2021 Program

PRE-EVENT | Monday 29 November

7:00am – 7:00pm

Exhibitor bump-in

4:00pm – 6:00pm

Welcome Reception – Proudly sponsored by Shoal

DAY ONE | Tuesday 30 November

8:00am – 7:30pm

All day exhibition

9:00am – 1:00pm

Morning plenary

Plenary Keynote – Saul Eslake

As the ANZ’s chief ‘number-cruncher’ for nearly 14 years and with over 25 years as an economist in the Australian financial markets, Saul Eslake has a knack for explaining economics in terms mere mortals can understand.
Saul will provide an economic overview and provide a forecast of the future trends impacting industry.

10:00am – 5:00pm

Innovation Hub 

2:00pm – 5:30pm

Afternoon concurrent streams

How employee and customer experience are unequivocally linked and how to leverage that connection for better network outcomes

Yvette Mihelic, Director Customer Experience Rail, John Holland
Jarrod McCorkell, General Manager, Rail People, John Holland

Leading organisations are starting to recognise the connection between employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX). This presentation shares John Holland’s research which was uncovered four ways that EX and CX are more connected than you might think.

  1. Right Feedback at Right Time to Right People
  2. What’s in a Name? Loyalty, for One
  3. Your Land is My Land
  4. Holistic Experience is Worth Its Weight in Gold

Managing trespassers on Melbourne’s rail network – A collaboration between Metro Trains Melbourne and Victoria Police

Adrian Rowland, General Manager Safety Operations, Metro Trains Melbourne

The safety of our people and our passengers is our number one priority. Metro Trains Melbourne works collaboratively with the Department of Transport, TrackSAFE, Victoria Police and community organisations to reduce the occurrence and impact of fatalities on the network. This presentation talks to the range of initiatives Metro Trains Melbourne delivers to manage the impact of trespassers on the rail network. Along with a range of other initiatives, Metro Trains Melbourne has developed an innovative digital training approach with Victoria Police which provides Victoria Police with the essential information and tools they need to help us return our rail services as quickly as possible following a trespasser incident.

Long-term planning of rail networks: could some best practices from Switzerland apply to Australia?

Julien Morizet, Principal Rail Operations and Planning Consultant, WSP

One of the main challenges in long-term railways planning is to imagine how networks should be shaped in 20 to 30 years and how they should operate to support their nations’ future demand. Based on practical experience as a rail transport planner in both countries, with railway companies and engineering consultancies, this presentation highlights what appears to be Switzerland’s best practices in their rail networks’ long-term planning, and which may be applicable to Australia.

Managing rail operations during times of network transformation

Brad Parsons, Program Disruptions and Passenger Experience Manager, Metro Trains Melbourne
Tarik Kiki, LXRP Disruption Planning Manager, Metro Trains Melbourne

Metro Trains Melbourne is working with government agencies, tier one contractors and alliance partners to deliver a substantial program of works. Victoria’s Big Build is reshaping the existing network and when coupled with ongoing maintenance and renewals, franchisee works and the stations stimulus package, there’s a lot happening on the rail network.

So how does a railway manage daily operations during a time of such unprecedented change? How does a railway keep the city moving while accommodating such a transformative program of works?

This presentation shares how Metro Trains Melbourne is tackling the challenge from multiple angles.

  • Safety
  • Occupation planning
  • Passenger journeys
  • Passenger communications and engagement
  • Technology

Stay tuned for further updates

Rapid recovery in heavy overhauls: Turning around a moribund program

Kieran Navin, Principal Program Manager, Yarra Trams

This session presents a case study of the Heavy Overhauls program at Yarra Trams and an overview of the various methodologies used in its delivery. We discuss the successes and setbacks experienced by the team and review how the systems we used can be applied to any major maintenance program. It closes with the next steps planned for continued development of the program.

Innovative real-time condition monitoring technology to improve benchmark railway operations

Tony Lee, Operations Director, MTR Corporation Limited
Ravi Ravitharan, Director, Monash Institute of Railway Technology

The presentation outlines the benefits of these real-time condition monitoring systems and how they have benefited MTR Hong Kong to further improve its operations, including safety, reliability, efficiency, and proactive evidence-based maintenance.

