2023 Simon Wood

Life Membership Award 2023


Simon has provided many years of service in the rail industry, since 1988, as a railway engineer in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.  His qualifications include: BE CEng (UK), Fellow of Engineering New Zealand (FEngNZ), MIET, and AMIRSE.  Simon Wood is currently self-employed (via Larswood Consulting).

His numerous contributions to the RTSA include:

  • Simon was selected to serve as Executive Chair of RTSA for the period 2010-2012.
  • Simon served as a Member of the Organising Committee for CORE 2010 in Wellington.
  • Simon is the longest serving committee member of the RTSA NZ Chapter, from its founding in 2008 up to
    2021, and served as the Chapter Chair from 2016-2019.
  • Simon was a member of the RTSA Awards Sub Committee from 2013-2021 and served as the Sub Committee Chair from 2014-2016.
  • Simon has also been involved with the CORE Advisory Panel (CAP) for a number of years.

Simon also put together the concept and worked collaboratively with other  Engineering New Zealand groups to deliver the Kaikoura Earthquake Transport Links Re-Building Forum, 2018, in Wellington.  This conference hosted by the Engineering New Zealand Wellington Branch, the Engineering New Zealand Transportation Group Central Region and the New Zealand Chapter of the RTSA focused on rebuilding the road and rail transportation links, after the November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake.*

Simon’s dedication and many years of service to the RTSA is exemplary and it is now highly appropriate that he receives the well deserved award of Life Membership of the Railway Technical Society of Australasia.

Simon Wood accepting his 2023 Life Membership Award in Melbourne, June 2023 at CORE2023 (also pictured Roy Unny, National Executive Chair of the RTSA and Nathan Loriente, Former RTSA Awards Sub-Committee Chair)
*AREMA’s 2019 Dr. William W. Hay Award for Excellence was awarded to KiwiRail for Rising to Meet the Challenge – Main North Line Earthquake Recovery Project in New Zealand – see this video for more information)


Simon Wood RTSA Life Membership Award Acceptance Speech  CORE 2023, Melbourne 21 June 2023 

Good Evening 

Thank you, Roy and the Executive Committee – the RTSA is a great organisation and I’m honoured that you have elected me as a Life Member.  I feel privileged to be joining this distinguished group of members who have contributed so much to the development of the RTSA over the past quarter of a century, and in particular to be the first Life Member from New Zealand. 

My journey with the RTSA began here in Melbourne at CORE 2006, so it’s great to be receiving this award at another Melbourne CORE- and what an excellent CORE it has been!  The RTSA’s aims of promoting excellence and professional development in the rail industry resonated with me, so I went back home enthused with the prospect of helping to set up a New Zealand chapter, which was established in 2008. 

Through my various RTSA roles on both sides of the Tasman in the 17 years since CORE 2006, I have been privileged to meet and work with many fine energetic and enthusiastic people from across the industry in both Australia and New Zealand- this is one of the great benefits of being part of the RTSA.  

Thank you to everyone that has helped me along the way- I’m not going to bore everyone tonight by attempting to mention even some of them (and risk upsetting those who I overlook!).   However it’s been great to catch up with many of you over the last few days. 

I will however ask you all to reflect for a minute about why you are at this dinner tonight? 

If you are here mainly as a corporate duty, thank you for taking the time to come along and I hope you have an enjoyable evening – the RTSA really appreciates the support it receives from the rail industry. Similarly if you are a regular CORE attendee, I hope that you get to relax and catch up with friends and colleagues – past and present. 

If however you are attending CORE for the first time or are new to the RTSA, as I was back in 2006, but like what you see, please join the RTSA and get involved.  

Your knowledge and professional networks will grow just by regularly attending presentations and other events, but in my experience the real benefits of personal growth and satisfaction come from greater levels of participation in the work of the RTSA.  

There are a wide range of activities where your contribution will count and where you can make your mark – from presenting at chapter meetings and helping to organising events through to sitting on Executive professional development and awards committees and much more. You may think that you can’t spare the time to get involved (it really helps to have a supportive partner- so thank you to my wife Tass!), but you will get back far more value than the effort you make. 

Thank you and see you in Auckland in 2025!