Christmas reading: Rail Express AusRAIL edition

In case you missed it, Rail Express published a digital edition of its AusRAIL magazine in November. You can read the magazine, which includes features, interviews, analysis and comment covering the Australian and New Zealand rail industry, in digital format on our website.

The 92-page magazine can be viewed in digital format by clicking here.

Instructions: simply use your mouse to drag the pages just like you were reading a magazine. Alternatively, you can use the left and right arrows on your keyboard. To zoom in on a page, use the magnifying glass icon on the bottom left menu.

We hope that you enjoy the magazine. If you have any feedback, please feel free to email our editor:

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Marika Calfas, chief executive officer of NSW Ports. Photo: NSW Ports

NSW Ports appoints new CEO

After several months as the organisation’s interim chief, Marika Calfas has been formally announced as the CEO of NSW Ports.

NSW Ports, which owns and operates Port Botany and Port Kembla, announced the appointment on December 21.

“The board is delighted to appoint Marika to the position of chief executive officer,” NSW Ports chairman Paul McClintock said.

“Marika has demonstrated that she possesses the experience, qualities and capabilities required to successfully lead the business. We look forward to working with her to deliver on the organisation’s objectives.”

After a global executive search, McClintock said the board decided the best candidate was the one right in front of it.

“Marika has impressed the board during her period as interim CEO,” he said. “Marika has a comprehensive knowledge of the business having been a part of the NSW Ports executive team since 2013, and came to NSW Ports with 12 years’ experience at Sydney Ports Corporation.”

Prior to her work at Sydney Ports, Calfas worked at Sinclair Knight Merz.

“I am passionate about NSW’s port gateways and freight supply chains, and the vital role they play in supporting business and consumer needs,” Calfas said.

“Ensuring they continue to grow and operate efficiently and sustainably is essential. In my capacity as CEO, I look forward to continuing to engage with our many stakeholders and working with my colleagues at NSW Ports to deliver these strategic outcomes.”

Michael Kilgariff, chief executive of the Australian Logistics Council – which recently added Calfas to its board – praised the move by NSW Ports.

“Marika brings a wealth of high level experience to the position,” Kilgariff said.

“Her deep understanding of the long-term challenges and opportunities facing NSW Ports make her the ideal choice to lead the organisation through the next phase of its growth.”

Kilgariff stressed the importance of a number of freight initiatives concerning NSW Ports which are in their planning phases.

“These include an agreement between NSW Ports and Aurizon regarding the future of the Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre; Asciano’s new intermodal strategy incorporating an intermodal site at St Mary’s and DP World’s and Toll’s proposed Villawood joint venture.

“They also include the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal in Western Sydney, to be operated by the SIMTA consortium (consisting of Qube and Aurizon), which is making significant progress,” he added.

“With NSW’s freight task set to nearly double by 2031, the logistics industry needs visionary and strategic leaders with a solid understanding of what’s required to meet this growth; and NSW Ports have this in Marika Calfas.”

Coal wagons Aurizon. Photo: Aurizon

Changes at top for Aurizon

Queensland-based freight operator Aurizon has announced head of operations Mike Franczak will leave the company in March 2016 “by mutual agreement”.

Franczak joined Aurizon in 2013 after a long career in Canada.

“As we indicated at the time, we brought Mike in to bring our operating metrics in line with the North American Class 1 Railways,” chief executive Lance Hockridge said on Wednesday.

“He has delivered and has played a role in the ongoing success of our operational transformation.

“Our key operating metrics have improved and are trending towards and in some cases exceeding the performance of the Class 1 Railways.

“I would like to thank Mike for the work he has done.  His experience has been invaluable in helping the team achieve many of the performance targets we set our company in recent years.”

Michael Carter will be appointed as acting head of operations from January 1, while Franczak will be available to assist with the transition before his departure in March.

Vice president of business development David Welch will act in the role of executive vice president strategy and business development for Carter during this time.

Hockridge said a global recruitment process would be undertaken to fill the role permanently however the bench strength of the Aurizon team was strong and there was a number of outstanding internal candidates.

“Michael [Carter] is currently the executive vice president strategy and business development and has broad experience in leadership roles over a long career in the rail industry, including freight, passenger and heavy haul rail operations.

“We have set very clear targets to the market in terms of cost outs and performance improvements.

“I will also be working closely with the teams to ensure a seamless transition and help our highly experienced and capable leadership team in Operations deliver on our targets and our next phase of reform and growth.”

