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Farewell to Neil Oliver – CountryLink driver, Junee

Jul 8, 2012News

After 34 years working for the railways in NSW, loyal RTBU member Neil Oliver has resigned to take up a position as Locomotive Driver with Rio Tinto in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Neil started off his career in the rail industry as a cleaner more than three decades ago and progressed through various roles including driving heavy haul coal trains in the Hunter Valley region and the Newcastle to Sydney corridor, and driving freight and express passenger trains in the Albury district.

Later, Neil worked for the then new NRC (now Pacific National) rail operator based at Junee, and drove the super freighters and heavy steel trains from Junee to Sydney and Melbourne.  His role for the last few years before heading west was driving the XPT passenger train for CountryLink on the Sydney to Melbourne corridor.

While he’s excited about his move to the Pilbara, which will see him flying to WA from his home in Wagga Wagga for his shifts, and the challenges ahead, Neil said he’s going to miss the people he’s met on the NSW railways.

“The thing I’m going to miss most is the camaraderie of my fellow workmates,” Neil said. “It was really disappointing to have to say goodbye to my workmates, but I just knew it was time for a different challenge. You know when things are right – and the opportunities in the Pilbara are mind-boggling.

“I’ve made some great friends in NSW – I love the guys there and have really enjoyed my time. We’ve had some great times out there.”

Good friend and RTBU CountryLink Divisional Councillor, Tony McLaughlin, said that in addition to Neil’s commitment to the industry and friendship over the years, special mention must be made to his role within the CountryLink OH&S Committee where Neil served as Chair.

“Neil successfully turned the OH&S Committee into an effective body that was not afraid to represent issues, no matter how big or small, and pursue them with tenacity to ensure that outcomes were actually forced and achieved,” Tony said.

“His dedication, willingness to sacrifice his own off duty time, and work ethic towards maintaining a safe environment for his fellow employees in the workplace as well as the travelling public, will be greatly missed.

“In particular, his work with regard to the decaying standards of the main southern railway line between Sydney and Melbourne is most noteworthy and greatly appreciated.”

The RTBU wishes Neil the very best in the next phase of his career.

Neil just before his farewell journey, with an XPT train ST23 at Wagga Wagga station en route to Melbourne.


Neil being met by Tony McLaughlin, RTBU CountryLink Divisional Councillor, Rick Kinch, Junee RTBU local delegate, John Leonard and Neil Oliver before his farewell journey from Sydney.