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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

RTBU, Metro Trains reach in principle enterprise deal

The Rail Tram & Bus Union (RTBU) has announced an in-principle agreement has been reached in its ongoing negotiations with Metro Trains Melbourne over a new enterprise agreement for its operations workforce.

RTBU secretary Luba Grigorovitch welcomed the agreement, but said it had taken longer than necessary to reach.

“In beggars belief that it took Metro six months to finally agree to what is largely an unchanged enterprise agreement,” Grigorovitch said on October 21.

“This agreement protects and maintains workers’ long-standing conditions as well as introducing new clauses to the agreement.

“Just as importantly, the new agreement also introduces a uniform disciplinary procedure and improved consultation and dispute resolution procedures, ensuring our members will be treated more fairly at work.”

Grigorovitch described the in-principle deal “a win for the membership,” and said the union “is proud of the result”.

“It is however regrettable that Metro dragged this process out so long and forced RTBU members to take industrial action,” she campaigned.

“This agreement ensures that an appropriate balance has been struck between protecting our members’ conditions and laying the best foundation possible so Melbourne can have a world-class transport system.”

Union officials will now conduct workplace visits to brief members on the new deal.

Enterprise agreement negotiations are still underway for a further two enterprise agreements, covering Metro’s rolling stock and infrastructure divisions.

MUA banners. Photo: Jim Wilson

Marriage talks between CFMEU, MUA

Labour of love or a marriage of convenience? Two of Australia’s most blue-collar unions are considering walking down the aisle.

Talks are underway for a marriage of two of the nation’s most formidable labour bodies, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).

A joint statement released by the unions said discussions were underway on a possible merger with CFMEU officials Michael O’Connor, Dave Noonan, and Tony Maher meeting today in Sydney with the MUA national council, with a formal proposal to go to the MUA national conference in February.

In the statement, MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the potential merger would create Australia’s most powerful union and better serve the membership.

“We have been presented with a monumental opportunity to represent working men and women in the Australian workplace without losing the long and proud history of our union,” Crumlin said.

“The MUA is no stranger to mergers and since the Waterside Workers’ Federation and the Seaman’s Union of Australia amalgamated in 1993…

“This is a huge decision that hasn’t been taken lightly, but discussions to merge with the like-minded CFMEU will help us fight the ever-pervasive anti-worker and anti-union attacks on workers and their entitlements and job security.”

CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor said his union would welcome a merger.

“The MUA offers us a chance to strengthen our politics within the CFMEU, because the struggle isn’t just about increasing wages, or creating a safe work site, there is also a bigger and important political struggle,” he said.

“We’re very conscious of the MUA’s identity and we want to make it clear that this is a merger of equals.”

The proposal comes at a time when the CFMEU has been under immense pressure at the Trade Union Royal Commission and the Labor Party faces calls to distance itself from this arm of the labour movement.

The MUA might also get a boost considering the decline in Australian-flagged shipping means it no longer has the same number of mariners from which to draw a membership.

It’s worth the existing close cooperation between the unions, with CFMEU members bolstering MUA picket lines during the recent dispute with stevedoring business Hutchison.

This article originally appeared in Rail Express affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia. See the original here.

Flinders Street Station, Melbourne. Photo: Creative Commons / Adam J.W.C.

‘Contest of ideas’ hailed with Infrastructure Victoria creation

In an echo of Mao Zedong’s “let 100 flowers bloom”, Victoria’s new infrastructure czar, Jim Miller, has talked of a “contest of ideas” in determining future priority projects for the state.

Miller has been appointed inaugural chairman of Infrastructure Victoria, with responsibility for developing a 30-year infrastructure strategy for the state.

The creation of IV and the appointment of Miller have been largely welcomed by industry, although there have been some grumbles as to how much independence the new body will enjoy.

“The development of the 30 year infrastructure strategy will be a contest of ideas that we encourage everyone to get involved in,” Miller said in a statement.

“Infrastructure Victoria will provide independent and expert advice on infrastructure matters but it will not be the font of all knowledge.

“To develop a long term strategy that maps out the best way to deliver the best projects at the best times will require input from stakeholders, business, industry and the community.”

Infrastructure Victoria was formally established this month, with the Infrastructure Victoria Act 2015 and appointment of the board.

The seven-member board comprises Jim Miller (chair), Maria Wilton (deputy chair), Professor Margaret Gardner AO, Ann Sherry AO, Chris Eccles, David Martine and Adam Fennessy.

A search is underway for a chief executive.

Miller said the board was excited to be leading a new approach to infrastructure planning.

“I think everyone agrees that we need to do things differently to get the best outcomes for the state,” he said.

“There will be some big conversations to be had over the coming months, and no doubt some tough decisions to be made, but the board is excited and honoured to be involved.”

Public consultation on the 30-year strategy is to start early next year.

Opposition infrastructure spokesman Ryan Smith publicly questioned whether the government had seriously de-politicised keys decisions.

“In 2007, former Premier Steve Bracks said that Sir Rod Eddington had ‘great credentials in the transport industry worldwide and in Australia’ and his report would be ‘comprehensive’ and provide ‘good, long-term planning to make Victoria a much more liveable state’,” Smith said.

