In the lead up to AusRAIL PLUS 2011, Bryan Nye, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), talks about the reality of high speed rail in Australia and the importance of the passengers as customers.
1. AusRAIL PLUS 2011 is just 5 months away and is shaping up to be the biggest AusRAIL PLUS the industry has seen. Do you feel the growth of the event mirrors the trajectory of the rail industry in Australia over the past few years?
• We’re going to go through a new golden age for rail.
• In the last 2 years, employment in the rail industry has increased by 9%
• Every week there an extra million tons of iron ore being exported out of Australia which requires a new train set a week, a new rolling stock and track.
• Passenger networks are reaching capacity at every city on the east and west coast.
• Growth rate is pushing the industry to its limits.
2. The theme of the program this year is ‘Innovation and Customer Relations’, how did you decide the theme for the agenda this year and why are those areas so important to address in 2011?
• We know we have an aged rolling stock fleet capacity on freight networks and passenger networks. We have to look at doing things differently.
• We’re aware that we’re at capacity on the freight network.
• We have to look at doing things differently- to sweat the assets and improve performance.
• New electronics and signaling systems are things we need to adapt quickly.
• People aren’t passengers they’re customers with particular needs.
• We are a customer based industry.
3. One of the key areas Australia is looking likely to innovate in over the coming decade is High Speed Rail, China is innovating in this field at an incredible rate but recent questions have emerged about the speeds that can be realized safely on their network, what can Australia learn from their experiences and do you feel that by the time it becomes a reality here these obstacles will have been overcome?
• There is a lot of focus on China but in Japan they’re building 500km per hour new maglev to go between Toyko and Osaka.
• The Spanish, Italian and French all say they’re trialing new trains at 400km per hour.
• The way of the future, particularly for long distance passenger travelling
• Nothing more needs between the east coast capitals than a high speed rail network
• People are surprised we have the 3rd busiest air corridor in the world between Sydney and Melbourne- we need as we go into a carbon Australia economy we have petroleum product shortages looming in the future. We need an alternative.
• The time has come for high speed rail in Australia.
4. Realising the value of the customer is essential in any industry, do you think the rail industry realizes the true value of their customers or can they improve in this area?
• The rail industry has a long tradition, been in Australia for 150years
• In the past the schedule was more important than the customer.
• Engineering focus things, such as getting the train out and back on time, how it ran- were incredibly important.
• All of a sudden the government is aware we’re there to service the community.
• Customers will be the great focus of every rail operator in Australia in the future.
5. What can people expect to gain from attending AusRAIL PLUS this year?
• It’s the peak conference for rail industry in Australia
• It brings in the key speakers- all the CEOS attend and provide their honest impressions and challenges facing them.
• Exciting presentations talking about how other industries are focused on innovation, how other people dealt with customers in other industry
• If you want to learn, be informed and know where the industry is going and be part of it, you have to go to AusRAIL.