CORE 2021 Conference Review 

The Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA) hosted the 15th edition of the Conference on Railway Excellence (CORE) 2021 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in Western Australia. The conference was held over the week of 21st June till the 23rd of June 2021. The theme of CORE 2021 revolved around Collaborating to Master Complexity. The event was enabled by key sponsorships from the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and Public Transport Authority (PTA). 

The conference sought to showcase the professionalism that exists within the railway industry and to present the latest in railway technological advances and management practices for the education and advancement of the industry. The conference theme was ideal in that it covered a wide spectrum of industry sectors, including freight and heavy haul, passenger and light rail. 

Over the course of the 2 main days, 70 technical papers were presented from international and Australian authors covering topics such as track maintenance and upgrades; rolling stock design and manufacture; operating safety and human factors; signals and train control systems; wheel/rail interaction; track conditioning monitoring and data analytics; safety, prevention and investigation; planning and design; communications; track-rail welding and overhead traction systems. These broad subject streams provided the basis for railway practitioners to collaborate in further development of the rail industry. 

As a virtual attendee for the event, the key highlights of the conference included the depth of keynote presentations which includes presentations from Anne O’Neil P.E., CSEP, Chief Systems Engineer for the MTA New York City Transit and Lido Costa, Principle Engineer Autohaul from Rio Tinto. Both were eloquent in describing the challenges faced during the implementation of high risk, high reward works such as implementing change in the NYC Transit system and the implementation of the first driverless train system in Australia. 

A day one highlight also included the Emerging Young Rail Professionals Pitch which included excellent presentations by the top 3 winners of the RTSA sponsored, Young Professional Scholarship. A highlight for YTP was well received presentation delivered by Michael Weel (former YTP committee member) and past winner of the CORE Emerging Young Rail Professionals Pitch on personal resilience to the CORE Young Professional Scholarship winners. 

Overall, the conference successfully delivered its program on excellence while dealing with the ongoing challenges presented by CoVID-19. The mixed modal delivery method of the conference helped with engaging the wider railway community and was not limited by physical presence at Perth. 

The conference successfully closed out with the WSP Gala Dinner held at the BelleVue Ballroom. The event gave an opportunity for the presenters and attendees to discuss proceedings and engage in meaningful networking sessions and expand their knowledgebase. 

For more information on the conference, and to view the complete list of speakers and panels, please visit the CORE 2021 website: https://www.core2021.org.au/  

Adnan Alam – Secondary Systems Engineer – MTM