The Australian Rail Track (ARTC) has selected GE Transportation’s Movement Planner software solution to optimise and improve freight routes through its Hunter Valley rail network.

Movement Planner will serve as the foundation for the digital transformation of the train control function, a key feature of ARTC’s network control optimisation (ANCO) project.

Using real-time network and train data, ARTC’s ANCO programme aims to make informed decisions to better manage train flow and all other activities on track, while reducing complexity and coordination across its network.

ARTC’s Newcastle-based network control centre is claimed to be pivotal to its Hunter Valley rail operations, as it supports the annual movement of more than 24,000t of freight an hour.

ARTC managing director and CEO John Fullerton said: “The Hunter Valley rail network is one of the busiest and most complex in the country, supporting the largest coal export port in the world.

“The Hunter Valley rail network is one of the busiest and most complex in the country, supporting the largest coal export port in the world.”

“As bulk freight demands grow, rail operators like ARTC and supply chains like the Hunter Valley coal network need to be creative in the way they respond so the Australian economy doesn’t miss out.”

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The Movement Planner solution will take into consideration multiple factors including train schedules, traffic-control systems, and train movements before developing an optimised traffic plan for the trains throughout the network.

ARTC Hunter Valley Network group executive Jonathan Vandervoort said: “Working closely with our customers, we have a strong focus on driving and improving network performance that benefits the entire supply chain.

“Through the ARTC Network Control Optimisation program, the Movement Planner solution will allow us to improve transport capacity and efficiency, and provide better service performance.”

The company will implement the ‘Network Viewer’ and ‘Network Optimiser’ modules of Movement Planner for the Hunter Valley network throughout 2018 and 2019.