uncovered, Trist proceeds to the more recent use of the site, adjacent to the main Western Line out of Sydney. “In wartime, in 1942-1943, this was taken over by the Commonwealth government and a big munitions factory was built and this rail line was part of the military rail that went

out to Ropes Crossing when they had the munitions factory,” recalls Trist, who served in the armed forces during World War Two. “When WWII concluded in 1945 and the government decided to sell off and within about 15 years there was something like 500 new businesses set up in this area.” What happens next is of great concern to Trist, a lifelong resident of the area, as well as his fellow Rotary Club members, local business owners, and the wider St Marys community. As the sun begins to beat down on the gravel and dirt of the planned St Marys intermodal facility, Trist describes how the area is at a literal and figurative crossroad. “The plans for the future are that there’ll be rail links from here to the Nancy Bird Walton airport, road links to the very rapidly growing suburbs in the north west and to south west centres. So, St Marys is the hub of a lot of this rail and road activity.” As the secretary of the Dunheved Business Park Development Committee, Trist is glad that rather than erasing what is here, Pacific National hope to preserve the history of the site. “The Dunheved name is going to be continued with this industrial estate and I think Pacific National have already shown that they’re interested in local history.” OPENING UP A DIALOGUE According to project director of Pacific National’s proposed freight hub, Leigh Cook, there is a requirement for community engagement in the planning process, and having Trist, as well as half-a-dozen other members of the community at the yet to begin construction site, was a key element of the project from the start. “There is a requirement for industry to communicate,” said Cook, “We have had a comprehensive strategy to engage with community and to be open and transparent. If people raised a concern or an issue, we would address that in person. We wouldn’t just write to them, we would actually meet them in person, show them the proposal and that’s how we got involved with David.” Another attendee that January morning was Emmanuel Stratiotis, whose family own

Pacific National’s proposed intermodal freight terminal has brought the community on-board.

the adjacent petrol station. “I saw the application, I thought the way they designed the routes of the truck movements was a bit of a mistake going in and out of the property,” said Stratiotis. “There’s nothing wrong with the Forrester Road exit and this is what I proposed to them, they should come in from one side and exit from the other.” With a key concern of the local planning authority being the number of truck movements in the immediate vicinity due to the intermodal terminal, Cook and the project team were open to hearing these kinds of ideas from the community.

“There is a requirement for industry to communicate. We have had a comprehensive strategy about engaging with community and to be open and transparent.” Leigh Cook, Pacific National “We basically said look it’s our preferred route, it’s actually 290,000 truck kilometres each year less that way and three less intersections so it was a great idea,” said

Cook. “We built that into our plan and did some further studies in terms of noise, environmental impact, emissions etcetera and that came back the most positive route.”


Intermodal Pacific National

David Trist has been advocating for the history of St Marys to be part of Pacific National’s plans.

“The scientific truck movement studies prove beyond reasonable doubt that we’re taking 8.7 million truck kilometres each year off Sydney’s congested motorways.” Leigh Cook, Pacific National

Emmanuel Stratiotis proposed an alternative truck route, which Pacific National has adopted.

While the back and forth of the planning process is to be expected with any major project, having begun with the community in mind from day one has meant Pacific National could work alongside the St Marys community during the planning stage. “The community has been good,” said Cook. “We did not get one objection from the public and that’s the first time that has happened. We also had stalls at the major shopping centre, we ran advertisements in the local newspaper telling people what we’re doing here, we have a website, a hotline we’d always respond to people and I think that’s what people liked. They’d speak to the project director or the head of corporate communications. We met with all the local politicians from both sides to know what’s going on, it’s been a very positive experience.” A NEW LINK Today, the 10ha site feels poised, awaiting the arrival of earthmoving plant and machinery to begin transforming the site. Cook himself has the bottled-up energy of a front-rower awaiting the call to “engage”. “We’re ready to start construction as soon as we get the development application approved,” he said. Pacific National has been in talks with the local and state governments to turn the site into Sydney’s latest intermodal freight hub. Once complete, the site will provide a

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route for imports to come from Port Botany, 58km away, and then be unloaded of rail shuttles and sent to the ring of distribution centres in St Marys and nearby logistics parks. In the future, the St Marys terminal will be a node in the national network Pacific National is building, particularly with its direct connection to Parkes – located on the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail. As part of the planning process, Pacific National have studied the site’s impact on the traffic flows in, and found that the terminal will alleviate pressures on local and regional roads. “The scientific studies prove beyond reasonable doubt that we’re taking 8.7 million truck kilometres each year off Sydney’s congested motorways,” said Cook. “That has a significant impact on traffic congestion from Port Botany to the Penrith region, let alone the reduction in emissions and carbon footprint.” In managing the distribution of goods both in St Marys and at Port Botany, Pacific National have a partner in freight and logistics provider ACFS, who are also looking to the wider benefits of such a hub. “There’s high unemployment out here and ACFS already have 70-75 per cent of their employees living in the region,” said Cook. “They have to travel to Port Botany each day to pick up their truck, drive out – backwards and forwards – and drive home and so for them they’re working where they live which

means less commuter traffic” With other intermodal terminals located in the south-west of Sydney, the businesses that sprang up in St Marys after the Second World War have been waiting for the freight rail connection that was laid down by the wartime munitions factories. Local business owner Tony Jones knows this as well as most. “This is addressing this lack of freight connections that we’ve suffered for years.” RAIL THE ROUTE TO REVITALISATION St Marys is a long way from the glittering harbour of Sydney, and even under the Greater Sydney Commission’s Plan for a metropolis of three cities, St Marys sits in-between the river city of Parramatta and the Parkland city of Penrith. Stratiotis has been seeing how this location affects the vibrancy of St Marys. “The area is going through a bit of a slump and if you look at the commercial area the shops there are dying a slow death, death by a thousand cuts,” said Stratiotis. He sees the emergence of a new logistics terminal as a way to avoid any further decline. “These things just have to happen so you can have a bit of a hub and get people working here and spending money.” To date, Pacific National have shown its commitment to local industry through a commitment to buying local. In addition, apprenticeships and traineeships will be offered as part of the project.

