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OCTOBER 2016 - ISSUE 144




Liverpool has two Caverns - the one made famous by the Beatles and now Merseyrail’s Central Tunnel.



The flooding of the railway between Oxford and Didcot has been a longstanding problem.

Rail Engineer writers highlight some of the interesting products and equipment from Messe Berlin.


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Rail Engineer • October 2016


Contents Britain Runs On Rail

Free badge attached to the cover. To read more about Britain Runs On Rail see our sister publication RailStaff - Issue 226.

News  Oxford link, Berlin marathon, LevenMouth revival.


Reinstating Shakespeare Cliff  10 Mark Phillips has travelled to Dover to see the result of nine months’ hard work. Come Hell or High Water  24 Vaults under Camden once housed two beam engines, pulling trains out of Euston.

Eighth Wonder

Successfully Raising the Formation  Collin Carr reports on the Hinksey Flood Alleviation Scheme.


Rising to the challenges of CP5  34 Construction Marine Limited benefited from long-term framework contracts.

18 An Interesting Year

All the finalists for this year's Most Interesting Awards in 12 categories.


Fulwell’s Blue Lagoons  Grahame Taylor links flooding in the Thames Valley to King Henry VIII.


A Concrete Solution  Concrete isn’t just smooth and grey, as Aggregate Industries proved in Nottingham.


The Next Big Thing  Paul Darlington visits with members of The Royal Society.


Brexit - Signalling Implications for the UK  Clive Kessell considers what the UK’s exit could mean for signalling’s acronyms.


Can Lean Help Rail?  52 Chris Owen contemplates the latest automotive manufacturing practices.

Railways and Rubber Ducks

Sustaining the Future  The new IMechE Railway Division chairman considers what lies ahead.


Rail Exec Club, Drapers' Hall, London  60 Collin Carr networked and listened to thoughts on exporting over a good lunch. Broken Rails - Causes and Prevention  Qasam Javaid attended the Institute of Rail Welding’s latest technical seminar.


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in the December issue of Rail Engineer. Got a fantastic innovation? Working on a great project? Call Nigel on 01530 816 445 NOW!

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Rail Engineer • October 2016

Shakespeare's cliffhanger

Editor Grahame Taylor

Production Editor



Nigel Wordsworth

Production and design Adam O’Connor Matthew Stokes

Engineering writers

Advertising Asif Ahmed

Chris Davies

Jolene Price

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The small print Rail Engineer is published by RailStaff Publications Limited and printed by Pensord. © All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright owners. Part of: ®

Every so often, Rail Engineer magazine gets all cultural. This month, we have literary extracts from Shakespeare and Henry VIII - just short ones, you may be relieved to hear! You’ll find the first in Mark Phillips’ account of the rescue of the railway between Dover and Folkestone after the winter washout. Taking a line across a beach on a timber viaduct seemed like a good idea in 1849. It lasted a remarkably long time, helped by some work in 1927 that effectively buried it. But the idea had a shelf life. Somewhere near Euston station. Graeme Bickerdike’s tale of the vaults that needed to be drained, inspected and secured has a whiff of mystery and a lot more besides. This listed throwback to the very earliest days of railway engineering emphasises the fearlessness of our Victorian forebears. The layout of tunnels under Liverpool is complicated, as is the access for repairs. Work carried out seven years ago proved to be difficult and costly. With further repairs on the cards it was necessary to find a better way. Graeme has been to see some bold temporary works which have enabled the current restoration to be done at a quarter of the rate per metre. We have two items which both look at some thoughtprovoking concepts. Paul Darlington, following in the footsteps of Newton and Babbage, went off to the Royal Society to find out about the ‘next big thing’. In fact, there were several ‘next big things’, including a possible successor to GSM-R which wouldn’t have all those masts and base stations. But, most importantly, there was a strong emphasis on the UK’s need for high levels of skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. On a similar theme, Clive Kessell looks at ETCS and the possible future technological moves. He even suggests that RETB, that elegant workhorse for rural lines that just refuses to be obsolete, could have yet another new lease of life to add to all its previous leases of life. Richard East, the new chairman of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Railway Division, concentrated his inaugural lecture on his views of future railway developments. He also touched on ETCS and on multiengined locos. But readers may be surprised to hear that there is a plastic bogie frame already undergoing acceptance and service trials. Clive was there to report for us. Another surprise may be that Network Rail owns a design consultancy that exports railway knowledge and expertise throughout the world. This snippet was picked up by Collin Carr at the latest Rail Exec Club held at the Drapers' Hall. Make a note of the next Rail Exec Club which will be held on 10 March 2017 at the Ironmonger’s Hall, London. It’s just the place to find out what’s really going on. Those who travel between Didcot and Oxford may

have noticed that, when the rains come, there are often line closures because of flooding. Over the years, changes in land use have led to water being trapped behind the railway formation as it tries to reach the River Thames. As Collin Carr relates, the answer appears simple. Just raise the railway above flood level leaving a few culverts for the water. The solution, however, is not quite as simple. Dr Chris Owen, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Industry Forum, has been invited to draw parallels between the rail and the automotive sector. As is being discovered in many aspects of railway work, there are efficiency techniques around that have a lot to offer us. A drainage job through a short tunnel on a commuter branch may sound almost mundane. But, as our coverage of the project at Fulwell shows, things were a little more complicated. Deep sumps, pumps and a 600-metre pumping main to storage lagoons were needed to get rid of regular flooding problems. Just when you think that the world of rail and rail welding has gone quiet, the annual institute of rail welding conference puts us right. Dr Qasam Javaid introduces us to rail that doesn’t corrode (much) and to an ever expanding amount of rolling contact fatigue. Some things stay the same, however - welding on the London Underground system is never straightforward! There are a couple of ways you can sample the delights of InnoTrans. One way, obviously, is to go to Berlin and spend hours trudging round the stands in the off chance that you’ll find what you’re looking for. Or, you can read Nigel Wordsworth’s account. Nigel, along with the Rail Media team, has saved you your shoe leather. As well as the usual villains, look out for the rubber ducks and the threats from Hyperloop pods. In another of Nigel’s marathons, look out too for the (quite long) short list of our nominations for the Rail Exec Club Most Interesting Awards. Over the past year, our editorial staff have picked out those stories that have had something about them that was special, something that was really interesting. The (fairly) short list has now gone off to be judged by an independent panel. Date for your diary - 1 December, Roundhouse, Derby.



Rail Engineer • October 2016

Second Oxford link complete

Chiltern Railways to start services from December on the new link. The £320 million project to connect Oxford to London Marylebone is now complete, at least in track terms. The final lengths of track, around Peartree and Wolvercote in Oxford, are now installed ready for Chiltern Railways to start running services in December.


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Work started on the plan to turn a 20mph branch line into a 100mph main line back in 2013. The first section, to Oxford Parkway (pictured below), opened in October 2015 and the latest work will complete the project. Two trains per hour are planned, offering an alternative to the current Great Western route to Paddington through Reading and Slough. The journey time of one hour will be comparable to GWR’s 58 minutes. DB-owned Chiltern Railways is putting up £130 million of the funding for the project. Managing director Dave Penney was understandably pleased it is all coming together. “With the track now laid from our new station Oxford Parkway through to Oxford city centre,” he

said, “we can look forward to the first trains running on 12 December. The new rail line will bring significant social, economic and environmental benefits to those living and working along the route and will be the completion of the first new rail link between a major British city and London for over 100 years.” Paul Plummer, head of the Rail Delivery Group, commented: “The newly-completed route between London and Oxford is just one of the ways in which rail companies are improving Britain’s railway as part of their £50bn plus Railway Upgrade Plan. “The close partnership between Chiltern Railways and Network Rail shows how the rail industry is attracting more funding from new sources to build the railway Britain needs and wants.”


Rail Engineer • October 2016


Rail Marathon Three members of the Rail Media team took part in the 43rd Berlin Marathon. As if walking around InnoTrans wasn’t tiring enough, on the Sunday after the show, over 41,000 people lined up for the 43rd Berlin Marathon. Ahead of the runners, 26 miles 385 yards (42.195km) of pain and suffering. The quickest would do it in just over two hours. Three members of the Rail Media team lined up with all the rest. RailStaff publisher Paul O’Connor, creative director Matt Stokes and head of web systems Dave Cox were all making their first attempt at the marathon distance. With so large a field, it was not surprising that the start was a bit congested. However, Dave Cox (M30 class) was soon forging ahead of the other two and he would finish in a very creditable 3:59:30. Paul O’Connor (M35) managed 4:55:31 while Matt (M45) was not far behind at 5:14:26. All three were pleased to finish their first ever marathon, and their efforts raised just over £1000 for the Brainwave children’s charity, which provides support for children with a range of brain-based disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome and other brain-related genetic conditions. Dave’s nephew Louis has a Lissencephaly, a severe brain condition that has left him unable to walk or talk, and his early prognosis wasn’t good. However, through the support of charities like Brainwave, his development has started to come on in leaps and bounds. So it was natural that the team chose Brainwave as the charity they would run for. Any reader who wants to help this important work should visit

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Rail Engineer • October 2016


Scotland's next railway? Her Majesty the Queen opened the new Borders railway on 9 September 2015. Although hampered by some reliability and punctuality issues, it has been a great success, carrying one million pasengers in the first year of operation. Now, the LevenMouth Rail Campaign (LMRC) seeks support for the re-opening of a five-mile rail line to Leven and Methil. Although out of use with heavily overgrown track, the line is still part of Network Rail’s infrastructure and has an operational connection at Thornton Junction. It would serve a population of 37,000, the largest conurbation in Scotland without a rail service. There is also potential for two intermodal freight trains a day to serve Diageo’s distillery and bottling plant, which is one of the largest in the UK. On 23 September, LMRC arranged a conference in Methil to progress its campaign. This was attended by the area’s four Members of Parliament (one MP, three MSPs) who all expressed their strong support. Fife Council has committed £2 million for the development of the scheme, which includes funding two feasibility studies which demonstrate the benefits of this new line. However, its Deputy Leader, Lesley Laird, expressed frustration that the next step wasn’t clear as there is no roadmap for rail re-openings. LMRC is now seeking the Scottish Government’s commitment to this project. As the Levenmouth scheme would bring benefits comparable to the Borders railway at a fraction of its cost, they feel they have a strong case.


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Rail Engineer • October 2016





hy does a cliff just to the west of Dover have the name “Shakespeare”? Apparently, the famous playwright was actually at Dover, in 1597, to perform some of his plays with his travelling players - the “Lord Chamberlain’s Men”. Being struck by the drama of the local cliffs and their setting, he included the locality in a later play, King Lear, specifically Act IV Scene VI where the characters conversing on the cliff top are suitably awestruck by the scale of the landscape. Looking down, Edgar is moved to say: “How fearful and dizzy ‘tis, to cast one’s eyes so low!…….. “The fishermen, that walk upon the beach, appear like mice…...almost too small for sight. “The murmuring surge, that on the unnumber’d idle pebbles chafes, cannot be heard so high…...” Anyone that stood in the same place between January and August this year would have observed, not fishermen, but, on almost any occasion, the staff and subcontractors of Costain earnestly toiling night and day to reconstruct and replace a severed link in the south eastern rail network. And, instead of pebbles, eight-tonne rock armour.


Rail Engineer • October 2016





Rail Engineer • October 2016

Timber trestle Two and a half centuries after Shakespeare’s Dover visit, the rail network was beginning to take shape. To create the link along the coast between Dover and Folkestone, the railway hugs the chalk cliffs all the way, disappearing where necessary into three tunnels, Shakespeare, Abbotscliffe and Martello. Where possible, the line is carried on shelves cut into the chalk face. Heading west from the area of Dover town and harbour, the available space for the route narrows until, for the last few hundred metres as it approaches Shakespeare Cliff and Tunnel, the alignment was taken across the beach itself at the very foot of the cliffs. In 1849, a long timber trestle viaduct was constructed to carry the railway across this area. The unusual arrangement caught the eye of local artists and the scene, complete with a passing train, made for an attractive image.

Perhaps conscious of accumulated attrition to the timber structure, the Southern Railway decided to afford it further protection by providing a concrete wall on the seaward side of the viaduct in 1927. At the same time, the entire space behind this new wall was backfilled with chalk spoil, a ready supply of which was available from tunnel works being carried out in Dover at the time. This infill effectively buried the timber viaduct right up to the soffit of the track structure. And so it remained, apparently serviceable, until Christmas Eve 2015.

Closure and reopening During routine track inspection on that day, the alarm was raised and the line was closed after the discovery of sinkholes in the track formation. Storm damage had finally found out weaknesses in the sea wall and the chalk infill had been leached out, leaving several voids. These had already caused the track to be undermined, with top and alignment severely compromised. Also, some of the footings of the public footbridge to Shakespeare beach were no longer supported.

Rail Engineer • October 2016

David Statham, managing director, Southeastern, paid tribute to those responsible for achieving in three days what would normally have taken 12 weeks to produce and check. He also thanked all local station staff in the implementation and sustaining of the new service plan. Alan Ross, Network Rail director route asset management, extolled the excellent working arrangements between the company, the main contractor for the works, Costain, and Southeastern. He also praised the support and political help received from Charlie Elphicke and two other local MPs. Charlie Elphicke himself congratulated all parties involved and emphasised the success of Costain’s work.

Options considered Back, now, to the beginning of these successful collaborations in December 2015/January 2016. A task force had been quickly formed between all the parties mentioned above, with Costain appointed as main contractor with a design and build remit. Consultant Tony Gee and Partners proposed five main options for recovery. These ranged from armoured earthworks through to a full new track support structure. Even reinstating only a single bi-directional line was considered, in the interests of an overall shorter project timescale.


Not only were the obvious authorities, Network Rail and Southeastern, involved in a recovery plan but, unusually, the local Member of Parliament, Charlie Elphicke, also took on a key role early in the proceedings. Representing the people of Dover and Deal, he was keenly aware of the criticality of the rail link and that the severity of the damage was likely to lead to a prolonged period of disruption. Rail Engineer was invited to the re-opening of the route on 5 September. It was very clear from the speeches made that the successful completion of the remedial works, well in advance of the forecast date and under budget, was in no small way due to the concerted and effective partnership between all the participants. Kent County Council, Dover Town Council and Dover Port authority were also praised for their co-operation in facilitating the works and the interim local transport planning. Train services through Dover are complex, with trains linking to London Victoria, Charing Cross and Cannon Street and the high-speed services to London St. Pancras. The loss of one part of these services’ normal routes, following the closure of the line at Christmas, meant that a new train plan had to be devised. This was produced, including a bus link between Folkestone and Dover, in time for resumption of business demand straight after the New Year.


Rail Engineer • October 2016



At one stage it looked as though the line would need to remain closed for up to two years. However, a challenge from Charlie Elphicke to come up with a solution that could achieve line re-opening within a year was made and the role of this local MP remained important in sustaining the momentum of the project. Three high profile visits during the works, including one from the Secretary of State for Transport and one from the chief executive of Network Rail, Mark Carne, reemphasised the economic importance of re-establishing this railway link as quickly as possible.

Concrete viaduct The solution selected by Network Rail, and also Costain’s preferred option, was to construct a reinforced concrete raft, supported by bored piling and carrying a two-track railway as previously. This new viaduct would be 235 metres in length. Meanwhile, as these feasibility studies and discussions were continuing apace, it was imperative to prevent further damage to the sea wall and loss of material from the track support zone. Commencing as soon as possible after the New Year, sheet piling was installed along and in front of the affected parts of the wall, using tidal working from the beach in approximately four-hour periods. Rock armour was then placed between the piles and the sea wall. Design of the new reinforced concrete viaduct progressed in conjunction with site investigation. After removal of the existing track and exposure of the old timberwork (see picture), it was apparent that, rather than attempt any significant clearance of the old timber and chalk, it would

be most efficient to core through all this material and install piles into the bedrock beneath. The final design used 134 bored, cast in-situ, reinforced concrete 900mm diameter piles. These were typically 30 metres in length, being roughly 10 metres through made ground and 20 metres into bedrock. Charly Clark, project director for Costain, said that a crucial part of the piling operation was to prepare the remains of the old track support area to become an adequate working platform from which the very heavy piling rigs would be progressively working. The superstructure of the new viaduct is a 600mm deep reinforced concrete raft, which was cast in four pours. The volume of concrete required for the raft alone was 1,933 cubic metres. The pours were planned to be carried out at weekends, primarily to reduce the risk of delays in concrete delivery to site that might have been experienced in weekday traffic. Two concrete batching plants were used, one very close to the site, with a back-up at Ramsgate. Integral with the raft is a reinforced concrete upstand wall on the seaward side of the track. This serves as a sea spray protection barrier. Charly confirmed that all four major concrete pours went according to plan, with no significant issues. It was obvious that Costain was pleased and proud to get this major part of the project successfully installed. Throughout the whole project, Costain had between 65 and 70 staff on site at any time, working in two 12-hour shifts, night and day. At peak times, there were up to 170 staff on site.

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Rail Engineer • October 2016



Tidying up Now that the immediate priority of reopening the route has been achieved, there remains much associated work to be done before the site will be demobilised in May 2017. Firstly, the public footbridge to the beach is being reconstructed, this time using fibre-reinforced plastic as the structural material. Most importantly, 130,000 tonnes of rock armour has to be placed alongside the area of the new viaduct. Steve Kilby, senior programme manager for Network Rail, told Rail Engineer that this material, which is imported from Norway, is transhipped from large delivery boats at Dover harbour and brought round to Shakespeare beach in 5,000 tonne barge loads. The rock armouring is graded in three sizes, 1.5 to 3, 3 to 6 and 5 to 8 tonnes. This material is graded into the protection, which also includes a geotextile. The lower part of the old sea wall is being kept to retain the rock armouring. The redundant upper part of the wall is being demolished. All this work could not go on concurrently with the viaduct construction as it was necessary to obtain a licence from the recently established Marine Management Organisation. Although the MMO had granted a licence for the emergency works, carried out initially from the beach, fuller procedures were needed for the approval of the permanent works so this could not commence until the beginning of August.

Additional work In the period that the whole route between Folkestone and Dover was closed for the main remedial works, Network Rail took the opportunity to carry out a great deal of maintenance and renewal work. Because the normal operation of the railway was suspended between Dover and Shakespeare tunnel, within that area it was possible to use engineering trains and other resources with simpler rules and regulations than for normal possessions, whilst still ensuring completely safe worksites. 2.5km of track was renewed, this being done on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to avoid impacting resources already committed for weekend renewals. Other work that was carried out included drainage and repointing in tunnels and general vegetation management. The opportunity was even taken to mount a full emergency evacuation practice from a Javelin train in Shakespeare Tunnel. In Charly Clark’s opinion, the outstanding feature of this project was the very close cooperation between client and contractor. He found that this was especially beneficial during

the optioneering process, when alternative remedies were being evaluated. The situation quickly evolved from disaster prevention to an agreed way forward. Borehole information was gathered and consultants appointed and the direction of the project, and the budget, quickly agreed by the client. Once that had happened, the agreed programme remained unchanged throughout. Although a target reopening of one year was announced publicly, this included a contingency of three months. In the event, none of this contingency was required and the anticipated final cost is estimated at £39.8 million against the budget of £44.5 million. “All’s Well That Ends Well” as the great playwright asserted.

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Rail Engineer • October 2016



Rail Engineer • October 2016

Engineering Merseyrail involved new tunnels being pushed under the city centre. Central Tunnel evolved to comprise three distinct parts: »» Up Single Bore: a Seventies structure that carries the Up Main from the underground Central station to Duke Street. »» Down High Level Neck: the northernmost 325 yards of the original two-track tunnel through which the invert was lowered to connect with the low level platforms at Central station, accommodating the Down Main and a reverse siding. Included at the south end is a section of concrete infill through which is an archway for a single track, whilst in the middle is a ventilation shaft, rectangular in section. Both the Down High Level Neck and Up Single Bore separately enter Central station via short cutand-cover concrete boxes. »» Central Tunnel: the remaining 662 yards of unmodified CLC tunnel, heading southwards to Parliament Street.

The intention behind splitting the tracks was to ease the construction and subsequent operation of the proposed Edge Hill Spur, conceived as a link between the city centre and communities further east. Work started on the headings for two bores that would have connected Central station to the historic Wapping Tunnel, engineered by George Stephenson in the late 1820s with the assistance of Charles Vignoles and Joseph Locke. But the spur was abandoned in the Eighties due to economic constraints.

(Left) Installation of the working platform. PHOTO: AMCO RAIL

(Bottom) The spray concrete robot is prepared near the bottom of the tunnel’s only shaft. (Inset) A train passes below the platform. PHOTOS: FOUR BY THREE



iverpool has two Caverns. Well, for the purpose of this contrived introduction it does. One bills itself as the cradle of British pop, having claimed legendary status in the Sixties courtesy of John, Paul, Ringo and George; the other, half-a-mile across the city, has temporarily hosted the Eighth Wonder of the World in 2016 thanks to a chap called Dave. How’s that for a claim-to-fame? It’s not pushing the envelope too far to describe Central Tunnel Down High Level Neck as a ‘cavern’. Honest. Stand at track level and exposed sandstone sidewalls reach 60-odd feet upwards to a segmental brick arch springing off ledges. It’s quite something. Even more unusual is that the tunnel looked rather different 45 years ago before rationalisation changed the shape of Liverpool’s railways. For the best part of a century, Central station served as the terminus of the Cheshire Lines Committee (CLC) route from Manchester, trains emerging from the tunnel into a vast iron and glass shed. Sub-surface platforms - aligning with those above ground - opened in 1892 when the Mersey Railway arrived from Birkenhead, having passed under the river. Beeching closed the high level station in 1966, but Merseyrail soon emerged as several suburban lines were brought together to form one cohesive network.


Rail Engineer • October 2016



(Above) Fixings for the Ram-Arch are inserted into the existing brick arch. (Left) A system of nuts and bolts are used to adjust the Ram-Arch. (Opposite page) Clear-up work gets underway following a spray concreting phase. PHOTOS: FOUR BY THREE

Live and learn Back in 2010, a collection of routine brickwork defects was recorded through a 60-metre length of arch towards the southern end of the High Level Neck. Brought in to repair them was AMCO Rail, the solution being to erect a scaffold from which sprayed concrete would be applied. The job is not remembered fondly for a host of reasons, having conspired against the team from start to finish. Plant and material were transported to the scaffold by RRV from Brunswick station more than a mile back up the line - but this was only available for about three hours each midweek night and six hours on Saturday nights as part of a regular possession regime.

The design for the birdcage scaffold was complex - with multiple lifts - creating a series of cramped spaces which made the work operation difficult. Unable to pump concrete over such a long distance, dry-spray concrete packaged in 25kg bags had to be used, resulting in dust and manual handling issues, not to mention extending the programme appreciably and driving up the cost. The whole thing was a compromise, and a hugely inefficient one at that. Looking for a positive, the job did get done. It was however not an experience anyone would have chosen to repeat. Then, 18 months ago, the phone rang.

A better way Dave Thomas, AMCO Rail’s contracts manager, has a can-do philosophy by default. You sense, though, that even his first instinct - faced with

the prospect of a return to Central Tunnel - was to check his remaining leave allocation. Not helping matters was Network Rail’s remit: to remediate a section of arch almost three times longer than the previous occasion. On the plus side, the prospect was raised of access being available via the portal. This was news to Dave; as far as he was concerned, there no longer was a portal. But tucked into a corner behind Network Rail’s maintenance depot - which sits on the former station site - is the old high level tunnel entrance, albeit with an immediate sheer drop down to the track. This opportunity proved critical to the subsequent success of the project - impacting positively on timescales and cost - although the city centre location certainly brought unhelpful space and logistical constraints, with access too tight for articulated vehicles. The last thought on anyone’s mind was to use another birdcage scaffold, so the AMCO Rail team spent some time in the tunnel considering options. The chosen approach was to establish a crash deck and working platform for 165 metres, high above the railway. This would entirely separate the project from trains passing beneath, bringing 24-hour working, a safer environment and significant efficiencies. “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” Dave calls it with a characteristic glint.

