Queensland, Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand)

Celebrating a half century

With 50 years of riding the rails under his belt, there’s few with as much knowledge and experience driving locomotives as Queensland Rail’s Peter Ca’ttell.

Mr Ca’ttell, who joined the organisation on 20 November 1973, is one of 45 Queensland Rail employees with more than 50 years of service.
The Ferny Grove resident currently works as a Locomotive Driver Class II, SEQ Operations at Mayne Yard and is qualified to operate everything from diesel freight locomotives to city trains to the iconic Tilt Trains.
However, he originally started as an engine cleaner, and as part of his role he drove the call car to notify traincrew of their next shift.
“Things were a bit different back then. All you needed was a Grade 6 pass, a medical, and a maths test to meet the employment requirements,” Ca’ttell said.
“I would drive the call car to Brisbane, Caboolture and Ipswich to inform the drivers, firemen and guards of their next shift.
“The shifts were rostered manually, so if the shifts roster was completed at 2pm on the previous day and the crews finished work at or before 2pm they wouldn’t know what their next shift was.”
Mr Ca’ttell held a number of positions over his five decades of employment including as a fireman, driver, tutor driver, training instructor and train management improvement officer.
“One of my favourite roles was when I was travelling across Queensland teaching drivers, guards, control clerks, and station team safe working practices and radio communication, as well as basic electrical and track safety to contractors,” he said.
“In fact, the University of Melbourne specifically requested me as the trainer for track and trackside safety for their students.
“I’m still a bit of a mentor to the younger ones coming through. They’ll often call me up and ask me how to fix this or do that. I really enjoy being able to share my experience with them.”
Working at Queensland Rail is a family affair for Ca’ttell, with his daughter Sarah joining as a guard in 2019.
“I am proud that she’s joined Queensland Rail. She has always wanted to work here and was very excited when she got the role,” he said.
“I also have to thank my wife for my career. We have been married 50 years this December and she’s very dear to me.
“If it hadn’t been for the love and support of my family then my career in Queensland Rail could’ve been very different.”
Queensland Rail CEO Kat Stapleton recently met with Ca’ttell to recognise his achievement at a 50 years of service celebration.
“I want to congratulate Mr Ca’ttell on such a long and incredible career here at Queensland Rail.  We feel so fortunate to have his level of knowledge and expertise available to us – that is invaluable,” Stapleton said.
Ca’ttell isn’t ready to retire yet but enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, creating things from timber and gardening.