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.
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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.

Culture
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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.

Getting the Metrolink trams running again

As we near the planned restart of tram operations on the Altrincham line the pressure is building in the delivery team. The guys replacing the overhead line equipment on the old British Rail infrastructure are pulling out all the stops trying to get everything finished on time, whilst in the city centre what feels like hundreds of orange clad bodies are feverishly trying to get the tracks and road surfaces in position ready for the trams to run.
 
To add to the stress, it is Manchester Pride this weekend and there are expected to be thousands of extra people in the city making moving materials and guys around even more torturous than usual.
 
There is a real will to get the work complete and it will not be for a lack of trying if it is not quite ready. I am sure trams will be running again on Tues 1st September.
 
Update 2nd Sept
Well I wasn’t quite right, but St Peters Station was back up and running as planned. Unfortunaley there have been a few problems down at the Altrincham end.

Manchester Metro, again

I have been in Manchester again this week. Three days working with Stagecoach helping to manage work on the city centre tram upgrade. The track removal seems to be going OK, but getting the new rails back in the deck seems to be a little steady.

Work continues on High Street
Work continues on High Street

It is good to meet up with old colleagues from VolkerRail. I am sure we will have fun working together!
The rails are nearly complete around Victoria
The rails are nearly complete around Victoria

It would also be great if the beautiful Manchester weather would stop getting us all wet. Being from the East of the country I was never really aware of just how much it rains in Manchester!