2023 Awards Winners

Congratulations to all of our 2023 Australasian Rail Industry Awards winners.

Career Achievement Award
Sponsored by Frauscher | Supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Winner: Kevin Reeves, Arc Infrastructure

Kevin has had an impressive 50-year career in rail, marked by leadership, integrity and a commitment to mentoring the next generation of rail industry leaders. Starting in country stations and advancing to safeworking roles, he has seen significant industry changes during his career. Kevin trained many staff, excelled in setting new ways of working, and embraced innovation. He was seconded to the role of National Rules Implementation Specialist with the Rail Safety Manager and in 2014 became a Network Controller, where he provided guidance for rules and procedure issues and interface.

Young Achiever Award
Supported by Permanent Way Institution (PWI NSW)

Winner: Benson Wong, John Holland

Benson started with John Holland in 2017 on the Metro North West Project, where he played an active role in the Commissioning, Operations, and Handover of the first driverless Metro Rail network in Australia. He was also involved with the More Trains More Services Stage 2 North Package (MTMS2) of works, specifically in the construction of the Wolli Creek and Mascot Substations. Benson has demonstrated exceptional resilience and professionalism in overcoming challenges presented by COVID-19 and Sydney flooding issues. Benson, a site engineer, collaborates with his team to investigate and implement new, digitally-based solutions and plays a key role in driving innovation.

Emerging Rail Specialist Award
Supported by Rail Track Association Australia (RTAA)

Winner: Kershan Pillai, Mott MacDonald

Kershan is a highly accomplished Chartered Electrical Engineer with significant experience in the rail industry, successfully delivering major projects across Australia and Asia with a particular focus on the design, delivery, testing and commissioning, engineering, technical advisory, and management of passenger heavy rail rolling stock. He has taken on a variety of leadership roles, leading engineering, design, rolling stock, and technical teams. He is currently the Rolling Stock Lead for the Sydney Metro West project and the Deputy Rolling Stock Lead for the Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport project.

Young Rail Professional Award
Supported by Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA)

Winner: Ryan Spooner, Arup

Ryan has worked on a wide range of projects, including concept and detailed design, depots, major rail tunnels and large new passenger rail networks in the UK, Western Australia and Victoria.
Acting as Arup’s “second in-charge” for the track design on the $1.1 billion Morley Ellenbrook Line in WA has been Ryan’s career highlight to date. Ryan has been the “go-to” for the track discipline for internal and external correspondence and coordination. Ryan has been a leader in the implementation of digital automation within the rail industry for many years.

Signalling and Systems Engineering Excellence Award
Supported by Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE)

Winner: Moemedi Goitsemang, WSP

Moe has played a pivotal role in transformative rail projects across Australia and New Zealand. He began as a signal designer and project engineer before leading signalling design for Sydney Metro’s pioneering driverless train system. He then managed signalling design for the first skyrail project and level crossing removals in Victoria and New Zealand’s City Rail Link tunnel project. Moe has challenged existing standards and introduced innovative solutions, championing safety in design and changing client engagement practices. He has mentored emerging engineers and influenced competency processes, leaving a lasting impact on rail systems and communities.

Safety Excellence Award
Supported by the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB)

Winner: New Ways of Working Project Team, Metro Trains Melbourne

Metro Trains Melbourne’s (MTM) Infrastructure Team is responsible for maintaining more than 1000 kilometres of track and having infrastructure teams and contractors working in the rail corridor is a critical risk. The New Ways of Working Project Team introduced new procedures, harnessed technology for training and achieved a substantial reduction in incidents. Their innovative approach and measurable results make them a deserving winner.

Customer Service Excellence Award
Supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Winner: SPA MURL City Loop closure

Metro Trains Melbourne In January 2023, safety upgrades on the Melbourne Underground Rail led to the closure of three major CBD stations. Metro Trains Melbourne led a creative communication strategy to prepare and inform passengers impacted by the closures. Digital screens and signage were used to share important information, while customer service staff and Wheelchair Accessible Taxis were available to help passengers. A strong focus on collaboration between agencies ensured positive outcomes were achieved, with research finding most passengers found navigating the CBD easy despite the disruptions.

Employee Engagement Excellence Award
Sponsored by Rio Tinto | Supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)
Winner: Seconds Count project, Sydney Trains

Seconds Count is aimed at enhancing the emergency response capabilities of our frontline customer service teams. The program’s immersive scenarios were co-designed to reflect real-world situations, enabling employees to engage in decision-making and corrective actions within a simulated environment. The gamified videos enable quick and effective decision-making. It includes interactive e-learning videos, a digital toolkit, leader guides and a portal.