In 2017, collaborating with Monash Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) basing on a co-creative approach, MTR Hong Kong implemented the IRV technology (also called Smart Passenger Instrumented Train “SPIRT” technology) in one of its railway lines to continuously monitor track condition, vehicle performance and ride comfort, providing near real-time feedback on the status of the network. In 2019, the SPIRT system was further enhanced by IRT with the first Dynamic Track Gauge Measurement System (DTGMS) to continuously measure dynamic track gauge on the East Rail Line (EAL) during traffic hours.
Using the SPIRT and DTGMS systems has been a game-changer for MTR Hong Kong train operations. MTR Hong Kong has now implemented seven of these systems in its network and may increase this further in the near future.

Sustainable asset management: Decommissioning end-of-life railway rollingstock

Himanshu Jindal, Engineering Manager Bids, Downer

Rollingstock coaches that are no longer in operation or approaching end-of-life need to be decommissioned. Using a recent case study, this presentation details Downer’s guiding principles to tackle the challenges of sustainable development using Asset Management principles: Supporting the immediate need to remove from the rail network through the development of an ecologically virtuous fleet decommissioning process (removal of all asbestos and maximum recycling of all materials used); the economy, by ensuring that processes are aligned with the regulatory requirements and Environment Protection Act; and society, by local job creation and working with local supply chains.

Stay tuned for further updates

Development and implementation of Melbourne’s Port Rail Shuttle Network in an integrated logistics network

Andrew Newman, Director, Ports, Freight and Intermodal, Freight Victoria
Steve Manders, Manager, Logistics and Supply Chain Consulting, Jacobs

The Port of Melbourne is Australia’s largest international container port, handling just over three million TEU per annum, or around one third of Australia’s containerised imports and exports. Nearly all the landside movements of shipping containers at the Port of Melbourne are undertaken by road, with rail holding less than 10% share.

This presentation reports on a set of major planning, development and implementation projects undertaken by Freight Victoria and assisted by Jacobs and others to establish an integrated port container transport network. It sets out how the initial scope of central port rail terminals plus an initial three outer metropolitan terminals, linked by coordinated rail services currently under implementation development, can be broadened into an integrated container logistics solution. This includes interstate rail connections, purpose designed rollingstock and twenty first century terminal infrastructure.

Enabling the transformation of heavy haul rail through digital twin technology

Gerard Francis, Global Head of Real Assets, Willow

A leading Australian and global resources company has partnered with Willow, a local Australian startup, on a global first to implement a digital twin on their heavy haul network in Western Australia. This presentation will explore how digitally enabling this network has allowed this organisation to optimise availability and enabled a more proactive approach to rail asset management.

Stay tuned for further updates

The correlation between grinding and surface initiated defects

Carlos Valente, Rail Asset Integrity Leader, Queensland Rail

Grinding is a fundamental maintenance requirement to any efficient world class railway. It is of utmost importance for the lifecycle asset management of the rail to find the balance between metal removal and the benefits expected.

With the objective to better understand grinding process issues to develop solutions and apply the results to achieve mutual benefits, this presentation provides a deeper investigation into the metallurgical issue of friction induced martensite (FIM). Results from new field experiments designed to demonstrate the conditions necessary to create friction induced martensite while grinding, the parameters used and the metallurgical laboratory results will be presented.

Circular economy in track infrastructure

Rhidian Howells, Senior Engineer – Track Lead, Arup
Phil Brunson, Senior Engineer, Arup

This paper highlights the process undertaken by Arup and Western Program Alliance (WPA) to implement the innovative product and explore future opportunities to deploy products containing recycled content, such as recycled plastic sleepers. We share the journey WPA took, including research of international best practice, manufacturers that are passionate about their products, the technical challenges faced through its initial application as a timber replacement and the scepticism of its abilities in long term performance under heavy and frequent traffic, to the testing and approvals required to ensure this product could become more than just an idea.

Leniter floating rail system as a cost-effective alternative to floating slab track

Terry Cooper, Managing Director, Trelleborg Applied Technologies

This presentation reviews the current advances in floating slab track (FST) systems and analyses the advantages, in terms of reported reduction in noise, and disadvantages in terms of cost, installation complexity, and maintenance of this approach, before reviewing the alternatives to FST including the new Leniter Floating Rail System. Using the data from recent installations in Parramatta, Sydney as a case study, the session will demonstrate the real-world efficacy of this innovation.

Stay tuned for further updates

Interoperability between new network control systems. Is this the biggest challenge currently facing our national rail network, and how can we possibly resolve it?

