i s s u e
Electrifying Liverpool-Manchester INTRODUCING AN INNOVATIVE NEW GENERATION OF ELECTRIFICATION EQUIPMENT
Paisley Canal Electriﬁcation
The devil is in the detail
Trams without wires challenge
A £12 million project to introduce an electriﬁed service by this December.
Amey to manage, maintain and operate the new Windhoﬀ High Output Train.
Eliminating overhead wires removes visual intrusion in historic cities.
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december 2012 | the rail engineer | 3
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apart from an awful lot of passengers. David ﬁnds that Londoners get hot and Parisians get ﬂustered but there are lessons to be learnt from both systems. The new trains on the Victoria line are now all in service as is a completely new signalling/control system. But how did the line keep running with a mixture of old and new trains with old and new signalling? Clive Kessell has been to Northumberland Park to ﬁnd out. Clive also had a ride on Network Rail’s New Measurement Train (NMT) recently and saw some of the advanced gizmos that are involved in Plain Line Pattern Recognition (PLPR) technology - cameras for example that can take 70,000 pictures a second. Now that’ll cause a queue at the Boots print machine. Ilford depot is a cramped site sandwiched between a main line and a housing estate. Approached via a cobbled street, a throwback of its Victorian origins, Nigel Wordsworth ﬁnds that it is reforming itself into a well-equipped heavy maintenance facility for a wide variety of rolling stock. Everything in an eight hour possession? Well, maybe not quite everything, but completing major switch and crossing (S&C) layouts in eight hour time slots is a possibility. A week’s worth of possessions with tilting modular S&C wagons showed what could be achieved. Eight hours? Read Nigel’s account to ﬁnd out. Believe it or not the DfT is proposing to ﬁne Network Rail for missing a target that measures almost nothing, instead of focussing on actual point to point punctuality. Our interview with Chris Gibb (poacher/gamekeeper transformee) gives clinically terse reasons why you should be concerned at this nonsense. Although we’ll be gathering stories for the rail engineer throughout December, this will be my last chance to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a safe New Year on behalf of all the production team here at Rail Media.
Electrifying Liverpool-Manchester 6 This BBRail project introduces an innovative new generation of electriﬁcation equipment. Paisley Canal Electriﬁcation A new Alliance delivers a unique low-cost electriﬁcation scheme for Paisley Canal.
Electrifying the Great Western Collin Carr speaks with Network Rail’s Lindsay Vamplew and Tony Walker.
The Devil is in the Detail 16 Network Rail has appointed Amey to manage, maintain and operate the new High Output Train. Track inspection at 125mph Clive Kessell investigates Plain Line Pattern Recognition on the New Measurement Train.
Modular S&C goes live Balfour Beatty Rail’s Eastleigh team has set the benchmark for Modular S&C installations.
PHOTO: MATT BUCK
There’s electricity in the air this month as we feature power supplies and electriﬁcation schemes. Fortunately there are no baﬄing technicalities so even I can understand it. 12,000 steel tube piles, 11,000 OLE structures. It’s the shopping list for the Great Western electriﬁcation project. Coping with all this lot will require a £35 million train to install the foundations and run the catenary wire. Collin Carr has been to the project oﬃces at Paddington to ﬁnd out what’s happening over the next few years and how it all depends on the Swindon ‘HOOB’. There’s more electriﬁcation with an account of what’s going on in the North West by Steve Cox and Andy Nunnery. Among other challenges, there’s the infamous Chat Moss - “twelve square miles of spongy vegetable pulp”. Carefully does it! David Shirres tells a tale of yet another Scottish line being modernised. This time it’s the curiously named Paisley Canal route that has recently been electriﬁed despite having structures far too small for conventional wiring arrangements. Far better if it had no wires at all, but heavy rail is a long way from that aspiration. Not so trams and trolley buses. City centre trams free of overhead wires are appearing all over the world. I’ve been to see a guy who has advocated removing the earth return wire from signalling power supplies. Now that’s truly counter-intuitive and had many engineers scratching their heads. But the story does have a happy ending and even a RailStaff Sustainability award, but please don’t try it at home! David Shirres takes us on a spin round the Clockwork Orange - the Glasgow Subway (not Underground). It had an interesting start in life having been born as a cable operated railway with trains spaced at ﬁxed intervals. Things are a little more ﬂexible these days. What have the Paris Metro and the London Underground in common? As it turns out, not much
in this issue
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Trams without wires 42 Energy eﬃciency and lower infrastructure costs provide good reasons not to erect overhead wires in Historic cities. Clockwork Orange Reborn 48 Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has initiated a £288 million modernisation programme for the Glasgow Subway.
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Sister publication of Stations; Surveying
Bridges & Tunnels; Electrical & Electronic Systems February
4 | the rail engineer | december 2012
IN BRIEF Nuneaton North Cord opens The Nuneaton North Cord is the latest new piece of railway to be opened. Built at a cost of £28.3 million, the new 0.9 mile section of track links the existing cross-country rail route from Felixstowe to Nuneaton with the west coast main line. It allows freight trains to travel through Nuneaton station without affecting passenger services, thereby helping to reduce disruption and making the railway more reliable. Construction took just over a year, and the new line forms part of Network Rail’s strategic freight network. The entire route between the Port of Felixstowe and Nuneaton can be used by freight trains carrying the larger 9’6” or ‘highcube’ containers increasingly used by global shipping companies.
King’s Cross demolition underway
£20 million for a footbridge The bridge in question is 100 metres long, 14 metres wide and weights 1000 tonnes. It was slid into place, linking all the platforms at East Croydon station in one weekend.
Now that the Olympics are over, work has started on the demolition of one of London’s oldest temporary buildings. The green canopy that formed the south concourse of King’s Cross station is coming down after forty years. The demolition marks the start of the ﬁnal phase of the biggest transformation in the station’s 160 year history, with the new square, designed by award-winning London-based architects Stanton Williams, due to open in autumn
2013. It will also reveal, for the ﬁrst time in 150 years, Lewis Cubitt’s magniﬁcent Grade I listed Victorian station façade. The civil engineering challenge of deconstructing the delicate canopy and creating the new square is being undertaken by J. Murphy & Sons Limited. Patrick Shaw, Murphy senior project manager, explains: “We’re excited to begin work on the imaginatively designed square which deftly resolves several complicated challenges. Delivering
Moving at a speed of around six metres an hour, the bridge was slid into place while trains continued to run underneath, meaning services were not disrupted for passengers. Once opened, the new structure will provide step-free access to all six of the station’s platforms and provide an interchange between platforms and a new western entrance and exit to Dingwall Road.
Crossrail plans CBTC Signalling for the central section of Crossrail will be by radio Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC). This will have to integrate with European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 on the western end, and Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) to the East. It is planned that dynamic switchover between the three control systems will ensure smooth integration of the differing lines. Under a £52 million contract, Siemens will supply the radio and the operations control systems, as well as the integration between ETCS, TPWS and CBTC. Invensys will provide the interlocking equipment and will be responsible for the installation.
Hydrex became NDS and it now becomes TXM The on-track plant hire company formerly known as Hydrex, which went into administration last year, has now been sold on to the TXM Group. Bought by Network Rail on a temporary basis to safeguard its Christmas workload in 2011, the plant operation was put up for sale again in February 2012. It was never Network Rail’s intention to retain the operation long term. In fact, it needed special permission from the Oﬃce of Rail Regulation (ORR) to make the purchase at all as plant operations are outside of its normal remit. Following protracted negotiations, the announcement that the newly-formed TXM Plant was acquiring Network Rail (NDS-Plant) Ltd was ﬁnally made in November, almost a year after Network Rail had acquired the business. Martin Elwood, Director of Network Rail’s National Delivery Service, said: “The successful sale of the NDSPlant business will enable Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd to safeguard hundreds of jobs and will allow essential rail maintenance, enhancement and renewal programmes across the rail network to continue without disruption.”
a scheme at a station which handles 47 million passengers per year requires a carefully considered approach to passenger ﬂow management.” This ﬁnal phase of works follows the opening of the spectacular glass and steel western concourse in March. This provides three-times more space for passengers than the old concourse and offers improved links to both the London Underground network and St Pancras International station.
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 5
Scrap metal legislation
New legislation to tighten up on the scrap metal industry, and hopefully to reduce the occurrence of cable theft, has moved a step nearer with the successful third reading of MP Richard Ottaway’s Private Member’s Bill. The new Scrap Metal Dealers Bill will now go to the House of Lords to help eradicate the effects of metal theft crimes on Britain’s railways. The theft of metal is a growing problem in the UK affecting many industry sectors, not just the railway. The current cost to the UK economy is estimated at hundreds of millions of pounds a year and the crime is directly fuelled by the increase in the
price of metals, particularly copper and lead. MPs with concerns on the bill reached a compromise with its supporters to review the bill in three years time, with a sunset clause for ﬁve years. This gives time to evaluate the bill in action and revise it if necessary. Neil Henry, head of operations and performance at Network Rail, said: “These crimes continue to cause signiﬁcant disruption and cost to rail passengers and essential freight services. Today is a signiﬁcant and important step towards removing the distress and inconvenience caused to millions of people by metal thieves.”
Ordsall chord breaks cover Detailed designs for Manchester’s Ordsall Chord project were unveiled recently. As part of the plan to improve rail travel in the North, Network Rail needs to build a new viaduct to connect Manchester’s Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations. Two potential bridge options have been unveiled for consultation, including a bow string railway arch and an alternative ﬂat bridge. The ﬁrst part of the Northern Hub programme is designed to help ease a rail bottleneck to the south of Piccadilly station and enable more trains to travel through Manchester Victoria. This will help free up space on the network to deliver faster, more
frequent services, including: - Two new fast trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool - Six fast trains, instead of four, an hour between Leeds and Manchester - Faster journeys between Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool - Faster journey times to Hull, Newcastle and the North East. Dyan Crowther, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “Feedback from last year’s consultation suggests that the overwhelming majority of people support our plans to deliver faster, more frequent services across the North and helping stimulate low carbon economic growth.”
6 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
Electrifying Liverpool-Manchester Steelwork erection with Balfour Beatty Rail’s high output steel work train.
Liverpool to Manchester Railway, T heconstructed by George Stephenson and opened on the 15 September 1830, is credited with being the world’s ﬁrst twin-track intercity passenger railway on which all trains were timetabled and ticketed. Therefore it was only ﬁtting that, in November 2010, the Government should announce that the Liverpool-Manchester route would be one of the ﬁrst to be electriﬁed as part of its new electriﬁcation programme. A contract was awarded to Balfour Beatty Rail to undertake the electriﬁcation design and implementation works for Phase 1 of the route which connects Newton-leWillows to Manchester - a distance of approximately 15 miles. The works also included not only the electriﬁcation but the signalling and telecommunications immunisation works required to bring the line up to modern standard required for a 25kV electriﬁed railway. In October 2012, Balfour Beatty Rail was also awarded a larger contract for Phase 2 of the route which adjoins and connects with Phase 1 at Newton-le-Willows and runs westbound to Edge Hill towards Liverpool Lime Street, incorporating the line from Huyton to Wigan. The Phase 2 works also include delivery of signalling and telecommunications as well as traction power supply elements. The signiﬁcance of this project was emphasised when Rt Hon Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Transport, visited the Balfour Beatty Rail site facility at Tuebrook
Steve Cox & Andy Nunnery Balfour Beatty Rail
sidings in Liverpool on 15 November 2012. Further phases of the project will be completed in conjunction with the Northern Hub project, providing connections to Blackpool and Preston.
Next generation equipment The Liverpool-Manchester project introduces an innovative new generation of electriﬁcation equipment, developed by Network Rail, called the Series II Design Range. This allows for 25kV traction power at line speeds up to 100 mph and incorporates best practice from British and European railways, introducing technological innovations with a focus on whole life cost savings. It can be conﬁgured as a classic booster system or as an autotransformer system, the conﬁguration in which it will be used on the LiverpoolManchester project. The contact wire is a solid 107mm² silver copper wire tensioned at 11kN, suspended from a 19/2.1 stranded bronze II catenary wire tensioned at 11kN by ﬂexible current-carrying droppers. The nominal system height is 1300mm. An aerial earth connection will be mounted from the electriﬁcation structures as part of the earthing and bonding regime. The contact and catenary wires in the new system are automatically tensioned using independent Tensorex C+ spring tensioning
devices which use a spiral spring system. The Tensorex unit is compact and has a low visual impact. It is delivered ready to install, having undergone in-factory quality assurance, is easy to install and requires very little maintenance when compared to typical balance weight systems. This modern generation of electriﬁcation equipment sees the introduction of the Omnia aluminium cantilever range in place of the more traditional galvanised steel tube arrangement. This lightweight ‘upside down’ cantilever has few components, comes preassembled in three standard sizes, and is easily installed and adjusted. The Series II equipment has been designed for a 12kA short circuit fault level and all clamps and components sourced for this system are to be tested accordingly. Liverpool-Manchester will also be the ﬁrst electriﬁcation project to have ﬁxed earthing devices (FEDs) installed, which have been introduced following Network Rail’s review of isolation practices across the network. FEDs
8 | the rail engineer | december 2012
Concrete foundation installation using Balfour Beatty Rail’s high output concrete train.
are switches that can be operated to earth the overhead line equipment once the traction power has been disconnected and isolated. This allows the overhead line to be easily earthed for maintenance purposes from convenient locations along the route.
Chat Moss Challenge One of the biggest challenges facing Stephenson, apart from unruly landowners and farmers opposed to the railway construction, was the infamous Chat Moss, described by the writer Samuel Smiles as “an immense bog of about twelve square miles, a mass of spongy vegetable pulp”. Stephenson armed his work force with planks strapped to their feet to stop them sinking into the Moss the closest thing to PPE for the time. Over its ﬁve mile stretch, the peat can reach up to six metres deep and was a formidable obstacle for Stephenson. After trying to backﬁll the area for several months to provide a stable base, preference was turned to ‘ﬂoating’ the railway across the area using heather bundles, brushwood mattresses and timber hurdles, each about 2.5 metres long and 1.2 metres wide, placed in layers to form a raft. This proved to be successful, and victory went to the famous engineer. Stephenson’s technique, however, posed a signiﬁcant challenge to today’s engineers as the timber layer installed by Stephenson was not to be damaged during construction. Careful survey work was carried out to position foundations away from the areas where the raft existed. This, however, resulted in foundations being placed anything up to eight metres from the running edge. The Chat Moss stretch of the line required two different solutions for the electriﬁcation structure foundations: deep tubular steel piles of up to 14 metres in depth, and a mini-pile arrangement for areas where the presence of underlying rock made it impossible to drive the steel piles. There are approximately 120 mini-pile arrangements and 200 deep steel piles throughout the ﬁve mile stretch of railway across the moss, each with its own unique topographical and sub-strata issues, making this one of the railway’s most challenging geotechnical hurdles.
electrification & power
Deep steel piles, made from two halves connected together by high strength bolts, were ﬁrst vibrated then hammered into position using railmounted plant. This was a very quick and economical solution and a number of piles could be installed during a single nighttime possession. The mini-pile solution was used when rock was identiﬁed from ground investigation boreholes or when the distance from running edge was beyond ﬁve metres (this being the maximum physical distance a deep steel pile could be installed using the on-track plant employed on this project). The mini-pile system consists of four or six concrete piles topped off with a concrete slab to which the steel mast is connected. The piles are generally anchored into the rock and provide a push/pull support arrangement for stability.
Innovative construction Not only is the electriﬁcation equipment for the Liverpool-Manchester project innovative, but Balfour Beatty Rail also identiﬁed the need for a lean and eﬃcient foundation installation process and developed a special concrete train for the project. This consists of two volumetric mixers mounted on a rail vehicle along with containers for the constituent parts of concrete; sand, cement, water and aggregate. After the foundation is excavated, the volumetric mixer can mix and deliver the exact amount of concrete necessary to form the foundation. On completion, the mixer is switched off, effectively stopping the mixing process and ensuring that only the concrete required is made and installed. This is a very sustainable form of construction which reduces CO2 emissions from traditional road mixers, does not require mixing plants to be opened during the night and guarantees no waste concrete is made and left unused.
Logistics In order to support procurement activities and to accurately and eﬃciently control materials on site, Balfour Beatty Rail’s own Material Control System (MCS) has been utilised on this project. The MCS software was developed in-house speciﬁcally for electriﬁcation projects and has proved to be an invaluable tool, ensuring that all necessary materials are supplied to the site on time. This system is currently being linked to a production management system which will enable the construction and design teams to share and manage live information, supporting lean and effective planning and eﬃcient handback. The ﬁrst testing and commissioning work is scheduled to take place during a 54-hour possession over the Christmas period. This will see the line electriﬁed through the Castleﬁeld Viaduct junction area ready for a future tie into the Chat Moss lines when the permanent system is commissioned. Phase 1 of the project is to be fully commissioned during September 2013. Following a period of driver training, the line will be ready in December 2013 to make history once again when the ﬁrst electric trains run from Manchester Airport along the route to its connection with the West Coast Mainline. The Phase 2 works are now at the detailed design stage, with commissioning of the scheme scheduled for August 2014 when, for the ﬁrst time, electric trains will run on George Stephenson’s Liverpool to Manchester route.
We deliver Water Orton resignalling Invensys Rail successfully completed the commissioning of the final phase of the Water Orton Corridor Resignalling project - handing back into operation, on time, after a 98 hour possession. A complex commissioning, it was approximately double the size of Phase 1, involving 273 track circuits, 103 signals, 58 point ends and 4 fringes. It also involved an extension to the WESTLOCK previously commissioned under Phase 1. Thanks to months of planning and preparation by all the project disciplines, the work was smoothly carried out over nine shifts without any engineering or incidents.
Find out how we can help you deliver, visit www.invensysrail.com or call +44 (0) 1249 441441
10 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
Class 156 DMU at Paisley Canal Station - now a thing of the past.
Paisley ith 235 route miles, Glasgow boasts the UK’s largest electriﬁed network outside London. Since the introduction of the Blue Trains on the 50 miles of the north Clyde electrics route in 1960, it has progressively expanded with the latest addition, the Airdrie to Bathgate line adding a further 32 miles to extend it to Edinburgh in 2010. Most of the network on the south side of the Clyde is electriﬁed, although the Paisley Canal line is not. However, this is now the subject of a unique low-cost scheme which will add a further ﬁve electriﬁed route miles by December.
Canal heritage As may be imagined, when the Paisley Canal route started life, traﬃc was carried by boat. The Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone Canal was designed by Thomas Telford and operated from 1810 to 1881, when the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company closed it to build a railway on the route. With its canal heritage, the line has the world’s oldest railway bridge in active use the former canal aqueduct over the river Cart which was also the longest aqueduct arch of the canal age. A more sombre record is that Paisley Canal station was the site of the UK’s worst canal boat disaster in 1810 which cost the lives of 84 people after a craft carrying day trippers overturned. The Paisley Canal line from Glasgow to Elderslie on the current Glasgow to Ayr line opened in 1885. This line was closed to passenger traﬃc in 1983, although a section between Glasgow and the fuel depot at Hawkhead was kept open for freight traﬃc. In 1990, a Strathclyde Passenger Transport
Canal Electriﬁcation initiative resulted in the resumption of passenger services between Glasgow Central and a new Paisley Canal station with ﬁve intermediate stations.
