Steam Australia: fascinating reading for all in transport

What do Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain have in common? They all rode Australia’s steam train network in its heyday—and a new book explores its rich history. In Steam Australia: Locomotives that Galvanised the Nation (NLA Publishing, $39.99), author and former deputy prime minister, Tim Fischer, provides a captivating insight into Australia’s locomotive history, illustrated with over 300 images from the National Library of Australia, many of which have never been seen in print before.
Much more than just a listed history, Mr Fischer offers a compelling account of the great tapestry of transport weaved by the steam locomotive in this country. It details how the nation was galvanised by the economic growth steam trains delivered, and shares the stories behind famous named express trains such as Puffing Billy, Robert Gordon Menzies and The Ghan. It also includes a number of fascinating stories such as Albury’s ‘break of gauge’ platform, the Amiens branch line, the ‘garnishee’ order made against the Spirit of Progress, as well as those of important characters such as C.Y. O’Connor and John Whitton.
Deeply visual and well researched, Steam Australia provides a fascinating insight into locomotives and their important part in shaping Australian history.
The author
Tim Fischer entered state parliament in 1971, switched to federal parliament in 1984, and became Nationals leader in 1990 and deputy prime minister in 1996. He was appointed ambassador to the Holy See in 2008, and is now a successful book author. Since travelling to boarding school by steam and diesel trains five decades ago, Tim has maintained a deep interest in transport issues, serving as the transport officer of 1RAR and on many parliamentary committees relating to rail and general transport issues. More recently, he was on the board of FreightLink and also leads rail tours in Australia, Europe, Russia and South Africa.
The book
Steam Australia is a beautifully presented book, just as you would expect from the National Library of Australia. Whether you prefer to read from cover to cover or open it randomly and browse through it, you are guaranteed to be entertained by the thoroughly researched, authoritatively yet passionately written words and the many, many fascinating historic photographs.
Buy it as a gift or spoil yourself, it is a great book for anyone with the slightest interest in transport. Available at all good bookstores and online at NLA Publishing – https://bookshop.nla.gov.au/book/steam-australia-locomotives-that-galvanised-the-nation.do.

Linx Cargo Care to operate Enfield Intermodal Terminal

Logistics infrastructure company Linx Cargo Care Group has successfully bid to operate the Enfield Intermodal Terminal in Western Sydney, which is currently operated by Aurizon.
Linx will lease and operate the NSW Ports–owned, 15.1-hectare intermodal terminal located 18km from Port Botany, west of Sydney.
Linx will operate a port shuttle service between Enfield and Port Botany to reduce traffic congestion in Sydney, ahead of a forecasted increase of 400 per cent in truck traffic in the Port Botany area by 2030.
“Given the forecast for such a significant increase in road and rail congestion across Sydney over the next decade or so, Linx is committed to working closely with the New South Wales state government to develop an effective and achievable solution that will reduce the impact of increased freight movements across the city,” said Anthony Jones, CEO, Linx Cargo Care Group. “Linx has been building its rail capabilities for the past year in readiness for an opportunity like this.”
He added that part of the solution could include the duplication of the freight rail line between Port Botany and the interstate corridor mainline.
The Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre includes the intermodal terminal, warehousing, and buildings with vacant land for the development of rail-related warehousing, freight forwarding, IMEX (Import and Export), transport and distribution facilities.
“Linx is currently working closely with NSW Ports to support the development of a freight hub on the land surrounding the Enfield Intermodal Terminal,” added Jones.
Marika Calfas, CEO, NSW Ports, said one of NSW Ports’ key objectives is increasing the number of containers moved by rail to and from Port Botany.
“Linx are well placed to expand the intermodal and rail services at the Enfield ILC and grow the rail mode share to and from Australia’s premier port,” she said.

