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2014 - July - Hillcoat & Clancy - Increasing capacity in the Hunter Network - Streamlining train con 2014 - July - Hillcoat & Clancy - Increasing capacity in the Hunter Network - Streamlining train control

Brett Hillcoat G.C.Mgmt, Dip Bus Prog

Parsons Brinckerhoff

Michael Clancy B.Ed

Australian Rail Track Corporation

The Hunter Valley Rail Network is a mixed traffic rail network in New South Wales that is managed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). Since 2007, the Hunter Valley has seen significant growth in the demand for coal export via the port of Newcastle resulting in a significant increase in train services for coal transportation. Coal transport from pit to port has increased from 90MTPA to 150MTPA between 2007 and 2013. This growth has potential to increase to 200MTPA over the next several years, with notional prospective volumes currently indicating potential growth to 280MTPA. Non-coal traffic (passenger, freight services), which currently accounts for more than 50% of HV operations services, is also expected to grow.

To facilitate this growth, a number of projects (predominantly track infrastructure projects) have been implemented to provide the additional capacity required within the ARTC HV Network.

To manage the increase in trains servicing the growth in coal, ARTC HV Operations has instigated a number of measures, including some small Information technology integration projects, to facilitate automatic data transfer, additional human resources to reduce workload and assist in resolution of live run issues.

With an eye on future increases in coal demand and expected organic increases in other commodities, ARTC have been investigating options to increase operational efficiencies during future growth. A recent downturn in the market for coal has accelerated this desire for increased efficiencies, whilst also limiting forward capital and operating spend. This desire has led to the initiation of the ARTC Network Control Optimisation (ANCO) project.

The ANCO project involves the implementation and integration of a suite of systems and applications and processes designed to enhance and streamline network planning, control and management. The project aims to maximise the safe and efficient use of current infrastructure and resources to increase throughput, and to minimise the potential for further capital outlays and increased operational costs.

This paper will discuss how ARTC plans to use technology, systems and process improvements in a network control environment to address and manage issues and challenges associated with a growing, evolving, dynamic mixed rail network like the Hunter Valley.


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