While the St Marys industrial area is home to manufacturers of building products, steel fabricators, and automotive suppliers, its further growth has been hampered by a lack of access to the Sydney freight network. “We need to have growth in the area, because we need to find some kind of potential and tap into that,” said Stratiotis. “If you don’t utilise this space and get the maximum value or potential use out of it, then you’re not making anything in the area.” Jones concurred, highlighting that such a service will increasingly be essential for Sydney to become the global hub it is projected to be. “Importing is going to stimulate the St Marys economy, simply by being a centre of employment and factories like mine over the road will benefit from the increased activity in the area. I think an Industrial estate that doesn’t have that sort of investment is doomed.” Before even the first sod has been turned, businesses nearby have been expressing interest in accessing a Port Botany shuttle service, and with containers emptied of imports once they reach St Marys, the potential for export is the obvious next step, said Cook. “Our proposed freight hub will be an import terminal, so all the import shipping containers come from Port Botany to St Marys, and are dispatched as is.”

The spill over effects of such activity are what draws the interest of Stratiotis. “It helps all our businesses; it helps my business to have traffic coming through with that area, so the more workers and trucks and activity there is, the more it helps every industry that feeds off them, and you’re hoping that would prop up businesses in the area.” While grand plans abound for the potential of greater Western Sydney, the realities of moving goods throughout an increasingly congested region is keeping those plans on paper. Without intermodal hubs like St Marys, freight leaving the factories of Western Sydney and coming into the distribution centres has to travel by road. The folly of that approach is obvious to Stratiotis. “These tracks that have been here for many years. These weren’t installed yesterday, they’ve been here for 60 years, more, so you’ve got to utilise these things, make them work for you. And if you think trucks are the way of the future, that’s wrong.” As Sydney and Australia grapples with how to move increasingly large volumes of freight, perhaps listening to what those who are at the choke points are saying could provide an outlet. Stratiotis certainly has an opinion. “It’s something that should have been done years ago.”

The local supporters hope that the Pacific National project can re-energise St Marys.


Intermodal CFCLA

CFCLA maintains and services 78 locomotives.

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Meeting the growing demand for intermodal freight CFCL Australia’s Matthew Roberts told Rail Express about the fleet lessor’s flexible approach, and how it’s responding to growing intermodal demand. The growing volume of freight in Australia is presenting both challenges and opportunities for the rail sector. A 50 per cent increase in the decade to 2016 is putting pressure on intermodal, containerised freight, as rail is called upon to shuttle freight from ports to intermodal terminals. In this context, logistics operators are looking to get more goods onto rail, and CFCL Australia (CFCLA) is able to provide a flexible solution, outlines Matthew Roberts, CFCLA rollingstock operations manager. “Most of our wagon fleet is intermodal, and we hire out our wagons to all the rail operators, and some non-rail customers use them and engage other people to haul trains for them.” CFCLA’s 1,700 wagons are supported by 78 locomotives. As a company with over two decades experience in Australia and deep roots in the home of rail freight Chicago, the integrated rail services provider is able to give peace of mind to operators and contractors. “With our intermodal wagons we wet lease, which means we do all the maintenance,” said Roberts. “Like hiring a car, we do everything; the car is registered and we complete the servicing and repairs so all the customer needs to do is phone our 24-hour helpdesk to arrange workshop time that suits their schedule. When someone goes in and bids for a job, they don’t have to hold the wagons for 30 years, they’re only holding them for the period of the contract with their customer.” The recent openings of intermodal terminals, particularly around the Sydney basin and further afield in NSW, have increased the need for CFCLA’s intermodal expertise. “We have been contacted by a broad range of shippers and freight owners who are looking for assistance or advice on getting their freight between terminals, which is port to metro and regional terminals and return, there could even be regional-to-regional opportunities”, Roberts said. When Inland Rail opens in 2025, Roberts also expects demand to increase. Of benefit would be open access terminals along the route.

“When someone goes in and bids for a job, they don’t have to hold the wagons for 30 years, they’re only holding them for the period of the contract with their customer.” Matthew Roberts, CFCLA

“Inland rail will hopefully grow the pie by bringing new freight onto rail. The convenience of the Inland Rail line will encourage people who might currently ship by road to port to use rail instead,” he said. IN-HOUSE CAPABILITIES CFCLA plans to respond to increasing demand by growing its workshop productivity. Located in Goulburn, NSW and at Islington Railway Workshops in Kilburn, South Australia, the two workshops house the knowledge that CFCLA has built up over 22 years in the Australian rail industry. “We’ve have locomotive overhaul facilities, so we can do any sort of service on a locomotive that we own. We own 78 locomotives ourselves and we also work on customer-owned locomotives and can complete a full overhaul should the customer desire,” said Roberts. With freight movements and logistics

The lessor builds on a heritage of manufacturing.


Intermodal CFCLA

CFCLA helps its customers meet changing freight demands.

