Metro signaller claims prestigious ARA scholarship

14 Oct 2021, James Ireland

A Metro Trains employee has won a prized Australasian Railway Association (ARA) scholarship for thinking big and proposing a new idea for a train monitoring system.

Metro Assistant Relief Signaller Jude Manuel was awarded the ARA New Zealand 2021 Next Generation Scholarship for his proposed Wayside Train Monitoring System, which would actively scan and run diagnostics on trains as they travel on the Metro network.

The concept builds on similar technology used in Europe, including the railway in Germany. It would offer the opportunity to identify issues before they caused delays, allowing impacted trains to be taken out of service and repaired safely before critical faults occur.

Jude says he enjoys exploring new and emerging technological solutions. His role as a Signaller in a challenging environment where every second counts has given him fresh ideas on how to minimise disruptions.  ​​​​​​​

“Technology changes every day and we’re seeing that everything is going digital,” Jude said.

“Rail has seen so many changes over the years, always adapting to new ways of operating. It makes sense to see where innovative technology can improve our network.”

Jude was previously a finalist in the 2020 ARA Young Professional Pitching Competition and is passionate about continuing to learn and improve.

“Being a Signaller has taught me a lot, but I still have so much to learn,” he said. “I’m lucky to have such a wide network of Metro colleagues who have valuable expertise and experience to share.”

Metro Acting Signallers Manager Claudia Gemes said that Jude’s idea leveraged Metro’s core focus on safety above all else.

“Jude is a very worthy recipient of the ARA NZ Scholarship,” Claudia said. “He shows us how important it is to put forward ideas you feel will make things better because ultimately, change begins with each of us.”

The ARA scholarship program is open to individuals under the age of 30 and aims to support the professional development and sharing of innovative ideas for the rail industry.

Jude’s prize includes tickets to the New Zealand Rail Conference and dinner this November. Jude may instead attend the conference virtually if travel restrictions remain in place.

For more on how the ARA supports young rail professionals visit

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