In this months edition, you will find articles on 

President's Welcome - Thomas Kerr

The world has changed dramatically. For the rail industry, the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed how we work and communicate with others to deliver the services and infrastructure that our community needs.

Like most businesses in this environment, the RTAA is not immune to the consequences that COVID-19 imposes.
We too have to consider how this affects the operation of the RTAA and how we deliver value to our members. The RTAA Executive recently convened to discuss our business continuity strategy. We considered the impact of COVID-19 on all areas of the business and identified that most of our services and value can still be delivered to our members. However, the greatest impact is on our physical events, until social distancing restrictions have been alleviated. The RTAA had to make the uncomfortable decision in March to postpone the RTAA/RTSA Annual Dinner, with a new date still to be decided once there is more certainty on the situation.
As the Dinner has been postponed for a period greater than 6 months, the RTAA still wanted to recognise the achievements of diversity in the rail industry with the virtual announcement of the winner of the 2020 Australasian Diversity Award. Drum roll… Coleman Rail have Won! Followed closely by Transdev Australasia as the Runner Up. More details on this later.
As physical events have been suspended, the RTAA will be holding a series of webinars with some alternative ideas proposed to differentiate from the myriad of others you may be consumed by! We will be seeking input from members through a number of engagement methods, to ensure we can deliver value-added, practical webinars. 

Nominations for the 2020 Emerging Rail Specialist Award closes on 26 June 2020. This award encourages and celebrates emerging rail specialists to demonstrate excellence and share innovations to ensure the success and sustainability of our industry. The criteria of this award has now changed to be more inclusive and progressive. The focus is on ‘young in the industry’ rather than ‘young in age’. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity where the benefits are endless, and I want to encourage all eligible members to apply. 

Finally, I want to thank all the RTAA members and the RTAA management committees for your ongoing involvement and support through this time. I am confident we can continue to navigate these uncharted waters with strength and resilience. Be safe, and good luck!

Announcing the WINNER of the 
RTAA Diversity Award 2020

We’re extremely proud to announce the WINNER of the RTAA Australasian Rail Diversity Award for 2020 is Coleman Rail!

The RTAA Diversity Award recognises the outstanding achievements of our members in the promotion of #diversity and workplace #inclusion in rail. 

Coleman Rail stands out as an industry leader in this area focussing not only on gender diversity but inclusion with programs that encourage more senior workers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the next generation to join our industry.

We are also pleased to announce , Transdev Australasia  as the  RUNNER UP of the RTAA Australasian Rail Diversity Award.  Our judges were impressed by Transdev’s “Belong at Transdev” strategy which brings together the different programs relating to Gender, Accessibility, Cultural differences, Reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Age and LGTBIQ.

Congratulations to both Coleman Rail and Transdev!

Member Spotlight - James Donovan - 2017 RTAA Emerging Rail Specialist Award Winner 

James Donovan is a Systems Interface Engineer for MTR Australia; working on the Sydney Metro City & Southwest Project. He was nominated and won the RTAA's 2017 Emerging Rail Specialist Award for his work on a Metro Train's Melbourne innovation project which aimed to automate the Isolation and Earthing of the Overhead Wiring System.

Get to know James and find out what winning the 2017 Emerging Rail Specialist Award has meant to him.
Pictured above L-R: David Bainbridge and James Donovan

What does excellence mean to you and how have you seen it demonstrated in the Rail Industry?
Excellence to me is a willingness to not to accept the status quo. Trying to address existing problems in everyday tasks with a novel approach, and being willing to consider a different way of doing things to achieve a better result.

How has winning this award changed your approach to your work?
Achieving this award helped me in so many ways. I have gained a considerable amount of contacts, knowledge, and experience through both the award trip and through other involvement within the RTAA. Outside of this, though, I think that this award has affirmed my approach to alternative and innovative solutions, and how to implement this approach in day-to-day work.

What advice would you give to others in a similar position in about being successful or forging a good career in rail?
The best advice I can give is to grab any opportunity that comes your way. Both personal and professional development comes from new opportunities and experiences. Even if you have difficulty, there are so many helpful and knowledgeable people within the industry that would be keen to provide their insight.

What conference did you attend and what was the best thing/ key learning you took away from it?
I attended Innotrans 2018 as part of my award. For anyone that hasn’t been before, it is a gunzel’s dream: the largest rail conference in the world, full of the latest technology and ideas. I also attended a number of site visits across Europe, including Thermit, Elcowire, Plasser & Theurer, and Network Rail. I came away with many new rail friends, and a greater appreciation of how rail works outside of Australia. 

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for rail in the future and how can the RTAA support that?
While we are seeing more investment in rail than ever before, I think it would be great to see a more significant focus on the development of our people. There has been so much work in rail over the last few years that we are running out of experienced and knowledgeable people to be involved. Focussing on providing developmental opportunities for members of the industry could be a strategy that makes the current investment sustainable in the long term. This could take the form of apprenticeships, short courses, or masters degrees, which focus specifically on rail and rail-related fields. RTAA already does a great job of sharing the knowledge of its members, but are also well placed to understand the needs of rail employees of the future. Working with other major organisations, it could be possible to provide a development program for new entrants into the field, or enable rail-veterans to continue their development outside of their specific area(s) of understanding.
Nominations for the RTAA 2020 Emerging Rail Specialist Award  are now open!  This award recognises the talents of  ‘young in the industry’ rather than ‘young in age’.  The winner will receive up to $10,000 to attend an international transport conference of their choice. Entries close June 26, 2020.
RTAA Member Exclusive sign up here for your free subscription to the print edition of Rail Express.
COVID-19 is changing the way we live, work and connect. Check out the list of mental health resources collated by  TrackSAFE Foundation to help guide us through.
Transport for NSW  has created an industry webpage that shares, for reference and use,  information and tools provided by its industry partners on the steps being taken to reduce the impacts associated with COVID-19.
RISSB has launched a series of webinars delivered by industry leaders and technical experts, the webinars will cover a broad range of topics that are currently driving discussions in the Australian rail industry.
The ARA has developed a program of regular free webinars for members to learn about issues in the rail industry, as well as personal and professional development topics.
KPMG discusses the immediate impacts of COVID-19 and longer term actions to be considered by transport, logistics and supply chain leaders operating in the post COVID-19 era.

Women & Leadership Australia has moved to a fully  web based delivery format for current intakes for all its flagship programs and reduced the enrolment fee for these particular intakes to ensure that critical development opportunities remain accessible to female leaders.

Welcome to our new members! 

  • Michael Thomas
  • David McHugo
  • Chris Patchell
  • Chantelle Stevens
Corporate Premier:
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