Engineering, Passenger Rail, Signalling & Communications

Sydney Metro engineer to investigate MBRL signalling

Mango Hill station on Moreton Bay Rail Link. Photo: Queensland Government

Queensland transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe has appointed signalling expert Rob Smith to conduct an audit into how an insufficient signalling system was installed on the Moreton Bay Rail Link in northern Brisbane, delaying its opening.

Hinchliffe appointed Smith, currently working on the Sydney Metro Northwest Project (formerly known as the North West Rail Link), on Thursday.

The minister said Smith was one of Australia’s leading rail signalling experts.

He said Smith will audit the procurement and governance of the signalling system for MBRL.

Queensland Rail said this week the signalling system installed on the billion-dollar project was not adequate to handle the number of signals required on the South East Queensland passenger network.

A disappointed Hinchliffe had announced the opening of the project would be delayed on May 30.

The minister said he had been told as recently as earlier in May that the project was on track for its targeted mid-2016 opening.

He announced an investigation would lock on to what caused the error, and on Thursday appointed Smith to lead the audit team.

“Mr Smith is eminently qualified to examine the MBRL project and has more than 20 years of experience in design and project management for rail systems,” Hinchliffe said.

“Mr Smith specialises in delivering rail signalling systems and his extensive knowledge will be extremely beneficial to the audit and ensure we can get to the bottom of why the signalling system currently installed does not meet the operational and safety standards found across South East Queensland’s rail network.

“The audit will investigate the governance and contractual processes for the signalling system and its performance and integration during design and construction,” he said.

“Ultimately this audit will determine how the signalling system was selected and why the project cannot be delivered within the expected timeframe.”

Smith’s work will be conducted separately to the work being undertaken by Queensland Rail to bring the system up to standard so the new line can be opened.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Rail and other parties will provide relevant documents as requested for the audit, Hinchliffe said.

A final report will be due by the end of July.


  1. There are any number of current and former Signalling Engineers in Queensland who would be MORE than qualified to undertake this role.
    One wonders why this Transport Minister would want to employ someone who would not be familiar with current and past QR Signalling protocols and practices.

  2. also, Ansaldo STS did the ‘exact’ same thing on the Manchester South Alliance about 15years ago….

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