Getting Australian rail on track


We all know Australia is a big country, but many will not know the scale of the rail infrastructure.

Australia has approximately 33,000km of rail track. This includes both commuter and freight rail lines. More than half is used to freight consumer goods from sea ports to major cities and natural resources from many mining operations back to the seaports for export. The Australian federal government over the next 5 years is committing up to $A20bn in current and forward investment in rail projects that will cut congestion in cities, provide growth in regional areas and create new employment opportunities.

This is the largest ever commitment to rail infrastructure by an Australian federal government. Half of the available funding will go towards a $A10bn National Rail Programme for new and planned urban rail projects in Australia’s major cities, as well as providing for better connections between cities and regional centres.$A 8.4bn will be made available for the Melbourne–Brisbane Inland Rail project, a dedicated high-productivity rail freight corridor that will provide countless jobs for many years to come.

Rail applications require the highest safety standards where abrasives are used in the toughest environments and under increasingly demanding time-pressure. Worker safety is one of Saint-Gobain’s top priorities. As a major supplier to the rail industry both Flexovit & Norton products comply with all local & international safety and operating standards. Saint-Gobain has a proud history of providing abrasive solutions to the rail industry for over 40 years in Australia. In that time rail manufacturing, sourcing and along with rail aging has required product to evolve to meet these changing demands. Rail hardness determines the performance of abrasive solutions. Through innovation, Saint-Gobain offers a range of products that cover these specific requirements while ensuring maintenance performance is optimised.

Key to this support is Saint-Gobain’s close relationship with rail contractors and those supporting the industry. Saint-Gobain’s Industrial Sales team and experienced application engineers provide national support to customers and end users. This includes on site product evaluation and training. Central to Saint-Gobain’s involvement in rail is the Thin Wheel manufacturing plant based in Campbellfield in Melbourne. The Plant consistently produces a range of high performing products for the rail industry. Importantly it allows for speed to market which given rail’s time-pressure environment is critical to managing workflows on projects.

It also acts as the venue for training and testing through the Centre of Excellence. Application Engineers also travel and support providers like the Australian Testing Services who are a lead provider in Cert4 training for rail operators. The Plant also provides a conduit for engaging educational institutions also looking to improve product & process performance.

With increases in funding of rail projects, Saint-Gobain Abrasives have seen year on year growth. This trend will continue for many years to come as these projects develop through planning, construction, completion and ultimately maintaining the infrastructure. Saint-Gobain remains committed to an on-going partnership promoting innovative process solutions within the rail industry, and working alongside the members of the CSS group, helps us bring our premium product to market.