A trip to Japan

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.

Track Machines
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?

RTAA Field Days

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.

Mobile Flash Butt Welding

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.

CEDA Lunch at the Shangri-La Hotel

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.Photo of the CEDA Panel

Presentation at AusRAIL 2012 – Modular Switches and Crossings

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.

Leaving Transfield Services

I am on the move again! I have been working with Transfield Services for a little over two years and the time has come for a change.
I have enjoyed my time with Transfield Services, but a great opportunity has come my way and it is time to change.
I am moving to Rhomberg Rail Australia and will still be working in Sydney. In my new role I will be Manager Strategic Projects. This means I will be working on a whole range of things from tendering to innovation to asset management and much else besides.
This fits with my career plans and it feels good to be moving to a company that is wholly focused on railway services.
I finish with Transfield Services on Friday 20 April.
Between jobs I am taking a little break and so I start with Rhomberg on 23 May.

We’ve arrived in Australia

We are now settling into our new life in Sydney. We have a flat in an amazing location on the North Shore with some amazing views.  We have the flat for a few more weeks then we need to find somewhere for ourselves, which is easier said than done in Sydney.

This is the view from the balcony of our flat.

I am working just up the road from here on Pacific Highway so only a ten minute walk to work for me!  Sure beats an hour and three quarters on the train or in the car!

Unfortunately we cannot see the Opera House from the flat, but we have a great view of the bridge and over towards Balmain.

A view of the bridge at night with a Cruise ship passing under neath.