The case for electriﬁcation This service is currently run by three dedicated class 156 DMUs. These could be better used elsewhere in Scotland and the service could be more eﬃciently covered by better diagramming of the class 314 and 380 EMU ﬂeets. Moreover, DMUs are hard pressed to meet the timetable due to single line constraints which would be less of an issue for EMUs with their greater acceleration. Thus, for both ScotRail and Network Rail, there is a strong business case for electriﬁcation of the line, especially as one third of the route, the ﬁrst three miles to Corkerhill Depot, is already electriﬁed and no additional HV switchgear is needed. However, an initial study identiﬁed that, for a conventional electriﬁcation scheme, nine of the twelve overbridges on the line would require electriﬁcation clearance work. This included three bridges adjacent to stations where any track lowering would also require platform re-construction. As a result, the cost of a conventional scheme was estimated at between £20 and £28 million, about twice that which could be justiﬁed. If the canal line was to be electriﬁed, an innovative approach would be required.
An alliance that delivers Network Rail’s policy of devolution and closer working relationships with train operators has borne fruit in Scotland in the form of a new alliance with ScotRail, one of
Sponsors of the Electrification / Power focus
the ﬁrst train operating companies to sign up to such an arrangement. A tangible result is the way the two partners worked closely to dramatically reduce the cost of Paisley Canal electriﬁcation. This included discussions to determine the required six week construction period and associated disruptive possessions which would ensure that the work was completed for the December timetable change. For its part, ScotRail waived its right for compensation payments for short notice disruptive possessions and arranged for its sister company, First Bus Glasgow, to accept ScotRail train tickets during these possessions on local bus services. Network Rail’s contribution was the development of a unique low-cost electriﬁcation scheme on the basis that only EMUs will operate below energised overhead line equipment (OLE). As a result, in July the alliance announced its ﬁrst major project, the £12 million joint investment to introduce an electriﬁed service on the Paisley Canal line by December. It is interesting to note that Network Rail’s 2010 route plan update stated that development of the Paisley Canal project would start in 2014, so it would seem that the alliance had also accelerated this scheme.
Close to the wire Brian Sweeney, Network Rail asset engineer for electriﬁcation in Scotland, advised that this low-cost electriﬁcation scheme was achieved by challenging current practice and specifying the lowest possible wire height for EMU operation. This
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 11
electrification & power
approach was also used to electrify parts of Thameslink in the 1980s. However, the Paisley Canal scheme has to allow for a possible resumption of a night-time freight service to the Hawkhead Oil terminal - an aspiration for freight operations although there has been no such traﬃc since 1994. In addition, the Network Change Process commits Network Rail to retain the current W7 gauge. Although engineering trains may also be outside the ‘EMU gauge’, this is not a problem for Network Rail’s track recording unit and multi-purpose vehicles which can operate with the line energised. The key was therefore acceptance that freight trains would only be able to run with overhead wires de-energised. This requires a new method of working that allows some trains to operate with power on and others only with power off, which is feasible for the single track Paisley Canal branch line. Once this decision had been taken, a minimum wire height of 4.030 metres was speciﬁed, compared with the minimum ‘standard’ height of 4.165 metres. This provides the required electrical clearance for all ScotRail EMUs, the tallest of which has a dynamic height of 3.870 metres. It also gives a W7 gauge Class 66 locomotive a mechanical clearance under the wire of just 40mm.
Before deciding the wire height, “the man on a platform with an umbrella in Scottish weather” had to be considered. Brian Sweeney explained that, in some circumstances, and with a 4.030 metre wire height, a blown out umbrella could encroach on the electrical clearance. This would not be a problem if designers kept energised OLE equipment away from the platform edge. However, if this was not possible, another method of addressing this risk would have to be found.
Unique Authority Key Now that the OLE has been energised, there is an entry in the Sectional Appendix stating that only vehicles lower than
3870 mm can use the route. Higher trains are only permitted to run if possessions and isolations are taken. This is an interim solution which is not suitable for any future regular freight train operation. The permanent solution requires equipment that will release an ‘Authority Key’ once OLE has been ‘de-energised’ and not allow it to be re-energised until the key is replaced. Currently, electriﬁcation rules allow for only two states of OLE: ‘Live’ and ‘Isolated’. This method of operation requires a third state of ‘De-energised’, with the power switched off and conﬁrmation that a remote Fixed Earthing Device has engaged correctly. When the equipment is available,
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Installing piles using a Kirowmounted Movax vibrating piling attachment.
12 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
(Right) Medium Output Ballast Cleaner during track lowering. (Inset) OLE work at Corkerhill Station.
this unique method of working will require a freight or engineering train to stop at a notice board to obtain the ‘Authority Key’ before it can proceed. To ensure that the signaller is aware of the special nature of the train, it will be described with an ‘X’ headcode.
Work required The reduction in speciﬁed wire height reduced the minimum required bridge soﬃt height from 4.44 to 4.305 metres. A soﬃt height of 4.44 metres would have required track lowering or reconstruction of nine bridges, three of which were at stations. With the revised speciﬁcation, only ﬁve bridges required work, just one of which was at a station. This reduced the number of affected platforms from three to one. One of these bridges was well away from both stations and signals, which allowed the use of an extended neutral section 70 metres long to avoid bridge or track work. The remaining four bridges required track lowering of between 50 and 158mm, with the most signiﬁcant work taking place at Hawkhead where the station platform was reconstructed at a lower height. Babcock was awarded a ﬁxed price design and construct contract in June 2012 for all Paisley Canal electriﬁcation works with a six month programme. Work commenced in July and was carried out during possessions at weekends and after 8pm on Mondays to Thursdays. Track lowering through three of the foul bridges was undertaken over two weekends in early October using the Medium Output Ballast Cleaner. The track was lowered through Hawkhead station and the platform completely re-built during the nine day blockade.
A rail-mounted Kirow crane was modiﬁed to carry a MOVAX vibrating piling attachment. It was coupled to two adapted salmon wagons to carry piles, creating a mini ‘factory train’ that was loaded during the day and installed OLE structure piles at night. Use of the adapted Kirow crane both speeded up installation of the 200 piles and avoided neighbour impact as vibrating piles is signiﬁcantly quieter than installing them by conventional methods. On completion of the nine day blockade, all track lowering works had been completed, all OLE masts had been erected and Hawkhead station fully re-built. Work done in the remaining possessions was the ﬁnal registration of the OLE, completion of bridge parapet works and the installation of mirrors at stations for Driver Only Operated (DOO) EMUs. An additional DOO requirement was testing and commissioning a GSM-R radio system for which ScotRail made a Class 156 DMU available. As a result of all this work, the OLE on the Paisley Canal branch was energised on 19th November to allow for driver training prior to the start of the electric train service on 9th December.
Cheap and quick With its ﬁrst project, the Network Rail / ScotRail alliance has shown what can be achieved when infrastructure owners and
Sponsors of the Electrification / Power focus
train operators work closely together on a project. The alliance has shown that it need not take years to get disruptive possessions and, by focusing on the business requirement, Network Rail’s engineers delivered a scheme that is ﬁt for purpose - no more and no less. For these reasons, the Paisley Canal Electriﬁcation Scheme is both a bargain and a remarkably quick project as it took only 44 days from driving the ﬁrst pile to having electriﬁed the line. With Network Rail spending over £4 billion on electriﬁcation by 2019, it will be interesting to see if this design philosophy is adopted for other passenger-only branch lines. From canal to electriﬁed railway, the Paisley Canal route has gone through a number of changes. In 2007, a plaque was unveiled at Paisley Canal station to mark the 250th anniversary of its original designer, the great Thomas Telford. He would no doubt have approved of the way that today’s engineers have applied themselves to this latest transition.
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 13
electrification & power
Electrifying the Great Western Railway
STRUCTURAL PRECAST FOR RAILWAYS writer
Collin Carr last, we now know that the Great A tWestern Main Line Railway (GWML) is going to be electriﬁed. It was way back in 1977 that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Nationalised Industries recommended considering electriﬁcation of more of Britain’s rail network. Two years later, British Rail presented a range of options that included electrifying the main line from Paddington to Swansea by the end of the century. It was all very encouraging, but the reality today is that we only have twelve miles of electriﬁed railway on the GWML route. It wasn’t until July last year that we really could start to believe that it was going to happen, when the government announced that work on the £5 billion investment programme would start.
It’s great news that work is underway, but what is actually happening out there? What are the detailed plans and who is going to do the work to ensure that the plans are delivered to time? To ﬁnd an answer to these questions, the rail engineer recently visited Network Rail’s Lindsay Vamplew, programme director - electric trains, and Tony Walker, senior programme development manager, to ﬁnd out more.
Project team in place The project oﬃce is located in a new development sitting between Paddington Station and the canal network running alongside. The team, which includes project managers, designers, train operators and contractors, is currently about one hundred strong and growing.
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14 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
Also, to supply the power, three national grid supply points have been identiﬁed - at Didcot, Melksham and Cardiff. Tenders will be issued in early 2013 to design and build the twenty-four next-generation auto-transfer systems which will distribute power across the network. The team is currently carrying out a comprehensive validation process of the proposed system. This work should be completed by March 2013. Lindsay was very clear that this phase of work is critical and getting it right at this stage “will ensure that the job goes well” when they start work on track.
(Top) Hitachi’s new IEP train will run on the electriﬁed Great Western. (Inset) Preliminary catenary design from Furrer + Frey
Lindsay Vamplew explained that the main focus is ﬁrstly to understand the shortcomings of existing electriﬁcation systems, then to design the problems out in order to emerge with a bespoke Network Rail speciﬁcation. This must be compatible with the Intercity Express Programme (IEP), compliant with European standards, and world class. Alongside this, the team needs to understand the risks and issues that will emerge when building a brand new electriﬁcation infrastructure alongside an operational railway and to validate the whole process. The aim is to electrify the railway between London and Bristol, including Newbury and Oxford, by 2016 and extend to Cardiff by 2017. Lindsay explained that there is an aspiration to extend the work to Swansea by Easter 2018 but a decision on this has still to be made. The plan is to carry out the majority of the work during night time possessions and fortunately, unlike the WCML, they will not have to worry about re-energising the system before the next morning rush hour every day. To ensure that the new contact system designed for Network Rail includes all the latest successful developments that have been incorporated into recent electriﬁcation projects built on the continent, the design of the power supply system is being developed by a Swiss electriﬁcation company, Furrer+Frey.
State of the art equipment The team is determined to use the best and most modern equipment available to get the job done. The services of the German plant suppliers Windhoff have been procured to build a suitable high-output overhead-line construction train to a speciﬁcation which Network Rail has developed over the last three years. The key features of the design include the following rail-mounted plant: • Piling machine to drive 12,000 steel tube piles of 610mm diameter; • Concrete mixer with grab to install 2,000 bulk piles; • Steelwork erection equipment for 11,000 OLE structures; • Equipment for installing the wires; • Registration vehicles. The £35 million train will complete foundations and stanchions and install the overhead line equipment as it moves. The train will be ﬂexible and able to run to site either as one complete consist or as multiple consists. It will also be capable of installing 1.6 kilometres of electriﬁcation infrastructure per night while allowing adjacent tracks to remain open. Fabrication at the Windhoff factory is currently well advanced, and in March this year Amey was appointed to operate, maintain and deliver the OLE works using the high output overhead line construction system throughout the project.
Sponsors of the Electrification / Power focus
Buried cables Lindsay was hoping that working on Brunel’s wide gauge network would provide generous space either side of the tracks to install the additional infrastructure, but he soon found out that is not the case. There are signiﬁcant lengths of well established vegetation, often valued by local communities, and there has been a policy over the years to bury signalling and power cables in the cess ways - a policy that could now cause signiﬁcant diﬃculties. The GWML route is rich in heritage, and includes four major tunnels (Severn, Patchway, Badminton and Box). The UNESCO World Heritage site at Bath includes an original Brunel iron bridge and there are more than 100 other listed structures including bridges, viaducts, and stations. In addition, the underlying formation varies from London Clay to chalk and ﬂint. This, coupled with the need to negotiate embankments, cuttings and the myriad of sensitive structures, including several Brunel-style elliptical curved arches, will not only provide an engineering challenge but will also require the team to forge good neighbourly relationships with councils, local neighbours and, of course, English Heritage.
Working relations Tony Walker conﬁrmed that such relationships could make or break the success of this project and they are determined to beneﬁt from the work that they carried out on the now well-advanced Reading station project. So, to ensure that excellent public relations are maintained at all times, Tony has made presentations to many key local councils including BANES (Bath And North East Somerset) which is responsible for the World Heritage site at Bath. A dedicated project team has been created to concentrate on the sensitive structures in Bath and along the twelve mile railway corridor to Bristol Temple Meads station, which itself is a Grade 2 listed building. The team is reviewing work carried out at York
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 15
electrification & power station and Durham Viaduct associated with the East Coast Main Line electriﬁcation project in the 1980s to see what lessons can be learnt and best practice adopted. To enhance their relationship with English Heritage, Network Rail has appointed heritage specialists to give advice on sensitive design solutions for electriﬁcation. This relationship is working well and various options are currently being discussed with English Heritage, local authorities and special interest groups as the project progresses. Tony was very pleased with the good working relationship they have with English Heritage and this positive approach has resulted in the launching of a month-long consultation on the architectural importance of a number of buildings, bridges and tunnels along the Great Western railway. This project and public consultation has ensured that, in advance of electriﬁcation, all heritage assets which deserve protection on a national scale have been identiﬁed and are being appropriately managed through the planning process. Work on the project actually started last Christmas when a number of redundant structures were cleared and, so far, six bridges have been reconstructed. Agreements are being made with local communities to undertake local amenity improvements such as constructing paths and painting community halls in recompense for the changes and disruption that they will have to experience. The base for the project team will switch from London to Swindon as work gets underway and more train operator staff will
be drafted into the team to ensure that impact of work on the day-to-day train service is minimised. Whilst work is progressing, the signalling system will have to be immunised, signals examined and re-sited if necessary, and level crossings inspected. All this will take place alongside a signiﬁcant programme of renewal including remodelling the Bristol Temple Meads and Oxford station areas, the renewal of the signalling system throughout the Great Western, Reading remodelling and, of course, let’s not forget Crossrail. It is a challenging prospect and probably an appropriate time to remind ourselves of the potential beneﬁts of electriﬁcation since the entire electriﬁcation project is going to cost around £5 billion.
Beneﬁts The new Hitachi high speed electric trains now being ordered by the DfT have 20% more seats compared to diesel trains. Journey time savings can be made due to the superior braking systems, making journeys quicker, especially in urban areas where there are frequent stops. Electric trains are cheaper to operate than diesels. They require less maintenance and have lower energy costs. They are also lighter and do less damage to the track, helping to create a more reliable railway for passengers. Electriﬁcation should also encourage economic growth across the region by better connecting towns and cities and opening up new opportunities for businesses.
During discussions with Tony and Lindsay, it was suggested that, alongside all these beneﬁts, there is a broader beneﬁt which relates to the history of this world-famous route. Would not Brunel himself agree that electriﬁcation of the Great Western Main Line completes the vision of a modern railway that clearly he intended in the 1840s? It is a perfectly reasonable assumption to make and, with the current team following a rigorous planning process, attention to detail and a determination to succeed, attributes that one would associate with Brunel, we can all look forward to travelling on a world class railway in the foreseeable future. Hopefully, we will also be able to read some world class articles on the project along the way!
16 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
devil is in the detail
of the many initiatives being O neundertaken by Network Rail as part of their plans to electrify the Great Western Main Line (GWML) is the design and construction of a £35 million high-output train currently being built by the German plant suppliers, Windhoff. Network Rail also announced in March this year that they have appointed Amey to manage, maintain and operate this new train for the duration of the project. Amey already has considerable experience in running high-output track renewals trains for Network Rail. Simon Bunn, business director - track, is conﬁdent that with this expertise, and with being part of the Ferrovial group, the company is now more than capable as a sole provider for this GWML electriﬁcation project.
Factory process Jim McDermott, project director, emphasised that the key to success will come from a well prepared, structured, meticulously planned, methodical approach. He described it as a factory process that is underpinned by a concept he calls ‘Lean Working’. Lean working originated in the manufacturing industry, in organisations such as Toyota and Jaguar. It was described as an easy to understand continuous improvement methodology used to identify and eliminate eight areas of potential waste: transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over processing, over production, defects and skills. The reason that Amey has adopted this concept is to maximise the amount of valueadding activities they can provide. As Jim pointed out, things happen at night and the aim is to ensure that every aspect of the production process is planned properly so that high levels of productivity can be managed effectively and consistently.
Sponsors of the Electrification / Power focus
Heart of operation A High Output Operation Base (HOOB) is currently under construction at Swindon. It has been designed by Amey and a signiﬁcant amount of thought and effort has gone into each and every detail. The HOOB will act as the garage for the new High Output Train which will arrive next spring. It will also house all the material and equipment that will be required each night and this is where attention to detail is paramount. The aim is to provide a storage area which can handle at least two weeks supply of materials and equipment. Once production starts, there is the possibility that every one of the 16,000 piles that need to be installed may vary signiﬁcantly. This means that every mast and every cantilever might be of a variable size. Although this is highly unlikely, it is diﬃcult to determine just what level of consistency the installation team is likely to come across and they need to know if they are going to achieve the standards they expect and which are expected of them. The design of the OLE system will, however, accommodate much of this variability. So, to minimise the risk of surprises, all ground surveys are to be completed well in advance of the work. This will ensure that the correct materials and quantities will be loaded onto the train for each night’s work. Also, although ﬂexibility will be incorporated into the gantry designs with telescopic horizontal pieces, knowing exactly what goes where beforehand will enable the trains to be loaded accurately, complying with the principles of a factory production line process. It soon becomes apparent that the HOOB will become the heartbeat for the day-to-day operation, justifying the effort that has been taken to ensure the design of the HOOB is ﬁt for purpose and providing every opportunity for the production team to deliver a sustained high level of productivity. The cost of the building will be in the order of £4 million, reﬂecting its importance and value to the project.
Will the train return empty? Materials will be stacked in regimented order using military precision for the stockpiling of every item. However, one has to be prepared for the unexpected and, try as one might, the railway environment does have the capacity to unleash the totally unexpected. In recognition of this possibility, work is being undertaken to ensure that there is minute-by-minute
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 17
electrification & power
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communication throughout the night between those in the HOOB and the production team actually installing the new electriﬁcation infrastructure. This will ensure that, if any changes to plan on site do occur, the backup team at the HOOB can immediately respond and reconﬁgure the requirements to ensure that they are correct for the next night. It is this built-in agility which clearly indicates that the potential risks are understood and that effective mitigating measures are being thought through and put in place. The message is that, if trains do not return empty, the production line will know exactly what to do and it will not create a problem for the next night’s production. The HOOB is also designed with the environment in mind, so, alongside the production line approach to productivity, there will be eﬃcient processes for recycling materials - minimising waste and pollution. Amey has appointed SPL Powerlines Austria to assist with OLE procedures and methods. The Powerlines team has gained signiﬁcant experience over recent years working on a number of prestigious electriﬁcation projects across Europe, linking the practical skills required to install the OLE infrastructure with the design skills of Furrer+Frey, the design consultants appointed by Network Rail.