Rail Engineer • October 2016


Not to be underestimated were the loading requirements of this structure, taking account of the spray-concrete robot, the thrust of its boom on start-up, a shift’s worth of rebound and the impact risk from a falling ‘cowpat’ two metres in diameter. The firm responsible for erecting it was Crossway, supplier of a similar system at Manchester Victoria during the station roof works. RDG Engineering fulfilled the design work. Installation took place predominantly over four 29-hour weekend possessions. Road-rail MEWPs from Total Rail Solutions were used to reach up to where holes needed drilling to fix in place the scaffold tubes which support ladder beams, spanning the tunnel. Floor cassettes were then put in place longitudinally between these beams. The variable height and width of the rock excavation did cause some complications, but the team still managed to assemble 54 linear metres of deck over the final weekend. Weekday-nights offered sufficient opportunities for any remaining works to be completed, including the process of boarding-out.


with nothing behind it. Much of the brickwork was hollow and nearly all of it needed repointing; large areas would have to be recased. When a schedule was drawn-up for conventional repairs, so time-consuming was it that another spray concrete intervention proved the obvious way forward, encompassing the full length of arch accessible from the platform. This would put the High Level Neck to bed for 120 years, making the original brick arch redundant and delivering deep whole-life cost savings.

As part of the preparatory works, soot was removed from the brickwork to improve bonding with the new concrete arch. To provide a flat base for it to spring off, a 300mm ledge had to be saw-cut into the sandstone and then broken out. There was also an array of rock bolts to install and a ventilation system. And there was still time for AMCO Rail’s team to take on two further projects, taking down the top six courses from the shaft’s protection wall, as well as fulfilling a grit-blast and paint job on a girder passing over the portal.

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Rail Engineer • October 2016

Production line

Outside the box

The standard methodology for spray concrete arch repairs specifies L-pins at 400mm maximum centres together with A142 steel mesh. Over the area involved, this would have occupied 12 men for three months, fitting more than 12,000 L-pins. Donaldson Associates, the works designer, calculated that - for a structural layer - the thickness of the spray concrete would have to exceed 300mm. Instead it was decided to install adjustable Ram-Arch reinforcement panels, manufactured by Foulstone Forge, 40mm clear of the brickwork to ensure no shadowing. Doing so brought the concrete thickness down to 250mm, sprayed in layers of not more than 100mm. This approach improved the end-product and reduced the associated cost. The specification for the concrete mix was a slightly refined version of that adopted during AMCO Rail’s reconstruction of Holme Tunnel two years ago. The total order amounted to 740 cubic metres. Spraying was done on days, the first batch arriving from the supplier, Cemex, at about 08:30 each morning. From the portal, it was pumped to the robotic arm, which was sat on timbers to transfer its load safely into the ladder beams. Operating it was a four-man team from Gunform. One wagon delivered enough concrete to spray for about an hour; thereafter it was all hands to the shovel, filling bags with the rebound and despatching them on a trolley. Half-an-hour later, the cycle would start again. Checking the Ram-Arch for the following day’s work was one key role for the night shift, ensuring it was sufficiently tight to prevent any sagging. Once the spraying was well advanced, a scaffold team also attended to progress the dismantling of the platform during the three-hour nightly possessions, allowing swift demobilisation of the site when they crossed the finish line.

Spraying concrete above a live railway is another AMCO Rail first. Well, probably. That’s what the company thrives on and has built a reputation for - developing bright ideas to overcome unusual challenges. It’s something the industry must learn to do more of. The financial benefits speak for themselves. Back in 2010, spraying 60 metres of the High Level Neck cost around £5 million (£83,000 per metre), a consequence of the unproductive methodology imposed by prevailing circumstances. This time, 165 metres has been tackled for £3 million (£18,000 per metre). That’s great news for both Network Rail and the public as its ultimate funder. There have been sleepless nights, particularly the one before the robotic arm was first introduced to the platform. But it’s all worked seamlessly. Dave reflected: “It’s great when a plan comes together.” As the Fab Four might have put it: “We Can Work It Out”. Yup, still contrived.

Progress is made spraying the concrete, separated from the railway below by the scaffold platform. PHOTOS: FOUR BY THREE

Rail Engineer • October 2016


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Rail Engineer • October 2016



Come hell or


Rail Engineer • October 2016

Departure time Outbound passengers emerged from Euston’s entrance hall into the train shed where a policeman would greet them, performing a ticket check before pointing out their allocated carriage. On hearing the signal bell, the officer shouted “Take your places ladies and gentlemen”, prompting those dawdling on the platform (or ‘promenade’ as they knew it) to hastily find their seat. Following a second signal was a call of “All right”; thereafter the train descended gently onto a ‘terminal plane’, which encouraged it to gather some momentum before the climb up to Camden, and did the opposite for those coming down. Located alongside the first overbridge was a large wheel, around which ran an endless rope made from tarred hemp. Costing £460, this was a substantial achievement in itself: 4,080 yards in length, with a diameter of 2¼ inches and weighing the best part of 12 tons. On arrival here, the bankrider attached the train to it using a ‘messenger’ - a short length of rope which he held tightly around a hook on the front of the leading carriage, thus allowing a speedy release at the top. The process took “a very few instants”. Accommodated in one of the bridge’s smaller arches was another policeman, responsible for operating the equipment which communicated a train’s readiness to the engineer at Camden Town who started the stationary engines which hauled it up the incline. The signal was transmitted by pneumatic telegraph - similar in principle to a gasometer - forcing air through a pipe to the engine house in about four seconds, with sufficient force to sound a small organ pipe. And thus the journey began in earnest, reaching speeds of 25mph.

(Left) A view through the central passage, about which the vaults are symmetrical.

Historical illustrations of the vaults under construction and chimneys that towered over them.



t symbolised the coming of the electric age: ‘new’ Euston - a monument to the 1960s. Out went the station’s Doric propylaeum and glorious Great Hall, products of Philip Hardwick and his son; in came bleak concrete and what a critic called “tawdry glamour”, brought to us by British Rail’s anonymous architects. Thanks for that. There was of course an outcry to which John Betjeman lent his voice, leading to the formation of The Victorian Society and today’s conservation movement. But the price for progress - fast and frequent electric trains connecting London to the North - was the demise of original Euston and all that it stood for. Electrification has actually been with us much longer than you might think. Volk’s Electric Railway was the first in Britain, opening along the seafront at Brighton in 1883. It still runs in the summer months. By then, Euston had been serving travellers for 46 years at the southern end of Robert Stephenson’s London & Birmingham Railway. As you’d imagine, the station’s inaugural services were steam hauled, but only as a temporary measure. It was intended that trains would arrive under gravity and depart by rope; locomotives would not venture any further south than the originally-planned terminus at Camden Town, from where a mile-long extension descended into Euston on gradients as stiff as 1:66. Operationally, this method of working relied on both expertise and nerve. Witness the events of Thursday 13 July 1837 when the Railway’s directors took their friends on an experimental trip of 25 miles from London to Boxmoor, a week ahead of the official opening. The train of 11 carriages had been delayed on its return leg by boiler problems and a derailment, but worse was to come. At Camden, the train was handed over to the bankrider who took charge of it down the incline, applying the brakes as necessary. His control was, however, somewhat lacking. The leading carriage struck the wall at the end of the line with “frightful force”, “dashing it to atoms, and causing a rebound which frightened all and damaged not a few”. Noses were broken, teeth lost and sprains occasioned; Sir John Reid and Lord Hatherton suffered injuries to the face. This was not an auspicious start.


Rail Engineer • October 2016



(Top) The eastern tensioning room housed a wheel mounted on a carriage which was drawn back along rails by a weight suspended in a well. (Inset) To resolve problems with the tensioning system, a second well was sunk at the end of a short tunnel.

Drive and tension Although the stationary engines were hidden beneath the railway, their location - just north of the Regents Canal bridge - could not be missed. Marking the spot were two chimneys, 132 feet in height, built adjacent to boiler rooms on either side of the railway. Between the central tracks, a spiral staircase provided access into expansive subterranean vaults, the arrangements therein being “on the best known principles, everything kept in the greatest order and cleanliness.” At the foot of the steps was a room containing two low-pressure condensing beam engines on its eastern side; these were ordered from Maudsley Sons & Field of Lambeth at a cost of £5,150 and each generated 60HP. Only one was worked at a time, the other being available in case of breakdown or repair. Having entered through a slot in the roof, the endless rope was wrapped three times around the driving wheel, 20 feet in diameter, and an associated pulley before entering a chamber housing the tensioning system. This

incorporated a wheel mounted on a carriage which was drawn back along rails by a weight suspended in a well. Problems with this mechanism prompted the sinking of a second well - 30 feet further back - two years after the line opened. The rope then entered the sheave room where it encountered the return wheel. Coal for the boiler arrived by barge and was brought from the canalside on a tramway, through a short tunnel which entered the coal store - parallel to the tensioning room - at springing level. The tramway continued forward on cast iron beams, allowing the coal to be dropped into compartments below. Beyond the coal store’s north-east corner was an opentopped pit containing a pair of marine boilers, used to raise steam for the engines at a pressure of just 4½lb/inch2. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this proved insufficient and a second pair was installed in a vacant boiler pit on the opposite side of the railway in 1838. The vaults are symmetrical around a central passageway, but the other half - intended for use by the Great Western Railway - remained largely unused, the GW belatedly choosing to adopt an independent route into Paddington having failed to negotiate suitable leasing arrangements for a shared terminus at Euston.

High water mark As trains became longer, to deal with growing traffic levels, the need to divide them for haulage up the incline created an operational bottleneck. And so, in July 1844, rope gave way to banked steam locomotives for outbound journeys, although gravity working continued for services into the capital for another 13 years.

Rail Engineer • October 2016



Having succumbed to redundancy, the winding equipment at Camden was auctioned in 1847, the engines finding their way to a flax mill and Russian silver mine. Londoners were doubtless glad to see the chimneys dismantled, having contributed briefly to the city’s chronic

pollution. In the mid-1850s, a tunnel was driven across the southern end of the vaults to connect the adjacent goods station - where horse power was prevalent - with stables on the opposite side of the railway. No plans have been found detailing the arrangements Stephenson made for draining the vaults - whether a gravity system or continuous pumping - but it’s fair to presume he focussed much attention on the matter, as he had elsewhere. What’s certain, however, is that abandonment brought the problem of flooding, one which has persisted to this day. Typically the depth of water reaches four metres. Tracks A, B, C, D, X and E: if you ever pass through Camden over one of these lines, the vaults will be playing a critical supporting role, with just 1.5 metres between soffit and sleeper. You’ll understand, then, why British Rail instigated a visual examination regime in the late 1980s, involving a complete dewatering every three years.



(Above) Coal was brought into the store via a tramway which was ran on transverse beams.

When this was last done, by AMCO Rail in 2014, it took a fortnight to discharge the floodwater into the disused Up Empty Carriage Tunnel which was pushed beneath the vaults in 1922. Within six weeks, the water had returned to its previous level.

Checks and balances Whilst visual exams continue to provide reassurance that the vaults’ condition remains fundamentally fair, there is a recognition, from an asset management perspective, that detailed examinations need to be introduced. To that end, a team from Network Rail LNW Civils Special Projects arrived on site in February, its remit being to clear the vaults completely before putting in place permanent lighting and pumps. Benefiting the team is a pre-existing compound 300 metres to the north.

(Inset) The coal tunnel turned at right angles to reach the never-used western store. (Below) The vaults’ layout.


3 9




6 4


8 10 6











Rail Engineer • October 2016



(Above) The engine room was built to serve both the London & Birmingham and Great Western railways, but the latter never used it. (Below right) Rails support the infilled slot in the roof of the sheave room, through which the rope passed. (Inset) One of the vaults’ ventilation shafts.

From the outset, the vaults were deemed a confined space due to the potential for toxic gas pockets and uncharted wells. Bridgeway Consulting was commissioned to report on the likely risks and implement appropriate safety measures, specifically a rescue team, signing-in point, periodic radio checks, gas monitoring and an extraction fan to deal with plant fumes. All members of the workforce undertook CS1 (confined space awareness) training for self-rescue purposes. Around a dozen men laboured underground at the height of the works, enduring conditions which might charitably be described as “unpleasant”. Three two-inch sump pumps were deployed to remove 8,000 cubic metres of water. This was done slowly - over three weeks - to prevent any damage to the sidewalls caused by a sudden loading imbalance. Thereafter, scaffolders erected a Haki stair tower in the east-side boiler pit to serve as the main manpower access. A second one was installed at the south end of the coal store, creating an exit route to the canal towpath.

Left behind after dewatering was silt; lots of it. Working adjacent to the running lines and overhead line equipment, Readypower supplied a long-reach telehandler with electronic boom and slew restrictor to lower a micro-excavator and dumper into the vaults via the boiler pit. Tonne-bags were loaded and lifted out, to be stockpiled thereafter in the compound prior to despatch. In places, the silt was over two metres deep and heavily contaminated. With 600 tonnes removed, what remained was effectively a thick soup, for which the excavator proved unsuitable. Attempts to use a jet-vac resulted in its filters getting clogged with small pieces of detritus, so attention turned to a super-absorbent hydrogel - supplied by Siltbusters - which solidified it sufficiently for digging out as a bulk material. Throughout the vaults, narrow ventilation shafts are apparent in the roof. For the most part, these are capped - buried below the railway - and one of the project’s key

Rail Engineer • October 2016



objectives was to determine their surface location. This was done by recording GPS coordinates which were then mapped across the railway during Saturday night possessions. Several were found in the Up cess, allowing the concrete capping slabs to be replaced with GRP catchpits. This has helped to moderate the water ingress and bring in some welcome natural light.

Interest rekindled Now Grade II* listed, Camden’s winding vaults form part of the area’s rich historical landscape, alongside the portals of Primrose Hill Tunnel, the former horse hospital and Roundhouse. Not surprisingly then, considerable local interest exists in securing the vaults for public use, combining a heritage centre and restaurants with exhibition and performance space. The idea is gaining traction, with all the right people making all the right noises. Not to be underestimated, though, are the huge financial and technical implications. And then there’s HS2. Current plans propose a twinbore tunnel passing 18 metres below the western edge of the vaults, bringing with it a need to fully understand their layout, including the wells. Also, the intention to create a road-rail access point here requires a determination of the vaults’ loading capacity. To address these issues, an early task, once the silt clearance is concluded, will be to progress a 3D laser scan and full structural survey, the brickwork first having been jetwashed to reveal any defects.

High-speed rail will open another chapter in the metamorphic story of Euston station. When its first train departed in 1837, there was no standard time: the capital’s clocks were set 7 minutes 15 seconds ahead of those in Birmingham. Soon, just 49 minutes will separate the two cities, such is the transformational impact railways still have two centuries later. And a fitting accompaniment to HS2’s arrival would be the reemergence of Camden’s vaults, celebrating a historical role that was no less revolutionary.

The boiler room - now roofless - which was used as the main access for the dewatering project.

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Rail Engineer • October 2016

Successfully raising the formation! The Hinksey Flood Alleviation scheme



Culvert installation.

Kirow lifting down main.


ail travellers will be aware that flooding in the Hinksey area, on the route between Didcot and Oxford, has been a long-standing problem that has had a severe impact on the local community which relies on the railway. In the last 15 years, the route has had to be closed more than 11 times, causing extensive disruption to passengers and businesses through the cancellation and diversion of passenger and freight services.

The flooding of the railway is part of a much bigger flood problem that is being addressed by the Environment Agency as part of the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme. The area around the railway at Hinksey has been often described as a “bathtub”, with floodwater accumulating around and over the railway formation as it tries to find an easy path to the river Thames. The railway formation is acting as a barrier and generations of gravel extraction, followed by major land fill developments in the 1970s, has helped to create a pinch point for flood water at Hinksey.

Raising the railway To address this problem, Network Rail developed its own Hinksey Flood Alleviation scheme. Joanna Grew, the Network Rail commercial scheme sponsor and Edward John, who is Network Rail’s scheme project manager, explained the work being undertaken. “During the past two years, as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to deliver a better railway for passengers, we have worked with the Environment Agency to find a long-term solution to the problem,” Joanne Grew stated. “This has involved carrying out detailed flood modelling and an in-depth environmental study to

establish the cause of the flooding and the options available to reduce the chances of it happening again.” The £21 million scheme involved raising the railway by approximately 650mm over a length of about 400 metres. This will bring the track above the maximum recorded flood levels along this section of railway. That doesn’t sound too challenging, but when it includes an overbridge and a series of underbridges, as well as four tracks - two of them 90 mph

main lines - plus nine S&C units and the installation of a twin-box culvert 80 metres long, it gets a bit more interesting. Then, of course, there are the stray wallabies to contend with, but more about that later. To enable this work to be completed before the winter sets in, a blockade was organised for 16 days, starting on 30 July lasting until Monday 15 August. One of the consequences of raising the track levels, one that was identified at an early stage, was that the railway formation would, when raised, act as a dam across the floodplain. This means that there would be a potential increase in flooding to the west of Hinksey, an area which includes important link roads as well as residential properties.

Removing the dam effect To address this potential problem, Network Rail procured the services of design consultant AECOM to develop an Environmental Statement for the Hinksey Flood Alleviation scheme. Detail flood modelling of the area concluded that the optimum solution

Rail Engineer • October 2016

the culverts to be undertaken. This work took place in preparation for the 16-day closure of the line between Didcot and Oxford stations, which started on 30 July. The first five days were focussed on removing the old track and S&C, then carrying out repairs and replacement of parts of Stroud’s underbridge, which is located 100 metres to the south of the Abingdon Road overbridge previously referred to, and the construction of the new culvert which is located to the north of the overbridge.


Bridge jacking The proposals prepared by AECOM included the replacement of parts of the four separate bridge decks that together form Stroud’s underbridge. This work included the retention of the two main line steel decks, jacking them up to accommodate the track lift, installing 220mm deep concrete bearing beams, and repairing and refurbishing the eight bearing pedestals. As the freight line deck was life expired, it was replaced by a Z-type steel deck structure. The fourth deck, which was in fact redundant, was replaced with a steel footbridge designed to carry signalling, telecommunication and power cables for the route.



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was to install a culvert under the railway formation, removing the dam effect and ensuring that the scheme did not have a detrimental effect on the surrounding area. Preparatory work started way back in 2012, when Network Rail replaced the overbridge at Abingdon Road, which crosses the railway right in the middle of the proposed track lift. At the time, when this work was planned, the main reason for the reconstruction was to improve gauge clearances for freight traffic and to prepare for electrification. Incorporating the need to accommodate the proposed 650mm track lift did not require major changes to the original scheme. Further work started in February this year to prepare the area for the additional infrastructure improvements that included the repair and reconstruction of Stroud’s underbridges and the construction of the new culvert as well as the track lift itself. The work also included preparing the track and replacing signals, as well as setting up a site compound with welfare facilities at the Redbridge Park and Ride. This work was planned every Sunday right through to 17 July, in preparation for the main engineering work that was carried out during the 16 day blockade mentioned earlier. Carillion was the principal contractor for the refurbishment of the civils work – the Stroud bridges and culvert installation - while, as part of its S&C Alliance with Network Rail, Colas Rail was the principal contractor for the track lift. Two laydown areas were created closer to the site on the east side of the railway line, and dewatering pumping systems in conjunction with a silt removal process set-up to allow the installation of




Rail Engineer • October 2016

Culvert installation part waterproofed.

Tamping Hinksey.

Whilst this work was in progress, the new culvert was being installed across the railway formation. A total of 64 reinforced-concrete box units, each 2.5 metres long, 2.4 metres high, 4.2 metres wide and weighing 25 tonnes, had been delivered to site from Ireland, manufactured by Banagher Concrete. The plan, which was successfully carried out, was to install 44 of the units during the possession, knowing that the rest could be installed with the route open. Using a 300 tonne crawler crane, operating from two crane pads, a consolidated base was prepared. Then the pre-cast units were positioned to form two box culverts side by side, approximately 80 metres in length.

Early handback Following the success of the first five days of the blockade, Carillion handed over the mantle of principal contractor to Colas twelve hours early. Using a Kirow 1200 crane, working south to north, Colas removed the remaining track, scarified the existing ballast and prepared the new formation, which included a geotextile blanket. Once a waterproofing system had been installed on the Stroud bridge structures, 1,200 metres of plain line track was constructed along with nine new S&C units including one set of traps. Because of the hot weather, stressing and welding had to take place at night. The blockade was handed back three hours early, after completing all the stressing plus 200 welds, with a temporary speed restriction of 50mph. Edward John was keen to point out that an integral part of the success of this work was the very effective way that the two principal contractors had worked together throughout the blockade. They carried out regular interface meetings which were “incredibly effective” in ensuring that the essential work during the blockade was completed.

Wallabies! There were some sensitive environmental matters that had to be handled throughout the work. The works were carried-out under Section 61 consents and, with a campsite right next door, noise mitigation was paramount. All works within the local watercourses required Environmental Agency Consent.

Grass snakes, being excellent swimmers, appeared everywhere so they had to be relocated. A crow’s nest required a significant rethink to recapture the significant delays it created, and the problem of a nesting moorhen was resolved by Mother Nature in the form of a hungry stoat Oh! And one must not forget the wallabies that apparently exist in abundance in Oxfordshire and, on occasion, enjoy a bit of train spotting! There is still a fair amount of work to do - raising S&T location boxes throughout the area, constructing the culvert wing/head walls and installing gabions to help support the raised embankment. The channels and ditches need to be cleared of vegetation to improve water flows and scour protection is required locally at the culvert headwalls, requiring complete damming of the watercourse. In addition, throughout the work, consideration has had to be given to the depth of digs and disturbance because the area is a site of medieval archaeological interest. The culverts are designed to carry a water flow that forms part of the completed Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme. However, at present, the Oxford scheme is not yet developed enough to cater for the anticipated increase in water flow. So, at the outlet side of the culverts, Network Rail is having to install ‘orifice plates’ which are designed to restrict the outflow until the Oxford scheme is able to cater for the increased flow of water. Intriguing isn’t it?

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Rail Engineer • October 2016

of CP5

Rising to the challenges


recent government review, set up after devastating floods last winter across parts of Northern England, has recently earmarked additional funding for flood defences in England with a further £2.5 billion by 2021.

Network Rail had already allocated funding for flood defences as part of its £38 billion CP5 programme and Tier 1 contractors such as Construction Marine Ltd (CML) already have contingency plans for the winter in place, covering manpower and materials. CML was one of five successful suppliers appointed by Network Rail London North East to deliver more than 400 projects under CP5, improving earthworks, bridges, tunnels, footbridges and station buildings. The continuity provided by the framework has led to 90 per cent of the work being provided in-house and the company has its own plant fleet and national agreements with its supply chain partners to ensure standards are maintained. For CP5, the railway network faced a leap in the level of expenditure and the volume of work that needed to be delivered safely and on time. Network Rail recognised that meeting the CP5 efficiency challenges would require closer and improved relationships with its suppliers to create an effective vehicle for delivery. The frameworks have been designed to deliver a range of benefits including outstanding levels of safety, improvements in cost and quality and greater productivity through collaborative working.

Farnley Haugh landslip Storms last November and December had a major impact on rail infrastructure, with the landslip at Farnley Haugh leading to the closure of the Newcastle to Carlisle railway line between Prudhoe and Hexham.

CML was called in as the lead contractor within hours of the Farnley Haugh slippage to clear 35,000 cubic metres of earth, rocks and debris from the site. Managing director Charles Mortimer believes the CP5 principles contributed to the company’s successful approach to the emergency. “Our in-house delivery team is underpinned by engineering support, including both structures and geotechnical engineers, so we were able to provide Network Rail with a one-stop shop which can be invaluable in emergency response situations. The framework contracts not only helped us develop and maintain a strong in-house workforce but gave us the freedom to manage the overall programme of works, allowing us to immediately allocate the required level of skilled resources.”

Farnley Haugh.

Chief executive of Network Rail Mark Carne was impressed. He wrote to the company: “From everything I’ve heard your team did us proud. Ensuring we meet commitments made to the public is really important and I am delighted we will be opening the railway in line with the timescale indicated to passengers. This is a tribute to your team and I am sure you will be proud of them. It is great to work with companies like CML - thank you.”