Fremantle Port rail subsidy increased

Western Australia’s McGowan Government has implemented financial incentives to reduce truck congestion and get more freight on rail to Fremantle Port.
As committed prior to the last election, the container rail subsidy increased from $30 to $50 per Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) from 1 January 2018.
The plan aims to reduce truck traffic on roads around Fremantle Port by encouraging more freight on rail.
The Western Australian Government’s integrated plan for freight and trade includes a target to boost rail mode share to 20 per cent – an increase of approximately five per cent.
The subsidy will be paid for all loaded containers that move between North Quay Rail Terminal (NQRT), Forrestfield and Kwinana, as well as for containers filled with hay received by rail at NQRT for export.
“Increasing the rail share for container haulage is one of several initiatives to improve efficiencies at the Inner Harbour to facilitate trade growth until additional port facilities are viable,” the Government said in a statement, adding that others include supporting the development of the Westport: Port and Environs Strategy; development of the broader rail supply chain, including intermodal facilities; and upgrading road infrastructure linkages around the inner harbour.
“The rail service plays a significant role in achieving greater efficiency in the container supply chain as well as improving community amenity and environmental benefits along metropolitan roads that link to Fremantle Port,” said Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“That is why the McGowan Government has delivered on its election commitment to increase the container rail subsidy to encourage more container movements on the port rail service.”

Toll MD shares future leadership strategy

Speaking at ‘Developing the Millennial Generation: The Future of Leadership’, a breakfast event held in Melbourne this week, Michael Byrne, Managing Director of transportation and logistics company Toll Group, called for Australia’s senior leaders to rethink the way they approach millennials, training and future planning.
“We break up people into components and say they’re millennials, X Generation, that ethnicity, that religion,” said Byrne. “What I have learnt is – apart from a few outliers at the extremes – everyone is the same, and everyone wants the same things. We want a little bit better life than our parents, we want a little bit better life for our children, we want to eat a little bit better food, we want to drink a little bit better, we want a nice and safer life.”
Byrne noted that over the next decade, businesses will need to embrace and educate their young, “more technologically savvy” workers, as they will soon be at the helm.
“Millennials will make up 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025 – eight years away,” he said. “If you’re not designing your workplace, product or service around that thinking, you’re failing your business.”
Addressing the senior industry leaders gathered in the room, Byrne advised them to stop focusing solely on priorities for tomorrow, next week and next month, and instead to consider the trajectory of the business over the coming years, and who will support its growth.
“In the next decade, the decisions will start to be made by millennials,” he said. “We need to get with the program and think about that and how we shape our businesses. They are going to have the money, they are going to have the votes, they are going to shape our communities.”
Byrne added that many businesses at present are failing to realise the importance of investing in education. “Education is really one of the most important things we do as leaders,” he said. “We need to be investing in our young people – you can’t afford not to educate, train and develop.
“Education and safety are the two budgets you never cut – in fact, every year you double down because otherwise the pace of the economy, the world economy and GDP will defeat you,” he said. “You can’t hold back the tide.”

Rio Tinto completes Australia's first fully autonomous rail journey

Mining group Rio Tinto is a step closer to its goal of having a network of driverless trains in the Pilbara after undertaking the first fully autonomous rail journey at its Western Australian iron ore operations.
The nearly 100km pilot run was completed without a driver on board, according to Rio, making it the first fully autonomous heavy-haul train journey ever completed in Australia.
The company is aiming to fully commission the AutoHaul driverless train project by late next year.
Rio Tinto, with representatives from the National Rail Safety Regulator, monitored the journey in real time from the company’s operations centre in Perth.
The company said that it regards the pilot run from Wombat Junction to Paraburdoo as a significant step forward toward full commissioning of AutoHaul, which will depend on it meeting safety and acceptance criteria and obtaining regulatory approvals.
Chris Salisbury, CEO – Iron Ore, Rio Tinto, said the pilot run put the company firmly on track to meet its goal of operating the world’s first fully autonomous heavy-haul, long-distance rail network.
“Gains from AutoHaul are already being realised, including reduced variability and increased speed across the network, helping to reduce average cycle times,” he said.
“Rio Tinto is proud to be a leader in innovation and autonomous technology in the global mining industry, which is delivering long-term competitive advantages as we build the mines of the future. New roles are being created to manage our future operations and we are preparing our current workforce for new ways of working to ensure they remain part of our industry.”
Rio Tinto originally launched the driverless trains project in 2012, and had plans to have the program fully installed by 2015.

