Louis-Philippe Delorme is Canadian and works at Mobility's subsidiary in Lausanne, Switzerland. As a project leader in the railway sector, he talks to us about overhead lines, interculturalism, and MaaS*.
Tell us about your university studies and career path to date.
I was educated in Quebec, and went to university at the École Polytechnique de Montréal. I chose to specialise in railway engineering and I completed my last year of study at ICAM in Lille. I have a degree in mechanical engineering and a Master's in railway engineering.
Following my year in Lille, I decided to stay in France. For three years, I was an overhead lines project leader at Colas Rail in Lyon, working on the Lyon tramway and trolleybus projects, as well as the Angers and Tours tramways.
I then joined Swiss Federal Railways. For seven years, I worked primarily on the CEVA project, a 14 km underground tunnel from Geneva to Annemasse.
I subsequently joined Mobility in November 2018 to develop its railway activities in Switzerland.
I came to Europe for my studies, and then I never left! And, in the meantime, I met my wife and we have had two children.
What does your job entail?
I was hired to develop railway business for the Swiss subsidiary. That means canvassing for new customers and partners, as well as identifying barriers to development (e.g. administrative, cultural) and finding solutions.
The technology used for overhead lines, locomotives and trains in Switzerland is different from that used in France. We therefore have a learning curve ahead of us. For instance, we have sent our assembly supervisor for training at Swiss Federal Railways.
I enjoy the diversity and complexity of my role, and the challenges to be overcome.
You are from Quebec and are working in Switzerland for the subsidiary of a French company. It would be fair to say that interculturalism is a major factor in your professional life! What are your impressions?
I have found that there are greater similarities between Switzerland and Quebec than between France and Quebec. France is a country with Latin roots, whereas Switzerland, with its Germanic roots, is closer to the anglophone culture. For instance, in Switzerland, it may take a while to reach a decision, but much careful thought will be put into it!
We will develop a Swiss culture over the course of our projects and achievements, as our business develops.
What stands out about Switzerland in terms of transport?
In general, using public transport is a major part of popular culture. And the trains, in particular, are reliable.
To go to work, I take a boat, a train, a bus, and then a self-service bicycle, using my MaaS* subscription. And I save time compared with commuting by car!
I think that in terms of multimodal transport, France is 20 years behind Switzerland, and Quebec is 50 years behind! North America is still all about the car. This is one of the reasons that I have stayed in Europe: for the time being, there is a lot more work in the rail industry over here.
And what do you do when you’re not at work?
I am a sailing fanatic, and I take part in regattas on Lake Geneva in the summer. And in the winter, I go skiing in the mountains. I work in a great place!
* Mobility as a Service