Australia is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing urban environments. According to the Australasian Railway Association, approximately 35% of the country’s population lives in Sydney and Melbourne, with these figures growing three times as fast as in regional areas. Increasing demand has led to the introduction of new metro and light rail systems.
Australia’s rail sector has long been intertwined with the fortunes of its better recognised mining industry. The boom experienced by the latter in the last century saw the creation of a more established rail infrastructure, with ample funding coming from central and state government.
However, it is has become apparent that the network – the sixth largest in the world – is at a crossroads, and if it is to become more competitive, a significant upgrade will be required.
a runaway train carrying 238 wagons of iron ore derailed in Australia this
month due to human error and equipment failure, it cost BHP Billiton millions
of dollars in lost production. But it also turned the spotlight on how
replacing people with autonomous technology can boost safety and efficiency in
the mining industry. Rio Tinto is rolling out the world’s first heavy
freight driverless rail network in the Pilbara, a remote desert region in
Western Australia that supplies half the world’s seaborne iron ore trade.
An $880 million investment will digitise NSW's train signal system and allow more trains onto the network, the State Government says, with all lines set to receive the new technology by "the mid 2020s".
The investment, announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday, will see "Paris and London" technology come to Sydney and could give the network the capacity to one day run trains every 90 seconds.