Collaborative working The CP5 framework contract has meant CML working with other suppliers, enabling partners and Network Rail engineers to work together to generate efficiencies through planning, design and implementation. In its most simplistic form, this has involved the shared use of access roads and temporary works, such as the embankment stabilisation works that CML carried out in conjunction with the underbridge reconstruction Underbridge reconstruction.

Rail Engineer • October 2016


Impact on costs

by Amalgamated Construction (AMCO) at Staid Lane, on the Sheffield and Barnsley Line. Designs were integrated at the interface between the underbridge works and the earthworks, and access roads and compounds were designed to accommodate both elements of work, reducing temporary works and land access costs. The challenge facing CML in the replacement and rebuilding of two bridges in Lincolnshire was Network Rail’s commitment to maximising the volume of work to reduce rail passenger disruption and provide the most cost effective solution. CML worked over the Christmas period with the Network Rail teams, signalling and telecoms companies and was able to return the bridges as programmed. Another effective cost reduction was achieved when CML recently shared access with another framework partner, Balfour Beatty, into a 50-hour bridge reconstruction blockade. CML installed 400 linear metres of cess retention on the Barnsley & Horbury line near Darton station, the joint working arrangement reducing costs. Collaboration was crucial in the planning and delivery of the High Output Operation Base (HOOB) in Harwich, the fifth HOOB that CML has delivered for Network Rail in as many years. CML completed the multi-disciplinary project, including constructing new offices, workshop and stores, allowing the HOOB’s train and staff to move in while the depot was still under construction. This meant Network Rail and AmeyColas could commence their operations on time.


Harwich HOOB.

One of the most noteworthy changes introduced for CP5 was the increased level of detail required for cost and volume reporting, and the constraints imposed on the level of intervention and hence the unit cost of repairs. Charles Mortimer acknowledges this has been challenging: “On many of the sites, we have had to implement economical maintenance or refurbishment work that will enable the asset to retain its condition or reduce the likelihood of failure, rather than implementing shorter lengths of expensive belt and braces repairs. This revised policy has presented the opportunity to develop cost effective methods of implementing repairs to minor earthworks issues that fall within the maintenance/refurbishment category.”

Cess restraint.

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Rail Engineer • October 2016



Soft Option.

To counter this, the company has developed an efficient cess retention system which can be installed quickly, providing support to the ballast shoulder and a compliant cess walkway, and has now installed several kilometres around the network. The soft scour protection schemes CML worked on in sites in Devon and Cornwall offered cost effective, environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions. The ‘soft option’ for these schemes comprises the use of rock rolls, combined with willow stakes and pre-seeded matting. They accumulate silt, due to the small stone size, and can be fully vegetated which helps to support native wildlife populations which is not possible with traditional ‘hard’ solutions such as rock armour.

Safety training CML is recognised by Network Rail as one of the best safety performing companies and, as part of CML’s safety programme, the buildings and civils framework team created a safety training day with a difference. In conjunction with the company’s in-house training manager and health and safety team, site supervisors and site managers developed a series of practical sessions which would challenge site teams to share learning and best practice, to educate and help employees understand exactly what is needed in respect to

Safety day. safety performance and the safety culture. This meant that experiences were shared from both sides of the table - everyone was accountable. Says Charles Mortimer: “It was fantastic to see our Dinnington Depot transformed into a ‘hazardous’ work site with site managers and operatives working through practical scenarios together. It has been one of the most successful formats we have experienced for developing the knowledge of our staff, and encouraging the right behaviours.” The company has also introduced some of Network Rail’s examinations competencies in-house (STE4 and STE2) so it can now offer

the facility for doing visual and detailed culvert examinations whilst cleansing; providing a onestop shop for drainage clearance, inspection and examination. Charles Mortimer believes the safe, successful delivery of CP5 framework contracts has allowed CML to showcase its capability as a railway contractor. “These contracts have been important in inspiring client confidence. Through the continuity they provide, we’ve been able to continue to invest and grow, broadening our company competencies. And, importantly, they give recognition to our dedicated workforce, which has a tremendous impact on staff morale.”



Rail Engineer • October 2016

Rail Engineer • October 2016




hat do we have to thank - or blame - King Henry the Eighth for? The Church of England? Some very ruined abbeys? The fashion for padded shoulders? Flooding and subsequent train delays on the Shepperton branch?

Yes, they’re all down to him. Plenty has been written about the first two. The painter Holbein knew which side of his bread was buttered when he created the anatomical distortions, but there’s not been much coverage of Henry’s role in all the late arrivals of scores of commuters into Waterloo. It has to be said that his was a minor role - even from one with such an apparently expansive torso - but by pushing forward a scheme to provide extra water for his Hampton Court Palace he effectively sealed the fate of one of the railways that was to be built in the nineteenth century. The (then) new Longford river runs from the River Colne to Hampton Court, hugging the contours and passing round Hampton Hill. In 1864, the Thames Valley railway - subsequently renamed more mundanely the Shepperton Branch - had the problem of crossing the Longford river and yet still landing up at the right level to connect with the Kingston Loop that had been built just one year earlier.

In the end, there was no happy solution. Water ran reasonably down from Hampton station and then, as there was almost no fall thereafter, for about 400 metres it tended to be stored. Another term, used in the trade, is to say that it flooded regularly from Fulwell tunnel and through Fulwell station. Some floods have been dramatic. 2007, of course, was a case in point - but just about everywhere was flooded at that time. Fulwell’s flooding has been less about the dramatic and more about the mundane and irritating - the frequent interruptions of track circuits and thus signal failures. The service on the branch is usually halfhourly, but is augmented with more trains in the morning peaks. These have to be threaded into an already intensive service either on the routes to London via New Malden or via the Windsor lines. A missed pathway to an allocated slot in a platform at Waterloo can lead to disruptions throughout the South West Network.

The flooding

Something had to be done (again). This is a site that has been a problem for years. There are two restrictions to the free flow of water. One is the tunnel to the west of Fulwell station and the other is the station platform area. The tunnel - more in name than reality - is a pair of parallel extended brick arches with limited clearances and no inverts. Probably built by the cut and cover method, they have no function other than to carry the railway under the A311 road.

The solution was to contain the river in an aqueduct over the new railway. The level of the river fixed the available gradient and so the railway dropped gently (very gently) down to Fulwell station and on to Strawberry Hill junction. Collecting plenty of run-off water in its two cess drains, there came the problem of how to dispose of the water under the Kingston Loop before it was deposited in the Thames.

Final solution

Over the years, attempts have been made to renew/repair/improve the drainage through the tunnel. There are record drawings of work going back more than half a century. What was provided in the original build has been lost. Some of the schemes have gone ahead, some were aspirational and may never have happened or only happened in part.

Temporary measures Hector Kidds is the senior asset engineer in Network Rail’s geotechnical, drainage and weather management section. He relates that, towards the close of CP4, two approaches to the problem were being progressed. Firstly, there were concerted efforts to discover how the drainage in the area was really meant to work using hydraulic modelling and to investigate what was actually in the ground.



Rail Engineer • October 2016



The other approach looked at providing a temporary system of overpumping to try and reduce the inevitable train delays caused by track circuit failures. A new electrical supply was installed and connected to some small pumps that took water from catchpits upstream of the tunnel and pumped it through the flat area of drainage until it could be dropped into the drains at the far eastern end. This has been effective and has held at bay the very worst of flooding and train disruption. It could only be considered temporary as there is quite an intensive maintenance regime in place to ensure that everything works and that the pumps kick in exactly when needed. Network Rail’s framework contractor, Osborne, was commissioned to design and install a solution that addressed permanently all the drainage and train delay problems in the Fulwell area. Working with design partner Arcadis, the scheme that was progressed involved providing large drains through the tunnel linked to a storage culvert under the Down line and a wet

sump chamber on the Fulwell side of the tunnel. From there, the water passes though a pumping main to storage lagoons constructed on available ground at the Strawberry Hill junction triangle. Water from the lagoons is then released in a controlled fashion into the existing drains under the Kingston Loop. “The philosophy behind this approach is that there is little point transferring all storm water straight to the discharge drains as there is not the capacity to cope with it all at once,” explains Hector. “In the end, we had to figure out how much water was coming into the system, how much could go out of the system and so calculate how much had to be held in temporary storage.”

Lagoons There may be plenty of room for the lagoons and a construction compound at the Strawberry Hill triangle end of the site, but the same cannot be said of the tunnel end. Away from the railway boundary, everything is well and truly occupied. Thus the excavation works had to be serviced with engineering trains to take spoil away and to bring new materials in. Over the two-week closure period, five trains were used. Sump chambers were excavated for the new permanent pumps and the tracks within the tunnel were removed and the formation excavated for the 300mm diameter track drains. “As soon as the track came out, the whole place looked like a canal as there was so much water lying there!” The 400mm ductile iron pumping main was mounted on piles along the back of the Down platform running towards Stanley Road bridge. The main passes through a 600mm cored hole through the abutments and continues to the storage lagoons. A new power supply was provided to the pump chambers from the local grid - this being the most cost effective method compared with taking a supply from the railway’s power network.

Public relations A two-week service disruption is not to be taken lightly, especially in the dense commuter land of the South East. Network Rail undertook a handshaking exercise with commuters along the line to explain why the work was necessary and the benefits that a reliable drainage system would bring. “The approach went down well with some appreciating the problems with track circuits, but with many more understanding that flood water and 750V DC third rails just do not mix!” The blockade has passed and the scheme is due to be complete in November 2016 with the final construction of the lagoons and downstream water management works. In the meantime the existing temporary overpumping continues, but it now uses the much better upstream catchment chamber arrangements. Henry VIII was also a song writer. One of his refrains starts with the line ‘Alack, alack, I know not what to do.’ It’s a good job, your Majesty, that our engineers knew exactly what to do…

Rail Engineer • October 2016




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Rail Engineer • October 2016


A Concrete Solution


ollowing permission being granted for the redevelopment and extension of Nottingham’s tram system that included substantial investment, the city and surrounding areas were set to benefit from an extension to the tram system that was more than double its original size.

In total, 17km of additional track would extend the tram system to the south and south west of the city including Chilwell, Beeston, Clifton and Wilford, providing passengers with a direct link to national train services. With the development set to introduce two new transport lines, the city of Nottingham and the outlying towns and villages of Nottinghamshire would benefit from a reliable and efficient transportation network capable of delivering 23 million passenger journeys each year. To accommodate this, an additional 28 tram stops were created, taking the total number of stops to 51. With a substantial requirement for a number of specialist concrete mixes, alongside a variety of bespoke paving and kerbing solutions, contractor Vinci Construction identified Aggregate Industries as the ready mix and precast concrete partner that could deliver flexible processing and supply methods to meet demand.

Mix and match solution

Alongside a need for visual and performance uniformity throughout the project, there was a task to be done on achieving agreement from all parties, including Vinci Construction and two councils on various specifications including the colour and concrete design. Each party brought to the table very specific ideas of how certain tram stops should look in accordance to its individual surroundings, as well as 17km of tram line that would run across the town of Nottingham. It was up to Aggregate Industries to identify a palette of products which could be used in a variety of sections - delivering both a resilient and visually appealing finish. Aggregate Industries was appointed early on in the process to supply a portfolio of its Charcon paving materials, as well as the products and services of their Ready Mixed Concrete division. With innovative and cost saving solutions that could be used to build and renovate a number of bridges on the development, as well as to complete the concrete elements of the track itself, Vinci also awarded the supply of specialist ready mix concretes to Aggregate Industries.

Rail Engineer • October 2016


Building bridges

A colour match to suit

Pedestrian friendly

8,000 cubic metres of Articimo Exposed concrete was also supplied, which was used as the finished surface in-between and around the tram track, as well as in larger pedestrian areas such as the popular Queens Walk in the centre of Nottingham and at the majority of the 28 new tram stops. Articimo Exposed is part of a range of decorative, exposed aggregate and throughcoloured ready-mixed concretes which, for this project, offered the designers a broad pallet of visual possibilities in both texture and colour. The surface was achieved by placing the concrete in a conventional manner and retarding the surface of the concrete in order to allow for the removal of the top layer of skin at a later stage. The removal of the outer ‘skin’ of cement paste uncovers a decorative coarse aggregate underneath. Due to its decorative finish, contrast with other materials, durability and skid resistance, the exposed aggregate finish was ideal for this type of application. Using the same base mix, the company supplied a choice of decorative concretes in three colours - Golden Flint, Articimo Midnight Dark Granite and Articimo Non-Pigmented Light Granite. The pigmented mix was colour-matched to the adjacent asphalt and laid as nibs directly next to the tram track itself, to provide a durable surface that would resist the vibration of the transport system - a more effective solution to block paving and asphalt in this setting. Articimo was also specified, not only to reduce ongoing maintenance on the line, but also to improve skid resistance for cars travelling over the rails especially during wet weather. The process of developing the right colourmatched product took approximately eight months and included a variety of field tests, laboratory samples and full site trials, with the final products requiring full approval from all parties.

Aggregate Industries turned to its Charcon division to supply a suite of pedestrian walkway surfaces which consisted of complementary paving materials that could offer durability, affordability and aesthetic appeal in abundance. The Charcon team worked closely with project decision makers to devise a palette of materials that ensured a uniformed visual appearance to all of the 28 new tram stops, whilst allowing each council to meet its own design requirements with unique laying patterns. With a total of five products offering a variety of practical and visual benefits, Aggregate Industries was able to meet the needs of both councils, especially when it came to its steel or fibre-reinforced flag paving - Charcon Ultrapave. Ultrapave, whilst boasting the appearance of natural granite, provides the ideal reinforced solution for high volume urban paved areas that require a durable pavement which reduces the potential of trip hazards and fractures from vehicle run-over. In total, two variations of Ultrapave textured paving were supplied in dark grey and silver grey colourways, covering 23,065 square metres across the breadth of the development. In addition, 6,588 square metres of Woburn block paving, which consists of a rumbled and weathered appearance, was supplied alongside a substantial amount of premium quality Charcon Andover flag and block paving and a considerable quantity of Tactile paving, a regulation-compliant surface solution to assist visually impaired pedestrians to identify hazards. Lastly, the dedicated team was asked to create a bespoke kerbing solution that matched the colour, texture and durability credentials of its popular premium Charcon Appalachian product. Combining uniquely formulated granite aggregate for inherent durability, Aggregate Industries was able to use the same Appalachian mix to form 6, 588 square metres of kerbing for all 28 of the new tram stops.


The wider infrastructure changes to the new tram line extension included the creation and redevelopment of four bridges. The pre-existing bridge structures needed to be widened and reinforced with new concrete road surfaces, which would mean extensive and costly changes to the piling of each bridge. Aggregate Industries’ product recommendation was Lytacrete - a specialist lightweight concrete using Lytag secondary aggregate, which can be up to 40 per cent lighter than traditional comparable materials. Therefore Aggregate Industries was able to reduce or eliminate the need for expensive repiling works and deliver a significant cost reduction on the redevelopment and creation of all four bridges. Furthermore, Aggregate Industries was able to refine the Lytacrete manufacturing process to produce a mix with lower density than usual. Traditionally, Lytacrete is produced with an oven dry density of 1800kg but, in order to correctly meet the weight-bearing capacity of the bridges, a density of 1450kg per cubic metre was required. This was achieved through the use of both Lytag course and fine material being used in the concrete mix. In total, 1,600 cubic metres of Lytacrete was supplied for the completion of all four bridges throughout the tram development.

Rail Engineer • October 2016



Ticking all the boxes for functionality, appearance and cost efficiency, this suite of products offered itself to a choice of laying patterns which suited the differing requirements of the two councils.

Just in time With such large quantities of both Lytacrete and Articimo on a rolling, just-in-time delivery plan, Aggregate Industries ensured they made efficient use of its nearby Nottingham and Mansfield processing plants to help process and develop the suite of bespoke products. Quality control was ensured at all time to prevent any cross-contamination or logistical issues for these specialist concrete products. Vast modifications were also made to improve the production facility in Nottingham including the creation of an additional aggregate storage bin to meet Vinci Constructions' requests. In addition to this, a dedicated logistics manager was appointed to specifically manage the product and delivery complexities of the Nottingham Tram Project. With the majority of raw materials used in the concrete being supplied by Aggregate Industries, there was an additional task to seamlessly deliver the logistical requirements and meet challenging concrete demands of this project. With the tram line being divided into 30 sections, each with its own engineer, Aggregate Industries played a critical role in educating engineers on the different type of concrete they

would require for their section of the track, as well as devising a simplified ordering system which would minimise any confusion when ordering different shades of Articimo.

Collaborative approach From the specialist and collaborative product recommendations, to the logistical nous of the delivery drivers, Aggregate Industries worked tirelessly to meet every challenge head on in order to comply with what was a challenging

specification across both the hard landscaping and Ready Mix Concrete elements of the project. Completed last year, the Nottingham tram extension showcases the company's ability to collaborate and solve real construction problems with an intelligent combination of industry knowledge, manufacturing skill and a true dedication to timely supply and still remains as Aggregate Industries largest job to date using its Articimo concrete range.


Artevia™ With a wide choice of colours and surface finishes, Artevia is the do-it-all decorative concrete that provides complete design flexibility for your boldest aesthetic and architectural projects. Artevia is quick to install, easy to maintain, resistant to wear and has excellent adaption even with the most complex of shapes. Pictured: Nottingham Tram


Rail Engineer • October 2016 PAUL DARLINGTON


The Next Big Thing


his year’s Royal Society European City of Science festival in Manchester featured a discussion titled “The Next Big Thing”. It included a couple of the country’s leading PhD research scientists, Dr Katherine Joy and Dr Lucy Weinert, together with Marie Kipling of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff who represented rail. Science and research are major contributors to engineering and the prosperity of the UK. For this to continue, high levels of skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are required. For the UK to remain a world leader in research and technology requires future generations that are passionate about, and skilled in, STEM.

The Royal Society The Society is one of several independent national academies that provide leadership and encourage excellence across all fields of science and engineering. Founded in the 1660s, the fundamental purpose of the society has always been to recognise, promote and support science and engineering. It has played a part in some of the most fundamental, significant, and life-changing discoveries, and the Society’s motto ‘Nullius in verba’ (take nobody’s word for it) is an expression of its determination to verify all statements by research and experiment. Notable work by the Society included publishing Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment demonstrating the electrical nature of lightning, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine, and Chadwick’s detection of the neutron that led to the unleashing of the atom. The leading scientific lights of the past four centuries can all be found among the 8,000 fellows elected to the Society - the current list includes Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee.

The Manchester discussion was hosted by Dr Emily Grossman, one of the regular panel of science experts on Sky1’s fact-based panel show “Duck Quacks Don’t Echo”. Dr Lucy Weinert is an emerging infectious disease epidemiologist. Her current research includes patterns of molecular evolution within pathogens, aiming for a better understanding of the fundamental evolutionary processes in order to make better predictions about epidemics and inform public health decisions. Lunar astrophysicist Dr Katherine Joy is in the front line of current lunar and planetary science research. She has the scientific objective of investigating the endogenic and exogenic geological history of the Moon using geochemical techniques. This includes conducting analytical investigations of lunar samples, and applying this to lunar geological processes to help interpret geochemical remote sensing data from the Moon’s surface. Marie Kipling is the team leader for signalling and telecoms for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff and she spoke about a number of ‘next big things’ in rail and the opportunities and challenges. She is particularly excited with research into autonomous systems and how trains may be controlled in the future, following developments of the Google car and driverless trains at Heathrow. This includes the benefits that can be achieved through greater automation in rail, such as safety, efficiency, capacity and accuracy of positioning. Challenges include safety aspects such as system failures and how driver underload, distraction and situation awareness are to be addressed by means of driver performance monitoring. The RSSB is funding research into this area in collaboration with Edinburgh University. The railway is now firmly (and finally) moving to IP-based communications systems and the cyber security aspects required to ensure the safety of the UK rail networks are very important. New advances in wireless technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will also bring great benefits to the railway, along with a few challenges. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has been involved in the design of a fully converged IP station where the equipment includes CCTV, modular IP PA amplifiers, IP PA speakers, IP help points, and intruder detection connected via separate VLANs using power over Ethernet. The converged network utilises a VLAN structure with each subsystem having its own designated VLAN and port on the switch. Another interesting ‘next big thing’ is high-speed rail, and the telecoms requirement for a radio system to provide reliable connectivity to trains for control and communications. GSM-R is the current technology for ERTMS and is based on free-space antennas with their own base station every few kilometres. Each site requires a mast, physical room for the base station with power and environmental protection. Handover from one base station to another for high-speed rail will be a challenge and requires far greater overlapping coverage than currently provided.




Call 01530 816 456 or visit the website at AGENDA 08.30 09:15 09:25

REGISTRATION / COFFEE / NETWORKING / EXHIBITORS Welcome and Introduction to Sustainability. Introduction: Rail Sustainability – myth or reality? Shaun McCarthy, Action Sustainability.

SUSTAINABILITY  WHERE ARE NOW? 09:45 Sustainability Basics – are we getting these right? Helen Woolston, Environment Coordinator, TfL. 10:25 Sustainable Supply Chain – building relationships with businesses who share our values Paul Paddick, Head of Supply Change, Carillion Infrastructure. 10:45 VW Scandal – an environmental incident or an ethical breach (external) Stephen Farrant, Director of Environment and Market Solutions, BITC. 11:05 Q&A Session with the panel. 11:15 REFRESHMENTS / NETWORKING / EXHIBITION

THIS YEAR’S SPEAKERS Shaun McCarthy Action Sustainability

Helen Woolston TfL

Paul Paddick

Carillion Infrastructure

Stephen Farrant

WHAT DOES SUSTAINABILITY MEAN IN 2016 AND BEYOND? 11:35 Innovation and Sustainability - Shamit Gaiger, Policy Director, RSSB. 11:55 Crossrail: how has sustainability been incorporated into an operational railway? Cathy Myatt, Environment Manager, and Phil Hinde, Rolling Stock and Depots Manager, Crossrail. 12:25 Adopting the Circular Economy – pathways to collaboration for infrastructure owners and operators Robert Spencer, Director, Sustainability, AECOM. 12:45 Q&A Session with the panel. 12:55 LUNCH / NETWORKING / EXHIBITION


WHAT HAS SUSTAINABILITY TAUGHT US? 13:30 Bigger and Better Projects Shouldn’t Come at the Cost of Maintaining the Natural Environment Davide Stronati, Global Sustainability Leader, Mott MacDonald. 13:50 Outline of How and Why Network Rail is Embracing Sustainability (examples of projects) Rhodri Davies, Environment Manager, Network Rail. 14:10 An External View – Why / How does the Wesley Hotel operate in a sustainable manner? What lessons can the rail industry learn? John Nyota, CEO/MD, The Wesley. 14:30 Q&A Session with the panel. 14:40 REFRESHMENTS / NETWORKING / EXHIBITION

David Stronati

THE FUTURE  WHAT OPPORTUNITIES CAN SUSTAINABILITY OFFER US? 15:00 REAL CAR: Recycled Aluminium Project, Jaguar Landrover Adrian Tautscher, Group Leader for Sustainable Aluminium Strategies, Jaguar Land Rover. 15:20 Cutting Carbon in Rail Infrastructure Michelle Papayannakos, Sustainable Development Specialist, (RSSB). 15:40 HS2’s approach to Sustainability - delivering more than a railway; creating social, environmental and economic benefits in both the short and long term. Andrea Charlson, Sustainable Materials Manager, HS2. 16:00 Q&A Session with panel. 16:10 WRAP UP AND THANK YOU

Jaguar Land Rover

S Sustainability us sttainability S ummit Summit

Shamit Gaiger RSSB

Cathy Myatt and Phil Hinde Crossrail

Robert Spencer AECOM

Mott MacDonald

Rhodri Davies Network Rail

John Nycota The Wesley

Adrian Tautscher Michelle Papavannakos RSSB

Andrea Charlson HS2


Rail Engineer • October 2016 there is a largely ageing workforce, with major resource shortages likely to worsen. Additionally, with ever increasing investment into the industry, good people are being spread evermore thinly.


Women and STEM

Left to right Dr. Emily Grossman, Dr. Lucy Weinert, Marie Kipling, Dr. Katherine Joy.