“We’re looking at a program of cutting some 60foot wagons into 40-foot wagons and that’s to allow for maximum container weight and not running with empty space on the train.” Matthew Roberts, CFCLA

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networks functioning on tight time intervals and schedules, CFCLA enables an operator to keep its cargo moving. “The idea is that customers passing our workshops can drop off and pick up locomotives with ease, so there’s no downtime,” said Roberts. “They can drop off a locomotive, leave it there for a couple of days for servicing, and take one of our locomotives straight out of the workshop and keep going.” This kind of servicing and maintenance also lends itself to finding a smarter solution, based on knowledge of what factors are affecting the sector. “The intermodal sector is picking up, but there’s presently a shortage of 40-foot wagons in the market,” said Roberts. “We’re looking at either modifying or building more 40-foot wagons. We’re looking at a program of cutting some 60-foot wagons into 40-foot wagons and that’s to allow for maximum

container weight and not running with empty space on the train.” By modifying 60-foot wagons to 40 feet, CFCLA is meeting the emerging needs of freight operators needing to fit more containers through congested terminals, such as Port Botany with limited rail infrastructure and minimising train lengths, which reduces costs in things such as access fees. “On a 60-foot wagon you can put two heavy containers, but using up more train length to do it. We’re looking at how to get more 40-foot wagons into the market. They’re at a premium because the sidings at the port are fairly short and that’s a restricting factor; the time it takes to shunt at the ports as trains become longer,” said Roberts. These kinds of modifications go some way to ensuring that rail can continue to move larger volumes of freight, even as port terminals are constrained in siding space.

Regular audits are conducted of CFCLA’s practices and facilities.

“Our own workshops will do the work, our own workshops will make the modifications,” said Roberts.

“A lot of infrastructure owners seem to have built short sidings, around 600 metres long,” said Roberts. “The trains are getting longer and longer but the infrastructure at those places is not.” Already, those freight operators that CFCLA is working with are putting in requests for CFCLA to provide more, shorter wagons, a service that CFCLA can offer because of the flexibility enabled by having its own workshops. “We’ve been working with Crawfords Freight Lines and they have a demand for more 40-foot wagons, and also Bowmans Rail in South Australia, they’ve got a demand for more 40-foot wagons,” highlighted Roberts. “They can still carry the freight on longer wagons, but you can’t put a third maximum loaded container on the wagon making the train longer.” Work for both of these clients will be handled by CFCLA itself.

SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE: THE BACKBONE TO INTERMODAL FREIGHT To continue to responsively meet the demand of rail operators, CFCLA sees an ever-growing need for workshop capabilities. “We’ll have to look at expansion of the workshop sector. If the sector grows, we grow with it, so we will have more intermodal wagons for the increasing traffic,” said Roberts. CFCLA’s workshop staff will bring to intermodal wagons their expertise in a variety of rail operations, highlighted Roberts. “We do all types of rail maintenance work; whether it’s rail equipment that is used out on the line for track maintenance, or passenger cars for the Ghan and Indian Pacific, including wagons and locomotives.” Beyond the range of jobs able to be completed, what distinguishes CFCLA’s workshops is the intensive safety and compliance regime that is applied from the shop floor up to senior management. “On the subject of safety, it goes without saying there is no compromise as without doubt rail is a risk management business,”

said Roberts. “We have a very strong safety management system with the regulator, the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator. They visit and audit us three times a year or more. Customers can come to us, knowing that the regulator visits, checks what we’re doing, visits the workshops, and comes into the office and looks at all our records. We need to demonstrate we are competent at what we do. “Where it does count for maintenance is the shop floor. The guys on the shop floor have access to the documentation because there is quite a bit of documentation on how to change a wheel, how to measure a wheel even, so that everything is recorded and completed properly.” Implementing these standards is an experienced and specialised workforce, many of whom come to CFCLA with a background in rail, and if not are trained by CFCLA to become part of what Roberts described as a “family”. “We try and treat everyone like we would our own family, so our CEO knows people on the shop floor by name and they know her. We talk to each other.” In sum, noted Roberts, “what we really do is simple – we have workshops wagons and locomotives – we just try and do that well”.



Terminals in eastern states are reaching their limits, while networks in SA have the capacity to expand.

The divergent future of intermodal in Australia While increasing freight volumes are putting pressure on infrastructure in some locations, elsewhere limited growth is leading to projects being deferred. Intermodal terminals were described as the “essential building blocks” for overall railbased supply chains, in a 2017 report by PwC, prepared for the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. In Australia, these foundational blocks are spread throughout the country. However, they are under varying amounts of stress. In the eastern states, capacity is becoming strained by increases in freight volume. In South Australia and Western Australia, there is considerable room to grow with the existing infrastructure. These differences were highlighted in recent announcements by state governments, rail, and port operators. In NSW, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is proceeding with works on the Botany Rail Duplication and Cabramatta Loop Projects to increase freight capacity at the congested Port Botany terminal. In January, ARTC shortlisted three contractors for the two projects. For the Botany Rail Duplication project, CPB Contractors, Laing O’Rouke, and John Holland

