RailDirector March 2021

Page 1

Better for Business March 2021

Exclusively for rail industry leaders

March 2021 Issue 7 railbusinessdaily.com

The inside track… Dr Sonia Zahiroddiny Leading on digital engineering Heather Waugh Being visible to accelerate change Robert Hutchings The forgettable rail replacement Helena Wojtczak First female British rail guard

Tricia Williams Northern’s Chief Operating Officer on driving forward change


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very warm welcome to the latest edition of RailDirector. Our latest offering comes fresh from the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget and shortly after the release of Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review interim report. Both indicate the huge role that rail has to play in the country’s recovery from coronavirus and the exciting opportunities ahead. The Budget included the £30 million contribution towards the Global Centre of Rail Excellence in Wales. While following Sir Peter’s report, the government has committed £20 million towards exploring several projects including improved rail connectivity between the north coast of Wales and England and enhancements of the West Coast Main Line. This is just a teaser really as to the headline news that awaits us in the coming months. Like many of you, I wait with bated breath for the release of the Integrated Rail Plan and last but by no means least the Williams Review. Each in their own right will transform the landscape of the rail industry. Things continue to progress really well at the Business Daily Group, including the purchase of new business premises in Wakefield which will become our HQ. Following its recent launch RBDStride has got off to a great start, with some strong candidates applying to the high-profile jobs we’ve been advertising. Earlier this month the UK rail industry marked International Women’s Day and it got me thinking about some of the incredible women I’ve worked with during my years in rail, as well as some of their fantastic stories which have featured in RailDirector. We have come a long way when it comes to diversity in the industry and in our latest magazine we feature someone who played a major role in

that change. It is over 40 years ago that Helena Wojtczak became the first female British Rail guard. I’m delighted she has shared her story and 16 years of research into the history of women working on the railways. Although we still have a long way to go, I feel there really is a strength of feeling for change and we have some incredible women working on the railways who are speaking up about their experiences, all of whom are inspiring the next generation. Among those is Dr Sonia Zahiroddiny, HS2’s Head of Digital Engineering. The way the industry has traditionally designed, constructed and managed infrastructure projects is being transformed with Dr Zahiroddiny leading the way. One year on from Northern being taken under new ownership, it is also interesting to feature Tricia Williams, the train operating company’s Chief Operating Officer. She talks both passionately and optimistically about its future, which is pleasing to read. Just three of several stories featuring in the magazine which I hope gives you the warm feeling of pride and confidence for an industry in safe hands. We have some amazing individuals working in the rail industry and here at RailDirector we have the lucky job of being able to share their stories. I hope you enjoy the magazine. Best wishes

Da vid

David McLoughlin Chief Executive Business Daily Group (incorporating: RBD Publications and railbusinessdaily.com)

We have come a long way when it comes to diversity in the industry When you have finished reading this issue of RailDirector, please pass it to colleagues to enjoy or put it in your reception area.

RailDirector magazine is part of the Business Daily Group of companies, which includes the hugely popular railbusinessdaily.com. We deliver more than 70 stories a week to +50,000 rail industry professionals who now subscribe to our 7am daily newsletter. Please subscribe and encourage your colleagues and team members to do the same. It’s free and it’s easy: www.railbusinessdaily.com. This is the very best way to keep abreast of what is happening on Britain’s railways. There is a digital copy of RailDirector on our website.

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March 2021 | 3


Taking on the day to day running at Northern


The train operating company’s new Chief Operating Officer Tricia Williams on driving forward change.

A force for good to grow the next generation of leaders


AECOM’s Shamit Gaiger and Southeastern Railway’s David Statham discuss Senior Women in or Formerly in rail and/or Transport (SWiFT).



Including Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review, Network Rail’s Centre of Excellence and £137 million investment in the Hope Valley line.

Leading from the front on digital engineering


HS2’s Dr Sonia Zahiroddiny on how technology will transform design, construction and management of infrastructure projects.

Getting smart, seamless rail travel tech in the hands of customers


President Champa Magesh hopes to be just the ticket for Trainline as it plans for the future.

Women’s Aid hopes the Rail to Refuge scheme will be extended into the new financial year to save even more lives.


Arriva Road Transport Services MD Robert Hutchings on creating a “forgettable” transition from train to rail replacement.

Linxon ready to power-up UK rail


Linxon Managing Director Hub EMEA, Stefan Reisacher, on the greater good that substations can supply.

In the business of delivering

Driving forward diversity for the railways


Scotland’s only female freight driver Heather Waugh on the importance of being visible to accelerate change.

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Digital railway key to value for money 44 Rail Supply Group’s new joint Champion for Digital Railway on what the future holds.

Launch of Project SPEED


Challenging rail industry to cut time and costs of rail upgrades.

Taking the biscuit


Meenesh Mistry on his journey from Network Rail’s Finance Manager to co-founder of health food business Wholey Moly.

A woman’s place – working on the railways

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Highlighting products and services that are set to transform the railways.

Telling the story of the Didcot Railway Centre through pictures 68 Volunteer photographer Frank Dumbleton has been named Unsung Hero in recognition of 60 years of service.

International news


Featuring Canberra light rail extension and Hitachi to accelerate rail digitalisation in Sweden.

Movers and shakers

SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail’s MD Neil Kirkby on trust, changing lives and forming new alliances.


A round-up of some of the new appointments in the rail industry.

Obituary Paying tribute to Margaret Hickish MBE.

2020 Queen’s Award Winners in Innovation for Dura Platform Robroyston Station

Unlocking the Power of Composites for the Rail Industry

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The expertise and ethos of Arcadis will drive change, as MD of Infrastructure UK, Mahmoud Alghita, explains.

Helena Wojtczak shares her journey on being the first female British Rail guard over 40 years ago.

Train operating companies help over 1,000 people escape domestic abuse 26

Changing passengers’ perception of rail replacement services

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Editor Dean Bruce editor@rbdpublications.com Writers Danny Longhorn Dave Windass Designer/Production Editor Chris Cassidy Print Manager Dan Clark Distribution Manager Nick Wright Advertising Team Christian Wiles – chris@rbdpublications.com Freddie Neal – freddie@rbdpublications.com Elliot Gates – elliot@rbdpublications.com Published by RBD Publications Ltd., Suite 37, Philpot House, Station Road, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 7HH. Printed by Stephens & George © 2021 All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents of this magazine in any manner whatsoever is prohibited without prior consent from the publisher. For subscription enquiries and to make sure you get your copy of RailDirector please ring 0800 046 7320 or email subscriptions@rbdpublications.com The views expressed in the articles reflect the author(s opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher and editor. The published material, adverts, editorials and all other content is published in good faith. Original cover image: Jonny Walton-Kaptur

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Tr a i n o p e r a t o r s

Taking on the day-to-day running at Northern New Chief Operating Officer Tricia Williams on driving forward change


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ricia Williams understands first-hand how important a reliable, high-quality rail service is and how rail has to be at the heart of the ‘levelling up’ agenda. It was the opportunity to play a part in that change to build back better that attracted the proud northerner to the rail industry to take on the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Northern last September. “I’m thrilled I made the move as I feel there is a real opportunity to be part of something that is at the heart of not just bouncing back from COVID, but also levelling up the North, which is a passion of mine,” she said. “It is also an exciting time to be part of the rail industry as it looks ahead to reform. There are changes underway and a chance to improve services for our customers and our people and that has got to be good thing.” As COO Tricia is responsible for the day to day running of Northern’s trains, with oversight of regional operations, engineering, control, performance and transformation plans. “We feel the pressure for improvement and if you ask everybody in Northern, they would acknowledge that pre-COVID we weren’t where we needed to be, but we’ve got huge ambitions to be better,” she said. “What I am pleased to say is that during COVID our performance has been really good – both safety performance and the performance that our customers see.

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Tr a i n o p e r a t o r s

“I have been incredibly impressed with the team. In normal situations I would have been lucky to see one timetable change in this time. I’ve already been part of three timetable changes and the agile way the team has managed that is something we want to build on in the future.” As well as the ongoing challenge of transporting key workers through the pandemic, the train operator has also managed to continue its transformation since it was transferred into public ownership last March. Transformation Among the projects includes the ongoing £100 million pound train transformation programme that has seen the refurbishment of more than 260 electric and diesel units. The final train entered the programme last month. Tricia said: “I think people will notice a difference and the hard work that has already gone on. We have invested heavily in train cleaning and I think that is the number one priority for people to feel safe and there is also the big refurbishment of our trains. “The trains that have been refurbished look very different with new outside livery, the seats have been changed, carpets newly fitted, lighting enhanced and the toilets refurbished. “We’ve got 100 new trains so people who haven’t been using the trains through COVID might get a pleasant surprise when they return to using them. “There has also been an investment in security and cleanliness as you just can’t underestimate how important it will be when people return to use our trains.” Tricia joined Northern on the back of a wealth of experience leading large, complex transport organisations like Manchester Airport Group (MAG). Prior to that was 20 years working at United Utilities where she was responsible for controlling activity across water, wastewater and electricity networks. “Rail has always fascinated me and I have had interaction with the industry, be it small, when I was at MAG because we had a station in the middle of the site and it was very much seen as the fourth terminal,” she said. “I felt that the time was right for me to make a move away from aviation and what was important for me was to find a role that had that sweet spot of people and customers and a role that has a positive impact in the North was really important. My experiences in utilities and aviation probably lend themselves to rail, so for me to take those experiences into a new industry that is absolutely about customers and people in the North just made perfect sense. 6 | March 2021

“One thing that has struck me about the industry has been the phrase ‘welcome to the family’. It is very unique from an industry point of view and everybody I have met has been amazingly welcoming and happy to share their knowledge and experience.”

Coming into the rail industry I am absolutely thrilled with the opportunities that there are for people Tricia was one of a series of new senior hires to lead the charge on improving the performance and overall service Northern delivers for customers. “We have introduced some organisational changes, which is one of the reasons my role was brought in,” she said. “There is a danger when there is a company in such a spotlight, that everybody focuses on the performance today.

“My role is to do that and to focus on making sure we have the right resources doing the right thing at the right time and that allows the rest of the executive to focus on the longer-term future which is really important.” Looking ahead Tricia said: “Looking to the longer-term future, I think rail needs to look to the transformation that happened in aviation around the role of technology to enable customers to self-serve. We need to be aware that people want to be more in charge of their own journeys. “It is hard to plan while we await the outcome of the Williams Review and with COVID, but we just need to plan against scenarios and as situations evolve and data becomes available to test those scenarios you become firmer about what is going to come about. “Despite some areas of uncertainty, when you talk about vision and strategy within a company ours is really about making sure we are here for our customers, community and our own people. That will stand true whatever the future holds.”


Tr a i n o p e r a t o r s

Tricia, who is also a member of the North West Business Leadership Team, is also passionate about increasing diversity, not just at Northern, but across the rail industry. “We have spent quite a bit of time working on our scorecards and we’ve also got targets around people as we are not as diverse as we want to be,” she said. “This is about attracting people from all different backgrounds, particularly BAME communities and women. I think the stories we tell and the people that speak up about rail have to represent a more modern rail industry. “How we represent ourselves in the media, on social media in particular, to be able to attract people who wouldn’t necessarily have seen rail as an industry for them is key.

“We’ve got a lot to do internally as well. We’ve just introduced blind recruitment – where we are taking off names and adapting anything in a CV before it goes to shortlisting that could give away someone’s background. “It is a small step, but a massive step really to just take away some of those things that could lead to unconscious bias. “There are things we also need to do collectively as an industry as well around how

A time for change Tricia said: “There is a perception that needs to change. Coming into the rail industry I am absolutely thrilled with the opportunities that there are for people. There is a vast array of superb careers here and we need to get those opportunities out there and promote ourselves in a way that is attractive.

we portray ourselves and make sure we have a culture that is as inclusive as possible. “I am positive as I see all of that happening already. From the early part of my career when I was in a very traditionally male utility setting, I think the modern approach talking about gender equality is so far away from when I started. It is brilliant really – it is great to be part of a modern way of talking about gender and diversity in general.”

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March 2021 | 7


A force for good to grow the next generation of leaders AECOM’s Shamit Gaiger and Southeastern Railway’s David Statham discuss SWiFT


wo years ago, Adeline Ginn MBE, Founder and Chair of Women in Rail, concerned about the alarmingly low number of women in senior roles in UK rail, called on a group of high-profile female friends and colleagues in the rail industry to help her create a new group. SWiFT, which stands for Senior Women in (or Formerly in) rail and/or Transport, has since gone on to become an integral part of Women in Rail, bringing senior male and female executives together to create a platform to support career progression and in time improve gender diversity at senior level. Shamit Gaiger, a Women in Rail trustee who was part of the initial steering group and is now part of SWiFT’s leadership team, said there were two purposes in mind: “The first was a supporting mechanism for senior women to talk through challenges they didn’t feel they could with other colleagues; and second a combined passion to add more females into the talent pipeline of future leaders of the rail industry. “The rationale is that the UK rail industry is one of the best in the world, but with the increasing gender imbalance we felt we could make the pipeline for the future leaders even better. It is important to stress that SWiFT is not about excluding men or even changing women, it’s about leveraging what women bring to the table; it’s about creating more diversity of thought and increasing the capabilities of our sector now and in the future.” Creating the next generation David Statham, Managing Director at the train operating company Southeastern, along with Shamit is a trustee of Women in Rail and a strong supporter of SWiFT. He said: “We know that diverse organisations perform better and I feel it is our job as senior leaders in the industry to create the next generation of leaders in the rail industry. “We want that talent pool for the next generation to be as diverse as possible. I had a 50/50 gender balance team up until a couple of years ago and then some of the brilliant women in my team left for bigger and better things. “I found getting a diverse talent pool to 8 | March 2021

replace those senior women in the industry was really hard, so my motivation for joining Women in Rail was to make sure that as senior leaders in the industry we were doing enough to create that diversity for the next generation.”

It took me 10 years to be taken seriously in the industry The purpose of SWiFT is to provide space and support for its executive members through a peer-to-peer network (the Teal Network) and to foster the development of high potential women in the industry and help them progress their career and transition to more senior roles (the Blue Network). “I think there are challenges and I have

definitely faced challenges myself,” said Shamit, who is heading the Advisory Practice at AECOM. “It took me 10 years to be taken seriously in the industry. Maybe it was because I have big hair, and an accent, but it was not easy. “I came from the finance sector and I worked in other engineering firms before moving into rail and I found it much harder to be accepted in the rail industry. This could have been because I wasn’t an engineer, but a strategist. However, once I proved my credentials I was being taken very seriously and I feel my work and views are valued. “I’ve really enjoyed my time in the industry and that is why I have stayed in the rail sector, but I think there are challenges for females. The SWiFT group is a safe group for both women and men to share some of those experiences to support each other and grow the talent we have in the rail industry to become great leaders. “I also truly believe that role models are key in gender diversity so it makes sense that we need to increase gender diversity in senior positions, so that we can encourage younger talent to follow suit. railbusinessdaily.com

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“Seeing is believing, and interestingly this works at multiple levels – women get inspired, parents and peers see the positive effect and of course men can also be good role models for women.” David added: “When it comes to the group’s targets, one has to be that we maintain the membership of SWiFT and the success we have seen so far – events have been oversubscribed. We have over 100 members so far, which is really impressive considering the senior population it is aimed at. “In terms of those wider metrics, it is about making sure that we’ve got an increased number of women progressing into senior level leadership roles. That is important as is the number of women applying for those roles. “We also need to look at retention rates and ensure that people who enter the industry want to stay within the industry. We’ve really got to go through that whole life cycle of employment if we want to be seen as a success. “That is really what diversity and inclusion is about – that when women join our brilliant industry, they feel involved, they feel included and they want to stay.” Gender balance SWiFT has recently launched a survey to about 1,000 senior leaders in UK rail to gather their views on what they perceive are the barriers to improving gender balance at senior level in the industry and support the progression of women to leadership roles. Shamit said: “We are trying to understand two things. Firstly, what are the challenges that senior leaders face in creating a gender balance in leadership teams; and secondly, looking at what types of issues senior leaders are facing that will merit discussion and learning together; for instance, a few topics that come to mind are making decisions in uncertainty and stabilising your business. The information gathered from the survey will be shared in a SWiFT report and help drive upcoming SWiFT and Women in Rail events and initiatives.”

10 | March 2021

It is the latest in several successful initiatives since the group was launched in April 2019 in front of over 120 rail industry leaders and with speeches from Keith Williams, who is leading a root and branch review into Britain’s railways, and Lilian Greenwood, who was Chair of the Transport Select Committee. David said: “Despite the challenges surrounding the pandemic, we’ve still managed to hold some really good events and as well as the survey to rail industry leaders, we are also doing research work with those involved in recruitment into senior roles. “We are talking to recruiters, those within the industry, to head hunters across the industry, to see how important diversity is when recruiting into these senior levels, what barriers there are to finding a diverse talent pool, and what we as Women in Rail can do to help grow that next generation of leaders to be as diverse as possible.

Diversity brings strength. Not only does it bring different perspectives, but diverse leadership teams are more likely to focus on innovation and increase productivity “We’ve got to make sure we don’t over specify some parts of the job. If you specify 20 years’ experience in the rail industry and certain operational qualifications you’ve got to be really sure that that is what is essentially required because if you’re not careful you’ll just end up with a shortlist of 10 people like me – which wouldn’t be a terrible thing for people like me, but wouldn’t exactly create the diverse and high performing teams we know organisations need. “It is also important to reach out to different groups when advertising for jobs. An example at

Southeastern was the recent Women with Drive campaign, with the idea of getting more women into driver roles. When we started looking at that five years ago just eight per cent of our applicants were female. We started promoting those driver vacancies to different recruitment boards and magazines with different pictures and adverts and role models when speaking to the media. This has helped to triple the number of female applicants.” Role models David added that as well as the specific initiatives, there are also the role models are important in playing a crucial part in speaking about their experiences and success stories in the industry. He said: “Role models are playing a big role, both in terms of attracting people into the industry in the first place, and then once people are in the industry, maybe at the start of their careers, giving them something to aim at.” Shamit added: “In my personal experience of leading businesses and teams, diversity brings strength. Not only does it bring different perspectives, but diverse leadership teams are more likely to focus on innovation and increase productivity. “Working in innovation for many years I have seen this in action. According to McKinsey (2020), companies that have more gender diversity are 21 per cent more likely to experience above-average profitability.” David concluded: “One good thing for us is that the Women in Rail network has helped find coaches and mentors for young women who are developing in their career and and is helping to enable them to map out their career path. “There is a very strong network of people across the industry who they can go and talk to for advice and support. It is a real positive force of good to try and help grow that next generation of leaders.” For more details about SWiFT, visit www.womeninrail.org, or email swift@womeninrail.org


We’re not just remembering our past achievements. We’re looking forward to the future, too. Celebrating International Women’s Day at GWR International Women’s Day is a global day that celebrates the past social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. But here at GWR, we believe it’s also about celebrating the potential achievements of women in the future, too. That’s why we’re creating a workplace that encourages every girl and woman who join us to do amazing things. And each year, we see more women join GWR within roles right across the business. In fact, working in rail isn’t just about trains and tracks. There are hundreds of rewarding roles covering a wide range of skills, from social media, to finance, quantity surveying, maintenance, asset management, and much more. The opportunities for women are vast, and at GWR there really are no barriers when it comes to showing the world what you’re capable of. So, let’s celebrate what we’ve achieved so far. But let’s not forget that as women, our best is still to come. Go to uk.firstgroupcareers.com/about/women-at-first to find out more.

Being a female engineer comes with its challenges, it’s not easy sitting in a lecture theatre the first day of university with 70 boys when you are the only girl. Or when you work on depots where you may be one of the very few women. However the industry and businesses are supportive and awareness is being raised. Gender makes no difference and my advice to young female engineers has always been to never second guess their capabilities.” Sutopa Paul, Engineering Contracts Manager

Visit www.gwr.com/careers now to find out more about opportunities at GWR.

F eeawtsu r e N

Network Rail launches Investment Centre of Excellence etwork Rail has established a new team to become a more efficient and dependable partner within the rail industry, and bring an increased focus on efficient delivery of major projects and investment. The launch of the Rail Investment Centre of Excellence will give the company a more seamless view of rail investment through to capital delivery, and provide confidence that benefits will be delivered for passengers and freight users more efficiently. This new structure also means the Open for Business programme will be able to transition to ‘business as usual’ one year ahead of schedule, having completed the milestones set out by the Hansford review.


new charter set up to transform the rail sector has been signed by more than 140 organisations involved with the rail industry. The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) charter was launched last November jointly by Women in Rail (WR) and the Railway Industry Association (RIA). The aim of the Charter is to help improve equality, diversity and inclusion within the rail workforce and to make sure everyone in the industry feels included and supported regardless of their background, personal circumstances or gender identity. Adeline Ginn MBE, Founder of Women in Rail, said: “The response from the industry has been outstanding which is an encouraging start for our sector’s renewed EDI journey. We now need to work together to drive positive change, create a more diverse workforce and foster an inclusive culture throughout all grades and roles within our sector.” 12 | March 2021

Several teams from Network Rail’s System Operator, Network Services and the Open for Business programme will move over to the Rail Investment Centre of Excellence. The Rail Investment Centre of Excellence will support all aspects of management throughout the

investment lifecycle and delivery of major projects, by working closely with Network Rail’s five devolved regional businesses, as well as supporting traditional operations, maintenance and renewals (OMR) activities. Stuart Calvert, Director, Rail Investment Centre of Excellence, said: “The Centre of Excellence will provide ongoing support to help our regional businesses deliver projects quicker, more efficiently and at lower cost. Fundamentally, an effective Centre of Excellence is a catalyst, supporting and accelerating continuous improvement of investment management in the regions by looking at new technology, innovation and smarter ways of working.”

