Andrew Meier, the Executive Director and CEO of the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI) tells Railway-News what the research conducted by his organisation can do for development in the rail industry.
In launching the National Innovation and Science Agenda in December 2015, the recently appointed Liberal prime minster of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull said, “We cannot future-proof ourselves from change, nor should we seek to do so”. What was sought was the “agility to identify opportunities and embrace risk”. Fully embracing risk may feel a bold step for most but understanding that advances in technology bring great opportunity as well as disruption should not be. The Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC), which functions under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to progress nationally significant reforms, aims to capitalise on the opportunities afforded by new and emerging technologies and support adaptable and resilient infrastructure and transport systems.
Access to knowledge is a key component of this objective. Initially, the Australian Federal Government aided industry by setting up the Rail Cooperative Research Centre (Rail CRC). The Rail CRC, which was supported by organisations in Australia and New Zealand, ran for two iterations before winding up in 2014 in line with the designated lifespan of centres under the CRC programme. Private and state government entities supported a continuation of co-operative rail research and the not-for-profit Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI) was established to facilitate independent research and analysis to provide innovative solutions tailored to rail industry needs. It is overseen by a board representative of both industry and government and operates on a shared intellectual property model with research findings disseminated across all participants.
ACRI’s programme of research is agreed co-operatively by funding participants from within heavy haul, passenger and freight rail, and level crossing focus areas in Australia and New Zealand, including transport and rail authorities, universities and private companies in both countries, and the state governments of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Now in its fourth year of operation and second research funding tranche, there are presently 25 research initiatives in delivery or development, with more than 20 projects already completed since its inception. Activities to advance the health monitoring of infrastructure include readying industry for the implementation of new technologies in broken rail detection through the independent evaluation of a commercially developed locomotive-mounted broken rail detection device in a variety of Australian weather and rail stress conditions. Technology also aids the understanding of the human interaction with rail infrastructure. Current initiatives utilising eye tracking include evaluating level crossing visual warning devices for pedestrians and furthering knowledge on slips, trips and falls within rail station environments to aid design improvements.
Such research initiatives address currently tangible challenges for rail but the industry must also be ready and open to those that are emerging. Presently two frameworks are being developed to address the impact of technological change within rail organisations, one aimed at all aspects of rail operations and the other with a specific focus on track worker safety and competencies. These holistic tools aim to mitigate the challenges of introducing new technology, improving Australasian rail industry competitiveness by identifying in advance the training and management adjustments that may be required.
The speed with which rail can identify and adapt innovation from outside the industry will also have a significant impact on industry competitiveness. This may require some facilitation, as those researching emerging technologies do not necessarily have applications in transport and infrastructure foremost in mind. ACRI is presently evaluating the suitability of a technology originally from the naval operations sector for locomotive-mounted rail condition monitoring which has been developed and tested to its current state within New Zealand.
It is also important for rail industry advancement and competitiveness that activities are co-operative, linking operations with academia and linking Australasia with international developments. Initiatives like the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Advanced Technologies in Rail Track Infrastructure (ITTC-Rail) which will combine higher degree civil rail engineering research with significant periods of industry placement, aims to deliver not only industry-relevant research but importantly industry-ready post-graduates. Internationally, the ACRI has fostered formal relationships with entities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy and with the International Union of Railways (UIC), providing channels for currently international knowledge to inform Australasian rail infrastructure practices.
The largest-ever Australian freight rail infrastructure project, the 1,700km Inland Rail line connecting Melbourne and Brisbane is now underway with ACRI participant the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) managing delivery over the next decade. Lowering freight supply chain costs, providing regional connectivity to ports, reducing road congestion and allowing the opportunity for increased passenger rail services on the Sydney network, Inland Rail will strongly impact industry efficiency, sustainability and competiveness. Importantly it presents a major opportunity for rail innovation as it is easier to apply new technology to new projects than it is to retrofit it to existing infrastructure.
Innovation can bring challenge or significant opportunity, with the outcome influenced by informed decision-making and planning. Through knowledge, advancing entities like ACRI, the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.
