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West Midlands Gen Y Rail winners announced

Five teams successfully negotiated the West Midlands heat of the Gen Y Rail competition yesterday making it to the national final, which will be held later this month. The event was held in partnership with Network Rail at its Westwood training centre near Coventry.

Gen Y Rail, run by RTM's UK Rail Industry Training Trust (UKRITT), is a new series of engagement and educational events for young people around the country, which showcases the types of careers and opportunities available in the UK rail industry.

After designing a ‘futuristic’ train carriage, more than 20 teams presented their concepts to a Dragons’ Den style panel of industry experts at Westwood.

The five successful teams were the ‘3 Amigos’ and ‘Team 13’ from William Brookes School, ‘The Future’ from Sandwell College and ‘4 Lions’ from City College Coventry in the Over-16s category, and ‘Team Bruce Wayne’ from Adcote School For Girls in the Under-16s, all of which were selected for their ‘creativity, knowledge and passion’.

Interesting design concepts included driverless, hydrogen-powered trains, eco-friendly carriages utilising solar and wind technologies, and electro-magnetic connected carriages. 

working together

Katie Ferrier, programme manager on the central electrification scheme at Network Rail, said that all the teams should be very proud of their achievements and some of the ideas were “certainly solutions” that should be considered for the future by the industry. 

Speaking to RTM, one of the students, Connor Hunt, 18, an electrical engineering student at City College Coventry, said that he had been inspired by what he had learnt during the day and is “definitely” considering a future career in rail. 

During the day, the students were given a flavour of what it is like to work for Network Rail. Dominic Mottram and Rhianne Cakebread, both project managers at the company, highlighted the different journeys they had taken to start their journey into rail. 

Mottram, for instance, graduated from University with a degree in transportation, while Cakebread took advantage of Network Rail’s apprenticeship programme. Both, however, stated that they wouldn’t want to work in any other industry. 

The national Gen Y Rail final will take place at Network Rail’s Westwood facility on 25 June with teams competing against each other from the North East, North West, East Midlands and West Midlands. 

Sir Richard Leese, Manchester City Council leader, opened the earlier Gen Y Rail North West event on Monday, where he told the students: “We are entering a new ‘golden age’ of rail in the UK with many opportunities to develop life-long careers. The rail industry is expected to grow exponentially with passenger numbers on the up. But there are jobs on the construction, operation and service side of the industry all up for grabs with major infrastructure projects like the Northern Hub, HS2 and the electrification of the rail network all generating jobs. 

“Hopefully, this Gen Y Rail event will incentivise you to get involved with the rail industry in developing, maintaining and advancing our rail industry in the years to come.” 

Full coverage and photos from the Gen Y Rail West Midlands event, and all of the other recent Gen Y Rail competitions, will be published in the June/July 2014 edition of Rail Technology Magazine. 


(Photos: Kevin Poolman)

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