Effective Teamwork Without doubt, the national electriﬁcation programme will place massive demands on the rail sector. In particular, Amey is acutely
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aware that an immense volume of design work will have to be delivered with very little notice by the lead design organisation. Just dealing with heritage issues will offer a unique set of challenges. It is understood that these demands can only be met by adopting a very clear approach to the way work is designed, planned, and delivered. This will comprise four key steps: planning and scheduling, organising integrated design teams around deliverables, asset management and supply chain collaboration. Both Jim McDermott and Simon Bunn emphasised that collaborative working throughout the supply chain is vital to a successful project delivery. The principles of collaborative business relationship management, as laid down in BS11000, will be adopted by Network Rail for the project. Amey has also incorporated the eleven Life Saving Rules which have recently been introduced by Network Rail into their safety management systems for the project, to sit alongside their own safety campaign banner “Target Zero”.
The High Output train under construction by Windhoff.
18 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
Stills from a Network Rail video showing the piling and steelwork elements of the ‘factory train’.
4 0A 4 0A 3 0A 2 0A 1 0A
Developing skills The Amey team for the project consists of about 30 people at the moment. Some of those are making timely visits to the Windhoff factory to see ﬁrsthand the High Output System being built. Their involvement will increase over the coming months to ensure that they know everything about the train, how it ﬁts together, its servicing regime and how it is operated. Additional people will be needed, so Amey has embarked on a carefully planned strategy to recruit and develop the skills of its own people so that eventually they have a competent team of around 200 trained to deliver their part of the programme for electriﬁcation of the GWML. Opportunities to minimise disruption to the timetable are constantly being reviewed. A study has been undertaken by Birmingham University to consider the impact to workers from trains passing on the adjacent line at speeds higher than 20mph. Unlike the track renewal high output trains, the electriﬁcation train is not designed to undermine the adjacent line so there might be opportunities to allow trains to pass on adjacent lines at higher speeds. To summarise, the high output train will start to arrive in the spring of 2013. This will be followed by a rigorous testing and commissioning process with the intention of starting work in earnest by September. Whilst this is underway, detailed surveys to establish ground conditions, expose buried cables and identify risks will be carried out, creating volumes of essential information for the project data base. The HOOB will be up and running, providing visible evidence of the production line approach that will be adopted. It all makes sense and, given the experience and success that Amey has enjoyed on the current high output contract, there is good reason to be optimistic that it will be a job well done. Simon Bunn commented that the greatest compliment came recently from a Network Rail route director who stated that, whilst working on his patch, Amey appeared invisible. The GWML electriﬁcation team are striving to ensure that this compliment is repeated some time in 2016.
The Great Western route is rich in heritage and includes four major tunnels, Severn, Patchway, Badminton and Box (pictured).
Sponsors of the Electrification / Power focus
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20 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power writer
Vukan Polimac Chief Engineer, UKPN Services
Demand Side Management
Advanced Power System Control
Intelligent Design and Management
Energy Procurement Strategy
Energy Storage Facilities
Services is keenly aware that a U KPN reliable and progressive rail network is only as good as its electrical infrastructure. Its credentials are well established and include the landmark construction of section 1 and 2 of High Speed One, a £130 million joint venture with Network Rail to upgrade power supplies in the south and project works on the Thameslink enhancement project. As an integrated solutions business, UKPN Services can manage a client’s connections and power supplies and can also develop sustainable solutions to increase the value of a company’s assets and utilise energy from all sources.
Intelligent design The company’s aims and objectives can be summarised as a deﬁned intelligent design and management platform, developing services on the basis of the lessons learnt from the application of smart grid
technology. The base of the developing service philosophy is the application of modern asset management techniques coupled to robust design philosophy. The need to ally project engineering to modern economics is prime, while ensuring that equipment was not over-designed yet gives good performance and optimised reliability. The various facets of this process are best understood using a diagram illustrating how the various aspects can be combined into one robust product with the platform being the core and the surrounding balloons representing specialist inputs or drivers. This is an innovative concept of Intelligent Design and Management. The platform encompasses an integrated solution, utilising modern technology applied responsibly in a smart manner. It covers all aspects from an idea and concept to implementation through the design, procurement, manufacturing, construction, operations and maintenance phases. The whole system life-cycle is implemented through the use of modern asset management techniques and tools. That creative approach sets realistic economics alongside the technical aspects and risk management, linking cost and risks with beneﬁts. It balances initial capital investment with on-going operational and maintenance costs and deals with risks which are, in consequence, managed safely.
Inputs and drivers The ﬁrst input is Advanced Power System Control. As one of the main drivers, this takes account of smart electrical grid technologies which, when applied to a railway distribution network, particularly in the area of automated switching, improves the overall system performance in terms of reliability i.e. frequency of failure and duration of outages. This modern approach has a signiﬁcant impact on operations and maintenance processes and boosts the ability of the railway energy system to provide robust traction and other power supplies. Distribution systems are generally deﬁned by a base single line diagram and any reduction of primary equipment within that system exposes the balance of plant retained in service to more onerous conditions. Naturally, one has to review existing maintenance policies and strategies to meet those new more onerous requirements. With that focus, further assessment of the primary equipment and secondary circuit failure rates is required to evaluate reliability and the life cycle of the assets. The client needs to discover a justiﬁable balance to be found between reliability, availability, and maintainability; colloquially “RAMS.” Accompanying this approach is the need to ensure that equipment speciﬁcations are also continuously reviewed and revised for optimisation in terms of reducing energy losses and higher resilience in operation.
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 21
electrification & power The goal of Demand Side Management is to encourage railway operators to use less energy during peak hours, or to move the period of energy use to off-peak times. Peak demand management does not necessarily decrease total energy consumption, but could be expected to reduce the need for investment in electrical networks and/or power plants assisted by the active use of smart technology. Due to the nature of the business, requiring the system to operate at maximum capacity during the rush hours, railways are major contributors to the daily power peak. However, consideration can be given to nontraction load and the management of non-essential load which can be signiﬁcant (up to 20% of the total).
which is purchased at peak times. Dynamic pricing models are being actively explored in advanced metering schemes at all consumer levels where they are encouraged to consume cheaper energy off peak. The indirect effect of this approach could be an overall reduction
Energy storage and good design Conventional transmission and distribution power systems are not ﬂexible in the realm of energy storage and, conventionally, demand is promptly met by increased generation activity. However, the application of modern technology opens up the possibility of returning surplus energy back to the supply grid or the option of engaging DC/AC inverters to be used by other consumers. Other means of kinetic energy storage, such as ﬂywheels and solar panels, are actively being pursued by UKPN Services. A vital element of any system proposal is equipment design. Here the UKPN Services logic applies itself to the optimisation of equipment design and a proper approvals process which ensures reliability, safety, resilience and maintainability. Accompanying this is a review of speciﬁcations which may be embedded in history and not achieving the current day needs of low loss performance. Most railways currently secure energy via long term contracts with major suppliers. Those contracts include excessive margins due to the high risks associated with securing energy at peak times and may not always be advantageous to the customer. This arrangement may see signiﬁcant changes in the near future if railways are offered incentives to explore options to reduce the price for energy, particularly that
in the cost of peak energy for users that cannot shift their demand away from those peak hours. This new approach may prompt transportation stakeholders to consider investment in sustainable sources. With this trend, rail could directly inﬂuence the overall contribution of green energy generation to the overall mix created by governmental energy strategy. The investment opportunities currently available to railway industry can include CHP (Combined Heat and Power plants), wind turbines, solar and hydro power plants. It is possible that the complexity of the above issues may discourage stakeholders from seeing the beneﬁts of their individual actions. UKPN Services’ positive experience
in running major railway projects has progressed in association with the leading providers of electrical infrastructure. The High Speed One project proved that a strong long term relationship between main stakeholders, originating at the design phase and continuing through to the operational phase, delivers the most successful result. UKPN Services endeavours to provide consistent technical excellence through its holistic approach by applying the principles and criteria of Intelligent Design and Management. Those principles include the implementation of modern technology via professional engineering and construction records and integrated, state of the art, design, operation and maintenance.
22 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
Reaching for the wires has been much talk about T here electriﬁcation over the last few months, and in recent issues of this magazine. Much of it has been about new electriﬁcation projects - electrifying the Great Western to Swansea and Bristol, the area around Manchester, and the central spine. However, the more wires there are hanging over Britain’s railways, the more maintenance they will need. Engineers will have to get up amongst the catenary to make adjustments and repairs. The snag is, that’s quite a long way up. The main cable is normally about 4.8 metres (nearly 16 feet) above the track, and of course all the suspension apparatus is above that. A road-rail vehicle (RRV) with a ‘cherrypicker’ basket is the obvious choice for this work. It can be driven onto the railway, and then to wherever it is needed. The basket gives the engineer a safe place to stand, and the height can be easily achieved and adjusted.
TRAC’s ELAN machines are ideal for use on both small and large repairs to overhead lines.
Unfortunately, traditional baskets are too small. To install and adjust catenary needs quite a bit of room, and perhaps space for two or three people working together, so larger work platforms are needed. This led to larger vehicles and more powerful cranes. What was needed was a specialist vehicle.
This problem was not an exclusively British one. Neotec, a French manufacturer of specialist industrial vehicles based near Toulouse, had identiﬁed the same gap in the market. A group of designers tackled the problem in conjunction with railway infrastructure constructor ETF-Eurovia Travaux Ferroviaires, which is now part of the Vinci group. The result of their collaboration is the ELAN. It is still an RRV, but a specialist one designed for the job. Superﬁcially, it looks a bit like a conventional MEWP (mobile elevating work platform), with a large basket lifted by a scissor-jack arrangement, but it is actually much more versatile than that.
Sponsors of the Electrification / Power focus
When arriving at site, the ELAN runs on two rubber caterpillar tracks powered by a three-cylinder Hatz diesel engine which allows it to run at up to 4.5 km/h over uneven terrain. On-track, it has a pair of ﬂanged-wheel braked axles driven hydrostatically. The scissor platform is large, 2.5 x 1.2 metres, and can reach up to 5.2 metres above the rail. It can accommodate three people, has a power socket to run hand-held tools if required, and is ﬁtted with 24V lighting. However, that is not the whole story. There is also a cradle, which can extend up to 9.3 metres high. It can also slide outwards by over three metres, allowing it to access all those hard-toreach places.
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 23
electrification & power British operation British on-track plant specialists TRAC Engineering were quick to see the advantages of the new machines, and purchased two of them. Once they started operating on the rail network, TRAC found that the ELAN is ideal for all OLE maintenance as well as construction work. Accessing the track is simple. The caterpillar tracks have a low ground pressure so they can drive the ELAN onto the track without causing any damage. The whole machine then rotates through 180° on a slewing ring. The ﬂanged-wheel axles are lowered and engage with the rails, the caterpillar tracks are jacked clear, and the machine is ready for operation. The main drive is fully hydrostatic to both axles. In operation, the ELAN has three driving points, one on each of the platforms, and is quite capable of pulling a small trailer with a laden capacity of 350kg, usually loaded either with more tools and equipment, or running contact or catenary wire. More equipment can also be carried in the purpose-built tool store that can carry up to 20 insulation pots as well as other tools. In addition to the main scissor-lift platform and its extension, there is a crane ﬁtted with a manipulator arm that is ideal for lifting heavy components up to height. The crane can be controlled remotely from any basket making operation simple and convenient. Crucially, the ELAN is able to work ‘adjacent line open’ because all the working parts, including the scissor platform, MEWP basket
and crane, are limited to work on one side only. This allows trains to pass on the opposite side safely. The ELAN has automatic levelling so it can work on cants as easily as on level track. Even with the platforms extended the whole machine is very stable, and its EC certiﬁcation allows the use of elevators both when the machine is seated on its rail wheels and on its caterpillar tracks.
All-in-all, TRAC’s ELAN machines are ideal for use on both small and large repairs to overhead lines. As more and more of the rail network is electriﬁed, look out for these interesting multi-platform pieces of kit around the country. Be aware though - they usually only come out at night.
The ELAN has automatic levelling and with platforms extended the whole machine is very stable.
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24 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
In a class of his own An explanation writer
Tahir Ayub (left), Ernest Brigden and Kyle Windsor Network Rail’s Class II team. (Below) Insulation testing.
banging your head against a brick B een wall lately? Are you utterly convinced that changing railway technical standards is well nigh impossible? Have you been encouraged to get back in your box? Well, take heart. There’s one guy who is not only still out of his box, he has actually driven through a fundamental change - a change in the way that the railways distribute their signalling installation power. Tahir Ayub, Network Rail’s senior E&P engineer working within the national signalling innovations group in infrastructure projects, has been responsible for getting rid of the earth wire - getting rid of one third of the copper content in low voltage signalling power distribution systems. To many of us, and that includes the electrical fraternity, this sounds a bit risky. It certainly raised a few eyebrows in the industry and, initially at least, the initiative looked as if it was aiming rapidly for the long grass. In the early stages Tahir came very close to being shoehorned back into his box.
But ﬁrst, a bit of context and some technical background. Ever since the signalling department started to incorporate electricity in the railway’s signalling system, there’s been a need to get power to the various bits of electrical kit. In the modern railway, the range of equipment that is dependant on a power supply is huge. Everything from signal lamps to point machines and from relays to level crossings, the list goes on and on - and it all needs an electrical feed. In many locations there may be a power source just over the fence - a street lamp, a housing estate perhaps. It’s all deceptively convenient, but in reality hopelessly impractical and expensive to tap in to what may be just a few metres away. The most economic and controllable way of distributing power to the signalling system is to have a dedicated low voltage power distribution network. And that’s what exists on the UK system. Network Rail has one of the largest low voltage power distribution systems outside of the power utility organisations. But it’s expensive - supplying power to signalling installations can be between 5% and 10% of the total capital cost of a resignalling project.
Sponsors of the Electrification / Power focus
Back in 2009, Tahir was tasked with trying to cut down the cost of the Water Orton Resignalling Scheme. From his perspective as an electrical engineer with experience of process and industrial applications, he believed that there were signiﬁcant savings to be achieved by cutting down on cabling costs. He dared to suggest that the earth wire could be abolished. Cue elevated eyebrows. Now, getting rid of the earth wire on its own would, of course, have been a bit risky. It would have been a bit like proposing that structural engineers didn’t really need all that pesky wind bracing in a structure or that lifeboats were really just for show. No, the deal was a bit more complicated. Tahir was suggesting that the railways go for what is called a Class II power supply installation.
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26 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
At this stage we need another digression to explain the term ‘Class II installation’. What is Class II and, indeed, what is Class I? This has all to do with electrical protection and it’s necessary to look a little at the history of railway power supplies. Ever since someone dreamt up that an electric lamp could replace a paraﬃn lamp, the signal engineers have looked after the wiring. It seemed eminently logical at the time and this was how the whole system of signalling wiring evolved. The power served signals and so it was logical that signal engineers were the best folks to look after it. (Right) An installation at Reading. (Below) Penetration test.
By the turn of the millennium, with the railways privatised and Railtrack in charge, there were some who were decidedly edgy about all this in-house cosiness. Electrical Safety - with a capital S - is the province of electrical engineers who abide by ‘proper’ electrical standards - not standards dreamt up by signal engineers. As a result, power supplies - including signal power supplies - had to conform with BS 7671, otherwise known as the EIT wiring regulations. The upshot of this was that the two core wiring previously used did not meet current standards and three core armoured cable was adopted for all new installations.
Rodents and a nasty smell All well and good, but it did mean that the amount of copper used (and stolen) was at least a third more than before. In fact, because of the way that cable design takes into account earth return analysis, it is possible for the size of the earth return conductor to be larger than the individual phase conductors. As cables are only manufactured with equal sized conductors, this can mean that the cable is sized to the larger earth conductor.
The other ‘unexpected consequence’ of adopting armoured three core cable was that, unless speciﬁc mitigation measures are taken at each installation, an earth fault can propagate throughout the system so knocking out power to a whole range of equipment under certain fault conditions. This is no doubt safe electrically, but leads to the railway system running in degraded mode with all the signals showing a black aspect. This, on critical analysis, can lead to many more serious hazards than the original electrical problem. It’s where Railway Engineering over-rides individual disciplines. The protection of the cable - the armoured bit - is designed to thwart the efforts of rodents and the pick-and-shovel brigade. But here again, a fault travelling through the armoured part will knock out kilometres of power supply. At last we can look at Class I and Class II in this context. These are classes of electrical protection. Class I is a system that has an earth return so that any fault in a particular location is sent directly to an earth point so protecting someone from electrical shock. Class II is a system where the individual location is encased and double insulated so that if a fault develops, that fault is contained within the casing and nobody is exposed to electric shock. Just think of the early days of DIY electric drills. They were hefty bits of kit with the body of the drill usually made of some sort of ‘mucky metal’ casting - absolutely lethal if the armature decided to disembowel itself. The casing would become live and that would be that. But those drills had a three core cable and we were encouraged to
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connect the plug (not supplied) complete with the earth return. Modern drills not only come with a plug, but also with just a two core cable. The drill casing will be a plastic material and the whole thing will be double insulated. The drill can disintegrate internally to its heart’s content, but the operator will be blissfully unaware apart from the acrid smell of electrical catastrophe. The same goes for signalling installations. Along with the proposal for the abolition of the earth return comes a package of parallel measures forming a class II system.
“You’ve got two weeks!” Tahir had in mind a wholesale change in the way that signalling power supplies would be designed. He was given the freedom of two weeks to form a proposal. At the end of his fortnight out of his box he was able to share his ideas with colleagues and peers. The reaction was mixed and it soon was obvious that whatever he was suggesting couldn’t be applied to the Water Orton project. Tahir was suggesting something ‘new and novel’ that needed a completely new safety case and a complete re-writing of the railway electrical standards. He admits that this period in the project was particularly rocky. There was ‘robust criticism’, but there was also encouragement and, through a series of seminars and informal meetings, he began to acquire champions - something that is vital in any proposal. Initial approaches to suppliers were diﬃcult - hardly surprising really because all they saw was an individual making a proposal that had signiﬁcant commercial implications and that if adopted would require signiﬁcant speculative investment. By 2009, with the assistance of ERA (formerly the Electrical Research Association), Tahir had prepared a suite of railway standards for Class II power supplies. With these signed off, it became much easier to
28 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
involve the wider industry. Network Rail was now seen to have committed to Class II and suppliers were keen to invest. In fact, Tahir has been encouraged with suppliers’ reactions. For years there had been very few innovations in the supply side of signalling and many of the products on offer had changed very little. This has all changed with a whole raft of ideas being suggested. “It’s been the most exciting part of the project. They are coming up with all sorts of suggestions and they can see applications outside the railway industry too.” (Above) Henry Williams SafeBox. (Below) Class II hybrid transformer from Signalling Solutions.
minutes. All of this is consistent with an holistic railway engineering approach to signalling power supplies. Electrical protection is maintained but so too is the power to signals. Degraded train working is avoided and repairs can be carried out in a planned, eﬃcient and safe manner. So, is it possible to bring about a major change in railway standards and practices? Well yes it is, but it takes an amount of determination, time and belief as well as the
Major change brings major beneﬁts The new two core cable is bespoke to the railway with protection measures migrating from the ﬁbre optic industry. Instead of stainless steel armouring, the cable is protected from rodents with a glass ﬁbre weave that embeds glass fragments in their gums - don’t ask! A tape is woven through the cable with the helpful message that the cable is the property of Network Rail - always useful if it gets lost and there is an embedded colour coded cotton strand that is an additional identiﬁcation feature. The adoption of Class II gives a number of what Tahir calls ‘tier two’ beneﬁts. Along with the elimination of individual earthing points at each location, it is possible to restore supplies to a route affected by a cable theft attempt by using auto reconﬁguration technology which is now also approved for use on Class II-based systems. This is by remote switching which is almost like having a system that is self-healing within
Decades ago, signalling engineer Graeme Christmas had also suggested the use of Class II, but his plan remained on the shelf gathering dust as an opportunity too far to deliver. Graeme provided mentorship and support in guiding Tahir through the stakeholder maze. Ernest Brigden (project engineer) and Kyle Windsor (senior technology engineer) were key in delivering the project once the standards had been issued. Many in the supply chain have been involved in developing new transformers, rectiﬁers, cables, switchgear and auto reconﬁguration equipment. With a RailStaff award for Sustainability under his belt, and with 400 tonnes of copper having been saved already with further saving to come, Tahir has found that, all in all, the whole exercise has been so much more satisfying than just going back into his box. Take heart.
ability to absorb the odd knock or two. But in the end, a major change has happened. Tahir had the opportunity of leading the work stream and mobilising the supply chain. He was supported by many across Network Rail from professional geads, engineering managers, technology engineers and chief engineers within the supply chain organisations.
