Metro’s Chief Operating Officer takes home prestigious award

29 Apr 2022, James Ireland
Metro Trains Melbourne’s Chief Operating Officer, Catherine Baxter, has won the Women in Industry Award for Excellence in Transport. Catherine received the honour at a special awards ceremony in Melbourne which included finalists from across the mining, engineering, transport, logistics and infrastructure sectors. The Excellence in Transport award recognises an individual who has gone above and beyond to improve and positively impact the Australian transport industry. “I’m enormously grateful to win this award. It’s especially important to me because these awards are decided by my peers. It’s judged for women in industry, by women in industry,” Catherine said. Catherine has been working in the rail industry for more than three decades. When she first joined Queensland Rail in the 1980s, it was a male dominated industry. Despite this, she pushed forward, making a name for herself quickly, and leading the charge to bring more women on-board. “It’s essential that women not only join the rail industry, but rise through the ranks. I take this role very seriously and if I can inspire other women to join the rewarding world of rail, then I know I’m doing my part to set us up for a bright future.” Now, having brought her talents to Melbourne, she oversees the safe running of Metro’s network, and the delivery of nationally recognised rail safety training. “I’m very proud that every day Metro continues to better reflect the values of the community we serve. That means ensuring women are working at all levels, in all types of roles. I can assure you that we’re not just ticking boxes. “Bringing more women into Metro improves both our business and the city of Melbourne. Hiring new people from diverse parts of the Victorian community, who previously didn’t have a seat at the table, means more women have an opportunity to develop a career in our industry than ever before.”

Metro launches state-of-the-art passenger movement trial

29 Apr 2022, James Ireland
Metro Trains is running a state-of-the-art trial to improve crowd management and reduce illegal trespassing to create a better experience for passengers returning to the rail network. As part of the trial, Metro has installed new camera and laser technology at multiple locations, including Melbourne Central and Richmond stations, and at level crossings at Dendy Street, Brighton and Anderson Street, Yarraville. The laser and camera equipment monitors station platforms and detects when people cross the yellow line or enter the rail pit, putting themselves in danger. At level crossings, the system engages when trains are approaching and detects when people ignore gates, signals, and bells, and attempt to illegally enter the rail corridor. Metro Trains CEO Raymond O’Flaherty says, “This trial uses state-of-the-art technology to help us better understand how people move around our network, so we can improve crowd management and drive down illegal and disruptive trespassing.” The new equipment being trialled will not be used to identify individuals and will only collect information which aims to improve safety at stations and level crossings. The trial locations provide a variety of rail safety environments and are known for their heavy foot traffic. Through the rapid identification of safety incidents and crowd management issues, Metro security and station staff will be able to quickly respond and take appropriate action. This trial aims to improve response times and adds to a suite of existing initiatives to drive down illegal trespassing and improve crowd management. Illegal trespassing is dangerous, disruptive and poses a significant and ongoing challenge for the safe running of the rail network. In 2021, there were more than 3,000 incidents of trespassing – that’s around 250 incidents every month. With the return of major events in Melbourne, Metro’s management of platform crowding will prove critical to reduce dwell times and ensure the smooth running of the network. The passenger movement trial is being led by Metro’s Innovation team and runs from February to April 2022. The trial is being funded by Metro and the Department of Transport’s Victorian Rail Crossing Safety Steering Committee.

Changing the tide on diversity in Victoria’s rail construction industry

25 Mar 2022, James Ireland
It’s no secret that the rail construction industry needs more women in its ranks. As a senior leader, Metro Trains’ Lisa Hogben wants to break down barriers for women and people of colour. In February she took a position as Package Director for the Melbourne Airport Rail project, building a diverse team with an equal representation of women and men. In a few short months, Lisa created and nurtured an inclusive workplace culture where women and people of colour not only have a seat at the table – they are helping shape the future of our rail network. When it comes to hiring a diverse team made up of the best people for the job, Lisa leads by example. Having spent the majority of her career in the rail construction industry in the UK, Lisa was lured to Australia by the prospect of working for an organisation that celebrated and empowered women and diversity. And of course, she was excited at the prospect of a little more sunshine.

