Mayuri Manraj: ‘Endless possibilities’ of rail part of the appeal

The Deer Park to West Werribee railway line on the western fringes of Melbourne was constructed from 2012-2015 to ensure the growing urban areas of outer Melbourne had access to high quality rail infrastructure.

The rail line sought to provide vital connections to the CBD to fuel the growth and development of the area.

It also turned out to be the project that first fuelled the development of project manager Mayuri Manraj’s career in rail.

“I started out as a graduate at Aurecon at a time where the Melbourne office had just won the Regional Rail Link Package E [for Deer Park to West Werribee],” she says.

“I became a support to the project manager on that project. Ever since, I have stuck to the very interesting, multi-disciplinary and complex projects in rail.”

It is career decision that has set her on a busy and challenging path – and one that is reaping rewards.

With a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) already under her belt, Mayuri is currently completing her Master in Business Administration after winning the prestigious UN Woman Australia MBA scholarship from the University Sydney Business School and UN Women Australia.

Its worthy recognition of a diverse career as a project manager and design manager on key rail projects across Victoria and New South Wales.

Mayuri credits her success to date from the client-driven focus of her role in consulting, and the opportunity to move from project controls on major rail projects such as the Melbourne Metro Rail to a design management role on the Newcastle Light Rail Project.

The scale of the task on the Melbourne Metro Rail project was significant, with Mayuri managing timesheets and invoices for three joint venture partners and 18 subconsultants, while also managing subconsultant contracts.

Her work on the project led to an appointment on the Newcastle Light Rail Project in 2016, where she was charged with managing cost controls and coordinating design management activities to ensure its successful completion two years later.

Now in Sydney, she says both the challenge and appeal of working in rail comes with the coalescence of many different disciplines on one project, from architecture, civil and structural engineering, to geotechnical engineering and construction.

"I really like the fact that rail is about so many disciplines coming together in this one geographical location."

“Each one has a different perspective on the project, yet we are able to all come together to provide the very best experience for end users who depend on our infrastructure to get to places to lead their lives.”

She sees her work as one of connecting the many elements of the project to make sure all those areas of expertise are working in harmony together.

“My role is to ensure that the client’s expectations and messaging is communicated effectively and practically to the design team,” she says.

“I also coordinate design activities across up to 10 different disciplines and manage any interfaces with external parties and subconsultants.”

Playing this coordinating role at the project level has highlighted the “endless possibilities” for people working in the rail industry and Mayuri urges those beginning their career to look for opportunities to make the most of their strengths.

But despite the opportunities, she believes there is still more work to do.

“The rail industry still needs more diversity in its members,” she says.

“It is often viewed as an old, heavily male dominated industry. While the landscape is changing, it is still at a pace that is too slow.

“We need to use diversity of thought as a strength to innovate sustainable solutions for the future to address our complex issues around mass mobility.”