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Class II - PA05/05069 !@)1)#+5)4!'(!*+($-#%&.!+(!C'%D!E)%C+,8!/&'# !"##!0)%&#!*+&%)4!*+($%,-*.!+(!C'%D!,)0+1&2#)!=#&(4!5#&%)$ !9),0'(&.!+(!+6!*&2#)$!-5!%+!:;<00 - Available in three formats SIG 2 C2 S, SIG 20 C2 S, SIG 40 C2 S !A'#4!F%))#!*+&%)4!C'%D!GFB/&'#!G+&%9A fully repairable - 40 year life
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30 | the rail engineer | december 2012
electrification & power
Class II suppliers development of class II systems T hewouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation of equipment manufacturers. A number of companies are involved in the project, and class II enclosures and other products are now available. Peter Dickson of iLECSYS explains what it means to the supply chain: “New technology is born out of necessity, the needs may be varied but often follow a pattern of faster, cheaper and more reliable. The momentum of the new technology is often maintained by justiﬁcation, sometimes legislation and more often the concept of a new idea or product being better than the existing one. “The necessity behind the Class II system may follow this same pattern; however the impact and momentum generated seems to have gone far beyond the vision of those at the conception. The technology itself carries a long list of ‘tick boxes’. The concept of double insulated switchgear is not a new one, sectors with the utilities and renewable energy have embraced the ‘touch safe’ concept for a number of years . “Working in the world of composites and double insulated enclosure solutions, the requirement for a class II 650V Signalling power supply enclosure has rather ‘landed in our lap’. That said, by supplier standards, we are new to the rail industry and therefore are very mindful of the learning and listening that must take place in order to embrace the needs of a new business sector. One message we picked up on was to consider a non-metallic solution to trackside equipment and therefore reduced dependence on earthing.
Collaboration is the key “Putting aside the product, for us the impact of Class II is clearly a major catalyst for a new level of supplier engagement, such is the level of innovation ‘whipped up’ by the new technology. There is now a clear platform on which suppliers and Network Rail technology work groups can get round the table, and innovate together. When the mind is opened fully there are always more answers than questions. This has been our ﬁndings in the various meetings with work groups. Practical, collaborative engineering,
allowing a balance of innovation between suppliers and their customer does seem to open doors and generally leads to the right product hitting the streets. “Getting new technology moving, whether at systems or product level is the hard job. Once the concept of change is on the move it becomes vital to keep the momentum. It is clear that innovation and the adoption of new technology is dynamic and has now spawned new workgroups looking at sustainability and further improving trackside safety.” iLECSYS is one of a number of suppliers which have whole-heartedly embraced the class II concept. The new Class II POWER BLOCK is a family of Class II 650V switchgear units built from essentially off the shelf components. The range covers all the applications within NR/ELP/27409 and also offers the switchgear fully enclosed in Network Rail PADs approved composite enclosures. Speciﬁc designs are available for legacy equipment cases and all the units will be available with Cu and Al compatible terminals up to 150mm2.
Robust SafeBoxes and SIGBoxes Henry Williams has introduced a range of Class II SafeBoxes, named after their robust electrically insulated construction and the safe switching arrangement which is all on
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one level and removes the need to move live 650V parts to isolate the feed. The form 4A construction of the box also allows for the upper chamber to be isolated so that all of the fuses are safe whilst the loop in and out function of the box remains live. This product was designed from ﬁrst principles and manufactured totally in house. Tahir Ayub and Ernie Brigden of Network Rail assisted the Henry Williams team in drawing up the speciﬁcations and during the development and product approval process. CSE Rail, a brand name of Control Systems and Equipment Ltd, used the new Network Rail speciﬁcations to develop a class II version of its well-known SIGBox range in the same space envelope as the original units. The basis of the design was to blend the robustness of metal with the insulating properties of plastic. This was achieved following in depth research and the development of RailcoatTM. Utilising a mild steel chassis along with a special cleansing process before application of the insulation allows a dielectric strength of 6000 volts to be achieved. All the class II SIG Boxes have the same form ﬁt and function design of the previous solutions ensuring a legacy ﬁt and featuring the double insulated coating providing protection against electric shock.
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Product acceptance No PA05/05297 Removable gland plates for ease of cable fitting Triangular key hinged doors for speed of access (no fiddly screws) Ease and speed of cable installation on site Form 4a segregation of incomer / outgoing 650V feeder cables 5Kg impact tested to IK09 in accordance with BS EN 62262:2002 Dielectric tested to 3.5kv in accordance with BS EN 61439-1:2011
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Ingress protection rated IP4X Continued operation following flooding 40 year life-no maintenance coating over stainless steel Rated voltage 690Vac Mounted in standard BRS SM 440 mounting rails and space FSP01 (radial) and FSP02 (dual end fed manually configurable) for cable up to 120mm No moving switchgear
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 33
those in the signalling or rolling stock F orprofessions, it is all too easy to think of track maintenance as an old-fashioned undertaking, devoid of modern technology and dependent on technicians with jacks, spanners and shovels. However, this perception is totally wrong. Civil engineering track maintenance equipment has developed into the most sophisticated across all of the engineering disciplines. The advancement does not stop there and new methods of automating the inspection of track are evolving all the time. the rail engineer was recently invited to ride on Network Rail’s New Measurement Train (NMT) from London to Bedford in order to see the Plain Line Pattern Recognition (PLPR) technology which is now being introduced as a means of monitoring the condition of the track without the need for patrolling and visual inspection in the time-honoured way.
Secondly, using a risk-based approach to get more work done in the busy high-traﬃc areas and less in rural locations focuses the resources into where they are needed most. Then there is the squeeze on track access times as the pressure to extend the hours of train services is adversely affecting the time for doing work. This leads to a need to maximise the available time within a possession, especially where isolations are needed in third-rail territory. Automating these procedures would have a very real beneﬁt. The safety of track workers, and avoiding the need to have them out and about when trains are running, should be part of an improved productivity initiative. Finally, the quest for more mechanisation to do things in a more eﬃcient way with fewer manual tasks is all part of the ongoing plan.
Inspection at speed Setting the Scene Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director of network operations, explained the mounting challenges that the company faces in the track maintenance arena. Firstly, there is the pressure on cost. Each maintenance delivery unit employs about 240 direct and 80 indirect staff. Getting more value from these units is important and using them for renewal work, such as switch and crossing replacement in the remoter areas, is one initiative. However, this can distort the revenue and capital budget allocations.
Trains to monitor various aspects of track condition have been around for many years. These have tended to be regionalised in deployment and only capable of speciﬁc tasks. The NMT, a converted HST with ﬁve coaches including testing and analysis vehicles which is capable of 125 mph, has been the test bed for seeing whether all the necessary monitoring can be undertaken by a single train. The NMT is 115 metres long and weighs 337 tonnes. Whilst track condition measurement is the primary task, the train is
PHOTO: MATT BUCK
additionally equipped for OLE monitoring via on board pantographs such that wire wear, height and stagger can be monitored. Knowing the train position is essential to meaningful measurement and this is achieved by a combination of on board GPS readers, odometry tachometers from a starting reference point, an inertial unit so that the systems know when the train has changed tracks and an underlying map, called the Network Rail Infrastructure Model (NRIM). This gives positional information to a general accuracy of 2 metres and guaranteed accuracy of 16 metres. Getting time-consuming labour out of track inspection is the primary focus, and this is done both by the examination of the actual condition of track components and by the measurement of track geometry. Initially, PLPR is concentrating on continuous welded rail, but ongoing work will use the same techniques for assessing switches and crossings as well as jointed track. So successful have the results been that four additional trains are now being formed. One of these, for the third-rail area in the South East, will be formed by two Class 73 electro-diesels sandwiching three Mk 2 coaches and a Mk 1 generator vehicle giving a maximum operating speed of 90mph.
New measurement train at speed. (Left) Live monitoring of plain line pattern recognition displays.
Robin Gisby checks the results.
34 | the rail engineer | december 2012
The OmniVision camera system is mounted underneath the train.
The other three trains, capable of 95mph, will each be hauled by a Class 57 diesel together with a similar train formation and a Driving Van Trailer (DVT). All ﬁve trains will be in service by early 2013. The intention is to survey all operational lines at least once every year, with main lines being covered every two weeks. The NMT, because of its higher speed, will concentrate on the West Coast, East Coast and Great Western main lines, with the three Class 57 trains doing all other lines outside the South East. All this will mean measuring 250,000 miles of track every year, involving day-long operation and needing 1,800 work shifts. The NMT is programmed to do 5,000 miles per week, with the other four trains doing 10,000 miles each week collectively. Twelve separate asset condition streams are monitored, each with their own recording platform
Examining the rail
PHOTO: MATT BUCK
Traditional inspection of rail condition consumes 1.3 million man hours of work each year. Using the NMT and the other trains for PLPR will remove 520,000 hours of this, which above all else will be a signiﬁcant safety beneﬁt. Four lasers, seven linescan and a number of thermal imaging cameras are mounted on the underside of the train. These high-speed cameras are synchronised and capable of taking photographs at the phenomenal rate of 70,000 pictures per second. At 125mph, this gives a picture of the rail every 0.8mm. The digital images are stored on solid-state disks accumulating ﬁve terabytes of data on every run. The disk data is then copied to onboard computers known as the ‘processing factory’, a task which takes eight hours to accomplish. Part of the process is to condense the data down into manageable elements, and this task alone takes about 75
minutes to produce results. Finally, the data is compressed down to about 10 Mbytes for sending out to section managers so they can plan remedial works. Using the new 4G radio network for sending the data in the future could save signiﬁcant time. Data will be kept for four runs over the same piece of track so as to build up a record for that section. General data will be kept for three years. An information management system is being built which will be capable of comparing one run’s outputs with previous ones. The on-board video surveillance system has been designed by Omnicom, a Yorkbased company set up in 1990 and employing 45 people, some of them ex-BR with knowledge of monitoring requirements. The ﬁrm has been successful
in developing video techniques for inspection and surveying including real-time positioning systems for both the rail and road sectors. Network Rail is also using Omnicom’s expertise in areas such as asset identiﬁcation and signal sighting as well as this application for track monitoring. The downward pointing cameras look at the inner, outer and top sections of the rail for aberrations including rail burn and other heat-related defects. Part of the system is the OmniVision viewer, a software based application that creates and presents any potential defects, known as ‘candidates’, for validation by an on-train inspector (OTI). Typically, 15 candidates are found every mile, of which about four in each mile are classiﬁed as true defects. 32 OTIs will be deployed across the ﬁve trains.
Measuring track geometry It is not just the rail condition that is important. Knowing the overall alignment of the track, as well as its position in relation to all other structures and assets, is another element of the measurement routine. The laser-scanner monitoring equipment works to a route setting map that uses structures such as stations, bridges, and tunnels as reference points to measure inter-track spacing (the six foot) and ballast shoulder
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 35
feature heights. The movement of the train is detected by gyros, accelerometers and transducers with cameras looking at the ﬂoor of the train and all surrounding objects. Clearly the position of the train relative to the infrastructure is critical. If any maintenance is carried out which involves changing bogie springs and similar components which could affect the running height of the train, a re-calibration exercise is needed before a further measurement run can be undertaken. Three main potential track geometry defects can be detected: • Twist - rail height one to the other over a given distance; • Cyclic Top - imperfections that create bounce in certain types of rolling stock, which if bad enough can cause vehicles to derail; • Gauge - separation between the two rails. To be effective, the latest measurements must be compared with previous runs so as to detect change. All faults are given GPS coordinates. If a serious defect is found, the OTI will be alerted and the train will be stopped. This in itself gives a measure of protection as succeeding trains will be restricted on that section of line. The local maintenance unit will be informed so that urgent remedial action can be taken. Fortunately, this happens very rarely, itself an indication of the improved maintenance regime. On board the train, VDU screens show all the measurements taking place in real time. An additional forward-facing video camera, mounted on the HST power car nose, displays the track ahead.
The future The NMT and its forthcoming sister trains are a big leap forward in the task of track maintenance. Going forward under the banner of project ORBIS (Offering Rail Better Information Services), the rail measurement system is only one of a number of trackside tasks that can be made more eﬃcient by automation. For example, a new ultrasonic test train will shortly be coming on stream to measure structure gauge for bridges, tunnels and, eventually platform height and clearance. The overall objective is to have a data collection service that has a record of all assets, including how they ﬁt together in relationship to each other, which will generate accurate and timely defect information. This will be used to produce
degradation models that can give guidance on where problems will occur in the future and to understand better the interaction between trains and infrastructure. All of which will be derived from thorough track inspections, carried out at 125 miles per hour and without anyone having to venture out on track.
(Above) PLPR validation. (Below) Track geometry display.
36 | the rail engineer | december 2012
Wordsworth (Above) A special lifting beam enables the Kirow crane to handle each module with ease. (Inset) Installing the second half of the crossing at Wool.
(Far right) Work underway at Wareham.
drive to bring about a true sevenT heday-week railway is forcing Network Rail and its contractors to make changes to the way it works. Ideally, all maintenance and renewals would take place during the short time each night that trains don’t run. That, of course, is impossible. Trains run all day every day - even at night freight trains are crossing the network and passenger trains are being repositioned ready for the start of the next morning’s timetable. However, night-time is still the quietest time, and the challenge is to do as much work as possible in an eight hour time slot. This might involve the cancellation of the last two trains in an evening and the ﬁrst in the morning, but the ability to complete most jobs inside eight hours will considerably reduce disruption to passengers. Working to these restricted timescales demands good planning, thorough preparation and, in some cases, new methods of working. For example, getting onto and off track as quickly as possible extends the working time available. The introduction of modular systems is one of the initiatives that Network Rail is introducing. Bringing pre-assembled equipment to site that can be easily plugged into the network is an obvious way of saving time. It is being done with signalling, and it is being done on-track with switches and crossing (S&C) installations.
Tilting wagons The modular S&C programme actually started way back in 2006. Standard designs were formulated which would cover most eventualities and which could be built in factories rather than at the side of the track piecemeal. In 2008, Network Rail ordered 26 tilting wagons from the German company Kirow. It is actually the frames on the beds of
the wagons that tilt, allowing them to carry built-up switches at a 60° angle and therefore inside the W6a loading gauge. Once on site, the bed is ﬂattened out and the switch and crossing modular components are removed using a crane. Delivered during 2009, the new wagons immediately made an impact on the time taken to complete S&C renewals. Capable of carrying a track panel of up to 26.5 metres long, with 3.7 metre bearers, the new wagons were ﬁrst used in October 2009 at Bamfurlong, Lancashire, where a set of points was replaced in 21 hours rather than the more usual 52 hours. However, there was still a way to go to reach the 8 hour goal. The answer was to split the 21 hours of work up into segments, none more than eight hours. Network Rail invited Balfour Beatty Rail to participate in a ‘system proving’ programme which had the expressed aim of deﬁning optimised processes and techniques to deliver repeatable sub-eight-hour S&C renewals. A purpose made facility was set up on sidings at Beeston near Nottingham. The two companies then carried out detailed trials of all known existing and new techniques and equipment to develop a deﬁnitive ‘eight hour’ method. All S&C supplier delivery depots undertook training,
planning and trial sessions at Beeston to rehearse and prepare for eight hour S&C renewals. However, to implement what had been learned at the Beeston practice facility on the live main line required both a change in mind-set and detailed preparation. From January 2012, Balfour Beatty Rail’s Eastleigh Depot, part of the Western Integrated Management Team (IMT) delivering track renewals on behalf of Network Rail on the Wessex area, took part in several workshops to ensure that they would be ready to deliver modular S&C. It was nearly time to use these new techniques on a real job.
Preparing to go live All that was needed now was a site and a midweek possession. Two suitable sites were selected on the main line from Waterloo to Weymouth, at Wool and Wareham on the Dorset coast. In this area, two new crossovers were to be installed as part of a resignalling scheme - they would need to be cut into the existing plain line. Wool would be the ﬁrst one tackled and the Eastleigh construction team began planning for the important day. Project manager Tony Stephens, assisted by site manager Mike Fry and lead technician Martyn Cattermole, worked everything out to the last detail.
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 37
feature The key factor to achieving a successful delivery was always going to be close engagement with all key stakeholders from an early stage. The plan was further reﬁned into its component parts, even to the extent of allocating individual tasks for each of the operatives. As the renewal drew closer, telephone conferences were held to ensure that everything would be in place and ready for the ﬁrst shift. This included such elements as checking wagon orientation with the freight hauliers and making sure that road-rail vehicles (RRVs) and other plant would be available on site with all pre-checks completed.
Dress rehearsal Even taking possession of the track following the last train was planned to reduce the time needed as far as possible. Network Rail’s local NDS team pulled out all the stops with a preparation week to rehearse and ﬁne tune any issues that might arise. They achieved and delivered a time of 16 minutes from the last train passing the possession limits to detonator protection being in place to allow work to start. With the help of Balfour Beatty Rail’s on site team, the 750V DC third rail also had to be de-energised and earthing straps ﬁtted to protect the site from any stray current. This was reduced to a further ﬁve minutes through good communications and site familiarisation. By cancelling some late-evening trains, a possession time of 8 hours 15 minutes was available, with a buffer of an extra hour if needed - after all, this was the ﬁrst time this had been done on a live railway. In the days leading up to the main possession, as much preparatory work as possible was carried out. The plain line that would be removed was cut into 30-foot lengths in readiness and then plated. The third rail was similarly cut and prepared to mirror its ﬁnal position. A tamper went through the site to make sure that both alignments were to speciﬁcation so no major tamping work out side of the renewal
limits would be needed on the night. A temporary roadway was laid in the adjacent ﬁelds and access points for RRVs created from extra ballast to ensure quick egress and entry into the site. All rail drilling was completed prior to the core work. Just in case, a mitigation plan was drawn up, ensuring that every conceivable ‘what if’ scenario was accounted for. While the team was conﬁdent it could perform, it had to be prepared if things went wrong.
