Experts to play key role in transformational rail projects

A signing ceremony in New Delhi, India on Monday, September 9, 2019 has officially recognised the key role the University of Wollongong (NSW, Australia) will play in meeting India’s urgent need for additional rail freight transport capacity.

India’s rapid economic growth has created a huge demand for dedicated freight corridors along its eastern and western routes.

India established a special purpose vehicle for the construction, operation and maintenance of the dedicated freight corridors which led to the establishment of the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL).

The University of Wollongong has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a mutually beneficial collaboration with the DFCCIL, paving the way for a wide range of research, teaching and consultation activities.

The MOU was signed by University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings, CBE, and the Managing Director of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited, Shri Anurag Sachan.

Among those witnessing the signing from UOW will be Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Strategy), Professor Alex Frino, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, Professor Valerie Linton and Brand Ambassador, Adam Gilchrist.

The agreement follows a presentation to DFCCIL in July this year on the advancements of heavy haul track technologies by UOW’s Distinguished Professor Buddhima Indraratna, who will lead the collaboration relationship on behalf of the University.

Distinguished Professor Indraratna is one of Australia’s foremost experts on railway infrastructure, having pioneered the fields of modern railway geomechanics and soil improvement in the early 1990s and taken Australia to the top of the world stage in these fields within a decade.

As well as being a Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering at UOW, he is the Founding Director of the Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering (GRE) and Director of the Australian Research Council-funded National Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Advance Rail Track Technologies (ITTC-Rail).

Professor Wellings said the MOU would expand the co-operative relationship already developed between the University and the DFCCIL and recognises the world-class expertise UOW has established in this area.

He said staff and students from both organisations would mutually benefit including academic visits for research, lectures and consultation; joint teaching programs; joint research activities; and participation in joint international conferences, seminars and workshops.

Staff and student exchanges will be facilitated through the upcoming Heavy Haul Rail Research Institute (HHRI), which is being implemented by DFCCILand will be managed by DFCCIL. UOW’s ITTC-Rail will facilitate joint research programs under the guidance of Distinguished Professor Indraratna.

The plan to construct dedicated freight corridors across India marks a strategic inflexion point in the history of Indian Railways that has essentially run mixed traffic across its network. Once completed, the dedicated freight corridors will enable Indian Railways to improve its customer orientation and meet market needs more effectively.

Creation of rail infrastructure on such a scale – unprecedented in independent India – is also expected to drive the establishment of industrial corridors and logistic parks along its alignment.

Listen to coverage of this research on ABC Illawarra (starts at 1:37)