A day in the life with: Bruno Da Silva – Deputy Integration Manager at Rail Systems Alliance

Who are you and what is your role, and what is the project you are working on?

I am Bruno DA SILVA, RSA’s deputy integration manager. My role consists in ensuring that the overall RSA System is technically sound and delivers the adequate level of functionalities to the end users.

How long have you been with RSA?

I started my journey with RSA in April 2019.

What does a typical day working at RSA look like for you?

I would say that there is nothing like a typical day at the RSA. Working a project of this scale you can expect new challenges and ideas every day. One constant would be the amount of interactions I have with either internal or external stakeholders: in short, meetings every day. Being part of the integration team, I sit at the crossroads of different disciplines and it therefore expected that I would need to liaise a lot with different people. While one facet of my role is to ensure that the teams progress in the same direction, I also support the project by providing technical expertise or driving process changes and implementation.

How have you seen young people uniquely contribute to the RSA project?

It is quite amazing to see how the RSA provides opportunities for the younger people eager to join the transport industry. You can see these young people embracing the challenge and giving their best every day. In my opinion, they bring two fundamentals things that are required for the project to succeed: enthusiasm and innovation.

How did you get started in Transport?

I started my career in transport as an intern in the French National Railway. While studying my engineering degree I was lucky to be offered an opportunity to work on a very high-speed train specially equipped for real time railway inspections. The project was named IRIS320. This was an amazing R&D project that delivered a train able to monitor all critical railway infrastructures ranging from track, overhead to radio systems at a speed of 320kph. [Read more on the IRIS320 here]

I used trains for my daily commute but never imagined how complex it was to run a railway. This was an eye opener! From there I managed to move to mass transit signalling systems and participated in a brownfield CBTC deployment for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Testing CBTC at Beijing International Airport

Looking back what advice do you have for graduates or early career professionals getting started in their career?

Looking back, I believe that what truly made a difference for me was thinking about the “WHY”. At the start of your career, you soon realise that there is a gap in between what you learned during your studies and what a job entails. You’ll be guided by the people around you and you will learn more about technologies, policies, processes … In all these cases the most important thing to learn is why these systems exists. Understanding the rationale help you adapt, innovate, or assess currency. In transport systems, understanding the why also helps you understand risk.

Finally, what do you do outside of work to relax?

Outside work, I practice Aikido to quiet the mind and exercise both the body and spirit. I started the practice as you would approach exercising at the gym to get a sweat and relax after a day at work. On the journey I discovered that martial arts offer much more than that. It is a path to self-discovery, resilience, awareness … There is something for anyone willing to start the journey. For anyone still thinking about whether they want to practice martial arts I would highly recommend Aikido. Also named the “art of harmony”, Aikido focuses on self-defence while protecting your attacker from injury. This makes an ideal art for anyone willing to make the first step.

Bruno practicing Aikido
Bruno practicing Aikido

See the below video featuring Bruno discussing testing of CBTC by Rail Systems Alliance for the Metro Tunnel Project.