Here we go… On Monday 24 September the planning was complete, and the challenge commenced. At 9pm, the possession was taken quickly and the conductor rail was removed. RRVs removed the pre-cut track panels from the Down line and the tilting wagon, accompanied by Balfour Beatty Rail’s 1200 tonne Kirow rail crane, came on site - right on time. The tilting wagons were ﬂattened so that the crane could be ready to take the ﬁrst part of the new modular units off the wagon. By using a special lifting beam, the segments were kept horizontal with no deﬂection in the middle. The old ballast was removed using excavators and new ballast was levelled out by a laser-controlled bulldozer with 3D instrumentation. The ﬁrst panel of the new crossing was installed less than three hours after the start of the possession. This ﬁrst half of the modular crossover came in ﬁve parts, with the points motor already ﬁtted, and these were lifted off the wagons one after the other and installed to a tolerance of ± 20mm. The ﬁfth and ﬁnal panel was in place after just over four and a half hours. Now it was a case of removing the crane and the tilting wagons, with their beds tilted back to the running position, and ﬁnishing off the installation. The conductor rail and electric cables were reconnected, ballast was added and the tamper passed through the site achieving a track hand back tolerance that was ﬁt for 50mph, although it would be reopened with a temporary speed restriction of 20mph while work continued.
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38 | the rail engineer | december 2012
(Above) The Kirow crane swings the next section into place at Wareham. (Inset) Oﬄoading new ballast.
Once signalling installation and testing of the points and track circuits was completed, the new switch was padlocked so it would only work for straight line running. The whole possession was handed back at about 05:20 - the job had taken just a little over eight hours and the railway was back in operation. On Tuesday night, the plated joints were welded up, the tamper went through again to consolidate the ballast and achieve the ﬁnal design, and more top stone was unloaded.
(Below) One of Balfour Beatty Rail’s new Matisa tampers waits for its turn.
Wednesday night was a repeat of Monday, although in reverse with work taking place on the Up line and all the tilting wagons on the Down. The team was a little quicker this time; taking about 12 minutes over eight hours to install the second switch and crossing units and connecting it to the ﬁrst one using bearer tie plates, completing the installation. On Thursday night the tamper was again deployed, the ﬁnal joints were welded, and the line speed increased to 50mph on both lines. The following week, stressing of the track would restore the full line speed of 80mph without any need for further tamping. So four night-time possessions, none of them more than 8 hours 20 minutes long, had seen the installation of a brand new crossover.
In October, at Wareham, Balfour Beatty Rail’s Eastleigh team did it again, proving that night-time S&C installation is now almost routine. Steve Everest, programme manager for modular S&C at Balfour Beatty Rail, sees no reason why a crossing replacement should take any longer “providing the teams prepare well and each team member fully understands the plan to the very ﬁnest of detail.” The whole modular S&C overnight concept will now be rolled out nationwide and Balfour Beatty Rail’s next one will be at Tottenham Hale, although this time the Ipswich-based team will get to do it. Similarly, the other Network Rail contractors will get their chance - they were all invited to witness the works at Wool and Wareham to share best practice. So did everything go as planned? Almost. Steve Everest commented, “Like all new concepts we had our issues, each being different on all four nights of the installation. But by learning from these and ensuring we work at reducing the down time we could have saved a little more time, and deﬁnitely got well under the eight hour target. When signalling points and track circuits are also tested under the ‘plug and play’ concept, further time reductions will also be possible.”
These ﬁrst installations, pioneered by Balfour Beatty Rail’s Eastleigh team, have set the benchmark for modular S&C installations, proving what is possible and taking one more step towards making the seven day railway a reality. Network Rail, the ultimate customer, is very pleased. “The work at Wool was a perfect illustration of the impact we want modular switches and crossings to have on the railway,” enthused Steve Featherstone, Network Rail’s programme director for track and infrastructure. “As a company we have to listen to our customers, and what they are saying is that they want us to work on the track at times when passengers don’t want to travel. “Of course, we cannot always achieve that aim, but the ﬂexibility the modular switches gives us means we can achieve so much more with overnight midweek work that we don’t have to close the railway so often at weekends.”
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 39
Heavyweight champion maintenance teams around the R ailway country are being asked to do an increasing amount of work in shorter and shorter timescales as access to the live railway becomes ever more restricted. They therefore need to have versatile and ﬂexible machinery to support them which can do heavy work quickly. Colmar’s T10000FSC is a 37 tonne tracked road-rail excavator. It complies with all industry standards and can operate within the W6A loading gauge. Although there are numerous similarities between the Colmar and other road rail excavators, there are two big differences.
Novel features Firstly, the T10000FSC has a moveable 11tonne counterweight which can be extended by up to 940 mm, allowing the machine to lift heavier loads. Secondly, the drive tracks can be hydraulically extended outwards, increasing the span between them and giving two beneﬁts. The larger footprint increases stability, again enhancing the lifting capacity to eight tonnes at a seven metre reach. In addition, the tracks clear the ends of conventional plain-track sleepers, reducing damage and once again improving stability.
When reaching site, the operator extends the drive tracks outwards, and then retracts the rail wheels allowing the whole machine to settle down onto the ballast. Once its work is done, the process is reversed. There is an audible warning which prevents the machine from moving off on the railway with its tracks still extended. The ﬁrst T10000FSC has arrived in the UK, and now forms part of the QTS hire ﬂeet. The addition of this new piece of kit means that QTS now possesses both the largest road rail excavator and the smallest - a 2.5 tonne Takeuchi.
40 | the rail engineer | december 2012
Controlled power The machine was originally developed and built by Colmar in Italy. After delivery to the UK, QTS engineers have equipped it with the latest control software from GKD Technik. This system, which has been rigorously tested and complies with the RIS1530 standard, allows the operator to manage both the machine’s lifting height and load. If there is any danger of an overload, the lifting process is brought to a halt. In addition to the GKD Technik control system, the steel cab comes ﬁtted with safety tinted glass and an ergonomic seat for the operator, allowing convenient and safe access to the control console, foot pedals and hand levers. The T10000FSC is powered by a turbocharged Deutz direct-injection diesel engine running two powerful variabledisplacement, axial-piston hydraulic pumps running at a maximum pressure of 350 bar. When running on its tracks, it uses two independent, two-step, axial-piston motors with speed ranges set from a switch on the operator’s console. There is a multi-disk brake system which is spring applied and has an automatic hydraulic release.
The four ﬂanged rail wheels are each powered by a variable displacement radial piston hydraulic motor. There are three speed ranges, which can be switched without stopping the machine, and independent front and rear drum brakes. To ensure that the T10000FSC can perform as many different tasks as possible, it can be ﬁtted with a range of different accessories including rail pincers, hydraulic or mechanical frames beams for moving sleepers, a tamping unit, a hydraulic hammer and a hydraulic bush/grass cutter.
Safety ﬁrst As the T10000FSC is now the largest roadrail machine in QTS’ ﬂeet, operational safety is a major consideration. The machine is ﬁtted with an emergency hydraulic system, operated by a manual pump, so that it can perform speciﬁc safety related manoeuvres even in the absence of power. The lifting boom is equipped with an electro-hydraulic device which ensures that the T10000FSC cannot extend beyond its safe working range or elevation. There is also
a load limiter. For additional safety, the lifting cylinders are equipped with blocking valves. These prevent the lifted load from descending in the case of power failure or disruption to the hydraulic circuit. The new Colmar T10000FSC is a welcome addition to QTS’ already impressive ﬂeet of versatile and specialist vehicles. The company seems to specialise in running equipment not available elsewhere, all of which offer improved performance to deliver cost-effective results.
Track, tracks and tracks! Discussing tracked excavators which are used on track can be confusing. The Colmar T10000FSC is a tracked excavator, meaning that it normally runs on two ‘caterpillar’ tracks. It also is a road-rail vehicle (RRV) - so it moves to and from site on tracks (railway tracks) using four hydraulically-powered ﬂanged drive wheels which are also ﬁtted with drum brakes. Once on site, the machine can be lowered down from the (railway) tracks onto its (caterpillar) tracks. Before doing so, the (caterpillar) tracks are extended outwards hydraulically, increasing the track (the distance between the inside edge of the two caterpillar tracks). This enhanced track (distance) means that the tracks (caterpillar) can now clear the outer edges of the sleepers under the track (railway). After work is complete, the process is reversed, and the machine lets its ﬂanged wheels down onto the track, jacking its tracks clear of the ground, and then reduces its track by withdrawing its tracks. Is that all clearly understood?
The Colmar T10000FSC To see just how powerful the Colmar T10000FSC is, watch the video by scanning the QR Code with your smart phone. The video, lifting duties and charts can also be found on our Website and YouTube Channel.
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42 | the rail engineer | december 2012
Trams without wires writer
David Shirres No wires - Alstom APS tram passes Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux. PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK
those working on heavy rail, the way F orstreets absorb tram infrastructure to show only running rails is impressive indeed. Even more impressive is that some streets are now absorbing the tram’s power supply as well, the result of a drive by the major tram manufacturers to make trams more attractive by eliminating the need for overhead wires. This is actually a far from new idea as early trams collected current from ploughs in below-street conduits. These were connected to the tram through a slot in the centre of the tramway but were labour intensive, expensive to install, and vulnerable to items dropped in the slot. Blackpool has one of the world’s earliest electrically powered tramways. When it opened in 1885, it was powered by a conduit system that was converted to an overhead supply 14 years later. The conduit didn’t like Blackpool’s sea and sand. For modern trams, there are now various second-generation catenary-less systems of which ground level supplies are just one solution. Others include the latest energy storage technology and overhead top-up at stations. All are the fruits of a commitment to innovation by manufacturers to challenge the conventional idea that trams must be powered from an overhead catenary.
As these companies compete for their share of the worldwide expansion of light rail systems, they strive to make their products attractive to their customers, the city authorities. They, in turn, need to convince the people of the city. Eliminating overhead wires removes visual intrusion which is a critical factor in historic cities. Moreover, utility work for its poles or ﬁxings on people’s houses can also result in objections. Although public opinion is a signiﬁcant issue, it will also be seen that energy eﬃciency and lower infrastructure costs also provide good reasons not to erect tram wires.
Ground Force - French-style Alstom’s Alimoitere Par le Sol (APS) was the ﬁrst second-generation catenary-less tram system. It began operation in Bordeaux, a UNESCO world heritage site, in 2003. Up until 1958, Bordeaux’s trams used the conduit system, and it had been assumed that the new trams would operate similarly. However it was decided that, as the old conduit system was not suitable, the new trams would have overhead wires. The resultant protest from both the public and the French Ministry of Culture resulted in the development of the APS system which is used for twelve kilometres of Bordeaux’s 44 kilometre tram network. Alstom’s APS consists of a conduit, ﬂush with the ground, on top of which are 8 metre long contact strips alternating with 3 metre long insulated segments. Inside this conduit are the supply cables and an antenna. There is a power supply box
adjacent to every other insulated segment that feeds the adjacent contact strips. These are energised only when the antenna detects that the tram is wholly above the contact strip. To maximise power transfer time, contact shoes are in the centre of the tram. The APS system had some initial teething problems. Like Blackpool in 1885, one of its initial problems was seepage and moisture. This required electrical housings and insulators to be redesigned. Now that these issues have been resolved, the Bordeaux tram system is 99.8% reliable and the city is now satisﬁed that it has a robust, reliable system. Alstom claim that the installation cost of APS is comparable with that of tram catenary wire as the APS conduit requires minimal civil engineering work, being only marginally deeper than the slab track. In contrast, particularly in complex city areas, a catenary may require utility work for its masts and signiﬁcant legal costs may arise if it has to be ﬁxed to adjacent buildings. A potential cost issue is maintenance of switchgear, with power supply switch boxes embedded in the street every 22 metres. Alstom advise that these are modular units which can quickly be replaced. Maintenance is by programmed replacement over a long period of time, enabling the units to be overhauled at service centres. APS is also now in use as part of the Angers, Reims and Orléans tram systems. Outside France, work has started on APS
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 43
tramways in Brasilia and Dubai which are planned to open in 2014. In Dubai the trams will have brushes to keep the contact strips clear of sand. The Alstom APS system is not the only ground-contact system on the market. In Italy, Anasaldo have developed a modern version of the original conduit system. This has flush conductor and return rails in the centre of the tramway. In the troughing beneath is a flexible ferromagnetic belt which is lifted by magnets on the tram to energise the conductor rail. As the running rails do not carry return current, the system can be used for buses. The first use of this system will be on a section of Napoli’s tramway at the end of this year.
Looped power Also at ground level, but invisible, Bombardier’s PRIMOVE system is entirely hidden by the city’s streets. PRIMOVE uses buried inductive loops between the tracks to transmit power to trams. These loops
need to be covered by a 40mm layer of nonconductive material such as resin, asphalt base or non-reinforced concrete which may need to be carefully installed or it might be vulnerable to heavy traﬃc.
Like APS, PRIMOVE is only switched on when the tram is above it by a maintenance-free solid-state unit. Power transmission loops are generally located at stations and gradients as required by the
Each looped cable segment is eight metres long and transmits 200kw. It is fed by an inverter which transforms 750 volt DC into 200 kHz AC. This system has transmission eﬃciencies of between 90% and 95%, which Bombardier advises is only 2% less than contact systems.
tram network. The loops ﬁt above sleepers and so involve no additional civil engineering costs. Unlike APS, it does not continuously power the tram so energy storage is an essential aspect of the PRIMOVE system. Bombardier’s MITRAC Energy Saver uses super-capacitors and was originally designed to store energy from regenerative braking. Trials have shown savings of up to 30% of traction energy. The PRIMOVE concept has been successfully demonstrated in Augsburg where Bombardier low-ﬂoor trams have been using it on an 800 metre spur line to the city’s exhibition centre since 2010. Further testing has been done at Bombardier’s e-mobility hub in Mannheim which opened in September 2011 and which has also tested PRIMOVE buses, minivans and cars from 3.6kW to 200 kW.
(Above) Alstom APS tram system. (Left) Bombardier’s PRIMOVE.
44 | the rail engineer | december 2012
Alstom APS tram passing Cathedral of St Andre, Bordeaux. PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK
Trolley buses without wires
The storage solution
As PRIMOVE vehicles are not limited to rail or a ﬁxed route, its equipment can easily be ﬁtted to road vehicles. A battery powered bus running, say, 250 kilometres per day requires a six or seven ton battery. Bombardier have calculated that if PRIMOVE is used for charging, only a one ton battery is required and that a single charge point, located at a central part of the bus network could, typically, provide 20 charges a day with no effect on the bus service. Charging buses in this way also extends battery life. Thus for minimal infrastructure investment, it could enable a city to operate a ﬂeet of electric buses with the same performance as diesel buses. Although PRIMOVE buses would seem to offer huge environmental and cost beneﬁts, these have yet to be demonstrated in practice. To demonstrate this concept, a pilot programme of PRIMOVE bus operation is planned for ﬁve cities in 2013 - Bruges and Lommel in Belgium and Augsburg, Braunschweig and Berlin in Germany. These pilots involve various types of buses of up to 200 kW and 18 metres long. In Braunschweig, the German Ministry of Transport has given a grant of €2.9 million for the PRIMOVE bus pilot on a 12 kilometre section of its bus network to become operational autumn 2013. PRIMOVE’s greatest potential impact is its use in cars. To test this concept, the Lommel pilot bus scheme includes tests with a 22kW Volvo C30 car. Until now, battery size, range and time-to-charge have been insuperable constraints to the widespread introduction of electric cars. By removing these constraints, PRIMOVE has the potential to change motoring as we know it.
Siemens have been building trams since they provided the world with its ﬁrst electric tram, powered from overhead wires in the Berlin suburb of Lichterfelde in May 1881. It’s therefore no surprise that they also offer trams without wires using their Sitras HES (Hybrid Energy Storage). This system has been in use in Lisbon, Portugal since November 2008 and has been selected by Qatar for its Doha tramway which will be operational in 2015 as part of the preparations for the 2022 World Cup. HES is a modular system that can either be built into new vehicles or installed in existing trams, enabling them to run for distances up to 2.5 km without wires. It comprises two 820kg roof mounted units: a nickel-metal hydride cell (NiMH) battery and an MES (Mobile Energy Storage) unit using doublelayer “super capacitors”. Batteries have a higher energy density than super-capacitors but take longer to charge. In the HES unit the respective stored energy of batteries and super-capacitors is 18 kWh and 0.85 kWh whilst the respective power output is 105 kW and 288 kW. For this reason, HES uses supercapacitors for acceleration and batteries for steady speed. Another advantage of such storage systems is that they eliminate power spikes when several trams accelerate at the same time. Unlike APS or PRIMOVE, Siemens HES trams require an overhead supply. This may be conventional overhead wires on part of the network or a Sitras LCU (Local Charging Unit). The LCU is a short length of overhead conductor rail placed at stations or other stops that can deliver a 1,000 amp charging current during a typical 20-second station dwell time. HES is also charged from
regenerative braking, which Siemens claim can reduce energy consumption by 30%. A similar system has been developed by Spanish manufacturer CAF. This uses its ACR freeDRIVE which, when used in conjuction with the ACR evoDRIVE, developed to save energy from regenerative braking, offers up to 1.4 kilometres of catenary-free operation. It has been used on a 1.6 kilometre section of Seville’s tramway since 2010 and is also in use in the Spanish cities of Zaragoza and Granada . In Nice, Alstom have ﬁtted their Citadis trams with extra NiMH batteries for 500 metres catenary-free operation across two historic squares. On the Paris T3 tramline, a Citadis tram has been ﬁtted with a bank of 48 supercapacitors to simulate catenary-free running. Alstom is also trialling ﬂywheel storage on a tram in Rotterdam. This is roof-mounted and runs in a vacuum at speeds around 20,000 rpm providing a net energy storage of 4kWh and 325 kW peak power. It will be interesting to see if a modern ﬂywheel can compete with the increasing use of supercapacitors.
And the winner is…. With UNIFE predicting a 9.3% increase in the world’s urban rolling stock market over the next 5 years, tram manufacturers are doing all they can to increase their market share and catenary-less trams are one way to do this. However, the technology is quite novel. The oldest system, Alstom’s APS, is less than 10 years old and has now proved itself in service, although initially it had signiﬁcant teething problems which have been resolved. Other systems offer great potential but are quite new and have yet to be subject to the intensive use needed to demonstrate their reliability. All these systems have their pros and cons and what is best for one city will not be for another. For these reasons it would be wrong to name the best system. However, with its potential to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road, PRIMOVE offers an interesting potential environmental beneﬁt. The real winners are cities that now do not have to erect tram wires in their city centres. This not only preserves historic centres, but, in complex city centres, could reduce construction and utility costs. However, the case for catenary-less trams outside the city centre is less clear. Another surprising winner, albeit in the long term, may be the motorist for whom fuel pumps could be a thing of the past as they drive PRIMOVE electric cars with the performance and range of today’s cars. Transferring technology from rail to road in this way shows just how innovative rolling stock manufacturers have become. There are, no doubt a lot more innovations to come.
