Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Australia's biggest Thomas the Tank Engine event returns

Thomas the Tank Engine and The Fat Controller will bring their tales of discovery, adventure and friendship ‘downunder’ to The Workshops Rail Museum’s for Australia’s biggest Thomas event from 26 December 2010 to 30 January 2011.

Day out with Thomas 2011 will see the world’s favourite little blue engine and his friends including Edward, Donald and Douglas, Annie, Clarabel and Lady visit The Workshops Rail Museum’s popular annual event, now in its eighth year.

For more information, click here.

John Holland to manage NSW regional rail

John Holland has been selected as the preferred proponent to manage the Country Regional Network (CRN) by the NSW Government’s Country Rail Infrastructure Authority.

John Holland group managing director Glenn Palin said the contract represents a strategic expansion into railway asset maintenance for the company.

“[It] the first part of our broader push toward the establishment of a comprehensive transport asset maintenance business across a range of infrastructure and transport classes,” Palin said.

John Holland executive general manager rail Karl Mociak said in addition to being Australia’s largest rail construction contractor, the CRN contract now establishes John Holland as Australia’s largest private railway asset management company.

“The further development of our systems and expertise in railway asset management through this contract will provide a foundation on which to broaden our service offering to include train operation and control services, which will be offered to private and public sector clients across Australia and abroad,” Mociak said.

The 10-year contract is worth $1.5bn and involves the operation, management, maintenance and upgrade of country railway lines across NSW, including 2700km of operational freight and passenger lines and 3100km of non-operational lines.

John Holland will deliver the full scope of railway asset management services under the contract, including network operations, signalling, structures and major periodic maintenance.

The 10-year CRN contract will commence in the field late in 2011 and will run through 2021. A directly employed John Holland workforce in excess of 400 will be created to deliver the full scope of works.

Story courtesy of Rail Express

GWI completes FreightLink acquisition

After having been put up for sale three times by receivers KordaMentha, the Adelaide-Darwin railway has finally been sold, with American rail operator Genesee & Wyoming buying the assets of FreightLink for $334m.

Genesee & Wyoming Australia managing director Bert Easthope said the completion of the FreightLink acquisition heralds a “new era” for rail in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

“The railroad is a strategic asset in the development of the mining industry in SA and the NT. We welcome the opportunity to support and invest in the future growth of our customers,” Easthope said.

Receivers were appointed in November 2008 after FreightLink was unable to obtain all of the required consents for a voluntary sale of the railway, with reported debts in excess of $500m.

Heavy debts incurred during construction meant the 1420km line had been running at a loss. The railway cost $1.2bn to construct, with $475m of this coming from state and federal government funds. Approximately half of FreightLink’s $900m investment into the railway was debt.

Buyers had failed to come forward twice, though KordaMentha said this was because of issues related to the Global Financial Crisis such as funding availability.

Accounting for 90% of freight between Adelaide and Darwin, FreightLink currently has three major rail haulage contracts with AusMinerals, OM Holdings and Territory Resources. It operates 24 bulk trains a week between mine sites and the Port of Darwin and carries in excess of 3m tonnes of bulk freight, 800,000 tonnes of intermodal freight and 70,000 tonnes of bulk liquids per year.

Story courtesy of Rail Express

Friday, December 17, 2010

AusRAIL PLUS 2011 Call for Papers

AusRAIL PLUS 2011 will be on an even bigger scale – with a three-day conference, a trade exhibition with over 500 exhibitors, the Yellow Tie Dinner and the Gala Dinner – it promises to be the biggest AusRAIL PLUS ever.

The AusRAIL PLUS 2011 Call for Papers is now open. If you would like to submit an abstract to be considered for the 2011 agenda, please download the Call for Papers form here for more information. With over 30 technical papers to feature on the AusRAIL PLUS agenda, you have a great chance of showcasing your latest research. The committee will be looking for the papers that examine the most up-to-date technical innovations across the rail industry so make sure your proposed paper pushes the boundaries in your chosen field.

Interested in sponsorship or exhibiting at AusRAIL PLUS 2011? Click here for more information.

What a turnout at AusRAIL 2010!

Over 1800 rail industry professionals gathered at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre last month, for two days of knowledge sharing, networking and business development at AusRAIL 2010.

With a strong speaker line-up of 72 leading industry experts, the conference saw over 820 delegates in just two days. Running alongside the conference was the AusRAIL 2010 trade exhibition, which showcased 82 regional, national and international exhibitors’ latest products and technologies for the rail sector, while 1600+ visitors browsed through their exhibition stands.

The Gala Dinner hosted by Downer on the evening of Day Two catered for over 850 guests, where the winners of the ARA Annual Rail Industry Awards for Excellence were announced. The evening was brought to its climax with the performance of a chamber orchestra – the Western Rail Players.

See AusRAIL 2010 highlights in picture here.