Southampton freight upgrade completed


major upgrade to transport more freight by rail to and from Southampton is complete. Engineers finished a series of improvements on the lines used by freight trains between Southampton Central and Redbridge, unlocking more capacity at the country’s second busiest container port. Freight services between Southampton, the Midlands and the North can now carry up to 20 per cent more goods thanks to track, signals and sidings improvements. Trains once restricted to 520 metres in length can now be extended up to 775 metres in length, or 14 extra containers per train. Six 775-metre-long freight

Photo: Network Rail

140 rail businesses make pledge for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Photo: Network Rail


trains per day are now set to operate from the Freightliner Maritime Terminal in Redbridge and if each of those trains adds 14 containers, they will combine to move an extra 84 containers of goods per day. Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail

Minister, said: “The completion of this freight upgrade will not only lead to a greener and more costefficient way to transport freight from Southampton, but will also significantly boost the volume of goods transported to and from the Midlands.”

£137 million to improve Sheffield and Manchester link


ourneys are set to be transformed for northern passengers thanks to £137 million of Government investment that will deliver more capacity and improve connectivity between Sheffield and Manchester. The Hope Valley capacity scheme is designed to removed bottlenecks on the line by creating places for fast passenger services to overtake slower moving freight trains, allowing more trains to run and increasing the reliability of services. Network Rail is now finalising detailed designs that

will improve sections of the railway between Bamford station and Jaggers Lane Bridge in Hathersage, and around Dore & Totley station where a second platform will also be added. Work is expected to begin in 2022 and will be completed in 2023. Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “We are committed to levelling up infrastructure across the North, and these important upgrades will make a huge difference to passengers, providing the punctual, reliable services they deserve, as we build back better from COVID-19.” railbusinessdaily.com

I n sFue raat nu cr e

Advice for Railway Companies – monthly feature by Jobson James Rail – The Rail Broker

Motor Fleet insurance – what do I need to declare to my insurers?


n our previous article we gave advice about trackers and telematics. We explained that a good insurance broker will write a detailed risk presentation about your motor fleet risk management in order to obtain the best premium terms. The presentation should contain detailed information that the railway company uses to manage its fleet including the make, model, value, ownership and security of all their vehicles, along with a full list of drivers including dates of birth and convictions. Additional information will include frequency of driving license checks, use of telematics and trackers, typical annual mileage, maintenance responsibilities, vehicle condition reports, which vehicles are allocated to specific staff or which are pool vehicles, which staff manage the drivers, where the vehicles visit in relation to railway sites and how they are managed, risk management accreditations like FORS, drug and alcohol checks on drivers, use of dashcams, number and age of young drivers and other information as appropriate. Detonators carried in vehicles must be

John McNeill, NEBOSH Dip Cii disclosed to fleet insurers but they are deemed to fall outside of the definition of hazardous goods. It is important to consider that high value and high performance vehicles are likely to attract age restrictions and any drivers with serious motoring convictions such as DD, DR, CD convictions may not necessarily be insured and will need to be negotiated on a case by case basis. Fleet insurers think it’s a good feature for drivers to lose a bonus

or to contribute towards the policy excess if they have a fault accident. A good insurance broker will compile all of this information along with an analysis of the motor accident record over the past three years to create a good risk presentation which will be signed off by the policyholder, this will be used to negotiate the best terms from the insurance market. Motor premium rates are increasing because the cost of claims increases over time as a product of escalating legal costs along with the cost of care for accident victims who have been seriously injured. Better fleet policies will provide an annual rebate for a good claims experience, rewarding good driving standards. John McNeill, NEBOSH Dip Cii Client Director at Jobson James Rail 07867 459054

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WE INSURE • RRV and Plant Companies • S&T, S&C, SMTH, OLE and Civils contractors • Rolling Sock Turnkey Modifications companies • Manufacturers, Wholesalers and Installers of rail products • ROSCOs and TOCs supply chain • Rail Consultants, Surveyors and Engineering Companies WHY US? • Specialist Rail Knowledge • NEBOSH/Safety approach producing lower premiums • Contractual Liability checking • Better Technical advice • Specialist rail safety consultancy site audits funded by insurers

• It was identified that the factory buildings were underinsured due to the previous broker failing to advise on how to correctly calculate rebuilding costs. • Other gaps within the cover were identified and the need to make major improvements was explained. • Working with the client and reviewing safety documentation enabled us to make risk management suggestions. • Despite substantially increasing the cover to more thoroughly protect the business a 19% premium saving was still achieved with savings of nearly £10,000 a year.

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Offices in London and Birmingham. Nationwide coverage. Offices in London and Birmingham. Nationwide coverage. Jobson James Rail is a trading name of Aston Lark Limited. Jobson Jamesand Insurance Brokers authorised Authorised regulated by the Limited Financialare Conduct Authority. and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority


Image: Network Rail


March 2021 | 13

F eeawtsu r e N


he UK Government has released the interim report of Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review, which outlines a UK Strategic Transport Network. As a result, the government has made an immediate £20 million commitment to develop transport plans. In addition, Sir Peter suggests a source of funding worth £380 million a year, using money that will no longer be financing EU transport plans. In June 2020, Sir Peter Hendy CBE was tasked by the Prime Minister to explore ways in which transport can improve connections between all parts of the United Kingdom. In response to the interim report, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his vision to build back better from coronavirus by boosting transport connectivity across and between the whole of the UK, as part of ambitions to ‘level up’ across the country. The government will consult on cutting air passenger duty on internal UK flights and will commit £20 million to develop plans for upgraded rail, road, sea and air links, including: Improved connectivity between the north coast of Wales and England; Upgrading the A75 between Gretna, Dumfries and Stranraer, a key route for southwest Scotland and Northern Ireland but almost entirely single-carriageway; Significantly faster rail links from England to Scotland, including looking at options to enhance the West Coast main line; Rail improvements in southeast Wales, building on ideas from the Welsh Government’s Burns Commission. Sir Peter Hendy said: “Devolution has been good for transport, but it has also led to a lack of attention to connectivity between the four nations, due to competing priorities and complex funding.” 14 | March 2021

Railway staff trained to understand passengers with disabilities’ needs T

ens of thousands of railway staff are being trained to communicate effectively with passengers with disabilities to understand the challenges they may face when travelling and to refresh their knowledge and skills to provide any assistance needed. By the end of 2021, almost 30,000 passenger-facing staff will have undertaken disability awareness and equality training as part of requirements set out in the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) Accessible Travel Policy (ATP) Guidance. The rail regulator welcomed this progress made by all 24 train and station operators in its review of ATP commitments. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, most operators are broadly on track to meet their

commitments by the end of July. Great Western Railway has already met its commitments, having trained all of its 4,600 frontline staff. ORR’s monitoring of the roll-out has also seen 13 train and station operators develop brand new courses to be used in staff inductions and for refresher training. Stephanie Tobyn, Deputy

Director, Consumers at ORR, said: “ORR wants all passengers to be able to travel safely with confidence and with ease. Introducing obligations on train and station operators to provide up-to-date, regular disability awareness and equality training to their staff is part of our broad package of measures to improve the experience of passengers.”

DB Cargo UK and Tata Steel collaborate on decarbonisation T

ata Steel and DB Cargo UK have successfully trialled the use of 100 per cent renewable Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in a Class 60 locomotive transporting product from Wales to the West Midlands. The ‘c a r b o n-b u s t i n g’ locomotive carrying some 2,500 tonnes of steel coil was the first Class 60 powered purely by the environmentally friendly fuel to travel on the mainline UK rail network. The train ran from Tata Steel’s steel works in Margam, Port Talbot, to its terminal in Round Oak in Brierley Hill in the West Midlands. HVO is marketed as ‘one of the world’s purest and greenest

Photo: DB Cargo

Government makes £20 million commitment to transport plans

fuels’. The fossil-free, FAME-free fuel is synthetically made through the hydro-treatment process from vegetable oils or animal fats, which can reduce harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by as much as 90 per cent. Gareth Lewis, Logistics Operations Manager at Tata Steel, said: “The success of this trial

is recognition of our goal for zero CO2 logistics. Our close working relationship with DB Cargo UK has been instrumental in achieving this important milestone. “We continue to work with all our external stakeholders to look for opportunities which further reduce Tata Steel’s environmental impact in all aspects of our logistical operations.” railbusinessdaily.com

SFteaat it ounr es

Developing a first-class passenger experience Creating an inviting safe space to drive retail, improve the passenger journey and become the hub of the community


reen Furniture Concept is transforming UK railway stations by designing comfortable furniture and spaces that are driving passenger satisfaction, and at the same time increasing retail spend. The comfortable and modern seating has been rolled out at London Victoria and London Bridge stations, a move that saw passenger satisfaction go from 30 per cent to an incredible 80 per cent. Adele Kamel, Head of Global Marketing at Green Furniture, said: “We work with our stations to create a place from somewhere you can’t wait to go through to somewhere you never want to leave. “Our aim is simple, to create modular seating solutions for public interiors that always deliver a memorable experience with a positive impact for the visitor, the world, and everyone in between. “This is done whilst being a sustainable forerunner. We let our core values of design, functionality and user value lead the way – setting the standard for visitor satisfaction and environmental care.” Furniture of choice Beyond passenger satisfaction, Green Furniture Concept’s work is also proving a big hit for retailers at some major transport hubs in the UK and beyond. This includes Edinburgh Airport where the company installed 1,300 seats. It led to retail and food and beverage takings increase by 13 per cent. Adele said: “If people are wanting to spend more time in stations, they are more likely to spend more time shopping in stations and seeing what is on offer – the retail effect.

“When lockdown has finished, we have a role to play to make transport hubs a community meeting place and people’s go-to location to do their shopping.” The in-house design team create places of comfort, style and convenience – including the finer details such as tables and USB charging points – that feature in transport hubs all over the world. Acclaimed designer Johan Berhin said: “We have been delighted by the response from passengers of our seating installations and the impact they are having on transport hubs. “You can find our furniture all over the world, in airports, shopping malls, schools and healthcare facilities, and we have a system that

can be tailored to provide unique solutions for each location. “One thing that always remains the same is that sustainability is the heart and soul of what we do and in addition our seats can be easily maintained.” Safe, maintainable space The station furniture comes with outstanding green credentials. At Liverpool Street the wooden seats themselves are oak and beech from 100 per cent FSC certified sources, the legs are 85 per cent recycled steel and the feet are made from recycled ocean plastic. In addition, the seats are treated with natural wax rather than synthetic varnishes, and they can be cleaned effectively with ordinary soap and water instead of chemical detergents. Adele said: “People shouldn’t underestimate the importance of that safe, attractive space in transport hubs. “As well as the passenger satisfaction lift, it is also proven to increase retail sales and the spaces we create are timeless and easily maintainable. “Added to that we pride ourselves on using natural and upcycled materials crafted in an ecologically sound way, providing stations a design and layout process. We are proving that sustainable products can also be functional, look beautiful and last longer.” Visit www.greenfc.com for more details



March 2021 | 15


Leading from the front HS2’s Head of Digital Engineering on how technology will transform design, construction and management of infrastructure projects


ue to the huge swathes of data and millions of documents involved, HS2 is too big and too complex an infrastructure project to be managed using traditional static and document-based ways of working. HS2 is utilising digital engineering, with Building Information Modelling (BIM) at its core, to both fulfil its obligations as a publicly procured project and to go beyond the government’s mandate to transform the way the industry has traditionally designed, constructed and managed infrastructure projects. During design and construction, HS2 is using data and cutting-edge technologies to develop a ‘Virtual Railway’ comprising visualisations of project information and ‘digital twins’ of railway assets. All of this helps HS2 to interrogate information, test assumptions and validate decision-making with stakeholders. Heading up a multi-disciplinary team is Dr Sonia Zahiroddiny, HS2’s Head of Digital Engineering. HS2 is the first rail infrastructure project to adopt BIM from its inception but will clearly not be the last. Sonia is in no doubt about the benefits of digital engineering and embraces the challenge faced in transforming the manner in which mega-projects are delivered, which, she told RailDirector, requires a shift in mindset across the industry. She said that HS2’s first Technical Director, Professor Andrew McNaughton, was the first to say that: “Digital engineering and BIM are the lifeblood of HS2, enabling us to

test, verify and simulate the design and build first and compute vast amounts of data. As Europe’s largest high speed rail infrastructure

project and one of the most environmentally responsible infrastructure projects we need to lead from the front.


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16 | March 2021


Photo: HS2


HS2 Euston station CGI entrance

“This is doing what’s right for the industry in order to push the industry in the right direction. First and foremost we have a major project to deliver but we also want to leave a legacy that the digital engineering team, HS2 and the industry are proud of.” Digital engineering is used to collate and manage all of HS2’s engineering and technical data, spanning four key domains; asset data held in a central asset register, using GIS to manage geographic data and represent asset footprints, using CAD technology to manage the geometric representations (3D models) of assets, while pulling together all related documentation. All of which enables the collaborative and efficient sharing, integration and visualisation of engineering and asset data. In addition, HS2’s environmental colleagues are supported by the analysis of environmentally sensitive features along HS2’s routes, its

stakeholder engagement team supported with story maps to communicate design refinements; traffic, logistics and construction teams supported with traffic route maps and analysis, while those involved with land and property are provided with land parcels and property boundaries via digital mapping tools. Exciting challenge This highly efficient, boundary-pushing approach looks set to ensure that HS2, which clearly faces public scrutiny like no other project, will deliver value for money. Sonia explained: “Back in 2014 we were set an efficiency challenge to demonstrate the cost savings of the application of BIM. Since then we have gone through an extensive benefits mapping exercise, based on assessing case studies, literature and other industry-led initiatives, to understand the economic benefits that can be unlocked through the use of BIM.

We have defined a capability model of all the elements needed to be introduced to deliver our objectives and unlock their value, supported by a benefits realisation framework that maps the intended benefits to HS2’s overall objectives. “HS2 digital engineering isn’t going to deliver its objectives on its own. Our supply chain plays an important role in delivering real changes and so we work together to ensure we are collectively delivering capabilities in the right areas. “We have provided reporting templates and guidance to help ensure all possible benefits have been captured. Where it’s difficult to quantify benefits we use storytelling to draw out the metrics and help explore and leverage lessons learnt. We’re committed, as part of our digital engineering strategy, to support the improvement of our supply chain’s capabilities. In return, our expectation for contractors is that they sign up to our digital engineering strategy so that we can all push on with the digital agenda.”



March 2021 | 17

Photo: HS2


HS2 Interchange station

A freely accessible upskilling platform that provides educational materials, e-learning content, HS2-specific and more general digital engineering resources has been established to support our supply chain contractors. Sonia and her team are also working closely with the UK BIM Framework, the UK BIM Alliance, the National digital twin Programme and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB, a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge) to progressively move towards the building blocks and principles of the successful application of a Digital Twin, which can then be drawn on by the entire rail industry for future infrastructure projects. Sonia added: “We’ve been proactive in working closely with professional institutions and engaging with industry groups to make sure that HS2’s success can shape and drive forward digital engineering practices. It is important that the industry has clarity around what digital engineering means for working practices and how it can be implemented in a practical sense. “We’re also learning lessons from other sectors who’ve gone through this process previously, to ensure the supply chain can use the best and most appropriate tools for the job. “We’re not mandating any specific software applications, we’re promoting principles of open data and open standards to make sure we can enable interoperability to future-proof the project.” Technological breakthroughs An internal capability of HS2’s digital engineering is its Visualisation Hub, an integrated, web-based information portal 18 | March 2021

that provides a single window into HS2’s engineering data. Multiple views of the design and construction of HS2 are provided, removing some of the complexities around governing, accessing and analysing this hugely complex mound of information. Still evolving, the integration of sensor technology will see data being pulled in to the Visualisation Hub in real time, providing a holistic view of HS2 in its entirety. In the future, and of big personal interest to Sonia, is how the application of machine learning/AI coupled with analytics technology and real-time data streaming will come together and be applied for the benefit of the rail industry.

The successful application of digital engineering is very much about a shift in mindset Sonia added: “Technology is crucial to projects of this scale, we all know that, but people underestimate the complexities and the challenges that come with transformations of this nature. “The successful application of digital engineering is very much about a shift in mindset and also requires truly engaging with people to understand their motives and to share with them the many benefits that come from this.

“How do we take people who may not have an interest in data science, who may not be remotely interested in what any of this means, along this journey? “It is hugely challenging due to the multistandard nature of the sector along with multiple disciplines with differing requirements and perspectives. “We’re tackling that common data definition challenge by facilitating knowledge sharing across rail operators and working with the National Digital Twin Programme (NDTP), CDBB and the likes of the UK BIM Alliance to establish some common ground and shared frames of reference.” Pushing the envelope Sonia added: “We’ve had to push beyond the boundaries of BIM and look at integrating BIM and GIS to enable the development of HS2’s digital twin long-term. “Digital engineering will become the norm so, in a sense, we’re holding the hands of our contractors right now. It’s an exciting but very demanding challenge as all eyes are on us – but there’s definitely an appetite for us to be seen to be leading the way. “That’s why we have invested heavily in our strategy, benefits realisation framework and upskilling. This is a transformation and an evolution of ways of working, so it does require a complete shift in mindset and, through all of that, we will demonstrate the tangible benefits. Nothing of this scale and complexity exists so we will provide the benchmark for the other major infrastructure projects that follow HS2.” railbusinessdaily.com

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revolutionised the way we measure, model and maintain the railway, adding immense value to our clients in the process.

What can our GEDO team do?

3 Generate incredibly-detailed point clouds

3 Carry out structure clearance surveys

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3 Compare as-builts to the design in real time

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3 Carry out data preparation for machine control

3 Produce relative track reports

3 Create speed raiser reports for track handback

Why use the GEDO?

3 Track position, cant and gauge captured in a single operation

3 Massively increased productivity and reduced disruption on site

3 Rapid setup and a dramatically improved data capture rate

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3 Vast quantities of data for inspection, extraction & modelling

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F eaas ts ue rneg e r e x p e r i e n c e P

Using technology and innovation to enhance the customer experience Accelerating ahead in the development of new/hybrid technologies on existing rolling stock and infrastructure


rain presentation and station cleaning are two often overlooked elements within the rail industry. They are not seen as areas where innovation, technology or change can play an important part. This really should not be the case. Some of the more progressive TOCs have been working to develop new solutions to drive improved customer experience and lower costs. Train and station appearance are directly linked to National Rail Passenger Surveys (NRPS). They are also two key elements that influence the customer experience. It is key to ensure that every pound spent delivers the maximum possible benefit to that customer experience. Post-lockdown, people will start to return to work. It is anticipated that there will be a significant reduction in the number of people undertaking a daily commute with the uptake of remote working. This will change the way the rail network is used with travel likely to be spread across times of day with less emphasis on peak travel. Customers will also have choices on mode of travel as there will be more flexibility to when and how they choose to travel. Providing a safe, clean and pleasant 20 | March 2021

environment will be critical to bringing passengers back to the rail network. The railway is expected to be a clean and safe environment, even more so with confidence knocked by repeated lockdowns throughout the pandemic.

‘The perception that the stations and trains are clean is hugely important in encouraging rail passengers back onto the service’ Digitising the processes that underpin both of these activities is critical to ensure efficacy and compliance to standards. The perception that the stations and trains are clean is hugely important in encouraging rail passengers back onto the service and should not be overlooked. Digitising these areas allows for reporting on frequency and effectiveness of cleans along with any further sanitisation efforts that are being undertaken. The incorporation of IOT technology can bring new levels of efficiency and intelligence to these operations. It also Advertorial

allows for further enhancement and greater return on investment. Some of the benefits of digitisation are: Customer Experience Clearly demonstrate to passengers a clean and safe environment. Drives improved standards. Duty of care Demonstrate to staff the workplace is clean and safe. S afety and shift briefings can be delivered remotely. Automatic confirmation of attendance. Training can be quickly deployed digitally. S upport staff with compliance to processes that protect their safety. Standard operating procedures available on handheld device e.g. sharps process. S tandard operating procedures and COSHH data available to staff at all times. Lone worker protection. Financial benefits Consistency and standardisation to optimise performance across rolling stock. railbusinessdaily.com

P a s s e n g e r e x pFeer ai et nu cr e

A typical deployment takes just 30 days and follows our standard implementation plan: Plan Stage Step 1: Understand the current workflow(s) Map out the whole process from start to finish, every activity and touchpoint. Every workflow should start with a clear understanding of your current process. Identify your ‘current state’ of deployment, then map out your process from start to finish. Make sure every touchpoint is recorded. Step 2: Identify possible opportunities Review each step and every interaction – identify where is digitisation most beneficial Go through each touchpoint and look for optimisation opportunities. Which steps are easily digitised? Where would real-time data transfer be beneficial? What opportunities do you have for automation? What’s your ‘ideal state’ for the future? Step 3: Map the (new) process Integrate digitised workflows, optimised for accurate data capture – does it work in aggregate? With your potential opportunities, draw out what your new workflow would look like in detail. Do your proposed adjustments work in the overall workflow, or do they introduce new issues or complexities?