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 45
David Walters Service Manager, VTS Track Technology
Silent Nottingham tram alongside the Theatre Royal. a signiﬁcant T raditionally, proportion of switches and crossings (S&C) for UK tramway and urban railway systems (and for the mainline UK rail network) are manufactured from cast austeniticmanganese steel (AMS). This has been used owing to its good resistance to abrasion, high work hardening capacity on impact and excellent toughness following solution treatment and water quenching. Following the passage of several million gross tonnes of traﬃc, AMS S&C can reach hardness levels of 500 to 550 HB. However, the time taken to reach optimum hardness depends on axle load and, for tram/light rail applications, is inevitably considerably longer than on heavy rail networks. This variability, plus other drawbacks including the tendency for noise and vibration to be generated by the jointed connections used with AMS, has prompted VTS Track Technology to explore the use of alternative materials. VTS, through its parent companies Vossloh Cogifer and Tata Steel, is well placed to be able to bring to the UK market both proven technologies and methods and new innovative steel compositions.
Rolled blocks Switches and crossings which are machined from rolled steel blocks have long been in use on tramway networks throughout continental Europe, and over the past several years VTS has pioneered their use into UK tramway systems with installations at Manchester, Nottingham and Croydon. There are several different grades of steel which can be offered to the client dependant upon the frequency and tonnages of traﬃc. For example, at Piccadilly Gardens in the centre of Manchester both switches and crossings have been supplied in 400HB COGIDUR Material due to the high frequency of traﬃc. Elsewhere in Manchester, including at Media City, the crossings have been produced in a lower grade steel. There are also other long-life steels being developed by Tata Steel which will
replace existing applications for crossings in both the light rail and heavy rail sectors. Whichever steel is chosen, the switch and crossing will be supplied as a single unit. This will eliminate the need for ﬁshplated joints which, in addition to causing noise and vibration, can lead to longer term issues of maintenance which can be particularly problematic for track embedded in the street.
Giving crossovers a lift Recognition that noise and vibration and areas for concern in the urban environment have led VTS to introduce the lift over crossover which has, to date, been installed at Nottingham and Manchester and is designed to remove rail discontinuities. In the case of the Nottingham installation, trams passing over the turnouts on the Royal Centre crossover (between the northbound and southbound tracks outside the Theatre Royal in the centre of Nottingham) were causing unacceptable levels of noise and vibration inside the theatre. To reduce the peak level noise produced by the trams passing over the crossing, all rail discontinuities (associated with traditional ﬁshplated cast manganese crossings and wheel transfer across the throat area of the crossing) needed to be removed. A lift-over crossing allows trams passing in the through directions to travel at speeds of up to 30 km/h on the plain rail with no rail gaps. Trams using the crossover to traverse tracks must pass over the through rail on their ﬂanges at a reduced speed not exceeding 5 km/h. Using a lift-over crossing made the vibration go away, and now nothing can be heard inside the Theatre Royal. It worked as traﬃc predominately uses the through route - only using the crossover road during emergencies or engineering works when the reducedspeed lift over crossing is more than adequate. The crossing block for the Royal Centre crossover was manufactured from COGIDUR 1300 N/mm² grade
weldable steel. The abutting closure rails were then welded to the crossing block in the workshop to eliminate joints. The switches are of grooved type and are also manufactured from COGIDUR monoblocks. They have been supplied with maintenancefriendly, removable switch blades (also in COGIDUR steel) that can be changed easily. The switches were aluminothermic welded to the closure rails in the factory and the layout was supplied in two large sections (held to gauge by tie bars) to minimise on-site welding during the installation process. The only site welds that were
required were between the two turnouts and at connections with the existing rails. Both switches were also provided with Hanning and Kahl HWU 40D manually-operated switch mechanisms. These were ﬁtted and fully integration-tested before delivery to site. The versatility of using rolled steel blocks rather than AMS also allows for other solutions to be implemented that reduce the ‘squealing’ noise associated with traﬃc on tight curves which complements other extensive noise reduction systems available from both Vossloh Fastening Systems and Tata Steel.
With more than 40 years of proven expertise, VTS has built a reputation as experts in every respect for the design, manufacture and installation of an extensive range of Railway Switch and Crossings and associated components. Switches and Crossings for the Rail Industry in CEN56, UIC54, CEN60, 95BH Rail sections Manufacture and Fabrication of Timber and Concrete Bearer Layout. Layout and component, design & development Comprehensive inhouse resources ensure CEN60 and CEN56 Weldable Cast responsive service and a timely delivery, whilst, as a Menganese Crossings joint venture company between Vossloh Cogifer and Adjustment Switches Tata Steel UK Limited, VTS also has access to on Concrete Steel and extensive global resources and expertise. Timber Bearers Combining first class quality of product with Cast Baseplated, excellent support services and superb attention Roller Slide Baseplates, Fishplates, Buffer Stops to detail from initial order to installation, with and other ancillary VTS it’s first class all the way. equipment VTS Track Technology Ltd Approved RT60 S&C layouts ‘The new name for Corus Cogifer’ CEN60 to 113A transition Adjustment Switches 80A Scotter Road, Scunthorpe DN15 8EF Tel: +44 0 1724 862131 Urban and Light Rail Systems for embedded track and slab Fax: +44 0 1724 295243 track applications
46 | the rail engineer | december 2012
and tramways have run on steel R ailways rails since 1857. Since that time, they haven’t outwardly changed very much - the proﬁles have altered a little, bullhead rail has given way to ﬂat bottomed rail, and grooved rails allow tram tracks to be buried in the street. However, the materials used have altered signiﬁcantly. The grades of steel have been improved time and time again. In addition, grooved rails are now embedded, not in the tarmac and concrete of the street itself, but in polymer resins and foams that reduce both vibration and damage to the infrastructure itself. Work on new, improved materials is continuing. Tata Steel, which manufactures almost all of the rail used in the UK, oﬃcially launched its new high performance grooved rail at InnoTrans in Berlin. This is designed to reduce life cycle costs through its high wear resistance and its ability to be weld-repaired using Tata Steel´s patented weld process.
Tata Steel rail engineer David Benton said: “Tramway networks around the world are under increasing pressure to reduce the life cycle costs of their infrastructure. Their networks, running through city centre streets, typically have many tight curves, which result in signiﬁcant costs as the rails in these curves quickly become worn and need replacing. “In response to this challenge, Tata Steel has developed high performance grooved rail. This metallurgically engineered rail fully addresses the customer’s requirement for a longer life product that is resistant to the high rates of both vertical and side wear experienced in tight curves. With a hardness of 330-360HB, this high performance rail extends the ﬁrst use phase by a factor of three. It features a steel microstructure especially formulated to give high wear resistance and additionally, allows for side wear to be restored repeatedly using our patented low pre-heat welding process. These advantages are highly beneﬁcial for tramway networks looking to extend rail life and so reduce life cycle costs.” High performance grooved rail was chosen by Lyon’s TCL (Transports en Commun Lyonnais) network to be installed at a location where the curve radius is
around 37 metres. The Lyon team had anticipated very high rates of wear here if a standard R260 grade rail was used. On low radius curves, lateral forces from the wheel flange create high forces on the side of the rail head, leading to excessive side wear of the rail. As this side wear increases, the outside edge of the wheel flange will start to approach the grooved rail ‘keeper’ on the opposite rail. Tramway networks set limits to the allowable side wear in order to prevent the wheel flange coming into contact with the keeper. Once the side wear reaches this limit, the rail has to be repaired by restoring the side proﬁle of the rail head. This process, done in track, is both costly and disruptive, and needs careful attention to ensure a robust weld and a process that does not damage the polymers surrounding the embedded rail.
Repair or replace? It is here that tramway maintainers were traditionally faced with a dilemma. In order to reduce side wear, they would seek to use a rail with a high wear resistance - either by using a higher carbon rail or a heat treated rail. However it is known that both these types of rail are diﬃcult to weld. So, whilst the time taken to reach the side wear limit
ai d n w h a ne ve rin s s th iv e p w ra l n eliv ens de ppe s s rin - d app ws g ra eliv pp as w g as il n erin ens it h ew er - d ap a e n l i e s i r t i g e e v ap as ln in s ai rin ns e ra pe s i g h i a n l e s t i w e r ve r s th ln il de ai ew g pe s i r it - d ap p as g r a ne live ns l ew ing de hap s a ail r t r h a l n i n s a iv ng d e il ha l e e a i p n r s s w i e p t i r i v e l a n s p l a e n p d ha e ha it e - d pp ws s ne ive s s p ra liv ha ws ring pp as g ra eliv ens as il ne rin ns w rin - d pp en el as il n erin ens it h g i a e p s t i i w r e i e el l v ew g g - d ap it a iv ve ns t ha ne ring de hap s a rail del pen s it ail n eri s r er ha el pen s it rail rin - d pp ws ne ive s ew ng de hap s a ail ra live pe s i in i h l v n p r s s t i g i w n p en el r g as n ve in ln a r e pe s a ai de ha ew er i en it s iv r g s s l r ew ing s n - d e p p e ws it it ail n eri de ppe as i rai live ns - s it new ing s - hap s a g r r as ns liv ha l ew ng de hap s a ail r t a d p s r h l n i e ng de il ha ne el en ap s a ail ne ive s it ra live pe s i ne rin - d i de ppe s i w l v p h n r s s t i i p w r as el g n ln in ve r e ai e pe s de w n liv en it - d ap iv g r a l r ew ing s - hap s a it ha ws ring er s el pen s as ail n er de r pe s i rail live ns - s it new ing s p p as i r v ew ing de hap s a ail r t d a e r s h l it ns in ne er s a iv d i h l w e e i n a s l i p r t i v e g ha a li s e ln a n s ha ne ing d ra live ppe s i as ail n erin ens it h ews rin - d pp ws a ew ver s w ra eliv ppe s ap in rin ns t h d e pp e s as g ra eliv ens as il n s e - d it h ews g ra - d i g a n l p e a r g i as -d ns liv er p n s t i i e w r s ap e i n l t i a el e p r h l l a n i n g e i s ai de i a l n eliv ens it h il ne rin - d t ha ws ai ive pe s it new ver s - hap ew ng a ra ra live ppe s i n ln el in g r il pe s de p p as t h ew erin - d app ws iv g i n r a n l ew ing s - hap s a r a e n l i it s ne s s iv n r g el s as il n erin en s it ha w - d ap a iv en ap s a rail del pen w gr it ail n eri r s ew g it ha el pen s it ail n eri s ne ive s pe s i ew ng de hap s a ail ra - d p p e h s i n d h l v p r a t n s w e s iv p e r il n in g el a e pe s de ha s ne live n g iv pp as ra as ail n erin ens it h ews rin - d pp ws g sw g rin en el de ppe as i rai live ns as il n eri ens it h ra ew g it - d ap a s i r n l v r t a il s s a ra ha in -d er s pp a s g r ha ne il ne live ns el pen it - d it h ews g r il g del a p i n w i it n a h e p r v e i n s iv a s p e r in il el g a liv e ns t h pe s de ha ws g n iv pp as r as ail n erin ens it h ews rin - d pp ws a e g en el de ppe as i rai live ns as ail n erin ens it h ews rin - d pp ew g it - d ap a i r l g el r t v a s s ai ra pe ew g ha liv ns in ne i s e d a p h t i e r i l v r t i ai e g a er pe s i ra de ha er s l ra live ppe as i l ne live ns - ha new ing de in - d pp ws il a rin ne live ns t ha new in w ra live ppe s i rin ns t h de ppe s as g ra eliv ens as il n s p t r g i w a a n l e r i s g i er pe -d ng d e a h n liv p il s ne ing s s it r as ra in - d t ha ws n it - d ap a h el pen s it ail n eri s w ra live ns ra iv s n g de h a - d app ews g ra eliv pp as il n ha el pen s it il s e r i e l a e i p n e w i ng de ha liv v r i n - d pp ne s en w el s a s i l n e r i n ns i t h r e s iv er pen it li g w e r in - d p p w s e s a a il e s ra e g it e - d ap il il g en el ra pe a s i r a i l i v e n s - s i t n e w i n g s - h a p s a a ha w s ne r i n - d n e s i r ln v r t il s el g s a d e r p h l a p n i w i e i s d a n h i t w ne v e el s a iv s p r s iv e n s it h l n e r in g - d e h a it - d a pp e w s g r a e l i v pp a s i l n en s a s a il n eri en e ap ha w s r i n g w s n en el s r a liv e p p e a s il n e r in e n s it h e w s r in - d s p pp a s iv ra - d i t h e ws g r a - d i g el as ln ew g ns r it er s - d ap a il e a e it iv e n r i e g r e in g it el p e n s i t a i l n e r i s r a l i v e p p e a s i l n e l i v e n s - h a n e w i n g de h a p s a a i l ra ha ws iv n h l p r t d il n s w i s p r e n i i r v g a s e n p d ln a pp as e ha el in n e s s er i - d pp ws r i a s g r a e liv e n s a s il n in n s t h a w s r in g p t h ew g r en el a s a il n v e r i e n s it h er pp a s il a p s a a il d e l p e n it iv ra - d it h e w s g r a - d n a s e i n i i e n h g p t il ne v e e s a e w i s p e r i n - d a p p w s g r a e l i v pp a s i l n e l i v e n s t h a n e r i n g d e h a p s a r a i d e l p w r i n e ns i t h s r in - d p p w s g en w el a s il n e r in e n s it h r a liv e p e s i l n e iv e g - d ap a s i r r v t g s en el s a ra a s il n p n in e w r g i e - d ap iv ra s ra p as a s i l n e l i v e ns i t h i l ne r i n - d t h a w s e in g s - h a p s a g i e el g ap de ra pe e w er s pp a s i l n e l i v e n s i t h i l n e r i n - d t h a w s w it i r i v i i e g a e ng pe s de ha s a s a i l n e r i n e n s i t h e w s r i n - d pp w s r a liv e p p e a s i l n e liv e n s - t h r in t w d e p p e a s i r a i l i v e ns n e r g i - d ap de a s g r a e liv e n s a s il n g ra p liv e w in g s - h a p s a ns t h l ne r i n - d t h a w s i e liv t il el e i ra r t i s e g a e d r p h l a p n in ne iv s e d a h l r i n - d p p ws i n e s w a e i i s p r l v t i e g a a ew er en s er it r a liv e p p e a s i l n e liv e n s - h a n e w i n - d pp w s a s g r a e l i v e ns a s i l n h i s s n p r th g il en w el a a n e i r g i s e n p d a i p t i s n s iv ra ng s g s e e s a de ra p ha w s e ns i t h l n e r in - d i e d e p p e a s i r a i liv e n s ra liv e n s it h il n e r in - d t h a w s - d a pp ws g r a e liv p p a s il n r in - d th ln il el g ap er l a e p n e w i e i v t n i s en w el i s p as r e n ln in r ve e g a pe s de ew er en iv it ra g s a a il r e i ng s - h a p s a in - d p p w s r it e il g en el de ra a s a il n pe s i r a i l i v e n s - s i t n e w i n g s - h a p s a ha w s ne r i n - d i r l r t v i s e g s d a r p h l l a e ns in iv i s e ai ha ne liv p p pp ws n s a r g de l e l n e liv e n s it h il n e r in - d t h a en i v ppe a s a s a i l n e r i n e n s i t h e w s r i n - d pp w s ra ew er er it - d a p p w s g r a e liv p p g i en el s a a n l e i g i n a h i p t s ne s s iv n g en el de ra a s il n e r in e pe s i ra i ha ws in - d it er s - d ap a w gr iv r l t i e g e g it e l p e n s it a il n e r i s r a l i v e p p e a s i l n e l i v e n s - h a n e w i n g de h a p s a a i l ra ha ws i d n h l p r v t n i s w i ra n ln in r v e pe el g ap ew pe s de ew er s p p a s il s it g i i a r n l e w i n g s - ha p s a i r v it s n p d a n h l i s ne en s s e iv i r n t g i s e e s a d a r a p ha l r g it s e a -d n h liv pp a s il s e n e in g s e w i r ra it s er s - d ap l i v p p a s i l n e l i v e n s t h a n e r i n g de h a e e w it a il i r e er i - d pp w s el ra live ppe as i l ne live ns - ha new ing de hap s a ail i n ns t ha w s r i ng i liv r in t ne ve s en w el a s il n r n r -d de ppe s pp as w gr er pen iv it ra r g w s a a il e in g s - h a p s a i s e a de ra pe s i r a i l i v e n s - s i t n e w i n g s - h a p s a a s i l n e l i v e ns i t h i l ne r i n - d t h a w s l r in th il s el g ap d r p h l a e w er p n n w i it s d a v n e s a iv s p r e in il el g a s e p de liv e n s it h s s g n iv p p a s as ail n erin ens it h ews rin - d pp ws r e - d ap a liv en r g en el as ail n erin ens it h ews rin - d ew g it - d ap a e l pe n s it a il n e r i s i r v g s e s a a ra pe ew g i s e ng d e h a a ha p t i ne i v e e i s l e r t i de r pe s i r ai l rin - d pp ws w r a l i v e ppe a s i l n e l i v e n s - h a n e w i n g d e h a p s a a i l ln t l n i s h liv r in t g ne ve il s e w e s a r e n r de ppe s er pen it r in - d a p p w g w a a il p e a s i r a i l i v e ns - s i t ne w i n g s - h a p s a g en el de ra pe s i r a i l i v e n s - s i t n e w i n g s - h a p s a ha n s t h l ne r i n s d i r l r t v i e g a s de a r pe s i w r a l i v e p p e a s i l n e l i v e n s - h a n e w i n g de h a p s a a i l t h il n e r in ng - de ppe s n e liv e n s ra live pe s i g ap ew de ppe s ns as il ne rin ns t ha ws ring liv ra r t i w a r n l i r it s er n p d ai a n h liv in p il s n w g s s r h l
will increase, the rail will need to be replaced once that limit has been reached, causing signiﬁcant disruption and costs to the network. If, on the other hand, they sought to use a lower carbon rail that could be easily weld restored, then wear rates will be high and frequent visits made to site to restore the rail to proﬁle. David said: “It is the combined properties of high wear resistance, coupled with an ability to be weld restored, that has made Tata Steel’s new high performance grooved rail the choice for Lyon. In the coming months, the Sheﬃeld and RATP networks will join Lyon in experiencing its beneﬁts. “Alongside the development of the high performance grooved rail, Tata Steel has also developed a low pre-heat weld repair process to restore the proﬁle of worn grooved rail. The welding process requires a low pre-heat of 60-80°C in order to avoid damage to the polymers surrounding the embedded rail. Additionally, the low preheat ensures the development of a tough steel microstructure that is resistant to cracking and thus produces robust, crackfree weld deposits.” Profile restoration of high performance grooved rail using this process has been evaluated by the University of Cambridge. The results of their extensive testing validate the principles of the welding process and the integrity of the welds.
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 47
In use worldwide
The new process is now being successfully employed to restore grooved rail in tramway networks across Europe. The company also offers advice and consultancy to tramway networks over a wide range of rail welding and metallurgical issues. Tata Steel offers clients a wide range of grooved rail proﬁles and steel grades produced to industry standards, as well as rail with consistent metallurgical and mechanical properties. Rail proﬁles are always produced to tight dimensional
tolerances, and rail quality is ensured through rigorous non-destructive testing. As a result, Tata Steel’s grooved rail is installed on many of the urban networks across Europe and other prestigious transport systems worldwide. Recent projects have included networks in France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Dubai, and Morocco. The company shares its know-how with customers to help maximise rail life, reduce life cycle costs, and minimise the carbon impact of tramway networks. The latest advance is high performance grooved rail - coming soon to a tram network near you.