A design being evaluated by WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is to provide the radio link using Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology and a low-level antenna distributed base station solution. Distributed base stations centralise most of the signal processing within base band Units (BBU) that connect to remote radio unit (RRU) heads by fibre-optic cable. The remote RRUs are much smaller and consume less power than conventional base station equipment. They can be located within a small environmental housing so no further environmental protection is required. The Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH) is transmitted at all times and carries information on the location and technical parameters of the BBU. The antennas could be mounted at low level on electrification structures, thereby saving cost and providing aesthetic and space benefits. Effectively, one wide radio cell is provided which makes handovers far easier. The solution is more than radio frequency over fibre, which has been used for some time, with the control and functionality intelligence split between BBU and RRU. Marie explained that the challenges to rail include the (excessive) time to bring new products into service, technology transfer from other industries, lack of innovation, challenging assurance regimes, and responding to changing needs. The rail industry has been historically slow to change, focusing on strict standards and methodologies, tried and proven over many decades. However, we’re now in a world of rapid change and new challenges, with many previously unimagined technologies available. There is limited specific research into railway telecoms but various universities, including Birmingham, are now involved. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff works collaboratively with both the university and the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education. Funding comes from groups such as RSSB. There is also difficulty in resourcing and obtaining the right skills. The industry has seen major decentralisation over the last 20 years, yet established industry-wide training schemes have ceased to exist. Consequently,

The all-female panel was a welcome coincidence but is not representative of science and engineering. A recent Women in Rail’s report provides some alarming numbers. Using data gathered on 85,723 staff from across the rail sector, it shows that 16.4 per cent, or 14,024, of the total workforce is female - roughly the same number as in August 1914, at the dawn of the First World War. The majority, 60 per cent, are working in customer-facing roles and seven per cent are in non-managerial positions, while just four per cent currently occupy an engineering role. Given the requirement to provide many more engineers to renew and operate the railway of the future, encouraging more female engineers should be seen as an opportunity for all sectors in engineering and rail. All companies in rail have a significant contribution to make to improve the diversity within engineering and technology and collaborating with others to deliver a better railway. Marie said she believed that the science, technology and research environment, as a whole, is very diverse, particularly when compared to industries such as the railway which has a clear gender imbalance. That’s not to say that the rail environment is not diverse, it simply has attracted more male workers than female. Historically, there have been many issues that led to a male-orientated environment, but in today’s world it is a place where both men and women can find equal opportunities. However, it will take time for the gender mix to balance out. Marie thought that any organisation can improve diversity by ensuring its environments are good places for everyone to work, regardless of race, sexual orientation and gender. The only way to be truly diverse is not to have targets or tick boxes, but to simply appoint people on their competence and ability. Simply appointing engineers because they are female benefits no one and is positive discrimination. Marie said: “Teaching engineering skills in secondary schools to get all children involved at an early age helps them ensure they understand that engineering is not always a physically demanding, dirty job. It requires a scientific and innovative mind to come up with solutions to engineering problems. This can be undertaken by any person, from any walk of life, who can turn their mind to engineering problems. “Engineers can work in offices, on site or in remote locations. They get to travel the world. It all depends on where they want their career to take them.”

Rail Engineer • October 2016


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Rail Engineer • October 2016

Signalling Implications for the UK


ith Britain on course to leave the EU, how might the plans for signalling (control and communications) be affected? In short, nobody really knows, but a number of factors might now change the policy that had existed hitherto. Not having to comply with EU rules on interoperability, the non-inclusion of TEN routes and the advertising of large contracts in the European Journal might all lead a different (or modified) approach. Some might regard this easing of the rules as a heaven-sent opportunity, others will argue that deviating from the European norm would amount to a business disaster. So what are the issues and how can the pros and cons be assessed?

ERTMS ERTMS, and its constituent parts of ETCS and GSM-R, has been a corner stone of European signalling policy for over two decades. Both have taken far too long to come to maturity, with ETCS Level 2 just about at a stable level and GSM-R, whilst rolled out throughout the UK, facing an obsolescence crisis within the next ten years. A third element – ETML (European Traffic Management Layer) – has never properly been started and has effectively been overtaken by proprietary Traffic Management Systems (TMS). The current EU Directive requires all lines due for re-signalling to be fitted with ETCS and to not do so requires a special exemption. The business case for implementing ETCS is questionable. Expert opinion differs on the financial viability, some reckoning that there is no real financial return for the Level 2 technology that retains traditional train detection devices such as track circuits or axle counters, with its attendant lineside infrastructure. Most countries within the EU seem to have accepted that an EU Directive has to be obeyed and the cost will have to be absorbed.

Some smaller countries have committed to nationwide roll out, notably Denmark and now Norway (the latter, oddly, not in the EU but with an invitation to tender now launched) and many others are adopting ETCS on a gradual basis, especially on high speed lines. It should achieve interoperability, but the demands of some countries for special adaptation to ensure conformance with national operating rules has made the task more difficult. In Britain, we have the Cambrian line equipped as a learning exercise, a commitment to ETCS on the central section of Thameslink (including an ATO overlay) and on the southern section of the ECML. The roll out on other routes looks likely to be on an extended timescale despite some comments to the contrary from the Network Rail Digital Railway team.

What are the ETCS Benefits? The claims are twofold: it will bring extra safety and it will increase line capacity. Both need scrutiny. Since the introduction of TPWS, the number of dangerous SPADs has decreased significantly and it is questionable whether there is sufficient scope for further improvement to the safety statistics in this area. Claims that capacity can be dramatically improved may have been wildly exaggerated as capacity will depend on many other factors –


train service patterns, station stops, rolling stock performance, track layouts and others. However, with the right kind of railway, and a busy one at that, then yes - ETCS can deliver a greater throughput since movement authorities replace the traditional block sections.

Is there an alternative? There are people who say that ERTMS is going to be the only show in town but is this true? In terms of cab-based signalling, it probably is, but the UK signalling industry has spent a lot of time developing a more efficient and easier way to implement traditional ‘lights on sticks’ systems, particularly for secondary routes. Starting with Ely-Norwich and CreweShrewsbury, ‘modular’ signalling has made a conventional upgrade much easier and cheaper, with standardised components, more testing being done in the factory, plug-coupled cables and without the complication of having to fit rolling stock. Whilst the Cambrian line system has proved useful in testing out ETCS technology, it revealed some significant difficult issues, the retro fitting of trains perhaps being the major one. Is ETCS really the right system for this kind of rural line? Certainly the Scots looked at it for their lines in the north of the country and decided that a much better bet would be a re-design of the RETB

Rail Engineer • October 2016

system, and this has now been implemented. Are there other rural lines that could benefit from this revamped technology? Then there is CBTC. Now a common technology for metros, it suffers from having a number of proprietary suppliers without any real thought to standardisation, but this has had the advantage of moving the technology forward at a much quicker pace than has been seen with ETCS. The endless committees to discuss and agree how the standards will be implemented do not get in the way. Whilst not suitable for main line usage (at least in the foreseeable future), there could be suburban routes around cities (for example Merseyrail) that could benefit from CBTC deployment.

Other factors Britain’s railway has long been in the forefront of digital technology and it has implemented a nationwide fibre network and associated huge digital transmission capacity (FTN and FTNx) courtesy of Network Rail Telecoms, that passes the Heineken test – it reaches all parts of the network. Thus, there for the taking is a distribution system to get commands out from a signalling centre to trackside points and signals without the large expenditure on dedicated lineside cabling. This yields huge cost reductions and has already been put to good use on the modular signalling projects.

Equally, the GSM-R radio network is complete and all trains are fitted, so bolting on an RETB cab display and control unit (or indeed a portable ETCS unit) becomes almost a minor task. Sure, at some time in the future, GSM-R will have to be replaced with something else, but this could be less constrained if a European dictate were not to be there and would have to be carried out whether or not Britain is in or out of the EU. Network Rail’s Digital Railway initiative has made ETCS a major part of its thrust, but is this where the effort should be expended and would it be better to concentrate on some other elements of the Digital Railway plan? Getting more capacity is a challenge for all European railways, so improving the running and regulation of trains will significantly help this. Enter TMS, which takes an overall picture of train operations across a wide area and makes intelligent decisions on routing priorities and train speed. Couple this with DAS (Driver Advisory System) and you achieve a minute-by-minute optimisation of train running performance. A big plus is that this can be fitted to existing power box technology, thus potentially giving a much faster deployment than an ETCS programme.

So what will happen? As indicated earlier, the implications of Brexit on rail signalling are far from clear. Yes, ETCS will happen on the busiest main lines with


capacity constraints and maybe on busy city commuter routes as well. A welcome initiative would be the development and introduction of ETCS Level 3 as this does away with traditional train detection equipment, thus dramatically improving the business case. Freed from the bureaucracy of European decision-making, the UK might just lead the way with this and the signs are already there that this is happening. It would be ironic if, in, 10 years time, Britain is acknowledged as the pioneer of Level 3 technology and operation. On secondary and rural routes, the way forward is more difficult to predict. The high cost of ETCS Level 2 makes it an unattractive proposition for such lines, where capacity constraints rarely exist. If, and it is a big if, Level 3 comes to fruition, then this might be a more cost-effective solution than conventional signalling, always provided that the rolling stock fitment is carried out as new trains are introduced. For the remotest of rural lines, the continuation of RETB technology may well find favour. It’s going to be interesting to watch what happens. One thing is certain, finance and the cost of achieving modern and effective control and communication will be a big factor and not having to obey EU Directives could make a significant difference. The country is likely to have a smaller chequebook so value for money will be all important.


Rail Engineer • October 2016


Can Lean help Rail? A new car is produced every 16 seconds by the UK motor industry.


he UK rail supply chain is in the midst of an exciting period of growth in the global rail market. In the recently released “Fast Track to the Future” strategy, the Rail Supply Group set out the industry’s plans to improve productivity and collaboration across the supply chain, to ensure the UK is a global railway leader. Part of the plan is to seek out best practice from other industries. One of the current success stories is the motor manufacturing sector. In 2015, the UK manufactured 1,587,677 cars, 94,479 commercial vehicles and 2,368,477 engines. Exports were valued at £34.3 billion, that’s 12% of the UK’s total exports of goods. So how could techniques that work in fixed location, mass production environments, where a relatively low number of variants roll off the production line every 16 seconds or so, work in a sector that physically spans the country and has a multitude of demanding stakeholders?

Growing demand for improved customer experience is leading to new production models.

Rail is different On the surface, there are many differences between the sectors. Automotive OEMs operate with a supporting structure of Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers, often vertically integrated, delivering direct to one site. The suppliers operate to a level schedule week in week out, and at each site deal with just one customer which has clear authority. The rail supply chain, depending on the exact circumstances, is more diverse. While rolling stock providers or re-furbishers might operate in a

similar workshop environment to an automotive OEM, they and their suppliers do not have a stable future forecast. The world of a network infrastructure provider is considerably more complex. The place of work is remote to the supporting local depot, where stores and equipment are located, so transport has to be arranged for all supplies and services, suitable access points found and a multitude of contractors and suppliers organised to get all the right items to the right place at the right time.

In addition, staff require trackside qualifications and permits to work and possessions need to be booked years in advance. And, of course, every location and emergency situation poses different health and safety hazards, of which 125mph trains are just one. If any one element fails, a spare not in stock, store keys not available, staff stranded on a broken vehicle, it can be a show-stopper and very obvious to the public very quickly. Added to that is the legacy of the privatised rail industry and the subsequent rounds of centralisation and regionalisation. Despite the high level of interdependency between rolling stock procurement and reallocation, rail infrastructure and the TOCs, it is often unclear who is in charge or accountable for decisions.

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Rail Engineer • October 2016

But not so different However, both sectors are challenged with an ever-increasing list of similar goals: provide goods or service at an ever decreasing cost and in shorter lead times, become more competitive in the global market, meet emissions targets and improve productivity. Both operate in markets with growing demand, where customers want an improved experience and in an age where digital technologies are offering new opportunities as well as disrupting existing business models. In short, both sectors are increasingly judged on their performance, not only by the public, but by industry regulators and government. But the most important similarities are these; both rely on people to ensure they function and those people operate as part of a process. This is the same if they are doing physical tasks or delivering a service. A process is the combination of manpower, materials and machines (equipment) to provide goods or services that the customer wants. And the customer, whether that be a TOC, a passenger or a car driver, will judge those goods or services in terms of quality, cost and delivery. These similarities are why the lean techniques used in the automotive and many other sectors can support the rail supply chain. The techniques use cross-functional teams of people from the process to find better ways of combining the inputs to that process. The lean tools concentrate on doing this by eliminating what are known as the Seven Wastes. It’s not about making people work harder, it’s about removing wasteful tasks so people can work smarter. Being able to produce more output by better combining inputs is key to solving the productivity puzzle.

The lean approach Although often associated with companies like Nissan and Toyota, it’s vital to stress that lean practices do not just work in Japan. The Nissan plant in Sunderland is the largest in the UK and one of the most productive Nissan plants in the world. In line with the other UK auto manufacturers, it exports 80 per cent of production and, over the years, has consistently won millions of pounds of investment. How do they, and many other companies, achieve these results? The lean approach is a lot more than just running a level output final assembly line. It is applied across the whole business including design, new product development and testing as well as procurement, scheduling and customer service. The key factors in the overall approach to lean include: »» Start with a clear strategy. Turn the strategy into plans and set clear targets for every item. »» Analyse where you are against those targets. Do this at business and process level to





identify the problems and opportunities for improvement. Implement the most appropriate lean techniques for your situation to bring about the change you need. One size does not fit all. Experience from automotive shows that early in the improvement journey you will improve performance without significant financial investment. Develop a mind-set across the whole workforce that encourages and expects everyone to contribute to improvement. “Better is not good enough, improvement is infinite.” In Nissan, ideas from the workforce range from thousands to millions of pounds improvement in efficiency in any one year. Nurture the supply chain. Work in collaboration to make improvements in productivity, quality and working conditions and share the commercial benefits. Toyota works with their suppliers to introduce the Toyota Production System. Apart from reducing costs across the supply chain, suppliers also report improvements in employee-management relations.

What can be improved? Here is just a small selection of issues that can be found in any business and that are improved by using lean techniques. If analysis shows poor quality or late delivery of service or parts, then a Structured Problem Solving technique can be used to find the route causes of the problem. The team investigates and deploys the best countermeasures to eliminate them. To ensure that the fixes are sustained, other lean tools like 5S, Visual Management and Standardised Work are deployed. It may be that business is suffering from low productivity in either a labour or equipmentintensive process. The most suitable analysis tool for the particular situation should be used to find the largest reasons for the low performance. As before, the countermeasures are investigated by the team and put into place. Once the top reason has been eliminated, the team repeats the process on the next biggest issue. As in automotive new product or plant development, rail has a large number of project-based processes: track or station

upgrades, new infrastructure and the design, delivery and ongoing maintenance of new fleets. There are a number of key techniques that are used to ensure projects are brought in on time and on budget, but most importantly that they satisfy the customer. These techniques address the planning methods, the governance structure and people aspects such as team working, communication and stakeholder management. These are particularly important in a sector with so many different providers, contractors and stakeholders. Performance may suffer because of space or capacity issues. This is not unusual in an industry that has developed over 200 years and is still growing. A greater number of sets in service, and doing more miles, need bigger service depots. Often there is little room to expand around existing facilities. Problems like these have already been addressed using lean tools, like the Pendolino maintenance activities at the Alstom Longsight and Wembley depots. In these cases, the capacity issue was addressed using a tool called Set Up Improvement (or SMED). In essence, it works like an F1 pit stop to reduce the time to service each set. The crew can then deal with more units in the same time. Alternatively competitiveness can be improved by reducing costs. Traditional techniques such as cutting heads and limiting spending usually result in reduced capacity and aren’t sustainable over the long term. Lean concentrates on eliminating the tasks that don’t add value to the process, the Seven Wastes, and produces better results the longer it is deployed. Improvement activities can free up people. Best practise companies use them to do more proactive improvement, or retrain them to work where their skills are needed. This is becoming more important as the rail sector, like other engineering sectors, is facing a significant shortage of skilled workers. The challenge to the rail supply chain is clear. It is now up to each company to analyse its own business and select the right responses to ensure the success of the whole. Dr Chris Owen is CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Industry Forum.

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Sustaining Rail Engineer • October 2016

the Future



radition has it that the incoming president or chairman of a professional engineering institution gives an address that focusses on personal past experience and how this relates to their theme for the coming year.

The new chairman of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Railway Division, Richard East (left), bucked this trend at his recent presentation by concentrating his message entirely on the future of the rail industry, as seen through engineering eyes. A career railwayman since 1977, he has witnessed a multitude of changes both in business organisation and technology through the intervening 39 years. This, perhaps, enables him to predict more realistically what the future holds and compare this against some of the wilder public pronouncements made in recent times on how the railway will evolve.

Growth challenges Rail growth has to be aligned with demographic predictions: the UK population could reach 80 million by 2066 but GDP growth is less certain. Whilst passenger numbers have doubled since 1982, what will they be in 50 years? The age profile of the population will increase, which will mean a change in travel demand - less commuting, more leisure journeys, avoidance of crowds, more mobility impairment.

In addition, the freight situation has taken a knock with the decline in coal but will there be other elements to take its place? And how will the railway industry plan for all this? Richard believes that, in the future, significant factors will be the cost of travel, journey time and train loading, all linking into capacity and resilience. Already, it is noticeable that operating near to capacity reduces resilience - when things go wrong, the knock on effect is far worse.

Despite predictions elsewhere, ETCS Level 2 will not significantly increase capacity. Only with Level 3 and the advent of moving block will there be any real gain. Technology comparisons with the road sector, where autonomous vehicles and hands-off driving are forecast in the foreseeable future, lead some to believe that train platoons and convoys could become possible but, even if true, that is many years away. Future-proofing of trains will be needed - a 40 year life is likely to remain but with periodic updates to take account of technology advances. Bi-mode and electric trains are all part of this, but the downside is that improved flexibility increases weight.

Rail Engineer • October 2016 Sustainability Not always well understood, sustainability might be defined as “managing the resource base of our generation for those of the future”. Rail is, potentially, a sustainable, integrated system and sits well within the three ‘pillars’ of sustainability social, environment and economic. Already, new legislation for locomotives is having an impact - the last Class 66 freight locomotive, now non-compliant, has been delivered. Multi-engined locos are emerging the DB Class 245 and the repowering of the Class 73 electro-diesels are part of the process. Just where the next generation of DMUs for the UK will come from is an unknown. Electrification continues to have many advantages - reduced train weight, energy savings, improved performance, no emission at the point of use, regenerative braking and the opportunity for flexible energy sources that could be fully renewable (as in Sweden). All make for a good business case, despite the high cost of infrastructure provision. The economics for sustainability have to be linked with franchise conditions. The use of new materials should be encouraged in order to produce a more efficient product - a plastic bogie frame is already undergoing acceptance and service trials. Even the recognition that obesity in society is having a detrimental effect, and the drive to make walking and cycling more prevalent to improve the nation’s health, may be part of this process.

Fuel availability

Train control and protection

Analysis of gas and oil production indicates that this has reached its peak and will be well on the decline by 2050. The unit cost will increase and greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide will worsen health issues unless something is done. Whilst this is a global challenge, the rail sector is well positioned to set an example. Energy recovery comes in two categories. One includes external factors, such as the avoidance of rheostatic braking and the use of regenerative practices, as well as storage of energy by means of batteries, super-capacitors and flywheels to allow for intermittent electrification. The second category includes internal factors such as selfpowered electric trains, hybrid options such as fuel cells or small diesels, although these do imply a weight increase, and flywheel retarders. None of these are blue-sky thinking and examples exist currently, either as prototypes or in limited service. In the future, more effort will be needed to get these initiatives accepted as common practice.

This represents, perhaps, the most difficult path into the future. People are making lots of optimistic assumptions but there have been many examples of problematic projects in the recent past. The goal of interoperability is the right way forward, but both the processes and technology to achieve this have been fraught with difficulties. The ERTMS vision is a good one, but the objective of getting more capacity will only really be achieved when ETCS Level 3 becomes a reality. This, in turn, brings other challenges as, without conventional train detection equipment, how will the integrity and length of freight trains be assured? The European approval process takes far too long, caused perhaps by the insistence of some countries to maintain existing operating rules. Couple this with the trend to always make pessimistic assumptions braking curves modelled on the worst case, traction performance understated, probability of



Rail Engineer • October 2016

applications not optimised - and one can see how hard it has been to implement successful systems. The vexed and expensive question of how to retrofit rolling stock continues to be a dilemma, caused, in part, by the many component parts and interfaces needed for the on-train equipment, but also by the down time needed to perform the installation. Dare it be suggested that finding a way of economically fitting heritage rolling stock, even steam engines, might yield some lessons as a generality? The fact that many of the ERTMS elements contain ageing equipment technology is an ever-present threat; GSM-R in particular has communication limitations and its 2G specification is becoming obsolete. The use of packet switching (GPRS) to increase the data flow to trains is at last becoming accepted, but even that has been an uphill struggle and is only a short term fix. The future generation of rail technical managers will need to map out a way forward, but avoiding the mistakes of the past will need to be uppermost in people’s minds. They should start, perhaps, with an agreement on standardised operating rules, which in turn should lead to easier driver interfaces and training.

»» Passenger facilities - reservations, information systems including train running updates, Wi-Fi enabling, head counting, seat occupation;

The journey experience for travellers has to be all-important. If a train is going to be cancelled, it would be good for passengers to know what

»» Condition monitoring - train performance and status; »» Advice to drivers - failure notification both for on board systems and elsewhere on the planned journey; »» Event reporting - on-board incident assistance, interrogation of associated CCTV recordings; »» Maintenance planning. Much of this is currently available but is not assembled in any standardised format, which makes it difficult for operational staff to manage within the fragmented infrastructure and train company structure. With all this data comes the increasing risk of cyber security attacks, especially if systems are wireless connected. This is recognised as a complex technical issue and requires constant and rigorous testing. Using experience gained by the military will prove useful and some comfort may be taken that government circles are now taking this threat very seriously - a DfT guidance document was issued in February 2016

the alternatives are before actually leaving home. Even en route, when problems occur, updates need to be given on the impact of any delay and whether alternative journey options can be offered. To give this level of service will require much better train running data to be available across a wide area. This should come with TMS (traffic management systems) coupled with C-DAS (connected driver advisory systems) integrated with information from outside of the railway.

Train communications

The digital railway

Modern trains are awash with on board data, much of which needs to be communicated to and from the shore. This includes: »» Remote train preparation instructions, such as heating, air conditioning and ventilation;

Much is being made of this high profile initiative within Network Rail. However, it must not become just a project to improve line capacity and modernise train control. In truth, the other elements of the plan may be more vital and easier to implement.

Non-UK Rail Experience In recent times, Richard has worked in Denmark on its nationwide ERTMS project. This has proved very valuable, not only in understanding just how difficult this project will be to implement, but in getting enlightenment on how things are tackled elsewhere. He believes that the UK does not have all the answers and must be prepared to actively seek out lessons from schemes that have met with difficulties. The railway is a global industry and the mass of communication that exists on the internet should be used by younger engineers to understand the latest perceptions and technology that is being deployed across the world. Richard’s advice to all engineers is, when the opportunity arises to work overseas, take it and learn from it. This does not mean having to emigrate (although many have chosen this

Rail Engineer • October 2016 path) but be positive towards short to medium-term assignments. Getting a Eur Ing qualification will have increasing recognition as time passes. The recent vote by Britain to leave the EU is interesting and will bring both risks and opportunities. It is to be hoped that the engineering community’s links with Europe and elsewhere will continue to yield strong co-operation and friendship.

The challenge ahead Richard East has had a long and varied career in which he has gained invaluable knowledge and experience. Many of the topics raised in his Chairman’s address are not new, in fact they appear regularly at conferences and in magazines. Looking at it through an engineer’s eyes maybe gives a different slant. Many in the engineering community often cringe at statements made about how technology will transform capacity, reliability, cost reduction and suchlike. Everything is possible, but in the rail industry, with its huge safety implications, a degree of realism is needed and Richard was able to give this.