ARTC hiring women in Hunter. Photo: Youtube / ARTC

Logistics needs to rectify gender gap

Transport and logistics industry operators have been challenged to increase gender diversity within their ranks in order to improve financial outcomes.

The topic was the central theme of the Australian Logistics Council’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit which was held at the Pullman Hotel in Melbourne and featured several key speakers from businesses within Australia.

Toll Holdings non-executive director Nicola Wakefield Evans said there was a need for conversation about gender diversity within the logistics industry noting the strong economic benefits of doing so.

“Fortunately and unfortunately, the statistics for the transport and logistics industry are woeful but compelling for change.”

She noted logistics as a pillar of the Australian economic and also one of the fastest growing.

Moreover with overall workplace participation dropping, women were an obvious source of skilled labour.

Wakefield also talked of the value of direct action and the experience of the property sector.

“You actually need to put direct policies in place to bring women into, particularly the frontline jobs….”

The session was chaired by Asciano director human resources Alex Badenoch who opened the Summit noting recent comments by the new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who, when asked why half his cabinet was female, said “it’s 2015”.

“It’s really our first step to making our industry more diverse,” Badenoch told the Summit.

This article originally featured in Rail Express affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia.

Your digital edition of Rail Express AusRAIL PLUS 2015 has arrived!

The electronic version of Rail Express AusRAIL 2015 magazine is now available to read online, free of charge.

Click here to read our AusRAIL 2015 edition.

Instructions: simply use your mouse to drag the pages just like you were reading a magazine. Alternatively, you can use the left and right arrows on your keyboard. To zoom in on a page, use the magnifying glass icon on the bottom left menu.

Our AusRAIL PLUS 2015 edition is 92 pages and includes:

  • ARA: Introducing new CEO Danny Broad.
  • Workforce: Women have more to offer in rail.
  • Inland Rail & Intermodal: Looking in to the Inland Rail Implementation Group report
  • Research & Technology: Experts meet to talk wheel detection.

We hope that you enjoy the magazine. If you have any feedback, please feel free to email our editor:

For more information about advertising in Rail Express, please click here.

Malcolm Broomhead, chairman of Asciano. Photo: BHP Billiton

Asciano wants gender diversity

Asciano chairman Malcolm Broomhead has indicated the company will push for greater diversity in its future operations.

Speaking at this week’s company annual meeting where both he and chief executive John Mullen were reindorsed for another term by shareholders, Mr Broomhead said the challenge of gender diversity “is particularly strong for Asciano because we operate in a traditionally male-dominated industry”.

It was an apt observation, given Asciano’s lily-white 10-person board includes just two women.

“While we may not have made as great a progress as we had hoped, we have developed programs to open new roles for women and over the last year we have invested in the training to increase the broader diversity of our frontline workforce and management team,” Mr Broomhead said.

“The business is well positioned now to deliver meaningful results and diversity as we move forward.”

The meeting was somewhat overshadowed by the announcement of the Qube takeover offer, with Asciano shareholders now comparing that offer with that of Canadian company Brookfield Infrastructure.

This story was originally published by Rail Express affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia.

AusRAIL footer image

Metro train. Photo:

Vandals derail Metro train at Hurstbridge

Police are hunting vandals who allegedly derailed a train after breaking into the Hurstbridge depot in north-east Melbourne early on Wednesday morning.

Victorian Police are alleging criminal damage was caused after offenders broke into the  depot at around 1.50am on Wednesday, before breaking into a Metro Trains X-Trapolis train.

The offenders caused the stationary train on the city-bound line to drive forward and derail, Police alleged, causing extensive damage to carriages, fencing and security boxes.

“It’s a large amount of damage, so it’s possible that someone may know who is responsible,” Sergeant Mark Chetcuti said. “We’d like to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the Heidelberg-Kinglake Road area between 1am and 2am [Wednesday] morning.”

Metro Trains boss Andrew Lezala reportedly told the ABC the incident had caused roughly $3 million in damage.

“Somebody has gained access to one of our trains and managed to motor it up,” he was quoted as saying. “The train has been derailed by the derailing device, which is there to stop trains getting onto the main line when they shouldn’t be there. So it’s done its job, but [the derailment has] caused extensive damage.”

Lezala reportedly said that X-Trapolis keys – which are universal – were occasionally stolen, and may have been obtained on the black market in this instance.