We work hard to keep you updated
Low pre-heat weld repair in process.
48 | the rail engineer | december 2012
range reborn Clockwork
David Shirres (Above) Newly branded subway train at the opening of Hillhead’s new station. (Right) Old Glasgow Subway map, and workers servicing original subway cars in the depot.
Smith Hallidie was shocked to A ndrew see a cart overturning on the steep San Francisco streets, killing ﬁve horses. He later stated that this inspired him to build his world famous cable car system, something he was well placed to do as his father, Andrew Smith, was a Scottish engineer with a patent for the making of wire ropes. In 1852, both father and son had sailed to California where, in 1867, Hallidie patented his “Hallidie Ropeway” to transport ore by a continuously moving rope. Hallidie was able to convince investors that this system would work successfully on San Francisco’s steep hills and so, in August 1873, the city’s iconic cable cars began an operation that continues to this day. The cars are propelled and retarded up and down the hills by moving rope under a slot in the street to which the cars are connected by a gripper operated by a gripman.
From San Francisco to Glasgow The promoters of the Glasgow District Subway were a cautious lot. New-fangled electric traction was not for them, despite it being used successfully in London’s ﬁrst deep tube, the City and South London Railway, in 1890. Instead, they decided on Hallidie’s patent system for their Subway which opened in 1896 as the world’s third tube metro and the only one to be cable hauled.
and the tunnel infrastructure required major work. As a result, the Subway was closed until 1980 for tunnel repairs, new power supplies and station enhancements. The depot at Broomloan was modernised and provided with connecting tracks into the tunnels. When the system re-opened in 1980, its bright new orange trains, supplied by Metro-Cammell, soon gained the nickname ‘Clockwork Orange’, after the ﬁlm of the time.
Twenty-ﬁrst century subway
The Subway’s two independent 6.5 mile circular tunnels each had a wire rope running at a constant 12 mph. There was no other track so, to increase service frequency, coaches were craned into the tunnel from the depot above. With a 4 foot gauge and 11 foot diameter tunnels, it is a small railway. One advantage of its cable legacy is mechanical regenerative braking, the stations are located on humps to assist acceleration and retardation. When the system was electriﬁed in 1935, the original coaches were converted to electric traction and continued to run until 1977. By this time, the coaches were outdated
The 1970s Subway refurbishment has served Glasgow well, with around 13 million passenger journeys being undertaken each year. However, after 30 years, major work is required. As a result, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has initiated a £288 million modernisation programme to which, in 2011, the Scottish Government agreed to contribute £246 million. Charlie Hoskins, SPT’s director of projects, explains that this will transform the Subway into a more attractive and ﬂexible twenty-ﬁrst century service to bring in more passengers, with an estimated 17 million journeys each year expected in 30 years’ time. Crucially, the refurbishment will also reduce operational and maintenance costs which would otherwise rise until closure became almost certain.
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The programme is expected to be completed by 2019/20, with no disruption to service and the programme has ﬁve main aspects: staﬃng/working practices, infrastructure, stations, ticketing and rolling stock. The ﬁrst aspect of the programme was addressed by an agreement signed between UNITE and SPT in August for more ﬂexible working and establishment reduction without compulsory redundancies. Charlie advised that this involved some hard bargaining and would make signiﬁcant savings and that without this agreement the investment programme could not be justiﬁed.
iShoogle no longer? Infrastructure work on tunnels, rails and the Broomloan depot will account for around £20 to £25 million of the programme. The Subway’s two circular tunnels twice go under the River Clyde and, around the whole network, vary in depth between 7 and 115 feet below the Clyde’s high water level. Water has always been an issue, resulting in rail corrosion and other problems. Therefore, the programme
includes tunnel lining repairs, associated water sealing and drainage improvements with upgraded pumping equipment. To repair the worst sections, and learn lessons prior to main contract award, SPT has awarded contracts worth £1.8 million to Balvac Ltd for the Kelvinhall - Partick and Buchanan St - Cowcaddens tunnel sections which have bad water ingress due to old worked coal seams and fractured rock. This work includes a trial of a new two-part polyurethane expanding resin to ﬁll tunnel lining voids. The Subway rail shares the same proﬁle as the Docklands Light Railway, so SPT frequently works with DLR on rail procurement. The track has no transition curves, which gives such a distinct ride that the Subway iPhone app is named iShoogle. Prior to 1977 the “Shoogle” was quite exciting as the old carriage sides swayed so much that seat backs moved away from seats. Charlie advises that, where possible, track will be re-aligned to smooth out these curves. Whether the app will need to be renamed as a result remains to be seen. Automated track examination options are also being considered to improve the eﬃciencies of the current manual inspection regime. The Broomloan depot maintains the Subway’s 41 threecar trains. Also based at the depot are four battery locomotives, some ﬂat bed wagons and a rail train to support infrastructure work into the tunnels. Improvement works at the depot include new welfare facilities and redevelopment of the main workshop and oﬃces. The yard area is also being improved, for which VolkerRail were awarded an £800,000 contract in September.
New stations for old For the people of Glasgow, the Subway modernisation’s ﬁrst impact is station refurbishment, which will account for £40 to £50 million. In September, the SPT unveiled its ﬁrst revamped station, Hillhead, the Subway’s second busiest. This was the result of 15 months work by contractors Clancy Docwra and Otis costing £2 million. For Charlie’s team, transforming this small station without passenger disruption was particularly challenging as 90% of the work had to be done at night with resultant short time possessions alongside neighbour issues. Nevertheless, Hillhead provided valuable lessons for work at other stations. This attractive, bright, modern station has DDA enhancements including hearing loops, tactile maps and paving, colour contrast ﬂooring and two new escalators. Hillhead’s refurbished station with its new SPT branding is a major improvement over the other stations’ dated 70s look. Whilst such revitalised stations will attract new patronage, they are also designed for cost reduction with lower whole-life-cost modern materials and energy eﬃcient lighting.
(Below) Newly refurbished Hillhead platforms. (Inset) Work at Hillhead Station.
50 | the rail engineer | december 2012
(Above) New escalators at Hillhead Station. (Below) Newly branded subway train.
Station modernisation includes renewal of all 28 escalators for which a £5.6 million contract has been placed with OTIS. These will incorporate power-standby technology which slows down the escalator when there are no passengers. OTIS will maintain these escalators, one example of the agreed changes in working practice, and replace the Buchanan Street station travelators. Lifts will be installed at St Enoch and Govan stations, the only two stations where this is possible as most other stations have narrow island platforms. SPT’s vision is the introduction of smart card ticketing throughout the twelve local authorities making up the Strathclyde Region. Hence the Subway modernisation includes an ITSO-compliant smart card ticketing system linked to wider ticketing initiatives (issue 91, April 2012). This system will be developed by a joint venture between SPT and smart card software company, Ecebs. The required hardware, ticket machines and gates, will be supplied by Scheidt and Bachman and will be fully operational by the end of 2013. The estimated cost of this element of the programme is £7 million.
Unmanned Trains In Paris, the RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) is converting Metro Line 1 from conventional to 100% Unmanned Train Operation (UTO) requiring each station to be ﬁtted with platform screen gates (issue 90, March 2012). SPT also has a ﬁrm aspiration for Subway UTO and have engaged SYSTRA, RATP’s engineering subsidiary, as lead technical advisor to support procurement of new trains and signalling systems. Subway trains currently
light rail have Automatic Train Operation (ATO) to control train speed and station stops with the driver starting the train. Charlie Hoskins explains that SPT is currently in discussions with four consortia about a turnkey contract for trains, signalling by CBTC (Communications Based Train Control), power supply, new control room, CCTV and other supporting systems. This will be let around the end of 2013. The SPT’s approach is to issue a performance-based speciﬁcation so the consortia can offer trains and technology suitable for this unique Subway. Charlie advised that suppliers have shown a higher level of interest than had been expected for the relatively small order for Glasgow’s diminutive four foot gauge trains. With UTO, headways should be reduced to three minutes. UTO also offers advantages of operating cost reduction, better station dwell times and greater ﬂexibility for changes in demand such as Ibrox football. Another advantage is station passenger ﬂow, with the screen gates required for UTO increasing the capacity of the narrow island platforms. SPT expects new trains to run within 24 months of contract award. Perhaps the most diﬃcult aspect of their introduction will be transition from ATO to UTO operation with both systems operating in parallel with each other. This is a signiﬁcant aspect of discussions with the potential suppliers. As an example, prior to full UTO, the new cabless trains will be driven from the emergency panel at the front of the train. As a result it may be necessary to ﬁt them with temporary cab partitions. The existing trains will be almost 40 years old before withdrawal and are in need of bodywork repairs in the short term. To do this work, a £330,000 contract was awarded in February to Concept Applications for preparing paintwork, corrosion repairs and applying polyurethane sealant around the windows. This has also allowed for the existing trains to be rebranded in the new orange, white and grey Subway livery.
Preparing for the Games As the Subway modernisation is such a comprehensive programme of work, its 2019/20 planned completion is not
surprising. However there is a more immediate deadline: Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games starting in July 2014. Partly for this reason, the programme has two phases. Phase 1 is preparing for both the Games and the new trains. Phase 2 introduces the new trains and completes the remaining work. The programme is project managed in-house, with additional specialist support. The stations work is led by architects Aedas while consultants Arup and Mott McDonald provide support for infrastructure work. Systra, Fraser Nash and Racon Consultants have been engaged for their specialist expertise in the procurement of new trains and signalling. Preparing the Subway for the 2014 Games is part of a plan that includes an £11 million development of Dalmarnock station and work to the value of £1.6 million at 30 other stations. On the Subway, stations adjacent to games venues at Kelvinhall and Ibrox will have been refurbished, as will the key interchange station of Partick. In addition, all stations will be rebranded and cleaned up prior to the games. The new Subway ticketing and gating system will be fully operational prior to the Games.
Size does not matter The Scottish Parliament’s June 2010 debate on the Glasgow Subway makes interesting reading and presents a strong case for the Subway’s modernisation and showed Glasgow’s affection for it. An example of this was a refusal to accept it being re-named the Glasgow Underground in 1930. Ten years ago, SPT changed it back to Subway. Fond of the Subway MSPs may be, but in this debate it was recognised that no-one owes the Subway a living and doubts were expressed about the feasibility of modernising its small trains. As it has developed its plan to modernise the Subway, the SPT has shown that, in this respect, size does not matter. No doubt, when Glasgow becomes the ﬁrst part of the UK to introduce UTO, its small trains will become the subject of much attention. One question remains: what will Glasgow call its new trains?
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 51
Renaissance London Underground’s Victoria W hen Line opened in 1968, it measured 21km long and was the ﬁrst metro in the world to have Automatic Train Operation (ATO). This was a revolutionary step and the system was designed under the guidance of the legendary London Underground signal engineer, Robert Dell. Using different frequency track circuits for the essential train commands, the system worked well for over 40 years but by the early 2000s the technology looked obsolete and more modern systems of ATO had emerged. The trains, too, were nearing the end of their life and so a complete renewal of the system was planned. Replacing one ATO system with another, whilst keeping the railway in operation, was itself a challenge. A suitable method of doing this was devised and the last old trains were ﬁnally retired in mid 2011. So how was it done and what were the challenges along the way? the rail engineer recently visited the Northumberland Park control centre along with a group of IRSE members to ﬁnd the answers.
Control system As with any replacement system, making the old technology work with the new led to a number of choices. Should the old trains have the new system additionally installed so that when parts of the infrastructure were converted, the trains could operate to the new control commands? This was rejected as too complex and costly. Duplicating the ground based system was the alternative, but could this be done? The eventual solution was to acquire a train control system that could be overlaid on to the existing such that the SIL 4 interlocking and train protection information was conveyed to both the old and new trackside communication equipment in parallel.
The system chosen was supplied by Invensys Rail. At its heart are a number of Westrace microprocessor interlockings that generate the route setting and route holding requirements as well as generating the train movement authorities. Linked to the interlockings is a self-contained radio network, entirely based on radiating cable, which communicates the commands to the trains. The system is termed DTG-R - Distance to Go-Radio - and is ﬁxed block, i.e. there are always ﬁxed distances between succeeding trains, to which are transmitted the distance to go commands. Train detection is achieved through the new FS 2550 track circuits, a standard jointless product from Invensys which has replaced the old coded track circuits once all the old trains were withdrawn. APR (Absolute Position Reference) balises are positioned periodically between the running rails to give accurate information to the system on the position of every new train, this being an integral part of the ATP (Automatic Train Protection) system. These balises are passive devices, obtaining their power by inductive coupling from an undertrain APR reader. A different radio frequency is allocated to each block section, these being in the 170 and 180 MHz band. The new trains are equipped with two side and one roof aerials that receive the command signals in parallel. The ATP system is rated as SIL 4 whereas the ATO equipment is SIL 2. This has become the norm for automatic metro operation. The radio system has been supplied by TE, a UK ﬁrm that has established itself in the track-to-train radio market. A base station is located at every signal equipment room with the command signals fed to both ends of the radiating cable via an optical ﬁbre link to keep the system in operation should a cable break occur. This radio system is completely independent of the ‘Connect’
radio network that is in use across London Underground for voice communication to trains and station staff. In the event of Automatic Train Control (ATC) failure, the system can be operated in Restricted Manual Mode at 15km/h under signals. If the train ATP has lost its location information, a minimum number of two APRs are required to be read, plus a conﬁrmation of correct block occupancy, before ATC operation can be re-established. Should the ATO fail or ‘go lost’, the system has the ability to run in Protected Manual Mode allowing the driver to drive at full line speed as if the ATO did not exist. This feature minimises disruption.
In the cab of a Victoria Line train.
52 | the rail engineer | december 2012
light rail Whilst the trains operate in ATO mode, the regulation is still done manually. If gaps appear in the service, then the controller intervenes to hold a train at a key station to even out the service. It is anticipated that ATR (Auto Train Regulation) will be introduced at some future time.
(Above) Training room and (right) control room at Northumberland Park.
Controlling the line The Victoria Line control centre was originally at Cobourg Street near Euston. As it was impractical to build the new control arrangements there, brand new accommodation has been built at Northumberland Park, the site of the line’s train depot. Known as Osborne House, it commemorates Queen Victoria’s favourite holiday residence. Since the Victoria Line is an end to end railway, controlling the line is relatively simple. Some trains terminate short of the end destinations on a timetabled basis, but this can also happen when service or passenger disruption occurs. The system currently allows 30 trains per hour (tph) but this will be increased to 33tph from January 2013. The control room is equipped with seven universal desks with multiple VDU workstations that are used by the line controllers. Also provided is a large overview panel so that everyone in the room can see at a glance the position of every train. This latter feature was contentious and had to be fought for by the staff.
As with all ATO railways, the operators have little to do while the line runs normally but, when disruption occurs, the actions of the controllers are key to restoring the line back to normality. This requires them to undertake regular training in a simulation room. From here, many conditions can be applied including failures and unusual events such as track circuit problems, train failures, timetable degradation, passenger alarms, even suicides which are known as a ‘one under’. Operators are tested as to how they handle these but the tests are scripted so as to be seen as fair to all. The communications systems are also simulated, enabling the operators to practice how to communicate with station staff. Similarly, a cab simulator using an interactive white screen is used for driver training where different conditions (even snow - most unlikely on a fully underground line!) can be applied.
Train-borne equipment The controller responsible for communications has facilities to control the line’s CCTV, PA and tunnel telephone systems as well as monitoring other communications assets. Station facilities such as escalators are the responsibility of local station control rooms. All controllers have access to the LU Connect radio system enabling instant communication with drivers and station staff. The control room system uses current technology to connect the information together. A central services processor is at the heart of a WAN (wide area network) linking the desks and diagrams within the room as well as connecting to a local site computer at each of the 16 stations. This system has multiple layers of redundancy and uses IP addressing. All this is non safety designated but is at the heart of the decision making for the regulation of the line.
The Victoria Line upgrade included the provision of 47 new trains, manufactured in the UK by Bombardier at Derby. As with all modern metro control systems, much of the equipment is train borne. Key to the train ATC operation is the Mobile Control Unit (MCU) that receives the signalling information to enable the train’s onboard ATP to determine its relevant movement authority. These MCUs are duplicated in each cab to ensure maximum availability. Continuous transmission of the trackside signalling states is required to ensure that the train emergency brakes may be lifted in support of ATC operation. The driver is provided with an enhanced display panel showing train speed, correct side door enable, target speed, distance to next restriction and any discrete system functions (station skip, code amber, code red, etc). At the commencement of a journey, the driver selects ATO mode and the train will proceed without further manual
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 53
intervention to the next station following the pressing of two start buttons simultaneously. If the ATO facility is lost, then the train can operate in Protected Manual Mode that enables the train to be driven at line speed but within the limits of the ATP Distance to Go safety information. If both ATO and ATP systems fail, then the train can be moved at slow speed in Restricted Mode to a station or other access location - see earlier control system philosophy section. Both the ATP and ATO elements contain maps with all the line information so the trains know exactly where they are and the conditions appertaining to any location. This is vital for door opening to ensure that the correct side is activated. Although the system is capable of having automatic door opening once the train is stopped, the facility is currently disabled and door activation is controlled by the driver. Door closure has a countdown clock to assist drivers in keeping to the timetable. The clock time can be altered for different stations according to the determined dwell time. If timetable or unexpected congestion
occurs and a train is turned back short of its intended destination, the driver will be made aware of this from a lineside route signal. If trains need to have a software update on map information, then at present this will require a whole weekend for the entire ďŹ‚eet to be reprogrammed.
In operation Whilst disruption occurred during the installation and commissioning period with many weekend shutdowns being necessary, the line is now transformed and travellers are enjoying the enhanced service. Additional
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work and possessions have been necessary to remove the old legacy equipment from the infrastructure but that has now been completed. The new trains are much quieter and have noticeably better acceleration. Having the control centre and train depot on a single site leads to improved cooperation and, even though some initial problems with reliability did occur, the Victoria Line service looks to have settled down for its next 40+ years of existence. During this time, an increase from 180 to 213 million passenger journeys per year is expected.
(Left) Simulator display; (Centre) In-cab equipment; (Right) Computers running the Control Centre displays.
54 | the rail engineer | december 2012
C i t i e s o w t f o e l a At (Left) Tube cooling unit at Green Park Station. (Right) Metro Line 1 unmanned train.
and London are Europe’s largest P aris cities after Moscow and rank amongst the world’s greatest. Although both are quite different, their size and populations are similar. Physicists in Brazil have compared the two cities for accessibility using a computer model of their street and underground networks. This showed that Paris and London have respectively 11,699 and 6,885 transport nodes. Generating thousands of random journeys between these nodes then showed Paris to be the more accessible. It was felt there were three reasons for this: Paris has 2.5 times more bridges over its river than London, large parks impede movement across London and shorter distances between metro stations in Paris.