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are shortlisted. For the Cabramatta Loop Project, ARTC has shortlisted Downer EDI, Fulton Hogan, and John Holland. The formal tender process will be undertaken in 2020 for both projects. ARTC CEO and managing director, John Fullerton, noted that these projects will grow the potential of freight in Sydney. “These major projects aim to improve rail capacity, flexibility and reliability for freight rail customers, encouraging more freight to shift from road to rail, and we are getting on with delivering these massive improvements.” Both projects aim to increase rail capacity and service reliability to and from Port Botany, while increasing capacity across the Sydney freight network. According to NSW Ports’ 30-year Master Plan, 80 per cent of containers that arrive in Port Botany are delivered to sites closer than 40km away. Increasing freight rail frequency will allow for these containers to be moved to industrial and logistics sites in Western and South-Western Sydney. “Improving freight performance at Port Botany is critical for the economic growth

and prosperity of Sydney, NSW and Australia with the amount of container freight handled by the Port set to significantly increase by 77 per cent to 25.5 million tonnes by 2036,” said Fullerton. “These two landmark projects will strike the balance between rail and road by duplicating the remaining single freight rail track section of the Botany Line between Mascot and Botany and constructing a new passing loop on the Southern Sydney Freight Line (SSFL) between Cabramatta Station and Warwick Farm Station to allow for freight trains up to 1300m in length. “Once completed, the Cabramatta Loop Project will allow freight trains travelling in either direction along the Southern Sydney Freight Line to pass each other and provide additional rail freight capacity for the network.” Work on the Sydney freight network will also increase rail’s share of freight, and alleviate congestion on the Sydney road network, highlighted Fullerton. “Each freight train can take up to 54 trucks worth of freight off the road, tackling

congestion and improving the everyday commute in Sydney.” The Port of Melbourne is also looking at the potential to increase the volume of freight moved by rail from the Port to intermodal terminals in Melbourne’s north and west. In late January, the Victorian government improved the Port operator’s plans to invest $125 million for the construction of a new on-dock rail. The Port of Melbourne will introduce a $9.75 per 20-foot equivalent unit charge on imported containers and the funds raised from the charge will directly deliver new

“Improving freight performance at Port Botany is critical for the economic growth and prosperity of Sydney, NSW and Australia.” John Fullteron, ARTC CEO

The movement of containerised freight in Australia varies by state.

sidings and connections for the rail project. Improving rail access to the Port of Melbourne is a legislated condition of its lease, aiming towards a wider push to expand rail freight across Victoria. The Victorian government said in a statement it is “also supporting the Port Rail Shuttle Network connecting freight hubs in Melbourne’s north and west to the port, new intermodal terminals planned at Truganina and Beveridge, new automated signalling for faster rail freight to GeelongPort and improvements in the regional rail freight network”. “On-dock rail will make rail transport more competitive, cut the high cost of the ‘last mile’ and reduce truck congestion at the port gate – a big win for Victorian exporters delivering goods to the Port of Melbourne.” Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said the project will increase the competitiveness of Victorian industry. “The Port of Melbourne is a vital part of our multi-billion dollar export sector and agriculture supply chain and on-dock rail will make its operations more efficient for Victorian exporters – removing congestion at the port gate.” The project is set to be completed by 2023. DIFFERENT ROUTES IN SA In contrast to these announcements, the South Australian government has decided to pull back from a plan to move greater volumes of freight via a new network named GlobeLink. An election promise from the Marshall government, in late January, the government announced that the project

would be terminated, as the business case did not stack up. The proposed project would comprise a road and rail corridor behind the Adelaide Hills, which would connect the National Highway and the rail link from Victoria to Northern Adelaide. The project would have also included an intermodal export park and freight-only airport at Murray Bridge. The SA government commissioned KPMG to produce a business case for the project, which found that rail freight in the corridor would decline. Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll highlighted that investment in rail freight would not be of economic value for the state. “Particularly, with respect to the rail component, the report highlights that limited and declining volumes see limited relative economic benefit for the state,” he said. “Therefore, with rail volumes unlikely to increase sufficiently in the future, the benefits of a new rail corridor are very marginal.” The KPMG report found that the benefit cost ratios for the initial rail corridor is 0.08 – a value of 1 is where a project would break even. The South Australian Freight Council (SAFC) welcomed the decision, with SAFC executive officer, Evan Knapp, highlighting that alternative projects would be a better fit for the state. “The Freight Industry is both pleased and relieved GlobeLink will no longer go ahead, and that instead other options will be explored – we look forward to consultation on the new approach in due course.” The report also suggested the potential of a new intermodal terminal south east of Adelaide, however Knapp pointed out that the terminal could go ahead without government investment. “We understand that there is a proponent looking at it now and there’s no reason why that cannot go ahead,” he said. “Cancelling GlobeLink in no way impacts on that element at all.” Of more benefit to the freight rail sector and the wider community in South Australia, would be the removal of level crossings in the Adelaide metro area, said Knapp. “Currently we’re happy with the freight rail line, we do believe there is room for some work on level crossing removals towards Adelaide, particularly the level crossing on Cross Road, as you can imagine a freight train going through that crossing at a very slow speed and given their lengths of well over a kilometre does take some time and causes dislocation of a major road in South Australia.”


Rolling Stock CRRC

Train manufacturing re-energises Morwell Choosing to set up its manufacturing base in Morwell, Victoria, CTEA demonstrates its ongoing commitment to local rail manufacturing. The town of Morwell, in the Gippsland region of Victoria, is bordered to the north and south by twin coal mines and power stations. The still-operating Yallourn sits to the north of the town, while to the south lies the Hazelwood power station. When the Hazelwood Power Station closed in 2017, the adjoining town, so dominated by the coal mining and power, seemed to be headed for a similar fate, tied to its legacy of 20th century industry. However, the unexpected resurgence of the local manufacturing sector could be what keeps the lights on in the town and the wider Latrobe Valley. In late 2019, the Latrobe Valley Authority announced that direct investment in growing local industries is having an impact, with an extra 10,600 people in employment and a 3.7-percentage point drop in the unemployment rate since November 2016. Alongside wind turbine and electric vehicles, rail is committed to the future of manufacturing in this region of Victoria. In 2017, CRRC Times Electric Australia (CTEA) announced that an assembly facility would be set up in Morwell and provide more than 20 job opportunities to the local community. The facility commenced operations in 2018.