“A year later (current treasurer) Tim Pallas expressed his ‘gratitude’ to Sir Rod Eddington for completing an independent report that was ‘his own work’.

“A couple of months later, then Premier John Brumby said that meeting the infrastructure recommendations of the Eddington Report would involve construction ‘for the best part of a decade’.

“Since then, most of those independent recommendations for infrastructure projects have been trashed.”

Smith said three of the departmental secretaries on the board were duty bound to implement government policy and thus were unlikely to be independent.

Despite the criticism from the Opposition, many groups welcomed the Infrastructure Victoria board announcement. Among them, the Australian Logistics Council.

“The Australian Logistics Council welcomes today’s announcement of the Infrastructure Victoria board and congratulates its inaugural chairman, Jim Miller,” said Michael Kilgariff, ALC managing director.

“Mr Miller has a long and distinguished career in the infrastructure sector, and he, along with his fellow board members, provides the board with significant experience and expertise in the area of infrastructure funding and delivery.”

Kilgariff indicated he believed IV could remove some of the politics from decision making.

“The establishment of Infrastructure Victoria to oversee a pipeline of infrastructure projects across electoral cycles represents an important step towards taking politics out of infrastructure planning and implementation,” he said.

“In particular, it is essential that the movement of freight receives equal consideration to the movement of people.

“As ALC outlined on its submission on the Infrastructure Australia national audit, there needs to be a greater focus on analysing Australia’s long term infrastructure needs, particularly in regards to ports.”

This was particularly relevant given the impending privatisation of the Port of Melbourne.

“In that vein, we see Infrastructure Victoria playing an important role in analysing Victoria’s future port needs, a point ALC made in its submission on the Port of Melbourne lease bill,” he said.

“This review should not only consider whether a second port in Melbourne is necessary, but also issues such as whether land protection mechanisms to ensure the efficient movement of freight to and from ports are adequate and need to be strengthened.”

Also supporting the IV announcement was the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), which released a statement saying it hoped Victoria could finally plan and build the big transportation infrastructure projects that had been lacking for several years.

“The VTA has always supported the establishment of an independent body that can prioritise and plan for the big, long-term infrastructure needs of the state,” said chief executive Peter Anderson.

“Victoria hasn’t initiated a new major road infrastructure project for ten years, and this is largely because politics have impeded the ability of successive state governments to make – and stand by – major road infrastructure decisions.

“We are hopeful that this independent body can fulfil its charter of providing fair, balanced and non-partisan infrastructure planning and advice so that we can start to tackle long-term infrastructure challenges that will only worsen as our state grows, and the population increases,” he said.

“We wish the board every success, and offer our assurance and willingness to contribute.”

Anderson said the top infrastructure priority for the VTA is the North East Link connecting the Eastern Freeway with the Metropolitan Ring Road.

“The lack of connectivity of Melbourne’s major freeway network has massive impacts on the productivity of operators and this is most apparent in the north east of Melbourne.

“There is no direct link between the Eastern Freeway and the Ring Road, and with curfews on trucks on arterial roads at night, the only alternative for drivers is to go around – which is costly and time-consuming, or use small roads – which is unsafe.”

This article was originally published in the print edition of Rail Express affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia.

Bob Herbert, chairman of ARA. Photo: ARA / Shutterstock

Herbert made ARA chairman

Bob Herbert has been appointed as the chairman of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), after serving as the interim chair during the turnover period of recent months.

Herbert took over as interim chair of the rail lobby group following the departure of chief executive Bryan Nye, and chairman Lindsay Tanner – who was completing a planned two-year term – in April. The leadership change was part of the ARA’s split with the Rail Industry and Safety Standards Board (RISSB), announced earlier this year.

A three-month review, led by Herbert, resulted in the appointment of Danny Broad as the ARA’s new chief executive in August.

Herbert will add the ARA role to an already impressive list: he is also the chairman of the Melbourne Cricket Ground Trust, the deputy chairman of Industry Capability Network, the chairman of the TrackSAFE Foundation, and the director of TrackSAFE New Zealand.

Herbert was recognised in 2004 by the Victorian Government and the Manufacturing Industry Consultative Council, for “exceptional services to the Victorian manufacturing industry,” and was admitted to the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

In 2005, Herbert was made a Member of the Order of Australia, the citation reading “for services to industry, particularly in the area of industrial relations reform, industry training and skills development”.

Herbert was a non-executive director of Skilled Group from 2003 to 2015.

Prior to that in 1998, he brought about the merger between MTIA and the Australian Chamber of Manufactures, to form the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), one of Australia’s significant national industry representative organisations.

Until February 2004 he was chief executive of Ai Group, having served for eight years in that role, and 30 years as a Director.

Herbert was a non-executive director of MainCo Melbourne – the joint venture of UGL Rail & Connex to maintain the Melbourne rail network – between 2004 and 2010.

His past work also includes leadership roles at the Superannuation Trust of Australia, the Emergency Services Superannuation Board, the CSIRO Manufacturing Advisory Council, the Birmingham University Business School Advisory Board, IXC International, the Enterprise Connect Advisory Board, and the Trade Union Education Foundation.