Celebrating 50 years in the railways

28 Feb 2022, James Ireland
Half a century in rail has left Metro Trains veteran Peter Walhouse with stories and cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Peter – a Station Officer at Sandringham – recently celebrated 50 years on Melbourne’s railways. It’s a career that started back in 1972, straight after Peter finished high school. He went on to work in a variety of interesting railway roles on the Frankston and Sandringham Lines – including a station officer, signaller and gate keeper. When he first started out, Peter recalls his time manually swinging gates closed at level crossings and climbing up signalling posts to fill them with kerosene – ensuring the safe running of the network.

You’re the only safety gear

28 Jan 2022, James Ireland
A new campaign from Metro Trains is reminding passengers to use their ‘safety gears’ and take extra precautions on their journey to keep themselves and others safe. The number of preventable slips, trips and falls on the rail network is increasing as more people return to public transport. Leading with the message ‘You’re the only safety gear’, Metro is calling on passengers to use their instincts and be aware of their surroundings while using escalators, stairs and platforms so they can stay safe while travelling. Unlike a bike, a car or a rollercoaster, passengers aren’t required to strap in or put on a helmet or padded gloves when riding the escalator. Passengers’ hands, stance and wits are the only things keeping them safe, so it’s important that passengers engage their ‘safety gears’ before boarding. Figures released today show that there has been an average of more than 30 slips, trips and falls per month across Melbourne’s rail network since July 2021. There were 22 incidents in October as lockdown restrictions eased across Melbourne. That number jumped to 35 in November as more people returned to train travel. There have been 96 ambulance call outs to stations for slips trips and falls so far this year.  Comparatively, there were 169 ambulance call outs to stations in 2019 to November (there were 182 call outs in total for the year). The number of slips, trips and falls in the 2019 calendar year was 821. These incidents are often the result of people failing to use handrails on escalators and losing their balance, while other incidents are caused by distraction and people rushing for trains. The vast majority of incidents of this nature are entirely preventable and are reliant on passengers taking simple steps to keep themselves and others safe. Busier platforms as a result of an increase in patronage and major events across Melbourne are leading to a bigger risk of safety incidents on platforms, making it even more important for passengers to gear up. Metro Trains CEO Raymond O’Flaherty said that most of the slips, trips and falls seen on a daily basis are entirely preventable. “We need our passengers to play their part to stay safe,” he said. “When you ride the station escalator, use the stairs or hop on the train, you’re the only safety gear.” ‘You’re the only safety gear’ is currently live on the Metro network in Melbourne.

Kananook Signal Control Centre gets the green light

20 Dec 2021, James Ireland
The Kananook Signal Control Centre was commissioned in September, marking an important step forward for our signalling technology on the Frankston and Stony Point lines.  The new centre was completed by the Level Crossing Removal Project as part of a package of works to lower the Frankston Line under local roads and build three new stations at Edithvale, Chelsea and Bonbeach.  Thirty-three kilometres of track between Kananook and Parkdale is now controlled by the new centre. As part of the upgrade, the 34-year-old Mordialloc Signalling Box was decommissioned, and the almost 100-year-old Frankston signalling box was downgraded to be used only for trains travelling between Frankston and Stony Point.   The job of signalling is crucial to the safety and reliability of the network. By being able to inform train drivers of what is happening on the track ahead, Metro’s signallers go a long way to ensuring safety and efficiency for rail workers, passengers, and the community. 

Osama’s EPIC contribution to keep Melbourne moving

16 Nov 2021, Andrew Nelson
When life in his hometown of Basra in southern Iraq became too chaotic, Osama knew it was time for a fresh start. In 2018, the engineer moved to Australia with his wife and young son – leaving behind a home filled with memories. “Basra was wonderful before all the chaos happened in that area, but Australia opened the door for me to start a better life for my family, away from all that chaos.” Osama arrived in Australia with four years’ experience as an engineer. He was the ideal candidate for the Engineering Pathways Industry Cadetship program – also known as EPIC. The EPIC program employs engineers from refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds and helps launch their careers on some of Victoria’s biggest transport infrastructure projects. Osama was given the opportunity to work for Metro Trains on the Level Crossing Removal Project and earn an Australian qualification.

