Featured image: Director of Monash IRT, Professor Ravi Ravitharan. Image courtesy of Monash University. 

Five universities and five key railway industry and regulatory entities have come together to form the Australian Railway Research and Innovation Network (AusRRIN), with the aim of delivering critical railway research to support the railway manufacturing sector. 

The network was launched on 22 November by Senator  Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade and Assistant Minister for Manufacturing, together with the National Rail Manufacturing Advocate, Ms Jacqui Walters. 

AusRRIN will be formalised through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Monash University through its Institute of Railway Technology (IRT), Central Queensland University, University of Queensland, University of Wollongong and the University of Technology Sydney. 

These leading Australian universities were recognised individually for delivering excellence in railway research and will join five railway industry entities – the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR), Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB), Australasian Railway Association (ARA), the Rail Track Association Australia (RTAA), and the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) – to create AusRRIN.

The AusRRIN partners will cooperate to identify and deliver critical railway research and innovation necessary for the future of Australia’s railways and to advance an associated rail manufacturing sector in support of the Australian government’s National Rail Manufacturing Plan, a nationally coordinated approach to rail manufacturing. 

“The AusRRIN initiative is a great example of the collaboration between research and industry that the Government is supporting under the National Rail Manufacturing Plan, and our recently announced National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy,” Mr Ayres said. 

“I look forward to AusRRIN’s contribution to the development of trains that are designed and built to Australia’s unique condition – lowering costs for government and industry, improving the quality of the commuter experience and lowering our national transport emissions.” 

Ms Walters said that strong research and innovation is a key enabler to build at scale, a sustainable, advanced manufacturing base in Australia. 

“We can build on the capabilities of Australian manufacturing to design and construct efficient, modern, low emission rolling stock that will carry Australians and freight for decades to come. We can export decarbonised products to the world,” Ms Walters said.

Director of Monash IRT, Professor Ravi Ravitharan, said, there are many reasons to get excited about the future of railway transportation in Australia.

“Adopting targeted research and innovation has already transformed Australia to become the global benchmark for heavy haul railways,” Pr Ravitharan said. 

“The AusRRIN initiative will strengthen research and innovation capabilities in Australia and is crucial in supporting and shaping Australia’s railways for the future. Advanced technologies will continue to play a critical role to improve efficiencies, safety, resilience and sustainability, and in seamlessly integrating multi modal transport networks to meet Australia’s changing demands.

“In addition, railways will play an important role in supporting Australia’s ambitions to achieve a net zero carbon emissions reduction target by 2050.”

Featured image: Director of Monash IRT, Professor Ravi Ravitharan. Image courtesy of Monash University. 

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