CTEA opened its manufacturing facility in 2018.

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CTEA has committed to the Gippsland region.

The Chinese manufacturer of propulsion and control systems, which established its subsidiary in Australia in 2012, not only committed to being located in the Latrobe valley, but will utilise local expertise and supply chains, said David Wang, commercial

manager at CTEA. “With the establishment of the facility in Morwell in Victoria, CTEA’s operation has covered the whole La Trobe Valley area where Morwell is located. In order to support production in the facility, CTEA has been employing people from surrounding communities and procuring materials from nearby suppliers.” The facility in Morwell comes as part of CTEA’s strategy to promote the transfer of production technology to Australia and New Zealand. To begin, the plant covers 2,500 sqm, but has the capacity to increase to 10,000 sqm as demand picks up. Today, the twodozen strong local workforce is producing critical traction and auxiliary systems for a Melbourne metro project, which aims to have a substantial proportion of the project delivered by locally based businesses. CTEA is the Australian arm of expanding propulsion and control systems provider for rollingstock, Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric (TEC). TEC is a subsidiary of CRRC and with over 60 years of history, was listed

on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2006. The company’s global presence was well established in 2008 with the acquisition of UK-based Dynex Power which designs and manufactures semiconductors and further enhanced in 2015 with the acquistion of another UK-based company SMD Limited which specialises in marine engineering equipment design and manufacture. Today, TEC operates around the globe, with over 8,000 employees and revenues of US$2.41 billion ($3.59bn) in 2018. This global operation brought to Morwell its knowledge of specialised manufacturing management system and insights gained from professional laboratories. For those at the Morwell site, training was provided and coordinated by technical experts from CTEA headquarters. With the successful manufacturing of traction systems in Morwell, CTEA can now claim to be filling a gap in the Australian rail industry and enabling the further growth of local manufacturing of parts and components. According to Wang, having local expertise in this area will allow for other rollingstock projects to source Australian manufactured components. “With the increasing investment from the state government and Australian government, more and more efforts have been focused on improving the efficiency and travel experience of the passenger rail market. Over the next couple of years, more and more passenger rail projects will be announced in different states with sufficient funding and CTEA is fully prepared to participate and support.” This commitment goes beyond the factory walls. In Morwell, CTEA has engaged with the local Indigenous community, and meeting rooms at the site take their names from the region’s Indigenous language, spoken by the Gunai/Kunai people. Furthermore, cultural exchange has occurred through a series of events, including the sponsorship of the local community basketball team, and upcoming donations of books on Chinese culture to the local library. Although a relatively new entrant into the Australian market, CTEA hopes that such an investment signals its long-term engagement with the Australian rail industry by providing a quality product, made in Australia. ENSURING ONSHORE MEANS QUALITY Australian manufacturing has often prided itself on its adoption and incorporation of high safety standards. CTEA has taken this to heart, and in its manufacture of traction systems the company has attempted to lead

Local engagement is a key part of CTEA’s strategy.

“Over the next couple of years, more and more passenger rail projects will be announced in different states with sufficient funding and CTEA is fully prepared to participate and support.” David Wang, CTEA

the market by achieving a SIL2 accreditation. This accreditation level is above that reached by other traction system manufacturers in the market, said Wang. “In order to meet the requirements from the client and provide a reliable solution, CRRC TEC has achieved SIL2 accreditation for several safe-related functions traction devices.”

Also, according to Wang, the SIL2 accreditation sets a new benchmark for traction systems products in Australia. This achievement fits within CTEA’s broader range of products, as one of the truly turnkey providers in the rail market. As rail projects become increasingly more complex, the ability of CTEA to provide not only traction systems but power supply, signalling, and maintenance vehicles as an integrated solution. Furthermore, CTEA cites its relationship and partnership with globallyleading construction companies as enabling the combination of electromechanical and civil expertise. Such an integrated solution can already be seen in overseas markets where CTEA’s services have been integrated into local projects, for example in the Los Angeles Metro project. However, Australia’s unique challenges also require a response that is catered to local conditions and delivered by a highly skilled local workforce. CTEA will continue to pursue this approach in the future, the company said in a statement. “CTEA will continue to invest in Australia to strengthen our capabilities ranging from production, engineering, maintenance and be more innovative with the aim of successful and smooth project delivery to our valued clients. Besides, CTEA will strive to maintain the mutual-trust relationships with the suppliers and also source other supportive local suppliers to ensure that CTEA’s local supply chain can fully support the project delivery.”






1 ST - 3 RD A P RI L 2 02 0 M E LB O U R N E CO N V E N T I ON & E X HI B I T I ON C E N T RE




Standards & Regulation GS1

Thermit Australia’s single use crucible and SKV-elite moulds have GS1 barcoding.

The barcode revolution: Standardising the industry Thermit Australia’s Andrew Carter tells Rail Express how the company is implementing GS1 data standards and why global standards should be part of normal business.