Metro signaller claims prestigious ARA scholarship

14 Oct 2021, James Ireland
A Metro Trains employee has won a prized Australasian Railway Association (ARA) scholarship for thinking big and proposing a new idea for a train monitoring system. Metro Assistant Relief Signaller Jude Manuel was awarded the ARA New Zealand 2021 Next Generation Scholarship for his proposed Wayside Train Monitoring System, which would actively scan and run diagnostics on trains as they travel on the Metro network. The concept builds on similar technology used in Europe, including the railway in Germany. It would offer the opportunity to identify issues before they caused delays, allowing impacted trains to be taken out of service and repaired safely before critical faults occur.
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Switching tracks to find hope

5 Oct 2021, James Ireland
Sixteen Metro Trains Melbourne employees have raised more than $50,000 for charity by riding 390 kilometres around Australia – all from the comfort of their own homes. Team Metro – otherwise known as ‘The Pristine 16’ – participated in Lifeline’s Hope Cycle campaign, collectively cycling 6240 kilometres along 15 stages of Australia’s most iconic cycling destinations, including Melbourne’s own Beach Road. The Pristine 16 peddled their hearts out and raised an incredible $31,066, which will pay for nearly 800 lifesaving calls to Lifeline. The team was thrilled to learn that after their mammoth cycling efforts, Metro CEO Raymond O’Flaherty announced that the company would contribute a further $20,000 to the campaign. This bumped up Metro’s total contribution to more than $50,000! Lifeline’s Hope Cycle campaign raised $172,736 in total, surpassing its goal of $100,000. Metro’s Projects division Team Leader Alan Campbell came third as an individual fundraiser for the event, raising a total of $8,205. Alan has been riding for almost three years and is passionate about supporting Lifeline and raising awareness of mental health and suicide prevention services. “Our rail industry and our community as a whole have had our struggles during this pandemic and I wanted to help in any way I could, more importantly, I wanted people to know that they weren’t alone,” Alan said. Metro Trains Melbourne is an ongoing supporter of Lifeline. To find out more please visit lifeline.org.au.

An EPIC move makes Sandra’s dreams come true

14 Sep 2021, James Ireland
When Sandra Abid made the heart-rending decision to escape Iraq with her family, she left behind her beautiful hometown, many loved ones and cultural treasures. Eight years on, she has now built a new life in Melbourne helping shape one of the city’s biggest transport infrastructure projects as an engineering cadet. Sandra was recruited as part of the Engineering Pathways Industry Cadetship (EPIC) program – something she describes as a dream come true. “I feel so blessed and couldn’t be prouder to join Metro Trains – a remarkable company and team who work with honesty, inclusivity and safety.

Ghada’s engineering an EPIC future

31 Aug 2021, James Ireland
She spent years on the run, living with her family in fear after ISIS occupied her hometown in northern Iraq. Now, life has changed significantly for Ghada Sheto. This year she began her professional journey with Metro Trains Melbourne as part of the Engineering Pathways Industry Cadetship – or EPIC program. Ghada – born and raised in the Assyrian city of Qaraqosh in northern Iraq – is now an engineering cadet working with the Rail Systems Alliance. She emigrated to Australia with her family in 2019 to begin a new life. “I left my country and fled to Lebanon after ISIS occupied my town in 2014,” Ghada said. “I hoped to seek asylum in Australia, and after four years of waiting, I finally arrived with my husband, my mother and my children.” Ghada has a degree in Communication Engineering from the University of Mosul in Iraq. “I am so lucky to work with such wonderful people – everyone offers their support and help with joy,” Ghada said. The EPIC program employs engineers from refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds and helps launch their careers on some of Victoria’s biggest projects. Metro’s Projects division has employed 12 refugee and asylum seeker cadets through the EPIC program – seven of whom are from the 2021 intake. Cadets are provided an Australian engineering qualification and paid employment working on level crossing removals and the Metro Tunnel Project. Ghada said she feels extremely privileged to be part of the program. “I consider myself fortunate first, to arrive in Australia, and second, to be accepted into the EPIC program,” she said “This wonderful program gives heaps of support to refugee and asylum seeker engineers, enabling them to achieve their goals, improve themselves and start their careers in Australia.”