Step 6: Automation Configure your data-driven logic and actions, ensure there’s a buffer for ‘irregular’ scenarios Configure your automation, setting up your triggers and associated actions. This can be coded from scratch or you can use an automation platform. Make sure your data sources are adequate and that the system is capable of handling scenarios outside the standard specification. Step 7: Testing Allow sufficient time to train, and test with, early adoption ‘Champions’ in a closed environment Thoroughly test the system before deployment so there is minimal disruption to your business. We recommend a gradual rollout, so any issues are easily resolved. Ensure that all carefully selected ‘Champion’ staff involved in the test have full training provision.

Deploy Stage

Build Stage

Step 8: Fine tuning Use feedback from early adopters and learn from initial failures – “Listen, adapt, validate, standardise” Using the test results, evaluate the process and review for further simplification and automation opportunities. This will likely be done iteratively during the lifetime of the solution.

Step 4: Prioritise work stack Starting with urgent, low-hanging fruit, or high-impact tasks or functions. Identify your low-hanging fruit. What changes will deliver the biggest advantages with minimal disruption? From there, choose which steps to prioritise for maximum effectiveness and immediate return on investment (ROI).

Step 9: Go live Use the support of Champions, as well as comprehensive training schemes, to launch smoothly Prior to the full launch, explain every aspect of the new workflow to your employees, with training and support to ensure maximum efficiency and a smooth deployment.

Step 5: Documentation Fully document and share the implementation schedule, including transition considerations Each part of the process should be fully documented, with a detailed analysis for each step showing its relative importance in the workflow. Take into account any potential for deviation; what happens when things go wrong? Do you have the required infrastructure? What training will be needed?

Step 10: Continuous improvement A well-designed system will flex to incorporate new processes or integrations to other technologies Once the system is launched, it is important to continually review the workflow. As the process changes and new technology becomes available, evaluate how you can further improve your processes and future-proof them.

bility to compare teams operating at A different locations.

eolocation and time stamps for completed G jobs.

hanges in regime or technique can be quickly C assessed for positive or negative impact.

Divert resource to where it is most needed.

I OT can be deployed to measure footfall and occupancy to help determine cleaning frequency. F ollow-up jobs for the engineering team can be raised digitally, including photos, without an onerous paper trail. bility to easily check audit history and ensure A compliance to standards. anage contractor performance including M tracking of SLAs and SLCs. railbusinessdaily.com

ggregate data into a single platform from A multiple sources. A holistic view allows management to make faster and better decisions. Return on investment on digitisation is significant. It helps keep staff motivated and engaged. Every scheduled job is clear and concise with a step-by-step process to follow, ensuring full compliance and auditability. It enables allocation of funds and resources to the most critical areas and allows intelligent Advertorial

decisions to be made around deployment. Access to timely information ensures that customer experience is not adversely impacted. Graphite Partners is leading the way in digitising the railways and is committed to helping give people the confidence to use public transport and reduce their CO2 footprint. For more information, contact: Brendan.hyden@graphite-partners.com 07900 926103 www.graphite-partners.com

March 2021 | 21


Supporting train operators in getting smart, seamless rail travel tech in the hands of customers

Photo: Trainline

New President Champa Magesh hopes to be just the ticket for Trainline as it plans for the future


rainline is on an exciting journey to strengthen its position as a leading aggregator of global rail content and a key tech platform for the rail industry. It is a commitment which hasn’t slowed down, despite passenger numbers being decimated

by the coronavirus pandemic, with Champa Magesh appointed to lead the business forward in the newly created role of President. “I’m delighted to be joining Trainline, a company that’s committed to championing greener travel by putting rail at the heart of

RIBA Chartered Architects to the UK Rail Industry Supporting Network Rail, TOCs, PTEs, engineering disciplines and delivery contractors +44 (0)161 8325750

22 | March 2021

more journeys,” she said. “I’m joining at a time of great opportunity; being at the helm of a scaling B2B business that is not only the leading aggregator of global rail content but also a key provider of cutting-edge tech to the rail industry is exciting.”

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Magesh is responsible for two key areas: Business travel, which provides and supports rail booking solutions for thousands of corporate partners and global travel management companies. White label business, which leverages proprietary technology to provide rail companies with bespoke online platforms and mobile ticket solutions. She said: “As soon as customers can travel again, we expect to see demand for trains return and we’re here to work with our rail partners to make sure customers feel safe to come back as quickly as possible. “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in train travellers opting for digital tickets, as they offer a touch-free, safer experience, and we expect to see this trend continue throughout recovery. “We’re working with the train operating companies to make sure digital tickets continue to be rolled out nationally, as quickly as possible, as well as looking at ways to make the experience even more friction-free as people adopt new travel habits, once COVID restrictions reduce. “Trainline for Business builds, supports and manages white label desktop and mobile sales platforms for rail carriers to give them access to our industry-leading technology. “By giving access to our proprietary technology, we’re providing a simple way for train operating companies to get innovative features and a frictionless ticketing experience in the hands of their customers, at the same time as getting a cost-to-serve advantage compared to developing their own ticket sales solutions.” Working with partners Magesh joined Trainline from Amadeus earlier this year, where she held the global role of

Executive Vice President of Retail in Travel Channels and Managing Director EMEA. She will initially focus on continuing to grow the company’s global API content, whilst also focusing on working with partners to champion more use of rail. “My past experience in travel technology and B2B provides a great foundation for appreciating the needs of our partners and customers,” she said. “Our global API enables train operating companies looking to provide their customers with international rail content, as well as Travel Management Companies, Online Booking Tools and Online Travel Agents. “With just one simple, seamless connection, our global API provides access to rail content from over 270 rail and coach carriers across 45 countries.

We’re working with the train operating companies to make sure digital tickets continue to be rolled out nationally, as quickly as possible “We’ve focused on adding even more content to the global API in the coming months, as we continue to play our role as the leading aggregator of global rail content to the rail and business travel industries.” Her appointment comes at a time of great change for the company. As well as the challenges faced because of COVID, last month (February) also saw Clare Gilmartin

step down as CEO after seven years, replaced by the former Chief Operating Officer Jody Ford. Forward thinking Despite the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic Trainline has put measures in place to not just secure the future of the business, but also drive it forward. Just days before Magesh’s appointment the company issued £150 million of convertible bonds. This was to provide additional liquidity, protecting the business further in an extended COVID downturn scenario while giving greater flexibility to invest in possible future growth opportunities. Magesh said: “When it comes to rail recovery, we are here to support for train operating partners, so that we can get smart, seamless rail travel tech in the hands of their customers, which will help people come back to rail more quickly. “Ultimately, we are here to partner with the industry to make sure we achieve our shared goal of not only getting people travelling again as soon as they can, but to increase the uptake of rail beyond this, so that many more people are choosing to travel in a greener way more often.”


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March 2021 | 23

F eoal ltiunrge s t o c k R

Gemini Rail Group: Working together for tomorrow’s railway Accelerating ahead in the development of new/hybrid technologies on existing rolling stock


emini Rail Group (GRG) is leading the way when it comes to overhaul and modernisation services, developing products and solutions that will put the railways on track for a more sustainable future. It is a passion that is inherited by the hundreds of staff at the specialist rail vehicle engineering and turnkey project management company. Even COVID hasn’t got in the way of driving technological improvements and delivering highquality solutions that meet the demands of the challenging rail industry. CEO Tim Jenkins and Chief Technical Officer Kirk Trewin have opened up about the challenges of navigating the company through the pandemic and the exciting plans moving forward. “We want to work together for tomorrow’s railway and be the leaders in helping to define what the railway looks like,” said Tim. 24 | March 2021

“The coronavirus pandemic has forced not just the government, but everyone involved in the transport industry to take a long hard look at what is going to happen and how the infrastructure will look going forwards.

‘We are very adaptable and understand things can change, notions and ideas can change and what customers want as an outcome can change’ “We have the expertise and passion to be part of that vision and we are working hard Advertorial

behind the scenes to offer some of the solutions for tomorrow’s railways.” Navigating through coronavirus Like everyone, the company has suffered because of the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. But strong IT infrastructure, along with a dedicated workforce, committed to not just fulfilling orders, but driving the business forward, puts Gemini Rail Group in an incredibly strong position moving ahead. “The pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to look at how we can expand our offering particularly looking at the likes of decarbonisation and hybridisation,” said Kirk. “We have the expertise to provide an alternative to modernising and doing something that train operating companies might not have previously thought of for the mid-life fleets. railbusinessdaily.com

R o l l i nFge as t oucr ke

“We’ve just finished a programme on the Class 323s – a 25-year-old fleet that now look unrecognisable after our work. Particularly the Northern ones, because they have had a full interior and exterior re-paint. Every single piece that the customer sees has been renewed. “I do see that continuing to happen a lot in the future, but I also think it will go down another line – reconfiguration. We’ve just invested in some 3D software which allows us to scan train interiors and exteriors and help clients visualise some concepts and ideas. That’s where we want to go.” Driving innovation That is only the start for Gemini Rail Group when it comes to innovation. Work continues to gather pace for its GemEco brand for the future development of new/hybrid technologies on existing rolling stock. It is set to put the company on the map as the leader for existing rail vehicle hybrid conversions. Tim says: “We’ve taken time to look at our place in the rail industry and transforming where we want to take our business in the future and also mapping our future around the green agenda. “We are very historic with great heritage and have always done overhaul, refurbishments and modernisation but that is going to change, because trains are much more modern now and we have seen an influx of new vehicles in recent years. “We are now utilising the supply chain to re-purpose mid-life vehicles, looking to put in new technology that enables it to be much greener without being dependent on electrification or diesel. “That is why we created the GemECO brand 18 months ago. Because of the importance of this work in creating a greener railway, as well as the opportunities it could bring. That is why we have been committed to continuing to develop this brand throughout the pandemic. Alongside this whilst delivering our current projects we’ve also been transforming many aspects of the business for the future.” Kirk adds: “Fundamentally, we are an engineering business, with everyone involved within GRG following the mantra to instil with our customers to provide ‘Confidence in our own Competence’, in any solution offered. “GemECO underpins the skills and quality we have within the Group. The overhauls work, modification work and interiors are really important to us, but there is less of it. GemECO is a different level of engineering and it really gets engineers excited because you really do get into the nuts and bolts and the DNA of these trains. “Whether it is putting battery packs under or using hydrogen, we can tailor the train to the requirement of the route it is trying to operate.” railbusinessdaily.com

Don’t underestimate the company’s expertise when it comes to the industry. Although relatively new, GRG brings together decades of rail experience led by a strong Executive Team with a wealth of experience in the railways and other diverse industries. The team continues to progress the vision to grow and diversify based on the principles of flexibility, partnership, collaboration and a forward-thinking, can-do approach. Kirk said: “We are confident in our own competence. Because we’re not attached to a big holding company, we can offer any solution that should match the customer’s needs or requirements quite closely. “We are very adaptable and understand things can change, notions and ideas can change and what customers want as an outcome can change. We can change with them, very quickly, swiftly, dynamically and that is a massive advantage that we have as a business. “Gemini Rail Group has the people that think that way and act quickly, which will also equate into a more cost-effective system.” Building on the history at Wolverton The Gemini Rail Group operates from Wolverton in Buckinghamshire, a location steeped in railway history dating back to 1838. In 1865 it became the largest carriage works in the UK and in 1901 it was the first railway works to use electricity for lighting and driving machinery throughout. Although tougher times have followed, that history is not lost on Tim, who is fully committed to the site and hopes to create history of his own with the Group. “In the last few years we have successfully navigated the business from a very difficult inherited position to a point of strong stability today and an opportunity to grow the business


despite all the problems caused by the COVID pandemic,” he said. “We took the opportunity of the downturn and slowdown to really look at the basics of running our business. We inherited some very complex systems and procedures which we are now in the process of cleaning up. This will lead to a way in which we run the business that is much more streamlined, efficient and just generally simpler. “We do recognise the historic nature of Wolverton itself and today we are the custodians of those keys and that is something we take very seriously. “We want to continue local employment there and we are working hard to make sure we have got a fit-for-purpose facility for the future. We have a great vision of what we can do and we are working hard on our transformation, which is set to play an important role in tomorrow’s railway.” Visit www.geminirailgroup.co.uk for more details.

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One year on: TOCs help over 1,000 people escape domestic abuse Women’s Aid hopes the Rail to Refuge scheme will be extended into the new financial year to save even more lives


t has been described as life-changing support that has saved countless lives. The collaboration by train operating companies to offer free train travel for those fleeing domestic abuse to refuge accommodation has been vital for 1,020 people, including 273 children. March marks a year since the Women’s Aid’s Rail to Refuge scheme was launched in the South of England with Great Western Railway (GWR) and Southeastern. The following month it was embraced by all of Britain’s rail networks. Jo Bridger, Procurement Coordinator at Women’s Aid, said: “When we celebrated GWR joining Southeastern to run Rail to Refuge on International Women’s Day a year ago, we did not imagine how all our lives would be changed by COVID-19. “However, in response to the news that domestic abuse was worsening – with perpetrators using the pandemic as a tool of abuse – the scheme was extended across the whole of mainland Britain’s rail network, thanks to the generosity of the Rail Delivery Group. “The Rail Delivery Group should be incredibly proud of the support it has provided to Women’s Aid, the refuges in our federations, and the hundreds of passengers who have been able to take these life-saving journeys. “Since March last year, over 1,000 women and more than 250 children have travelled by rail to reach a refuge. We hope that the Rail to Refuge scheme will be extended into the new financial year to save further lives, and that funds will be made available for us to continue supporting survivors to access the scheme.” Setting the wheels in motion The Rail to Refuge scheme was launched after Southeastern Station Manager Darren O’Brien watched a Dispatches documentary about Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid. From 9th April the cost of tickets has been covered by train operating companies, and extends the scheme across all of Britain’s rail networks, until the end of this month. Charlotte Kneer is Chief Executive Officer of Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid. She said:

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“Rail to Refuge is a lifesaving scheme and we are so proud that the Dispatches documentary filmed in one of our refuges led railway worker Darren O’Brien to suggest the idea to his employer Southeastern Railway.

Since March last year, over 1,000 women and over 250 children have travelled by rail to reach a refuge “Women have told us how they feared they would be dead if they had not been able to flee to our refuge. “These are women left without any money to pay for a train ticket because every aspect of their lives was controlled by the perpetrator. If they had not been able to get the rail fare, I dread to think what would have happened. This is a lifechanging scheme.”

It is just one example of the vital role the railway has, and continues to play in supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Network Rail was recently approved as a White Ribbon UK-accredited organisation, demonstrating its commitment to encouraging collective action to change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse or violence. Network Rail, Women in Rail, High Speed 1, Southeastern Railway and railbusinessdaily.com have also created Online Safe Spaces on their websites – discreet portals offering a free service to support victims of domestic abuse. Online Safe Spaces was developed by the Royal Mail Group, in collaboration with crisis charity Hestia and their UKSAYSNOMORE campaign. It is a virtual portal which can be installed on a website free of charge – providing support, advice, and contact services via pop-up window, and allowing users to access resources discreetly without leaving an online history trace. Jo added: “The rail industry’s support of Women’s Aid and our partner organisations in England, Scotland and Wales has shown that all of us can work together to end domestic abuse.” Visit www.womensaid.org.uk railbusinessdaily.com

Distribution system design

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Electrification – embracing R&D and new technology to drive forward positive change T

he railway industry is entering an exciting era and one of unprecedented challenges that will shape the immediate and longerterm future of railway transportation in the UK. Alongside the impact of a predicted fall in passenger numbers, the prospect of decarbonisation poses unique and fascinating questions and possibilities. As a talented and multifaceted SME, Navitas Engineering is leading the way in exploring and harnessing new technology, and embracing the challenge decarbonisation poses and how it can integrate with infrastructure that has stood the test of time. “Rail is in a strong and key position to meet and even surpass the new zero carbon emissions targets through the implementation of new technology and in doing so become a leading industry in this regard,” said Louis Nel, Navitas Engineering’s Director. Encouraging innovation It is therefore encouraging that the industry is increasingly embracing and supporting innovation with Navitas Engineering proud to be contributing to both short-term solutions and more strategic initiatives linked to the development of railway electrification systems. “R&D will be vital in areas such as utilising existing infrastructure for battery powered traction and integrating cutting-edge alternative energy sources including battery storage systems as part of the overall traction power system.” Navitas Engineering has recently led R&D projects in these areas, investigating through extensive laboratory testing whether some of the infrastructure we rely on today can continue to serve us whilst integrating solutions such as battery-powered trains. With the introduction of new technology, particularly into the railway environment, comes the challenge of demonstrating solution maturity and safety.

Alex Buchinger, Head of Engineering, said: “We have also recently turned our system modelling expertise to the exciting prospect of connecting lineside solar farms to the Network Rail 33 kV distribution system and exploring the potential benefits of lineside battery storage systems integrated with the 750 V DC traction system.

‘With the introduction of new technology comes the challenge of demonstrating solution maturity and safety’ “The technical challenges and requirements of such installations have been taken on and a feasibility study for a proposed solar farm in the South East has been carried out.”

When looking to the future, it is not only the climate challenge which needs to be met; the industry must continue to strive for improvements in safety. Adam Crawley, Engineering Manager, said: “It is these challenges which have spurred Network Rail’s drive towards the optimisation of key processes, one of which is the earthing of overhead lines to enable maintenance and other work to be carried out. “We are currently leading the development, trial and testing of innovative earthing equipment and processes which provide demonstrable safety benefits for staff when working on and around OLE. These benefits are realised through reducing the level of manual handling when implementing earthing.” The contribution made by SMEs to meet these challenges will be vital, and the agility, flexibility and cost efficiency of smaller organisations can be a catalyst to enable the development and introduction of innovative solutions, trialling of new approaches and the safe and successful introduction of new technology.

Electrification system design

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www.navitasengineering.com railbusinessdaily.com


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Changing passengers’ perception of rail replacement services Arriva Road Transport Services MD Robert Hutchings talks about his aim to create the seamless journey and a “forgettable” transition from train to rail replacement


ail replacement service. Three words that collectively are synonymous with engineering works and unplanned disruption on the railway. Because of this there are varying views on the provision of a rail replacement service, with the perception of an end-of-life bus, long diversions and unwanted inconvenience. Rail replacement services are necessary for Network Rail possessions, engineering works and unexpected operational issues. However, it is their reputation that Arriva Road Transport Services (ARTS) Managing Director Robert Hutchings and his team are working exceptionally hard to challenge. “We appreciate that ‘rail replacement service’ are not three words that the travelling members of the public may be wanting to hear, therefore the service provision has to be first class to deliver over and above expectations, every time,” he said. “Rail replacement is an absolute imperative service for travelling passengers, providing tens of thousands of journeys each year. Our company alone operated 30,000 rail replacement duties last year. There are situations where it is absolutely necessary to get passengers from A to B without the use of a train. “That is our job. We’re in this environment to deliver a good and efficient operation with a quality service for the public.” A decade of experience Robert has worked in the transport sector for nearly a decade. He spent five years at Stagecoach Bus before moving to Arriva Bus (UK) where he held roles as General Manager, Area Manager and Head of Operations, before joining Arriva Road Transport Services. He said: “I joined in the summer last year in the middle of lockdown with a view to growing the business and improving the quality of service that we provide to our customers. Our primary focus is that we are a rail replacement service providing for both pre-planned and emergency occasions across the entirety of the UK. We have a number of different customers ranging from both internal and external Train Operating Companies (TOCs), as well as other commercial clients. 28 | March 2021

“We do other work as well such as school transport duplication provision. Since September last year we’ve helped thousands of children get to school reliably by providing socially distanced school transport, running in tandem with registered bus services.”

It is about making sure that the coach is clean, the driver is professional and that it delivers a comfortable journey from point A to point B This arm of the company has come a long way since initially being set up in 2008, primarily as a supply chain business for Arriva. Robert added: “The purpose for ARTS was to have control on the supply chain as a whole and deliver a quality service for all customers.

