I was very fortunate recently to enjoy a trip to Japan.
It was a short trip as I was only in the country for three days with a red-eye in and a red-eye out.
Some guys from an Australian company had asked me if it was possible to arrange a visit to see some of MATISA’s machines that are being operated in Japan. They were visiting on a business trip and thought it would be good to see some of the machines up close.
I was able to make the arrangements with the help of colleagues from Japan and I think the guys enjoyed the visit and appreciated being able to see some of the machines.
The most notable thing about the machines was their condition. Both the machines we visited were immaculate. They were 8-10 years old but looked as if they were only a year or two old. A testament to the Japanese maintenance approach.
The big thing that I noticed in Japan was the difference in culture from the West. There is sense of thoroughness and order about everything, from the way they queue to the cleanliness of streets.
Immediately on my arrival in Tokyo, whilst waiting for a flight down to Osaka I noticed things were different. The guys driving the luggage tugs at the airport were checking the vehicles before they got in them at the start of the day.
Check the lights
Check the brakes
Check the water
Check the fuel
Check the first aid kit
Check the safety gear.
And then when they approached a road junction, they would point in the direction they are looking, this is their physical reminder of the need to check that the road is clear. They do this every time.
I saw this habit again later on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) where the platform attendant pointed to every pantograph on the train as it passed him. This pointing has two functions it acts as an indicator to everyone else that you are checking and also a reminder to yourself that you have checked. I like it….
Now how do I integrate this into my own work?
Once again I am involved in the Railway Technical Association Australia Field Days committee working to ensure the Field Days are a successful show case for our amazing industry.
The event will be held in Clyde, Sydney on the 25th and 26th Feb.
This year I have been helping by contacting exhibitors and getting them to attend, whilst also trying to get sponsorship for the event.
Please have a look at the website: http://www.rtaa.org.au/ and make sure you pop along if you are in Sydney.
My assignment at Sydney Trains is to trial mobile flash butt welding on the Sydney Trains Network. Several trials have been performed before, however the process has not been taken up in the business. This is an opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of MFBW and also to address some of the concerns that team members may have.
This is a project with lots of interfaces and is giving me a great opportunity to get to know lots of people in the Sydney Trains business.
I’m still in the research phase and will be engaging with industry shortly to see what services can be offered by the contractors in the market.
I am starting my newest assignment tomorrow, I will be working for Sydney Trains.
Not completely sure of the exact nature of the assignment yet but I am sure it will be something I can get my teeth into.
I’m going to be out at Granville, Sydney so I’ll be a rail commuter for a while.
Updates will follow…..
Today I was fortunate to get an invite to attend the CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia) at the Shangri-La Hotel. One of the speakers at the event, and of particular interest to me was Howard Collins OBE, the CEO of Sydney Trains.
It was very encouraging to see Mr Collins so enthused about the opportunity and challenge that lays ahead for Sydney Trains and for Sydney’s transport needs in general. He has embraced the concept of putting the customer first, as championed by Gladys Berejiklian, and this has started to deliver real improvement on the network. The future use of technology and putting live information directly into the customer’s hand via their smart phone is also a significant step in this direction.
I was fortunate to have a front row seat and managed to snap a photo of the panel.
AusRAIL is one of the main rail conferences held in Australia each year. In November 2012 I presented a paper discussing Network Rail’s Modular S&C Project. The conference was in Canberra, which worked out well as I had not been to Canberra at that time.
I also presented the paper at the RISSB National Turnouts Conference, also in November.
A copy of the paper can be found here Modular Switches and Crossings.
I hope you find the paper interesting and I would welcome any comments or feedback.