Bill Palazzi, Director, PalazziRail

The paper sets out the challenge ahead and will describe the steps to address this challenge to ensure that efficiency and safety can be maximised across the national rail network. This includes;

  • Defining the network that requires interoperability, including some of the specific challenges
  • Setting out the vision and desirable outcomes: why we must ensure interoperability of these new systems; challenges for above and below rail entities if interoperability is not achieved.
  • Technical options to achieve interoperability
  • The safety framework: how does taking a national view differ from taking a network-specific view. What might this mean for discharging obligations under current legislation, where networks are obliged to eliminate safety risks on their own networks “So Far As Is Reasonably Practicable” (SFAIRP).
  • The challenges of funding: who benefits from interoperability, and how can costs be aligned with benefit.
  • Governance requirements: what are the gaps to be fitted, how can a focus on interoperability be ensured in current and future systems planning.
  • Timing: when do we need solutions in place?

Setting speeds for ATO – How many metros have thrown away potential operational performance

Gabriel McGowan, Rail Business Leader NSW & ACT, Arup

This presentation will explore:

  • Consolidating the margins of safety applied by individual disciplines/systems rather than sequentially applying each margin on top of the previous one.
  • Recognising that the maximum line speeds provided by track designers inherently have a safety margin applied and are well below the speeds required to bring about hazards such as derailment.
  • Reviewing the impact of higher line speeds on comfort factors / maintenance / derailment risk.
  • Establishing a process to review the likelihood and magnitude of over speeding due to system failure, and/or poor adhesion or braking, and then determine the actual consequence of this along the line rather than taking a blanket approach.
  • The time savings made through these initiatives will benefit customers without compromising safety – something that should be of interest to operators of ATO railways, both retro-fitted and new-build.

On the value of clean railway ballast

Dr James Hyslip, Chief Engineer, Loram Technologies

This paper presents a deep consideration of the ballast component of the railway track structure, including the technical and economic aspects of ballast cleanliness. A new approach for defining ballast life-cycle costs (LCC) is presented that incorporates actual track settlement and ballast fouling (fines contamination) condition for over 200 revenue-service locations in North America, including both mixed passenger and freight lines. The approach uses laboratory results, histories of precisely aligned track geometry records and ballast condition information as measured by ground penetrating radar (GPR).

The paper discusses the relationship between traffic loading, track settlement, track geometry roughness and the ballast condition. The economics of ballast renewal are explored, including the role of shoulder ballast cleaning as a maintenance activity for extending undercutting renewal cycles. Economic modeling results are presented that show a significant Present Value cost savings by maintaining clean levels of ballast fouling. The cost savings are realized through the reduction in track surfacing maintenance and by delaying expensive ballast undercutting renewal.

Implementing CBTC in a brownfields site: A first for Melbourne and Australia

Simon MacMull, Integration Manager, Rail Systems Alliance
Ferry Ferry, Initial Implementation Project Manager, Rail Systems Alliance

The Metro Tunnel’s Rail Systems Alliance (RSA) is delivering on its commitment to deploy Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) systems onto an existing rail network in Melbourne. RSA is one of the three delivery packages for the new Metro Tunnel project – creating twin 9km tunnels beneath the heart of Melbourne and building five new underground stations – connecting the booming Cranbourne/Pakenham and Sunbury lines with the new tunnel.

For many reasons, the implementation of CBTC systems into brownfields environments has traditionally been viewed as challenging. This session will share the innovations and valuable lessons and knowledge of Melbourne’s recently upgraded Mernda line.

Addressing a shift in network priorities when deploying new train control technologies

James Frost, Senior Consultant, PalazziRail

The value of investing in modern technologies for managing and controlling rail traffic (such as ETCS, CBTC and ATMS) is widely recognized and railways across Australia are currently in the early stages of deployment whilst planning and funding the next steps. These programs extend over many years and were established prior to the events of 2020/21 which have seen a global shift in how rail networks are used by passengers and freight. This has generated uncertainty for understanding future usage and created the need to re-think the prioritisation for deployment of these new technologies.

The paper and presentation addresses how these questions and challenges can be addressed to provide confidence in the continuing programs to deliver new systems and also how to respond to the valid concerns that may be raised by stakeholders and to re-shape a program to address changing network needs.

