What’s on : Lectures

One Day, Three Perspectives: A Day in the Life of a Rail Engineer

17 Oct 2017
Start time
7:30 PM
Tempest Anderson Hall
Philippa Britton, Amir Parekh, Michael de Botte,

Event Information

One Day, Three Perspectives: A day in the life of a Rail Engineer

Philippa Britton, Route Asset Manager (Buildings), Amir Parekh, Graduate Engineer (Signalling) and Michael de Both, Graduate Engineer (Buildings and Civics).

These three engineers from Network Rail will give an insight into their different roles and how together they keep the trains on the rails.

Members are invited to join us at 6.15pm to look at the posters and talk to the students who will be presented with their Nuffield STEM Awards before this evening’s lecture. The presentations will take place at 7pm.

Member’s report

Phillipa explained her role as Network Rail asset manager before involving the audience in an entertaining elimination quiz. She used a case study of updating the Middlesbrough railway station to illustrate the type of work involved. This project presented unique challenges dealing with a Grade II Listed building, bomb damaged during WW2.

Michael, who came through the Network Rail Graduate Scheme explained the technical issues associated with building railways through different types of countryside. Increasingly, it is vital to identify assets vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, particularly heavy rainfall in the case of old earth banks. He presented a case study of undermined rails and damage to embankments caused by burrowing animals, which included establishing an alternative home for the badgers involved.

Amir gave us fascinating insights into the question of signalling and telecoms, and the control of train movements, so vital to railway safety. More rail use increases the need for new technologies to replace old systems such as flags and semaphore signals controlled by levers. Installing traffic light signals is successful but often raises questions of driver sightlines. Current research is about digital systems with a view to providing in-cab signalling information for drivers.

Ken Hutson