As technological initiatives coordinate the Australian rail sector, the global standards that shape the entire industry will allow organisations to realise significant benefits as they streamline their operations. That’s why the Board of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is encouraging the implementation of GS1 global data standards across the Australasian rail industry to prepare it for its digital future. For Andrew Carter, operations manager at Thermit Australia, suppliers of aluminothermic welding and glued

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insulated joints, it was a no brainer to start implementing GS1 standards and realise the vision towards a national approach of rail technology. Carter has been involved in businesses that supply to the rail industry for the past 20 years. He took on a new role at Thermit Australia five years ago to manage operational interests. Carter has seen the industry evolve over the years, however, the biggest change to digitalisation in operations at the company occurred two years ago, when regional Victorian operator V/Line requested

Thermit to implement GS1 barcoding in 2018. Thermit Australia is one of 24 companies within the global Goldschmidt Thermit Group – a supplier of products and services for railway tracks. In the group’s 120 years of operation, this global standard had never been implemented before. The Australian company was the first business across the international group to adopt GS1 barcoding. Initially looking to implement the standard as a standalone company within the Goldschmidt Thermit Group, the head office in Germany had

A Thermit Australia weld unit packaged for a customer with the GTIN encoded within a GS1 DataMatrix

also been investigating implementing GS1 standards across all of the group companies. MODIFYING AND IMPROVING OPERATION The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is encouraging the industry to act on digital capabilities and automation of operational processes by using GS1 global data standards. The ARA resolved for 2019 to be the year of building rail’s digital capability through a transformational joint initiative with GS1 called Project i-TRACE. The ARA and GS1 established an i-TRACE working group to help support the ambitious goal of rapid adoption of standardising the entire industry. Thermit Australia had already implemented the GS1 standards, spearheading this initiative a whole year before the 2019 Project i-TRACE action plan. Two years before V/Line had discussions with the ARA to adopt GS1 standards, the Victorian government-owned corporation was already having significant issues around tracking critical spares in the inventory of the company’s maintenance groups and project works.

V/Line consulted Thermit Australia 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. V/Line was the first customer that Thermit Australia had that wanted the introduction of GS1 standards, so the company had to undergo operational changes to its welding consumables labelling in order to meet V/Line’s product requests. Carter said implementing a new system meant facing new challenges, but Carter said GS1 Australia assisted Thermit in understanding the practices for standards in the industry and building the system to improve data quality and barcoding. “We knew we needed to adopt a GS1 coding based on a group wide format, so the key aspects of the project were to implement the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)

Thermit Australia is currently working towards glued insulated rail joint (GIRJ) to have GS1 barcoding.

“We knew we needed to adopt a GS1 coding based on a group wide format, so the key aspects of the project were to implement the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) labelling on products for our customers, with V/Line being the first.” Andrew Carter, Thermit

labelling on products for our customers, with V/Line being the first.” Carter said throughout the initial process of modifying operations to comply with GS1 standards, V/Line provided valuable feedback to Thermit, ensuring the company can providing a suitable format that meets their requirements. Thermit Australia had minor modifications during the implementation stage, sending V/Line prototype labels for review before supplying the final GS1 barcoded products, said Carter. “We didn’t have to worry about V/Line coming back to us saying our barcoding wasn’t in line with their expectations as we engaged with GS1 the whole way through the first implementation stage,” he said. Carter said the open collaboration between V/Line and GS1 Australia helped Thermit refine the style and format of labelling, according to the guidelines. “GS1 Australia were of great assistance to help us implement the new barcoding guidelines, they would look at what we produced and then we created prototypes and got valuable feedback from V/line.


Standards & Regulation GS1

A Safestart enviro crucible product with GS1 barcoding.

“The first trial run of product with labels was sent to V/Line at the end of January 2019. Following feedback, some modifications were made and finalised at the end of March 2019 to provide them the efficiency they wanted through product handling,” Carter said. “I’m very happy we’ve been proactive in embracing the GS1 barcoding standards as a supplier to the rail industry. It was an expectation in V/Line’s contract requirements and it potentially is a tender advantage as more requests for GS1 barcoding are rising within the industry. “Once we implemented the barcoding with V/Line we have rolled it out to every customer that continues to request it, expanding our GS1 labelling process to major passenger rail networks including Metro Trains, Sydney Trains, and Queensland Rail.” DRIVING TOWARDS DIGITALISATION Carter said engaging with GS1 standards meant developing IT systems that aligned with the standard’s automating operational procedures. Thermit Australia has two operational sites located in Somersby, NSW and Clontarf in QLD. Somersby was the initial facility using the barcoding standard as the site manufactures and provides welding consumables and implementation. “The existing label generation at Somersby was a standalone system that required the manual transfer of data from our Navision ERP system into the label

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“We decided to make this process more efficient and looked into having the ERP software send data automatically to the label software to generate the new GS1 compliant labels.” Andrew Carter, Thermit

creation software,” Carter said. “We decided to make this process more efficient and looked into having the ERP software send data automatically to the label software to generate the new GS1 compliant labels.” After the company engaged its inhouse and external ERP software consultant, along with label manufacturer Wedderburn, Thermit Australia established that a new label generation software was required. The new software, called Bartender, was compatible with the company’s existing label printing hardware, making the implementation

GS1 Australia Project i-TRACE: Let’s get moving

process smoother, Carter explained. “Our ERP system needed to be customised to allow the capture and transfer of the required data to the Bartender software,” he said. By the end of June 2019, the new GS1 compliant product identification labelling was rolled out, with all customers receiving GTIN labels on the weld kits. Since then, work has been commencing on adding GS1 barcoding to other products, with the first crucibles to be supplied to the market early this year. Carter said the Clontarf site where labels are manufactured to be attached to the rail and installed in track will catch up in time. At Clontarf, the existing product label is an aluminium tag with stamped data, and through the second half of 2019 Thermit investigated options to find a solution to add the GS1 data to the aluminium tag, Carter said. “Dot peening was pursued with a new supplier and samples were sent to GS1 Australia and V/Line for assessment, they provided positive feedback however there were reliability issues reading the tags in different lighting environments. “The readability of the dot peen on the aluminium is not satisfactory for the scanners that are already being used by our customers, so we are currently looking at a alternative materials instead and this work is ongoing.” Carter predicts over time the rail industry will more broadly see the benefits of adopting global standards, staying ahead and being up to speed with current standards has improved the efficiency of operations at Thermit Australia. “This implementation project is driven by the industry and remains a key priority for us, so we will continue to endeavour to meet the requirements of our customers.”







