Industry organisations, NSW, Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), RTAA

Celebrating this years field day

Jonathan Barnes is grateful for all the support the organisation received that ensured this years field day was once again a success.

And we have a wrap on this year’s Field Day, and what an event it was! The weather was once again challenging but with lessons learned from last time and some periods of blue skies we didn’t let it dampen the event, and with visitors from across the country it was one of our most successful events to date.

Occasions like this are a massive labour, which only can only succeed,with the efforts of individuals and the support of our members and industry. Special thanks go to our event partner and host Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW, who made the event possible, and to those in Sydney Trains who went above and beyond –Arjun Pokharel, Nikkita Cullum Andrew Lagos, Rick Vidler and Dennis Lo. 

I would also like to once again thank our event sponsors Brimble Rail, Pandrol Australia and Kennards Hire. Your generous support allows us to host the event and keep it free and accessible to all. 

And I once again extend my thanks and gratitude to all those that supported the organising committee and event, and in particular I recognise Paul Bertino of Saint Gobain Australia and Brett Harvey of Kennards Hire.

The Field Day is a unique event in our industry calendar. The chance to see and experience the equipment and tools in their native environment is immensely valuable. At its simplest it is an opportunity to showcase the tools and equipment that makes our jobs easier. But behind this is an opportunity to communicate and collaborate. Many of the conversations I had over the event were with those in the support services “behind the scenes” of the boots on the ground. 

For these people, the field day is a chance to understand the scale of the machines, the weight of the tools and the realities of walking on ballast. These experiences are invaluable for the individuals but also helps them better understand and support their teams by understanding of what they are talking about. 

This also presents another opportunity to extend that communication and collaboration beyond those currently in our industry. We have been attempting this in a limited way for the past few years, but there exists here an opportunity to expand this to be a major event for those thinking of joining our industry, focusing on future cadets, and apprentices, but is open to all. We could also take this a step further and extend the invitation and encourage everyone to bring a rail outsider along with them, be it a partner, a friend or a child to extend this sharing and awareness to those that support us in our roles. 

I recognise that while this will positively impact numbers of attendees it is unlikely to drive business leads. So this is a concept we will explore over the next 18 months as we develop for the 2026 event, and I welcome feedback and interest from industry. Is this something that you would like to see, and participate in? And is it something you would be interested in supporting?.

And the final word on the Field Day is the amazing artwork created by our friend Luke Penrith. This traditional style painting was contributed to by many of the attendees and represents the links between us and the combing together to share and learn.  It is our great wish now to leverage this piece to raise money for Beyond Blue in support of their mental health works. We will be running a raffle draw so please go to our website where you can find how to purchase tickets. 

For now the team is focused on the rest of the year as we develop our event calendar and prepare to support AusRail at the Gold Coast in November. Hope to see everyone there.