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ARA Heavy Haul Rail

Delivering future growth by driving innovation and collaboration

14-15 April 2021 | The Ritz-Carlton, Perth

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The Australasian Railway Association and Informa are pleased to be bringing our 10th Heavy Haul Rail Conference back to Perth. The conference will take place at the Ritz-Carlton Perth on the 14th and 15th April 2021.

The Australian heavy haul rail industry, boasting some the heaviest and longest trains, continues to lead the world in operations and innovation. With commodity markets regaining confidence, becoming an even more efficient supply chain for the export of coal and iron ore is fundamental to Australia’s productivity. The agenda will showcase the best in local and international project expertise and will give attendees an understanding of the strategic directions of the major industry players together with an update on developments in equipment, technology and maintenance to ensure efficient, safe and reliable operations.


Lisa Stabler, President, Transportation Technology Center (TTCI); Chair: United States of America, International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA)

Jonathan Duvel, Principal Engineer – Track, Transnet Freight Rail, South Africa

Antonio Merheb, Rail Specialist, MRS Logistica SA, Brazil

The Hon Rita Saffioti MLA, Minister for Transport; Planning; Ports, Western Australia

Topics will include:

  • Market outlook for Australia
  • Heavy haul operations across Australia
  • Infrastructure and investment
  • Future technology, communications systems, cybersecurity and data capture and analysis
  • Role of ports and port automation in successful heavy haul supply chains
  • Rolling stock technology, innovation and maintenance
  • Improving weld performance and the implementation of advanced simulation techniques for wheel/rail wear
  • Software solutions for improved efficiency and optimisation of assets
  • Workforce development and diversity

EXTENDED FOR 2021! Young Professionals rate (Under 35)* The ARA is delighted to offer reduced registration fees to young rail professionals, aged 35 years old and under on 23 March 2021, to attend this year’s ARA Heavy Haul Rail conference.

An email from was forwarded to all registered attendees on 22 April 2021 with the link to download all approved presentations. These materials will be available for 30 days following the event. Should your organisation have Internet security that is blocking Dropbox, please speak with your IT Department before contacting our office. We also recommend using a personal device (such as a home PC, iPad, or email account) to access Dropbox.


We are delighted to announce that Heavy Haul Rail 2021 has been listed on Austrade’s Schedule of Approved Business Events.

This means eligible businesses can apply for funding under the Business Events Grants Program to cover up to 50% of the costs of participating in attending Heavy Haul Rail 2021 as sponsors, exhibitors or delegates.

Grants from $5,000 to $250,000 per entity are now available.

The minimum grant amount has been lowered to $5,000 and the minimum expenditure amount has also been lowered to $10,000 (previously $20,000). This means that more exhibitors, delegates and sponsors will now be eligible for funding.

ACT NOW! Applications are currently open, and the deadline to submit has been extended until 30 June 2021.

Click here to view the FAQs and assess your eligibility.

Click here to apply.


Lisa Stabler

President, Transportation Technology Center (TTCI); Chair: United States of America, International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA)

Sue McCarrey

Chief Executive, Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator

David Owen-Jones

Rail Construction Manager, Downer

Ravi Ravitharan

Director, Monash Institute of Railway Technology (IRT)

The Hon Rita Saffioti MLA

Minister for Transport; Planning; Ports, Western Australia

Caroline Wilkie

CEO, Australasian Railway Association

Gary Evans

Operations & Integration Manager – ATMS, ARTC

Jonathan Duvel

Principal Engineer – Track, Transnet Freight Rail SA

Nithurshan Nadarajah

Deputy Team Leader, Monash Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) and ARA Future Leader

Kevin Piefer

Managing Director Australia, Holland Co

Claire Pierce

Executive Commercial Leader, Australia and New Zealand, GE Transportation, a Wabtec Company

Surendra Bisht

Technical Director – Rail, Aurecon

Dr Ali Parvizi

National Marketing & Sales, Traction, ABB Australia

Tony Crosby

General Manager Services, 4Tel Pty Ltd

Marion Terrill

Transport and Cities Program Director , Grattan Institute

Adrian Unwin

Senior Track Engineer, FMG Rail Track Maintenance

James Shaw

Senior Engineer – Systems, Calibre

Antonio Merheb

Rail Specialist, MRS Logistica SA

Christopher Zheng

Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Design in Architecture, University of Sydney

Mohammad Muzaffer

Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Design in Architecture, University of Sydney

Lido Costa

Principal AutoHaul® – AutoHaul® and Rail Productivity, Rio Tinto Iron Ore

Thims Moolemane

Operations Manager, Ensco Rail

Vivek Dhar

Director - Mining and Energy Commodities Research, Commonwealth Bank

Georgia Nicholls

General Manager – Freight Rail, Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Tom Fisher

VP - APAC, Uptake

Joseph Totten

Principal Maintenance Engineer, BHP

Warren Wellbeloved

General Manager Rail, BHP Iron Ore

Event App

All delegates, sponsors, exhibitor, speakers and other attendees will be able to download the official Heavy Haul Rail app. The app allows attendees to network with each other, ask questions to speakers, check out the sponsors and exhibitors as well as watching the live stream (for virtual attendees). If you haven’t received your login, please contact

Download the user guide here to make the most of your app experience.

Technical Site Tour

Holland Rail Services & Aries Rail Facility

Date: Thursday, 15th April (end of day two)
Timing: 3.00pm – 5.30pm (pickup from and return to Ritz-Carlton)

Delegates will be transported to Wangara for a technical tour within the Equipment & Maintenance Facility from which Aries Rail manages fleet compliance for Holland Rail Services across WA’s heavy haul rail industry, providing services for many heavy haul rail customers including BHP, Rio Tinto and FMG. Delegates will experience a classroom and field demonstration of the production of flash butt welds using Holland’s new-to-market Flash Butt MobileWelder. There will also be a virtual demo (live from a remote location) on the collection and management of data in real time using Holland’s proprietary Intelliweld system. The site tour will conclude in Wangara at approx 5.00pm – travel time direct to Perth Airport is approx. 25-30 minutes.

The Site Tour is now at capacity, we will contact you if spaces become available.

Next Generation Conference Scholarships

Sponsored by:

Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural Next Generation Conference Scholarships!

Shou Barrett, Graduate Signalling Engineer, Queensland Rail
Melissa Bong, Rail Engineer, WSP
Devin Devendra, Rail Engineer, WSP
Thanh Ho, Completions Engineer, Metro Trains Melbourne
Jude Manuel, Signaller, Metro Trains Melbourne
Dean McClure, Graduate Electrical Engineer, Downer
Himanth Murthy, Asset Engineer, John Holland
Jeremiah Oliveri, Business Improvement Advisor, Rio Tinto
Tyler Plowright, Reliability Engineer, Progress Rail
Kiernan Tait, Graduate Signalling Engineer, Queensland Rail
Amy Washer, Track Engineer, Arc Infrastructure

We are delighted to be supporting the winners professional development and share their innovative ideas on how to market and promote the rail industry in a positive and impactful way, as well as educating the broader community’s perception of the benefits of rail.

Winners will receive:

  • Complimentary attendance to the ARA Heavy Haul Rail conference and dinner, including extended access to the event online networking platform
  • The opportunity to display ‘winning ideas’ as posters in the exhibition
  • Certificates of acknowledgement at the conference dinner

Eligibility: Recent graduates and young railway professionals

Open to all recent graduates and young railway professionals who are 30yrs or under (as at 15 April 2021)

Entries open: 17 December 2020
Competition deadline: 25 February 2021
Winners announced: 2 March 2021
Certificates presented at the Conference Dinner: 14 April 2021

ARA Women in Rail Lunch

When: Tuesday 13 April 2021, 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm AWST
Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Waterfront, 1 Barrack Square, Perth, WA 6000

The ARA will be hosting the Women in Rail Lunch in Perth to be held alongside the 10th ARA Heavy Haul Conference on Tuesday 13 April 2021. The purpose of the event is to promote the value of a gender-balanced Australasian rail workforce, acknowledge the challenges that as an industry we need to overcome and foster a culture of appropriately championing diversity in rail. Prominent champions of diversity will present during the lunch.

The ARA Women in Rail Lunches were established in 2017 and form part of a broader industry initiative to promote, encourage and enable a greater level of gender diversity across the rail sector.
These events are always quick to sell out, so make sure you register today to secure your place.

For more information and to register visit:

Health & Safety

The health and safety of our speakers, attendees and guests is our top priority.

Informa Australia’s events will be organised in accordance with Informa’s AllSecure health and safety standards. As the world’s leading events’ organiser, Informa has developed a detailed set of enhanced measures to provide the highest level of hygiene and safety at its events, providing everyone with reassurance and confidence they are participating in a safe and controlled environment.

All Informa events will be run according to official government and local authority guidance in the first instance, as well as any venue or location-specific regulations.

For information on what to expect at the Ritz-Carlton, please visit:

Travelling to Western Australia? For details on the WA Government’s protocols, please visit:

For further details about Informa Australia’s AllSecure Key Commitments, please visit:

when & where

14 - 15 Apr 2021

The Ritz-Carlton Perth
1 Barrack St
Perth WA 6000
+61 8 6559 6888

Book direct with the Ritz-Carlton to receive the following special rates (available 13th April – 15th April 2021):
Deluxe Room: 320 AUD per night (room only)
Premier Room: 360 AUD per night (room only)


Book accommodation with HotelMaps

To access the best available rate, book here.


Still have a question?

Diana Lauzi
Conference Manager
+61 2 9080 4313

Sarah Ingram
Sponsorship Manager
+61 406 530 043

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