Ruw Palapathwala

“Rail stations leave a lasting impact on communities. I love being a part of that.”
Young man in suit talking to camera as light rail goes by.
Young man in suit talking to camera as light rail goes by.

Transport Planner, Aurecon

Background: Engineering graduate

“Working in the rail industry is not just something I do to pay the bills. I think of it as a vocation. It’s something I do to make a better world.

Rail is exciting. It affects communities. When you look at the construction and design of cities, it is transport infrastructure, and rail in particular, which provides the veins and arteries. By expanding rail networks and creating great interchanges, you help people get where they need to go to access jobs, education and participate in life.

By providing a way to travel distances in a cost-effective way, rail helps break transport poverty creating social equity and opportunity for people.

Rail is something that people get passionate about. Everyone has an opinion.

I graduated from Swinburne University in Melbourne with a Bachelor of Engineering and a Bachelor of Business.

While I was studying, I worked at a small transport consultancy as part of an entry-based learning program offered to engineering students. This gave me real-world, industry experience.

Six months after graduating I got a job at Aurecon. It was a role I chose carefully.

Before deciding on where I wanted my career to go, I had developed a network in the engineering sector. I spoke to many different people about the opportunities and what was best suited to my experience and what I wanted out of life.

At Aurecon I work on the rail team as a transport planner, modeller and project manager. Most of the work is on larger projects.

My role is not a traditional rail job. I help Aurecon to understand how a new rail line will fit with, and impact, the wider transport network and surrounding land.

We work out how many people will take the train, where they’re travelling from and to, what other modes of transport they use on their trip. We try to understand what level of service will provide the best outcome for passengers today and into the future.

Rail is such a colourful industry to be in. Rail infrastructure developments engage people at all levels of society, from top officers in government to residents in surrounding communities. I work with people from multiple disciplines, architects, town planners, geotechnical engineers, civil mechanical electrical engineers, environmental scientists. It’s incredibly diverse.

But what is most satisfying is what you can achieve.

Rail stations leave a lasting impact on communities. They become a meeting point, a landmark in a lot of instances. They can be the identity piece of the city. I love being a part of that.”