FOR ALL THE LATEST INFORMATION, NEWS, IMAGES, VIDEOS AND ARTICLES ON ALL ASPECTS OF RAILWAY RESEARCH AND TESTING, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
BLS Cargo has announced it is buying 25 Siemens Vectron multi-system locomotives to operate in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.
Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx have awarded the contract to design, build, maintain, operate and finance the Hurontario LRT.
Network Rail and Arup have published a report entitled Tomorrow's Living Station to investigate how Britain's stations might evolve.
Avignon's first tram line opened to the public on 19 October with Alstom Citadis X05 trams. A second line is scheduled to open in 2023.
All the important rail news of the week, summed up for you in one place: our Railway-News Industry Insider Week 42 for 14–18 October 2019.
Stadler has signed the contract with ADIF for 22 rescue locomotives following the company's announcement on 31 July that it won the tender.
Alstom Ubunye has opened its rail factory in Ekurhuleni. It will supply components to Gibela Rail where the PRASA trains are being built.
The Vienna-Bratislava line is seeing upgrade works to make it a faster, electrified railway. 1 of 14 level crossings has now been eliminated.
Germany will cut VAT on long-distance rail journeys to 7%, down from the current 19%. It will also increase taxes on air passengers.
The EU says that it is seeking applications for funding for transport projects worth up to 1.4 billion euros. 50 million are for ERTMS.
All the important rail news of the week, summed up for you in one place: our Railway-News Industry Insider Week 41 for 7–11 October 2019.
Stadler and NAH.SH have signed the contract for 55 FLIRT Akku trains that will enter service in Schleswig-Holstein in 2022 and beyond.
Stadler has won its first major rolling stock contract in the Pacific region, with the Taiwan Railways Authority ordering 34 locomotives.
The ninth edition of EXPO Ferroviaria, Italy’s showcase for railway technologies, products and systems, closed at Rho Fiera Milano.
Skoda Transportation has won a contract to supply trains for the Warsaw metro. The Czech company will deliver the first unit within 2 years.
Corinna Salander has been appointed the head of the German Centre for Rail Transport Research – DZSF. She will start on 1 January 2020.
RB Rail AS, which is delivering Rail Baltica, has announced a tender for a Notified Body service provider to assess EU TSI conformity.
The first Stadler train for Merseyrail has been transported to Germany where it will undergo dynamic testing before entering service in 2020.
Engineering company Salini Impregilo has won a contract with Bane NOR to upgrade 13.6km of railway track on the Vestfold Line.
Matt Byrne is the new president for the UK region of Bombardier Transportation and the Chair of Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd.
Leo Express has received its first Sirius EMU from CRRC. It is Velim for the necessary certification tests so it can enter passenger service.
Henrik Hololei spoke at Digital Transport Days to hail the successes and goals of Shift2Rail to address climate change and other focuses.
Alstom is to supply 42 Metropolis trainsets for Barcelona. Barcelona currently runs Metropolis trains on Lines 9 and 10 of its metro.
CAF has won a contract to supply 21 Urbos 3 trams for Birmingham. Just like the city's existing Urbos fleet, they can run without catenaries.
The Engadine Line infrastructure works between Scuol-Tarasp and Susch are almost complete. RhB had closed the section completely on 11 March.
An in-brief look at the status of current European railway infrastructure projects in Switzerland, Spain, Lativa, and France.
An in-brief look at current rail policy in Europe and the United Kingdom issued by the European Commission, the BAV and more.
One major complaint of rail passengers in Wales has been capacity. In response, TfW is introducing 6500 extra spaces per week from December.
The Singapore LTA is getting OEMs to open local facilities as part of their contracts to reduce train maintenance and repair times.
UK rail franchise operator GTR has completed a 5-year transformation programme that has seen the introduction of 1,500 new carriages.
The NCHSR rebrands to reflect its broader remit. It will now be known as the National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure.
At Ferroviaria 2019 Stadler and FNM have presented a mock-up of the new FLIRT diesel-electric multiple unit for the Lombardy region.