“This is a severe act of vandalism,” he was quoted by ABC.

Sergeant Chetcuti told media the trespassers appeared to have used a rock to force a lever to put the train in motion, causing it to drive for 40 to 50 metres “and basically destroying everything in its path”.

“There was a cleaner and a night watchman who obviously saw the activities unfold, and just had to move away and put themselves in a safe position,” Chetcuti was quoted, “there was not too much they could do.”

The Rail Tram and Bus Union believes the incident could have been avoided “if Metro Trains employed more network surveillance staff”.

“All of this could have been avoided if Metro wasn’t skimping on their responsibilities to provide overnight security and surveillance of rolling stock,” RTBU secretary Luba Grigorovitch said.

“Metro must take more responsibility for security across the network.

“Taxpayers count on the company to look after the rolling stock and infrastructure while managing the network.

“To think they only employ 15 people in the Network Surveillance Security team to patrol across the entire network is astounding and the taxpayer should be getting a better deal.”

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

British Railways career inspired Lezala’s Metro method

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.

Pacific National class 92 locomotives hauling a coal train over a rail bridge crossing the Hunter River at Singleton, NSW. Photo: Creative Commons / Bluedawe

PN ordered to reinstate speeding driver

A speeding train driver who accidentally abandoned his co-driver during a toilet break will be reinstated by Pacific National, the Fair Work Commission has ordered.

Peter White, a driver with Pacific National, was dismissed in February following an eventful trip between Broken Hill and Parkes on November 24 last year.

White and his co-driver, Mel Burton, had left Broken Hill roughly 85 minutes late due to a lengthy service delay. The pair experienced another delay at Darnick and then a short wait on a crossing loop in Ivanhoe.

An hour out from Parkes, White stopped the train to inspect what he thought was smoke coming from the rear of the locomotive.

Deciding it was merely dust, he began the four-minute process of releasing the train brakes for departure.

It was then that Burton told him she was going for a toilet break.

White thought Burton was going to use the on-board toilet, accessed via a metre-long external footplate (with a handrail).

But Burton got off the train for her toilet break, and White – oblivious – continued to release the brakes, and drove away.

White drove the train for several minutes before realising Burton was not on board.

After stopping 11km down the railway at Yarrabandai, White contacted authorities. He was relieved by a new train crew and reunited with Burton a short while later.

In reviewing the data logger from the journey, Pacific National found White and Burton’s train had averaged 86km/h, and had peaked at 98km/h during its journey, despite an ARTC-ordered speed limit of 80km/h.

The operator rejected the idea White was pressured into speeding due to the delays to his schedule, saying no driver had ever been disciplined for being late due to delays.

Following a formal investigation and review, Pacific National sacked White in February this year. Burton was stood down temporarily, then returned to duties in a demoted role. She resigned in April.

In sacking White – a Driver Trainer who Pacific National expected to be the gold standard for safe driving – the company found he had “demonstrated a reckless violation of a number Pacific National’s policies and procedures” during the journey.

White took the case to the Fair Work Commission, filing for unfair dismissal.

He argued that Burton – a fully qualified driver in her own right – was responsible for watching the speedometer during the journey as part of her role as co-driver.

White said Burton did not warn him of his consistently high speed at any point.

He said he drove the train ‘by feel’, and was genuinely unaware of his speeding throughout the journey.

As for the other charge, White’s counsel argued his assumption that Burton was still on board the train was a fair and reasonable one to make.

White acknowledged to the Commission he should not have driven the train without knowing precisely where his co-driver was, and said he regretted making that decision.

But he and his counsel contended to the Commission that the factors, taken together, did not warrant an immediate termination.

Moreover, White’s counsel said his clear safety record through the first 9½ years of work with Pacific National meant the speeding event should be treated as a ‘one-off’ error, and should not result in termination.

Pacific National argued that despite the clean prior record, the safety breaches in this case were significant enough to warrant termination.

The company said a demotion was out of the question, as it would still leave White driving trains – a duty the operator felt it could no longer trust him to do safely.


Findings of the Fair Work Commission

FWC Deputy President PJ Sams essentially broke the case down into two components: the leaving of Burton beside the railway, and the speeding.

He agreed with Pacific National, saying the speeding alone would usually be a dismissible offence, but he rejected it in this case, due to “mitigating factors,” primarily that Burton was “equally culpable” for the events, but was not given the same punishment.

