How did you get involved in the rail industry?
It’s not a typical journey into rail. I actually studied economics at university then started my career in Canberra, in the Australian Public Service working on tax policy. I eventually moved to Sydney for my wife’s career and found work in an engineering company. My next move introduced me to rail, and then I’ve continued to be heavily involved in rail projects at RPS.
My first rail job was working on a timetable business case – learning about everything from the customer and community outcomes of improved connectivity to the infrastructure and services required to achieve them in developing the business case.
Working in rail seems a world away from my former life in taxation but there are similarities. What I like about both is the complexity and the problem solving required. That and working on something that benefits the community.
I’ve worked on fleet replacement projects and more recently, I’ve been working on fast rail.
What’s your role in a rail project?
I work at the front end, in the planning and development of infrastructure projects. I’m in the project investment and finance team and our work covers anything from feasibility studies to strategic analysis and business case studies.
We examine the service need and determine the optimal option to meet the service need. What is the problem? What gap does the project fill? What is the proposed solution to meet the need? How will it be delivered and funded? We investigate, undertake studies, analyse data until a picture begins to form and we can answer these questions.
We tease out what a project might look like in various forms by assessing a range of options. Then we do a deep dive on say two or three, and come up with a preferred option to put to state or federal government decision makers for approval and funding.
What’s great about working in rail?
The infrastructure – the services, the stations, the precincts - benefits the whole community. Rail is a public asset, it's there to serve the community, or probably more accurately adds to creating one. Well-designed public transport not only connects communities but is integral to creating the spaces where communities thrive, in a way that, say a road or cars don’t. It’s the little interactions with the world around you, the people you bump into daily on your commute, the things that you notice about the places around you. It brings people together and you can feel much more involved within the community, I think.
And also, the people I have met along the way who have taught me so much - mentors, colleagues, clients – they have all been a big part of the journey.