The Mayor of Manchester has published his vision for rail for the city, to double passenger numbers to 200,000 by 2040 and other goals.
Stadtwerke Augsburg has signed a contract with Stadler for the supply of 11 metre-gauge TRAMLINK trams, to enter service in 2022.
All the important rail news of the week, summed up for you in one place: our Railway-News Industry Insider Week 39 for 23–27 September 2019.
Rail Baltica has produced a study to assess the potential impact of climate change on the project and to develop mitigation measures.
The Rail Delivery Group has published proposals for rail fare reforms following the largest-ever passenger survey in the country.
Copenhagen's new metro line, Cityringen, will open on 29 September 2019. It has been under construction for 8 years and features 17 stations.
Alstom has been awarded the contract to retrofit 17 ICE 3 trains with its Atlas ETCS solution in a contract worth more than 30 million euros.
NEWAG has signed a contract with the ROSCO Rail Capital Partners for the delivery of 5 electric Dragon 2 locomotives for delivery in 2020.
Brigitte Zypries has joined the supervisory board of Bombardier Transportation. She was previously a member of the supervisory board at DB.
Following a successful six-month trial ScotRail is now rolling out the use of GSM-R to give passengers more detailed real-time information.
The Northern refurbishment works are now two thirds complete. As part of its franchise agreement Northern is refurbishing 243 trains.
Ground-breaking events for the new 26-mile Silver Line took place at six locations in the Dallas Area Rapid Transit region on 19 September.
The Paris-Lyon high-speed line is to get the Atlas ERTMS Level 2 solution to increase capacity on what is Europe's busiest route.
Deutsche Bahn is experimenting with white rails to reduce the temperature of the steel, thereby avoiding stress on the rails in extreme heat.
The private Swiss rail operator BLS is halting the introduction of a new resource planning system. BLS has aborted the roll-out of the new software, which would...
Changzhou Metro Line 1 began passenger operations on 21 September 2019. It is the first metro line in the Chinese city, with 5 more planned.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is headquartered in Washington, D.C. It lobbies Congress on behalf of the railroad industry.
An in-brief look at current rail policy in the United States issued by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), ASLRRA and more.
All the important rail news of the week, summed up for you in one place: our Railway-News Industry Insider Week 37 / 38 for 09–20 September 2019.
The MBTA has ordered 80 double-decker coaches from Hyundai-Rotem to add capacity to its commuter rail services and replace ageing vehicles.
Deutsche Bahn has established Digitale Schiene Deutschland GmbH to drive forward the digital transformation in the rail industry.
Metronet has made public a tender for the construction of an assembly and maintenance depot for railcars in Bellevue, Western Australia.
Eurotunnel is one of the eight freight carriers chosen by the UK government to be a preferred carrier of vital goods following Brexit.
Stadler has signed a joint venture with PT INKA in Indonesia, which marks the Swiss company's entry into the southeast Asian market.
The British rail regulator, the ORR, has implemented a new measure to record train punctuality: the 'On Time' punctuality measure.
Transport for Wales has published its Station Improvement Vision stating that it will invest £194 in modernising all 247 stations in Wales.
SNCF Mobilités has chosen CAF as preferred bidder to deliver 28 trains to enter service in 2023. The order is worth ca. 700 million euros.
Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA joint venture wins construction management contract for HS2's Old Oak Common station worth 1 billion GBP.
Deutsche Bahn is investing in hybrid technology for its maintenance fleets and shunting locomotives to reduce its environmental impact.
On 16 September Shanghai Keolis opened the Pudong International Airport metro, connecting the terminals to the new satellite halls.
Alstom will deliver 4 additional Coradia Lint trains for Denmark. The operator, Nordjyske Jernbaner, will receive the units by mid-2021.
RegioJet has introduced double-decker coaches in Slovakia, purchased from DB Regio. They are hauled by Siemens Eurorunner locomotives.
Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004 triggered mass economic investment, including in the country’s railway infrastructure and rolling stock.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, this week Eurostar has unveiled a picture gallery celebrating travellers’ memorable images.
The 13th TRAKO will be taking place in Poland. TRAKO is a international event with pavilions for Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and the UK.
