I started with this company in January 2015. The reason for the change was totally personal as I absolutely loved my time with Knorr-Bremse and was very sad to leave.
My elderly father was becoming much more ‘labour intensive’ for my dear wife being left alone with him. Also I had realised that since we moved out of our local rental property in Melksham, EVERY Monday morning I was packing a bag to go ‘somewhere’. Anywhere between, Japan, China, Dubai, Saudi, all the rest of the far East or just Melksham. When I thought about it, although I thoroughly enjoyed the job and the people, it was starting to get me down. Therefore it was time for a change. I had applied for the job, somewhat tongue in cheek with the intention that if I was offered it, we then had a choice.
As it happened I was offered the job straight away and decided that it was the right thing to do for all concerned.
The company was very small, about 20 people when I joined and was still in a ‘start up’ situation and in the hands of the investors. The business that the company is in is remote monitoring of wheel bearing sets on railway carriages. To do this it uses the movement and vibration that it is measuring to generate power which is stored and used to power recording and transmitting circuits. The results are sent via the mobile phone network for the customer.
One of the first people I met was Billy Porter. We quickly found out that we had both been in the RN. Further discussion revealed that we had shared the same first ship, HMS Bulwark and then joined Defiance FMG together when we left that ship. All those years later, there we were sat opposite one another. Spooky!
My first project was with GE who were running a trial on a unit on a trial track in Colorado. The unit was actually 100 in number 100 tonne freight cars being pulled by 3 of the really large locos that the US is well known for. It was really like a grown up train set, running on a huge circular track in the middle of nowhere near Pueblo. It runs the train in one direction one night and then the opposite direction the next night. Always at night when the tracks are cooler to prevent damage with such a heavy train, but they still break the rails at least once a night.
It was a very interesting project and I had several more visits there to survey the train and fit the equipment. On the initial visit we had to have health and safety brief. This was as follows:- “Watch out for rattlesnakes. Don’t poke your hands in any holes that they may be in and by the way, the TYPHOON shelter is over there!!” What the hell have I got myself into this time?
As it happened, I had a total of four trips to the USA in my first year alone. Apart from Colorado, I also went to New York, New Jersey and Boston.