Freight Rail Excellence Award
Sponsored by Port of Melbourne Arc Infrastructure | Supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Winner: Autonomous Rail Container Wagon Arc Infrastructure

Arc Infrastructure has developed an autonomous rail container wagon to improve rail freight’s competitiveness compared with road. The wagon is designed to be positioned directly under quay cranes, loading and unloading quickly. The project is aligned with WA’s Westport initiative and focuses on safer and more efficient transportation while reducing environmental impact. Trials are planned for later this year, with the innovation set to offer a range of safety benefits for the freight sector.

Supplier Excellence Award
Sponsored by John Holland Group | Supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Winner: Enterprise Trackworker Safety Blindsight initiative, Sydney Trains

The Sydney Trains, Enterprise Trackworker Safety (ETWS) Blindsight initiative, in collaboration with Presien, is an artificial intelligence (AI) vision system for mobile plant and fixed infrastructure. It has been developed to eliminate accidents by alerting rail industry workers of the risk posed by people/plant interaction. The AI vision and recording enables automatic capture of near misses that are generally under-reported with manual, paper-based processes. It allows rail industry customers to see the real risk on their sites to support improved safety outcomes.

Rail Innovation of the Year Award
Sponsored by Project i-TRACE, powered by GS1 Australia | Supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Winner: Mobile app, GO, Metro Trains Melbourne

MTM created a mobile app, Go, to overcome operational challenges with manual train driver sign-on processes that involved phone calls and paper-based records, which led to errors, cancellations and inefficiencies. The new app streamlined sign-on procedures, replacing phone calls with digital sign-on and integrated driver rostering, allowing real-time updates and allowance claims. In the first three months, it eliminated 61,600 phone calls, improving efficiency and accuracy. Other MetroGO apps like InForm, PaperLite, and GO further digitised processes.

Sustainability & Environmental Excellence Award
Sponsored by Acciona Rail | Supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Winner: The Link Alliance, Sustainability on the City Rail Link project

The City Rail Link (CRL) is New Zealand’s most complex and ambitious infrastructure project to date. The vast majority of works are being delivered by the Link Alliance. It has successfully embraced several sustainability initiatives at all levels of this major project, leading to a significantly reduced carbon footprint.

Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award
Sponsored by Training Ahead Australia | Supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Winner: Train Crewing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program, Sydney Trains

The Train Crewing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion program was developed to improve the representation of women in frontline operational and leadership roles. It has shown significant gains between 2017 and 2022:
• Female trainees increased from 21.6% to 53.3%
• Frontline women (Drivers and Guards) increased from 12.1% to 20.4%
• Non-frontline women from 25.1% to 41%
• Frontline RC Grade female leaders from 16.3% to 21.3%
• Senior Service Leaders (Executive) from 25% to 41.7%

Passenger Operations Excellence Award
Supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Winner: Metro Trains Melbourne

Six million passengers used MTM services to access 216 major events in the past year alone. MTM managed this significant return to the rail network post pandemic through proactive communication, improved staff training and increased services. These efforts contributed to the successful transportation of millions to record-breaking events, demonstrating commitment to exceptional customer service and safety.

Infrastructure Project Excellence Award
Supported by the Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA)

Winner: Preston Level Removal Crossing Project, North Western Program Alliance

This $564 million project involved removing four level crossings and constructing 2km of elevated rail and two new premium stations in Melbourne’s inner North. The project was on time and under budget. It used an innovative single line running build strategy to minimise rail occupation and limit the impact on commuters, train services and operations. The elevated rail solution unlocked 60,000m2 of new public open space (equivalent to three MCGs). Preston and Bell stations incorporate several sustainability solutions, including a radiant heat curing method that resulted in a 45% reduction in curing time and reduced carbon footprint.

Recognising R U OK? Conversations (TrackSAFE Foundation)
Supported by TrackSAFE Foundation

Winner: Pacific National

Pacific National emphasises the importance of supporting RUOK? conversations to cultivate meaningful interactions and create a safer and stronger workplace. The company holds local RUOK? events, supports Rail RUOK? Day, and incorporates mental health and wellbeing initiatives with its team. Additional initiatives include the use of an app for mental health tools, Employee Assistance Program, a platform for fitness benefits, and training programs like Mental Health First Aid. Communication channels such as Workplace, the intranet and RUOK? branded locomotives also foster a psychologically safe culture and provide resources for mental health support.