Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE

Is Rail a Viable Mode of Transport for the 21st Century? - Sir Seymour Biscoe Tritton lecture

27 April 2009

As a society we’ve come to take personal mobility for granted, whether it’s for business, to visit friends, to go shopping or purely for leisure; we have also become very accustomed to very effective delivery of goods and services for granted. But can we assume this situation can continue given increasing concerns about energy and carbon emissions, high levels of congestion and a toughening economic climate? In this uncertain world, can rail continue to compete effectively with the automotive and aviation sectors?

This talk gives a personal view of where rail needs to improve if it is to have a successful future. It looks at the actual cost of running the railway, assesses current levels of reliability and carbon performance and considers how technology and better knowledge management could improve the railway’s service to its paying customers.

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: After graduation from the University of the Witwaterand, Johannesburg, Tony Mercado started his railway career with the South African Railways in 1974.

Working within the railway operating environment he managed the specification and procurement of rolling stock together with its introduction into service, including setting up of the maintenance depots.

In November 1988 he was recruited into GEC TPL to the position of Engineering Director at Trafford Park, responsible for the engineering work on many rolling stock supply contracts in Hong Kong, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Moscow, Manchester Metrolink and British Rail. Since then Tony has held several senior positions within ALSTOM , the most recent one was MD of West Coast Traincare the Company responsible for the service delivery of the Virgin Pendolinos and other trains operating on the WCML.

In May 2008 Tony was appointed as Director Rail Technical and Professional at the DfT’s Rail and National Networks.

Duration: 1 hr 16 mins