Australia to study freight-rail corridor, install interoperable communications and train-control systems (4/20/2005)


The Australian government plans conduct a study on the nation’s busy north-south freight-rail corridor. To be managed by the Department of Transport and Regional Services, the study will analyze current freight demand along the Melbourne-to-Sydney-to-Brisbane corridor, identify obstacles to meeting future demand, and recommend options and new routes, government officials said.

Representatives from the New South Wales (NSW), Queensland and Victorian governments, local governments, Australasian Railway Association, and freight and logistics companies will provide input for the study.

"The study is timely given that rail has less than 20 percent market share on the north-south corridor [compared] with the east-west corridor to Perth, where rail has up to 80 percent share,” said John Anderson, Australia’s deputy prime minister, and minister for transport and regional services, in a prepared statement, adding that the study also will build on a $1.8 billion national rail infrastructure program managed by the Australian Rail Track Corp. (ARTC).

Meanwhile, the Australian government plans to spend $62.3 million during the next four years to install communications and train control technology on the NSW interstate and Hunter Valley rail systems to operate more coal trains. The government will provide ARTC $42 million to build an interoperable communications system designed to replace nine existing communication systems; and $20.3 million to develop an Advanced Train Management System featuring in-cab signaling (to replace a trackside system), satellite-based location technology and a computerized warning system.

"ARTC will invest $152 million over five years to upgrade the Hunter Valley rail network, with the aim of increasing its capacity from 85 million tons of coal a year to 100 million tons," said Anderson.

A government-owned corporation, ARTC has leased the NSW and Hunter Valley rail systems since September 2004.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News