Bust railway congestion in the budget: ARA

The Australasian Railways Association (ARA) is calling for the Australian government to play a more significant role in supporting and promoting passenger and freight rail infrastructure in the 2019-20 federal budget.
Australia’s population growth is making rail transport an essential component of addressing Australia’s growing public transport and freight needs.
“Cities are increasingly looking to integrated transport systems that link high-capacity metro systems with current rail networks, light rail, regional rail and other transport modes to encourage active and engaged community-based lifestyles,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
“Rail provides the backbone of public transport systems, for our growing cities.
“Similarly, Australia’s growing population requires an increased allocation of goods, adding pressure on our freight networks. Rail freight provides a cost-effective, safe and environmentally sound solution for reducing congestion from heavy vehicles on urban, regional and interstate roads. Rail freight will need to play a greater role in the future to meet Australia’s increasing freight task and to maintain our international competitiveness,” he concluded.
The ARA’s National Rail Industry Plan for the Benefit of Australia presents a compelling case for amore collaborative approach between Australian governments and the rail industry to overcome inefficiencies inherent in our federal system.
Specific programs that have been identified in the ARA’s submission for funding include

  1. Resourcing the Australian and New Zealand Industry Pipeline to provide a comprehensive list of rail projects to allow better industry planning for new rail infrastructure and rolling stock.
  2. Supporting a high-level task force of the rail industry, governments and education providers to address critical skilled labour shortages and provide ‘fit-for-purpose’ training in rail construction, manufacturing, maintenance and operations.
  3. Providing appropriate resources at the federal level to progress and implement measures contained in the final National Freight and Supply Chain strategy, including both infrastructure upgrades and the strengthening of regulatory frameworks.
  4. Implementing independent price regulation of heavy vehicle charges. For too long we have had unequal charging and regulatory systems, placing rail at an unfair competitive disadvantage.
  5. Support passenger rail operators to comply with Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT).
  6. Tackling urban congestion by allowing Australians to salary sacrifice the purchase of public transport tickets, positioning public transport as a viable alternative to car travel.
  7. Taking steps to preserve and secure the corridor of land required to establish a high-speed rail link between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The ARA also provided the government with a list of rail optimisation projects to consider, where existing rail services could be enhanced.
The full submission can be found here.

ARA hails Federal Budget rail focus

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has spoken in support of the $20 billion investment in rail announced by the Federal Government’s in the 2017–2018 Budget.
“The Government’s renewed commitment to rail, including through its $10 billion National Rail Program for urban and regional passenger rail, underscores its importance to Australia and is welcomed by the rail industry,” said Danny Broad, CEO, ARA.
“ARA congratulates the Government’s strong funding commitment to rail in the 2017-2018 budget to boost economic activity and improve the liveability of our cities.”
In particular, Broad applauded the Government’s commitment to Inland Rail through its $8.4 billion equity injection to the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
“The Government’s $8.4 billion commitment to Inland Rail is critical to supporting the delivery of this iconic national freight project,” he said.
“Linking Victoria and regional NSW with Queensland will help get freight off the road and onto rail, address rising congestion in Sydney and will deliver thousands of jobs, many in regional Australia.
“This project will deliver a strong economic contribution to the nation and will enhance productivity and increase consumer freight options.”
Broad noted that the Government’s intention for a public private partnership to progress the Toowoomba to Kagaru tunnel section would the most challenging aspect of the project.
“Whist this capital injection to the ARTC is welcomed, the fact remains that significant work needs to occur to ensure the Inland Rail project comes to fruition,” said Broad. “This includes maximising the economic benefits of this project by delivering efficient linkages that directly connect the railway line to the Port of Melbourne and Port Brisbane.”

New bridges to futureproof Inland Rail

The Federal Government has announced that two new railway bridges will be constructed in regional NSW, along the route of the Inland Rail project.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed the news as a sign of the Government’s continuing commitment to the project.
“This announcement is further evidence that we are making progress in the construction of Inland Rail,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“Confirmation that two new bridges are to be constructed between Parkes and Narromine shows that the Federal Government is essentially futureproofing sections of existing rail track to accommodate the larger trains the Inland Rail line will facilitate,” he added.
“Replacing timber bridges at Tomingley West and Narwonah with reinforced concrete structures is an important step in making certain existing rail infrastructure will support the delivery of Inland Rail,” he said.
Kilgariff added that the Inland Rail project will feature prominently in the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities, which is now under way, and from which the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy will be developed.
“The ALC considers that a port-to-port rail freight link from Melbourne to Brisbane should form the backbone of this Strategy,” he said. “As well as the obvious benefits to the ports in those two cities, there are substantial economic benefits to be realised in key regional centres along the route.
“With the nation’s freight task set to grow by 26% over the next decade according to the National Transport Commission’s Who Moves What Where report, it’s essential that freight operators have access to a supply chain that is both safe and efficient.
“Inland Rail will play a critical part in achieving that objective by allowing more efficient movement of freight, reducing congestion on our key road transport corridors, and creating employment opportunities in regional Victoria, NSW and Queensland.”

