Rail CEO lands 'dream' job

After running famous Australian tourist trains, Tony Braxton-Smith enters the toughest show in Sydney town

Rail CEO lands 'dream' job
Rail CEO lands ‘dream’ job

By David Goeldner | September 20, 2011

There are just two more Deputy Directors-General appointments to fill at Transport for NSW following this week’s announcement that rail industry identity Tony Braxton-Smith will head up the department’s ‘customer experience’ division.

While rail could remain a focus for Braxton-Smith his remit will be to provide enhanced ‘customer experience’ across all modes – rail, bus and ferry.

Braxton-Smith is expected to take up his place among the new batch of DDG’s in November, vacating his post as Adelaide-based Great Southern Rail CEO.

There appears an element of tourism and travel experience coming to Sydney with Braxton-Smith’s appointment given Great Southern Rail’s tourist train operations portfolio, including The Ghan, Indian Pacific, and The Southern Spirit.

Prior to operating some of Australia’s most famous train sets, Braxton-Smith spent four years as Dreamworld CEO on the Gold Coast.

Whether it turns out to be a dream job running the much-vaunted customer interface at Transport for NSW depends on whether Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell hold to the promise of placing transport planning and services around customers’ needs and ‘experience’.

Berejiklian says Braxton-Smith’s appointment will ensure the needs of transport customers dictate decisions in planning and delivering transport infrastructure, and running services.

"As CEO of Great Southern Rail for the last seven years, Mr Braxton-Smith has led a service improvement program which halved complaints and lifted customer satisfaction ratings," she says.

"Before joining Great Southern Rail, he was CEO of Dreamworld, where he introduced programs to improve the customer experience and build loyalty."

Roads Minister Duncan Gay says Braxton-Smith’s extensive private sector experience in customer improvements, as well as strong transport credentials, meant he was an ‘exciting


Braxton-Smith says he had no hesitation in making the move to join Transport for NSW.

"I welcome the opportunity to take on such an important role, at a time when the planning and provision of transport in NSW is going through its most significant change in a generation," he says.

"My aim is to put the customer first and ensure the transport system is designed around the needs and expectations of the customer."

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