Amtrak passengers are benefiting from an improved booking experience as a result of significant improvements in the company mobile app.
As the largest private rail freight operator in Europe, Lineas wish to offer services to customers which shift their goods from road to rail.
ScotRail amongst other organisations are engaging passengers in conversations about mental health issues on trains and in stations.
Hosted by the RSI, REMSA and RSSI, Railway Interchange takes place every two years. This year the event is being hosted in Minneapolis.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) have renewed their commitment to green energy across the network by signing an agreement with the Nordsee Ost wind farm.
Proposals for a new Global Centre for Rail Excellence in South Wales has received a boost after backing from five prominent Welsh politicians.
Construction on the sea wall at Dawlish, Devon is set to restart after a break to minimise disruption during the peak summer tourist season.
A giant animatronic red hare and a steel band were the star attractions as Greater Anglia launched their brand-new Stadler trains.
All the important rail news of the week, summed up for you in one place: our Railway-News Industry Insider Week 36 for 02–06 August 2019.
Alstom equipped the entirety of Wuppertal Suspension Railway (Wuppertaler Schwebebahn) with the Atlas ETCS train control system.
One week after the cancellation of the new South Eastern franchise, DfT has awarded First Trenitalia with the West Coast Partnership.
The first of 49 metro trains for Line 14 of the Shanghai metro has rolled off the assembly line equipped with the MITRAC propulsion system.
Stadler will deliver new trams to Bern: in a first order with Bernmobil Stadler will supply 27 TRAMLINK trams, with delivery starting in 2023.
Alstom will exhibit a number of solutions at Expo Ferroviaria 2019. They include rolling stock, infrastructure, signalling and services.
CRRC has successfully run type tests for its newly developed permanent magnet direct drive electric locomotive for passenger operations.
Northern continues its fleet roll-out with the introduction of new trains for Blackpool starting 9 September, running services to Liverpool.
Deutsche Bahn has completed the 2020 timetable for its network after having received more than 72,000 applications for track access slots.
The Railway-News Industry Insider week 34/35: all the latest rail news, including rolling stock, franchise contracts and sensor technology.
The Toronto Transit Commission is retiring its remaining streetcars on 2 September to replace them with accessible, low-floor vehicles.
Deutsche Bahn says it will halve its use of glyphosate in 2020 and instead focus on more mechanical, manual options for removing weeds.
Saudi Arabia: CAF has signed a contract with SAR to supply its digital train platform LeadMind for all 6 trains on the Riyadh-Qurayyat line.
Stadler wins first contract IN Turkey: it will supply 7 hybrid EURODUAL locomotives to Körfez Ulaştırma, with the first delivered by 2021.
DB Cargo says its entire fleet of 68,000 freight cars will be digital by 2020. The freight cars will be equipped with GPS and sensors.
Alstom has delivered the first five Coradia Polyvalent Léman Express trains to SNCF. They are due to enter service on 15 December 2019.
SOB and SBB presented their co-operation for two railway lines in Bern. They also presented the Traverso, which will run on the routes.
CRRC to buy the Vossloh Locomotives business for a sum in the low millions. The transaction has been approved by Vossloh's supervisory board.
On 2 August CRRC began the speeding-up tests for Changsha's second-generation maglev train. These tests are the final aspect to be completed.
Dresden has ordered 30 FLEXITY trams from Bombardier. They will be delivered by 2023. The contract includes 24 years of maintenance.
The UK government has launched the Oakervee Review into HS2 to determine whether and how the high-speed line should proceed.
The flat cars Deutsche Bahn ordered from UWC are undergoing testing to ensure they are fit for purpose prior to certification.
Stadler has won a contract with PKP Intercity for 12 FLIRT electric multiple units. The contract also includes a 15-year maintenance period.
Operating as East Midlands Railway, Abellio has taken over the East Midlands franchise, which it will run for eight years, until 2027.
Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail has created its 2020 timetable with 740m freight trains and a planning tool to increase capacity.
Please fill in the contact form opposite. A member of the team will be in touch shortly.