Stay tuned for further updates

5:30pm – 7:30pm

DAY TWO | Wednesday 1 December

8:00am – 7:30pm

All day exhibition

9:00am – 1:00pm

Morning plenary

10:00am – 5:00pm

Innovation Hub 

2:00pm – 5:30pm

Afternoon concurrent streams

6:30pm – 11:00pm, RTAA Yellow Dinner

Proudly sponsored by Alstom

Claire Hooper, MC – RTAA Yellow Dinner

Highly anticipated every second year, the RTAA Yellow Dinner is a unique social gathering and we’re delighted to have Claire Hooper accept the challenge of captivating the audience during the industry’s largest talkfest. Claire has been a regular on your screens and she will bring her engaging and wonderfully inventive skills to the RTAA Yellow Dinner stage.

Dreamworld Accident Inquiry: A reflection for the rail industry

Hannah Seater, Senior Risk & Assurance Advisor, Metro Trains Melbourne

The Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) places several requirements on our industry including (but not limited to) applying what we know or ought reasonably to know. This means we should broaden our focus beyond the immediate and should also look outside our own industry. The presentation aims to provide a summary of the key findings of the Dreamworld Accident Inquiry and relevancy to the rail industry. Investigation findings can be used in a variety of ways to initiate lessons learned or reflections of current practices and the easier the information is to understand, the easier it can be applied.

Stay tuned for further updates

Getting Australasia ready for hydrogen in rail

Jane Gillespie, Senior Consultant, Arup

By 2023, 70% of the world’s GDP will be generated from countries with legislation to be net zero carbon by 2050. Hydrogen fuelled rolling stock is an exciting development in the future of zero emission transport. The World Energy Council states that hydrogen-powered locomotives could replace 20 per cent of diesel locomotives globally by 2040. This presentation covers the considerations for evaluating performance of hydrogen against other forms of traction, sustainable sources of hydrogen and their production, infrastructure life cycle costs and safety regulations.

Can hydrogen replace diesel?

Frank Szanto, Design Authority, Downer

While it has already been demonstrated that hydrogen power is a possible solution to replace the Diesel Multiple Units (DMU), there are many obstacles to its widespread adoption. This presentation discusses these obstacles and currently available solutions. These include the various technologies for onboard hydrogen storage, including compressed gas, hydrides and ammonia. The production of hydrogen and its distribution to refuelling points and the methods of refuelling are considered. And finally, the prospects for the use of hydrogen in Australia, for regional and long-distance passenger trains, and for freight trains in various types of service, are discussed.

Hydrogen trains: Driving sustainability and underpinning the rail industry’s future

Alan de Reuck, Director Strategic Projects, Alstom

Rail has a key part to play in reducing carbon emissions. We as an industry are the least polluting means of moving people and freight in large quantities, with hydrogen as a key enabler to decarbonizing rail networks and reducing reliance on fossil fuels such as diesel. Following a number of years of development, Alstom delivered the first fully homologated hydrogen fuelled trains, successfully introduced into the German rail network in 2018 and have, since introduction been running safely and reliably in full passenger service covering tens of thousands of kilometres with a very high technical availability of the trains. As public transport globally is a major present contributor to CO2 emissions, these transformative hydrogen fuelled trains, with pure steam emissions presents great opportunities to replace diesel and diesel electric powered trains, significantly reducing the CO2 emissions of this vital form of transport.

Stay tuned for further updates

How to set and achieve a net zero carbon target for moving people and goods on Australia’s railways

Renene Windsor, Energy Leader, NSW & ACT, Aurecon

Australia’s transport emissions continue to rise. A greater focus on sustainability in the movement of people, resources and commodities will provide a competitive advantage in today’s global economy for those countries leading the race to decarbonise their railways.
Responding to the risks created by climate change is increasingly driving organisational and government strategy. While multiple technologies, platforms and pathways are evolving in parallel to decarbonise, all require an integrated approach across Australia’s rail passenger and freight networks, the wider transport sector and the energy sector. This presentation provides an overview of the pathways and how thinking beyond rail assets and infrastructure could hold the key for achieving net zero carbon for entire rail operations.

