Vale rail industry champion Bryan Nye

Former Australian Railway Association chief loses battle with motor neurone disease

Vale rail industry champion Bryan Nye
Bryan Nye left an important legacy in rail safety.


Bryan Nye, one of the great rail industry personalities, has passed away.

Australian Railway Association (ARA) CEO for 12 years before his retirement last year, Nye succumbed to motor neurone disease on Monday after a two-year fight.

A determined advocate for the mode who happily took the lobbying cudgels to road freight in support of the rival mode, he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in recognition for his services to the rail industry and the business sector.

"When he joined ARA in 2003, he relocated the office to Canberra, uniting industry to work cohesively on common issues," the organisation says.

"He established the ARA’s credibility within the industry and government alike, sharing his passion and vision for rail’s long-term growth and transformation.

"In 2005, Bryan established the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB), guiding the industry to harmonise practices and establish national standards.

"Today, RISSB continues as the second largest standards development organisation in Australia.

"In 2012, through the ARA and UGL, Bryan was instrumental in establishing the TrackSAFE Foundation.

"A registered Harm Prevention Charity, TrackSAFE aims to reduce incidents on the rail network from suicide and reckless behaviour and in doing so, create a better workplace for rail employees.

"A world-first, TrackSAFE is now looked to as a leader in this space.

"Bryan led a long campaign for a national rail Regulator, culminating in the establishment of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator in 2013."

Engineers Australia and the Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA) also paid tribute. 

"Bryan is remembered fondly as a great enthusiast to the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand.

"He used his influence as head of the Australasian Railways Association with great skill as he dealt with government and private stakeholders to advance the case for rail," RTSA executive chair Graham Holden says.

"Bryan’s efforts to set up the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) ... resulted in a key advancement of the industry.

"Bryan also developed the AusRail conferences into the impressive industry showcase that they are today. 

"Bryan was a great friend of the Railway Technical Society of Australasia and we mourn his passing."

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