The Australian and Victorian governments have reached a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) to enhance the interoperability of the rail network in the country.

This agreement will allow transport ministers and rail industry stakeholders, including operators, builders and manufacturers, to work in tandem to make railways more interoperable, specifically for future key investments.

It builds on the Australian Government’s pledge to enable the National Rail Manufacturing Plan, which is framed to improve the rail manufacturing sector and facilitate skilled manufacturing job opportunities.

A National Rail Advocate and Rail Industry Innovation Council will be soon appointed by the federal government to enable the plan and boost transformation in Australian rail manufacturing such as developing domestic capabilities and strengthening supply chains.

In December 2022, infrastructure and transport ministers agreed to several productivity and safety actions to enhance national rail interoperability.

These measures include the establishment of a small number of critical national rail standards besides aligning the different train control and signalling technologies used along the eastern seaboard.

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By GlobalData

The focus will also be on reducing the burden related to the impact of varied rail approaches on drivers, crew and maintenance staff.

This move aims at addressing national rail productivity challenges arising from the implementation of upgrades and new solutions from different vendors at different times. 

Australia’s infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government minister Catherine King said: “Improving interoperability of the national rail network will mean more people will be employed, more manufacturing will be local, and more passenger and freight services will travel by rail.

“Today’s first signatures on the historic memorandum of cooperation commit all governments and industry to work together to ensure rail can play a bigger role in our nation’s future.”