One obvious question is where the directing mind will come from to steer all this to fruition. There is no easy answer; certainly there has to be strong input from government via the DfT but, to do this, the necessary expertise has to be on board. Network Rail has to be in the equation, as does the RSSB and the ORR, but how to pull this together into a single concentrated direction remains a challenge.

The Professional Engineering Institutions should be able to provide the means of co-ordinating new ideas that emerge from the rail industry from within the rail operating companies, the supply chain contractors and academia. The IMechE has expertise in all transport modes and has recently produced reports on freight operations and carbon assessment. Working with other Institutions involved in the rail sector will always be treated with positive enthusiasm.



Rail Engineer • October 2016

Rail Exec Club Drapers' Hall, London



ail Media recently hosted its eighth Rail Exec Club luncheon, designed to provide an opportunity for railway professionals to get together, network and keep in touch with the ever-changing railway world. The immense changes that are currently taking place in the UK - a new Prime Minister, a new Secretary of State for Transport and the changing face of our relationship with Europe - further heighten the value of these gatherings. For this event, the Rail Exec Club returned to the stunning Drapers’ Hall in Throgmorton Street, London. Sponsored by Morson, the theme for the event was “The Export Market”, a fitting subject post-Brexit, recognising that, as the business world becomes smaller, it is vital that companies start to look outside the UK to expand their market potential. The Rail Exec Club tackled this daunting issue head on.


Passengers first

The Drapers' Hall is most appropriate for an event that is focussed on markets and trade. Founded over 600 years ago, the Drapers’ Company is incorporated by Royal Charter and is one of the twelve great Livery Companies in the City of London. Members required a hall where they could meet to discuss and coordinate business. At first, they used individuals’ houses but as the trading activities of the guilds expanded, the Drapers’ Guild decided to build its own Hall in the 1420s. This first Hall was in St. Swithin’s Lane.   The present hall in Throgmorton Street was bought from King Henry VIII in 1543 for the sum of 1,800 marks (approximately £1,200). The building had been the house of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex and Chief Minister to Henry, but had been forfeited to the King on Cromwell’s execution in July 1540. Destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666, Drapers’ Hall was rebuilt between 1667 and 1671 to designs by Edward Jarman. A further fire in 1772 necessitated another rebuild, followed by further changes in the nineteenth century by Herbert Williams and then, in 1898-9, by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson. 

Returning to the Rail Exec Club event, the participants, representing more than 80 rail companies, were asked to consider how existing UK projects could be promoted to stimulate and encourage manufacturing for export and what the benefits are that could materialise. There were two eminent guest speakers well prepared to inspire and challenge everyone present. The first speaker was Bernadette Kelly, who became the director general of the Department for Transport’ Rail Group in September 2015. From September 2013, Bernadette was director general, business and local growth. Prior to that she was director general, fair markets in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). While Bernadette has worked principally in BIS and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), she has also worked at HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office, and in the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit, as well as on secondment to ICI plc. From 2000 to 2002 she was director of corporate law and governance in the DTI, where she led work to strengthen company law and corporate governance. Bernadette was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 2010.

Rail Engineer • October 2016 Although Bernadette has only been in the post for one year, she was eager to express her admiration for the many people who devote their lives to the rail industry with a passionate commitment. Coupled with that, she explained how she has come to appreciate the true importance of rail, the challenges of electrification and the work and attention to detail to ensure that our railway system is considered to be one of the safest, if not the safest, in the world; an admirable status that will benefit from the ever improving relationship with the Office of Rail Regulator. Bernadette noted that, although it has not been an easy ride, the standards of franchising represent a wealth of experience alongside the industry’s ability to grasp the nettle and drive through major projects such as Thameslink and Crossrail. All of these achievements are set against a backcloth of the Bowe, Hendy and Shaw reviews, which caused Bernadette some concern about the industry when she first started the job. Bernadette emphasised the need to understand how projects need to be funded in the future, a burden that should not just rest with the taxpayer. Also, she stressed the need for industry to always put the passenger first. With the possibility looming that Britain will need to double its rail capacity, the industry’s fantastic skill base, its experience of managing major projects, of working cooperatively and of being totally focused on the end user will not only ensure that the UK has a first class railway but also a level of expertise that will be in demand abroad. The challenge, then, is ensuring that the industry has the resources to deliver at home and then contribute to a thriving export business.

Getting more out of old infrastructure The second speaker was Nigel Ash who is the managing director of Network Rail Consulting - a freestanding wholly owned subsidiary of Network Rail. With over 30 years international transport and management experience, Nigel is more than qualified to manage this international consultancy business which has operations in Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and the USA. Nigel explained that reports such as McNulty challenged the efficiency of the rail industry and the perceived view that UK railways were 30 per cent more expensive. The aim of the consultancy is to demonstrate that we do have something to offer the rest of the world. The challenge is to identify this value and then make it available


by drawing on the expertise of Network Rail to advise clients on rail operations, maintenance, asset management and project and programme management. The consultancy was launched four years ago and there are now more than 1,000 Network Rail employees working abroad. Obviously, there is a fine line between benefits to the consultancy and disruption to the day-to-day business, but he is now moving toward a fifty/fifty mix of people seconded from Network Rail and local talent. The consultancy does not want to get involved with preliminary designs, as there are already experts such as Atkins or Mott MacDonald operating effectively around the world. They also have a similar view of construction. The consultancy’s area of expertise is considered to be getting more out of old infrastructure and doing this without causing disruption to the day-to-day running of the rail system. Other strengths are effective safety systems designed for a commercially focussed industry designed to compete. Network Rail Consulting now works in 24 countries around the world. Often in politically sensitive areas. These teams are not only selling Network Rail technical expertise, but also shadowing local teams who are dealing with training development, offering new skills and techniques. Nigel explained that, to date, they have identified twenty-two ‘benefits’ that have been brought back into Network Rail, recognising that the learning process is always two way. Nigel’s last comment was to say that the consultancy made a profit last year of £1.3 million. A good start for an exciting venture, giving food for thought for everyone enjoying their lunch at this very successful Rail Exec Club.


Rail Engineer • October 2016

Broken rails causes and prevention



et me paint you a picture”. That was how Marc Clarke, technical lead for rail welding with London Underground, started his presentation at the twenty-fifth technical seminar of the Institute of Rail Welding recently. He accompanied this with a picture of a welder carrying out a repair on a flat bottom rail on a section of overground track.

However London Underground is moving with the times and looking to make improvements to how it works from many angles. One of these is the approval of premium rail HP335 for use on the network. This will reduce the frequency of work required in terms of rail replacement and weld repair, and ultimately reduce life cycle costs.

Standards galore

Having seen rail repair welding first hand, the first thought that came to my mind was - welding parameters. Currents, preheats, weld bead lengths and how key it is to get these right to produce a sound weld. “Great,” I thought. “I might learn something new about rail repair welding as it is something I am involved with.” However, by the end of his presentation, I can honestly say I had learned nothing about rail repair welding in terms of technique. Marc, though, was true to his presentation title - “Challenges of Welding on the London Underground” as he gave us a vivid description of what it is like. I have to admit that I had never considered the non-technique challenges of welding underground but, from what was described, it sounded as though it can be, on occasion, a bit of a logistical nightmare. Before any welding can begin, the welding team needs to get its equipment to the required underground location. Access and egress points? Not quite, more like up to 60 metres underground down steep public escalators carrying welding boxes, torches, gas cylinders, PPE and lighting. And the rail? Well, that has to be shunted in from the nearest overground connecting tunnel which can be half a kilometre away. Then there’s the issue of parking the van two blocks away from the station (if you’re lucky), hassle from the ticket office getting in and out of the station, permits to work - and all this before any welding has commenced. “Welding underground in the summer is like being in a pressure cooker, the conditions are horrible,” Marc continued. We have to remember that the London Underground is over 150 years old, making it the oldest system in the world. Consequently, it is inevitable that a variety of building structures will be present, spanning the last 150 years. Unfortunately, this includes asbestos sites where it is mandatory to wear breathing apparatus - in the already stifling conditions. So the difference between welding overground compared to underground can sometimes literally be like day and night. It’s no wonder Marc says that they have some of the best welders in the world working for them. They have to be, to be able to adapt to these difficult working conditions.

After Marc’s vivid oil painting, Brian Whitney, principal track engineer for Network Rail, gave us some insight into three aspects of his job role - standards, standards and standards. Brian put up pages and pages of standards, all of which needed updating and revising, a process with which he is heavily involved. This is another job I wouldn’t fancy. I’m not sure what would be worse, welding on the London Underground or being responsible for making sure all the standards that Network Rail staff work to are bang up to date (not to mention all the other UK rail operators, maintainers and installers that use these as the benchmark). Considerable effort is invested in making standards easier to reference, to include learning from experience, research and trials. Standards also need to evolve to take into account new inspection technologies and frequencies, for example the work with Bob Crocker and the eddy-current trains - more on this later. One of the positive outcomes that can be linked to improving standards is the decreasing number of rail breaks. In 1998, there were 952 rail breaks, and from the chart Brian put up, the number of rail breaks has been decreasing each year down to 109 in 2015. As you can imagine, the number of high-risk rails found before failure is sensitively linked to the inspection frequencies dictated in the standards. Overall, that is around a 90 per cent reduction in rail breaks and that, against the backdrop of heavier axle loads and 50 per cent increase in traffic, is something to be quite proud of, I think.

Rail Engineer • October 2016 Brian talked us through the individual changes that have been implemented and which have contributed to the decreases in rail breaks over the past 15 years. These included a campaign of re-railing, grinding strategies, ultrasonic inspections and the tightening up of dip angles. Dip angle limits have been improved twice at different times, and each adjustment is thought to have led to a decrease in rail breaks. As Brian explained, it is becoming clear that even small plain line geometry faults, which are well within their limits, are correlating with rail breaks. Dip angles, changes in track stiffness at discontinuities such as bridges, crossings, areas of ballast settlement - all are coinciding with rail breaks. However, the number of variables that differ at each site is significant and, as yet, clear correlations have not been determined. Watch this space. A handy tip to spot ballast movement, which can undermine the sleepers and rail, is to look for whitening of the ballast, a function of friction acting when the ballast is moving. Normally it is very difficult to see ballast settlement when walking the track; it is best done from some height using aerial photography or a drone. Geological features, that affect track bed stiffness, differ from one part of the country to the next, making this a complex challenge. “We are accustomed to working on the top half metre, with minimal interaction below this, but

this is something we need to tackle moving forward,” Brian commented. It certainly is a big challenge considering that our history of line formation is based on building embankments from cuttings. The statistics presented are only as good as the method of recording data in the Rail Defect Management System (RDMS), which is also evolving. A good understanding of the limitations and nuances of the data recorded in systems and registers allows the user a deeper appreciation of the state of the network, and also allows a comparison of statistics with other rail networks.

The French connection Brian has been working with his counterparts in France’s SNCF. It has taken some time for the relationship to get to where it is and only now is SNCF starting to open up a bit and appreciate the benefit of collaborative working. Our network is similar in size to SNCF, so it makes sense to share notes, “but we need to make sure we are comparing apples with apples”. Subtle differences in the reporting and categorising of rail breaks can make all the difference, so it is vital to understand these in order for a meaningful comparison to be made.

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Rail Engineer • October 2016

A lot of critical thinking and judgement is required to assess numbers and statistics. For example, squats come out as the top defect. But is that really because there are five times more of these than any other defect, or is it just because squats are more easily detected? Interestingly, SNCF is considering specifying softer rail grades such as R200, believing in the benefit of using rail with a high wear rate so defects do not have time to develop due to material loss. In the UK, our experience is taking us down the route of using HP335 and harder rail grades. How do we reconcile this huge difference in strategy? As Brian explained, people need to appreciate that the UK network is operated in a vastly different manner to that in France where no-one would dream of putting freight on a passenger line as we do; they have separate tracks for each which means that the strategies for each network necessarily need to be different.

Assessing skills Continuing the theme of standards and regulations, Paul Flynn, training evaluation and assurance team leader, talked about industry standards, and how to be compliant. Paul presented the new Skills Assessment Scheme, which is a method of ensuring that process practitioners such as welders are continually assessed to ensure that they have had the necessary development, post training development, interim checks and renewal checks. This scheme utilises a competency-based approach rather than the main focus being a ‘one size fits all’ knowledge test as was the case previously. In addition, the requirements for each process now reflect the risk involved, resulting in a more proportionate approach rather than a generic system. As briefly mentioned earlier, Bob Crocker has been working on the eddy-current inspection train, the proper technical term being RSU (roller search unit). Bob works for Sperry Rail, and he explained that trains with eddy-current sensors mounted on them are continuously running around the network, mapping out where RCF (rolling contact fatigue) is present and categorising its severity. These trains cover the entire rail network every eight weeks. Sperry Rail has devised a system that utilises sensors at 70, 37 and 0 degree angles which move along with the contours of the rail, providing more complete coverage of the head. RCF is a by-product of steel-on-steel contact at the wheel-rail interface; small cracks that can grow with time and can lead to a transverse rail break with catastrophic consequences, such as Hatfield. Hence RCF needs to be managed and the rail ground before the cracks can grow or replaced entirely if the RCF cracks are too severe. Historically, the depth of RCF-generated sub-surface cracks, the type that can lead to a transverse rail break, have been correlated to the crack length present on the surface of the rail. Bob says this is a loose relationship, and it means that railway administrations may have to spend more money managing RCF at certain locations than may be strictly necessary due to the fear of the potentially disastrous consequences.

So what has Sperry Rail found? “RCF is everywhere, not just the high rail and fast lines, but tangent track and S&C, it was a revelation!” Sperry Rail reports back to Network Rail which decides what the best course of action is - grinding or re-railing. Following successful trials, milling is something that may be introduced as an intermediate between the two. Rail milling removes much more material than grinding and essentially allows Network Rail to ‘reset the clock’ in terms of rail management. Similar inspections have been carried out in Holland and Belgium, and Bob commented that everyone has been amazed by how much RCF is present, in particular at unexpected locations.

Zinc-no-corrosion Another method of reducing rail breaks, and increasing the longevity of rail in corrosive environments, is to make use of British Steel’s rail protection system called Zinoco, which Sean Gleeson explained. Zinoco was developed following years of development work in the laboratories, followed by trial installations in the UK and abroad which are performing very well, indeed better than any other coating system available. Zinoco stands for Zinc-no-corrosion. “The four nasties, coastal routes, level crossings, third rail and tunnels, are locations where rail corrosion is most prevalent,” Sean told his audience. There are two methods for corrosion protection, a barrier or sacrificial. Zinoco provides both an excellent effective physical and electrochemical protection. For example, epoxy coatings is good but, if it is breached, then corrosion will be focused at that point and will eat away the steel below the barrier. “Railcote, British Steel’s previous rail corrosion system, is good but its physical durability has limitations” Sean stated. Railcote comes in 18-metre lengths; longer ones are impractical due to delivery damage that can occur. This was the driving force for the development of Zinoco as Network Rail required longer lengths. Zinoco is available in 108 or even 216 metre welded lengths. British Steel selected the final Zinoco product based upon both its corrosion performance, mechanical resistance to damage such as impact and abrasion resistance and its damage tolerance. Zinoco’s superior performance can be clearly seen when placed side by side with other coatings that have all been scratched. British Steel has a long history researching and supplying corrosion protection. Zinoco’s enhanced durability and corrosion protection will play its part in decreasing the number of rail breaks in years to come. The range of speakers at this year’s Institute of Rail Welding Technical Seminar certainly managed to keep a knowledgeable audience interested throughout the day. From the trials and tribulations of welding in confined spaces, through tackling the ever-present problem of rolling contact fatigue, to preventing rail failure through corrosion, the topics were varied and informative. I hope to be lucky enough to be asked to go again next year… Dr Qasam Javaid is a rail technologies consultant with British Steel.

Rail Engineer • October 2016



2015/16 HAS CERTAINLY BEEN AN INTERESTING YEAR. THERE ARE THE OBVIOUS NATIONAL CONCERNS - BREXIT, A NEW PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AND A NEW DIRECTION FOR THE COUNTRY. On the railways it has been interesting too. New rail franchises, industrial disputes, and new fleets of trains. Christmas work that went off almost without a hitch, testing ERTMS on the Thameslink corridor and installing CBTC on the London Underground sub-surface lines (now rechristened 4LM - four lines modernisation). Landslips and renewals. Electrification and resignalling. Infrarail and Rail Live. It’s all been happening. But, looking back on the last twelve months, what has been VERY interesting? What new project, or product, or initiative, has made our eyebrows lift and made us ask: “Really??” That’s what prompted Rail Media to introduce the Most Interesting Awards three years ago - to recognise the clever, the amazing and the downright odd. Of course, the rail industry is awash with awards evenings. Most of them recognise companies for the work that they do. In truth, they really recognise those companies’ marketing and communications departments for the work that they did in preparing their entries for the awards.


Rail Engineer • October 2016

With good prose and great photos, it is possible for even a mundane project to look amazing. And there is always that temptation to recognise the big-budget projects as, with all the money that was spent on them, something good must have happened somewhere along the line.

Awards with a difference But what of the smaller project that came up with a novel way of doing things? Or a new product that looks dull and uninteresting but will save the industry millions? Or an initiative that will train the workforce to become the most skilled and safest in the world? Unless the company involved has a good PR department, and budget, you won’t hear of them. So the rail industry needs two awards evenings with a difference. One to recognise the superb work that the people who work on the railway do every day, and the other to winkle out and celebrate the projects and products that really are different. The first has been around for the last ten years. The RailStaff Awards - the only rail awards for people not companies - has celebrated the work of train drivers and signalling technicians, cleaners and station managers, depot workers and human resources teams, from companies large and small and all

over the UK. Some of their good work has been to assist colleagues and the industry - training, mentoring and managing. Or it has been for the good of their communities, for charities, old people, the disadvantaged and vulnerable. This year’s RailStaff Awards takes place in just a few days - Saturday 8 October in Coventry. If you haven’t already bought your ticket to celebrate the best of your industry, you should have done. Three years ago Rail Engineer brought this thinking to engineering and services, and the Most Interesting Awards was launched. The awards that no one can enter, so the result isn’t dependent on the skill of a PR department. Instead, the editors of Rail Engineer, RailStaff and Global Rail News went through all of their articles from the previous twelve months and picked out what caught their eyes and imagination. Those things that made reporting them a pleasure, and which they were only too happy to bring to the attention of a wider audience. These were then split down into twelve categories, from safety and sustainability to major projects, innovation and community engagement. There was even a catchall category for anything that was interesting but didn’t fit one of the other eleven.

Of course, with the editorial staff handling the long list and then, after much debate, whittling them down to a short list, there was no way that the Rail Media team can judge them as well. That is given into the safe hands of a panel of expert judges, independent thinkers who are also carefully screened to make sure they haven’t been involved in any of the projects or initiatives. So, having set the scene, what’s happening this year? Well, the editors have done their stuff, 72 topics have been selected, spread over twelve categories, and copies of the articles in question have gone off to the judging panel. Their opinions are eagerly anticipated, and the results will be revealed at the Rail Exec Club Gala Dinnerat the Roundhouse in Derby on Thursday 1 December. But now you can make your own judgement. Here is the 2016 Most Interesting Awards shortlist. Read through the following list, follow the references to the original articles, and see what you think. You can even let us know by emailing - who knows, if we like your suggestions you might get an invitation to the Awards themselves so you can see how your list compares with the judges’.

So here it is - the 2016 shortlist….

MOST INTERESTING ORIGINAL DESIGN 2016 Using RED (Railway Electrification Designer) to develop OLE designs was described by Balfour Beatty Engineering Technology Solutions in December (issue 134 page 58). RED is a stand-alone software application that is both CAD and BIM Level 2 compliant. It can generate 3D solid OLE models in real-time, enabling a significant reduction in 3D draughting time whilst maintaining engineering integrity and eliminating the need to draw 3D OLE components manually. RED integrates with Bentley Systems' MicroStation™ CAD package. Stuart Marsh visited the new rail connection to Arcow quarry for the January issue (issue 135, page 28). This £6 million scheme to reconnect Tarmac’s Yorkshire Dales quarry with the rail network for the first time in 50 years will take 16,000 lorries a year off the roads in the National Park. Network Rail, Story Contracting and Babcock Rail did the hard work. With electrification programmes much in the news, it is easy to overlook a detail like P&B Weir Electrical’s new Interlocked Traction Earths. But these new portable earths, described in issue 137 (March 2016, page 91), can save lives as they force engineers, even when rushed, to detach the earths in the correct sequence, so protecting the maintenance crew at all times.

How do you build a new lift into an old Underground station where there is no lift shaft? Simple, you install one at an angle down an old staircase. That’s the story behind the incline lift at Greenford station which London Underground fitted in conjunction with HütterAufzüge and Kone GB (page 48, issue 135, January 2016). CCTV is used to monitor work sites both for workers’ safety and to ensure security. But if that site is in the middle of nowhere, that requires generators to supply power and cables to bring the images back to the control room. But not any longer as RedCCTV’s Fastmast solar-powered CCTV to monitor work sites just needs a bit of sunshine and a wireless connection (page 64, issue 138, April 2016). The cameras can even be fitted with video analytics and automatic number-plate recognition. QTS drove the project near the East Coast main line. If you’re building a footbridge next door to the UK’s largest steelworks, then you’d expect it to be a steel one. The Port Talbot Parkway footbridge was, and a celebration of how to use steel as well. Kier, Tata Steel, Miller Fabrications, Network Rail and the Welsh Government all worked together to make the project a success (page 38, issue 142, August 2016).

Rail Engineer • October 2016

MOST INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT IN SUPPORT EQUIPMENT 2016 Harting’s new Prelink Interchangeable cable plug-ends for pulling through ducts were seen at the RVE2015 show (page 61, issue 133, November 2015). They clip onto a slimline, standardised connector and can then be used to pull cables through bulkheads and cable routes. Once in place, they are clipped off again for reuse and the required terminator just snapped into place. Simple! Using System Design Exchange Format (SDEF) to survey trackside assets was presented to the Signalling Innovation Group conference (page 77, issue 135, January 2016). Managed and controlled by Network Rail, it allows a high-definition video to be taken from a train and then positional information overlaid, pixel-by-pixel and frame-by-frame, describing positional railway infrastructure in great detail and facilitating the surveying of assets without going trackside. Also in the same SIG conference report was Robokatta - cutting rails using a Bluetooth connection. Developed by Cembre, the Bluetooth connection between the operator and the cutting tool makes the entire cutting operation automatic, moving the operator away from the hazard area and leaving him with the tasks of preparing and managing the operation remotely. Not only does this make the operation safer in reducing noise, dust and vibration exposure to the operator, but it has also improved the quality of the cut. QTS appears on the short list again, this time with the Mega Chipper high capacity vegetation chipper. With a capacity of 27”, the fully-automated Terex TAK790 (ARB77) chipper is remote-controlled and can be towed on track by an RRV excavator. It even has a self-feeding conveyer, capable of operating free on wheels at 35º, and is powered by a seven litre, 300hp caterpillar engine. (Page 86, Issue 139, May 2016) An innovative solution to isolation splits was covered in RailStaff (page 16, issue 216,

November 2015). A team from VGC Group, Costain and Network Rail worked out a way to allow RRVs to travel between separate worksites under live overhead line equipment (OLE). As part of the Crossrail northeast spur project, cable route works required a series of isolation splits between Gidea Park and Crowlands in Essex. The team produced a detailed project procedure which allowed RRVs to travel under live overhead lines within possessions for this specific project. Les Blake has worked on overhead line electrification for 54 years. Working for Keltbray Aspire, he developed a street-legal vehicle which was also an electrification road-railer. Working with road-rail lorry specialist SRS Sjölanders, he managed to fit a complete set of ZECK winding gear onto the vehicle bed while still keeping it road-legal. Les’ road/rail concept is the only one of its kind in the UK. It can run out contact and catenary wires at full tension, halving the time it takes to install conductors for rail electrification using traditional methods (page 62, issue 142, August 2016).