“ARTS has designated points of contact for both customer and supplier, and the end user is provided with an efficient service as a result. “ARTS has contracts and service level agreements with all clients and its supply chain. All this means we can ensure that our passengers get the best possible service when they travel on a coach or bus. “This is all part of our aim to create that seamless transition, almost a forgettable journey. We want the rail replacement to be forgettable, because if it is forgettable it means it is just as normal as their ordinary journey.” Delivering that customer experience Robert admits there is, and continues to be, work to do to change perceptions, but he is confident people will be reassured next time they have to use an ARTS rail replacement service. “If you look back 10 years ago, you would hear the words ‘rail replacement’ or ‘alternative transport’ and you may have thought of an old vehicle, not comfortable and not accessible for all,” he said. railbusinessdaily.com

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“Things have changed considerably. When procuring and operating a duty, we follow a systematic and methodical process to ensure the best supplier is assigned to the service. We ensure the customer experience is as good as it can be and delivers value for all. “It is this customer experience that we have particularly focused on in the last 18 months. It is about making sure that the coach is clean, the driver is professional and courteous and able to help, that it is a high-specification vehicle and that it delivers a comfortable journey from point A to point B.” Remarkably, improvements have continued to be made in the last year, despite all the challenges faced because of the coronavirus pandemic. Working from home brought its challenges, but amongst the pandemic a 24-hour control centre was mobilised. A new website has been launched and for the first time ever the business has developed live vehicle tracking available for rail replacement buses and coaches and is currently trialling the system with a number of clients. Robert said: “2020 certainly brought with it a lot of challenges. The supply chain worked with us to help keep key workers moving and allowed

us to focus on delivery. We were unaware from week to week how the pandemic would affect our customers’ requirements, some of which can change at short notice.” Rail replacement businesses have received some light relief when it comes to the period of nonaccessibility for compliance for buses and coaches performing rail replacement duties. Originally due to expire on 31 December 2020, the Government extended this to 30 September 2021.

In announcing the extension in December, the Government says this new period of special authorisation allows it and the industry to continue to explore, devise and create a better and a more sustainable long-term solution. Robert said: “We understand and respect why the deadline is there as we need to make sure that absolutely everybody can travel on our services. We’ve still got a way to go so we will be working on that in the coming months.”

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Linxon ready to power-up UK rail Linxon Managing Director Hub EMEA, Stefan Reisacher, on the greater good that substations can supply


inxon is a joint venture company set up by SNC-Lavalin and Hitachi ABB Power Grids to deliver turnkey substation projects. In the rail sector, the company designs, constructs, tests and commissions complete traction power supply systems in high-voltage, traction and auxiliary power for high-speed lines, light/metro lines, main lines and freight lines. Linxon substations for rail deliver reliable power to the line and vehicles. Optimised rail electrification solutions ensure reliable supplies of AC and DC power are available to support high performance and efficiency. End-to-end solutions by Linxon include feasibility studies, grid compliance, initial design through to project construction, commissioning and after-sales support. The new company, which started operations in September 2018, also benefits from a long and successful history. It can draw on combined innovation over more than 130 years and is a major player in the ownership of infrastructure. Market position Linxon is seeking to strengthen its market position in the rail traction power market in Europe and the UK. Yet it is the ‘greater good’ that Linxon can deliver that is currently driving the business forwards, as Linxon’s Managing Director Hub EMEA, Stefan Reisacher explained. He said: “Yes we do substations, yes we’re in business, yes we provide support to the transport, utilities and renewable sectors, but we also want to do something to create a greater good for communities. “On the one hand it is a vision, a community commitment, while on the other we are building on the strength of our two shareholders. We are a unique company that combines the technological strength of an original equipment manufacturer, in Hitachi ABB Power Grids, and the project delivery capabilities of SNC-Lavalin. There is no other company in the market that provides this under the umbrella of a single organisation. “We can make a big difference to Britain’s railways and the communities they serve. Central to this is that we are a company built on people. We are investing in apprenticeship programmes and making a major contribution 30 | March 2021

into STEM programmes. Being able to be part of the resurgence in Britain’s rail infrastructure and create a sustainable UK based organisation with employment opportunities will enable us to further this commitment.

We can make a big difference to Britain’s railways and the communities they serve “In all of our projects there is an opportunity to coach, train, and develop people so that they will go on to create value, not just for the projects that are taking place in their communities but for the communities themselves.

“To be sustainable, to get people on board for this journey and to enable the people involved, a business has to have this type of flow. “People can be a part of our projects and if Linxon can be a vehicle for this level of change then that is brilliant.” Linxon’s team has successfully completed, on time and to budget, large scale power projects across the globe, in the United States, Saudi Arabia, UAE, India and Sweden. It continues to win work globally, from niche substation work to large packages within multi-disciplinary megaprojects. Linxon takes its role of creating a sustainable society for future generations seriously and joined the TED Countdown initiative as part of its commitment to tackling climate change and reaching net zero by 2050. railbusinessdaily.com

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Stefan said: “It’s part of our commitment to society. Whilst electrification is certainly part of the solution for combatting climate impact, we also need to build electrical substations in an environmentally responsible way. To do this, we have to rethink the way we traditionally engineer, procure and construct our products. Clearly it is business-related but as we move people within and between cities on rail we have to minimise the carbon footprint. We are currently the only company from the substation industry that is a part of TED Countdown. Linxon is also pursuing Circular Economy Principles across all of our projects across the globe.” All of which, of course, also places client relationships at the heart of the way Linxon operates. Stefan explained: “Linxon creates value for customers because our clients get the best of both worlds, the best technological solutions combined with the best project management, engineering, project delivery, construction and competence of a contractor. We combine technological solutions with the right implementation. “When we work with clients, we establish what success looks like and then we obsess about supporting them to achieve that. Obviously, we are here to do business but we genuinely want to make sure that clients meet their own goals and objectives. If we collaborate to deliver that equation then we are extremely happy to do so and the client is happy too. Our projects are a success because of the nature of the way we collaborate. Our contribution to a project is only ever a part of the success but we believe that we are the right people to work with.”

The collaborative culture within Linxon leads to natural partnerships forming, not least when it comes to joining forces with the likes of Arcadis and SSE Enterprise Contracting.

When we work with clients, we establish what success looks like and then we obsess on supporting them to achieve that It is a partnership that excites Stefan and one that, he explained, is entirely authentic and has evolved naturally.

He said: “There is no other partnership of this nature so we can build something together that provides something genuinely unique for the rail market. “Not one contractor can provide distribution networks, utilities competences with rail technology for trackside applications, and we have a unique opportunity to deliver something for the rail network in the UK that will, in the long term, be of significant benefit to UK communities. “There is something very special here, I would say. It is genuine, authentic and has really come about naturally. We do not need to collaborate, we are all a successful business in our own right but we have chosen to unite because we can see that we can do something for the better, together. When we discuss the challenges we face, that the industry faces, it is as if we all speak with one voice. “And this association with Arcadis and SSE Enterprise Contracting will not just be for one contract. We view this as a long-term partnership. Ultimately, it will create long-term value for the network and train operators, and those that use the services of those operators. “There’s incredible value to come out of this consortium, we bring a combined strength. Each partner has a clear understanding of how to integrate our respective specialisms to provide solutions to clients that will be different to any other contractor. “In some ways it’s an easy marriage. We come together from completely different perspectives and with different competences and capabilities but we can see how complementary it is to join out individual strengths in order to provide high-value to end customers.” www.linxon.com


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In the business of delivering SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail’s MD Neil Kirkby on trust, changing lives and forming new alliances


eil Kirkby joined SSE Enterprise as Managing Director in January 2017. In common with every other company in the UK, COVID-19 has tested the mettle of Neil’s leadership team but he sees a clear pathway to recovery. The Contracting and Rail business had enjoyed three years of growth until COVID hit; so, the business is now working its way back towards pre-COVID levels of activity. Being part of SSE Group has meant that no member of Neil’s workforce was furloughed, and he believes his business has weathered the COVID storm. So, what about the road ahead for the business as things return to normal? Neil believes that as the nation gets properly back to business as usual this will increase marketplace competition which could create a trend for aggressive pricing. But that goes hand in hand with increasing opportunities for growth because of the increasing spend on infrastructure projects as Britain ‘builds back better.’ 32 | March 2021

Neil explains: “There’s no doubt that as COVID restrictions are eased and the UK gets back to work in a more normal way the marketplace will feel more crowded with more competition. But I also believe there is a huge appetite from legislators to get major infrastructure projects fully firing on all cylinders again which will provide plenty of opportunities for players like ourselves.

Clients recognise that we put their business at the heart of what we do and that we work in a collaborative manner “Post COVID, I’d expect clients to have a laser- like focus on the costs of projects but aligned to that there will still be a need for workers with the right skills and experience to get the job done effectively.

“I feel comfortable with that because we can call upon a large pool of highly trained and multiskilled people who are ready and available. “I also think that clients recognise that we put their business at the heart of what we do and that we work in a collaborative manner to deliver the most efficient solutions possible. Innovation is also key to driving down the cost of long-term infrastructure projects.” Driving towards net zero and benefiting communities SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail’s ongoing journey will see it supporting clients to achieve net zero carbon targets, as well as delivering on its own carbon footprint reduction targets. The business is intent on supporting the communities they serve – including welcoming applications from those who lack traditional CVs or academic qualifications. railbusinessdaily.com

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Neil said: “When we talk about social outcomes that includes rolling out apprenticeships, up-skilling employees, and providing tangible benefits to the local economy. “But we want to go further than that because we’re committed to giving those from disadvantaged backgrounds genuine opportunities. “We want to recruit people from as broad a talent pool as possible. So, if you’re someone who doesn’t have a traditional CV, we still want to hear from you because you could find your place in SSE. You provide the enthusiasm and the right attitude, and we’ll provide the training and the career opportunity.” SSE Group is also a major partner for COP26 which comes to Glasgow this November; so, it’s no surprise that net zero matters to Contracting and Rail. Neil added: “Rail is being bold in its carbon zero ambitions. We can do the contracting activity for clients, but we can also give them support on their broader environmental journeys, and that’s really unique. Building client trust is our number one priority.” At the heart of CP6 18 months ago, SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail enjoyed a significant number of CP6 contract wins. The business continues to deliver projects on a consistent basis. Its rail mechanical and electrical teams have almost 20 years’ experience of delivering projects to meet the growing demands of Britain’s rail infrastructure. SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail


Background Part of the FTSE 100 company SSE Group, SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail is one of the largest mechanical and electrical contracting businesses in the UK. It is trusted by clients to deliver everything from the straightforward to highly complex energy infrastructure projects through a combination of innovation, collaboration, and expertise. SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail specialises in the delivery of electrical and mechanical, HV and associated ancillary services across the UK. This is supported by 2,500 highly skilled contracting professionals with 24/7 365-day availability. The company’s experience in design management, construction, installation, commissioning, refurbishment, and maintenance ensures its team delivers seamless and integrated solutions on projects. prides itself on its technical expertise and a no-compromise approach to safety. Neil added: “The people in our business have delivered. They’ve worked night and day to put us in the position we’ve now got in the rail industry.

Building client trust is our number one priority “Over the last five years we’ve continued to grow, and we’ve got plenty to build on as we continue forwards.” The power of three and a shared culture In joining forces with Arcadis and Linxon, Neil is confident that all three are entering the partnership with their eyes wide open to the challenges ahead.

He said: “I think the three of us coming together offers something really unique in the industry. If you look at the collective skills and the heritage, we all bring to the table – it’s an exciting prospect. “One of the things I love about this consortium is the shared culture we have. We have already had some very honest, frank and open conversations. We can roll our sleeves up, get to the heart of the problem and egos are generally left at the door. That doesn’t always happen when businesses come together. “We want to be a consortium that sits itself on the same side of the table as the client. These are world class businesses forming a consortium. “The fact that they want to partner with us, and us with them, gives all three of us credence in terms of what we can collectively deliver.” www.ssecontracting.co.uk

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Delivering on a global scale The expertise and ethos of the Netherlands-born business with a strong British heritage, Arcadis will drive change, as MD of Infrastructure UK, Mahmoud Alghita, explains


s the many scholars across rail will be aware, Arcadia is an idea of life that is perfect, and one that is in harmony with its surroundings. As the rail network enters a new renaissance with massive investment in infrastructure projects, and tackles decarbonisation head-on, Arcadis is a fitting name for a business ideally placed to lead the charge towards a better world. Arcadis dates back to 1739 (through legacy companies), and a global business that employs in excess of 27,000 people – or Arcadians as it describe its workforce – in 40 countries worldwide. All of its work is underpinned by a clear and unshakable sense of purpose, as the Managing Director of Infrastructure UK at Arcadis, Mahmoud Alghita, explained in a recent interview with RailDirector. He said: “What differentiates us is our ability to focus on creating positive outcomes for our clients. Crucially, and everyone at Arcadis is clear on this, our purpose is to improve the quality of life for people. That has never changed through the years and is now even more pressing and prevalent. “We focus on embedding sustainability in everything we do, creating positive outcomes for our clients through digitalisation. We can add a lot of value in design and engineering, programme management and the integration of major projects and programmes.” Vast skillset Arcadis provides consultancy, design, engineering and management services in infrastructure, water, environment and buildings. The Arcadis offer to rail sees the company provide global expertise in the design and delivery of rail solutions, HV and power projects and the use of advanced automated digital design simulation tools. Arcadis combines strategic advice with multidisciplinary technical knowledge to help clients and partners plan and build sustainable Total Mobility concepts. The business has been at the forefront of this expertise for over a century, ensuring the reliability and safety of rail networks worldwide. 34 | March 2021

In Australia, for Queensland Rail, Arcadis has utilised the best available technology to enable substantial long-term cost savings in terms of high voltage power usage. The use of static frequency converters as part of an optimised design process has enabled faster installation and start-up, higher efficiency, faster response to faults, along with reduced maintenance costs.

We focus on embedding sustainability in everything we do, creating positive outcomes for our clients through digitalisation For ProRail in the Netherlands, where Arcadis maintain and manage a large section of rail including its high voltage power systems, the company has introduced a strict performancebased maintenance regime that has reduced whole-life project costs and simultaneously reduced the maintenance demands for this infrastructure.

Major Arcadis projects in the UK include delivery on the central section of HS2, Crossrail (providing systems and tunnel systems for Whitechapel Station), and Thameslink (London Bridge Station). Beyond power Arcadis has a broader focus that HV Power alone, on the Intercity Express Program for example the company delivered up-front stakeholder liaison, strategy planning and procurement support, followed by project management, commercial management and associated services during the construction and completion phases. Arcadis also delivered the Grip 5 detailed design for TfL on the recent Barking Riverside rail extension which included an entire replacement of the HV power supply and railway systems. On the Intercity Express Program, Arcadis delivered up-front stakeholder liaison, strategy planning and procurement processes, followed by project management, commercial management and associated services during construction and completion phases. railbusinessdaily.com

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Getting to grips with ARIES The Arcadis Rail Integrated Engineering Simulation (ARIES), is able to integrate the design of complex multi-discipline systems and accurately assess required levels of power consumption. This tool allows for the development of the best available sustainable design solutions, taking into account the most recent available technologies and whole-life asset maintenance systems, that ultimately result in a substantially reduced carbon footprint for major projects. This approach, using ARIES, was proven on recent rail power upgrade work at Old Oak Common in London. In Holland, Arcadis has also developed a modelling tool called Xandra which has the capability to simulate entire rail networks thus when combined with ARIES are able to provide substantial network-wide reductions in overall financial and environmental costs, through reductions in hardware, manpower, management, and maintenance. railbusinessdaily.com

Mahmoud added: “The client can make really critical decisions and we can provide valuebased solutions that make a difference, not just to efficiency and the appropriateness of the solution but also to the environment and wholelife costs. “Our solutions are assured and data-led. We embed model-based systems engineering into our approach to capture the requirements of a project, set our desired outcomes and monitor those. This is integrated into the design programme and schedule. With 5D Building Information Modelling and digital tools we are able to give lagging indicators and, with data analytics, leading indicators.

We need to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables; this is very important for those of us that work in transport “Bringing all of this into play leads to faster, better and greener investment programmes. We need to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, this is very important for those of us that work in transport. HV power schemes will be vital as we address the issues the world is facing. “If we are creating assets we must design intelligent buildings and intelligent infrastructure that is capable of getting us to net zero carbon emissions.” Combing the Arcadis approach with the

skills and talent of Linxon and SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail by forming a new consortium is a logical step for a company committed to changing the way it works and collaborate with like-minded partners in order to transform society for the better. This united front is a perfect match of skills and expertise, according to Mahmoud, and the three businesses have already worked together previously, with both Linxon and Arcadis contracted by SSE on the Seagreen offshore wind project and Linxon and Arcadis both delivering on Crossrail. Mahmoud added: “We are three strong players in our specialist areas. The combination of our collective skills and unique individual expertise will bring clients the best value for money solution across the full design, delivery and maintenance lifecycle of major HV power investment projects. We have the potential to create something long-term, together, and offer the industry something very special, especially when it comes to HV power solutions. “When I speak with passion about the megatrends and important issues that need to be addressed with our counterparts at Linxon and SSE there is an exact synergy. It is clear that this is what we are here to do. “We’re here to provide smart, intelligent solutions capable of removing carbon from the equation and improving positive outcomes for the environment and, ultimately, to improve the quality of life. This is why we’re so passionate about this partnership, there is huge potential to provide something very different.” www.arcadis.com/en/united-kingdom

Photo: Crossrail

Through Grip 5 for TfL, Arcadis designed the Barking Riverside rail extension, and provided design support through Grip 6. Under a major existing commission for HS2 Arcadis leads a design joint-venture with Setec and Cowi (known as ASC) to deliver all detailed civil and structural designs for the 80km central section of HS2’s first phase from London to Birmingham, between the Chiltern tunnel and Long Itchington Wood. Clearly, Arcadis is making its mark on UK rail infrastructure projects and, given its ethos to be at the forefront of addressing the megatrends affecting the world – climate change, digitalisation, societal expectations and urbanisation – it would appear that the planets are aligning to allow Arcadis to play a major role in the industry response. Mahmoud said: “The world is changing. The industry is looking at its collaborative, commercial and contractual approaches, the greater integration of design and construction, front-end loading project speed, faster, more certain delivery and, most importantly, value-based and outcome-based procurement. “There is an increased emphasis on data KPIs and transparency along with a focus on innovation, digitalisation, automation and standardisation. This is what the industry, the UK government and the whole world is asking us to do.” Playing its part in Arcadis’ ability to create positive outcomes and transparency in infrastructure programmes has led to the development of innovative, bespoke modelling tools.

March 2021 | 35

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Powerful role to play for new consortium Arcadis, Linxon and SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail have combined forces to deliver industry-leading HV solutions


rcadis, Linxon and SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail have joined forces to provide a one-stop solution to power up a greener and more effective railway, delivering HV solutions as one entity. Collectively, the three businesses have seized on the opportunity to create a powerful consortium, combining their respective skills and specialisms and ability to deliver. Now, they look set to play a part in delivering the best quality and value when it comes to HV power for UK rail. All three experienced organisations bring a strong balance of talent covering design, installation and maintenance. Making connections Between them, the three businesses bring vast traction power and HV distribution design, delivery and test/commission integration experience, the technical capacity and capability to deliver a proven and simple solution for the railways. This is combined with experience providing project and programme management expertise across the world’s largest megaprojects. All three also have very strong track records in delivering social value, employment and environmental benefits and a behavioural driven culture that adds value for internal and external customers and drives innovation. Arcadis has incredibly strong project design and project management capability and a 36 | March 2021

history dating back to 1739, with innovation at the heart of everything it does. Linxon, part of the SNC-Lavalin and Hitachi ABB Power Grids, offers material provision and traction power installation. It has shown innovation over more than 130 years and combines deep technology knowledge with proven construction capability.

By combining our strengths there is huge potential for us to provide something very different for the UK’s railways SSE Enterprise Contracting and Rail has the major networks transmission and distribution capabilities, completing the collaboration with its expertise in HV installation and maintenance. At a time when the environment is at the top of the agenda, Arcadis, Linxon and SSE Enterprise Contracting are fully aware of the need to collaborate in order to work create full life VFM and carbon impact value, that can prevail on the HV distribution system. Together, this consortium is confident it has the ability to deploy assets to generate revenue, reduce the cost price of infrastructure, contribute

to net zero carbon targets, provide employment and upskill local communities. Importantly, at the heart of this new consortium is a shared vision and culture. Managing Director of Infrastructure UK at Arcadis, Mahmoud Alghita, said: “When we are in a room together it is clear that our three companies have a natural synergy. By combining our strengths there is huge potential for us to provide something very different for the UK’s railways.” Managing Director of Linxon Hub EMEA, Stefan Reisacher, said: “We are creating something very special here. Together, we have a unique opportunity to deliver something for the rail network in the UK that will, in the long term, be of significant benefit to UK communities.” Combined skills and experience Managing Director of SSE Enterprise, Neil Kirkby, said: “We are combining a strong set of respective skillsets, years of experience and shared business cultures. This consortium is already in a good position because of the trust that clients have in us as individual businesses.” With exciting opportunities in the market, it will be interesting to see the role that this consortium has to play in supporting clients across UK rail, providing safe and reliable high voltage power supplies and ensuring the rail network continues to run safely and reliably. railbusinessdaily.com

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Driving forward diversity for the railways Scotland’s only female freight driver Heather Waugh on the importance of being visible to accelerate change


eather Waugh is playing an important role in the railways that goes far beyond the full-time job as a freight driver at Freightliner. Although approaching 15 years in the industry as a train driver, it is her last two as the only female freight train driver in Scotland that she describes as her most rewarding. She has become a bit of a figurehead when it comes to inspiring the next generation of female workers to the railways – vital when recent figures found less than a fifth of the workforce are women with less than two per cent of freight drivers women. “Despite having spent my entire career in male-dominated environments, it wasn’t until I moved from a passenger train driver to freight that I felt encouraged to speak out,” she said. “Becoming the only female freight train driver in Scotland gave me a platform but I was initially hesitant to speak up. 38 | March 2021

“The temptation for women in male-dominated industries is often to play down your gender so that you can fit in, rather than stand out.

