ALL SYSTEMS GO ON METRO
Military boss promises Sydney will get world’s best
THE former British air force chief in charge of the Sydney Metro has promised that it will run with military precision when it opens in three months.
Jon Lamonte, a former air vice-marshal in the Royal Air Force, said customer satisfaction would be a priority in “the world’s most advanced metro”.
As well as running Britain’s biggest air force base, Mr Lamonte said his experience in civilian life upgrading the London Underground’s Jubilee Line and as Manchester transport head put him in good stead to lead Australia’s biggest public transport project.
“The military gives you a good base to be able to lead organisations, deal with operational uncertainty, and (deal) with people and what makes them work,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“Most of my flying has been on transports, so I’m used to moving large numbers of people through to wherever they need to go, and that’s taught me about how to manage that process, the importance of the customer, whoever they are.”
The $8.3 billion Sydney Metro Northwest line is expected to open as early as April or May, with the 36km of track linking Tallawong station near Rouse Hill to Chatswood currently undergoing intense testing.
The project is running $500 million under budget.
Mr Lamonte will be responsible for operating the Northwest line and overseeing the extension of the Metro into the CBD and to Bankstown by 2024.
French company Alstom has shipped the last of 22 metro trains from its factory in India two weeks ago.
The driverless trains can carry up to 1300 people, will arrive at stations every four minutes, and have three doors per carriage to speed up entries and exits.
Initially the Northwest Metro will carry up to 18,000 passengers an hour in each direction, with the ability to expand to 40,000 an hour in the future.
“The numbers you are dealing with are obviously huge (but) what matters is the service you deliver,” said Mr Lamonte, who joined the Metro in November. Staff are now putting the final touches on the 13 stations and are testing and commissioning the trains.
“In a few weeks’ time we are going to start running these trains to the timetable, but ultimately we need to get the national safety regulator to tick off what we are doing,” he said.
One test will simulate the emergency response required if a train has to stop on a raised section of the Metro track.
Sydney Metro CEO Jon Lamonte at the Rouse Hill marshalling yard.