MOST INTERESTING TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME 2016 The Bombardier Innovation Forum concept is simple: groups, made up of graduates and apprentices from across the business, come up with new ideas or respond to challenges set by the organisation. Following a preliminary review, these ideas are developed into business cases which are then pitched in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ format to executives. In the pilot year of the Innovation Forum, one group recognised an emerging opportunity, guided it through the process and successfully formed an independent business unit (RailStaff page 26, issue 216, November 2015). The role of a Royal Engineer is to deliver essential infrastructure in harsh, often hostile, environments. Various schemes and initiatives have been put in place to support service personnel in finding, and then adjusting to, civilian


careers - a process known as resettlement. The Military2Rail Initiative introduces service people into a much needed area where there is a skills shortage and has enabled candidates to transfer their skills from the services to the rail industry. Siemens has worked with Help for Heroes and Wiltshire College while ISS Labour has separately been taking on ex-servicemen and women for new roles in a new industry. (RailStaff page 34, issue 216, November 2015 and page 38, issue 218, January 2016) Seven miners, made redundant when Kellingley Colliery in Beal, North Yorkshire, closed down, decided to train for a new career in the telecoms industry. Network Training and Resource Solutions (NTRS), the training and resourcing partner of Linbrooke Services, helped the miners train for railway work (RailStaff page 56, issue 219, February 2016). All seven went through training at NTRS’ National Training Academy in Sheffield that included the theory and practical aspects of telecoms and a thorough familiarisation with the railway, particularly track safety. As the exminers went through the syllabus, they met four recent Royal Marines who were also training with NTRS. Women are hugely under-represented in rail. In the run up to National Women in Engineering Day, AECOM quoted figures from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills which indicated that women make up less than eight per cent of apprentices in engineering and manufacturing technologies and that the numbers have been tumbling, not rising, in the past few years. Thales’ STEM outreach programme, along with Eurostar, Virgin East Coast, Bombardier, Atkins and TfL, sponsors PROCAT’s (Prospects College of Advanced Technology) railway academy in Basildon and uses the facility to train its apprentices (RailStaff page 58, issue 224, July 2016). The academy has its own full-size, functioning station platform, which includes equipment donated by Thales. Virgin Trains has come up with a toolkit on hiring ex-offenders which offers practical advice for businesses (RailStaff page 8, issue 225, August 2016). In the past three years, Virgin Trains has hired 30 ex-offenders, of which 25 still work for the company in roles across the business. Not a single ex-offender employee or candidate in the talent pool at


Rail Engineer • October 2016

Virgin Trains has re-offended and the company is looking to hire more. The Virgin Trains toolkit covers the company’s experiences since it initially set up the programme three years ago. The opening of the National Training Academy for Rail was hailed as a big vote of confidence in the new rail industry and, in particular, its fast emerging training and development sector (RailStaff page 28, issue 216, November 2015). The Government provided 50 per cent of the £7 million funding, with the rest coming from Siemens. The new academy will train thousands of students using digital, 3D and virtual reality equipment, giving them the hi-tech skills they need to work in the rail industry. It was built by Clegg Construction to designs by CPMG.

MOST INTERESTING RAILWAY INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT 2016 The 10-day Christmas blockade at London Bridge saw Siemens’ Zone Controller technology installed in the UK for the first time (page 56, issue 138, April 2016). This new technology is now controlling signalling operations at London Bridge, providing an input/output module (IOM) interface between Siemens Rail Automation’s Trackguard Westlock interlocking and the trackside infrastructure. Developed and delivered entirely within the UK, the creation, testing, proving, installation and commissioning of Zone Controllers was a good example of partnership-working with Network Rail, with the technology meeting many of the requirements of the digital railway concept and the move to IP-based solutions. Rhomberg Sersa’s Slab Track Trials on the Old Dalby test track have led to the system being adopted for use in the Winchburgh and Glasgow Queen Street tunnels in Scotland. Trials of the PORR and IVES slab systems, which were developed in Austria by ÖBB and A Porr with input from Vossloh, were accompanied by a trial of Rhomberg Sersa’s own V-Tras transition system between slab and ballasted track (page 28, issue 132, October 2015). Many things were learned during the trials, including how to create

concrete with the right flow characteristics using standard aggregates available in this country. Success was achieved in partnership with Hope Construction Materials, which came up with a recipe that is now being marketing as ‘Hopeflow Rail’ alongside the existing ‘Hopeflow’ from which it was derived. The train-mounted collection of asset information has allowed Fugro RailData, working closely with Network Rail and train operators, to integrate track measurement, rail corridor mapping and trackbed surveys into its RILA package (page 66, issue 143, September 2016). This means the system can now be deployed quickly and safely on a routine basis on Britain’s railways, supplying fit-for-purpose data whilst offering a clearly defined health and safety benefit. Data is being used for track and signal design and upgrade, electrification, vegetation and slope analysis, platform extension and many aspects of asset management. Traditionally, after track has been replaced or renewed, the line is handed-back into operation at a reduced speed. Then, after everything has bedded in for a few weeks, a tamper comes through again, the temporary restriction is lifted and trains can revert to running at line speed. It’s all very safe, but trains get delayed and the track team has to return to site. Now Network Rail, working with Babcock Rail and Robel, has perfected the art of linespeed handbacks, so reducing train delays and the cost of mobilising the team for a second visit (page 58, issue 136, February 2016). Knowing what assets your company owns and the condition of these is a vitally important task. This applies to all assets, including those on stations. Working with Humaware (a company with contracts for health and usage monitoring in the aerospace industry) and both Loughborough and Nottingham universities, Telent devised asset condition systems for lifts and escalators which used existing remote condition monitoring (RCM) data to manage asset degradation and give predictions on future performance and asset life (page 52, issue 140, June 2016). Following a briefing by Bird and Bird solicitors, a report by Clive Kessell in April (page 22, issue138) looked at Cyber Security - NIS and

the legal position. It is anticipated that the Network and Information Security directive, which will become law around April 2018, is likely to apply to designated service providers that provide essential services, including transport. Broadly speaking, any such organisation that does not take into account the threat of cyber-crime and cannot be seen to be taking reasonable precautions to protect against cybercrime could be in breach of the legislation and thus subject to sanctions. The requirement to report cyber-attacks may be easier for rail than other industries since it is already required to have procedures in place to report accidents and near misses. Extending this and educating staff to include cyber-crime could be an important early step.

MOST INTERESTING APPROACH TO TRAIN OPERATIONS 2016 The Digital Railway is a Network Rail programme aimed primarily at achieving greater capability from existing assets (Rail Engineer page 90, issue 132, October 2015). It will absorb some ongoing projects, such as ETCS Level 2, but it also seeks to embrace technology that is commonplace in the public domain and integrate this into the day-to-day task of rail operations. Fundamentally, the Digital Railway is not a technology programme but an instrument for business change with the potential for going far beyond digitising current technology. It is all about creating an integrated approach to changes in processes brought about by systems underpinned by digital technology. Traction power is nasty stuff. Running at 25kV AC, it can jump gaps and anyone making contact with it is almost certainly killed. So the natural tendency is to shut all the power off when working nearby. But when renewing contact wires on two tracks of a four-track railway, as is happening on the Great Eastern, how to keep trains running on the adjacent lines? The answer is by coasting through neutral sections alongside work sites. As a result of this CPMS initiative, Network Rail and Abellio Greater Anglia had, at the time of writing (page 34, issue 134, December 2015)

Rail Engineer • October 2016 coasted 700 trains for over 3,000 miles, moving 133,000 passengers and saving over £600,000 on replacement buses. After a lot of discussion and theorising about the European Train Control System (ETCS), and testing both in private at Hertford and in passenger service on the Cambrian line, it was good to finally be able to report on ETCS testing on the Thameslink core in January (page 72, issue 135). Initial trials used Network Rail’s Class 313 test train but, since then, the actual Siemens Class 700 trains have also been used. The aim is, when Thameslink is fully open in 2018, to have 24 trains per hour running through the central core - which will need ETCS with an automatic train operation (ATO) overlay. Although both are railway systems, and run on tracks, trams and trains are different. They use different signals, different rail and wheel profiles, different loading gauges, different power supplies and have very different axle loadings. So the challenge of Sheffield tram-train integration is an interesting one (page 74, issue 135, January 2016). A special wheel profile was developed with the University of Huddersfield, and Sheffield Supertram is now testing in preparation for running its new Vossloh (now Stadler)-built tram-trains on the network. It services Virgin Train’s High Speed Trains, Cross Country’s Voyagers, Transpennine Express’ Class 350 units and the Royal Scotsman. So the refurbishment of Craigentinny depot had to be well planned (page 50, issue 139, May 2016). Spencer Group installed a new Garrandale train washing plant in a 40-metrelong steel-clad building, a move which also required modification to the track layout and OLE. Hand-operated points have been replaced by Zonegreen Points Converters, Cairn Cross installed a new Hegenscheidt wheel lathe in 2014 and Mechan jacks and a bogie drop will follow next year. Do passengers want their trains to arrive on time, and to have enough seats so they can all sit down? Well, yes, but they also

want good Wi-Fi connectivity for their laptops, tablets and phones. So an RSSB consultation aimed at improving on-board Internet access is naturally welcome (page 18, issue 140, June 2016). It’s not just passengers who will benefit, train operator’s systems communicate using IP-protocols, via the Internet. Companies such as Nomad and Icomera are working with train operators to make it happen.

MOST INTERESTING INITIATIVE IN SAFETY AND SUSTAINABILITY 2016 Working at height necessitates special measures to keep workers safe. The installation of a bespoke fallprotection system for workers at Reading station saw Latchways working with registered installers Eurosafe Solutions to provide fall protection systems and walkways for use during the construction process and for future maintenance (page 38, issue 139, May 2016). As major parts of the station’s new canopy were constructed off-site, it was important that the roofing contractor’s staff were protected at all times while installing these large components. Latchways’ acclaimed Personal Rescue Device (PRD) has been designed, developed, tested and manufactured at its New Product Development Centre in Devizes. With Network Rail’s access to the track for maintenance becoming ever more limited, it is essential that plant and equipment be reliable. The failure of a £10 hydraulic hose really can cost £1 million in lost work. This led to the development of the Road Rail Vehicle Performance System (RRVPS), which measures RRV performance using data uploaded by plant suppliers on a weekly basis (page 96, issue 139, May 2016). Suppliers and clients can now develop a better understanding of how improvements in reliability and performance can be obtained. One example was the Pandrol MkIV rail-mounted applicator for Fastclips, supplied to Network Rail by Torrent Trackside. Following a spate of repeat failures, the plant reliability team held talks with Torrent and agreed a plan of action. As a result, there were no failures at all over the important Christmas period. Transport for London recently performed a successful trial of Alstom’s Hesop reversible substation solution (Rail Engineer page 28, issue


140, June 2016). This new converter system can supply the train, providing voltage stability and regenerating the energy produced by braking trains and sending it back to the TFL electrical network to be used by other consumers or, potentially, sold back to the energy distributors. The trial itself lasted five weeks and collected a large quantity of data on the resulting energy savings. London Underground calculated that the energy saved over a week could power Holborn station for more than two days and save five per cent of its energy bill. Orchestrated by Carillion’s James Steele, the Safe Start 2016 event was an opportunity for the Network Rail Infrastructure Projects East Midlands (IPEM) partners - Network Rail, AMCO, Arup, Atkins, Carillion, Carillion Powerlines, Galliford Try and Murphy - to come together with the wider supply chain to discuss the year ahead (RailStaff page 28, issue 219, February 2016). The event, which was sponsored by A-Plant, CR Civil Engineering, Bodyguard, Selectequip and Bridgeway, was designed to send out a coherent safety message across the network of IPEM partner companies. Recent initiatives have included the introduction of Planning and Delivering Safe Work (PDSW) and Safe Work Leaders (SWL), improved site welfare facilities, nutrition and wellbeing services and the creation of a new induction programme - the IPEM Passport. Some of the biggest threats to health are often the most insidious. As part of its drive for better occupational cancer awareness, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) launched its No Time To Lose campaign against silica dust alongside representatives from the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), Crossrail and Network Rail (RailStaff page 28, issue 221, April 2016). In the country as a whole, an estimated 500,000 people are exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) at work and, according to Imperial College London research, around 800 people in Britain a year die from it, with 900 new cases being diagnosed annually. The ORR, Crossrail, Network Rail, CIRAS and MTR Corporation Ltd are among over 100 leading businesses to have pledged support to the No Time to Lose campaign.


Rail Engineer • October 2016

Cairn Cross Civil Engineering and Airquick, working in partnership and on behalf of Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales, have successfully completed the UK’s most advanced carriage wash system (page 88, issue 142, August 2016). The installation at Holyhead is unique in that the specification called for a front and rear cab-end cleaning facility that can operate during a single pass of the train through the wash. The cab ends are of different configurations, vertical or sloped, and the passive provision of an overhead line running through the wash excluded the option of a gantry type unit. The use of a Unipart Track Pan contains any chemical spills while assisting the operation of the partial water reclaim system.

MOST INTERESTING MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT 2016 The successful completion of the £1 billion Victoria Line Upgrade (VLU) programme has increased the line from 28 trains per hour (tph) to 34tph (Rail Engineer, issue 141, July 2016). Various further improvements, including the Walthamstow crossover renewal (page 18 issue 132, October 2015) by Track Partnership with LU’s Track Delivery Unit and using Sonneville Low Vibration Track, will facilitate a peak service of 36tph from Spring 2017. A fleet of 47 new Bombardier eight-car ‘09’ Tube Stock trains is now in service, as is a new Siemens Rail Automation Distance To Go - Radio signalling system (DTG-R) with ‘Trackguard Westrace’ interlockings. Although the line normally operates automatically, controllers have to be ready to react instantly in the event of disruption. There are typically 39 trains in service, but only 33 platforms, potentially leaving six trains trapped in tunnels! During December 2015, the Conwy Valley in North Wales received over three times its average monthly rainfall, with over a metre being recorded at Capel Curig. As a result, the Conwy River finally burst its banks and inundated the Conwy Valley railway line. The job of rebuilding Conwy fell to Alun Griffiths (Contractors) and teams were quickly

mobilised to assess the damage (page 86, issue 137, March 2016). There were several areas of ballast washout and a 30-metre section of embankment was missing in the area of Llanrwst station. Wing-wall scour had undermined the back of the abutments of bridge 14, causing the 11-tonne approach transition slab to drop, and a parapet wall had failed around a small aqueduct that spanned the railway, depositing debris onto the track below. Working with Arcadis on design, Alun Griffiths had almost completed all of the work in just four weeks when more storms arrived and created further flooding and damage, which took another month to repair. On 30 December, storm Frank brought widespread flooding and disruption to Scotland. At 07:35 the following morning, a train reported a dip in the track over Lamington viaduct - pier two had settled by 125mm and, below the waterline, most of the masonry pier’s sandstone blocks had been washed away. AMCO worked for two months re-opening Lamington Viaduct, making good the damage and installing a reinforced concrete jacket designed by Donaldson Associates (page 32, issue 137, March 2016). The job was made more difficult by further flooding on 26 January, damaging the bridge’s northern abutment, which had to be repaired. Engineers from Freyssinet jacked the bridge back into place and the West Coast main line finally reopened on 22 February. On the morning of 7 January, an out-ofservice DMU heading west through a cutting on the NewcastleCarlisle line struck fallen trees and came to a stand. The toppled trees were a function of a landslip at Farley Haugh, Corbridge where a large washout was flowing down the slope, aided by a fractured main pumping raw sewage onto the hillside at a rate of 400 litres per minute and similar volumes of water pouring over the field towards the railway, the surface drainage having been overwhelmed. Repair works were undertaken by Construction Marine, Network Rail’s earthworks framework contractor for the route, with AECOM responsible for the design (Rail Engineer page 26, issue 137, March 2016). The buried remains of a Roman fort, dated just 10 years after the invasion and only 15 metres from the crest, added to their challenges. After new drains were in place, Railcare’s rail vac was used to remove

the contaminated ballast around the track so that is could be replaced, with the railway reopening on 8 February. The construction of a grade-separated junction between New Cross/New Cross Gate and London Bridge station is absolutely vital to the Thameslink programme. It is enabled by a structure known as the Bermondsey Dive Under and Network Rail awarded a £75 million contract to Skanska to design and construct it (Rail Engineer page 24, issue 142, August 2016). One of the main challenges has been the ability to carry out this complex programme whilst minimising disruption to the dense train service travelling through this location. In addition to the construction of the Dive Under itself, 20 bridges were identified as needing strengthening. Skanska is undertaking that programme as well, with the assistance of Ramboll, Armac and Stobart Rail. Following winter storms, the River Eden overran its banks eight miles south of Carlisle and then eroded the foot of the adjacent hill. The result was the Eden Brows landslip as the entire hillside slid down towards the river, taking the Settle and Carlisle railway with it (page 30, issue 143, September 2016). One month later, and the hillside was still moving - estimated to be 500,000 tonnes of material. Story Contracting started laying approach roads and establishing a compound. By July, Network Rail had decided the solution lay in building a massive steel and concrete structure to support the tracks, itself supported by 230 piles driven into the bedrock of the hillside. The piles will be installed by Van Elle while the slope is closely monitored by Leica Geosystems and design consultant AECOM, with advice coming from Natural England.

MOST INTERESTING NEW PRODUCT 2016 In low temperatures, ice can form around the moving components of switches and prevent them from operating. Fortunately, points heaters, which are long thin electrical elements designed for installation on switch blades to keep them

Rail Engineer • October 2016 warm at night, have been around for some time. However, switching them on for long periods of time consumes a large amount of energy, and it’s a total loss system. Tracktherm® is a heat retainer, developed by the A Proctor Group specifically to be installed directly over existing points heating systems (page 42, issue 132, October 2015). Clipped over the heating element, it reduces the warm-up time by 50 per cent and the total energy consumption by 25-30 per cent. Hitachi Rail Europe’s new ScotRail Class 385 train is the first example of the AT200 train series that is intended for suburban use (Rail Engineer page 46, issue 139, May 2016). Featuring cars 23-metres long, the AT200 and the inter-city AT300, of which the new Class 800/801 IEP trains are an example, will share components such as traction packages. 70 new trains have been ordered by Abellio ScotRail, financed by Caledonian Rail Leasing. The contract, for 46 three-car and 24 four-car units and including a ten-year maintenance agreement, gives the Scottish Government the option to buy back the fleet for £1 after 25 years. The first six trains will be built in Japan with the rest coming from Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe facility. Schweizer Electronic’s Flex level crossing system is a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) system that uses standard industrial automation components but with addition of Schweizer’s failsafe components to create a SIL4 (safety integrity level 4) crossing (page 56, issue 140, June 2016). The system has received approval from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). It is a modular platform which has a generic safety case and can be provided in a number of configurations and sizes. VaMoS, Schweizer’s version of an MSL crossing, is designed to improve the safety of user worked crossings. Using the same parent technology as Flex, VaMoS is suitable for both single and multiple track crossings. Although rails are ostensibly large chunks of steel, and seem to sit out in the weather without much sign of corrosion, under the right conditions they can rot remarkably quickly. Common ‘rot spots’ are level crossings,

where the crossing panels trap moisture, road salt and other detritus making a potent, corrosive cocktail. In some locations, rail life is counted in months rather than decades, so in such locations the need for corrosion-protected rails is very clear. British Steel’s new Zinoco® corrosion resistant rail can withstand the harsh environments where corrosion determines rail life, in areas such as coastal routes, wet tunnels, level crossings, mineral lines and salt pans. It was developed in direct response to Network Rail’s request for more durable corrosion protection, calling for a coating that would withstand the rigours of real-life installation and use. The British rail industry is preparing itself to take on cyber security as it embraces digital rail technology. This year, the Department for Transport (DfT) released ‘Rail Cyber Security - Guidance to Industry’, stating clearly that signalling networks should be protected with unidirectional gateways and there should be a clear separation between enterprise and operational networks (page 54, issue 143, September 2016). Waterfall’s Unidirectional Security Gateways are hardware-enforced protection which enable safe network integration. The unidirectional gateway allows data to flow out of a control network, such as the signalling system, into an external or corporate network, but prevents any flow of communications back. At this year’s Rail Live event, recycled plastic composite railway sleepers were being displayed by Sicut Enterprises (page 50, issue 142, August 2016). Proven in the US over the past 20 years, this material now stands a real chance of changing the way that track is assembled in Europe. It is very hard and durable, nothing like as heavy as concrete, and even without treatment will not rot or be gradually eaten by all the creatures that have timber in their sights. Sicut’s composite sleepers are manufactured from a blend of recycled plastics and can be handled and installed in exactly the same way as timber.

MOST INTERESTING INNOVATION 2016 Trams are great people movers, but there is always the problem of what to do with the wires. Now, however, systems without wires


come a step closer as a tram runs 41.6km without wires in the city of Mannheim. Bombardier has successfully completed a test run with a tram powered entirely by its Primove battery in combination with a Mitrac propulsion system (page 78, issue 134, December 2015). The innovative Primove battery system combines high power capacity and exceptional battery life with good reliability and has been designed to maximize performance using the latest developments in nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) Li-Ion cells. The Mitrac Energy Saver features high-performance double-layer capacitors which store up to 3kWh per vehicle. When starting up and accelerating, vehicles require a particularly large amount of electricity. Drawing power from the Mitrac capacitors reduces this by some 40 per cent. One common theme of the ‘major infrastructure projects’ entries for these awards is the effect of bad weather on old earthworks. Landslips and washouts are a major feature of that section, and in the year 2012/13 there were a total of 196 earthworks failures and six derailments. To improve earthworks monitoring, Network Rail Geotechnics is introducing tilt-sensing technology (Rail Engineer page 28, issue139, May 2016). Information from cameras around the network is received automatically by Network Rail’s Intelligent Infrastructure team, which also accesses data from the ORBIS (Offering Rail Better Information Services) programme. If an alert is sounded, the camera takes photographs and sends them back too. Findlay Irvine won the tender for equipment supply and support and 180 pilot sites will be active by the end of the year. Hanneys Bridge near Grove, Oxfordshire, was built in the 1870s across the Great Western main line. It had to be raised to give clearance for electrification, but the 1.25 metre increase meant that the approach ramps would need to be completely replaced. Geotechnical experts from Maccaferri, who specialise in using Reinforced Soil in bridge replacements, worked with designer Tony Gee and Partners to come up with a reinforced soil solution, using the Maccaferri Green Terramesh system over a geogrid-reinforced load transfer


Rail Engineer • October 2016

platform (page 38, issue 140, June 2016). The material used for the geogrid straps, Paralink, is manufactured by Linear Composites, a Yorkshire-based Maccaferri subsidiary, and is used worldwide for the construction of embankments over soft soils, over piles and for those constructed over areas where voids are present. Taking overhead electrification through tunnels can cause difficulties if conventional wirebased catenary systems are used. Clearances and maintenance can both be problematic. Instead, a rigid overhead catenary system can be used (page 62, issue 141, July 2016). Specialist Furrer+Frey recently tested a new design of high-speed rigid catenary in Stanton tunnel on the Old Dalby test track, where the new IEP trains are under test. As a result, the new design has been selected for use in the Severn and Box tunnels on the Great Western. The roof of Stirling station includes 2,440 square metres of old and dirty glazing. Story Contracting was asked to replace it as part of a more general refurbishment of the station and its buildings. Instead of glass, Story chose to use polycarbonate roof glazing, specifically six-millimetre-thick sheets of Makrolon® lightweight, non-fragile, self-cleaning polycarbonate in a Twinfix glazing system (page 24, issue 141, July 2016). As the polycarbonate sheets are much lighter than glass, Story’s designer Arup gave particular consideration to wind uplift while Network Rail requested the inclusion of 174 access hatches from which gutters could be cleaned and other maintenance carried out. Wheelsets have a hard life. They are subjected to daily wear and tear - the result of dynamic loads, cyclic stresses and the affects of acceleration and braking. As a consequence of regular visits to the wheel lathe, which can remove up to 6mm of material each time, wheelsets represent some of the most expensive ‘consumables’ on rail vehicles. A recent IMechE seminar, sponsored by Perpetuum, Mechan and Kluber Lubrication, looked at improving wheelsets and the wheel/ rail interface and explored the relationship between safety, performance and cost, focusing

on new and emerging research and how the industry can benefit (page 32, issue 139, May 2016). Amongst the innovations being discussed, Lase Limited is able to build up metal surfaces by a process of laser cladding, or Laser Applied Surface Engineering (ReLASE), while MRX Technologies measures the magnetic flux density in wheel treads to optimise the amount of material to be removed during wheel turning.

