Rail & mass transit

People power

Meet the team

Allister Maskery, Aurecon

Allister Maskery, Senior Design Manager, Rail

Allister Maskery was happily working as a civil engineer in New Zealand, when the rail project of a lifetime came calling.

It was the mid-90s, and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation was building a new line to the Hong Kong International Airport. Completed in 1998, the Airport Express carries almost 50,000 passengers a day, at speeds of up to 180km an hour.

As part of the $5 billion project, Allister was based at the new Tsing Yi Station...

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He looked after the rail-designated contractors including the platform screen doors, the automated train control, permanent way, overhead wiring, and other line-wide services.

The scale of the build was immense.

“It had 12, 40-storey apartments on top, so it was very big. The station itself was six storeys high, and it had the equivalent of a Westfield inside,” he recalls.

Allister has focused on rail projects ever since, and recently joined the Aurecon Rail team. He is currently working on the tendering of the multiple More Trains, More Services packages, and assisting as Zone Manager Depots on the Sydney Metro City and Southwest Line-wide project.

He says Aurecon’s digital-first approach to design is a step-change for the industry, and unlocks new opportunities to bring stakeholders along for the journey.

“I’m really enjoying working with the digital models, and looking at the way we communicate, manage requirements, and achieve compliance.

“There's still old-fashioned engineering required, but the increasing digital dimensions help people to understand what's going on.

“Many years ago it was not that simple. We used to have to put that 3D picture together in our minds, by looking at cross-sections and long sections. It was very hard to describe things to people before, whereas now digital engineering has allowed us to better engage with stakeholders.”

Favourite mobile app: One Giant Mind (mindfulness app)

Dream travel experience: A family trip to Hawaii or Disneyland in Los Angeles

Get in touch: Allister.Maskery@aurecongroup.com

Anthony Bayadi, Aurecon

Anthony Bayadi, Digital Design Leader

Anthony Bayadi has a simple but powerful philosophy – if you don't learn something new every day, you've lost the day.

It’s this mindset that has kept the Aurecon veteran motivated to embrace new challenges 26 years after he first joined the company.

Originally trained as a survey drafter, Anthony has seen the trade transform from the days of hand-drawn models on paper to three-dimensional digital files. He currently heads up the Aurecon digital design team for the Sydenham Station Junction project.

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“I've always tried to understand how to use the latest bit of technology to be able to benefit what we do. And in the past year I've been thrown into the deep end given all our documentation is now derived from 3D models.”

Anthony says the new approach has been a game changer, allowing for earlier interrogation of how the different parts of a build work together, or don’t.

“In 3D, you can see all aspects of the item – where it clashes, where it doesn't clash, how it fits in, how it blends in to each other. That makes it so much easier to pick up early design hiccups to help us get our products out the door faster,” he says.

Anthony has worked on many memorable projects including the Cross City Tunnel, and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Village build, which flew the flag early for sustainable design.

A favourite part of his job is mentoring the next generation of design professionals. A number of apprentices under Anthony’s watch have transitioned from drafting to engineering roles, with some becoming project managers.

“That brings a joy to me knowing that they've taken their passion and achieved something that I saw they were capable of.”

Currently watching: The Sinner on Netflix

Favourite travel destination: New York, and Anaheim in California (to visit Disneyland)

Get in touch: 02 9465 5606, Anthony.Bayadi@aurecongroup.com

Bright Pryde, Aurecon

Bright Pryde, Transport Planner

When Bright Pryde looks at a rail station, she immediately thinks in footsteps.

Bright is part of the new Transport Planning team in the Sydney office, which was incorporated into Aurecon’s Infrastructure unit in the middle of 2018.

“I've been helping with the Transport Access Program (TAP), looking at pedestrian flow in train stations. This involves analysing the new station builds and assessing how design changes will impact on pedestrian flow at peak capacity.”

