BEng Electrical & Railway Engineering, 2020
ERTMS Project Integration Lead, Govia Thameslink Railway
I work on the East Coast Digital Programme which is rolling out digital signalling known as European Train Control System (ETCS) to the East Coast Mainline. In a nutshell, train divers are currently told how far they can go by looking at signals (like traffic lights), but with ETCS in the future all this information is shown to the driver on a screen in front of them.
What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
The variety as I get to be involved with both operations and engineering challenges on the project. I have to think about how to best fulfil Govia Thameslink Railway's interests with external stakeholders as well as deliver parts of the large project internally. I also get involved with test trains which makes a change from working in the office.
How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?
To answer this question its probably best to say a bit about the work I did before and during my degree. I wasn't sure I wanted to go to university, so I was lucky to be able to defer starting my degree to go work as a Train Planner for South West Trains. This was possibly the best decision I've ever made as that year was a fantastic introduction to the railway working with the timetables. I was then able to go back to work as a New Trains Project Engineer during the summer holidays of my degree where I was able to work on some exciting projects. After graduating I worked a couple of shorter term jobs in the railway which allowed me to see the railway from another perspective working on the track before getting the opportunity to go to Govia Thameslink Railway.
Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
Birmingham's unique undergraduate railway engineering course had the particular railway module content which I was looking for.
Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?
Shortly after freshers week, myself and a few new friends on the undergraduate railway engineering courses decided to found RailSoc, which I subsequently chaired for all three years I was at Birmingham. My favourite event was when we twice hired the Chasewater Railway for a 'Railway Operations Experience Day' where society members had a chance to drive and guard a train as well as have a go in the signal box.
What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?
Go along to some RailSoc events, the network (especially of graduates) the Society has built is becoming increasingly more broad across the rail industry. Try to get summer placements or year in industry if you can, it can make your progression after university much smoother.
“Hiking and without fail ending up in a pub with the Wayfarers, the University's Hiking Society which was founded in 1933.”