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Sydney Trains recognised for diversity and inclusion and safety innovation at the 2023 Australasian Rail Industry Awards

Australasian Railway Association 3 mins read

*Images in link below




Sydney Trains has been acknowledged at the Australasian Rail Industry (ARI) Awards for its exemplary diversity and inclusion program and innovative approach to safety.

Almost 800 people gathered in Melbourne on Wednesday night to congratulate the 16 winners, with Sydney Trains awarded the Employee Engagement Excellence Award, the Supplier Excellence Award and the Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Award.

Both the winner of the Young Achiever Award, John Holland Site Engineer Benson Wong, and the Emerging Rail Specialist Award, Mott MacDonald Chartered Electrical Engineer Kershan Pillai, worked on Sydney Metro projects.

Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Chief Executive Officer and ARI Awards judging chair Caroline Wilkie congratulated Sydney Trains for its outstanding safety initiatives and impressive improvements in diversity and inclusion.


Under Sydney Trains’ Train Crewing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion program, female trainees increased from 21.6 per cent to 53.3 per cent between 2017 and 2022 and non-frontline women roles increased from 25.1 per cent to 41 per cent.


“Sydney Trains has implemented incredibly impressive diversity and inclusion programs that have boosted representation of women in frontline operational and leadership roles,” Ms Wilkie said.


Sydney Trains also received the Supplier Excellence Award for its Enterprise Trackworker Safety Blindsight initiative, an artificial intelligence vision system designed to alert workers of any risks on site.

Another of its safety initiatives, the “Seconds Count” program, won the Employee Engagement Excellence Award.


“Sydney Trains has developed a thoroughly engaging, innovative approach to improving safety on the rail network. The extremely clever gamified videos in “Seconds Count” not only effectively engaged employees but enabled quick decision making through real-world simulations,” Ms Wilkie said.


“In another safety project, Sydney Trains’ AI vision initiative Blindsight has been a game-changer for increasing safety throughout the rail network, showing real risk on site and capturing near misses far more than manual-paper-based methods.


“This year’s awards were highly contested with so many incredible entries, so for Sydney Trains to pick up several awards is a commendable achievement.”


Permanent Way Institution (PWI NSW), which sponsored the Young Achiever Award, commended Benson Wong, a site engineer at John Holland: “PWI NSW extends our heartfelt congratulations to Benson Wong of John Holland 2023, a trailblazer in the realm of major Sydney projects. Benson is esteemed for his expertise in exploring and implementing cutting-edge digital solutions, spearheading innovation within and for the rail industry.”

Rail Track Association Australia (RTAA) President Jonathan Barnes congratulated Kershan Pillai: “Kershan is to be commended for his commitment to delivering innovative and effective solutions and significant contribution to the success of the projects he has worked on.”


The 2023 awards featured 16 categories recognising individuals, organisations and rail projects in the areas of diversity and inclusion, sustainability, passenger, infrastructure, innovation, supply, customer experience, freight, signalling and systems engineering and safety. 

The Awards are supported by the Australasian Railway Association, Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, Railway Technical Society of Australia, Rail Track Association Australia, the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board and the Permanent Way Institution (PWI NSW). 

Below are the details of the NSW winners at the Australasian Rail Industry (ARI) Awards:

  • Employee Engagement Excellence Award – “Seconds Count” – Sydney Trains: Seconds Count is aimed at enhancing emergency response capabilities. 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 decision-making. It includes interactive e-learning videos, a digital toolkit, leader guides and a portal. 


  • Supplier Excellence Award - Enterprise Trackworker Safety (ETWS) Blindsight – Syndey Trains: The ETWS 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 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.


  • Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award - Train Crewing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – Sydney Trains: This 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%


  • Young Achiever Award - Benson Wong, John Holland Site Engineer: Benson was recognised for his significant contribution to the Metro North West Project, where he commissioned the first driverless Metro Rail network in Australia as well as for his work on the construction of the Wolli Creek and Mascot Substations.


  • Emerging Rail Specialist Award – Kershan Pillai, Mott MacDonald Chartered Electrical Engineer. Kershan was recognised for his success in delivering several major projects across Australia. 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.


Images of the winners can be found here:

Contact details:

Further information

Natasha Wallace
Senior Strategic Communications Manager
0499 272 672,


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