AusRAIL, Passenger Rail, Workforce, Certification & Training

British Railways career inspired Lezala’s Metro method

Metro Trains Comeng EMU. Photo: Zed Fitzhume / Creative Commons

Metro Trains Melbourne boss Andrew Lezala says the time he spent early in his career at British Railways helped inspire the training regime he has installed at the Victorian passenger operator.

“I started after I left university in 1977, as a graduate trainee in British Railways,” Lezala told Rail Express ahead of AusRAIL PLUS 2015.

Metro Trains Melbourne has just been announced as the Exhibition Networking Drinks Sponsor for AusRAIL, and Lezala will speak during the conference event.

“They had a fantastic training scheme, which we’ve now mimicked in Metro Trains,” he told Rail Express. “I was lucky to get onto that.

“They gave you an exposure to all parts of the business; you did rotations,” he explained. “I was a foreman in a locomotive overhaul factory, I was a travelling engineer supporting diesel locomotives in the field, I went to train ops to look at how that worked, I went to the engineering and design centre, spent three months there.

“They moved us around parts of the business, three months at a time.”

This unique training method at British Rail has been almost exactly replicated by Lezala at Metro Trains Melbourne, almost four decades later.

“We’ve done something very similar here,” he said.

“We take on six engineering grads and two business grads a year, and we put them through the same type of rotation, so they get an appreciation of the entire business, and an appreciation of how railways work.

“Because railways are very, very interdependent.”

Lezala says the benefits of the training scheme have already been seen in the business.

“We started taking four on a year, five years ago. I want, over ten years, to get over eighty highly-trained professionals, that will be the leaders of tomorrow.

“That’s what we’ve been doing. We’re five years into that process.”

Rail Express is the official media partner of AusRAIL. Visit for more information.

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