Wheels in motion – Murray Gate

Image of new pantograph collision detection system being trialled in Wellington, New Zealand

Murray Gate is Transdev Auckland’s Fleet Performance Manager. It’s a role he is incredibly passionate about, and one that presents ever-changing challenges.

Qualified in automotive  and rail engineering, and with experience in what he refers to as “all things with wheels,” he joined Transdev more than a decade ago.

He started by taking on the task of overseeing a fleet of Diesel Multiple-Unit trains (known as DMUs), then also began looking after the Electric MultipleUnit (EMU) fleet in 2013, after the new trains began to be introduced. The combined fleet now stands at 72 EMUs and 10 DMUs, which together service the 94.3 kilometres of the Auckland Metro Rail Network.

To overcome these challenges, and to stay at the forefront of the industry, Murray taps into  any local and global connections around the  Transdev world. For example, he does this both by participating in online forums with colleagues from Transdev Wellington, and by sitting on working groups set up in collaboration with Transdev Australia, where he says there are many  opportunities both to share and to learn from other Journey Makers’ engineering and environmental initiatives.

Murray says that although the shift from DMUs to EMUs gave  rise to new challenges, the complex technology and computer systems in the EMUs offers many new opportunities to innovate.

A key part of Murray’s role is to not only solve problems when they occur, but to use data to  predict and prevent issues that might arise, as well as to improve the operation of the fleet. Whether he is working with pantograph monitoring  systems to reduce the potential for arcing, or using GoPro cameras to investigate the potential to reduce wear, Murray’s ultimate goal is always to improve fleet comfort and  reliability, and to reduce the number of disruptions experienced by customers.

However, Murray’s work does not only include the trains. For instance, he is currently involved with the installation of Lidar and infrared cameras to further improve security and prevent graffiti around the network.

Reducing impact of the City’s rail operations on the environment is also a significant focus. The introduction of EMUs significantly reduced the  amount of diesel that was consumed by the provision of rail transport in the City, but Murray says that as an organisation, Transdev Auckland is not sitting still when it comes to the environment.

Murray Gate

He is currently working on several environmental initiatives, including a trial to  completely remove the use of chemical detergents when washing trains.

Although he enjoys his role at Transdev, Murray admits that his latest role – as a new  grandfather – is most certainly his current highlight. Outside of work, Murray also maintains a passion for fishing and cycling, having explored much of Aotearoa on cycling trips with friends. His two sons also picked up his love of cycling; his eldest, Aaron, is an Olympic medalist, and represented New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics.

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