RTSA acknowledges recent passing of Life Member John Dring (OAM)

The RTSA acknowledges the passing of RTSA Life Member John Dring (OAM) on January 25th 2021.

John Dring’s distinguished service to the Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA) extended for over twenty years, including:

  • Executive Secretary from 2006 to 2012
  • Chairman of the Awards Sub-Committee from 2003 to 2014
  • A member of the South Australian Chapter Committee from 1999 to 2013
  • Chairman of the Technical Committees for each of the year 2000 (Adelaide) and 2004 (Darwin) Conferences on Railway Engineering
  • RTSA Life Member from 2016

John’s dedication and many years of service to the RTSA was exemplary and he continued also to provide a valuable service to the rail industry in Australia during his retirement. In  this he was recognised with Life Memberships of both the RTSA and PWI and an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2020 For service to the rail transport industry.

John Dring pictured with RTSA Executive Chair Graham Holden accepting the Life Membership Award in 2016

John Dring pictured with RTSA Executive Chair Graham Holden accepting the Life Membership Award in 2016

John Dring and Ravi Ravitharan holding John's RTSA Life Membership award

John Dring pictured with past RTSA Executive Chair Ravi Ravitharan with John’s RTSA Life Membership Award in 2016

RTSA members share fond memories of their time spent with John:

“John was a real gentleman and with his wry sense of humour, he should have been the fifth Yorkshireman. His presentations of awards at CORE’s were always an absolute delight especially the time he fronted the MC, comedian Shane Bourne, and held his own. It made the night. John’s distinctive hat always made him stand out in the crowd and I fondly remember his comments and conversations on the SA Study Tour in 2002. They made the days go too quickly. He will be missed.” – John Watsford

“I very much valued his advice and guidance (as well as his, sometimes, rather severe scrutiny) during my term as Executive chair and then as his understudy on the Awards Sub-Committee. I will miss his insights and somewhat gruff but good-natured Yorkshire manner.” – Simon Wood

John was an absolute pillar of the RTSA and played a key role when we were setting up the NZ Chapter. John was also very supportive of CORE 2010 (among others). He will be very well remembered and sadly missed.” – Andrew Hunt

“John’s early contributions to the RTSA were many and included CORE 2000 held in Adelaide where he and his colleagues were commended “for all aspects of the conference and for the excellence to the technical programme.” I had the pleasure of working with John when he was Chairman of the Awards –Sub Committee from 2003 to 2014. During this time, with the approval of the RTSA Executive,  he broadened the number and scope of awards along with  ensuring  that each of the numerous nominations were given careful attention and then taking on the responsibility of conveying the results to the successful and other candidates for each awards. He shall be very much missed.” – Philip Laird

“Very sad news indeed. So many years of dedicated service, completely selfless, with so much wisdom.” – Martin Baggott

“Very sad indeed.  In life you meet many people but only a small proportion make a lasting impression.  For me, John was one of those.  Professional, personable, sage and yes quite direct when required. One thing I particularly remember is his introduction of Chris Cairns at CORE 2010 dinner.  His dead pan, self-deprecating humour was entertainment itself and if his career as a railwayman not succeeded, he would have made a very good after dinner speaker.” – John Gardiner

“John was a very positive and happy person who had a passion for railways.  From his early days in the Derby office of British Rail to his long career as Chief Engineer with MTR Hong Kong, where he utilised his engineering and project management prowess, he then carried these proven approaches and provided good humoured guidance and structure to the many volunteer roles he held in both the Permanent Way Institution (UK, Hong Kong and SA) and the RTSA. I found John to be truly supportive especially of younger members and an exemplary role model for us all and I will miss him greatly.” – Robert Schweiger

“I am deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing. I have known John for more than 30 years. He has been a great colleague, a mentor and a close collaborator on railway activities, especially during my RTSA national Chairmanship days during which John served as the national Secretary. He was a true gentleman and a very good friend. John’s passing is a huge loss to everyone and I will miss him.” – Ravi Ravitharan

“John was a great contributor to the RTSA, as a past Executive Chair and Chair of the SA Branch. He was the Returning Officer for our Annual Meeting in November 2020. I was glad to receive his wise counsel, and to have known him.” – Philip Campbell

“A huge loss to the rail fraternity, industry and indeed family and friends. John has been a long term contributor to the RTSA in very many roles and will be remembered for his legendary service. I particularly remember him for his keenness to help whenever we interacted with him or asked.” – Maneesh Gupta