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Safety & Assurance RISSB

RISSB’s Rail Safety Conference is bigger and bolder than ever in 2020 Australia’s premier safety conference for the rail industry, RISSB’s Rail Safety Conference, returns to Sydney in March 2020. The conference is ready to tackle the issues most relevant to today’s transport leaders, stimulate new thinking, and motivate action. It does this while also providing opportunities for delegates to learn from the best. The 2020 event promises greater interactivity, more timely and relevant topics, and sessions that will provide a completely new perspective on how the industry operates. From panel discussions to networking, plenary presentations to technical streams, the new and improved format truly has something for everyone. NEW IN 2020 • A two-day supercharged program featuring Australian and international speakers; • Technical streams focused on major safety issues – track worker safety, data/ information, level crossings, system safety assurance, contractor management, and sharing investigations; • Safety leaders panel on their views on how safe is safe enough, a major presentation by Sue McCarrey, CEO of ONRSR, along with all ONRSR executives on the popular Ask the Regulator panel; and Speakers include Australian and international leaders.

The 2020 conference will feature even more interactivity.

• Site visits to established innovation hubs as well as brownfield project sites. KEYNOTE SPEAKERS • Allan Spence, head of corporate passenger and public safety, Network Rail (UK); and • Captain David Evans - check and training Captain Airbus A380, Qantas. The two keynote speakers join an already impressive speaker line-up of international and national industry leaders, stakeholders, and researchers who will challenge conventional thinking and deliver actionable insights. The speakers line-up also includes: • Sandra Wilson-Ryke, SQE director, Keolis Downer; • Tilo Franz, general manager, operations and maintenance, CMET; • 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; • Simon Vaux, director, digital engineering, Transport for NSW; • Jamie Dean, assurance and improvement manager Country Regional Network, John Holland; • Paul Nheu, systems assurance manager, Digital Systems Program, Transport for NSW; • Nafiseh Esmaeeli, University of Alberta, Canada; • Russell McMullan, general manager – CRL Assurance and Integration, City Rail Link Project NZ; and • Carolyn Walsh, chair, National Transport Commission. When Day One winds down, the conversation will keep flowing into the night. Attendees will exchange ideas, meet presenters, and form business relationships at RISSB’s Rail Safety Conference 2020 dinner. Starting with a guided gallery and exhibition tour, guests will enjoy the museum’s stunning waterfront location on Darling Harbour. While dining, participants will network with peers while taking in the surrounds at the Australian National Maritime Museum. This event is open exclusively to conference delegates. The Rail Safety Conference will be held at Aerial UTS Function Centre in Ultimo on 31 March and 1 April 2020. For more information and to register, go to www.informa.com.au/event/conference/rissbrail-safety-conference/


Industry Associations ARA

In many areas, road and rail must work together to move freight.

ARA represents rail in Productivity Commission Inquiry on National Transport Regulatory Reform In her column, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Caroline Wilkie highlights that in current reform discussions all modes must work together to deliver an integrated freight market.

CEO of the ARA, Caroline Wilkie

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The Productivity Commission is undertaking an inquiry into National Transport Regulatory Reform, the reform that established national regulators and national laws for rail, heavy vehicles, and maritime. Many would be aware that the ARA was a strong advocate for the establishment of a National Rail Safety Regulator. So much so, that the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) recently acknowledged previous ARA CEO, the late Bryan Nye OAM, as both the “agitator” and “architect” of achieving a National Rail Safety Regulator in Australia. Recognising the significance of the inquiry, the ARA has been deeply engaged in the Commission’s process. The inquiry terms of reference direct the

Commission to investigate the economic benefits that have been achieved through the national transport reforms, to examine the implementation of the three national regulators and identify scope for further reforms. To appropriately respond to the terms of reference, the ARA initially ran four member workshops around the country, engaging industry safety and regulation representatives to ensure a detailed first submission was provided to the Commission in mid-2019, outlining the industry’s experiences to date and highlighting further reform opportunities that will benefit rail. Following the release of the Commissions’ substantial draft report, the ARA provided a second submission with

further member input, supporting many of the draft recommendations put forward by the Commission but questioning the Commissions’ view that road and rail freight are not substitutes and seeking clarity around the funding arrangements for the three national regulators. In early February, ARA chair Danny Broad, general manager Emma Woods and public affairs and government relations manager Mal Larsen appeared before the Commission at a hearing in Canberra to discuss the National Transport Regulatory Reforms, the Commissions’ draft report and the ARA’s submissions. The ARA highlighted the social benefits of passenger and freight rail as quantified by Deloitte in the ARA commissioned Value of Rail Report. Turning to the reform that has been achieved, the ARA acknowledged that the establishment of a National Rail Safety Regulator has led to some improvements, most notably, the establishment of a single accreditation process for cross-jurisdictional operators. However, reinforcing the position put forward in each of the ARA submissions, the ARA stressed that more is needed to allow the regulatory reform benefits to be fully realised for industry. The ARA went on to highlight three key issues in response to the Commission’s draft report: 1. Support to address Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) derogations but concern that the industry has been through this process recently without a national outcome; 2. The Report’s claims that road and rail freight cannot be substitutes, and the Report’s disproportionate focus on further road productivity and road access

