New $7.3M rail training centre to help meet future transport challenges

The training centre at the University of Wollongong – launched today – will be used to train the next generation of rail engineers.A new $7.3 million rail training centre – launched today – will be used to train and next generation of rail engineers to help meet future transport challenges.

Based at the University of Wollongong (UOW), The Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Advanced Technologies in Rail Track Infrastructure (ITTC Rail) brings together rail track infrastructure expertise from all sectors of the rail industry, with eight universities and 11 national and international industry partners taking part.

The centre’s key priorities include, creating innovative engineering solutions to enhance railway performance and extend infrastructure longevity as well as develop a skilled professional workforce through a series of research and design and training programs.

It also aims to explore concepts such as advancing fabrication techniques and product development, assist in reforming technical standards and regulations and help develop strategies to commercialise manufacturing, engineering and design innovations to grow the industry, to name a few.

ITTC Rail Director Distinguished Professor Buddhima Indraratna, from UOW’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, said the centre would aim to create innovative engineering solutions to those challenges while training a skilled young professional workforce to meet the future technological requirements of the industry.

“Given the dependency of the Australian economy on efficient heavy haul, there is a pressing need to upgrade ageing rail infrastructure by rejuvenating higher degree training with a new generation of engineers with advanced knowledge and practice skills,” Professor Indraratna said.

“Australia also has some of the world’s heaviest as well as longest heavy-haul trains, exceeding four kilometres at times, with considerable challenges offered to railway engineers along problematic soil terrains.

He said ITTC Rail will meet the challenge of designing, constructing and maintaining the Australian rail network through the specialist training of researchers.

“This will involve close collaboration with companies in the rail supply chain, programs to promote novel design approaches, and innovative fabrication of products using advanced manufacturing techniques,” he said.

The ITTC Rail is the first ever rail training centre funded by the Australian Government, with a $3.9 million ARC grant supported by $3.4 million in contributions from the NSW state government and industry and university partners.

Universities contributing to the centre include: University of Wollongong, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Sydney, Queensland University of Technology, Curtin University, University of Queensland, Western Sydney University and University of Newcastle. 

Industry partners include: Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation, Metro Trains Melbourne, Bridgestone Corporation, Snowy Mountains Engineering Corp, Innovative Technology Beijing, China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group, Ecoflex International, Geofrontiers, Polyfabrics Australasia, Nu-rock Technology and Elasto-Plastic Concrete.

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