I’ve come to realise just how important it is for women to be visible, so that others are encouraged into jobs they might not have considered “I just wanted to do my job and be accepted. But I’ve come to realise just how important it is for women to be visible, so that others are encouraged into jobs they might not have considered.”

The turning point for Heather, who was previously a train driver for ScotRail, was when her current employer invited her to attend the 2019 Women in Rail Awards. “A few years ago I’d have been one of the people who questioned events that were aimed at a minority group, suggesting that it could create division or exclusivity, but attending this event made me realise just how important it is,” she said. “This event was full of amazing women who have achieved incredible feats without compromising who they are. It gave me such strength and confidence. “Since then, I have received the most incredible support and encouragement from leaders in our industry who have broken down barriers, raised awareness, and made the railway a better – and more inclusive – place to work. “It is humbling that people like Natasha Hanson, Loraine Martins MBE, Debbie Francis railbusinessdaily.com


OBE, Lucy Prior MBE, Charlene Wallace, and Glynis Appelbe are so willing to share their time and knowledge with me. “There is something incredibly special about the women of the rail industry. They are not content to simply achieve for themselves, they throw down the ladder for the rest of us.” Friends and allies Equally important in Heather’s journey have been the male allies whose willingness to listen, learn, support, and encourage she describes as inspiring. “From the likes of my good friend and railway chaplain Mike Roberts, to people like LNER Managing Director David Horne, every male voice is invaluable. Indeed, for me it is every bit as important that we share this journey with our male colleagues,” she said. Where they are willing to listen, we must be willing to educate. “As a result of all this encouragement, I became involved in campaigns to reduce trespass; change perceptions of women in the railway and specifically within freight; discuss mental health; and raise the profile of our industry through organisations such as Rail Human Library and Rail Safety Week.


Heather’s inspiration: Natasha Hanson and Debbie Francis “I was also privileged to be asked to be a guest speaker as part of the Diamond Projects ‘Women Working in Transport’.” Her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Last year she was Highly Commended in the Inspirational Woman of the Year category at the Women in Rail Awards. “I felt very undeserving, but incredibly

honoured to have been nominated and then shortlisted,” she said. “It was very surreal to see my name alongside Managing Directors and CEOs, but it proves that within our industry there is a real collective commitment to making progress. If you have something meaningful to say, it will be heard, regardless of what position you hold.”

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It was ScotRail that gave Heather her first job as a train driver in 2006, after she successfully passed the vigorous application process, following a career change after a decade as an operations and planning manager for Royal Mail. Although she had never previously considered a career in the railways, it is an industry that has always been close to her heart. “It has been a big part of my life as my dad was a guard/senior conductor based at Edinburgh Waverley for over 45 years, so train journeys were a common part of my childhood,” she said. “I remember shouting ‘hello mum’ over the PA system on a trip to Newcastle in which my dad was the guard. And her red face. But most of all, I remember that my dad and his friends were known as ‘the railway children’ because of their lasting friendships, long after they retired. “My oldest brother, Neil, also spent most of his working life in the railway as an engineering supervisor at Haymarket Depot, although ultimately it was my mum who used to take me around the country on the train exploring new places every week. That was what gave me a love of the railway and, even at a young age, an insight into how the ‘railways family’ looked after its own.”

“But there is still huge progress to be made in reducing unconscious prejudice. And this can only change by sharing our experiences and highlighting these areas. “In terms of the day job, I am still loving life as a freight train driver. The fears I had when making the move to freight are long gone. I have a fantastic team of drivers around me, and rather than the feared scenario that I wouldn’t be accepted as a woman, my colleagues have just nominated me as their union representative. “In this unprecedented year of pandemic, furlough and lockdowns, freight has emerged as one of the heroes of 2020. Keeping shelves stocked, lights on, and the NHS supplied.

Rising to the freight challenge After 12 years as a passenger train driver, Heather decided to move into freight after hearing first-hand what it was like and falling in love with Freightliner’s promotion video. She said: “My experience in freight has been hugely positive. I am delighted to say that I have experienced little or no deliberate prejudice.

“More than ever, people are recognising the vital role we play in keeping the country - and the economy – moving. And I am so incredibly proud to be a part of that.” Looking to the future and Heather has no plans to slow down, hoping to play her part in driving change whilst also keeping the vital goods moving.

There is still huge progress to be made in reducing unconscious prejudice She said: “Looking ahead, 2021 is set to be very special for me. Natasha Hanson and Debbie Francis OBE have invited me to join them on a life-changing volunteering trip to Laos, where I’ll be involved in a women’s empowerment programme. “I am so honoured and grateful to them for allowing me to benefit from what will be a truly amazing experience, in the company of two of the most inspiring women in the rail industry.” Further challenges Heather said: “Professionally, our industry has some huge challenges coming and I will do whatever I can to add something to the debate. We all have a responsibility to try and make a difference, in whatever way we can. “Diversity, inclusion, and staff wellbeing must remain a priority and this cannot be assessed in simple statistics and percentages. “Our leaders must ensure that the voices of our workforce are heard, even the quietest ones. The companies with leaders like Natasha Hanson and David Horne, who recognise the true value of an inclusive, happy and engaged workforce, will be the ones who survive and excel in these challenging times.”

40 | March 2021




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Ensuring a safe, compliant and productive workforce Competency Training Marketplace’s new Sales Manager Andy Willetts on the essential competency tool


t was the opportunity of not just a new challenge, but one that could transform the rail sector for the better that tempted Andy Willetts to the role of Sales Manager at Competency Training Marketplace (CTM). The easy-to-use, one-stop shop allows organisations in complex regulatory environments to book staff training and manage their competencies to keep their workforce fully operational – the system even sending reminders when training needs renewing. “Technology has to play a huge role in how we get people off the ground and back into the office, but it is also important that we use technology to maintain what people do on a day-to-day basis, whether it is training or asset management,” said Andy, who has sold software for 12 years, working previously at Balfour Beatty Rail. His 25 years of experience in the rail industry touched on various subsectors, including infrastructure, signalling and train maintenance. “Safety is a key requirement in the rail industry and anybody that isn’t trained can’t work on the railway, it is as simple as that. There are certain requirements in every sector of the rail and construction industries that you need to have and make sure are updated as a supplier. So really, CTM is a critical piece of software in this industry.” “The system created by CTM is a very universal platform that could be provided almost anywhere, including the aviation, marine or power utilities industries. The software itself offers the user a friendly, easy to navigate interface, which will have global appeal to employers and training providers, as it is free to use and supported by a team of dedicated staff. It has got huge global appeal and it is the railway industry that has the first opportunity to grasp this opportunity.” Research and development CTM was developed by Sopra Steria, a European leader in consulting, digital services and software development, following extensive research with UK rail and construction businesses to find out their needs and desires 42 | March 2021

when it comes to managing competencies. “You can’t underestimate the value you can add to your business if you have a system or a platform that you can engage with that can give you a very quick snapshot overview as to your competency as a business,” said Andy. “People buy from industry because of their skillsets and people buy from experts because they are an expert in that field. If you’ve got people trained, certified and accredited and can show those capabilities, you’re going to have a lot more value when you’re competing for work, responding to bids, working on tenders and on framework agreements.” CTM connects organisations in the railway and construction industries with a wide range of relevant training providers offering accredited courses. Offering that clear visibility of workforce competency, CTM enables employers to forecast, manage and budget for workforce competency needs which can then be found through the dedicated marketplace of industryaccredited training. Advertorial

“It is all about using the analytics of how well you manage your training, how you can respond to bid for project work opportunities with customers and prove that you have the resource to deliver work even at short notice,” said Andy. “This system gives you a better snapshot overview of where you have got gaps in training schedules and also offers a reminder service – something you can’t get from an Excel spreadsheet.” As a roadmap has been revealed by the government as to the UK’s easing of the lockdown restrictions, it’s essential to ensure that all colleagues are up to date with the right competencies and accreditations to effectively undertake complex programmes of work on our national infrastructure. “Now is the time to plan for the future and for organisations to plan and predict in the future what the requirements for staff are going to be when people return from working at home,” said Andy. railbusinessdaily.com

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Free access Incredibly, CTM is allowing the system to be accessed for free by employers, with training providers also able to advertise for free with a five per cent booking fee post-attendance. “Network Rail has a huge emphasis on using technology to enhance the way we do work, whether that is out on the track or using in-house applications, and it loves systems that offer benefit to them as a customer and keeps people safe,” said Andy. “CTM brings together technology to the forefront of keeping people safe, promoting health and safety, promoting training providers, promoting it to the industry, adding value to you as a business with your future work practices.

Photo: Network Rail

“People will have had training lapses over the coronavirus pandemic, especially with people furloughed and people not working out on the track as much, so in some cases accreditation might not have been renewed. “People may have forgotten that training has expired, unless you have a system like CTM, in which you are sent an email making you aware of any staff that have training up for renewal.”

“For me, if technology makes my business slicker, smoother and more efficient and it is free, I’d be jumping at the bit. CTM can give you something that you can’t get from an Excel spreadsheet, so I’d be saying to one of my members of staff, take an hour to learn this, go on the website, get a demo, and speak to the team about how it works. “This is a free service you can use that is going to add value to your business and show your customers how serious you are about using technology that can be shared and interfaced with other systems, whilst at the same time

keeping staff training renewed, which is helping to keep them safe and efficient in their roles.” Those organising competencies can book into a 15-minute demo to see how CTM could benefit them and show how it will help them demonstrate effective competency management, satisfying industry audit requirements, having a fully compliant work, which in turn could help win work. Email info@competencytrainingmarketplace.com to book a time and slot.

We want to hear from you. Take part in our survey. Competency Training Marketplace (CTM) was built specifically for the rail and construction industry. That’s why we want to hear what matters most to businesses so we can improving our platform.

Take part in our three-minute survey today. Visit www.railbusinessdaily. com/ctm-survey/ to enter.

CTM is free to use, sign up in minutes at competencytrainingmarketplace.com



Luke Adams Business Development Manager +44 (0) 7841 368923 lukeadams@soprasteria.com

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Digital railway

Digital railway key to value for money Rail Supply Group’s new joint Champion for Digital Railway on what the future holds


izi Stewart, Managing Director of Transportation at Atkins, has been appointed Rail Supply Group’s (RSG) joint Champion for Digital Railway. Lizi will work alongside Rob Morris, Managing Director of Rail Infrastructure at Siemens, who holds the same position on RSG’s industry-wide council. Lizi is looking forward to playing a part in accelerating the pace of rail’s journey to a truly digital railway and driving the industry towards achieving the goals of the Rail Sector Deal, which aims to build on the strong partnership working between the rail sector and government to explore the opportunities of new technologies, improve the efficient use of rail network capacity, develop skills and talent across the industry and enhance the experience of passengers. Honoured role Lizi said: “It is a real honour to take on this important role and to work with Rob and others on behalf of the rail industry. One of the key distinctions with the RSG is that around the table are senior DfT and BEIS representatives. We’ve got a really exciting time ahead of us and I look forward to the challenge. This is an amazing opportunity to work alongside industry colleagues to ensure that the investment in our sector continues and that UK rail is seen to be a sector that spends the treasury’s money wisely for the economic and social benefit of the UK. “There is a big opportunity that digital rail presents in terms of the transformation and positive disruption of how we do things. PostCOVID, and with the impetus to build back better and accelerate Project Speed, there is a

signalling. But the power of digital will impact all areas of the sector and there are also lessons to be learned from the successful application of digital in other industries.

real sense of urgency and pace that we need to embrace right now. I am really excited to see how we can collaborate across the industry to find the opportunities to supercharge what has been a really successful programme to date.” As Lizi acknowledges, the importance of a digital railway is not always clearly understood and there are often misconceptions even in the industry, with some distilling the complexities of digital down to specific aspects such as digital

Digital tools Lizi explained: “What’s important is how we use digital to design, construct, operate and maintain the railways, and how we can use data, technology, automation and artificial intelligence to really drive value into the railways and better outcomes for customers. That’s the full breadth and scope of what is possible. “There are some really good case studies, ideas and innovations that we can bring across from other sectors. Highways, water and others all have innovations that can be applied to the benefit of rail. “Fundamentally, the challenge that everyone is facing at the moment is infrastructure project costs and how we really drive value for money and represent the best bang for buck. There’s a tremendous opportunity with digital to provide surety of cost and drive the efficiency of what we’re designing, delivering and how we run the railways. “In terms of net zero carbon targets, we’ll be considering what digital solutions exist so we can present some of the smarter choices that can support the government’s net zero ambitions. Digital will be critical to that. “There are some incredibly smart and inspirational people working in our sector modelling future revenue scenarios but the message is clear around value for money and the need to drive efficiencies.”

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March 2021 | 45

Digital railway

The new role is clearly aligned to Lizi’s fulltime job with Atkins, a post she has held since January 2019. Previously, she led on highways and aviation for Arcadis and, prior to moving into transport, held senior roles in retail, financial services and property sectors. Lizi added: “At Atkins, we’re playing our part in transforming the sector’s approach to infrastructure. We have a key role to play in the sustainability agenda, whether that’s social value or net zero targets, and all based around how we can support our clients to make the best decisions for our society and planet. As a business, we’re investing in and committed to how we use data and technology to make better decisions, surety of delivery and ultimately to take costs out of the process and improve productivity. We also make a big commitment to investing in our people. We have an incredible team who deliver amazing, technically excellent and fascinating projects.” Super-resilient and responsive workforce Lizi also praised the Atkins workforce for being “super-resilient and responsive” in the last 12 months in order to keep delivering projects as the global pandemic took hold and affected working practices.

She added: “We’re really fortunate in the sector because the government strategy has been to keep investing. Our transportation team has done a phenomenal job of keeping projects moving and delivering for our clients. The tenacity of our team has enabled us to deliver for our clients through leveraging digital, using our strong relationships.”

There are lots of very visible and inspirational role models. Women in rail are very collaborative and supportive Lizi is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. She told Rail Director that she is impressed with the welcome she has had since diversifying into rail. “My experience of rail since I joined Atkins is fantastic. Rail is such a brilliantly transparent sector. Network Rail and the major players

in rail make their strategies public, hold open and transparent procurement events, and I have found this to be a very accessible sector to understand and operate within, it’s very welcoming and inclusive. “What I am in awe of is the network of quite brilliant women in rail holding leadership positions. There are lots of very visible and inspirational role models. Women in rail are very collaborative and supportive and there is lots of reaching out to offer support when it is needed.” Lizi replaces Shaun Jones, Vice President Ground Transportation at Thales, on RSG’s industry-wide Council. Shaun stepped down as Champion after starting a new role within Thales Group. RSG has also announced the appointment of Jake Rudham, Marketing Director at Unipart Rail, as Industry Champion for Export and Inward Investment. Lizi added: “This new role of joint Champion for Digital Railway is a very important commitment as the rail sector is fundamental to the UK and its economy. I am very excited to tackle the difficult challenges we are facing along with industry colleagues and to play my part in moving the UK towards a truly digital railway.”


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Advanced Power Services is the first UK company to offer a 20-Year Warranty on 3M Jointing products


dvanced Power Services is the first company in the UK to have been awarded the Qualified Electrical Construction Contractor Accreditation (QECC) from 3M. It is one of four companies across the UK selected by 3M based on qualifications, experience and assessments on skills. Its qualified and skilled jointing teams have completed in-depth assessments along with theoretical training on each 3M medium voltage product family that qualifies for the warranty. Training included cable theory, joint theory, termination theory, 3M material science and hands-on training and assessments. In addition to this, 3M will also provide continuous updates and refresher training as per the market requirements. The QECC Certification enables Advanced Power Services to issue a 20-year product warranty to clients on each new installation completed by its certified Jointing Teams. Managing Director Lee Burrell of Advanced Power Services said: “I have been working with 3M now for many years providing feedback on their products, and over time we have built up a very good relationship. “This new programme we hope will bring confidence to clients that our in-house, experienced jointers installing products on their network are competent, skilled, trained and qualified. This programme will strengthen our clients’ and consumers’ confidence when utilising our services on their networks and investing long term in their assets.”

‘This programme will strengthen our clients and consumers’ confidence when utilising our services on their networks and investing long term in their assets’ “This will change the landscape for medium voltage products. Who would not want a 20-year warranty that provides value for money on their investment? This will be invaluable for maintenance departments and private networks as any product failure will be covered by the 3M QECC extended warranty. Each 3M medium voltage product family that qualifies for the warranty will be recorded in detail so that they can be properly referenced in the unlikely event of a failure to assist in any investigation. Advanced Power Services is excited to be able to offer this amazing 20-year Warranty to all existing clients and build new relationships with new clients interested in the cable jointing and testing services.



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March 2021 | 47

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Exciting new chapter for First Class Partnerships (FCP) CEO Ian Horseman Sewell discusses a major merger, UK rail reform and building back green


he UK’s leading independent supplier of strategic consulting services in the international public transport market has marked its 25th anniversary in style. First Class Partnerships’ (FCP) merger with CPCS Transcom Limited (CPCS), a global management consulting firm specialising in infrastructure, is already proving hugely beneficial – not just for the merging companies, but also for the companies’ employees and partners. CEO Ian Horseman Sewell, who is leading the expanded group’s UK and European operations, said: ‘There is a fantastic synergy between the two firms and the merger has given us access to a well-established global operating platform backed by significant analytical expertise and a wealth of consulting resources. We are already deploying joint 48 | March 2021

teams on projects we perhaps wouldn’t have pursued as separate organisations’. Although FCP and CPCS have previously worked together successfully on high-profile jobs all over the world, the merger signals the

The improved connectivity created by projects such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail can transform poorly performing economic areas start of an exciting new chapter for FCP, a company set up in 1996 by a group of boardlevel leaders from the then recently-privatised Advertorial

UK rail industry. They came together to bring the combined weight of their know-how, networks and experience to bear on public transport issues both in the UK and overseas. UK rail reform FCP’s focus was and remains on delivering great outcomes for funders, suppliers, operators, governments and passengers. The combined expertise of FCP and CPCS will prove vital at a time of great change for the rail industry. Ian said: ‘Market reform in the rail industry has to leverage relevant specialisation and expertise. It must be led by people who understand how the full railway system works. The way the industry has developed in recent times means that there are large numbers of deep specialists often operating in silos. railbusinessdaily.com

I nFt e a r vt iuerwe

The number of people who intuitively understand the workings of the system is limited. But implementing the reform requires the government to have access to those people and develop industry-wide training programmes to widen the opportunities for individuals to gain multi-disciplinary expertise. The changes can’t be limited to contractual models. It is vital that significant cultural changes in UK rail are delivered. If we are to continue to achieve great things in the next chapter of the railways, it will be because we are proactive in using the latest analytical tools to leverage so-called big data. By doing so, we can ensure that everything we do and every decision we take is optimised in terms of service delivery for passengers and freight forwarders. As an industry, there is a particular need to be a million times better at embracing the creativity and entrepreneurial flair of unsolicited yet viable proposals from the private sector and academia. We have to be much more successful in making sure they happen. We’re seeing this done well in places like California, Singapore and Toronto. To date in the UK, collectively, we have a poor record of delivery on these “market-led” proposals and, with the prospect of future constraints on taxpayer-funded projects as a result of the economic effect of Covid-19, that must change.” Build back green Perhaps the biggest challenge and opportunity for the rail industry is reconciling fastapproaching national and sectoral target dates for net zero carbon with the coronavirusgenerated slump in ridership, which has dramatically shifted mode share away from public transport. Addressing this challenge fully and successfully will see the rail industry playing a truly material part in building a green economy.


Ian Horseman Sewell , CEO Horseman Sewell adds: ‘Transport infrastructure will be a critical component of stimulus packages around the world and of the UK Government’s “build back green” and “build back better” agendas. If we fail to deliver appropriate new infrastructure, and in particular electrification, it will become impossible to hit carbon targets. As an industry, we should always remember that rail holds a relatively low market share of journeys undertaken and the transport of goods. In both these, areas new customers will need to be attracted and retained by developing products that reflect modern-day expectations’.