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Bright focused on urban studies and Latin American studies as an undergraduate in Canada, before pursuing a postgraduate degree in the UK in Globalisation and Latin American Development.

Before moving to Australia, she worked for a think tank in London, where she completed research and engagement studies on the transformational High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project. Expected to commence operations in 2026, HS2 will eventually connect London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester.

“We were looking at the wider benefits, so we were trying to consider when people arrive at the station, what kind of experience will they have connecting to other forms of transport. The question was – how do we make a station a place, rather than just an interchange?”

Over the course of the almost five-year study, the research helped shape the conversation about the wider economic and spatial benefits of the project.

“You could see the conversation shift from being simply about a rail line, to being about regeneration and rebalancing the economy. Beyond the engineering elements, it became a discussion about how this project could help connect communities.”

While in London, Bright also saw the potential for transport planners to collaborate with telecommunications companies to source aggregated, anonymised mobile phone data to provide insights on transport paths and flows.

“You can see the patterns when people are travelling on a train, how the cell phones will all ping off the cell tower at the same time and then they'll go quiet, and then they'll ping off a different cell tower further down the line.

“You can literally see – particularly when integrating this data with the Wi-Fi data on the London Underground – the exact routes used by people to get to and from work. I think it's a really valuable data set that can be immeasurably useful to transport planners.”

Currently reading: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Currently listening to: The Urbanist podcast (produced by Monocle Magazine)

Get in touch: 0413 347 727, Bright.Pryde@aurecongroup.com

Claire Doyle, Aurecon

Claire Doyle, Design Manager, Rail

Design manager Claire Doyle understands the importance of addressing user needs when designing new or upgraded train stations. 

Will a pram make it on to the platform easily and safely? How about a wheelchair? These questions occupy her thoughts equally during the design phase, and when she’s out and about with her three children – Annabelle (8), Madeleine (6), and train enthusiast Lachlan (4).

Among her current projects, Claire is proud to be contributing to the More Trains More Services and Transport Access Program (TAP).

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These programs focus on providing safer, more efficient, and more accessible stations across New South Wales. For Claire, rail projects are gratifying to work on, because the engineering challenges they offer have relatable outcomes.

“I can see the problems, and I can see the difference it will make when these problems are solved,” she says. 

In a previous role, she worked on the new major upgrade to Redfern Station, which recently came online.

“It was just lovely to be able to create something that was better for the community. Our aim was – let's not just put something in here that's standard, off-the-shelf that will tick the boxes. Let's talk to people and see what they like and want they want.”

After graduating from university, Claire got her first engineering job working as a site engineer – the sole female alongside “300 big brothers” on an eight-storey commercial build in Dublin. Claire and her husband visited Australia for the first time on a round-the-world trip, and while here, she picked up contract work in the design office of the Westlink M7 project.

Five years later, she decided to make a permanent move down under. After first working on smaller projects such as rail sub-station upgrades, she eventually became the go-to rail specialist in her structural engineering team. For Claire, rail projects have an element commercial and residential builds lack – the constant operational needs of customers.

“It's a really unique environment in that your design is so driven from day one by the limitations in time and space for construction. The windows for construction are usually very small and short, and leave very little room for error.”

Currently reading: Classic Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton with the kids

Favourite holiday destination: Cascais, in Portugal

Get in touch: 0410 360 198, Claire.Doyle@aurecongroup.com

Helen Browne, Aurecon

Helen Browne, Design Manager

While visiting Japan, Helen Browne allowed herself a moment to appreciate the benefits of high-speed rail.

“You don't even feel like you're on a train, it's like a plane,” Helen says of the famous shinkansen (bullet train).

“We used our phones to measure the highest speed that the train could go. Every time we would reach around 300 kilometres an hour, we’d get excited. The people around us seemed rather amused.”

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When she’s not pondering the potential of high-speed rail in Australia, Helen is focused on the major upgrade to Sydney’s Central Station. A civil engineer by education, Helen is the Aurecon Rail Systems Lead on the enabling works, which presents a series of interdisciplinary design packages.