MOST INTERESTING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITY 2016 Handforth Station, which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year, sits on the Manchester-Crewe line. By the early 1990s, the station was a vandalised eyesore slated like the rest of the railway for managed decline and closure. But community involvement has resulted in 20 years of improvement at Handforth station, has kept the station open and brought together school children, senior citizens, Rotarians, scouts and guides (RailStaff page 59, issue 215, October 2015). Now, there’s little chance of missing the stop as Handforth station has signs donated by various railways, including the SNCF, Irish Railways, Metrolink, Dublin DART, Isle of Man, London Underground and Strathclyde PTE. A special train, organised by staff at First TransPennine Express (FTPE) and the Branch Line Society, the Tyne Tees Tracker raised £20,000 for Railway Children. Supporters of the charity’s ‘If I Grow Up Appeal’ and rail enthusiasts travelled on the train, starting and finishing at York, to raise money for vulnerable street children (RailStaff page 59, issue 215, October 2015). Through ticket sales, raffles and a silent auction coordinated by FTPE’s enthusiastic staff and their creative fundraising skills - not to mention the amazing generosity of passengers - over £10,000 was raised in just a few hours for some of the world’s most at-risk children. Thanks to UK Aid, the government will double every pound raised by the event. GBRf raised £62,000 for Bloodwise as staff at GB Railfreight joined supporters in an 18 month partnership. Notable fundraising

activities for the blood cancer charity included the Bloodwise charter train journey for enthusiasts between Glasgow and Crewe on 9 August 2015. This raised a record £21,170 (RailStaff page 6, issue 219, February 2016). In addition, a GBRf team did a charity skydive in September 2015 and a staff cycle challenge in 2014 saw managing director John Smith complete a 130-mile bike ride in fancy dress. GB Railfreight nominated Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research) as its Charity of the Year for 2014-15 in August 2014. The partnership was later extended to January 2016. Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of people in the UK believe they’re good listeners, but less than a quarter (23 per cent) feel they can talk when something’s on their mind. These figures came as Samaritans launched its We Listen campaign. Supported by Network Rail and the wider rail industry, the message was that, while it’s easy to hide your feelings, when someone really listens, which is what Samaritans volunteers do, you’re more likely to open up and start working through your problems (RailStaff page 14, issue 220, March 2016). Posters in railway stations contained hidden messages where people claiming to be fine revealed that they’re not OK at all. One said ‘I’m alright with being single I guess. It’s not ideal for the kids, but they seem to be coping’, the real message being, ‘I’m not coping’. Another said ‘I’m going to be alright. It’s not so bad spending a lot of time alone,’ where the reality is ‘I’m so alone’. The Rail Staff Christmas Carol Service, a keenly anticipated feature of the railway calendar, took place at St Mary’s Church on Eversholt Street near London Euston in December (RailStaff page 28, issue 217, December 2015). The annual carol service is organised by the Transport Benevolent Fund CIO, known as TBF, a registered charity in England and Wales. The London Transport Choir was there to help staff with the higher notes and TBF provided refreshments afterwards. Quarterly, TBF is distributing over £500,000 in grants, showing that, even in the 21st century, there is a need for such organisations. Stobart Rail’s Think Safety, Act Safely campaign is centred around three animated characters (RailStaff page 20, issue 222, May

Rail Engineer • October 2016 2016). A series of posters shows Billy, Gus and Jim, who were designed by Carlisle-based Cloudscape Studios, demonstrating a host of typical health and safety hazards encountered by Stobart Rail workers. These include working at height, using mobile phones whilst driving, recognising exclusion zones around heavy plant and wearing the correct safety equipment. Stobart Rail launched the campaign during a visit to Lochardil Primary School in Inverness, where the contractor is currently working with Network Rail Scotland to deliver the Far North CP5 Plain Line Workbank contract. The visit was an opportunity to talk to the children about how dangerous the railway can be when safety rules aren’t followed.

MOST INTERESTING ROLLING STOCK DEVELOPMENT 2016 The railway division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) holds its annual competition of technical presentations aimed at young engineers. Entitled ‘The Future of Rail’, this event provides a great opportunity for aspiring engineers within the rail industry to showcase their ideas. 2015’s worthy winner was Tara Parandeh, a thirty-year-old development engineer for Transport for London. Her presentation focussed on her work with London Underground to produce new door seals for London Underground sliding doors. The sensor system has two conductors surrounded by conductive rubber (natural rubber with a high content of carbon black) that are kept apart within a symmetrical non-conductive rubber extrusion (page 70, issue 132, October 2015). An object caught in the doors, including any thin object such as a belt that is pulled taught, will deform the active edge profile and create a low resistance path between the conductors. Now that fuel economy and CO2 emissions are so important to operators of DMUs, attention is turning to the hydraulic drives often fitted to these trains, as they generally suffer higher losses than mechanical transmissions. To test the efficiency of its DIWARail (pronounced DivaRail) hydromechanical gearbox when used on this class of train, Voith has come up with a design of improved transmissions for 158s currently in service with Arriva Trains Wales (page 82, issue

142, August 2016). Working closely with the fleet’s owner, Angel Trains, Voith has fitted two new transmissions to an in-service unit, which has now racked-up over 50,000 miles since June 2015. The result has been a reduction of maximum fuel consumption by up to 16 per cent. In a ceremony at Bombardier’s Derby works, managing director Richard Hunter presented his London Underground opposite number Nick Brown with the final car of the 191 trains the manufacturer is building as S Stock fleet deliveries were completed. Bombardier’s S Stock series are now in service across the Metropolitan, District, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines, collectively known as the sub-surface lines (RailStaff page 34, issue 218, January 2016). The new £1.5 billion fleet, coupled with a major signalling renewal programme, will deliver a much higher frequency service on the sub-surface network - which makes up around 40 per cent of the London Underground. Trains today are expected to meet strict emissions and energy-consumption requirements, including those which were built some time ago. Even obtaining spares for these older trains can be difficult and expensive. So upgrading either part or the whole of the train’s control and traction system using current production technology, as used on new trains being built today, can be one way to achieve lower-cost fleet upgrades. Bombardier has recently carried out such an upgrade to a Class 317 train, owned by Angel Trains. This received a traction upgrade, including line and motor converters, while retaining the original high voltage equipment and transformer. DC motors were replaced with AC models, which will be more reliable and require less maintenance. Thyristors and traction electronics were removed and new three-phase converters fitted. So, too, was regenerative braking, making the revised unit still more energy efficient. Testing on the Abellio Greater Anglia route showed that total energy efficiency was over 85 per cent when operating at full power, from overhead line to wheels. London Underground train life extensions become a fact of life when trains such as those used on the Bakerloo line are now


over 40 years old (Rail Engineer page 42, issue 141, July 2016) - they were designed for a nominal life of 36 years. In addition, the trains are now also being made to comply with the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (2010) as part of a programme that will cost £60 million. Mechan jacks are used to access the car bodies at Acton depot, where new ‘swan neck’ brackets from WECS Precision are being fitted while the body itself is repaired using Huck BOM fittings from Alcoa. Tiflex Treadmaster floors are being fitted and all asbestos stripped out and replaced using Promat Durasteel for heat barriers. AmTecs low voltage heaters and new seats from Pro Style of Coventry complete the refresh. The programme is due for completion by 2018. When railways were integrated, and largely Government-owned, nobody worried about apportioning the electricity bill. Now, however, with infrastructure companies divorced from train operators by law, and with multiple operators running on the same piece of track, it has suddenly become important. Trains have to be fitted with their own electricity meters, read by the infrastructure owner, so the operators can be billed for the electricity they have used. The Railware EcoS traction power meter has been developed after consultation with key industry stakeholders, including train operating companies and infrastructure managers (Rail Engineer page 44, issue 140, June 2016). It aims to address current and future user demands that focus, not only on the core energy measurement and billing aspect, but also on the infrastructure and train environment by means of detecting and diagnosing issues within the operating environment which may impact users.

MOST INTERESTING THING WE SAW IN 2016 There are many resignalling schemes going on around the country, but one of the most unusual has to be resignalling the Bluebell Railway which took place at Christmas (page 76, issue 137, March 2016). When the Bluebell Railway first opened as a ‘preserved line’, it inherited traditional signal boxes at Sheffield Park (located on the station platform) and at Horsted Keynes. With the extension to East Grinstead in 2013, Kingscote became a passing loop and the signalling had to


Rail Engineer • October 2016

be adapted accordingly. However, it was clear that a new signal box was needed. The idea of using a miniature lever frame was triggered by a visit to the Morden model engineering club which had built a 96-lever frame from equipment made surplus by BR, so the hunt was on for equipment to build up the new box. Railways are often in locations that are otherwise inaccessible. But few places are as hard to reach as White Corries in the Glencoe ski resort. There is no railway, but there is a radio base station for the railway’s RETB system in Scotland. Principal contractor Telent, working with Fenix Signalling and Comms Design Limited, had the challenge of getting new equipment, including location cases, to this remote site. The answer? Using helicopters to deliver equipment to remote areas. SkyHook Helicopters was brought in, and the location cases were soon on location (Rail Engineer page 55, issue 140, June 2016). Underground trains aren’t often seen outside of London. However, Thales has been testing ATO for London Underground in Leicestershire, so S Stock trains have been stopping and starting on the Old Dalby line outside Melton Mowbray (page 18, issue 138, April 2016). With help from train manufacturer Bombardier and line operator Serco, Thales is trialling automatic train operation (ATO). The trains have been driven to mock stations under the control of the new SelTrac signalling system where they stop, the doors open, no-one gets on or off, then the doors close (controlled by the driver) and the train departs for the next nonexistent station. Weird… The return of the Flying Scotsman hit the headlines following a decade-long restoration project, easing itself in with a series of test runs on the East Lancashire Railway (RailStaff page 20, issue 219, February 2016). The A1 and A3 Class locomotives, of which 79 were built, hauled the first non-stop service between the two capitals in 1928. 60103 Flying Scotsman, which is now 93 years old, was one of 51 A1 class locomotives which were rebuilt to the A3 specification and has been renumbered several times since it left the factory in 1923. It is now the lone survivor of Nigel Gresley’s A3 class. Over its lifetime,

the Scotsman has travelled more than 2.5 million miles, some of which were clocked-up during tours of the USA - for which it had to be fitted with a cowcatcher - and Australia - a period when the loco was utilised by the British government to showcase the enterprise of British engineering. Now under NRM ownership, Flying Scotsman was withdrawn from service at the end of 2005. What was originally expected to be a fairly short, straightforward overhaul, turned into a complete restoration. The A4 boiler, which was fitted in the 1970s, was found to be in a particularly bad state of repair and has been replaced by a genuine A3 boiler from Scotsman’s sister locomotive, 60041 Salmon Trout. When Glasgow’s Subway opened in 1896, a stationary steam engine moved a 10.5km long continuous cable in the track bed at a constant 19km/h. Since then, there have been only two modernisation programmes, the last in 1977. Now, there is a Glasgow Subway revival underway as Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has initiated a £288 million modernisation programme (Rail Engineer page 16, issue 143, September 2016). The five

main strands to this programme are smart ticketing, station refurbishment, infrastructure asset renewal, rolling stock and control system replacement, as well as organisational change. Subway travellers have now been issued with over 110,000 smartcards, developed by Nevis Technologies. Modernisation is complete on seven of the 15 stations - there are three framework contractors for this work (Graham Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine and Clancy Docwra) and two framework designers: Austin Smith Lord and AHR. Freysssinet has been contracted to upgrade the tunnel lining and new trains and signalling will be supplied by a consortium of Stadler and Ansaldo STS. The British worker doesn’t get very far without a cup of tea. So a tea trolley for track workers stranded far from an access point is essential. No longer do workers have to trudge to an access point miles away to fetch their flasks from the car. Instead, freshly brewed hot tea is available on site (Rail Engineer page 60, issue 138, April 2016). The brainchild of the Track Safety Alliance and Amey, and built by catering trailer specialist AJC, the tea trolley will no doubt shortly be appearing at a work site near you.

THE MOST INTERESTING JUDGES The Most Interesting judges are selected for their impartiality and for their knowledge of the industry. They only judge three categories each, so any conflicts can easily be avoided.

Andrew Boagey - Chair, Railway Engineer’s Forum (REF)

Sabrina Ihaddaden - National Chair, Young Rail Professionals (YRP)

David Clarke - Technical Director, Railway Industry Association (RIA)

Richard Parry-Jones - former Chairman, Network Rail

Richard East - Chairman, Railway Division, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)

Simon Iwnicki - Director, Institute of Railway Research, University of Huddersfield 

Chris Fenton - Chairman, National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR)

Ian Prosser - Chief Inspector of Railways, Office of Rail and Road (ORR)

Jon Hemsley - Chairman, Railway Technology/Professional Network (TPN), Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Bill Reeve - former Railway Division Chairman, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)

Francis How - Chief Executive, Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE)

Farha Sheikh - Head of Rail Digital Services, Department for Transport (DfT)






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Rail Engineer • October 2016

InnoTrans 2016

Railways and rubber ducks NIGEL WORDSWORTH


nnoTrans is the largest railway industry exhibition in the world. That’s not just organiser’s hyperbole, the numbers speak for themselves. Held every other year in Berlin during the third week in September, the 2016 show was the eleventh in the series. 2,955 exhibitors took part, representing some 60 countries. 149 products made their world debut at the show and, as well as the myriad of stands spread around 41 exhibition halls, there were 127 rail vehicles parked on 3.5km of track making up the outdoor display. All of this attracted 145,000 trade visitors as well as 20 delegations from countries as diverse as India, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the USA, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. No doubt many Rail Engineer readers visited the show for themselves, but even they will not have been able to see everything. Nor did the Rail Media team, which numbered nine over the four days of the show. But here is an attempt to catch the flavour of InnoTrans for those who stayed at home.

Focus on the future There are several sides to InnoTrans. The indoor stands and the outdoor displays are the most obvious, but there are also the presentations, press conferences and addresses in which numbers get discussed and plans for the future revealed.

Talk of the digital railway was never very far away. In his opening address, Dr Ben Möbius (above), managing director of the German Railway Industry Association (VDB), said: “Digitisation means innovation everywhere in the rail industry, by way of example, quieter level crossings or improving the efficiency of goods logistics, condition-based and predictive maintenance - all can be enabled by digitisation. “The increase in digitisation in the rail industry is an opportunity because it enables innovation. “Then there is automated driving, with concerns over decreasing workforces and salaries, but semi-automation will still require operatives.

“Big cities of the world are suffering from traffic gridlock. Here the rail industry can help by offering automated local transport systems.” Philippe Citroën, managing director of UNIFE (the Association of the European Rail Industry), was one of those gazing into the short-term future as he presented the findings of the ‘World Rail Market Study - forecast 20162021’. Providing overview and insight on the railway market based on a survey conducted in the 60 largest rail markets worldwide, the publication covers over 95% of all passenger and tonne kilometres. He told interested observers: “The objectives of the study are twofold - to serve

as a strategic planning tool for UNIFE members and as a message to investors and the financial community.” The study provides an analysis of the current market situation and gives an outlook up to 2021. The content is subdivided across the five product segments of rolling stock, infrastructure, rail control, services and integrated projects, covering virtually the entire global market. Between 2013 and 2015, the current average annual total market volume of the rail supply market amounted to around 159 billion euros per annum, of which 61.4bn was for services, 14bn for rail control, 29.7bn for infrastructure, 0.6bn for turnkey management; and 53.7bn for rolling stock. There are around 5.4 billion freight cars currently in operation worldwide, while global market accessibility for European rail suppliers has fallen from 68 to 63 per cent. “If nothing is done at the political level to create a level playing field, we will certainly lose market share,” warned Mr Citroën. Key features in this sixth edition of the study are digitisation - where it analyses the impacts of intermodal connectivity and resulting implications and opportunities for the rail supply industry - and the European Union’s (EU) Fourth Railway Package, which seeks to bring about greater liberalisation and harmonisation to European rail traffic and further boost its competitiveness against other transport modes. Digitisation also featured in an EU Memorandum of Understanding on ERTMS which was announced during InnoTrans. This includes the requirement for ETCS to be standardised on the 2016 Baseline 3 version, with no deviation from this specification for national preferences. This should prevent nation states ‘tinkering’ with the ETCS/ERTMS specification to suit themselves, which causes problems with interoperability.


Ricardo Rail.

Rail Engineer • October 2016

In addition, the Memorandum calls for the development of satellite navigation to replace track mounted balises, ATO as an overlay to the ETCS package (already under trial on Thameslink), a commitment towards the design and adoption of ETCS Level 3, and commitment to replacing GSM-R with a more modern radio technology - primarily to give much greater data capacity.

Alstom - powered by hydrogen The major integrated manufacturers were all at InnoTrans, all showing something new and promising more to come. Alstom revealed its new iLint train, powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Two have been built, and should be in passenger service in northern Germany by the turn of the year. Henri Poupart-Lafarge, president of Alstom, commented: “This fuel cell platform is about investment in optimisation rather than in changing infrastructure. With standards on emissions set to become ever more stringent iLint.

in the coming years, rail networks will face a significant investment challenge. So we, as a rolling stock provider, thought about this and came up with the idea for a zero-emission train that costs less than electrification. “The Coradia iLint is a nice story also because, as well as developing this train at different Alstom sites and involving different sectors within the group, partners in Germany were involved too.” Both the fuel cells and the hydrogen storage tanks are mounted on the roof, next to the existing HVAC (heating, ventilation and airconditioning) installation. Apart from those extra ‘lumps’, and the transformer packs under the floor, “the iLint looks the same as a regular train from the outside, feels the same on the inside,” to quote Poupart-Lafarge. Rail Engineer writer Malcolm Dobell had an indepth look at the new train. While it has a very simple set of objectives - to be emission free at point of use and to have the same performance and range as the diesel unit on which it is based - there were, as ever, some complex engineering, systems and logistics issues to resolve. Malcolm took the opportunity of being in Germany to visit both the Alstom stand and the company’s largest production facility in Salzgitter for a report in next month’s issue. “Whilst many will think of Alstom as a rolling stock company,” Malcolm commented afterwards, “it was instructive to discover that less than 50 per cent of their current business is in rolling stock. It was truly fascinating to be able to talk to enthusiastic and knowledgeable engineers about turnkey systems, high speed, electrification hardware, infrastructure fit out, resilient sleepers, ETCS, Traffic Management, Condition Monitoring and recycling - all on the same stand.” Although a very positive development, not everything is easy for rolling stock manufacturers. This unveiling in Berlin deflected attention away from other Alstom news in France. On 13 September, the company


Rail Engineer • October 2016

announced that it intends to close one of its manufacturing plants in France, its Belfort trainbuilding plant. The reasons given were that there have been no locomotives on Alstom’s order books for over a decade, plus production of TGV (high-speed train) motors is uncertain beyond 2018. If the closure does take place, the majority of the 480-strong workforce will be transferred to Alstom’s Reichshoffen site in Bas-Rhin, Germany, by 2018.


Bombardier used virtual reality technology to showcase how its broad portfolio of solutions addresses the mobility challenges faced by cities and societies around the globe. A fascinating VR ‘movie’ showed off how railway and light rail networks will contribute to the cities of the future, while simpler 3D displays gave walk-throughs of actual trains and stations. Laurent Troger, Bombardier Transportation president, said, “Today, countries and governments all across the globe are confronted with similar challenges: urbanisation, pollution, digitalisation, and population growth, particularly in emerging markets. Rail is already playing a key role in solving these issues but it can do more. At Bombardier Transportation, building the future of mobility together with our customers is at the heart of everything we do.” Two new trains emphasised Troger’s vision of the future. The high-capacity Movia Maxx metro platform has been designed to deliver value for money in terms of passenger capacity, energy consumption, reliability and availability while being flexible enough to be tailored to a particular customer’s needs. Talent 3 is Bombardier’s new regional train. Equipped with ETCS, it is able to operate across borders on the various European rail power systems. It is also available with a Primove


Bombardier’s virtual reality

lithium-ion battery system, technology which was showcased in the UK when the IPEMU ran on the Abellio Greater Anglia network last year. Bombardier’s ability to improve a fleet’s reliability and optimise its lifecycle costs is now enhanced by Optiflo, a full range of aftermarket services including help desk, technical support, obsolescence management and asset and configuration management. Optiflo launches Bombardier’s Infrastructure Management service, which uses hardware and software to capture and analyse diagnostic and performance data from signalling systems and products.

Siemens selection Siemens’ outdoor display showed off two very different trains. As part of the turnkey contract awarded to the BACS (Bechtel/Almanbani/ Consolidated Contractors Company/Siemens) Bombardier.

consortium in 2013, Siemens is to deliver a total of 74 trainsets for Riyadh’s driverless CBTC system - 45 four-car units for Line 1 and 29 two-car trains for Line 2. “Given the challenging environment in Saudi Arabia, we tested a lot of the equipment and components to withstand harsh conditions,” Siemens told Rail Engineer. There are 18 display screens around the doors serving each car, making for an impressive total of 72 for a four-car unit - surely a record for a metro platform! This uniqueness is also reflected in the interior design - chromatic finishes and high-quality seat upholstery deliver a touch of class. Talking of which, there will be three classes of travel - First Class, a Women’s section, and Silver Class. “For the client it was very important to have a one-of-its-kind train/platform/metro, unlike any other in service today,” said Siemens. Passenger operation is to start at the end of 2018. Also, the Velaro Turkey high-speed train for operator TCDD was presented in the outdoor display area - interior highlights are modular seating and in-seat digital screens. Digitisation was in the spotlight on Siemens’ sprawling indoor stand, with one area dedicated to showcasing its digital services centre - the company’s portfolio of smart services for monitoring, data analysis, prediction, and operational support. Here, one technology to watch is hands-free ticketing, which is designed to make travel easier, more convenient and comfortable, and so boost ridership of public transport and drive-up combined mobility behaviour. This platform will go live for the first time in Switzerland in early January 2017. Siemens was chosen to be the business partner for the development, introduction and operation of a sales platform for the Schweizerische Südostbahn AG (Swiss South-

Eastern Railway), which is scheduled to come into operation at the end of 2016. The system offers the BiBo (‘Be-in/Be-out’) range of functions via a smartphone app and a module that calculates the cheapest fare after the journey has been completed. This includes easy access to intermodal mobility services, including route guidance as well as static and dynamic timetables.

Hitachi pair The Hitachi stand featured not one company, but two. Hitachi Rail, which now includes the former AnsaldoBreda factories and product range, was joined by Ansaldo STS - the signalling company in which Hitachi now holds a controlling interest. Alistair Dormer, Hitachi Rail group chief executive officer, said: “Since establishing Hitachi Rail Italy and taking a majority stake in Ansaldo STS, we now present ourselves to the rail industry under one roof for the first time, combining over 150 years of experience in rail solutions.” As an example of the broad portfolio of rolling stock now available, a model of the new Caravaggio, designed for regional transport in Italy, was on show for the first time worldwide. This new train won the tender by Trenitalia for the provision of up to 300 double deck high capacity trains for a value of €2.6 billion.


Hitachi Caravaggio.

Rail Engineer • October 2016

For the UK market, Hitachi is progressing with the traffic management system for Thameslink’s central core but will require more proactive interchange of information and requirements from Network Rail in order to refine both the design and application logistics. Maximum value will only be obtained when the system is able to look at trains running across the complete Thameslink route, Bedford/Cambridge to Brighton. With the deadline for bids for the New Tube for London just three days after the close of InnoTrans, there was interest in the Hitachi/Bombardier joint venture that will be entering a single bid. That bid was prepared by a combined team, with employees of both

companies involved that represent the UK’s two manufacturers and employ some 4,000 people in Derby and Newton Aycliffe. Combining resources had many benefits. “There was no need to prequalify again,” commented a Bombardier spokesman, “as both companies had already prequalified individually.” “The bid combined our strengths,” his colleague from Hitachi added. “Bombardier has recently supplied the S Stock trains, and the Victoria line before that, whereas Hitachi has the signalling experience from Denmark and Thameslink.” Of course, it must be remembered that this is a systems bid, combining trains, maintenance, signalling and traffic management. So perhaps the more experience the better.