“In my view, Ms Burton was at least as culpable as the applicant for the speeding train due to her failure to alert him, at any point, that he was speeding,” the Fair Work judge said. “She was a fully qualified driver and was seated directly in front of the panel, which included the train’s speedometer.

“There was no suggestion, let alone evidence, offered by [Pacific National], that Ms Burton had told the applicant he was speeding. I accept [White’s] evidence that she had not. This was an essential, if not the primary duty of a co-driver in these circumstances.

“Ms Burton, of course, was not dismissed.”

As for leaving Burton beside the railway: Deputy President Sams found White was again not as much to blame as Pacific National suggested.

The company claimed that if indeed White thought Burton was moving to or from the on-board toilet, then he should have stopped the train anyway.

But Sams found the rules Pacific National was referring to applied during shunting operations, and not during standard motion.

“[Pacific National’s case] might have appeared to be logical if it had not emerged in the evidence, that the [cited policies] had not even applied to the incident involving [White] and Ms Burton,” Sams said.

“[Pacific National representatives at the Fair Work hearing] conceded, properly in my view, that the policy could not have applied to the incident because the shunting policy does not apply to ‘through’ train movements.”

He continued: “If it is accepted – as it surely must be – that, firstly, [White] was unaware that Ms Burton had left the train and, secondly, it was a common practice for employees to go to the toilet while the train is in motion, then it is difficult to understand how [Pacific National] came to the view that [White] was in breach of its Health and Safety Policy and Code of Conduct.

“It is an even longer ‘bow to draw’ to submit that the applicant was in ‘reckless violation’ of the policies. The word, ‘Reckless’ is defined in the Macquarie Dictionary as ‘utterly careless of the consequences of action’.

“I reject such a characterisation of this conduct.”

Sams also took issue with what he believed was a major flaw in the rail company’s investigation.

White reported Burton had told him, “I’m going for a pee.” When she was interviewed after the incident by Pacific National, she recalled: “I said to him that I was getting off the locomotive to go to the toilet”.

But in the official investigators’ report compiled by Pacific National, Burton was quoted to have said: “I’m going to the toilet, don’t leave without me”.

“Incredibly, neither these words, nor anything like them in the second part of the quote (‘Don’t leave without me’), were never said by Ms Burton in either of her interviews,” Sams found.

“How did they come to appear in the official investigator’s report? … these fictitious words distorted the report, such as to convey the negative impression that the applicant knew Ms Burton had left the train, and deliberately started the train and left without her.”

Sams described the error as “a critical one,” which may have swayed the decision to terminate White – a decision, Sam said, which had therefore been “miscarried, and cannot be allowed to stand”.

The FWC deputy president said White should be reinstated within 21 days the order, which was handed down on October 30.

He also ordered White be given 30% of his lost earnings since he was sacked at the start of the year.

Read the full decision here:

Toowoomba. Photo: Queensland Government

Qld’s DILGP appoints new Director General

Queensland’s Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning has welcomed Frankie Carroll as its new director-general.

Carroll is currently the chief executive of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and also has been the deputy chief executive and chief financial officer of this body as well as chief executive officer of Queensland Water Infrastructure.

He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and a member of the Association of Institute of Taxation in Ireland.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed Carroll, saying he had experience in several relevant sectors.

“Mr Carroll brings to the role a strong skill set in strategy formulation, risk management, project delivery, all financial aspects of business, contract negotiation, resource utilisation, and establishing integrated governance and risk frameworks,” Palaszczuk said.

“He has led high performing teams, takes a collaborative leadership approach, and has demonstrated a strong track-record of successful outcomes.”

The recruitment process was chaired by the Public Service Commission acting chief executive, Robert Setter, and included Lynelle Briggs, chair of the NSW Planning Assessment Commission, and Jim Hallion, coordinator-general, South Australia.


Meanwhile, Mark Stockwell, chair of the Queensland Trade and Investment Board, has announced he will step down from his role for family reasons and to devote more time to his own business activities.

Stockwell was appointed chair of the inaugural board in October 2013.

Deputy Premier and minister for trade Jackie Trad said that as an eminent businessman, property developer and Olympian, Stockwell’s expertise was critical to organising TIQ as a new standalone authority.

A new candidate to permanently fill the position of chair will be announced shortly. Stockwell is to remain chair until a replacement is appointed.

This story originally appeared in Rail Express affiliate, Lloyd’s List Australia.