2017 Honour Board

Career Achievement – Ben Lombardo

Ben Lombardo has been a leading pioneer and innovator in the Australian rail industry since the early 1980’s, when he took over the leadership of the Speno business in Australia. Ben has driven key value, added technology development, innovation and the introduction of specialized maintenance technologies into the Australian rail maintenance industry.

Ben has and continues to be an integral part of the Australian rail industry and his engagement at every level including with the Australasian Railway Association has demonstrated his personal tenacity to challenge the norm and drive change within our industry.

Ben has built a specialized rail maintenance business from three to in excess of 230 employees dedicated to supporting the rail maintenance industry in the key areas of:

  • rail grinding, switch grinding, ultrasonic and track inspection service provision, and the
  • development and introduction of Australian / world first key rail maintenance and inspection technologies to the Australian rail industry.

Award Sponsor: Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink


Customer Service – Metro Trains Melbourne

Metro Trains Melbourne has developed an end-to-end customer service strategy for major works programs, featuring a five-point action plan for delivering customer service excellence throughout planned occupations on the network.

They have maintained a superb level of customer service during an unprecedented period of activity. Works have impacted 55 stations over the past year alone with a comprehensive suite of customer communications and engagement activities being delivered across 250+ days of works.

The results tell a great story with customer satisfaction bouncing back to a record high, punctuality of train services has remained above 90%, with just five complaints for every 10,000 trips completed during major rail occupations. That’s a world class performance in customer service.

Award Sponsor: Thales Australia


Employee Engagement – NSW TrainLink

NSW TrainLink’s implementation and continued commitment to the ‘Our Story’ framework is crucial to the organisation’s successful modernisation and transformation as it strives to deliver better customer experiences and create a sustainable organisation.

The organisation has embraced the fact that in order to engage and manage change within a geographically disparate staff base across the entire state of NSW, significant management time to deliver the messages was required. It also ensured appropriate skills were provided to management to deliver the new approach. More than 700 management hours were committed to the participation of ‘Our Story’ training and ‘In the Know’ sessions.

‘Our Story’ is designed to play to employees’ strengths of long and proud service histories and commitment to serving their local communities. The framework encourages conversations about change to openly acknowledge the past and connect it to the reasons transformation is required, and what it means for individual staff members.

Award Sponsor: Andrew Engineering


Frank Franklyn Young Rail Specialist (RTAA) – James Donovan

James is a graduate engineer working at Metro Trains Melbourne and has great potential as a future leader in rail.

Since mid-2015, James has been leading the remote isolation system for Metro Trains as the project manager. The remote isolation system will greatly improve the electrical switching process through remote control and mechanical operation. It will increase safety and yield efficiencies that expand the occupation time for maintenance crews.

James’ paper outlined the innovations of this project and demonstrated that it will greatly benefit the rail industry. James embodies the Frank Franklyn award and is well deserving for his efforts.

Award Supporter: Rail Track Association Australia


Freight Rail Excellence – KiwiRail

The Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016 has significantly disrupted New Zealand’s Supply Chain network. The rebuild of the rail and state highways connecting Picton to Christchurch is expected to cost the country up to two billion New Zealand dollars.

The rail line rebuild will be the biggest rail project in the South Island since World War II.

KiwiRail has taken a leadership role ensuring the immediate continuity of services for its freight partners. Critically, the organisation has developed resilience options to protect the national supply chain.  Maintaining relevance in the market with customers has ensured that KiwiRail is protecting long term revenue retention and growth.

The South Island network is planned to be reopened in the second half of 2017.

Award Sponsor: GS1 Australia


Innovation and Technology – Sydney Trains

Sydney Trains’ continual drive for a safe workplace is embedded in all aspects of the organisation and its activities. By integrating and promoting Sydney Trains safety culture through innovation and providing new technologies to staff to assist in the day to day activities, staff are continually reminded of the importance of safety in all aspects of their work.

In this day and age, technology and smart phones are widely used in our daily lives and the introduction of iOS applications at Sydney Trains such as Google Maps and Poss Search embraces and exemplifies their commitment to safety and improved work methods.

Award Sponsor: SNC Lavalin


PWI Young Achiever – Rebecca Coffey

Rebecca was the Project Manager for the development of the Maintenance and Inspection App.

The Lyco MMS app allows users to create, maintain and inspect track and structure defects, all in one work order flowchart. It is unique because it can operate in rural areas without mobile phone coverage by using the cloud and automatically updates when it comes within mobile phone range.

