Matt has been surrounded by the railway his whole life. Growing up in Broken Hill, Matt’s great grandfather and father were rail workers. His dad took Matt to work as a young boy and began teaching him about what would later become his profession.
Perseverance got Matt through at the beginning of his career after he initially failed the medical examination required to work at State Rail, due to him being colour blind. Luckily the rules changed a few years later and Matt again applied, this time successfully, and started work as a rail labourer.
Over the following decade, he worked across diverse areas of State Rail including maintenance, at passenger stations, and in signalling. However, Matt says that along the way he began to yearn for more of a challenge and decided to focus his career exclusively on rail safety, taking a job CPB Contractors as a Rail Safety Manager. With a smile, Matt says he’s never looked back.
Now the Rail Safety Manager on the Sydney Metro City & Southwest Line-wide Works, Matt is responsible for ensuring that National Rail Safety Law requirements are met, reviewing rolling stock approvals and making sure that worker protection safety controls are robust and effective.
With the Line-wide team now hiring hundreds of additional workers, including electricians, trades assistants and electrical engineers, to fit-out 31kms of tunnels, seven underground stations and kilometres of above ground tracks, Matt and the safety team’s workload is growing too.
His current focus is on mobilising the safe use of the specialised rail equipment used for the installation and subsequent energisation of the overhead wiring, as well as the installation of the HV and LV cable networks. Once fit-out of the tunnels and a new stabling and maintenance yard is completed, Matt’s focus will shift to supporting the safe testing of metro trains on the new track.
“The most satisfying part of any rail project is when it’s completed,” says Matt of his time on the Metro North West project. “Seeing the project delivered from the very start through to a smoothly operating railway, is incredibly satisfying.”
Matt says one of the aspects he appreciates most about his work in rail safety is the diversity of roles and opportunities each new project opens-up. “There’s always so much happening and so many avenues you can pursue to build a successful career. The possibilities are virtually limitless,” he advises.
“I still really enjoy what I do and knowing that I’m building on my father’s and great grandfather’s legacy is amazing. Asked if his dad is proud that he’s carrying on the family tradition Matt says, “Dad think’s it’s great and reckons his best achievement is that his son joined the railway, doing what he did, and taking it even further.”
And if you ever see him around the office, ask what he knows about yabbies, rabbit traps and living in a water tank. You’ll be surprised at the answer!