Boost for Adelaide–Melbourne rail freight productivity

Longer freight trains will soon be able to run between Adelaide and Melbourne thanks to a multimillion-dollar Australian Government rail network upgrade set to increase capacity by up to 20 per cent.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project would allow the accommodation of 1,800-metre trains, improving productivity on the busy line and supporting associated jobs.
“The upgrade will create a 20 per cent increase in productivity for rail operators and remove the need to send additional train services back to Melbourne with empty wagons,” Chester said.
“By investing $15 million in the project, we have created a situation where the maximum length of trains operating from Adelaide to Melbourne can be increased by up to 300 metres The longer, more efficient trains means less congestion for motorists and improved road safety, as well as cutting transport costs.
Chester said Victorian crossing loops at Pyrenees, Murtoa, Pimpinio, Diapur and Dimboola, and South Australia’s Mile End loop, had all been extended to 1,800 metres.
“A 1,800-metre train carries the equivalent of more than 85 B-doubles’ worth of freight that would typically travel by road through South Australia,” he said.
“Moving more freight by rail is crucial to meet the expected doubling of freight demand over the 20 years to 2030 while reducing urban congestion.”
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) delivered the Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project.
Additional track upgrades currently underway in Adelaide as part of the Torrens Junction Rail Project will provide a clear path for 1,800-metre trains all the way from Perth to Melbourne by late 2017.

Rail industry takes National Rail Plan to Parliament

Representatives from the rail industry met with Commonwealth Ministers on 12 September to discuss the need for a National Rail Industry Plan for the benefit of Australia.
“Today is a significant day for the rail industry as we build momentum for a National Rail Industry Plan and meeting with Commonwealth Ministers is our first step,” said Danny Broad, CEO, Australasian Railway Association (ARA).
“The rail industry makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy. Investment in rail by Australian Governments will be in the order of $100 billion through to 2030. We are meeting with Commonwealth Ministers today to say – we need a plan to coordinate this effort and we need your support.
“Through better coordination and long-term certainty, we can ensure the industry is well positioned to take advantage of all the lessons from the past and position ourselves for the future.
“The Commonwealth Government will be investing $89 billion in naval shipbuilding through to 2055. This investment will be supported by a Naval Shipbuilding Plan. Rail’s contribution to Australia is no less than shipbuilding.”
He noted that a combined effort by commonwealth, state and territory government, and industry support, would be required.
The National Rail Industry Plan will need to include five key areas of focus, he shared, including recognising the importance of rail for Australia’s infrastructure development, urban planning and freight movements; harmonising standards, minimising regulations and maximising economies of scale; growing the capabilities of individuals and companies; maximising opportunities for rail companies; and fostering innovation, research and development.

Two spots remain in TCA Tech hub

Positioned at the heart of MEGATRANS2018, Transport Certification Australia’s Telematics Hub has proved a popular component for next year’s show with just two exhibition spaces left.
The multi-modal transport and logistics event will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 10 to 12 May 2018. Spread across a 30,000m2 footprint, the show will distinguish between four distinct functional areas, including; Logistics and Materials Handling, Warehouse & Storage, Infrastructure; Road Transport and Air, Sea & Rail.
The TCA’s Telematics Hub is a core section of the event’s Technology Showcase, which will straddle the entire exhibition floor to reinforce the importance of technological trends such as Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, Intelligent Infrastructure and Intelligent Multimodal Transport Solutions.
With a focus on increasing productivity through intelligent multimodal transport solutions, the TCA Telematics Hub will showcase world-leading technology from telematics specialists such as Teletrac Navman and Tramanco, and demonstrate how Australia leads the way.
 
Find out more on the MEGATRANS2018 website.