“We are re-aligning track, designing overhead wiring modifications, undertaking structural platform extension design, and reticulating services around the site, which is quite exciting.”

Helen has applied her skills on a variety of transport and telecommunications projects. How does working in rail compare?

“We’re always working under time pressures, whether that be within the design phase, or supporting the construction team through the construction phase,” Helen explains.

Teamwork helps – a recently completed New Intercity Fleet (NIF) project where Aurecon worked alongside Laing O’Rourke and RCR Infrastructure O’Donnell Griffin to modify several maintenance areas to accommodate for new train sets.

“It was an alliance-based set-up, with the construction and design team working as a team to provide the client with the required design outcomes.”

Favourite travel experience: Driving around Iceland on a 10-day road trip

Get in touch: Helen.Browne@aurecongroup.com

James Lennard, Aurecon

James Lennard, Rail Engineer

James Lennard is happy to embrace the “new normal” of customer-centric design.

“When we're working on passenger rail, everything we do comes back to helping the commuter have a better experience. What this means varies depending on the customer and the specific project involved.

Sometimes it can be easy to become tangled up in technical objectives and requirements of projects, and in the past there hadn't been as significant a focus on the customer.

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“Now, we focus on ensuring that not only all of the technical requirements are met, but also the way things are designed, organised, delivered, and the way construction is staged is not only acceptable but preferable to the end user, as well as our clients.”

James is putting his skills to good use on the major upgrade of Sydney’s Central Station. In particular, he’s been working on the rearrangement of the track to help provide more frequent and efficient passenger services.

“When things are really constrained you have a chance to really chew on the problem and try and come up with a useful solution – something that meets multiple objectives as opposed to just satisfying the standard requirements. It's about identifying what the most important and most significant things to try and achieve are, and then making sure you get those addressed.”

Technology is helping to bridge engineering expertise with community expectations. James experienced this first-hand recently while working on the concept design of a new maintenance facility.

“I was really surprised how effective a 3D rendering of the proposed works helped the public to understand and engage with the proposed design. It helped them provide really valuable feedback about how they would prefer things to be.”

Currently reading: The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll

Currently listening to: Freakonomics, Planet Money, and Radio Lab

Dream travel experience: Fly fishing in New Zealand

Get in touch: 02 9465 5408, James.Lennard@aurecongroup.com

Kevin Moloney, Aurecon

Kevin Moloney, Rail Operations Specialist

Kevin Moloney is happy to be the odd one out in a room full of engineers.

He got his start straight in rail as a shunter, before moving on to driving trains in London. Those early experiences have shaped how he’s approached rail infrastructure projects in the 30 years since – whether in the UK, Australia, or Asia.

“You can build the sexiest thing, you can build the most complicated thing, but if it's not going to work in the context of making services safer, more reliable, or more comfortable, it’s pointless,” Kevin says.

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It’s an approach he applies to the Melbourne Metro project, where he provides operational advice to the Victorian Government and the Aurecon joint venture team.

Kevin’s belief is that you can create cost-effective solutions to provide the best customer experience while also achieving greater reliability for the network.

Safety is another priority. Kevin points to the 1999 Ladbroke Grove rail crash in London, where 31 people died. In the wake of that tragedy, training and competence management were improved, and signaling technology was upgraded. It’s part of a broader digital transformation that continues in rail systems around the world.

“One of the outcomes from that incident was the rollout of advanced train control systems. The enhanced safety of digital systems and train control systems have the potential to bring improvements to not only safety, but efficiency and reliability as well,” Kevin says.

Given his pragmatic approach, Kevin doesn’t romanticise diesel or steam engines as many trainspotters do, but instead has a soft spot for AC locos.

His reasons?

“They were quieter, they weren't smelly, and they were more comfortable.”

For Kevin Moloney, customer centric considerations always win out.

