HomeIndustry NewsYoung Rail Professionals: A packed itinerary

Young Rail Professionals: A packed itinerary

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YRP Chair Bonnie Price gives us the latest news and developments, and a reminder of its upcoming events.

It has been a busy and lovely summer for Young Rail Professionals (YRP), with a lot of things going on!

Our team is currently busy planning the upcoming annual dinner for spring 2024, which will be at the historic Troxy venue in East London on the 14 March 2024. One for the calendars!

Keep a look out on the website for how to purchase your tickets and tables in the coming weeks. Should you wish to purchase a table please contact: [email protected].

Each year our annual dinner and awards ceremony highlights key players in the industry who are shining stars of the YRP values. Highlighting these young people has never been more important.

Our awards will focus on the following:

  • Young rail professional of the year
  • Young Rail Professionals: Apprentice of the year
  • Young Rail Professionals: Mentor of the year
  • Young Rail Professionals: Employer of the year
  • (NEW) Young Rail Professionals: Employer of the year (SME)
  • (NEW) Young Rail Personality of the year
  • (NEW) Distinguished Service Award

Our three new awards aim to widen the criteria to ensure Young Rail Professionals continues to push itself forward and include everyone in the industry.

In the news

Looking at the news of the past month, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag, shall we say?

I was very pleased to see the news that Severn Valley Railway now has a mutually beneficial arrangement with Network Rail and will receive equipment and track components in exchange for a training venue. I and others within YRP often despair at the wasted opportunities within our industry, and this is a great step in becoming more effective as an industry. The contract is the first of its kind in the UK and is a great example of what other heritage railways could also adopt.

I was, however, very saddened to see the ‘scaling back’ of the UK’s net zero commitments, especially our government’s promise to ban combustion engine cars by 2030 – now pushed back to 2035. Not only is this bad news considering the climate emergency happening right now, but it is also bad for innovation and for an industry trying to traverse the political landscape and invest its funding into electric vehicles within the correct timelines. Weakening these targets undermines investment in the industry. If I were heading up a car manufacturer, I would not be best pleased…

That said, I have made it no secret that I am not a fan of electric cars. As I have mentioned on the RailNatter podcast, hosted by Gareth Dennis, I truly feel that, in future, we in the West will look upon the industry’s hunger for lithium and cobalt – a key component of electric car batteries – and feel great shame – much the same as how we now look upon gold and diamond mining in our recent history.

Electric cars are not the solution many seem to think they are, merely a stepping stone. However, it appears that stepping stone is being moved further and further away due to government policy, while we all continue to call for UK-wide mass transport, better air quality in cities, and a strategy for a truly greener transport plan.

European tour

This month saw our Young Rail Tours take 32 delegates on a technical tour to Zurich, Switzerland.

We had the good fortune to be hosted by Alstom Zurich HQ and Zürcher Verkehrsverbund Tram Depot. We were also taken on a tour of the Schweizer Electronic factory and R&D department, and took a ride along the Pilatus railway to see the mountains!

On our tour of Schweizer Electronics’ factory- the exec kindly showed our groups their vast factory, their R&D centre.
Stadler kindly hosted YRP at its Bussnang Factory, showing us their latest and greatest loco’s coming off the production line. Ralf Warwel, Stadler’s marketing director for the UK and Ireland, started the day off with an in-depth presentation on Stadler, its history and the exciting direction it is going in. Of course, we loved the freebies and chocolates, but I’m afraid that’s all I can share with you due to the cutting-edge equipment we saw, so you will just have to take my word for it that this was a fantastic day out!

A big thank you to our tour hosts and organisers for a fantastic trip! A reminder as ever – if you would like to get involved in organising a trip, please do get in touch at [email protected]

A huge thank you goes out to our tour organisers: Ben Vallely, Matthew Teller, Kary Ho, Emil Tschepp and David Pearce.
A lot of hard work goes in to making sure a great time is had by all, but they make it look so easy!

Looking ahead

Each year, YRP runs Rail Week. It is a week-long pan-industry collaborative effort aimed at bridging the rail sector’s looming skills gap and inspiring the next generation of rail professionals by giving young people, parents, teachers and careers advisors the opportunity to see, first-hand, the brilliant projects, facilities and range of jobs in the rail industry.
This annual week of rail-related activity includes a plethora of events, visits, and talks to promote careers in our great industry to the public, in particular to students at schools, colleges and universities across the UK.

We will be holding events on each day, across the UK:

  • Child’s Play Monday – We will be aiming to take under 18s to various site visits and factory tours.
  • Technical Talk Tuesday – Leaning on our connections to the various engineering bodies and innovative companies, we want to bring the technical to the wider industry.
  • Walk-About Wednesday – Site visits more appropriate for adults in higher education or within the industry.
  • Thursday Networking – An event to support those within YRP, and those who are yet members, to get together and strengthen their networks.
  • Friday: A national celebration of Rail Week – This event will be a limited ticket celebration, to celebrate railweek and all the work that goes into it (Do be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the YRP social media) and the launch of something special!

If you have any suggestions about what you would like to see, or an offer to host within your work place, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch and our national Rail Week lead, James Shanley and his team will come back to you in the following weeks.

As always, I must remind you – Young Rail Professionals is for everyone, and you can sign up for free.
Whether you are in your first 10 years of working in the railway industry, or you are wanting to support those who’ve just joined the industry – we want to hear from you!

Image credit: YRP