Leader Limelight – Stewart Mills

We interviewed Stewart Mills, Sydney Trains’ Executive Director Engineering & Maintenance about his experience, passions and what’s ahead for the Engineering & Maintenance Directorate.

How did you get to where you are today?

As a UK Mining Engineer graduate, I started my rail career laying track 1,500m deep underground in the platinum mines of South Africa. Later, returning to the UK and working with tunnel boring machines on the Channel Tunnel before undertaking heavy civil engineering works involving more tunnels, bridges, roads, railways and power stations. I was head of an international consortium for the signalling, control and communication for the first section of the High Speed Rail Link in Kent before moving to London Underground, under a PPP for the maintenance of Fleets and Infrastructure along with upgrades and capacity enhancements. From there, I moved to Sydney Trains.

What has been a memorable experience during your time as Executive Director of Engineering and Maintenance?

In January last year, we hosted 100 school girls on a STEM camp at our purpose-built Engineering & Maintenance Hub at Clyde. It was great to see how enthusiastic they were about our work and I hope it inspired their future study choices.

We’re also continuing to refine the Apprenticeship Program, which wasn’t in place previously. It’s a source of great delight for me to me to see new batches of people entering the rail industry. It’s also a real pleasure to see people continuously improving, developing and growing with the business.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in an entry level role within the Transport cluster?

I don’t know of another industry that has more breadth and capacity for career choices and development. Whether it’s Engineering, such as mechanical, electrical, control systems, or track, or Customer Services, Operations, Finance, Safety, or HR - the opportunities are massive to progress and develop. Diligently develop your professional skills, get to know your role, and always look for new challenges. If someone offers you the chance to do something different, take the opportunity. Those are the times you learn the most.

Can you give us a glimpse of what is in store in the near future for Engineering & Maintenance?

We’re improving power requirements, and renewing signalling and track systems. New urban and regional fleets are coming to better manage the growth in customers, and we are also in the process of enabling Sydney Metro to be built. We are also trying to be smarter about maintenance and use the very latest technologies. Combine all these elements together, and you can see a future that is very bright for anyone wanting to enter this industry.

Do you have a favourite train station, and why?

Definitely Cronulla Station. It’s where I live, and where the train goes to the sea. When I end up in Cronulla, I’m on the top deck where you can see palm trees against the open ocean and bays.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’ve learned to surf in the last five years, so I’ve got a carbon fibre paddle surf board, a long board and a body board. I also own an electric skateboard, I can juggle, and I like to draw cartoons!


We interviewed Stewart Mills, Sydney Trains’ Executive Director Engineering & Maintenance about his experience, passions and what’s ahead for the Engineering & Maintenance Directorate.

How did you get to where you are today?

As a UK Mining Engineer graduate, I started my rail career laying track 1,500m deep underground in the platinum mines of South Africa. Later, returning to the UK and working with tunnel boring machines on the Channel Tunnel before undertaking heavy civil engineering works involving more tunnels, bridges, roads, railways and power stations. I was head of an international consortium for the signalling, control and communication for the first section of the High Speed Rail Link in Kent before moving to London Underground, under a PPP for the maintenance of Fleets and Infrastructure along with upgrades and capacity enhancements. From there, I moved to Sydney Trains.

What has been a memorable experience during your time as Executive Director of Engineering and Maintenance?

In January last year, we hosted 100 school girls on a STEM camp at our purpose-built Engineering & Maintenance Hub at Clyde. It was great to see how enthusiastic they were about our work and I hope it inspired their future study choices.

We’re also continuing to refine the Apprenticeship Program, which wasn’t in place previously. It’s a source of great delight for me to me to see new batches of people entering the rail industry. It’s also a real pleasure to see people continuously improving, developing and growing with the business.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in an entry level role within the Transport cluster?

I don’t know of another industry that has more breadth and capacity for career choices and development. Whether it’s Engineering, such as mechanical, electrical, control systems, or track, or Customer Services, Operations, Finance, Safety, or HR - the opportunities are massive to progress and develop. Diligently develop your professional skills, get to know your role, and always look for new challenges. If someone offers you the chance to do something different, take the opportunity. Those are the times you learn the most.

Can you give us a glimpse of what is in store in the near future for Engineering & Maintenance?

We’re improving power requirements, and renewing signalling and track systems. New urban and regional fleets are coming to better manage the growth in customers, and we are also in the process of enabling Sydney Metro to be built. We are also trying to be smarter about maintenance and use the very latest technologies. Combine all these elements together, and you can see a future that is very bright for anyone wanting to enter this industry.

Do you have a favourite train station, and why?

Definitely Cronulla Station. It’s where I live, and where the train goes to the sea. When I end up in Cronulla, I’m on the top deck where you can see palm trees against the open ocean and bays.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’ve learned to surf in the last five years, so I’ve got a carbon fibre paddle surf board, a long board and a body board. I also own an electric skateboard, I can juggle, and I like to draw cartoons!


Page published: 30 May 2019, 09:00