AUSTRALIA: To mark the start of the AusRail Plus conference and exhibition in Brisbane, the Australasian Railway Association officially announced its first National Rail Day on November 22. ARA Chief Executive Bryan Nye launched the event at Brisbane Central station with representatives from Queensland Rail.

Railway staff around the country are participating in a series of events to boost awareness of rail's environmental and economic benefits, and to thank regular passengers for making a 'greener' choice of travel mode. Nye told Railway Gazette that urban rail traffic in Australia was growing steadily, and huge investment programmes were underway in all of the major cities.

ARA estimates that every passenger train takes 525 cars off the roads, saving 420 liters of fuel and improving road safety eightfold. This is a message that we have to get though to ordinary Australians, Nye explained.

Visit Railway Gazette at AusRail Plus 2011 at stand 482 in Hall 1, and read Bryan Nye's review of the Australian rail industry in the November issue of Railway Gazette International.