From risks to resilience: Black swan and climate risks and adaptation in the rail sector

Craig Clifton, Global Technology Leader, Resilience and Climate Change, Jacobs

It’s time to think differently about the future – about how we respond to unanticipated events like COVID-19 and how we prepare for and mitigate the natural, societal and economic risks associated with climate change and other natural and human factor hazards in the rail sector. When individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems are resilient, they’re able to withstand, recover quickly, learn and adapt – almost regardless of the adversities they experience.

This session examines risk and resilience in the rail sector in the context of climate change and “black swan” events. Drawing on case studies based on our Australian and international rail sector experience, it will explore the range of climate and human factor risks and describe a holistic approach for addressing these that is applicable to rail assets.

Case studies include:

  • Western Australia Public Transport Authority (PTA)/METRONET Office Climate Change Network Vulnerability and Risk Assessment
  • Rail Projects Victoria and Suburban Rail Loop Authority Climate Resilience Planning
  • Network Rail Climate Vulnerability Assessment, United Kingdom
  • Sydney Metro project

Stay tuned for further updates

AS7501 and compliance certification – not just ticking boxes

Michael Horgan, Principal Consultant, SNC-Lavalin Atkins

There have been many large rolling stock acquisition projects in Australia in recent years. Since the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) released AS7501 especially, the use of Independent Certification has become part of the rolling stock acquisition project compliance landscape. It is important that independent certification is not seen as a box ticking exercise. This presentation considers how AS7501 supports the rolling stock registration processes. It will also highlight the additional value that an organisation can obtain by introducing AS7501 independent certification. AS7501 is not just a box ticking exercise. It has the potential to be an integral part of the risk management process and improve the outcomes of rail acquisition projects.

Internet of things? No internet of trains!

Mark Kraeling, Solutions Architect, Wabtec

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a buzzword tossed around the technology space for the past four years. Progress has been made in personal devices, position monitoring, and remote sensor management. IoT has made a bit of a slower integration into the transportation sector, with a notable exception in air transportation. This presentation shifts the IoT focus squarely on the railroad industry, with the moniker “Internet of Trains”. The Internet of Trains will bring additional data to optimize railroad operations in much the same way as airport operations.

The use of virtual reality for the early design of trains

Jorge Martin Gistau, Project Manager, Transport for NSW

The NSW Government is replacing the ageing Regional Rail fleet of XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour trains with a new regional fleet of 117 new carriages. In 2019, the NSW Government signed a contract with Momentum Trains for the $2.8 billion project to design, build, finance and maintain the new regional rail fleet, along with a new purpose-built maintenance facility in Dubbo to help stimulate regional economies.

The Regional Rail Project used Virtual Reality (VR) to flexibly adjust the design of the rolling stock and to capture users’ feedback to be considered for subsequent phases. The Regional Rail Project has further progressed the design and a high-fidelity mock-up was assembled in 2020. The high-fidelity mock-up is a real scale (1:1) physical mock-up completed with the proposed final colours and finishes.

This presentation will discuss the benefits of the VR together with a current update on the high-fidelity mock-up.

Stay tuned for further updates

Stay tuned for further updates

Stay tuned for further updates

Achieving a step-change in employee engagement to drive value creation

Marianne Murray-Brown, GM People & Culture, Transdev Auckland

Transdev Auckland is a company that relies heavily on its employees to give it a competitive edge, as they are critical to its ability to operate its train services safely, on time, reliably, and with a positive customer experience in mind. Therefore, the company puts considerable effort into ensuring that its ‘Journey Makers’ are equipped with what they need to know to do their jobs to the best of their ability. This presentation shares the variety of tactics used, including the Japanese working strategy of ‘Go to Gemba,’ which is aimed at capturing and applying the frontline wisdom of an organisation’s teams.

Stay tuned for further updates

6:30pm – 11:00pm

RTAA Yellow Dinner – Proudly sponsored by Alstom

DAY THREE | Thursday 2 December

8:00am – 3:00pm

All day exhibition

9:00am – 3:00pm

Morning plenary

10:00am – 5:00pm

Innovation Hub 

2:00pm – 4:30pm

Afternoon plenary

6:30pm – 11:00pm, Gala Dinner

Shane Jacobson, MC – Gala Dinner

One of Australia’s most loved, award-winning actors, presenters and entertainers, Shane Jacobson, will host the Gala Dinner, the perfect ending to a week of networking, deal making and strategic planning. Shane will share funny and memorable stories from his extraordinary life at the Gala Dinner which will also celebrate the winner of the AusRAIL Pitching Competition.