Inland Rail to enable modal shift

At the Future of Freight event held by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in Melbourne on 17 July, a panel of logistics industry experts discussed the need for, and barriers to, a modal shift in Australia’s freight transportation network.
John Fullerton, CEO of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), noted that the nation’s much-discussed growing freight task will heavily impact the east coast.
“If you look at Melbourne to Brisbane, currently only 25 per cent of that freight moves by rail, 75 per cent is on road,” he said. “Compare that to Melbourne all the way to Perth, we’ve got 75 per cent of the freight on rail, primarily because we run trains to different schedules, we’re more competitive, we can run trains a lot longer, and we can double stack those trains out of Adelaide.”
The purpose for Inland Rail, he added, will be to complete the network of track between Australia’s capital cities that can carry world class–configured trains. “We’re going to get more freight onto the network, to handle freight for the future and get a better, more productive market share,” he said.
Maurice James, Managing Director of logistics and infrastructure company Qube, added that he sees the Inland Rail project as a great opportunity.
“I think [people] are underestimating the benefits of Inland Rail,” he said, adding that the time is right for the construction of a “huge” intermodal terminal at either end of the rail line, in Melbourne and Brisbane, to drive freight to rail.
“Freight doesn’t just come to rail,” he said. “Freight goes to rail when rail is more efficient against road.
“The opportunity that Melbourne and Victoria have is to identify where is that big intermodal terminal at the end of the Inland Rail [going to go]?”
James noted that Qube will soon discuss ‘fragmented supply chains’ with the management of the Port of Melbourne.
“At its worst, between a container coming into the Port of Melbourne, or any port, and the product ending up on the shelves, there could be anywhere up to 12 or 14 different truck movements,” he said. “People thinking about the product going to the warehouse, then to the store – [they don’t realise] everything behind that container, where the empty container goes, the reuse of the empty as a export commodity, how it gets back to the port.”
Qube’s model, he shared, is to focus on making sure every container coming through Australia is used as efficiently as possible.
“The logistics challenge ahead for the country is quite simple,” he shared. “It’s truck movements to rail head, a rail movement to Brisbane, and a truck movement to a final destination, competing with a truck, door to door.
“[Truck door to door] is quite easy, from a pricing, costing, efficiency perspective, but if you had…an intermodal hub in Melbourne and Brisbane and you’ve effectively [got] rail competing door to door with road, then you’ve got a serious chance of a significant modal shift.”

Brookfield Rail renamed Arc Infrastructure

Western Australian rail infrastructure owner and access provider Brookfield Rail has been renamed Arc Infrastructure.
“It’s an exciting time for our business,” said CEO Paul Larsen. “While we remain a Brookfield company, we’re looking forward to creating our own unique identity as Arc Infrastructure.”
Larsen said that as the long-term manager of the state’s 5,500km freight rail network, Arc Infrastructure has a proven track record of connecting WA with national and global markets.
“As Arc Infrastructure, our new name reflects our commitment to making an even greater contribution to the growth of Western Australia’s economy,” he said. “We have been extremely open with our people throughout the entire process. We asked them what was important to them and this feedback formed the foundations of our new identity.
“We see this as a great opportunity to create our own identity while still having the support of our parent company Brookfield. We look forward to continuing to deliver positive outcomes and contribute to the state as Arc Infrastructure.”
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) noted that it was looking forward to working with Arc Infrastructure.
“WA’s economy is heavily export driven, and the importance of an efficient and safe freight network will only increase in the years ahead, as Australia’s free trade agreements with key international markets boost the state’s export trade,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“[The] ALC looks forward to working closely with Arc Infrastructure on building the state’s freight capacity, which is a crucial aspect of diversifying Western Australia’s economy and capitalising on the benefits of recent free trade agreements.”
“We also look forward to Arc Infrastructure’s continuing engagement on the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy. Close cooperation with the major freight logistics operators in every state and territory is essential to producing a Strategy that meets industry needs and delivers real economic benefits.”
 

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