Lassi Matikainen from Sweco receives esteemed lifetime achievement award of German railway signalling industry
Last month, Lassi Matikainen, Senior Technical Specialist at Sweco’s Infra & Rail department, received a significant lifetime achievement award at the annual Signal+Draht congress of the railway signalling industry of German-speaking counties. The congress was held in Fulda, Germany. The award was granted for the fifth time now, and Matikainen is its first Finnish recipient.
The jury’s statement focused on Matikainen’s significance for the development of the railway traffic control and safety device technology in Finland, as well as his pioneering work in other Nordic countries and elsewhere in Europe. Matikainen, who has been working with safety devices since 1974, was described as a great personality and a true expert whose competence is not just limited to safety device technology. He was praised for his first-class expertise of all railway technology, ranging from small details to large entities.
The congress, organised by the DVV Media Group specialising in professional publications for the railway industry, has been a key event for the industry for 21 years. The journal that the congress is named after has been published since 1906, and it has established itself as the leading professional publication on railway safety, signalling and ICT systems in Central Europe. This year, the congress focused on the increasing significance of cybersecurity for railways, among other topics.
Matikainen has worked for the same organisation throughout his career. During his extensive career, he has gained experience of installations, planning, inspections and approvals, system acquisitions, preparing specifications and business administration, among other things. He was a member of VR Track’s executive group for 16 years. Later, VR Track became a part of Sweco’s infrastructure operations when Sweco purchased the planning department of NRC Group.
The award was presented by Manuel Bosch, CEO of DVV Media Group, and August Zierl and Reinhold Hundt, editors-in-chief of Signal + Draht. Photo: Aki Härkönen / Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency
In his acceptance speech, Matikainen mentioned some of his career highlights, such as acting as the project manager for the installation of the first computerised SIMIS-C signal box in Jyväskylä, Finland, in 1991. Matikainen also emphasised the importance of extensive language skills, as well as the significance of railway transport and industry experts in mitigating climate change.
“We would like to congratulate Lassi for this well-deserved recognition and thank him for his significant contribution to our company’s infrastructure operations, and as such, to the entire railway system of Finland, and finally, to the safety of each passenger. Lassi is a prime example of the robust expertise we possess. Even though Lassi will now gradually move towards his well-earned retirement, he will surely continue sharing his knowledge in various networks to benefit future generations,” says Sweco Finland’s Business Area President, Markku Varis, delighted.
Matikainen is a well-known figure in the railway industry, since he has been an active member of the International Union of Railways UIC and Institution of Railway Signal Engineers IRSE, as well as a founder of the EULYNX cooperation project for European railway organisations.
Matikainen has also written a book on the use of safety device relays in signal boxes to complement the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s book series on railway safety devices. The book offers an in-depth theory of this topic, which has never been available in Finnish professional literature before. Matikainen has also been a member of the editing team for all books on safety devices published by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. He even sat on the editorial council of the Signal+Draht journal in 1995–2018.
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Issue 4/2021 of Rautatietekniikka magazine provides an overview of the award ceremony and a summary of Lassi’s diverse career.