Currently reading: The Tao of Pooh, and The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff

Favourite holiday destination: The beaches of Fiji – Likuliku, and Vomo Island (good for families)

Get in touch: 0424 947 907, Kevin.Moloney@aurecongroup.com

Luisa Ruperto, Aurecon

Luisa Ruperto, Rail Design Manager and Client Manager for Sydney Trains

A geologist by training, Luisa Ruperto’s mining experience led her to explore the earth from a completely different angle.

“I soon realised that there was more to rocks and soil than just trying to locate where a valuable commodity might be. The engineering perspective interested me, particularly in understanding risk in the design and construct phase.”

Luisa completed a Masters of Science in Geotechnical Engineering and was soon working on rail, roads, bridges and tunnels around NSW.

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“I came into the rail industry through being involved in construction phase services for very large rail projects – building new tracks, station boxes, including temporary and permanent works, anywhere from greenfield to brownfield sites.”

Luisa joined Aurecon in April 2019, keen to apply her skills in a new capacity – as a Rail Design Manager.

Her project management portfolio at Aurecon includes the Clyde Junction and Morisset resignalling and remodelling project, More Trains More Services, and the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal.

“I've developed a good appreciation of how important it is to have interdisciplinary communication because I've come from a non-traditional engineering background where lots of different viewpoints are critical to the design process,” Luisa says.

“I've been able to develop wide-ranging experience across different industries throughout my career so far, and I look forward to learning a lot more in the years to come.”

Currently listening to: The Women at Work podcast (Harvard Business Review)

Favourite travel experience: Skiing in Chile

Get in touch: 02 9465 5375, Luisa.Ruperto@aurecongroup.com

Renene Windsor, Aurecon

Renene Windsor, Design Manager, Rail

The most advanced rail system in the world can’t function without a safe and reliable supply of energy. That’s where electrical engineer Renene Windsor comes in.

For over a decade, Renene worked on power stations in Australia, New Caledonia, France, and the United States as an engineer and operations manager. She has put that experience to good use since joining the Energy team at Aurecon in 2010, working on a diverse range of projects including power generation, transmission and distribution, and then more recently in traction power.

Renene says rail poses some unique energy distribution challenges.

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“Power stations have very restricted access, whereas in train stations you have large numbers of the public coming within access of the electrical infrastructure on a daily basis which needs to be considered in the design.”

Through various traction power projects on the different rail networks, Renene has been a part of introducing best practice switchgear, remote switching, and modular buildings to reduce construction costs and time within the rail corridor.

These are examples, Renene says, of energy sector innovations that can readily be translated to rail.

“From an electrical engineering perspective, there are a lot of similarities. Electrons are still electrons.”

Currently reading: French Exit by Patrick deWitt

Favourite travel destination: Paris and Seville

Get in touch: 02 9465 5862, Renene.Windsor@aurecongroup.com

Rob Angus, Aurecon

Rob Angus, Technical Director and Light Rail Specialist, Infrastructure

Rob Angus has worked on many different projects over the years, but the Sydney Inner West Light Rail Extension was close to home – literally.

For many years, the local community advocated for transforming a disused freight corridor that ran past the end of Rob’s street.

The project was his first foray outside of heavy rail, and proved a memorable one.

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“Ultimately it's achieved what it set out to do in terms of patronage growth, which has been above expectations. Since opening in 2013, there’s been significant redevelopment all the way along the corridor, and it will also connect to a much bigger and more agile light rail system when it's completed in the city.”

There’s been something of a light rail renaissance across Australasia in recent years, and Rob has put his expertise to good use.

After four years of development, the final testing and commissioning of the Newcastle Light Rail is currently taking place. A tender submission for Auckland’s light rail project – the city’s first – has recently been completed. Rob has also been assisting on the next stage of development for the Gold Coast G:link network.

Why is light rail back in vogue?

“Light rail as an urban spine sits neatly between buses and heavy rail. I think governments see this flexibility, the quantum of people it can take as an urban collector, and find that attractive.”