The app is paperless, providing defect and inspection history in the field, and is linked to GPS and inspection competencies to ensure authentication. A digital signature requires all defects to be inspected, or reasons why inspection cannot occur are noted; for example, flooding.

The app keeps track of original planned completion dates and actual completion dates, and schedules for inspection and maintenance can be linked to programmed works orders, and allows an inspector to photograph a defect, then move and enter the details in a safe place.

Award Supporter: Permanent Way Institution (PWI)


Systems Engineering Award (IRSE) – Zdenka Wright

Zdenka has shown great dedication and extraordinary vision during her ascent to the role of Signal Sighting and Integrity Engineer at Metro Trains Melbourne. She has rigorously pursued her self-development through tertiary courses, mentoring and training programs. She has shown outstanding leadership qualities, managing the activities of the Signal Sighting Committee and producing a Terms of Reference, Code of Conduct and Signal Sighting Procedure.

She has led multiple signal risk assessments in the field, playing a leading hand in improving signalling infrastructure in high traffic sections of Melbourne’s metropolitan rail network. Her development of an innovative new Signal Passed at Danger, known as a SPAD Risk Ranking Tool has also underlined her value to both the organisation and the rail industry at large.

Award Supporter: Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE)


Safety – Australian Rail Track Corporation

The Australian Rail Track Association interstate team has instituted a comprehensive range of initiatives focused on safety culture change and are seeing progressive improvement as a result. Lead indicator reporting is up, lag reporting results like LTIs are dropping and the pipeline of safety innovations continues to grow.

Over the past year, there has been vast improvement in the amount of vehicle damage and bogged vehicles being reported, and all injuries are also being reported including first aid injuries that do not require medical attention. The team has become more proactive in reporting hazards – most hazards are relating to safe access to their work site, but also hazards they have identified in relation to their vehicle set up and the work site itself. The team are also very quick to pick each other up when they are doing the wrong thing or putting themselves at risk.

Award Sponsor: Metro Trains Australia


TrackSAFE Foundation – NSW TrainLink

The NSW TrainLink Rail Safety Week team are passionate about using an event like Rail Safety Week to engage and share safety messages with their customers with the intent of creating a safer railway for all. The team’s innovative thinking and passion pushed the boundaries to come up with new ways to engage staff and customers around safety. They included suppliers and vendors and leveraged their networks to deliver their rail safety messages, pledges and collateral with many organisations publishing their pledges in their internal newsletters.

During Rail Safety Week NSW TrainLink staff led engagement with regional customers and visited local schools, and over 1,000 personalised pledge photos were uploaded onto a social media platform.

Utilising modern and interactive communication channels, NSW TrainLink has been able to achieve a high level of engagement with their Rail Safety Week messaging from both customers and staff.

Award Sponsor: Commonwealth Bank of Australia


Workforce Diversity – Brookfield Rail

Brookfield Rail has made a significant impact on enhancing diversity in its workforce across the past decade.

Their achievements in addressing workforce gender imbalance and approaching gender pay parity are at the forefront of the industry, inspiring others to change traditional thinking to ensure a fair and equitable workplace for all rail workers.

Key achievements include:

  • In March 2017, gender pay gap on base salaries was 0.6% – almost parity – compared to the Western Australian average of 23.9%.
  • Workforce comprises 24% females, up from 10% in 2007.
  • 17% of engineers are female, compared to none 10 years ago
  • 26% of management are women, up from 4% in 2007.
  • Innovative recruitment campaign successfully resulted in the employment of our first female track maintenance workers in 2016.

Award Sponsor: NSW Ports


Young Rail Professional (RTSA) – Gordon Baulch

Gordon is a passionate young rail professional who has shown outstanding leadership and planning capabilities in his career to date. He has led four critical projects that have showcased his extraordinary flexibility, engineering expertise and collaborative nature.

  1. Station rebuilds during Regional Rail Link, managing the successful design and build phase at Footscray, West Footscray and Sunshine.
  2. Re-railing program that saw 90km of track replaced across the Melbourne metropolitan network. The program also identified and removed potential track faults using a combination of thermal imaging and track diagnostic tools.
  3. Introduction of a new lean process for rolling stock. The results were outstanding with 20 extra trains brought back into daily service, including 14 for the critical morning peak.
  4. Transition to early weeknight occupations – night shift maintenance teams from multiple railway disciplines work side-by-side on a designated section of track over four consecutive nights. This approach coming at a time when maintenance windows are shrinking due to major works occupations and expanded services across the weekend.

Award Supporter: Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA)