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Transport & Logistics

Pushing our expertise to the limit – The next phase of heavy haul rail in Australia

12 Aug 2013, by Informa Insights

Exhibition hallThank you to everyone who attended the 3rd annual ARA Heavy Haul Rail 2013 conference in Newcastle. Heavy Haul Rail 2013 saw a close examination of what it will take for the rail industry to continue its strong performance in heavy haul over the long term in spite of challenging short term conditions. The shift in focus brought to the fore some insightful discussions on capacity enhancement, innovations to improve operational efficiency and a look at how Australia can export its world-leading expertise.

Aurizon’s Vice-President Rail Assets and Operations Development Simon Smart shared plans to unlock Queensland coal reserves through the joint development of rail and port infrastructure.

Simon said that the long term coal market fundamentals remained robust with demand from China and India expected to drive future coal growth.  He also emphasised the importance of staged development to extract maximum value from existing rail assets, saying Aurizon’s Galilee solution would provide projects with a lower unit cost across a range of production ramp-ups and peak tonnages. Aurizon has plans to run longer trains (4km) with heavier payloads (>20,000t) enabled by a series of innovations.

Simon also shared plans for Abbott Point, saying that the alignment of rail and port development and operations to Abbot Point presented an enormous opportunity for Queensland coal that Aurizon was excited to participate in.

Akshaya Malaviya Engineering Manager Major Projects Hunter Valley ARTC discussed a Design Approach for Hunter Valley Network Capacity Enhancement Program.

He said key customer expectations – which included ensuring capacity stayed ahead of demand and that divisional infrastructure remained safe, sustainable and cost effective, under forecast tonnages – formed the basis of the ARTC’s corridor strategies for infrastructure and projects.

Akshaya also shared technology initiatives being applied at the ARTC including network control optimization, split point detection and cooperative sweep release all of which are initiatives aimed to improve the fluency of train operations.

Delegates also heard about Rio Tinto’s track maintenance strategies from its Maintenance Execution Superintendent Justin Angove, Techniques to overcome barriers to capacity growth were offered by Ken Devencorn, Technical Director, Resources & Manufacturing Services, Aurecon plus conference Chair Brian Marsden examined the depth of Australia’s heavy haul rail sector and identified potential markets to export our expertise including China, Africa, Indonesia, Russia and Mongolia.

Day two of the conference saw some great discussions on technological advancements in heavy haul and how they are able to improve operational efficiencies. Nick Aschberger, Software Development Manager, Trackside intelligence gave an entertaining overview of the complexities of wayside detection equipment data management software engineering approaches to handling this data and reducing error.

Milan Soukup, Manager Railway Business East Europe-Middle East, SKF Railway explored the technical advancements towards increased wheel bearing reliability. He identified the drivers for higher reliability in heavy haul rail as unplanned stops/profit loss in operation, accidents, damaged asset, plus the cost of repair and maintenance and that prolonged bearing service life would result in higher capacity bearing without increasing axle dimensions, lower friction and better functioning seals reducing friction and minimizing bearing contamination and could allow for operating conditions to be altered, or maintenance to be scheduled.

And to wrap up the conference, delegates saw two very interesting and engaging presentations from Brad Doyle, Freight Technical Manager, Faiveley Transport who looked at the advantages of spring park brakes as an alternative to handbrakes in the heavy haul context and Briony Croft, Senior Project Consultant, SLR Consulting Australia who shared a case study on the redesign of the coffin muffler of locomotive 2815 to address low-frequency noise problems.

Here’s what some of our delegates had to say about Heavy Haul Rail 2013

“I enjoyed the conference because our key clients were in attendance, good networking opportunities” – Leighton’s Contractors

“A good overview of the industry challenges and opportunities, plus great networking opportunities. Well done!” Adani Mining

“Networking opportunities with people with common goals and industry basis” – Aurizon

“A great opportunity to learn about important heavy haul activities”Transport Certification Australia

“An excellent gathering of heavy haul rail industry people”Aurecon

“Enjoyed the conference once again. Thanks!”Electro Motive Diesel

DinnerOnce again, attendees made the most of the networking opportunities on offer, which started at the Heavy Haul Rail Welcome Reception, where delegates enjoyed some pre-conference canapés and drinks in the relaxed setting of the Silo Bar on Newcastle’s picturesque Honeysuckle Wharf.

The Newcastle Museum, which was once the Honeysuckle Railway Workshops, was the venue for the 2013 official Heavy Haul Rail dinner. More than 160 industry representatives dined under the  glow of the museum’s impressive giant earth ball and some took the opportunity to browse the museum exhibitions – which included the 1870 J&A Brown Locomotive No4, the most important artifact dating from the original GNR occupation of the site.

Delegates also had the opportunity to browse the conference exhibition during the networking breaks which featured some fantastic exhibits from: SKF, Comsteel, Leighton Contractors, Black Box Control, Faiveley Transport Australia, Trackside Intelligence, Rhomberg Rail Australia, Geomatic Technologies.

DinnerMany thanks to our fantastic sponsors for their support of this event:

Bronze USB Sponsor: URS

Lanyard and Name Badge Sponsor: Rhomberg Rail

Notepad Sponsor: Fletcher and Sons

The ARA also welcomes any feedback or suggestions you may have for the Heavy Haul Rail 2014 program. Please contact Conference Manager Kara Clifton

We look forward to seeing you again in 2014.

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