There is every opportunity for this to happen. The improved connectivity created by projects such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail can transform poorly performing economic areas, as does the re-opening of routes that is taking place – particularly by providing improved access to jobs and education. For freight, the level of activity during the COVID-19 restrictions has proved resilient; infrastructure investment to allow much longer inter-modal operations combined with new port and terminal facilities is removing large numbers of Heavy Goods Vehicles from the road network. It has to be accepted that too much train haulage is provided by diesel power and that a programme of electrification will be needed to bring about change. Much work is being done by industry suppliers to reduce the cost of providing the necessary infrastructure, which will improve the business case for making early progress. Not all routes will justify electrification, and it is encouraging that there are a number of projects in hand to develop the use of hydrogen as a source of power where lines have less traffic density. In summing up Ian said: ‘The two grand ambitions of making transformational investments in transport infrastructure and operations and of achieving the challenging net carbon targets which rightly sit at the heart of the green agenda are a tantalising prospect. It’s one that FCP and the CPCS group as a whole is committed throughout our work helping countries, cities, investors and organisations’. Visit www.fcpworld.net | www.cpcs.ca

March 2021 | 49


Getting UK rail up-to-speed

Launch of Project SPEED challenges rail industry to cut time and costs of rail upgrades

he Government has challenged the rail industry to pioneer new ways of working, to halve the time and reduce the cost of delivering critical infrastructure projects as the country builds back better out of COVID-19, with the launch of the next stage of Rail Project SPEED. In a keynote speech at the Project SPEED conference, hosted by the Rail Industry Association (RIA), Rail Minister Chris HeatonHarris invited the 1,800-strong virtual audience to get on board with the new approach to become faster, smarter and more efficient in the way that projects are delivered. Rail Project SPEED (Swift, Pragmatic and Efficient Enhancement Delivery) was jointly developed by the Department for Transport and Network Rail last summer. Infrastructure projects at different stages of development have been reviewed to identify how government funding could go further and how work could be carried out faster. Ten-step plan This approach identified 10 key themes to lower costs and speed up the delivery of infrastructure schemes, such as rapidly increasing the use of innovative construction methods and removing complexity from planning processes. These new and innovative ways of working will be rolled out across all rail upgrades, with the intention of ensuring passengers experience better journeys more quickly, giving greater value to taxpayers, and transforming the pace and way in which our railways are improved. A project already benefitting from Project SPEED principles is the scheme to reopen the Northumberland line between Ashington and

Photo: UK Parliament


Newcastle, which closed to passengers in 1964 as part of the Beeching cuts. Northumberland County Council, DfT, Network Rail, and AECOM have collectively worked to identify opportunities to bring this into service as quickly as possible. This could take months off the schedule and deliver efficiencies which save millions from the programme. Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “The whole country has relied on the transport industry over the past year, to keep the country moving, supplies delivered and key workers to their jobs saving lives. We are now depending on transport to kickstart our economic recovery. “Rail Project SPEED, forged alongside Network Rail, is a call to arms to cut unnecessary red tape, be bold and purposeful, and empower the railway to be radical in its thinking to halve the time and reduce the cost of delivering infrastructure projects. “By maximising the benefits of every pound

that we’re channelling into rail, we will make the case for continued investment. Our intention is to create a more resilient, resourceful and robust railway, equipped for the challenges ahead and delivering better for its passengers, as we build back better from COVID-19.” The case for rail Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s Chief Executive, said: “There has never been a more important time to make the case for rail. The pandemic has spurred us to make real progress in removing barriers that have long hindered industry transformation. But of course, there is still much more to do, and we will do that faster and more effectively when we work together across the industry.” Meanwhile, in response to the calls, the three main rail supply trade bodies – RIA, Rail Alliance and Rail Forum Midlands – agree with a ‘one team’ approach and have set out five key ‘asks’ to help ensure Rail Project SPEED is a success.


50 | March 2021


F eoal ltiunrge s t o c k R

Create bespoke carpet designs with Coral Move FR and Coral Move Vision FR


oral Move FR and Coral Move Vision FR are exceptionally versatile, premium cut pile carpet solutions from Forbo Flooring Systems, offering extensive design possibilities to complement a wide range of rail interior design schemes. Luxurious, made to order floor coverings, manufactured from 100% Econyl yarn, that offer the aesthetic styling, durability and longlasting appearance retention required for heavily trafficked carriage interiors. Function and design With Coral Move FR, customers can really focus on what they want in terms of design. “Meeting EN 45545-2 (HL3) is only the beginning,” said Jemma Masters, Marketing Manager transportation, “Great wear characteristics, high comfort, easy daily and periodic maintenance and a wide choice of designs and colours are also of key importance for our rail customers.”

The polyamide yarn used in Coral Move FR gives it great dimensional stability, ensuring easy and effective cleaning for rail operators whilst maintaining visual appearance for longer than wool carpets. With daily vacuuming and periodic spray extraction cleaning, Coral Move FR can withstand heavy traffic and still provide underfoot comfort and attractive visuals for passengers and staff. Hidden in the construction of Forbo Flooring’s Coral Move FR is a special ingredient, ECONYL® nylon yarn, ensuring high-quality, durable and sustainable textile flooring. This yarn, produced by Aquafil, is 100% regenerated, using pre- and post-consumer waste material, for example old fishing nets, end-of-life carpets or plastic components. This waste material that would otherwise be dumped into landfills or oceans, is instead recovered by Aquafil from all over the 52 | March 2021

world and transformed through the ECONYL® Regeneration system into first quality nylon yarn. Design flexibility “What sets Coral Move FR aside from other textile floor coverings is that it doesn”t exist as a pre-designed product range; it’s simply a product construction, giving incredible design options to customers. In essence we”re providing a platform for designers, giving them a tried and tested product and the freedom to choose from over 140 colourways, resulting in thousands of different design and colour combinations,” said Jemma Masters. Coral Move FR carpet manufacturing allows for numerous tufting design styles, which can give very different overall aesthetics. Design freedom The Coral Move Vision FR product offers the same technical characteristics as Coral Move FR, whilst using a digital printing process. This allows for far greater customisation possibilities in terms of design and colour.

The digital printing process makes nonlinear type designs possible, is perfect for more complicated designs or where there are many different colourways within a design. Pantone and RAL colours can be matched. Installation options As an alternative to fully adhering the floor covering to the subfloor, Coral Move FR/ Coral Move Vision FR carpets can be supplied with a Pro-Fit backing. An adhesive-free installation system, improving efficiencies in time, cost and operation throughout the life of the rail vehicle. It comprises an integral velour backing to the floor covering and a special fire-retardant hook tape adhered to the sub-floor. Customers who use this system experience far Advertorial

shorter first installation times (normal adhesive installations require 24 hours drying time). For renewals the advantages are even greater as it is simply “pull up the old and drop down the new floor covering” that is required. No glue removal, no difficult sanding, no drying time. These advantages over traditional fully bonded adhesive systems mean cost savings for train operators as a result of: uicker and easier installation and Q replacement No need to wait for the adhesive to dry o waiting time before the carpet can be N walked on Immediate use of the train after installation The Pro-Fit velour backing cannot be added to latex backed material after production, so must be specified as “FR Pro-Fit” at the time of initial ordering. Custom services The customisation capabilities do not stop at colour and design, Forbo Flooring Systems can offer custom roll sizes or cut-to-shape pieces, bespoke packaging and material scheduling along with just in time deliveries, depending on the specific needs of each customer. Protecting your interior floor coverings By removing wet and dry soiling from the soles of shoes and wheel treads, an effective rail vehicle entrance system reduces premature wear and tear to interior floor coverings, minimizes cleaning and maintenance costs and protects passengers by reducing slip hazards. Coral FR entrance floor coverings all meet the EN45545-2 rail standard which relate to fire, smoke and toxicity. Available in four different design formats; Coral Classic FR, Coral Brush FR, Coral Duo FR and Coral Welcome FR, each with their own unique benefits. Forbo Flooring Systems offers a comprehensive and compliant floor and wall covering product portfolio for rail vehicles including high performance entrance systems, linoleum flooring, broadloom carpets, flocked floor coverings plus wall and ceiling coverings. For more information please contact us at: www.forbo-flooring.com/rail transport@forbo.com Tel: +44 (0) 1773 744121


IFnefartausrter u c t u r e

A pioneering railway company


eva Rail has become a reliable partner and leading supplier in the railway industry. Specialising in all levels of railway civils and signalling installation, it has found itself taking on a range of high-profile jobs across the country, thanks to the knowledge, experience, innovation and versatility of the team. Established in 2015, Seva Rail has already seen tremendous growth. Working with big names across the sector, it offers clients fully bespoke systems tailored to suit their requirements. Seva Rail’s Managing Director Gregg Smith explains the vision of the company: “When Seva Rail began the goal was to offer our clients a fully comprehensive construction management facility allowing clients to come to us for a variety of requirements. This positioned us as a convenient company, that works collaboratively with others to allow our clients’ projects to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.” It is an ethos that is working well. Seva Rail has established itself a solid reputation within the industry for its first-rate service and customerfocused ways, working hard to produce highquality work, while following the industry’s strict health and safety guidelines.

Network Rail and Transport for London require. Safety is something that Gregg is extremely passionate about: “We’re very proud of our excellent safety records. Safety and highquality work are everything in the industry. Our company ethos is “quality through safety” and that’s exactly what we strive to achieve.” Seva Rail has a dedicated team of in-house staff who work hard to promote and manage the safety of current and future projects, closely following safety guidelines. Each member of the team brings with them valuable experience and knowledge of all types of railway infrastructure which help Seva Rail deliver every time.

Gregg went on to say: “Customer service is so important to the way our team works; we fundamentally believe that our integrity and honesty alongside the dedication of the team allows us to deliver our goal of making sure the project is successful. “Our team has worked on a wide range of projects, including Thameslink, Hither Green, Angerstein resignalling and several track renewal sites for various delivery units across the south. The Docklands Light Railway, High Speed 1 and High Speed 2. “The team is always willing to go the extra mile, dedicated to quality workmanship

Quality through safety Safety and professionalism are Seva Rail’s top priorities. This ensures the company meets the stringent health and safety regulations, environmental and quality standards that 54 | March 2021



I n f r a s tFr euac t u r e

and working against timescales and within guidelines, showing commitment to the standard of work we pride ourselves on producing.” Seva Rail’s work ensuring that safety is paramount to a project doesn’t just stop at staff and project safety; a recent job included successfully installing platform end gates to protect the public also. Seva Rail offers a range of specialist services from: I nstallation of all types of cable management Systems (CMS) including Signalling, Telecoms and Power able and signalling asset recovery specialists C including full commissioning support to the large signalling contractor wide range of ancillary civils including A Location Apparatus Housing (LAH) bases and platforms, signal foundations and equipment room foundations. ivil engineering including embankment C stabilisation and drainage works ll types of boundary fencing including A palisade, chain-link, Clipex type and Kee Klamp handrail ail system equipment room refurbishment R undertaken within a ‘live’ environment ccess point and walkway installation and A upgrade work Plant and mechanical movements Specialist waste and recycling S upply of multi discipline personnel including Civil, Pway, S&T and Safety Critical

This dedication to the management of the business offers real value to their clients and it is proven by the record set by Seva Rail for delivering the work on time and always achieving the requirements set by the project leaders. The team’s expertise has led to them working on some high-profile projects, most recently assisting and supporting the team at Eleclink, in a project that is the first of its kind. Eleclink is an electrical connector under construction between the UK and France and the team has been supporting a valued client to install cable management and the cables between Folkestone and France via the Channel Tunnel.

‘We’re very proud of how the team take on these high intensity projects, thinking and acting quickly to guarantee a safe and efficient resolution’ “We’re very proud of how the team take on these high intensity projects, thinking and acting quickly to guarantee a safe and efficient resolution,” said Gregg. This can further be reflected in the company’s recent work repairing and removing multiple landslips, preventing derailment and disruption. In the case of a landslip emergency, 24-hour monitoring is set up with the client, enabling work to be initiated immediately to prevent any further damage when a landslip has been reported.

Seva Rail is then committed to working against the clock to protect and preserve the railway and ensure train and passenger safety, working under pressure to deliver a high-quality service. Sustainable Solutions Sustainability is important in today’s climate and in an industry that is under pressure to become more eco-conscious, Seva Rail has taken those steps to become more sustainable in the work it does. It has been investing in an eco-friendly fleet, upgrading to electric vehicles in an effort to minimise the amount of fuel, by strategically placing its vehicles to reduce travel time and in turn its carbon footprint as well as removing single use plastic across both our offices and sites of work. The Future Due to Seva Rail’s experience and expertise, as well as following stringent health and safety guidelines to produce high-quality work, it has solidified itself as a key player in the industry, with more to come. Its development and growth in an ever-evolving market has seen Seva Rail move closer towards its strengths, and with a re-brand in early 2020 the team show no signs of slowing down. Gregg says discussions are already happening that could see some industry leading moves from Seva Rail in the coming year. He said: “We have some exciting projects coming up that will see us working alongside some of the UKs leading companies in the rail industry over the coming months.” You can find a list of the work the company has completed via the Seva Rail website – www.sevarail.co.uk

Engineering professionals Within the railway civil engineering industry, it is key to provide high-quality design, construction, and operation of all types of railway systems, from mainline to high-speed rail. Fully qualified, experienced, and reliable staff are central to the way Seva Rail operates, as Gregg explains: “As someone who personally benefitted from completing an advanced modern apprenticeship at the start of my railway career I realise the importance of the correct training, mentorship and hands on experience offered by such schemes. In turn this type of career pathway supports the fundamental principles to Seva Rail’s success and therefore improving such a great industry” The company has accreditations with RISQS, ISO9001 and FORS Silver to name a few. railbusinessdaily.com


March 2021 | 55


Taking the biscuit Meenesh Mistry on his journey from Network Rail’s Finance Manager to co-founder of healthy food business Wholey Moly


t will probably come as a shock to many people that a decade ago Meenesh Mistry was a Finance Manager at Network Rail. Fast-forward to the present and, along with his wife Parul, he is proving he has all the ingredients to be a success in the biscuit world. It was three and a half years ago that the couple set up Wholey Moly, with a combined passion to create a healthy snack to give you that energy boost. After thousands of attempts of baking in a flat in London, which Meenesh admits includes an awful lot of failures, they have settled on their first snack which they describe as ‘an honestly good cookie’. “The idea for Wholey Moly came from our frustration at working in a corporate office where the 3pm energy slump is greeted with endless sugary short-term fixes that pick you up, then drop you back to zero an hour later,” said Meenesh. “We wanted that sweet treat with our afternoon cuppa, but one that could also be good for us, so we ripped up the baking manual and started from scratch to create something that does just that.” For Meenesh, the journey started in 2006 when he first joined Network Rail on the Finance Graduate Programme, where he completed his Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification. “It was a really good graduate scheme and I particularly liked it as apart from completing the CIMA qualification they also sent you out to various parts of the business,” he said. “I spent some time with guys in operations and we even got a day or two down at the track and maintenance. It gave me a good bird’s-eye view and it was really interesting to see how it all works and comes together.” A mixture of experience Meenesh spent over four and a half years at Network Rail, where in his final year he was a Finance Manager responsible for all financial and commercial aspects of managing Croydon Maintenance Delivery Unit. “There were a couple of steps between Network Rail and Wholey Moly,” he said. “After Network Rail I moved to Ernst & Young and that was a little bit different because I moved

56 | March 2021

into consulting. This gave me a really good view in understanding the whole operation and was helpful as I did always want to start a business.” Meenesh and Parul were researching ideas when they had the lightbulb moment of creating something that they were already doing themselves at home – making healthier snacks.

Looking back, I do think my time on the railways has helped “When we did a bit more market research, we found the food industry is booming with lots of opportunities, and although it was a massive risk, it felt like the opportunity we were looking for,” he said. “Looking back, I do think my time on the railways has helped. I got the CIMA qualification and having that finance background has been helpful in managing cash flows and various other things.

“The stint in a couple of different depots has really helped as you have to understand the railways to a decent degree, so you have to pick up that technical knowledge quite quickly. It’s the same in business: you have to pick up technical skills and knowledge to a good degree on a regular basis. “Secondly, you have really varied stakeholders. One minute you might be talking to people on the track, people in head office, customers and regulators. Similarly with Wholey Moly I’m dealing with a wide range of many stakeholders that are all as important as each other.” Recipe for success From the initial healthy vegan cookie, Wholey Moly now offers three varieties which can be snapped up at the likes of Selfridges, Whole Foods and Daylesford. Meenesh said: “We’re definitely doing a lot better than I thought we would be at this stage. “Looking to the future and our aim is to scale nationally, so a national listing in a supermarket. We also want to roll out new products, a wider range and beyond that is to start getting outside the UK, so just global domination really.” Visit www.wholeymoly.co.uk for more details. railbusinessdaily.com

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Infinitive Group has a four pillar solution architecture that is simple to understand and easy to implement: 1. Irris and Ramus platforms of train borne products acquire and harvest data from multiple sources

2. Pithoi platform is Infinitive Group’s Data Lake and is used to store data acquired and harvested data from Irris and or Ramus

3. Artemis platform is then be used to analyse the data and visualise the findings

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02/03/2021 14:36

Fea Te c ht unroel o g y

Leading with technology Unipart Rail’s Neil Walker on the future role of the business as a key for technological change


he rail industry has faced a succession of challenges to improve efficiency, cost effectiveness and performance. We are now set for significant change in the industry, and the need to deliver against these challenges is becoming ever more important. When I joined Unipart Rail I could see that the expertise, agility and engagement were there to power a real change in the way technology improvements can be driven through the supply chain to unlock potential for a more effective, efficient, high-performance railway. Acquisitions including businesses in signalling, power systems and asset management solutions demonstrated a drive to expand its capability across the principal technologies in the industry. Unipart as an industry leader Unipart is taking a leading position on the application of digital and Industry 4.0. We are engaged in a wide-ranging programme to continually develop digital capability across the business and we are collaborating with a wide range of organisations, across industry and the academic world, to generate new and different ideas in technology. We have developed our own centres of innovation. This includes the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, a joint venture with Coventry University, pioneering the manufacturing methods of the future. We also have embedded Unipart capability in such initiatives as the Hyperbat joint venture with Williams Advanced Engineering to innovate in the UK battery supply chain with high voltage battery systems, and advances in digital manufacturing at Rolls-Royce joint venture, MetLase. These point to a business with an unrelenting focus on being at the forefront of technological change. We are making huge advances in the deployment of Condition Based Maintenance, with Instrumentel’s technology now being deployed on vehicle fleets, delivering actionable data to TOCs to help them move to predictive maintenance. In depots and warehouses we are making a difference by taking the supply chain right into customers’ operations with SmartServe delivering kits of materials direct to the lineside of vehicle maintenance, using our Inventory Management and Vending solutions, helping to deliver the faster turn-around of assets and increased in-service activity. 58 | March 2021

Unipart Rail has also taken an industry– leading position in working with small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). These companies bring diversity and new innovation that help ensure the continued development of the railways. But the complexities of the industry can put up barriers to entry – and this can lead to transformative innovations being lost.

‘The rail industry has faced a succession of challenges to improve efficiency, cost effectiveness and performance’ SMEs form a significant part of our business and supply chain, so we invest in SMEs and help them develop. Our role is in enabling market availability to the SMEs, and making their products available to the market. It is through the development of a diverse capability in the supply chain that makes Unipart Rail a critical player in Advertorial

the creation of healthy pipelines of innovation to continually develop the industry. Getting the job done – now The advances we are making in deploying technology and advances in supply chains are built on our day-to-day mechanical, electrical and electronic manufacturing, service, repair and overhaul capabilities that drive the circular economy – keeping the existing assets of the railways at peak performance and ensuring that scarce and obsolete parts are maintained, whilst newer and more effective technologies are developed and deployed. Since 2017, the business has manufactured an average of over 100,000 individual products annually and repaired or serviced 90,000 assets, all across 4,022 different product lines – a massive contribution to the industry. Significant signalling expertise Unipart has a significant footprint in signalling, although this is often not fully recognised by the wider rail industry. We work with many of the OEMs and support the supply chain to deliver signalling renewals, as well as maintaining railbusinessdaily.com

Te c hFne oa ltougr ey

and overhauling signalling assets and being a signalling technology innovator and OEM in our own right. The breadth of our technology offer runs from LED signal and SSI signalling to solutions for ETCS and low-cost signalling. This wide and varied range, when coupled with our supply of third-party materials, is also supported by the team’s technical know-how that goes beyond the supply of the equipment – we understand signalling systems and help our customers design and procure the best solution for their project. Condition based maintenance Much of the service/repair support that we supply to the industry is on a periodicity basis – working with MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) to ensure that a product never fails in service, but this periodicity doesn’t allow for how hard the assets work – on vehicles, doors can fail for many reasons, leading to unnecessary (and costly) preventive maintenance. For example, with 30 per cent of the time spent by vehicles in a depot estimated as being taken up by manual failure diagnostics, implementing condition-based maintenance to avoid asset failure in the first place can reduce that time by around 60 per cent – increasing asset availability and enabling component maintenance rather than replacement. We think this can reduce train maintenance costs by up to 15 per cent – a significant amount. For a number of the ROSCOs, we are leveraging our digital capability in conditionbased monitoring systems, which are being increasingly adopted by asset owners, operators and maintainers to deliver optimal maintenance programs and cost savings. Condition technology built-in This is why we invested in the acquisition of Instrumentel. With its experience of Formula One vehicle monitoring and improvement it is now developing a widening portfolio of assets that can be monitored and maintained based on their condition. The solution, which takes data from existing monitored assets, fits other assets with sensors AND takes data from other systems and the environment, visualising it all in the Paradigm Insight system, provides our customers with rich data and automated decision making to identify and respond to asset degradation before failure. Paradigm Insight builds that rich picture of an asset – a digital asset profile that enables continuous monitoring and a full picture that over time links asset, status, performance and cost. railbusinessdaily.com

The CBSC vision We have joined Instrumentel’s technology with our digital supply systems to start building the Condition Based Supply Chain – the vision for a fully integrated asset/supply system that automates the entire supply chain to support: increased availability of assets reduced maintenance costs faster response times reduced in-service failure enhanced technology to improve end-user satisfaction Bringing the best of automotive manufacturing to the rail sector Unipart Rail’s significant existing manufacturing capability is now drawing on our automotive manufacturing business to enhance our offering.

