Henry van der Linden, Operator Strukton Rail Equipment
'Since January 2018, I am working at Strukton Rail Equipment as an Operator and this has opened up a whole new world for me. I really operate the train with a big smile.'
‘I have been an Operator for eighteen years and worked in freight transport for years. I always thought work trains involved a great deal of night work that could only be carried out during out-of-service periods. That turned out to be very different. Strukton Rail Equipment has a tremendous machine fleet and if it were up to me, I would learn how to operate all of those machines.’
‘As Operator, I am currently driving the Vossloh G1206, a diesel locomotive used to pull empty railway cars and to shunt heavy equipment. In addition, I am licensed to drive the stabiliser 10. This machine reinforces the ballast bed by compacting it, as a result of which the tracks are positioned far more securely. Driving a locomotive is of course enjoyable, but operating a machine like this is far more challenging. It makes me think of how we used to do this in the past; manually lift a rail section and perhaps replace fifty metres of rail. Today we have machines that can replace 250 metres of old rails with new rails all in one go. This way, as a team, you build something beautiful using modern technologies.’
As Operator, it is essential to always stay alert so you can work safely
‘Having a technical background is very useful for an Operator. Because when there are problems, you need to solve them. Furthermore, you must of course comply with the rules and take you work very seriously. I constantly focus and stay alert. Safety always comes first and foremost. When students accompany me, I always tell them to look far ahead, because this gives them more time to react to a signal. This also enables you to let the machine roll to a stop instead of putting on the brakes full force when the signal is yellow. This is better for the environment and furthermore saves on fuel. This is how I always do my work.’
‘My goal is to become an all-round Operator. I still need to get to know the company better, but it is already clear to me that Strukton Rail gives people the opportunity to learn. I consider it important for me to know a great deal about a single machine, rather than a little about many machines. As I always say, a good pizza has a good base. There must be a good foundation. I also hope to learn a great deal from the older machine operators. They are professionals who can transfer their knowledge to the new guard. Ultimately, I would like to be able to operate the ballast cleaner, another type of stabiliser, the tamping machine and the brushing machine. That’s my challenge.’