Insights from a major railway upgrade project in Northern England

Uppermill Viaduct
Richard Palczynski

Richard Palczynski

Richard Palczynski is the former Programme Controls Director of £15 billion Crossrail project in UK. He is currently leading the way for Programme Controls on the £3 billion Transpennine Route Upgrade Programme stretching from West to East over the Peninne Hills of Northern England.

In May 2019, Richard is flying to Sydney to speak at Engineers Australia’s Risk Engineering & Project Controls Conference (RISK-PCC) to share his insights and experience with an Australian audience.

This leading industry event is being delivered by a successful collaboration between a number of key technical associations, including Risk Engineering Society (RES), Australian Cost Engineering Society (ACES) and AACEi.

We had a quick chat to Richard about his work and the upcoming conference.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

By far the most interesting major project I have worked on has been Crossrail, London’s £15 billion railway. The civil engineering has been colossal, and the culture embedded across a work-force of over 8,000 people was, by far, the most amazing culture I have ever experienced.

The current press coverage that Crossrail is getting does not represent the Project that I lived and breathed for three and a half years, so I am passionate about reminding people of the tremendous benefits that the Programme absolutely will deliver when it finally opens. The most significant of which remains the 10 per cent increase in rail capacity which will literally transform the way in which millions of people move around the capital city.

How would you sum up your approach to engineering in three words?

Communication. Communication. Communication. To me, you can be the best engineer in the world, but if you can’t communicate and convey your knowledge to others around you, then your talent has a much greater chance of being wasted. I often remind young aspiring engineers that to become a good engineer language and communication skills are equally as important as the STEM subjects.

Why do you think conferences like RISK-PCC are important?

Conferences serve to remind their delegates that there is more going on in their space than they might otherwise have realised. I regard myself as being reasonably ‘on the ball’ but when I attend conferences like this, it never fails to amaze me what others are doing in my world and there is nearly always something that inspires me to do something different when I return to my day job.

What are you most looking forward to at RISK-PCC?

I am looking forward to meeting my industry peers and being challenged by people who speak my language. I am looking forward to hopefully sharing what I think ‘good’ looks like and if I inspire just one person, then travelling across the planet to get to the conference will have been worth it. Finally, I am looking forward to climbing the Harbour Bridge and seeing the Opera House, since this will be my first trip to Australia!

Check out the full line-up of speakers and find out more about the conference at https://risk-pcc19.com.au.

This partner content is brought to you by Engineers Australia. The Risk Engineering and Project Controls Conference will run 15-17 May at the Sydney International Convention Centre (ICC).

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