‘Unipart Rail is the incubator and supply chain innovator’ This approach is already bearing fruit as we are now manufacturing rail plant at our Coventry facility, where we are growing output and enhanced manufacturing services to our rail customers. This includes bringing our capability in new battery technology to the rail sector, and the automotive manufacturing standards and performance into the rail industry. Investing in the future Unipart will continue to innovate and invest in new technology and capabilities that deliver real benefits and positive change for our customers. This includes developing low carbon, signalling and CBM propositions, increasing Advertorial

the sophistication of our supply chain solutions and developing the fully integrated conditionbased supply chain. Unipart Rail’s commitment to innovation is exemplified by our ongoing commitment as a founder member of the UK Rail Research Innovation Network (UKRRIN). Many readers will be aware of the UKRRIN initiative which will deliver a step-change in collaboration between the rail industry, universities, SMEs, and asset owners to deliver innovations. Our route to market for new innovation generated by SMEs and academia through the UKRRIN initiative will accelerate the development of new technologies into the sector. 2021 will see the launch of the new ‘Innovation Hub’ for the UKRRIN Centres of Excellence at Unipart Rail’s offices in Doncaster. Here we will showcase new innovation developed by the Centres of Excellence and provide the ‘hothouse’ environment needed by smaller companies to grow their businesses and give them an industry mentor, manufacturing partner and sales route to our domestic and international markets. Unipart Rail is the incubator and supply chain innovator, investing in building SMEs to embrace the changes the industry needs – we are here and ready to deliver efficiencies, cost effectiveness, resilience, performance and diversity, making the new innovations and technology available to the market. We stand ready to embrace change and lead the way on meeting the industry challenges. To engage with Unipart Rail, email enquiries@unipartrail.com or visit the website at www.unipartrail.com If you are an innovating business and are interested in working with us to access the market, email innovation@unipartrail.com March 2021 | 59

Inter view

A woman’s place – working on the railways Over 40 years ago Helena Wojtczak became the first female British Rail guard. She shares her story and the vital role women have and continue to play on the railways


t was 1978 and despite being told by the three managers who interviewed her for a train guard role that females were unsuitable and incapable of the work, Helena Wojtczak was ready to prove them wrong. “With great reluctance they (her interviewers) allowed me to attend the training school, but only because the new law – the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 – forced them to,” she said. “Training me was said to be a ‘waste of time and money’ because even if I passed the written exams they thought women could not pass the practical tests. “My cohorts at the training school mocked me; some blanked me. I was refused a uniform application form because making me a uniform was ‘pointless’ since I would never be a guard. I used to sob in the toilets, yet this barrage of ridicule and insult incited in me a determination to prove them wrong.”

Real Skills Training specialises in the education, training and assessment of personnel to the UK railway industry.

Her efforts paid off. She came top of the class in the exams and completed the practical test and, aged just 19, passed out as the only female among 12,000 British Rail (BR) train guards. The first woman employed as a train guard by BR, on March 23, 1978 she worked on her first train alone – the 12:46 Waterloo (Main) to Waterloo (Windsor). “A uniform was specially designed, just for me, and I was despatched to my depot to meet the 150 men who would be my day-to-day colleagues,” she said. “I’d earned a modicum of respect by passing the exams, and most of the men accepted me, and some were genuinely friendly. “I was very nervous when I worked on my first train alone and waved my flag and we moved off, but soon I began to feel a glow of pride that, in spite of discouragement and ridicule, I’d qualified as a guard – and I was still only 19. “For years I was a novelty and something to be remarked upon. I’d always been shy and yet I found that I secretly enjoyed people staring at me in disbelief and pointing me out to others, exclaiming ‘wow, look, a lady guard’. I felt like a celebrity.” The role was a far cry from her previous jobs as a switchboard operator and then a telephonist for British Rail at London Waterloo. “Instead of 9 to 5 I could be rostered to start at any hour, day or night,” she said. “Instead of the same half-dozen colleagues, I interacted with hundreds of staff and passengers every day and met people from every part of society – from tramps to royalty (literally). Instead of staring at a switchboard, I enjoyed endless miles of glorious countryside and seaside views from my brake van windows, and saw many gorgeous sunrises and stunning sunsets.

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60 | March 2021


Inter view

“My new job was healthy and invigorating. Instead of sitting down all day I was constantly exerting myself by walking through and around trains and along lengthy platforms; climbing up and down from track to train, and lifting and shifting parcels and mailbags. “Instead of spending meal breaks in the same canteen, I’d walk around towns I’d never visited before, browse the shops and eat at different cafes. I was out in all weathers, at all hours, getting fresh air, being rained and snowed on, but I enjoyed it, and had plenty of laughs along the way. “Last but not least, I was earning a man’s wage, which was double my previous pay, and by the age of 23, I was a homeowner.” Discrimination Although unfortunately Helena did experience examples of discrimination during her career in the railways, she says there were also some areas of improvement. “Pockets of nastiness towards women continued, but over the years it became increasingly untenable for those men to maintain that women ‘could not cope with the work’ when there was one, and eventually two, five, 10, 20, doing so on a daily basis,” she said. “The biggest improvement came when the NUR Women’s Committee devised a sexual harassment policy, which was then adopted by British Rail verbatim. “This gave women a written policy to cite when trying to protect themselves from abuse by colleagues. As one woman I spoke remarked, ‘the men still thought the same things about us, they just weren’t allowed to say it anymore’.” However, after 20 years Helena’s rail career was cut short after she damaged her spine whilst on duty. She said: “I did not want to leave; I was forced out. With 20 years’ service and a recent BSc Honours degree I was a valuable asset to the railway but needed my manager to pull a few

Helena Wojtczak (in the middle) at Eastbourne in 1995 with Doreen Spackman (left) and Thelma Durnford (right) who she interviewed for her book. They both worked as a signalwomen during the Second World War. strings to get me transferred to an office-based training or supervisory position. “Unfortunately, the manager, whom I reported for bullying over my sick leave after my accident, stuck to the letter of the rules that if a guard is physically unable to perform the job, they can be medically retired.

Women have worked in the industry since the 1830s. There were female guards and signalwomen during the First World War “The union did everything it could and provided a barrister, but the bosses offered me a settlement three days before the court hearing. They forced me to sign a confidentiality clause so I can say no more, but at 40 it felt like I was thrown on the scrap heap, with few transferable

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skills in a town with high unemployment.” The silver lining to this cloud was that Helena had plenty of time to finish writing her book: Railwaywomen, the history of women working on the railways, which she published in 2005. It was 16 years in the making, and something she had started researching whilst working in the industry. “My presence on the railway naturally prompted many comments and queries about women on the railways in the past,” she said. “Older colleagues assured me that women had done nothing but clean carriages, except for a handful who replaced men during the 1940s because of the war. “However, after I changed depots in 1987, I had access to a specialist railway history library at Ashford. It was there I discovered these claims were not true. Women have worked in the industry since the 1830s. There were female guards and signalwomen during the First World War as well as the Second.” Among the discoveries highlighted in the book includes the vital role women had played since the mid 1840s as level crossing gatekeepers – by the 1880s there were thousands employed.

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March 2021 | 61

Inter view

“It was a safety-critical role with responsibility for human lives, and without them the trains could not run,” she said. “And yet they were invisible nameless nobodies, known only to the people who lived close to, or used, the crossings. “Many of these women saved lives, and many lost their lives trying to save others, or even merely to save the gates from destruction. A number lost their own children, who strayed onto the line.” Forgotten history Helena discovered that Britain’s railways employed at least 50 station mistresses before 1900. “They were only allowed to be in charge of tiny, rural stations with no other staff, but they had sole charge and some even operated signals,” she said. Another forgotten group of railwaywomen that Helena is keen to highlight is those employed in the workshops. “The vintage panelled carriages in museums display the work of female upholsterers, blindmakers and dyers and French polishers,” she said. “They embroidered the companies’ monograms on napkins and antimacassars, knitted the string netting for overhead luggage racks and painted small, cast-iron objects such as the multicoloured crests that ornamented engines and carriages. “Inside the carriages on preserved railways fathers still point out to their children the craftsmanship of the men who made the oldfashioned fixtures and fittings, thus perpetuating the invisibility of workshop women. “There were also the brave pioneers who took over men’s railway work between 1914 and 1918, who were absolutely amazing. Imagine how thrilling it must have been for, say, a housemaid

to transform herself into a uniformed train despatcher on a station platform, or an engine cleaner, clad in greasy overalls, clambering all over a locomotive, or a signalwoman, controlling every movement of every train, all the time knowing that no woman had ever performed the work before. “They were the first females ever to don a uniform, to wear trousers in the workplace, to wield authority over the public; they pre-dated even women police. I feel a connection with every single one of them and never tire of finding and recording new information about them.”

Railwaywomen had three launches – one at the House of Commons, as well as at the TUC Conference in Brighton and at the National Railway Museum in York. Such has been its success that Helena has given several talks about her work, including at five UK universities. “I’m deeply proud to be the person who has given railwaywomen a permanent place in the written history of our country, the medium by which their lives — and in some cases their deaths — are recorded, chronicled and thereby honoured in perpetuity,” she said. “For my unique academic contribution to transport and social history, I was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. That was the proudest moment of my life; it means more to me than my degree, because you have to be elected by a board of very senior, discerning academics. “As a daughter of a working-class immigrant family, raised on a council estate in south London, who left school at 16 with no qualifications and low expectations, I’m proud that I have managed to undertake independent scholarly research and to produce academic work to a standard that has impressed such highly educated people.” The book is currently out of print, but can be bought in PDF format on CD for £15, post free. It can be ordered by emailing Helena at hastings.press@gmail.com

62 | March 2021


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F reeaitguhr te

Driving the Turnkey revolution for UK rail freight

WH Davis Group offers a one-stop shop solution for rail wagons, from design and build, through to maintenance and repair


lot has changed on the railways in the last 100 years, but one thing that is as important today as it was a century ago is the role of WH Davis Group. One thing that is different is that the group now consists of two businesses – WH Davis and Davis Wagon Services – which together offer the expertise of designing, building, maintaining and repairing rail wagons. The journey began in 1908 when the company started its life on the railways as a repairer and later as a manufacturer of small wooden-bodied mineral wagons. As the rail industry has transformed, so has WH Davis, which is now the only independent freight wagon manufacturer in the UK, and one leading the way in the design and building of rail freight wagons. 64 | March 2021

Innovation has been at the heart of the company’s success, a key reason why the company is the chosen organisation to build rail wagons, over rival competition in Europe and beyond.

‘As the industry moves towards digitalisation, we are constantly reviewing our processes to make our operations as efficient as possible’ Attention to detail is key, and for WH Davis this starts with its UK-based design team, that Advertorial

has extensive experience in bringing practical solutions to design issues, working alongside customers to satisfy operational requirements whilst ensuring compliance with required standards. Creating the magic Designs can be 3D models using SolidWorks or 2D using AutoCad, with design resources including Finite Element Analysis and in-house testing. Production centres around a 4.25-hectare site at Langwith Junction, with its own rail sidings that can accommodate around 65 bogie wagons. The factory has a workshop area of 7,500m2, which has nine overhead cranes with capacities up to 30 tonnes. railbusinessdaily.com

FFer ae ti g uh r et

The main workshop facilities have a rail connection to the sidings. Proven track record of innovation WH Davis is the trusted provider for the UK rail freight industry with many high-profile clients. A long list of achievements includes working with a large biomass power station to create a bespoke ‘supersized’, fully automated, covered hopper wagon specifically designed for the transport of biomass, with a 30% increase in capacity of anything previously seen on the UK network. More recently, WH Davis has led the way in the recycling of over 350 coal hoppers with its re-purposing design and modification into Aggregate Hoppers. The company has also won the contract to design and build 84 new triple deck EcoFret2 container flats which will allow maximum optimisation of loads within train lengths. The experts in maintaining and repairing rail wagons Whilst the design and build expert is WH Davis; for the maintenance and repair of rail wagons it is Davis Wagon Services that is an industry leader. Davis Wagon Services’ head office is situated in Immingham, with nine outstations strategically positioned throughout the UK to provide maintenance and repairs to its customers’ fleets of vehicles. This year marks the 14th anniversary of the company’s creation, following the acquisition by WH Davis, with the objective to broaden the offering to the UK rail market, and be able to offer a full turnkey product. railbusinessdaily.com

Although part of the group, Davis Wagon Services very much stands on its own, a continuing success story that has led to sustained growth and development year on year. This is down in large to a passion to strive to set new industry standards for quality, innovation and the delivery of outstanding solutions that keep rail wagons moving, and moving safely and reliably. While WH Davis is the expert in designing and building the rail wagons, maintenance and repair very much should be placed in the trust of Davis Wagon Services. Delivering outstanding solutions John Hall, Managing Director of Davis Wagon Services Limited, said: “We believe in momentum and will always push to set a new industry standard for quality, innovation and the delivery of outstanding solutions that ensures that our customers’ availability levels meet their expectations. “As the industry moves towards digitalisation, we are constantly reviewing our processes to make our operations as efficient as possible.”


UK experts for the UK freight industry Les Bryant, Engineering Director of WH Davis Group, said: “WH Davis and Davis Wagon Services are aligned in rail and working together we can offer that full turnkey offering for the lifecycle of the rail wagon, which has become the norm in the UK rail passenger industry. “Collectively all the design, engineering and maintenance teams are based in the UK, with the skills and knowledge to be able to design, build and maintain rail wagons for UK customers. “As an organisation, we have that unique ability of being able to offer a one-stop solution to the rail freight industry being able to not just build, but maintain the vehicle for its entire life.” Davis Wagon Services – 01469 576600 info@daviswagonservices.co.uk. www.daviswagonservices.co.uk WH Davis – 01623 741600 info@whdavis.co.uk www.whdavis.co.uk

March 2021 | 65

Platform 1



The first point of call for rail industry innovation

Network Rail implements new COVID app in less than a week COVID presents a real problem for physical industries like rail, where frontline staff work in close proximity. And it’s just as challenging for back-office employees working from home, where strained communication impacts productivity and contributes to burnout. Businesses need a way to quickly disseminate new guidelines to the disparate workforce, and to efficiently collect and process data from daily COVID inspections. Recently, Nutshell Apps helped Network Rail’s Works Delivery team quickly launch a digital reporting system that easily tracks and logs COVID-compliant working behaviours on the frontline. This new mobile app, alongside Nutshell’s COVID toolkit, is helping rail businesses stay safe and connected throughout lockdown and beyond. You can implement Nutshell’s suite of COVID apps in just two working days visit nutshellapps.com/rbd or email hello@nutshellapps.co.uk

TrainServ – harnessing the power of data to do “more” for “less”: TrainServ integrates multiple sources of data and converts it into easy-to-use information to help ops and planning do “more” for “less”: • “More”: Improve performance, timetables and safety for passengers and freight with knock-on impacts on customer satisfaction and revenue • “Less”: Save staff time and traction energy It’s about taking the lessons learnt from TfL, who operate very busy lines such as the Victoria Line, and applying those lessons to National Rail harnessing the latest tech: Every second counts and the railway is a system. TrainServ provides information to driving, performance, planning, station and control teams to zoom in and out of data and blend knowledge and tech to improve. The user interface and data visualisations are the best in the industry. But don’t believe us. Get in contact to see for yourself. Visit http://cogitare.biz/ or contact Larry Fawkner on 07932 614 425 / larry.fawkner@cogitare.biz

IRIS: Information System for Railway Station Staff IRIS is a new kind of information system to enhance frontline station staff’s communication and experience. IRIS’s digital display equips staff with a two-way communication mechanism, as well as integrating richer, faster, and more accurate information from different sources into one single view, including real-time passenger counts from platforms which will be reported in the system. This means staff can focus on speaking to the passengers, rather than spending time reporting and reconciling information from different sources such as telephone, radio, internet, and mobile apps. The simplified way of automatically reconciling all additional information such as number of passengers, real-time position of trains, list of stops, expected arrival time etc. allows staff to help passengers in making travel decisions/planning more effectively. Funded by the Department for Transport through the first of a kind round 2020 competition delivered by InnovateUK. For more information visit https://web.ljmu-iris.co.uk/ Or to get in touch email a.p.palin@ljmu.ac.uk or T.T.Nguyen@ljmu.ac.uk

Esoterix introduces GKT and CrowdAI GKT helps train operators do that most human of things: build relationships with the people who use trains. By linking passenger smartcard taps to live train arrivals and departures, GKT helps operators understand who travelled on which service. Its potential includes the personalised service updates and relevant product offers that modern consumers expect. CrowdAI gives passengers reliable information about how busy services will be for the journey they want to make. It machine learns from historic and real-time loading and contextual information to identify mega-trends and the impact of calendar events and weather. If you’re interested in developing lasting relationships with passengers, please join us on 17th March to find out more – esoterix.co.uk/putting-passengers-first. To get in touch email: liz.davidson@esoterix.co.uk

If you have a product or service you would like to promote using Platform 1, please email chris@rbdpublications.com 66 | March 2021


Heritage rail

Didcot Railway Centre through pictures Volunteer photographer Frank Dumbleton has been named Unsung Hero in recognition of 60 years of service

Locomotive No 7808 Cookham Manor travels through York station as part of the 150th anniversary of railways, August 1975


t was a journey that started in 1961 when four 16-year-old friends of Frank Dumbleton decided they wanted to buy a steam locomotive. A letter was posted to The Railway Magazine and shortly after that money started to trickle in. By 1964 they had raised £750 and were able to purchase their first locomotive, No. 1466, after which the collection grew rapidly. Fast-forward to 2021 and Didcot Railway Centre, operated by the Great Western Society, preserves, restores and operates – as a permanent public exhibition – locomotives, rolling stock, equipment, machinery and relics with particular reference to the former Great Western Railway and its successors. Frank has been there since day one and has

been recognised for the countless hours he puts in taking photographs, acting as a guide, museum steward and raising awareness on social media. He was named an “Unsung Hero” at Tourism South East’s Beautiful South Awards Excellence. Frank said: “It was quite a surprise when I learned that I had been shortlisted for the Unsung Hero category. There are hundreds of volunteers at Didcot Railway Centre whose contribution is equally valuable. I suppose photography has become more important in the past few years with the rise of social media and the insatiable need for pictures to illustrate Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts.” Visitors to the centre can see almost 200 years of railway history including Great Western Railway steam locomotives, carriages, wagons, buildings

and smaller artefacts based around the original 1930s Engine Shed and Coal Stage. There is also a section of Brunel’s original broad-gauge track complete with replica locomotives and coaches. Frank added: “The locomotive collection represents many of the standard types introduced by the Great Western Railway at the beginning of the 20th century and perpetuated in a spirit of evolution for the next half century. As such it is an almost unique example of continuity in business and management, worthy of study. “Apart from the pleasure of being involved in Didcot Railway Centre and watching it develop and prosper, I have also made many friends who have shared my interest for up to 60 years. It is a great privilege to meet them week after week, and share our knowledge and experience with our visitors.” TRANSFORMING


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68 | March 2021


Heritage rail

Steampunk artists visit the centre in July 2019

Lady of Legend, a retro-fit to recreate the Saint class of the early 20th century, July 2020

Locomotive No 1466 with Graham Perry (left) and Angus Davis (right), two of the original 16-year-olds from 1961 who founded Didcot

June 2015 was the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo

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March 2021 | 69

F e a itnuirneg Tr

We’ll get you on the right track!


ennant has been at the forefront of the Technical Publications and Training industry from the days of paper, to today’s age of evolving digital technology, which offers limitless potential for information transfer. So, what do we do? Pennant’s experienced team of professionals are able to: P rovide targeted information for specific user groups across a range of industry sectors onsider and adapt appropriate production C methods and resources se the delivery mechanism required by the U client dd value through experience, capability A and versatility eliver at the right time and at the point of D need anage the lifecycle of the project, which M requires regular reviews that many in the sector find challenging. 70 | March 2021

Our contracts have included the design, production and development of operator and maintenance manuals, work instructions, illustrated parts catalogues, training courseware, and the delivery of both classroom and practical training.

