Rail industry celebrates young innovators

Michelle Doolan Competition winner Michelle Doolan Michelle Doolan
AusRail award The award was presented at this year's AusRAIL conference AusRail award

The inaugural competition invited submissions aimed at improving rail services


Aurecon civil and environmental engineer Michelle Doolan won the inaugural Young Rail Professionals Innovation Pitching Competition during the annual AusRAIL conference in Adelaide last week.

Coordinated by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), the competition invited rail employees aged 30 and below to pitch ideas that can help the Australian rail network "unlock its potential".

The concepts aimed at increasing safety, improving engineering and maintenance practices, and rail’s performance records to result in better freight and passenger services.

"Rail has a retiring workforce. We see the Young Professionals competition as a way to engage the youth and future of our industry," ARA CEO Danny Broad says.

"Concepts rolled in from around Australia and overseas covering all areas of rail – technical and engineering, customer service, strategic business planning, marketing and technological improvements.

"The session promises to be a highlight of our annual conference with the five finalists capturing an array of topics from solar light rail to using virtual reality to create public excitement for transport infrastructure projects."

Doolan’s ‘Delightful diversion? Generating public excitement for rail infrastructure’ was voted the winning concept amongst those presented by the other four finalists including:

  • Arup economist Ben Mason for his concept ‘Revisiting economic appraisal for rail projects’
  • Metro Trains Melbourne graduate engineer James Donovan for ‘Passive soundwave interpretation to detect and predict rail defects, lubrication quality and thermal factors’
  • Aurizon graduate engineer (electrical) Alexandra Baranksi for ‘CBD Solar light rail’
  • Sydney Trains systems development & support, train & operations planning, operations Jason Bridgman for ‘A smarter rail way – Intelligent monitoring assets’. 

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