REBUILDING THE shattered rail industry is the central role of the Railway Civil Engineering Association, said chairman Graeme Monteith as he celebrated becoming the first ever RCEA chairman to be elected for a second term.
Monteith's first year has coincided with what has arguably been the most difficult in rail history. He feels that in such a diverse industry, the RCEA's role is central to helping the industry rebuild and progress by bringing people from all parts of the sector together.
Originally an association for senior railway civil engineers, with membership limited to invitation only, the RCEA is now an ICE associated learned society. It is open to all engineers engaged, past or present, in the development, design construction or maintenance of engineering infrastructure for railway operations.
The RCEA is now building on its links with the academic world, to help boost the quality of education and training for the industry, something Monteith describes as vital.
To help the organisation develop links with graduates, a graduate has been appointed to the management committee, something not possible before.
Previously members were required to hold positions of significant responsibility before being considered eligible, but Monteith said that the RCEA has moved on and grown.
'We now realise that many people are involved in railway infrastructure works, and not just civil engineers. To reflect this we have broadened our membership base, and although our core membership is civil engineers, we now welcome members from a broader rail based background.'
As part of the industry's drive to improve safety, the RCEA along with the Permanent Way Institution, the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers and the Track Safety Group is working towards developing a Railway Infrastructure Safety Award event to raise the profile of track safety.
The RCEA wants to be recognised as a vehicle for the enhancement of the railway infrastructure industry.
Monteith sees the association as a mouthpiece for the industry, able to deliver informed comment and advice on the industry today: 'We have many of the UK's leading engineers as members and are in a position to advise.
'We want to generate light in an environment that currently only seems to generate heat.'
INFOPLUS For details of RCEA meetings contact Pauline Arundel (020) 7665 2236.