Pennant’s connections with rail industry primes and consultancies have given us the knowledge and experience to provide our solutions around the globe In turn, this has opened the possibility of innovative VR, Computer-Based Training (CBT) and e-learning, to dramatically reduce centralised training costs and provide the means of allowing trainees to practice hazardous procedures in a completely safe virtual world. Advertorial

Pennant is a leader in developing interactive manuals, CBT, eLearning and web based deliveries. Additionally, we also offer full graphic design services. Pennant has supported Network Rail in the development of Electrical Control Room (ECR) Simulators for implementation alongside classroom training, enabling students to put into practice the ECR’s working procedures and principles provided by traditional instructor-led training. The system facilitates a student/ instructor debrief by capturing all system interactions. R41 Product Suite Our R4i Product Suite provides all the tools you’ll need to create, manage and use information to its best advantage, that is vital to the operation and maintenance of your complex assets. The R4i product suite enables the analysis and management of data and the delivery of information to the user at the place of need, at the time required and, in the format, desired. railbusinessdaily.com

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Pennant and Track Access Services 2019 saw Pennant acquire Track Access Services, a UK company operating since 2002. Track Access supplies a wide variety of services to the transportation sector. Their products and services are used extensively by Network Rail, train and freight operators throughout the UK and Ireland, and are designed to assist and support all stages of projects in a safe and costeffective manner. Track Access provide: Driver Training Videos for Network Change and Route Learning Route Maps and Handbooks for individual projects or across whole networks Online delivery via the Track Access Portal Film and Media production for safety and operational training 3D Railway Models to support Driver Training, Signal Sighting, BIM and Simulation Support of survey activity through the collection of video and laser scan data

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Our team of camera operators, video editors and illustrators have vast experience producing material for drivers to assist with initial training, route learning and briefing for Network Change. Our driver’s point-of-view video, enhanced with on-screen graphics, professional commentary and virtual reality modelling, provides an ideal platform for maintaining and updating route knowledge. The accompanying Track Access Route Maps are designed to provide all the information a driver needs to successfully

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Pennant – Track Access support railway operations from data collection to driver training through innovation, knowledge and experience

navigate the railway in a format that is clear, concise, and easy to understand in an operational environment. All this is delivered via the Track Access Portal, our centrally maintained library for streaming to computers and mobile devices, which enables users to access the very latest information. Using our knowledge of railway operations and experience of video production we have produced training and safety films for Train Operating Companies that cover subjects such as Driver Only Operations, fire evacuation procedures for newly introduced rolling stock and introductions to Automatic Train Operation and ETCS for drivers. We are leaders in the production of Driver Training Materials throughout the UK and Ireland since 2002. Developed to support driver briefing for Network Change, our talented 3D modelling team produce highly accurate and realistic virtual models of the railway from the latest 3D CAD and design data. These models have proved invaluable not only for Driver Training but also to support Desktop Signal Sighting activity, BIM and Simulation. Building on the foundation of our video and 3D modelling activity, we are also able to support planning, surveying and design activity on the railway through the fitting of specialist equipment to in-service locomotives. This enables the capture of GPS, inertial measurement data and full 360-degree laser scans to deliver synchronised route video and point cloud data which complements 3D CAD and BIM modelling on infrastructure projects. Visit www.pennantplc.com for more information or email rail@pennantplc.co.uk

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March 2021 | 71

A$132.5m grant for Canberra light rail extension S tage 2A of light rail from Alinga Street to Commonwealth Park has passed another significant milestone with the federal government granting environmental approval for its construction. The announcement comes as the ACT Government continues its work on the design of Stage 2 of light rail to Woden, with funding provided through the 2020-21 ACT Budget. A$2.1 million will be invested on early works design to raise London Circuit. Raising London Circuit is a crucial enabling project for light rail Stage 2A and will improve the urban realm and pedestrian and cycling access between the CBD, City West, Acton and the Acton Waterfront. The project will raise the London Circuit road level on either side of Commonwealth


lstom has completed and put into service the interlocking system covering 328km of mainline railway on the Eskisehir-KutahyaBalikesir line for the Turkish State Railways Administration (TCDD). Delivered in eight sections, the interlocking system for the first five sections, over 182-km and including the Telecommunications and Traffic Control Center (CTC), was completed and commissioned on 5th December 2020. The remaining three sections, totalling 146km, started service on 5th February 2021. Mama Sougoufara, Alstom Middle East and Turkey Managing Director, said: “We are proud to see the fruition of our work on the EskisehirKutahya-Balikesir railway line. “We are a committed long-term partner to Turkey, addressing its mobility needs and supporting the upcoming transport projects.” 72 | March 2021

A$1.3 million for feasibility studies to assess the benefits of extending light rail even further from Woden to Mawson. Light Rail to Woden will create thousands of local jobs during construction, supporting the economic recovery of our city in the coming years.

Hitachi steps up Swedish digitalisation plan


itachi Rail has announced its technological partnership with Trafikverket (Ester) to roll out its ERTMS level 2 signalling system on the Malmbanan Arctic Circle section, within the frame of the Swedish national program of railway digitalisation. Within the frame of the new contract, Hitachi Rail will provide ERTMS level 2 base line 3.6 systems and related equipment to upgrade the 140km long line, including 14 stations as well as technical buildings. In 2008 Hitachi Rail started the collaboration with Trafikverket through the Ester framework and

Photo: Hitachi Rail

Alstom completes the interlocking project in Turkey

Avenue, taking around two years to complete. It involves changing the current split-level, overpass-underpass configuration into a level intersection. Construction is expected to commence in the 2021-22 financial year. The 2020-21 Budget also allows for around

Photo: Australian Capital Territory

International news

started to deploy the ERTMS technology on Haparandabanan as ERTMS pilot line. Eric Morand – Head of Nordic region says “We are very proud of Trafikverket again showing its confidence in Hitachi Rail and our contribution to the modernisation

of this vital northern line. Further to that initial step, Hitachi Rail will be prepared for the same for the upcoming initiatives for the remaining core network to be upgraded by 2030 (mainly ScanMed East and ScanMed West).”

Canada commits to C$14.9bn public transport funding


he Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has announced C$14.9billion for public transit projects over the next eight years, which includes permanent funding of C$3billion per year for Canadian communities beginning in 2026-27. This announcement provides cities and communities the

predictable transit funding they need to plan for the future, and is part of a plan to create one million jobs, fight climate change, and rebuild a more sustainable and resilient economy. The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “When we invest in public transit infrastructure, we are supporting

good, middle-class jobs, creating better commutes, fighting climate change, and helping make life easier and more affordable for Canadians. “We will continue to do what it takes to ensure our economic recovery from COVID-19 and build back a more resilient country for everyone.” railbusinessdaily.com

International news

Knorr-Bremse to equip Berlin Metro


norr-Bremse has won the company’s largest multi-system order to date in its collaboration with Swiss rail vehicle manufacturer Stadler. It is to supply Stadler with braking, entrance and climate control (HVAC) systems for 606 new metro cars destined for Berlin Metro operator BVG. This is the company’s first order for entrance and HVAC systems in the metro segment in conjunction with Stadler Deutschland. Deliveries for the initial order are due to commence in Q4 2021, with the final shipments to be made by the end of 2026. Dr Jürgen Wilder, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG and responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division, said: “In terms of both its size and its relevance, this order represents a huge success for our company and is the largest and longest-term order Knorr-Bremse has received from Stadler to date. “Building on the longstanding collaboration 132x188 pageStadler ad:Layout 1 07/09/2017 11:55 betweenhalfBVG, and Knorr-Bremse,

Colas joins Casablanca tramway extension team


we are delighted to help make this far-sighted investment in the new generation of Berlin Metro vehicles a reality. “With a view to local value added and as a sign of our long-term commitment to the city where the metro cars will operate, our Berlin plant will also be playing a major part in the production and servicing of the equipment.” In addition, for the first time ever, KnorrBremse will be supplying entrance and HVAC systems for metro cars from Stadler Page 1 Deutschland.

olas Rail has won two contracts as part of the project for the new lines T3 and T4 of the Casablanca tramway in Morocco. The first contract, awarded by the local development company Casablanca Transport en Site Aménagé SA (Casa Transport SA), involves the electrification of both new lines. The T3 and T4 lines will help strengthen the public transport network of the most populous city in Morocco. Line T3 will serve 20 stations over a 14km-long double-track platform, and line T4, with its 12.5km-long double-track platform, will serve 19 stations. This contract, worth €24 million, involves the design, construction and commissioning of 25km of overhead contact line, as well as the provision of power supply systems, with the installation of 21 electrical substations. Colas Rail also won a second contract, which involves the laying of 14km of track and 11 switches and crossings on section 3, located in the city centre of Casablanca, for both future tramway lines.


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March 2021 | 73


BAM Ritchies provide fully integrated, digital, predictable, collaborative ground engineering solutions, with no surprises. So you’ll know what to expect, and we’ll get it right first time. ritchies@bamritchies.co.uk www.bamnuttall.co.uk/groundengineering 01236 467000

ITAL works with businesses looking for productivity improvements, in both the management of people and systems. We bring technology improvements to generate efficiencies that positively impact the bottom line, employees and customers. ryan.leather@ital-uk.com www.ital-uk.com 08445 447 327

Jobson James Rail is a national specialist railway insurance broker, the market leader in the UK by a huge margin with over 270 rail clients across the UK, Middle East and Australasia. keven.parker@jjrail.co.uk jjrail.co.uk 07816 283949

Kelly Rail is a principal contractor to all major UK industry service providers, specialising in multi-disciplinary solutions including, telecommunications, SISS, signalling, M&E, lineside civils and electrification HV & LV. info@kellyrail.co.uk www.kelly.co.uk 0208 424 0909

Railway electrification specialists. Navitas Engineering has the experience and capability to provide professional consultancy, design and testing services for both AC and DC traction systems. www.navitasengineering.com/contact 020 3488 2662

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The first stop for all your industry news and updates – railbusinessdaily.com Subscribe for your free daily briefing Newsletters sent out every weekday at 7am Sign up at railbusinessdaily.com 74 | March 2021


Movers and shakers

John Larkinson confirmed as ORR Chief Executive Officer


he Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has confirmed John Larkinson as Chief Executive Officer, following a public competition. As is protocol for a role at this level the appointment by the ORR Board has now been endorsed by the Prime Minister. John has been interim CEO since October 2018. He is an economist by background, spending most of his career across a range of transportrelated posts in consultancy and in central government, including as Director of Network Regulation & Affordability at the Strategic Rail Authority. Joining ORR in 2005, John has

been Director of Railway Markets & Economics and Director of Planning & Performance, and has been a member of the ORR Board

since March 2017. ORR Chair, Declan Collier, said: “The Board is very pleased to have been able to appoint

John following a well-contested competition. “I also want to thank John for the excellent work he has done as interim CEO through an extended and really challenging period. “We welcome the opportunity to now continue to draw on his experience and expertise as he takes on the permanent role.” John Larkinson said: “I thank the Board for its continued confidence in me and am delighted to be taking up the permanent role. “I look forward to continuing to work with the rail and road industries, ensuring that the ORR delivers its role to protect the public interest.”

Head of Site appointed for Long Marston P

orterbrook has announced the appointment of Mark Knowles as Head of Site for the Long Marston rail facility. Mark brings to this new role a wide range of first-hand operational and engineering experience. P re v i o u s senior ro l e s include Managing Director of Arriva Train Care and Interim Engineering Director at KnorrBremse Rail Services. Mark has also supported a range of rail related businesses in a consultancy role. As well as supporting initial

mobilisation at the Long Marston site, he will also take on long-term development and operational management of the Warwickshire facility. Jason Groombridge, Director of Engineering S er vices, commented: “We are delighted to have attracted such a highcalibre candidate. Mark brings deep knowledge of the rail industry and shares our passion and vision for the Long Marston facility.” Mark Knowles, Head of Site, said: “I am really proud to have been appointed by Porterbrook to

oversee the transformation of this historic location to meet the needs

of the future railway. I look forward to working with colleagues across our company and industry to make this a reality.” Mark will be reporting to Neil Foster, Fleet Services Director. Porterbrook takes over the Long Marston facility at the end of June 2021, under a 15-year lease with site owner St. Modwen. The extensive rail-connected rail facility covers 135 acres and consists of 12 miles of storage sidings, a two-mile test-track loop, a short length of electrified line and a number of rail-served light maintenance structures.

Universal appoint Steve Cordwell as Business Development Manager


niversal Group, the specialist piling, civils and resource company has announced the appointment of Steve Cordwell as Business Development Manager. Steve brings a wealth of business development experience from his 25 years in the rail railbusinessdaily.com

industry, during which time he has worked for a number of the leading infrastructure contractors and design consultancies. To support the planned growth of Universal Group, Steve will be accountable for optimising opportunity through developing relationships with existing clients

and attracting new business through targeted expansion of the current client base, as well as leading the client relationship management philosophy of the company. Managing Director, Richard Lowe, said: “Steve will be a real asset to our leadership team and

reflects the talent we continue to attract to join us here at Universal Group. “After a challenging 2020, the recruitment of Steve as our Business Development Manager represents our commitment to delivering strategic growth during 2021 and beyond.” March 2021 | 75

Movers and shakers

Angel Trains CAF Rail’s Christine Fernandes appointed announces new chair of Women in Rail for Wales new Chairman h r i s ti n e Fe r n a n d e s , Christine said: “Through



ark Russell has taken over as Chairman of Angel Trains, one of Britain’s leading train leasing companies. Mark Russell CBE was Chair of DE&S, the Ministry of Defence’s procurement and support organisation, which is responsible for a £12 billion defence equipment spend and employs 11,500 staff. His previous experience includes a five-year tenure as a board member of Eurostar International and a similar tenure as a board member of London & Continental Railways. He replaces Tom Smith, who stepped down from his role after two successful threeyear terms. During Tom’s stewardship, Angel Trains has undertaken an unprecedented programme of asset renewals and enhancements, including recent innovations to deliver green rolling stock technologies. Mark Russell said: “Angel Trains is an established and leading investor in UK rail, working alongside industry partners and government to deliver exceptional asset management and innovative rolling stock solutions. “I am delighted to join the highly experienced leadership team as we continue the collaborative efforts needed to address industry challenges and opportunities to make rail more sustainable.” 76 | March 2021

Business Development UK & NI for CAF Rail, has been appointed the new chair of Women in Rail (WR) Wales Regional Group. Christine, who has taken over the role from Network Rail’s Amanda Newton, has more than 20 years’ experience in the rail industry, starting her career as an engineering management trainee with British Railways Board. She joined CAF in 2017 and has been part of the team in the recent contract awarded to Wales and Borders. Christine has been a member of the WR group for both London and Wales since their inception. The group comprises a committed collection of women from across the railway industry in Wales offering a support platform for WR members working in

the Wales and Western region, encouraging female talent to the sector and furthering the charity’s agenda of improving gender balance, diversity and inclusion. WR members are provided with an opportunity to expand their professional development and personal network through workshops and access to a unique cross-industry mentoring programme.

my career I have faced some challenging aspects as a woman and, whilst there is acknowledgement and improvement, there is a lot more to be done. “I and my committee members are excited about the opportunities we can provide to support and empower women in the rail industry. “We will look to provide a forum that not only develops and expands their local network, but also provides an outlet that underpins and supports professional development, confidence, and new opportunity. “In the longer term, and to reinforce the rail industry as an attractive career route, I intend on being more visible in the Welsh community, supporting and driving local initiatives.”

Alstom appoints Nick Crossfield as UK and Ireland Managing Director following Bombardier acquisition


lstom has appointed Nick Crossfield as Managing Director for the UK & Ireland. Nick held the same role for Alstom prior to its acquisition of Bombardier Transportation which was completed on 29 January. The acquisition creates a world leader in sustainable mobility, and in the UK the leading private sector rail company. Alstom is responsible for supporting around 67% of the UK’s rail fleet and employing over 6,000 people, mainly based in the East Midlands and the North of England. This includes 2,000 people at the facility in Derby, the largest train factory in the country, and the Alstom technology centre at Widnes. Nick joined Alstom in 2015 as Managing Director of Train Control where he successfully led the

integration of SSL Ltd into Alstom’s UK & Ireland business and secured Alstom’s largest ever UK signalling contract for the full re-signalling of the Great Western Main Line between Reading and Paddington. He has previously worked as Managing Director of Siemens Rail Automation UK, Managing Director of INVENSYS Rail Ltd and Director of contract and procurement at Network Rail. He said: “Alstom UK and Ireland is in a great position to deliver even more for our customers as the Bombardier acquisition adds scale, a wider range of products and greater capability. I am delighted and honoured to be leading us on the next step of the journey.” Nick said that in both the UK and Ireland, the appetite for sustainable

mobility had never been greater, and Alstom was well placed to deliver the widest range of smart solutions in the rail market, from innovative highspeed rolling stock, metros and trams to maintenance, modernisation, infrastructure and signalling. Matt Byrne, previously Bombardier’s President, UK & Ireland, becomes Alstom’s new global Head of Services. railbusinessdaily.com

Movers and shakers

Stagecoach’s Rob Jones newly elected Chair at TBF


ollowing the annual election for serving members of the Board of Trustees, Rob Jones, Managing Director Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, has been appointed Chair of the Transport Benevolent Fund CIO. Rob has been a serving trustee for the past 10 years and picks up the baton from outgoing chair, Chris Sullivan, currently with FirstBus, Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire, who retired from the post in early February 2021. Rob said: “I am extremely honoured to be asked to take on the role of Chair for the fund, and I thank my fellow trustees for their

confidence in my ability to take up the position. “My fellow Board members and I thank Chris Sullivan for his contribution during his time at the helm. He has been a great ambassador for the fund’s work and I am looking forward to continuing working together in our role reversals. “Of course, the past 12 months have been particularly challenging for everyone, but TBF has been operational throughout and continues to offer support to those members who find themselves in need. The fund continues to evolve and we have some exciting

times ahead with the increase in the value of benefits available; streamlining of the claims process; and the introduction of a membership portal, making

access to personal records so much easier for members.” Chris said: “It has been a pleasure to serve as Chair of the Board of Trustees and I am extremely proud of the fund’s work, but after more than 10 years in the post I feel that it’s time to step aside and allow new blood with fresh ideas to lead the way. I will continue to serve as a Board Trustee and offer my full support to Rob in his new position.” During the election process, Ian Wilson, Network Rail Asset Engineer (Structures), was re-elected as Vice-chair of the fund.

Former MD of Network Rail’s supply chain joins Turner & Townsend


lobal consultancy business Turner & Townsend has appointed the former Managing Director of Network Rail’s national supply chain as part of the senior management team in the UK. Nick Elliott MBE, a former Director-General of the UK Vaccine Taskforce (VTF), has been appointed to further enhance the company’s programme manager capability. Under Nick’s leadership the VTF, which sits within the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, formed an ambitious programme to


build the UK’s vaccine capability and capacity. It is now being successfully delivered to the UK population.

Patricia Moore, UK Managing Director, said: “Nick has an incredible track record in worldclass programme management and we are delighted to welcome him. “His experience in delivering an exemplar in programme management through the Vaccine Taskforce will enable us to draw great parallels and apply this to the UK’s most significant programmes. “Nick joins at a time when infrastructure investment is front and centre of the country’s plans to build back better. “To deliver successfully, the

industry needs to transform its approach to major programmes and we are proud to work on initiatives such as the Construction Playbook and the forthcoming IPA Routemap that are driving this change.” Director Nick Elliott MBE said: “Turner & Townsend has a clear ambition to be the go-to consultancy for programme management globally. “I am looking forward to bringing my experience to bear and helping to shape a more robust and capable industry that is ready for successful delivery.”

March 2021 | 77


Margaret Hickish MBE – the railway infrastructure we have today is more accessible because of her work


ributes have been paid to Margaret Hickish MBE, who sadly died earlier this year. Among her achievements, she was recognised for developing disabled access on the railway and at the London 2012 Summer Olympics. In 2013 Margaret joined Network Rail’s Diversity and Inclusion team, spending six successful years as the Access and Inclusion Manager, in which she developed and championed principles of inclusive design – helping to make depots, offices, stations and infrastructure more accessible for all. She also introduced Network Rail’s Built Environment Accessibility Panel, an independent resource made up of disabled people, set up to advise and challenge projects on accessibility. To date, the panel has advised more than 250 major railway projects and schemes. Jonathan Payne, Programme and Frameworks Manager, Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, who worked closely with Margaret, said: “I personally learnt so much whilst working with Margaret during my first two years in this role on a variety of projects. “Being able to travel the country with her on trains was invaluable. Getting to see accessibility through her eyes as a wheelchair user provided an understanding of many of the challenges our disabled passengers face.

“She was tenacious with a real drive to ensure we not only reached the required standards on accessibility, but we should strive to far exceed them. “Margaret also did a lot to improve the quality and reliability of passenger assistance through training courses and mentoring of our station colleagues who provide assistance to our older and disabled passengers.

The railway infrastructure we have today is more accessible because of Margaret’s work, as will be future enhancements “The railway infrastructure we have today is more accessible because of Margaret’s work, as will be future enhancements.” Among her achievements before joining Network Rail was responsibility for the highly acclaimed Accessibility and Inclusive Design of the Olympic Park and Venues in 2012 – hailed the most inclusive and accessible in the Games’ history. 78 | March 2021

In 2014, Margaret was voted the most influential disabled woman and third most influential disabled person by the Disability News Service in the Equality, Consultancy and Access category. She was also included in the Power 100 List 2015 of people with a disability or impairment. In 2015, Margaret was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to disabled people. Invaluable experience Loraine Martins, director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, said: “I worked with Margaret on the construction of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and knew that her experience would be invaluable to us here at Network Rail. “Margaret’s influence has been far reaching. From the Department for Transport’s inclusive transport strategy published a couple of years ago, to our work with the Office of Rail and Road on the new accessible travel policy, right through to how we introduce reasonable adjustments for our disabled colleagues – Margaret’s mark is engrained in our approaches. “I’m forever indebted to Margaret, who shaped my approach to disability and accessibility, and whilst I miss her dearly, I’m also heartened in the knowledge that we continue to work hard to sustain and build on the changes which are part of Margaret’s lasting legacy.” railbusinessdaily.com

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