ARRB Rail Knowledge Bank

What peer-reviewed quality information, curated for the end-user by experienced professionals, is freely available these days? Where can I source free, open access information about rail and land transport, with a focus on Australasian material?

Sound too good to be true?

The Rail Knowledge Bank and the ARRB Knowledge Base are free, open access, full text searchable databases of rail and land transport information. No fee, subscription or registration is required. 

ARRB Group’s M.G. Lay library maintains these databases as two initiatives under the National Interest Services (NIS) program, which funds the provision of land transport information services ‘in the national interest’. 

Motivated by concerns of industry skill shortages and the need to support knowledge transfer from more experienced industry professionals, the Rail Knowledge Bank was originally established in 2010 by the CRC for Rail Innovation. 

The CRC’s rail research baton was then passed to the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI). ACRI and an Advisory Group of industry professionals now guide the Knowledge Bank’s strategic direction.

The creation of the ARRB Knowledge Base followed several years later in 2014, as it was clear there was demand for digital, full text access to and sharing of ARRB publications, such as conference and journal papers, and reports.

It soon became apparent that, in addition to peer-reviewed journal papers and reports, the Rail Knowledge Bank could also provide a single location and ‘go to’ digital repository for major industry Australasian and international conference material, such as the Conference on Railway Excellence (CORE), AusRAIL and International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA).

Similarly, the ARRB Knowledge Base has since become a facility enabling access to other previously hard copy only collections, and filling gaps in other existing online repositories.

While the material contained in the Rail Knowledge Bank and ARRB Knowledge Base was already categorised within a technical taxonomy and architecture, this cannot replicate the search and retrieval functionality offered by full-text searchable databases.

The Databases 2018-19:

  • Hold over 27,000 records 
  • Received 255,000+ visits 
  • 108,000+ documents were viewed and/or downloaded 
  • Half of users are international, demonstrating global reach and demand 
  • Within Australia, the greatest percentage of visits come from the most highly populated states

You can find more information on the following resources by clicking on the links.

Rail Knowledge Bank

ARRB Knowledge Base

National Interest Services

ARRB Group                                             


If you would like any further information about these databases, or other NIS initiatives such as free webinars, please contact Jill Aron at

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