Automated bearing delivers railway haulage service life

An automated journal bearing polishing machine that delivers superior raceway finishes and extended service life in railway journal bearings produced using innovative new processes has been introduced by Bearing Engineering Services.
In a first for the Australian bearing reconditioning industry, BES recently finalised commissioning of its Automated Journal Bearing Polishing Machine, capable of handling all metric and AAR sizes, says BES Railway and Reconditioning Manager, Mr John Tawadros.
The new machine, designed in-house and built by local contractors, enables BES to deliver bearing raceway quality levels closer to that of new, increasing whole-of-lifespan efficiencies for BES clients including those in light and heavy passenger rail, as well as freight and heavy haul operations throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific. BES customers also extensively cover heavy haulage rail including iron ore, coal and other mining industries, bulk handling, sugar, transport terminal and port loading infrastructure users of railway equipment.
Benefits of the new automated machinery include:
•    Superior raceway finish as compared to traditional manual polishing methods.
•    Improved quality control through greater accuracy and consistency.
•    Improved service life, reducing bearing life cycle costs.
•    Improved WHS+E outcomes to staff, with reduced manual handling and reduced intensive repetitive manual operations.
•    Better environmental outcomes, with improved dust and contamination controls and collection.
“By introducing this equipment into our system, it allows our highly trained and skilled staff to spend more time focused on the critical areas of the reconditioning process that deliver higher value and returns to our clients,” says Mr Tawadros.
“Maximising our time where it is needed most, not only further refines and improves our ability to make decisions of benefit to clients, but give our staff a greater sense of focus and purpose. Our inspectors can utilise their skills and experience in a far more proactive manner as compared to the manually intensive methodologies of the past.”
BES and Schaeffler Australia are part of the global Schaeffler Group, a world leader in rolling bearing design and manufacturing with around 84,000 employees in approximately 170 locations in 50 countries. The company’s commitment to Australian industry includes locally based rolling bearing assessment and reconditioning services that bring Schaeffler’s extensive skills and technology to Australian industry. BES operates a high technology bearing reconditioning and services facility in Auburn, Sydney, where it reconditions rolling bearings from all bearing manufacturers, providing industrial and railway solutions that combine local knowledge and service with world-leading technology.
“Our new journal bearing polishing machine is a great example of BES-Schaeffler looking to the future, taking advantage of ever-improving technologies, combining them with our local knowledge and implementing these into deliverable actions,” says Mr Tawadros.
“Our objective with this new technology and with the broad range of our services, is to deliver reconditioned bearing solutions in closer alignment to the standards of new-build bearings.
“Providing further evidence of the level of technical and commercial capabilities BES brings to our markets, we are delighted to have designed and commissioned this unit in-house and to have had it built utilising local contractors.
“We are proud yet again, to introduce innovative world leading technology and processes to our clients throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific.”

Terrapinn: Over 1,000 rail leaders head to Hong Kong for Asia pacific rail 2016

Asia's rail industry is poised for serious growth. With over 6,500km of rail projects currently planned or announced in Asia, billions are being invested into the region.

But there are still challenges to overcome –we need infrastructure upgrades, we need to improve cost management of these mega projects, and of course, we need to deliver on passengers' increasing expectations as we move into the age of the smart digital railway.

Returning for the 18th year in Hong Kong this March 2016, Asia Pacific Rail will bring rail leaders from across the globe together under one roof to tackle these challenges head on. In 2016, the event will be bigger and better than ever before, with more content, more speakers, more networking, a larger exhibition and over 1,000 attendees. 

The two day conference will feature exciting innovations in metro, high-speed rail, mainline passenger and freight, all focused on the theme of enhancing operational excellence and passenger experience to improve your bottom line.

Sharing their insights are senior leaders from MTR, London Underground, Auckland Transport, China Railways, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Hyperloop Technologies, Myanmar Railways, Heathrow Express, SMRT Corporation, Seoul Line 9 Operation, State Railway of Thailand, Sydney Trains, Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation.

Alongside the senior level conference, the exhbition will feature over 35 exhibitors, 20 technical seminar presentations and up to 1,000 attendees walking the floor. Product demonstrations, networking and seminar presentations will be providing visitors with a one-stop shop gaining insights and updates on the industry.

Xstrata coal builds new rail line

Xstrata has built a new section of railway in the Southern Highlands after concerns were raised that its mining operations could damage existing tunnels.

The new 1.8 kilometre section of rail snakes around the Redbank Tunnel on the Southern Highlands between Tahmoor and Picton, The ABC reported.

Xstrata Coal said mining activity at Tahmoor could have compromised the tunnel, so a relocation was proposed to go around it.

The project received approval in April and construction began shortly after.

The new section of the track was opened on the weekend, while the sealing of the old tunnel with be completed next year.

Xstrata own and operate the Tahmoor underground mine near Sydney, which primarily produces hard coking coal.

According to the company's website, production at the mine in 2011 reached 1,721 kt.

Image: ABC

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