Conference Day Two: Wednesday, 7 July 2021

9:00 am - 9:30 am Coffee And Registration


Roy Unny

Executive Chair
Rail Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA)

9:40 am - 10:20 am Daring To Innovate: What We Can Learn From Past Digital Train Control Implementation & Integration Efforts That Didn’t Hit The Mark On ROI and Promised Potent

Doc Frank Heibel - ., Train Control Management Trainer & Industry Expert

Digital train control technologies and automation will become a mainstay in the rail network of the future and many, if not all operators in Aus & NZ, are aware of the benefits these capabilities hold. That said, many a project have come unstuck in terms of time to delivery, implementation challenges and stakeholder friction which have ultimately created a mismatch in the expected v/s realised value from these projects. Doc Frank, has a strong opinion on why and sees some significant changes in thinking and approaches necessary so that Australian rail network moves from strength to strength.

  • Common aspects in digital train control projects that have led to delivery shortfalls – a case study review
  • Uniting the top-level leadership on an uncompromising digital-first vision and strategy
  • Balancing digitization and system change with delivery risk and change management challenges, stakeholder expectations and buy-in
  • Key aspects necessary to build a digital transformation and integration approach that can scale

Doc Frank Heibel

Train Control Management Trainer & Industry Expert

10:20 am - 11:00 am Sydney Trains Proof of Concept: How A State-Of-The-Art Traffic Management System (TMS) Will Enable Centralized, Proactive Network Management & Incident Response In One Of The Busiest Networks In The Southern Hemisphere

Stefano Saccomani - Associate Director (Traffic Management Systems), Transport for NSW

As a part of the broader Digital Systems Project, Sydney Trains is now in process of working through how the control room can become proactive as the rail network sets itself up for busier days that are imminent in the near future. Upgrading its TMS is critical part of making this proactivity possible and in the words of NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, “This is an important step in the process of upgrading our network with internationally proven technology that boosts safety, capacity, and reliability, and enhances the customer experience.” In this session, hear:

  • Starting the journey in bringing a centralized and more connected approach across train control systems and bringing a digisited approach to rail network decision making
  • Understanding how to develop an effective supplier partnership – what factors to consider
  • Lessons learned from early ETCS and TMS Proof-of-Concepts and deliveries – technical and human 

Stefano Saccomani

Associate Director (Traffic Management Systems)
Transport for NSW

11:00 am - 11:20 am Morning Tea

11:20 am - 12:00 pm Lessons Learnt From Leveraging Automation and Technology to Connect Customers and Enhance Network Capacity by 60%

Scott Wheeler - Head of Network Services, V/Line

This session will explore:

  • CBTC: How the new fully-automated metro maintains consistent train throughput and be well integrated with the Sydney Trains’ network
  • An overview of the utilization of new track form technology and highly mechanized construction methods to improve asset protection strategies
  • Understanding the needs of customers and forecasting future direction of transport to determine network capacity and systems for increased throughput

Scott Wheeler

Head of Network Services

12:00 pm - 12:40 pm Developing A Robust Change Strategy That Builds Confidence Within A Large Train Crew To Onboard New Technology (ATP) Without Disrupting Customer Experien

Amba Francisco - A/Director of Operational Readiness & Improvement, Sydney Trains

Amba as a part of the Operational Readiness group at Sydney Trains has recently helped Sydney Trains operationalize Automatic Train Protection (ATP) across its Illawarra line with zero incidents and is now helping scale her change management, onboarding and training approach to make ATP a reality across all Sydney Trains lines. As Sydney Trains prepares to adopt ETCS L2 in the next few years, Amba will share the emerging practices, thinking and methodologies required to introduce change that sticks as complex projects and visions roll out across rail networks.

  • Bridge the gap and speed up the time taken for a tech roll out across the operational rail crew
  • Re-thinking the on-boarding delivery approach to maximise crew readiness without affecting workforce planning and operational costs
  • Making sure the change and transformation delivery plan is “digestible”  
  • Lessons, considerations and implications from ATP rollout for change planning for ETCS L2

Invited Speaker: 


Amba Francisco

A/Director of Operational Readiness & Improvement
Sydney Trains

12:40 pm - 1:40 pm Lunch Break

1:40 pm - 2:20 pm Innovation Spotlight: Safer and Efficient Railway Operations Using State-of-the-Art Automated In-service Condition Monitoring

Ravi Ravitharan - Director, Monash Institute of Railway Technology (IRT), Monash University

As railway operators demand higher productivity and throughput to meet increasing patronage and changing needs, shrinking maintenance windows and tightening of available asset repair budgets necessitate responsive strategies to ensure continued safe operations, service reliability whilst at the same time looking at ways to create greater efficiencies. 

Monash Institute of Railway Technology, the premier track and vehicle railway research centre in Australia has developed intelligent automated condition monitoring tools which are integrated into normal railway operations. In this session learn how these tools automatically collect dynamic vehicle performance data and identify high risk track related defects, and the precise locations of the defects, capable of sending remote data that can be analysed in real time.


Ravi Ravitharan

Director, Monash Institute of Railway Technology (IRT)
Monash University

2:20 pm - 2:50 pm The Next Frontier: How To Sustain Service Safety, Reliability And Cost Efficiency Outcomes As Automation Becomes Central To Your Train Control Operations

Kevin Lill - Principal Advisor – Process Control, Rio Tinto

Kevin Lill is focused on helping Rio Tinto think through forward looking challenges with AutoHaul, the largest automation project in the world, well underway. Currently, he is working through how the traditional rail maintenance team and strategy needs to radically change from its statistical approach towards rail decisions and maintenance regimes to sustain the reliability, cost-savings and productivity that automation in train control enables. In this session he takes you through:

  • Learning from fixed plant industries – what do they teach train control leaders about challenges in automated operating environment
  • Re-designing working relationship between operations, strategy and maintenance teams for an automated train control setting
  • Moving to a data-driven decisioning maintenance approach to bring 100% accuracy in maintenance decisions 
  • Evolving your technology and integration strategy to maximize value from automation



Kevin Lill

Principal Advisor – Process Control
Rio Tinto


Roy Unny

Executive Chair
Rail Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA)

3:00 pm - 3:00 pm End of Conference