Industry partnership to reduce cost of Embedded Rail Track and increase safety and use of heavy-haul and high-speed rail infrastructure

The Federal Government announced an additional $1.5 million in funding for the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences-led research project High Output, Low Cost Automated Embedded Rail Track (ERT).

The government announced the funding as part of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Grants, which bring together researchers and industry with a focus on short term projects that will have commercial uses.

The cash injection will sit alongside partner contributions that take total funding to over $4 million.

Project leader Dr Philip Commins and his team from the Facility for Intelligent Fabrication (FIF) will focus their research on the recent demand to increase safety and utilisation of heavy-haul and high-speed rail infrastructure in Australia with the use of an ERT system.

“As Australia’s plans are well advanced for many major rail infrastructure, the need for improved safety in heavy haul and high speed rail is a high priority,” Dr Commins said. “Therefore, this project is a key part of the chain to provide an economic alternative to traditional rail systems.”

Dr Commins said the ERT has many safety benefits such as reduced track buckling and derailments, but it also significantly increases the utilisation of track up to 30%.

This is first time the University of Wollongong has been the lead research organisation during the latest round of funding.

“ERT technology will transform how rail is constructed and will significantly contribute to the multi-billion dollar mining and transportation sectors,” Dr Commins said.

“It is a timely project for the CRC-P and demonstrates Australia’s commitment to driving innovation in the rail industry through unique and novel Industry 4.0 technologies.”

Other partners include industry lead Downer, along with UTS, Antoun Civil and Embedded Rail Technology.