The RailStaff Awards 2019

Nominations for Graduate of the Year

Christopher Wooff

Said the following about Michael De Botte:

“Michael is a Graduate in Civil Engineering currently on the Network Rail Graduate Programme.

He elected to do a six months secondment with the Route Asset Manager (RAM) Geotechnical team in the London North Eastern and East Midland Routes as part of the graduate programme. Unfortunately the six months is now complete and we are really sad to see him go.

He has remained completely unfazed by the wide variety of tasks he has been asked to do and approached them all with the same professional, diligent and cheery manner. Michael has made a real contribution to the performance of the team with his work. Some notable examples are:

The Dutch River badger exclusion works. Badgers have undermined the track bed to the extent that a Temporary Speed Restriction (TSR) has been put in place. To produce a works remit he worked well with many other teams including the Track Maintenance Engineer, Network Rail Design Team, environmental consultants, RAM Geotech team and the relevant landowners to agree the best solution. This work, when complete will allow the removal of the TSR and the badgers to be rehomed.

Management of adverse weather conditions, particularly rain, is a major priority in Network Rail. Such is our confidence in Michael’s ability to work diligently and independently, he was given a major part in revising the team’s adverse weather response process. This involved him reviewing all the existing sites in our routes, obtaining, collating and reviewing available records, then considering the factors which make sites susceptible to adverse weather and finally discussing with the relevant asset engineers. In this work he was also required to liaise between the RAM team and Network Rail Route Control, to ensure all the updates to individual sites and associated trigger levels were completed.

Scheduled examinations are a primary way Network Rail manages the risk from earthwork assets. The exams are required to identify any deterioration in geotechnical assets so remedial works can be implemented. Due to the importance and resources Network Rail invests on examinations we are always seeking to improve the quality of the examinations. Mike was given an outline objective to identify and measure pragmatic KPI's for exam quality. Using his initiative he created a scoring system for a statistically significant number of examinations. This has minimised any subjective scoring of exam quality so the analysis can be re ran each year to measure trends in exam quality. It is intended to use Mikes work to feedback at national meetings and drive improvements in the overall exam quality. Even small improvements in exam quality will have a significant cost saving to Network Rail primarily because it improves the overall data quality on which major asset management decisions are based.

With this nomination we want to acknowledge the great enthusiasm Mike shown. He actively sought to understand as much as possible about how the Geotech team worked and what he could do to contribute. His professionalism was apparent in the quality of his work and his good nature in his ability to work with a range of personalities from various teams to complete any required tasks.“