Rob Smith Appointed To Lead Investigation Into Moreton Bay Rail Link Project

Rob Smith Appointed To Lead Investigation Into Moreton Bay Rail Link Project

Queensland Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe

Rail Expert Appointed To Audit Moreton Bay Rail Link Project

Victor P Taffa

One of Australia’s leading rail signalling experts has been appointed to lead the independent investigation into the Moreton Bay Rail Link (MBRL) Project.


Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe announced Mr. Rob Smith, currently contracted to the $20 Billion Sydney Metro Northwest Project, would audit the procurement and governance of the signalling system for MBRL.

“Mr. Smith is eminently qualified to examine the MBRL project and has more than 20 years of experience in design and project management for rail systems.” Mr. Hinchliffe said.

“Mr. Smith specialises in delivering rail signalling systems and his extensive knowledge will be extremely beneficial to the audit and ensure we can get to the bottom of why the signalling system currently installed does not meet the operational and safety standards found across South East Queensland’s rail network.”

Mr. Hinchliffe announced the independent audit on Monday, 30 May after receiving advice from Queensland Rail about outstanding issues with the signalling system for the rail infrastructure project.

“The audit will investigate the governance and contractual processes for the signalling system and its performance and integration during design and construction.” Mr. Hinchliffe said.

“Ultimately this audit will determine how the signalling system was selected and why the project cannot be delivered within the expected timeframe.”

“This review will run separately to the work being undertaken by Queensland Rail into the requirements of the signalling system in order for Moreton Bay Rail Link to open.”

The Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Rail and other parties will provide relevant documents as requested for the audit.

The independent audit will be complete, with final reports handed to the Minister for Transport by the end of July.

Mr. Smith will lead a team of rail experts to prepare the audit.

Professional Experience

Rob Smith

Rail Systems Manager, Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW)

Mr. Smith is a senior rail systems manager, with more than 20 years’ experience in the design and project management of rail systems.

He is currently Chair of the Sydney Metro/Sydney Trains Integration Configuration Change Board which is the authority within TfNSW for the Northwest Rail Link Project and Sydney Trains to assess safety and risk acceptance when it affects the existing Sydney Trains operational railway.

He has a record of providing advice to state and international governments’ on rail projects, including reviews for the Victorian Government on large-scale projects including high capacity signalling (CBTC), Melbourne Metro, Data Train Radio, and also the PPP submission for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit. Mr. Smith is also a member of the Victorian Department of Transport’s Independent Expert Panel.


QLD Minister for Transport Stirling Hiinchliffe

QLD Minister for Transport Stirling Hiinchliffe








The full scope of the review will consider:

Governance and Contractual processes for MBRL, including:

  • Any signalling system related issues, risks and/or opportunities arising from the decision in 2012 to bring the project under the auspices of the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR);
  • A review of the signalling system elements of the tendering and contract process;
  • Whether the role assigned to Queensland Rail through contractual and/or governance documents and processes provided for appropriate involvement of the rail operator in the assurance processes relating to signalling;
  • Contract milestone payments relating to signalling, and gainshare payments, and the grounds upon which any payments have been made.

 Performance and integration of signalling systems during design and construction, including:

  • The nature of assurance activities by the project team, Queensland Rail, or other parties to monitor, test, and review signalling systems and signalling system interface/integration;
  • The nature of interface/integration issues experienced between multiple signalling systems on the one network;
  • The adequacy of assurance activities, and lessons for future rail contract selection and oversight;
  • The processes by which concerns raised by Queensland Rail or other parties regarding the signalling systems or signalling system integration were managed;
  • The assurance program being implemented by Queensland Rail in order to have the project commissioned.
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