reforms, without addressing long standing discrepancies in regulation and access charging that give road freight an unfair advantage over rail freight. The ARA believes this is a detrimental outcome for our national freight task that will make it more challenging for rail to compete in the freight market; and 3. Clarity around Government funding of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), and ONRSR. The ARA tabled its support for the Commission’s recommendation that the National Transport Commission (NTC) undertake a review of the derogations from the RSNL but highlighted that while there are more than 80 derogations to the RSNL, the three priority derogations that will provide the greatest benefits for industry if rectified are: 1. A nationally consistent, risk-based approach to drug and alcohol management; 2. A nationally consistent, risk-based approach to fatigue management; and 3. The removal of the mirror law legislation in WA. Noting that ONRSR recently completed reviews into drug and alcohol management and fatigue, both of which were resourceintensive for ONRSR and industry alike, and did not achieve national consistency because the current structure permits state governments to maintain their own arrangements, the ARA supported recommendations for the NTC to review derogations but expressed concerns as to whether this will achieve regulatory consistency. Before delving into the Commissions’

draft report claims that road and rail freight cannot be substitutes, the ARA was overt to state that it does not perpetuate the old-style road versus rail debate but rather, must take a national approach with all modes working together to deliver an integrated freight market. The ARA then cited several examples where road and rail are clear substitutes, such as Inland Rail project, where the ARTC business cases forecasts two million tonnes of agriculture will switch from road to rail and that 200,000 trucks will be taken off roads per annum from 2050; the Darwin to Adelaide rail link which now has 90 per cent of the market share of freight movements; the Melbourne to Perth and Sydney to Perth rail links which both have 80 per cent of the freight market and the Moorebank Intermodal terminal which will provide a direct link to the interstate freight network and Port Botany and once at full operation, will have the capacity to shuttle more than one million shipping containers annually between Port Botany and Moorebank by rail taking about 3,000 heavy truck movements off Sydney’s road network every day. Drawing on these examples, the ARA asserted that road and rail freight are proven substitutes on many routes and trades and should be subject to equal treatment in terms of access pricing and the role of productivity in safety regulation. The ARA also spoke on the issue of fatigue management, productivity opportunities for rail freight, the need to ensure the Australian Transport Safety Bureau provides value by improving the timeliness of its reports, and how to improve interface agreements. The Productivity Commission will finalise its report to deliver to government by April 2020.

Intermodal terminals can take thousands of trucks off roads.


Industry Associations ALC

Rethinking recruitment in rail freight Australian Logistics Council CEO Kirk Connnigham highlights that government and industry have to work together to attract a diverse, young workforce. Australian Logistics Council CEO, Kirk Conningham.

It will not come as news to those involved in freight rail that we need to attract a younger, more diverse talent pool to protect the sustainability of the industry’s workforce. At the same time, we must recognise that this won’t simply happen of its own accord. There is ample research available that indicates the millennial generation of workers is more mobile and more likely to change jobs and industries than any of their forebears. A 2016 survey undertaken by Gallup noted that 21 per cent of millennials had left their job to do something else within the preceding 12 months – a figure three times higher than that for non-millennials. More strikingly, the same research reported that six in ten millennials say they are open to new job opportunities outside their current organisation – again, far higher than figures reported for other cohorts. On the face of it, this should be positive news for the rail transport. However, the fact that younger workers are willing to take a look at other industries will only be of benefit if they like what they see. Regrettably, the freight transport sector suffers from a continuing perception problem around its ability to welcome female participants to its workforce, as well as those from diverse cultural backgrounds. This is a considerable barrier to the attraction and retention of younger workers, who make their career choices (at least in part) on an organisation’s commitment to gender equity and diversity. As well as dealing with diversity issues, the sector’s workforce must also address the fact that the increasing influence of technology across the industry will demand a broader range of skills than may have

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previously been required. Although these efforts must be industryled, there is certainly scope for governments to play a greater role in making certain the transport sector’s workforce is prepared for a changing world. Many industry participants continue to note that the transport sector has not received appropriate levels of attention when it comes to skills and training support, especially in comparison to the hospitality, retail, and human services sectors. As part of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, the Commonwealth Government has undertaken to develop a new Transport Sector Skills Strategy, in partnership with industry. In its pre-Budget submission to the Federal Government, ALC has emphasised that the development of this Strategy must take

particular account of workforce shortages being experienced by freight transport operators, and that the Federal Government must prioritise an increase in training opportunities available to those wishing to enter its workforce. This includes supporting education and awareness campaigns that combat stereotypes about the nature of the industry, and which prioritise the recruitment of new workforce participants from diverse backgrounds. Attracting a younger more diverse workforce for this industry clearly demands a different approach to engaging potential recruits. ALC is committed to playing its part by combatting stereotypes about the industry and highlighting the impact technology and innovation are having and aligning these with the skills and ambitions of new workforce participants.

Overcoming perception problems is key for the future of freight rail.


THERMITMobility implements Siemens implements

Project i-TRACE




“ Implementing i-TRACE in our rail sectors will make railways easier and quicker to maintain, ensuring commuters won’t be disrupted in the event of a failure as the maintainer will have access to the latest and relevant documentation. Stephen Baker Head Product Innovation & Through Life Support Siemens Mobility

Project i-TRACE - Let’s get moving

Talk to us now

GS1 Australia Bonnie Ryan Director Senior Manager Freight, Logistics and Industrial Sectors M 0419 150 266 E bonnie.ryan@gs1au.org

Australasian Railway Association (ARA) 4531 T (02) 6270 4501 E ara@ara.net.au

Subscribe Subscribe to Project i-TRACE news www.gs1au.org/project-itrace-news






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