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Rail Engineer • October 2016

The contract for 58 three- and four-car, low floor, multiple unit (MU) FLIRT passenger trains, signed in May 2015 with Dutch Railways (NS), marks an important phase in Stadler’s steady rise to prominence in the rail market. “While we already deliver to private operators in the Netherlands, this is our first contract with state operator NS,” Michael Schwarz, marketing and sales director (Scandinavia, UK and the Netherlands), Stadler Rail Management, told Rail Engineer. “And secondly, time to delivery was fast, very fast - just 19 months between signing and completion of the first unit.” Under construction at the company’s factory in Poland, the units will enter into commercial operation from December 2016. There are already some 1,000 MU FLIRTs operating in 18 countries worldwide. Stadler certainly made its mark at InnoTrans 2016, presenting not one but six different rail vehicles in the outdoor exhibition area. In addition to the FLIRT for the Netherlands, also on display was the E250, the constructor’s first high-speed multiple unit train, destined to run for Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) through the newly opened (June 2016) Gotthard Base Tunnel from 2019, the diesel-electric EuroDual Class 88 locomotive for the UK, the VarioBahn for Aarhus/Denmark, a CityLink tram-train for Chemnitz/Germany and a sleeper coach for Azerbaijan.

Atkins - Speaker’s Corner Visitors entering the show by way of the south entrance won’t have been able to miss Atkins’ impressive flag display. The company’s actual stand was less eyecatching, in City Cube A, but transportation managing director Philip Hoare climbed onto his (metaphoric) soapbox at ‘Speaker’s Corner’ to talk about unlocking the barriers to future mobility.

Stadler sleeper.

Stadler - swift response

“As our world changes, the rail industry needs to be ready to respond or there is a real risk of it falling behind,” he told his audience. He then highlighted the need to manage networks better, as new entrants such as Lyft and Uber come on the scene. “Here, investment is outstripping that in the rail industry, with the automotive industry driving hard.” Then there’s another new technology, which everyone was talking about at InnoTrans. Hyperloop (more details in the next section) is an example of moving people in a different way. “But we mustn’t forget we are living in a changing world with changing customer needs and expectations, coupled with a changing world demographic and an ageing population.” “How is the rail sector responding to all these changes? They represent significant challenges but I find it quite exciting. Here at InnoTrans, I’ve noticed all these cable companies and cabling solutions, but is this the future? Things are going to change massively…”

With massive change will come a big demand for funding. Philip believes that key to justifying the expense will be “putting the customer at the heart of the decision making process, and rail at the heart of a seamless, door-to-door journey experience.” Although travelling from London to Brussels by car produces nine times as much carbon as the same journey by rail, not everyone is convinced that car transport will become passé. New thinking is required. “We are seeing a massive proliferation of big ideas coming from start-ups across all sectors of activity/industries, but they seem to be emerging less in the rail sector. “The rail industry should embrace these changes, dream big, and think about taking risks, sharing across data platforms, forging closer relationships with customers and delivering what they demand.” And there’s plenty to look forward to. “I’m really excited about mobility as a service (MaaS),” Philip concluded.

From Beach to Musk As mentioned above, there has been much hype about Hyperloop, and it continued at InnoTrans. When considering how to efficiently transport New York City’s burgeoning legion of commuters, inventor Alfred Ely Beach commented in 1870: “A tube, a car, a revolving fan! Little more is required!” He was talking about his design for New York’s first subway, the Beach Pneumatic Transit. More recently, this concept has been taken up by Elon Musk (and the media) and rebranded Hyperloop. Since its (re)launch by Mr Musk in August 2013, the concept is both exciting the public imagination and disrupting the high-speed rail industry in a similar way, perhaps, to that of Beach’s original idea over 140 years ago. But this time round, it may well become a reality…

Rail Engineer • October 2016 Alan James has been championing maglev (magnetic levitation) technology for years. He was the man behind the failed UK Ultraspeed proposal for a high-speed maglev train, an alternative to the controversial High Speed Two (HS2) project that is still very much in the running. In Berlin, Mr James was back in business as the vice president of worldwide business development, passenger systems, at Hyperloop One, the private US company that, with 180 full-time staff, is taking the concept very seriously indeed. The Hyperloop system is made up of pods - for carrying heavy freight, such as a 40-foot maritime container, or passengers - moving inside in a pressure-sealed container that can be built either over- or underground. “Since these pods in a tube represent a controlled environment, we can do clever stuff with the automated control system,” Dr James told Rail Engineer. “The almost-vacuum nature of the tube means air pressure is hugely reduced, so aerodynamic drag is reduced, which enables a design speed of 300 metres a second, or 1,080km an hour.” So much for the way it works, but what about the benefits? “This system abolishes distances so people can live and work anywhere,” says Dr James. “It provides an ondemand service. It is an intelligent network for smart locations”

How does it perform in terms of emissions? Zero emissions locally/en-route, with the possibility of solar energy being brought into the picture. But Dr James points out that the system itself consumes relatively little electricity, not really due to the power of regenerative braking but more because of the very rapid acceleration to over 1,000km/h which enables the pods quite-literally to glide as a passive maglev (no levitation power involved) in a very near vacuum. “We estimate that only around 10 per cent of a route will consume energy,” he adds. It may sound too good to be true (for example, there are still unanswered questions over safety), and far too futuristic for today’s

Rhomberg Sersa V-TRAS

resolutely wheels-on-steel-based railway system, yet Hyperloop One is not alone hoping to take Beach’s vision, now Musk’s, into the next dimension. There were also exhibits from Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and TransPod Inc (Hyperloop)…

Making Progress Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company since 2006, supplies railroad and transit system products and services worldwide. At InnoTrans, it presented a selection of its advanced technology solutions. These included EMD Uptime, a secure, predictive analytics platform covering the rail ecosystem. Built in partnership with data

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Rail Engineer • October 2016

First time for SNC-Lavalin Another new name for visitors to InnoTrans to get to know was SNC-Lavalin - it was still called Interfleet at the time of the last show. Group managing director of SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit Engineering, Richard George, commented: “Last year, the time was right to complete the integration of all our railway assets and adopt the same brand across the full suite of activity. A new Rail & Transit team was formed within SNC-Lavalin; it’s essentially the same people as before, but with wider scope, greater integration of effort and a bigger and brighter future.” The company’s international footprint includes a regional base in Aachen, Germany, where the Rail & Transit central European team is situated. The office is right on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, with good access to the rest of Europe via the wider rail network. SNCLavalin’s central European team was supported at the Berlin exhibition by Rail & Transit representatives from the UK, Sweden, Norway, Australasia and North America. “The global focus of InnoTrans made it the perfect place for us to communicate our new structure and our expertise to the wider rail industry,” Richard explained. “It also provided a great opportunity to meet up with colleagues, business partners and clients.”


specialist Uptake, it is designed to help operators gain the most out of their locomotive fleets and help prevent potential failures before they occur. “For this platform, we have reached out to partners from beyond the rail industry who are used to dealing with data analytics,” said William (Billy) Ainsworth, president and CEO, Progress Rail. Key features of the system include high scalability and the capability to adopt new models of data from multiple sources. Another technology the company is exploiting is the use of unmanned aerial systems (drones), particularly for inspecting bridges and derailments. “We see real advantages in this technology,” said Paul Denton, senior vice president, marketing and analytics.

Anti-trespass interest for Rosehill Rail Rosehill Rail’s video wall provided an impressive focal point, featuring dynamic content and videos demonstrating how quickly and easily the company’s level crossing systems can be installed compared to traditional concrete and other modular systems. With a full-size exhibit of the Connect Road Crossing System on the stand, visitors could see for themselves how robust and durable the system is. “We’ve seen tremendous interest in our products from visitors from around the world who are demanding products that help them to reduce costs and minimise disruption to their rail networks,” commented Andrew Knight, export manager at Rosehill Rail. “Visitors could see how quick and simple our products are to install compared to traditional solutions and other modular systems.” With rail networks across the world continuing to focus on improving safety and reducing risk on and around level crossings, the anti-trespass panels also generated strong interest from visitors. Quick and easy to install on-track and off-track, the panels are a proven visual and physical deterrent to trespassers. Andrew continued: “It was a great show for us and a fantastic opportunity to meet customers from across the world. We’ve received a record number of enquiries and I’m looking forward to working closely with the new companies we met at the show.”

Digital highlights Ask passengers about the digital railway and the first thing they will comment on will be Wi-Fi connectivity on trains, followed quickly by complaints that it is much too slow. On its impressive stand, Nomad Digital launched new software for its on-train communications equipment, enhancing connectivity and quality of service for both rail operational usage and passenger services.

Horizon™ will deliver up to 900Mb/s to trains and will be offered to existing Nomad-equipped UK TOCs from Jan 2017. For on-board rail passengers, Horizon will deliver significantly higher aggregated broadband Wi-Fi speeds to the train, and offers the potential for more sophisticated content to be delivered more quickly, therefore improving the overall on-board experience for passengers. Trials to provide live TV screening to trains have been successful on the ÖBB Vienna to Salzburg route. Telent’s MICA station management system is now deployed at Reading, Clapham Junction, Stratford Regional and London Bridge to provide complete monitoring and control of all station activities. Its remit is to ‘stitch together’ all existing station alarm and communications systems into a single control package, thus avoiding having to replace everything. The system on the Telent stand was a prototype configuration working in a mode that assists control room staff in suicide prevention, linking CCTV and voice announcements to a Gaitronics help phone. It also demonstrated the possibility to integrate and manage GSM and IP trackside phone calls and alarms. MICA is also available as a line of route monitoring facility, already deployed on LU JNP lines for fire alarm monitoring and in the Docklands Light Railway control centres for monitoring of 1,400 CCTV cameras across the network. Danish company Cubris is working with ESG in the UK to provide DAS and C-DAS (driver advisory systems and connected-DAS). Together, they have been awarded a significant contract by South West Trains, with many trains already fitted. Recent updates have improved information flow on the impact of timetable alterations and emergency engineering work. Cubris is working closely with SWT and the unions to get driver acceptance of DAS’ value.

The full benefit of C-DAS cannot be realised until an associated traffic management system is also implemented. Belden, a US company with a UK base, has progressed from a cable clip manufacturer to a provider of on-train Ethernet backbones for the support of passenger Wi-Fi provision in conjunction with Icomera. The company has also developed a system for real-time CCTV picture relaying from train to control centre, aimed at passenger behaviour monitoring on metro and light rail systems. It uses wireless trackside radio stations, located every 300 metres and working in either the 2.4Gbit unlicensed band or a 50-60MHz licensed channel allocation. The system has already been deployed on Munich U-Bahn and Metro Malaga. Signalling and telecommunications giant Thales launched a new approach to cyber security, co-ordinating work done by NIST in the USA, IEC, ISO, Cenelec and APTA. This builds up security information and links it into a series of layers. The new approach conforms to the forthcoming EU NIS Directive, which will be fully implemented in December 2020. It considers much more than IT security and concentrates on the whole business of automation technology. While the methodology is based around the sequence Identify - Protect - Detect - Respond - Recover, the protection offered will not be specific to Thales-supplied systems and introduces the ‘data diode’ concept to prevent corrupted data from being reverse fed back into the system.

GSM-R vs LTE 4G The Frequentis stand was popular for several reasons. It had the best chocolate cake, hand carried in from Vienna. It had Mozart Balls (if you don’t know about Mozart Balls - Google them). It had blue rubber ducks - a natural attraction for visitors with children (and those who like rubber ducks). And it also had a promotion of the company’s BIC (Bearer Independent Communication) system being installed in Finland, where GSM-R

radio is being replaced by a TETRA system as part of the emergency services radio networks. The work involves the enhancement of those networks for better coverage and the provision of additional facilities such as Group Call. The intention is that the Frequentis control terminals will allow the presentation of information to the controllers to be identical to that which exists at present, thus making changeover easy. Nokia held a press briefing to describe the trial on Paris Metro Line 14 using an LTE 4G radio link to provide all the communications requirements from shore to train, including safety critical applications. The trial, which is known as SYSTUF (System Transport Urban Future) and would replace six existing systems, was successful and included CBTC, on-board CCTV, passenger information, clock synchronisation, operational voice communications and remote maintenance diagnostics, all on the one radio bearer. Only one train was involved in the trial, and it was not in passenger service. The system operated in the 2.6GHz frequency band with a 20 MHz bandwidth. For ongoing roll out, an agreed spectrum allocation will be required. Ericsson is also looking at the use of LTE 4G for railway communications. Working with Icomera to provide passenger communication facilities on all DB trains, the project is being expanded to provide better radio links for all services. Under the banner ‘LTE for Rail’, the plan is to adapt public LTE 4G products for rail use. New standards will be needed to ensure interoperability between suppliers once LTE becomes an agreed way forward, and this will involve the UIC FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication System) group. Its vision is to create an Internet of Things for the rail industry, which will require Ericsson and others to work together so as to agree the fundamental spectrum and streaming requirements. As a provider of GSM-R infrastructure, Kapsch has an ongoing commitment to supply equipment until at least 2030, a fact that will give welcome assurance to many railways. However, Kapsch is also mindful that migration



Rail Engineer • October 2016

away from GSM-R to a different technology has to happen and is studying how it can best serve the railways with migrating existing systems to an LTE backbone. Representing the Chinese effort to design and provide control and communication systems for the global rail market, Huawei can boast of continuing success with GSM-R production. Looking to the future, the company is now developing digital command systems for the full automation of metro operations. Huawei’s system will include LTE 4G as the radio bearer to support CBTC, live streaming of TV for UTO (Unattended Train Operation), PIS, train monitoring and other services, all contained within a new style of command and control centre. The Guangdong-based company also has a vision of cloud computing offering the opportunity for rail to retain the same software packages on a single hardware platform, thus yielding significant power savings.

New lightweight circuit breaker


The TE Connectivity stand was interesting. It contained four products that were so new that they weren’t even the subject of a leaflet or catalogue. They were literally being seen for the first time. The most interesting was a new HV vacuum circuit breaker designed to go on the roof of a train. A modular system, it is only half the height of existing models and is fully isolated under an earthed, protective outer case, making it ‘touch safe’. The low height reduces aerodynamic drag and, although designed to be used on the roofline, it is so small and light (80kg) that it can even be mounted underfloor, vertically on a carriage end or in a cabinet inside a locomotive. The circuit breaker has an integrated surge arrestor and uses new T-connectors to interface with the train’s HV cabling. The small control box is separate, adding further flexibility to the


Rail Engineer • October 2016

system. The circuit breaker has a fast firing-time, and the light weight and small size of the unit allows it to be mounted on bushes, reducing noise transfer into the coach interior. A new elbow, also modular and manufactured using the same lightweight materials and concepts, was another of the new products on display.

Windhoff, manufacturer of Network Rail’s high-output electrification train as well as various multi-purpose vehicles, has a new look this year. A new logo gave the company’s stand a smart new look, which stretched from the machines parked outside to the salesmen’s ties. A brand new design of twin-axle self-propelled maintenance vehicle for the Norwegian Jernbaneverket was the main item of interest. 21 are being produced as track and catenary maintenance vehicles, with the one on Windhoff’s stand being the third - the first two are already on test in Norway. Rail milling specialist Linsinger always has a pavilion in the outdoor display with a large rail milling machine parked next to it. This year, there was indeed a two-car rail miller in the outside display area, similar to the one which Crossrail is buying for delivery in 2018. But it wasn’t next to the pavilion. So what was? A closer look revealed that what seemed to be a large rail milling machine was actually a small one, on a trailer! It was the new, self-contained miller destined for use on the world’s metros and underground railways. Designed to fit down the London tube, and other small railways around the globe, it also fits into a 40’ container. So when someone wants to rent it, or have one delivered, it’s into the box and off she goes… Diesel engine manufacturer, and Rolls Royce subsidiary, MTU displayed its new Hybrid PowerPack on its stand in hall 18. This combines


Larger kit

a conventional diesel engine and gearbox assembly with an electrical machine mounted between the two. During braking, regenerated electrical energy is stored in an on-board battery pack which consists of 180 individual Li-ion cells and has a capacity of 30.6 kilowatt hour. This energy is later released to drive the electrical machine in ‘motor’ mode, supplementing the diesel energy and saving fuel. The machine can also be used as a generator to charge the battery cells directly. The new PowerPack has already covered 15,000 miles in testing. Bernd Krüper, vicepresident of MTU’s industrial business, said: “Using this drive system, operators will be able to achieve fuel savings of up to 25 per cent, while enjoying a significant reduction in exhaust and noise emissions. Furthermore, the integrated electric machine provides increased acceleration and the possibility of making up for delays.”

Turkish manufacturer Yavuzlar Vagon had an interesting display on its stand - the steel skeleton of a freight locomotive. Intended to show both the skill of the Yavuzlar designers and fabricators and the strength built into such vehicles, it did leave one wondering how they had got it onto a reasonably small stand in hall 8.1!

Seemingly simple Some new developments seem so obvious that one is surprised they’ve not been done before. Hellermann Tyton, producer of shrinkwrap sleeving and other cable management products, had just such an innovation on its stand. For years, the company has manufactured a range of cable-tie anchors, flat plates which are stuck to a panel so a cable tie can be slid through a slot in the mount and used to anchor a bunch of cables. But what if the underlying panel is not flat, but curved?

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Rail Engineer • October 2016

After years of having installers struggle with rigid mounts, the simple answer was - add some grooves to the plate. Now the plate bends, and can be easily stuck to the panel - even around an edge. Simple, seemingly obvious, and now patented! The railway industry uses a lot of specialised equipment. Produced to high standards in small numbers, it is expensive to manufacture and, twenty years later, expensive to service as component parts become obsolete and hard to obtain. It’s much cheaper to use COTS (commercially off-the-shelf) equipment, if it is of good enough quality and meets safety standards. HIMA has been making equipment for the process industry for years. Another sector that requires high standards and can keep equipment in service for decades, its needs are very similar to those of the railway. So similar, in fact, that much of it is also used in rail, but almost by chance. Now HIMA is using equipment, PLCs (programmable logic controllers) and the like in safety-critical railway applications. Manufactured to SIL (safety integrity level) 4, the highest SIL rating, they are being used to control doors on London Underground’s new S Stock trains, giving performance such as 100,000 hours between failures. Impressive!

Eye-catching Some of the stands at InnoTrans were attractive because they showcased interesting equipment. Kawasaki’s new efWING bogie has a frame made from CFRP (carbon-fibre reinforced polymer), a material that exhibits exceptional strength despite being lightweight and is often used in the aerospace industry. This means that the efWING is, in effect, the world’s first plastic bogie. The novelty was helped by having it painted black, but with highlights picked out in bright red. A real ‘go faster’ bogie!



Other stands were themselves the attraction. Ricardo Rail, another new name for visitors (it had been Lloyd’s Register Rail when last at InnoTrans in 2012), featured a large, three panel wall on which cartoon artists were drawing throughout the show. As visitors discussed their railway interests and concerns with Ricardo Rail staff, the artists turned those thoughts into art. An interesting and novel way of keeping a record of visitors to the stand! The Aluminium Lighting Company, tucked away as part of the Welsh Government stand, were showing an interesting pivoting lamppost. In fact, it wasn’t just for lamps, but for PA speakers, solar panels or anything else that needs mounting high up but has to be accessible for maintenance. Undo some bolts, remove the clamp, and the lightweight post can be rotated down so everything is within reach. On a similar theme was the CCTV mast to assist driver-only operation on Crossrail. The two CCTV cameras have to operate in a specific zone - clear of the train, inaccessible to people on the platforms but also away from high-

voltage overhead lines. Engineers can’t even go up there to maintain the cameras, so there is an electric motor installed that drops the arm down to them in a position of safety. The whole mast even has built-in pigeon prevention wires - a neat touch!

After hours


So that was a quick canter around the interesting displays at InnoTrans 2016, both inside and out. And after the show closed at 18:00 every night? Well, then it was networking time. On the first day, Bombardier hosted a great reception on its stand. The company’s staff were on hand and there was plenty of time to chat. ‘Old boy’ Noel Travers, former Bombardier managing director in the UK and now at Unipart Rail, stopped by to say hello, as did most of the staff of Rail Alliance. Then it was on to Dellner - the coupling manufacturer celebrating its seventy-fifth birthday. There was music, and dancing, and cake! Wednesday’s after-hours networking started at Hitachi Rail, but then Rail Media had it’s own event, a Rail Exec Club reception in conjunction with recruitment specialist Ford & Stanley. Held in the Oktoberfest tent, with large mugs of beer and plates of sausages, over 100 visitors to InnoTrans got together for a couple of hours. It was a good cross-section of people - the DfT, railway operators, infrastructure managers, civil engineering contractors, component suppliers and service providers. A good time was had by all. By Friday night, it was all over for another two years. Four days, 41 halls, 2,955 exhibitors and 64,889 steps taken trying to look round it all (that’s over 40 kilometres!). Time to rest up until 18-21 September 2018 when we can do it all again… Thanks to the Rail Media team at InnoTrans who all helped with this article.


Rail Engineer • October 2016


Managing Director Derby


£six figurebase basic| salary pluspackage strong benefits package Birmingham £ Attractive ‘An outstanding opportunity to lead aA Managing developing rolling stock business’ Candidates should have strong business Director is now soughtengineering to Loram is an international group of companies headquartered in the United States that designs, sells Vossloh Kiepe UK is manufactures, a subsidiary of the and operates wide range specialist German basedaVossloh KiepeofGmbH. railway rolling stock vehicles for track and The business ismaintenance a leader in railway infrastructure and rolling monitoring stock engineering, enhancement and purposes. systems integration and provides high With a strong high quality quality turnkeyreputation project andfor consultancy equipment, Loram also provides support services to maximise vehicle utilisation and in operationsCurrent to maximise performance. annualperformance, sales turnover reliability, spare parts services and technical is circa £20m. advice. With excellent rail engineering, production The project recentlymanagement completed strategic acquisition and skills; Vossloh by Loram of vehicle maintainer Kiepe UK operates from offices inRVEL in Derby gives Loram and opportunities to of build upon its’ Birmingham from a range project established presence in the UKlocations rail sector facilities to suit vehicle and fleet and for the wider around UK.involvement in other European markets.

provide strategic and operational leadership ofThe Loram Ltd with approximately key(UK) elements of the role are to: 100 employees. Ensuring the safe conduct of Developactivities, and manage the company’s all• business the role will include strategic plan the integration and development of complementary business activitiesand to meet • Promote revenue, profitability growth as foundations for business success and customers’ continuing requirements future opportunities. • Provide expert leadership and guidance to the senior management team; managing, Providing senior level representation of motivating performance Loram across theand raildeveloping sector in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, the Managing Director • Lead top level business development, customer relations,supplier financialand performance will support customer, other and personnel development and key party relationships includinginitiatives final stage strategies contractual negotiations as appropriate. • role Takeprovides responsibility for the health, safety and The an outstanding opportunity wellbeing of upbusiness to 150 people at work to lead established activities into • areas Ensureofproper governance andfrom uphold the new growth with support ethics of theand business within a strong well known international rail engineering group.

leadership skills, quite possibly gained within the rail sector orhave otherstrong engineering Candidates should management environments. team / board level experience gained in railway engineering and project management Experience in change management situations and ideally in rolling stock. willbusinesses be valuable in the context of Lorams’ plans for developing its’ are UK business. Preferred candidates also likely to be Engineering are not particularly proven in qualifications leading significant teams of people, strategic business leaders, necessary but a graduate levelexperienced academic in project oriented activities and able to exert background is required. influence at all levels including customers, Strong communication skills, a sales suppliers and key stakeholders. orientation and an affinity with customers, together with a track record be of success in level Qualifications will ideally at graduate in an engineering discipline and possibly with management and leadership are required. Chartered status.

Along with an attractive salary the overall remuneration package will include a fully expensed company car, bonus arrangements and other benefits.

Please forward your your application to or call Rod Shaw, Managing Director, Please forward CV to RGS Executive with any particular queries on 0115 959 9687. or call Rod Shaw on 0115 959 9687 with any queries

19/09/2016 14:16




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Rail Engineer - Issue 144 - October 2016