AusRAIL, Passenger Rail, Research & Development, Rolling stock & Rail Vehicle Design, Signalling & Communications

Metro boss excited for ‘rail renaissance’

Metro Trains chief executive Andrew Lezala. Photo:

Melbourne Metro chief executive Andrew Lezala says the 2015 AusRAIL conference and exhibition will come at “a really exciting time for rail”.

Lezala, who spoke with Rail Express a month ahead of the event in Melbourne from November 24 to 26, said major projects in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane headline a positive period for the rail sector.

“In Victoria, we’ve got the Cranbourne-Pakenham line upgrade project,” he said, “which will see big, big Metro trains – seven-car vehicles in a metro-style operation.

“It will also include nine grade separations along that corridor, so getting rid of all of the level crossings between Dandenong and Caulfield.”

The Cranbourne-Pakenham grade separations (a.k.a. level crossing removals) are among the 20 committed to so far by the state government, with the long-term plan to remove 50 across the state.

“We’ve got the high-capacity signalling, CBTC trial coming up on the Sandringham Line,” Lezala added, “and we’ve got the Metro Tunnel, which is coming, too.”

Meanwhile, north of the border, Sydney is kicking off its light rail construction, and work on the new Metro line is well underway, he pointed out.

“We’re going to see the first driverless passenger train in the country in the North West Rail Link in Sydney.

“That’s an exciting game changer.

“And in Brisbane, we’re about to see the first of the PPP trains delivered by the consortium including Bombardier.”

Together, he said, the projects – along with several others around the nation – signal a great new era for Australian passenger rail.

“It’s a renaissance of rail,” the Metro boss said. “There’s an investment in public transport, and a realisation that cities are growing, and they need to have rail infrastructure.

“That is a fantastic, fantastic environment, and people should recognise that and celebrate it.

“We are in rail, in Australia, at a great time.”

Lezala will use his presentation on the first day of AusRAIL to discussing the role the private sector plays in the industry. He will also take part in the highly-regarded CEO Forum on November 26.

“I’ll talk about capacity, because we can do more with what we’ve got with high-capacity signalling, and bigger trains,” he said.

“The strategic issue of that is also getting people to trains. Feeder buses, more car parking; that is the next issue to manage.

“Also about the role of the private sector in the rail environment: I’ll be talking about not only the ability to bring money to the PPPs, but also bringing world’s best practice; bringing contractual rigour.”

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

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