Mil­i­tary boss prom­ises Syd­ney will get world’s best

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - ED­WARD BOYD

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.

Pic­ture: Toby Zerna

Syd­ney Metro CEO Jon La­monte at the Rouse Hill mar­shalling yard.

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