It’s also a mode that embraces innovation.

Rob points to new, hybrid, autonomous systems in China that have been showcased recently. The Newcastle Light Rail, which he’s been working on for the past four years, is entirely catenary-free. When it opens in early 2019, it’ll be the first system of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

Favourite travel destination: Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast, for a great family and surfing holiday

Get in touch: +61 405 828 015, Robert.Angus@aurecongroup.com

Seamus Murphy, Aurecon

Seamus Murphy, NSW Rail Leader and Technical Director, Infrastructure

Over the past 20 years, Seamus Murphy has had a front-row seat to watch the transformation of the Australian rail sector.

“When I started at Aurecon in 2001, I was part of a team of three. Over time, as industry demands increased, our group grew to about 20 people. Two years ago, I got the chance to become the NSW Rail lead, and we now have more than 100 people working across our rail projects together. It’s been an incredible period of growth.”

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Seamus is pleased to draw upon the expertise of a diverse team, including undergraduate engineering students who are at the very start of their careers.

“It’s great to have their perspective. They help to bring visibility to the needs of current and future rail customers, and the connectivity that they expect, not just with rail, but all services.”

With multiple city-shaping rail projects recently completed and underway, Aurecon’s deep engineering expertise is being put to good use.

“With Metro switching on, we’ve seen a generational change for how public transport in Sydney operates. Through these major projects, we also see that the role of a rail engineer now and into the future is quite different to what it traditionally was.”

Seamus recalls working on feasibility studies in the early 2000s regarding rail corridors, possible Sydney Harbour crossings, and high-speed rail options. Metro has brought some of that thinking full circle.

“Back then, Metro was something that happened only in Europe, and driverless trains weren’t even on the radar in Australia,” he says.

Two decades after he got his own start in rail thanks to the urging of a mentor, Seamus remains invested in the sector and excited about what comes next.

“Rail leaves a big impact on how cities are shaped and formed, and how people move around them. I think that's pretty cool.”

Currently listening to: Mark Bouris podcast

Dream travel experience: Circumnavigating the world by yacht

Get in touch: 02 9465 5636, Seamus.Murphy@aurecongroup.com

Simon Paterson, Aurecon

Simon Paterson, Technical Director, Infrastructure

A digital-first design approach makes sense to Simon Paterson.

Simon is the Aurecon project manager on the design joint venture delivering the Sydenham Station and Junction Works (SSJ), which he describes as “three projects in one” involving Sydney Trains, Sydney Metro, and Sydney Water.

“This is the first time I've managed a project where every element is being modelled to a high level of detail in 3D, and you’re immediately able to see the benefits of it....

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“I’m a visual person, and this way, instead of simply being told a design is ready, you can see it for yourself. Not just that, but how each piece fits into the bigger picture. For example, we've been able to manage complex interfaces where we've got multiple piles of one of the new Metro buildings directly on top of a large Sydney Water culvert that is underground. The digital models have helped us to coordinate these elements without clashes.”

Once complete, the new-look Sydenham Station will feature a new aerial concourse and pedestrian plazas, fully accessible bus stops nearby, and faster and more frequent train services.

Simon began his career as a road engineer, before embracing the many moving parts of rail projects. He says the SSJ project has required a comprehensive, customer-led design strategy.

“There have been surveys observing passengers as they use the station, as well as focus group discussions. We’ve also had virtual reality walk-throughs where different groups have been able to experience the design for themselves and let us know what they think.”

Feedback from this research has fed directly into the final design, including improved way finding and accessibility.

“We are confident that we understand everything from an engineering point of view, but when you talk to people and hear their frustrations, you understand how things can be designed better. It’s been an eye-opening experience.”

Currently reading: Buy-In by Julia Steel

Favourite travel destination: Hawaii, closely followed by Portugal

Get in touch: 0448 914 197, Simon.Paterson@aurecongroup.com

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