A tale of two Metros The term Metro, universally used for rapid transit systems, originated in either Paris or London. Paris’s original Metro was operated by “La Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris”, soon shortened to “Le Métropolitain” then to Metro. Some believe the name was inspired by the world’s ﬁrst metro, London’s Metropolitan Railway. London has both the world’s ﬁrst sub surface line (1863) and deep tube (1890). London’s blue clay is ideal for tunnelling so by 1906 it had four deep tube lines. Paris’s ﬁrst metro opened in 1900. With diﬃcult tunnelling conditions most Metro tunnels were constructed by cut and cover. Also, in contrast to London, the Metro generally has two-way tunnels. London’s Underground has 270 stations on its 250 mile network. Paris’s network is much denser with 301 stations over 133 miles. Paris has the busier network carrying typically 4.5 million passengers a day compared with London’s 3.2 million.
The IMechE Railway Division’s autumn technical visit “Challenges of Metropolitan Railways” was a great opportunity to learn more about these two systems. This included a presentation on cooling the tube and seeing how King’s Cross tube station has been transformed. Across the channel there was an opportunity to learn about new unmanned trains and handling large passenger ﬂows on Paris’s RER. the rail engineer was there to ﬁnd out more.
Cooling the tube An old publicity poster proclaimed the Bakerloo line was “the coolest place to be in hot weather”. Yet today, cooling the tube is one of Transport for London’s (TfL) greatest problems. Its deep tube trains generate a lot of heat which is diﬃcult to dissipate as trains occupy 67% of the tunnel’s cross section, compared with typically 50% for other metros. As shown by the old poster, over the years this heat raised tunnel temperatures. Train heat sources are: braking - 50%; aerodynamic drag - 21%; motors - 15%; electrical systems and auxiliaries - 13% and passengers - 2%. Regenerative braking can further reduce braking heat by a third. This problem was particularly bad in the 2006 heat wave. Since then TfL has implemented a programme on the Victoria Line to reduce tunnel temperatures. Studies made to consider engineering and operational ways to reduce the heat generated, determined that the optimum train speed proﬁle between stations had high initial acceleration and longer coasting. This has been programmed into the Victoria Line’s Automatic Train Control (ATC) to give signiﬁcant energy savings and a 1.5 °C reduction in tunnel temperature. Long term engineering solutions under consideration include supercapacitors to absorb more braking energy and permanent magnet motors which are more eﬃcient during acceleration.
Although air conditioning is now being introduced on TfL’s sub surface stock, deep tubes have limited space to dissipate heat generated from the air conditioning units. This would be a problem for stalled trains, resulting in unacceptably high temperature around them. One solution under consideration is for trains to have refrigeration units to produce ice when above ground that would be used to cool trains underground. Specialist software was used to analyse temperatures and air ﬂows. This resulted in projects to double the capacity of mid tunnel shafts and, at some stations, to provide water cooling. Variable speed tunnel shaft fans have been installed which need to cope with tunnel pressure ﬂuctuations and are reversible for smoke control. They have baﬄes for noise and tunnel dust, and operate at reduced speed during start-up and at night. At 2.5 metres diameter, they are large fans and, as access is through a one metre opening, had to be assembled in situ. Between 2008 and 2011, all 13 Victoria line mid tunnel shafts were upgraded resulting in a temperature reduction of around 3°C. Station cooling units are effective but require a water supply. Two stations where supply was available were Victoria (drainage sump water for the underground River Tyburn) and Green Park. Here a 100kW cooling unit now uses 25 litres per second of ground water at a constant 14°C. This is extracted and returned to the aquifer by two wells in the adjacent park. A detailed analysis of heat pollution in aquifers, done to gain approval from the Environmental Agency, showed that these wells needed to be at least 200 metres apart. Water cooling at other stations and in tunnels using 150mm pipes with ﬁns is also being considered. This would require water to be cooled before re-circulation.
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 55
One option is for TfL to do this by selling its waste heat which could provide a typical 10°C lift for hotel domestic water supplies. The problem of cooling the tube is not an easy one. Nevertheless TfL has made a good start in reducing tube temperatures. This is an area with great opportunities for innovation and it will be interesting to see what solutions are adopted.
Below King’s Cross Most people admiring King’s Cross’ new concourse will not be aware that they are standing on the roof of an underground ﬁve storey building - the northern ticket hall of King’s Cross tube station. This is only part of an £800 million project to transform the tube station which itself is part of a £2.4 billion spend to make King’s Cross / St Pancras one of Europe’s largest transport hubs. Re-development of Kings Cross underground station was recommended following the 1987 fatal ﬁre and became a necessity with increasing rail traﬃc, the opening of St Pancras International and the Kings Cross Development, not to mention the 2012 Olympics. The project started in 2001 and was split into two phases. Phase 1, completed in 2006, involved construction of a new Western ticket hall under the St Pancras station approach and enlarging both the sub surface and deep tube ticket oﬃces. It also made a connection from deep tube lines to the sub surface ticket oﬃce and provided step-free access to sub surface lines. Phase 2 saw construction of the northern ticket hall along with 300 metres of associated pedestrian tunnels, 12 new escalators and 11 new lifts which resulted in step-free access throughout the station.. Construction of the ﬁve storey box for the northern ticket hall was a top down affair. The ﬁrst stage was driving side piles and constructing the roof, whereafter the box could then be excavated underneath. This enabled the surface to be handed over to
Network Rail in September 2008 so that they could build their new concourse. The new underground ticket hall opened in November 2009. In addition to the passenger areas, the ticket hall includes a control room and areas for escalator machinery, air handling, electrical substations and ﬁre control systems. At the start of the project the station served 55,000 passengers during the morning peak. This ﬁgure is now 73,000 and, by 2020, is expected to be 110,000. The old station could not have coped with this volume of passengers. That the contractors transformed the station without disrupting passenger ﬂows was quite an achievement.
Automatisation de la ligne 1 Across the channel, Paris Metro’s Line 1 also has to handle large passenger numbers and so there is a requirement to minimise headway. Line 1 opened in 1900 and was Paris’s ﬁrst metro. It is also the busiest, handling 725,000 passengers a day. For various reasons, it has unpredictable loadings and 72% of delays are due to passenger behaviour. Because of this, Line 1 was
chosen for Paris’s latest automatic train project. It is 60 years since the Metro ﬁrst tested Automatic Train Operation (ATO). It was progressively introduced throughout the network between 1969 and 1979. In 1998, Unmanned Train Operation (UTO) was introduced on the new Line 14. The conversion of Line 1 to UTO builds on this experience. Converting an existing line to UTO is a world ﬁrst and far more challenging than building a new UTO line. These challenges included an agreement with the workforce, combined running of manned and unmanned trains, ﬁtting platform screen doors to existing platforms, and commissioning a new control room. (A full explanation of Line 1’s UTO can be read in issue 89, March 2012). By November, most trains were unmanned with full UTO operation planned for the year end, allowing headways to be reduced from 105 to 85 seconds. This UTO conversion is attracting great interest with the Railway Division’s technical visit to Line 1 being the 100th. As reported elsewhere in this issue, the Line 1 conversion
(Above) King’s Cross escalator room. (Inset) King’s Cross northern ticket hall.
56 | the rail engineer | december 2012
(Above) Metro line 1 control room. (Right) RER line A control room.
has already inspired Glasgow’s Subway, so will London be seeing UTO soon? Although Jubilee line trains are UTO-capable, the answer is not for a while. Getting workforce agreement is one of the most diﬃcult aspects of conversion to UTO. Although Paris (and Glasgow) has achieved this, such an agreement in London is a long way off.
Trains grandes lignes sous Paris RER (Réseau Express Régional) Line A did for Paris in 1977 what Crossrail will do in London 40 years later. Today it carries just over a million passengers per day. This is a 20% increase over the past ten years and a threefold increase since the opening of its central tunnel under Paris. Thus, soon after opening, headway and capacity became major concerns. So it was that, in 1989, the SACEM signalling system was introduced on its central section to reduce headways from 2.5 to 2 minutes. With SACEM, trackside signalling is switched off and trains are driven manually using a permitted speed cab display with either a green or yellow surround depending on whether acceleration or braking is required. The driver also has an indication of whether braking down to 30 kph is required or braking to a standstill. If permitted speeds are exceeded, the emergency brake is applied. With the increase in traﬃc far exceeding SACEM’s capacity gain, new double-deck trains are now the solution. Until recently, rolling stock consisted of trains carrying
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around 1800. These are now being progressively replaced by double deck trains with a capacity of 2600. These are 43 MI2N units delivered since 1997 and 60 MI09 units, the ﬁrst of which was introduced in 2011. Line A is an advanced railway, and one of the world’s busiest. Managing its 661 trains each day with tight headways and 50 seconds station dwell times is a challenging task. The 70s vintage of its control room’s mosaic panels and dot matrix LEDs show it had been doing this for some time.
Railways are often constrained by their history. London tube’s heat problem is a result of small diameter tunnels. Headway is a particular issue for Paris with closely spaced stations and the traﬃc generated by RER’s mainline railway under the city. When visiting different cities it’s diﬃcult to avoid comparisons. In London, St Pancras / King’s Cross is a world class international gateway. In Paris, the RER is 40 years ahead of Crossrail and, for headway management, there is much to learn from UTO/SACEM. The Railway Division’s autumn technical visit offered some fascinating insights. It will be interesting to see what next autumn brings.
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58 | the rail engineer | december 2012
PHOTO: JONATHAN WEBB
Wordsworth punctuality is a very important T rain topic within Network Rail these days. The ORR (Oﬃce of Rail Regulation) has stated that it will ﬁne the company £1.5 million for every 0.1% that the PPM (Public Performance Measure) falls below 92% for long distance routes at the end of March 2014. As Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director of network operations, explained recently in the rail engineer (issue 96, October 2012), there are many ways of measuring performance. PPM is the one which the ORR favours, and so that is the one which is concentrating Network Rail minds at present. One of the companies which has been suffering most is Virgin Trains. It is therefore quite interesting to learn that Chris Gibb, Virgin’s chief operating oﬃcer, has been working with Network Rail on secondment to improve passenger train punctuality. Although his oﬃce is in the Mailbox in Birmingham, Chris has spent a considerable time out and about on the west coast main line (WCML) seeing ﬁrst hand what the problems are, and how they can be tackled. One area that has been of particular interest to him has been the series of crossovers south of Watford Junction station, so it was off to a small Network Rail depot in Hertfordshire to meet this poacher-turnedgamekeeper.
Location! Location! Location! Chris started by explaining his role. “Virgin Trains was not happy with WCML performance,” he stated. “We started considering what needed to be done and looked at alternatives to enforcement. Two of our shareholders suggested that we gave concrete support to Network Rail, so here I am.”
Although there was a major programme to upgrade the WCML a few years ago, Chris claimed that it was a myth that the whole of the line had been improved. Large parts had not been touched, or had just been patched up. With a view to improving overall performance, Chris explained that a lot was down to its location. “If the wires come down at Carstairs, a few trains will be delayed. However, if the wires come down at Wembley, then we have a big problem.”
Canvassing opinions His ﬁrst action, therefore, was to work on the areas that cause the most problems and to get everyone involved to buy-in to the project. A small team from Virgin Trains, Network Rail and London Midland was assembled, specialists in programme analysis and in engineering, to work through the priorities. The team went through Network Rail’s existing plans and grouped them together to see how they could improve performance. A total of 330 plans were
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analysed, the results of various different initiatives, covering everything from obvious bottlenecks to the general condition of the infrastructure. Staff opinions were canvassed, and in many cases these showed that those directly involved in maintaining the network were pleased to be valued and to be directly involved in the planning stage. “Network Rail is about maintenance, rather than new projects,” was Chris’ comment. “It is all about the people who help keep the track in good condition to run trains.” Train drivers were also involved in the discussions. Delays are caused when a driver reports a “bump”, which is an unexpected track defect that can be felt on board the train. In fact, anyone can report a bump another member of staff, or even a passenger. But if it is the driver that notices it, the standard procedure is that the train is immediately stopped, blocking the line so that signals go to red and other trains are also stopped. This is a logical move as, if the bump was something critical such as a
broken rail, the next train along could be derailed. So the train stops, the driver talks with the signaller, and the line is blocked until a Network Rail crew can inspect the problem, make repairs if necessary, and reopen the track. This can delay a lot of trains, some of which may even be cancelled. However, if drivers are encouraged to report minor deteriorations in ride comfort, and those reports are fast-tracked to the track maintenance teams, then inspections and repairs can take place overnight, before those deteriorations turn into bumps, preventing delays. The experience of these drivers, who may cover a route several times each day and know it backwards (and forwards!), is essential as they will be the ﬁrst people to recognise that something has changed, even if it is only a minor difference.
Major bottlenecks Two major problem areas were identiﬁed as Bletchley and Watford Junction. Bletchley is being rebuilt and resignalled in a project that will complete this Christmas.
Just south of Watford Junction station there are a series of crossovers between the fast and slow lines. These were in generally poor condition, and a 20mph temporary speed restriction had been in force for some time. There were plans in place to replace the whole junction in a couple of years’ time, but meanwhile the problem was being ‘lived with’. Caroline Higgins, who leads Network Rail’s track team at Watford Junction, was brought into the discussions on how things could be improved. Working at night in the short closedown period, a programme of work was undertaken which included replacing one quarter of all the old wooden sleepers, digging out the old ones and sliding in new ones. Some of the old ones were so bad they actually came out in pieces. New clips and screws were installed, and some other improvements made, which has raised the speed limit from 20mph to 80mph. Chris Gibb is very pleased with that increase. “A 20mph restriction on a busy piece of line such as Watford Junction causes a lot of delays and badly affects our overall performance,” he explained. “On the other hand, 80mph, while still below the normal line speed, is almost un-noticeable. I can live with 80. Caroline and her team have done excellent work here and, so long as they can maintain that 80mph limit, I will be happy.” Overhead wiring is another area of concern. Delays caused by the wires coming down signiﬁcantly affect performance. Network Rail is naturally under pressure to improve the condition of the catenary that, in some cases, has been in place since the 1960s. Once again, sections are being replaced as access can be arranged. Discussions have also taken place with companies such as the pantograph manufacturer Brecknell Willis, to discover if the trains can be set up to be kinder to the catenary and so reduce the number of failures.
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62 | the rail engineer | december 2012
PHOTO: MATT BUCK
In Chris’ opinion, the rail industry has moved on in terms of collaboration, but the target regimes have not. He believes that the ORR, as industry regulator, should only step in when there is a ‘market failure’. He doesn’t see Network Rail walking away from the
External inﬂuences (Above) The remains of a wooden sleeper so rotten that it came out in pieces. (Right) New screws and clips have been installed throughout the junction.
Even aspects over which Network Rail has little control, such as suicides, have been targeted by the performance team. When a suicide occurs, British Transport Police (BTP) close down the line while it determines if it is truly a suicide or whether there was any foul play. This can take some time, and then there is the clean-up to follow. As a result of meetings and discussions, BTP has changed its priorities. On the fourline section of the railway, they now endeavour to reopen two lines within 35 minutes - a major improvement. In addition, new fences, more observant station staff, and restrictions on public access have all helped reduce the incidence of suicides. The expected number of ﬁfteen a year between Rugby and Euston is now declining, and Harrow, which had been a hotspot, is now virtually suicide-free. Chris is very pleased with the way things are improving. He made a point to involve not only London Midland but the other operators who use the line, such as the First ScotRail sleeper services and freight operators, so that there could be no accusations of the work being a “Virgin Trains stitch-up”. He is conﬁdent that performance targets can be met.
Replacing PPM However, he also feels that the way that the ORR analyses performance is perverse. The PPM only looks at lateness at the end of a journey - it doesn’t look at lateness at intermediate stops. It also doesn’t consider passenger reactions. Currently, Virgin has the worst long-distance performance as measured by the PPM. However, it also has the highest score in the passenger satisfaction survey which is conducted periodically by Passenger Focus. So Virgin passengers may be a few minutes late, but they are happy with the service they are receiving and obviously don’t judge the train operator, and hence the rail network, purely by its adherence to timetables.
problem - in fact all the Network Rail managers he has met are doing their utmost to improve performance. Chris Gibb’s secondment to Network Rail ﬁnished at the end of November, although members of his team from Virgin and from London Midland are staying on to see the process through. As a ‘lifelong railwayman’, Chris has found his involvement with the infrastructure owner to be both interesting and productive. He now looks forward to seeing continuing improvements in performance over the next year, while at the same time he hopes to see a total review of the way performance is measured. Not a bad result for a poacher turned gamekeeper.
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 63
Wordsworth Ilford depot is a heavy B ombardier’s maintenance depot in Essex, situated between Ilford and Seven Kings stations. It is operated by the company’s Services Division which has two roles - providing routine daily maintenance services for the train operating companies (TOCs) and offering more substantial vehicle overhaul and reengineering/asset life extension programmes for the rolling stock companies (ROSCOs). Ilford is part of that second category. The approach road is cobbled, which adds a certain rustic charm as one drives down it between two parked-up class 315 sets in Greater Anglia colours. Security is tight yet eﬃcient and the depot is neat and well-kept, but externally the two main buildings look like what they are - utilitarian railway workshops built in the 1940s. Access to the main building is over a newlooking HoldFast level crossing across a couple of sidings. This leads to A Shop, which contains the oﬃces and the general workshops. The oﬃce accommodation has been freshly refurbished and has a modern feel to it. In the workshop, all is tidy and well laid out. A Chiltern Railways class 165 was up on jacks, with no bogies. They had been rebuilt and were waiting to be reinstalled. On the next road was a shiny Greater Anglia class 315 in pristine white livery, and with no interior.
Better bogies These two trains are a good example of the type of work that the Bombardier Services Division carries out at Ilford. A lot of bogie exchange work is undertaken - in fact the strategic spares stock of bogies for the Bombardier Electrostar ﬂeet is held at Ilford. The depot works closely with the Bombardier facility at Crewe, where the bogie overhauls are actually carried out. Old bogies are transported up by road, and freshly refurbished ones are returned the same way. When rebuilding a ﬂeet, some spare bogies are ﬁtted to the ﬁrst train through the shop, so a rotation pattern can develop. Train two or three will be ﬁtted with train one’s freshly rebuilt bogies. In fact, Crewe is not the only other Bombardier facility that supplies Ilford. BTROS Electronics in Mansﬁeld, Nottinghamshire, which has been a
Bombardier company since 2009, manufactures and services the passenger information systems and other electronic hardware. Walking over to B Shop, one passes under a particularly ratty-looking footbridge. This carries a public footpath which crosses the site. Access to Bombardier’s land is blocked off, but the bridge traverses the entire width of the depot and the adjacent storage sidings, and looks as if a strong wind would carry it away. Needless to say, it isn’t Bombardier’s property.
Sand blasting prior to paintin g.
Paint and sand do mix B Shop contains two particularly interesting areas. The ﬁrst is the paint line. It consists of three individual bays, one after the other on the same road, and all large enough to take a complete 26 metre long carriage. First in line is the shot blasting bay, where workers in complete dust protection suits with their own air supply sand blast old coaches to get them down to bare metal. Sometimes this can involve removing several layers of paint, all different colours from the various train operators that have owned that train in the past. That can take quite a time, and use a lot of sand - by the time it is all removed, the ﬂoor looks like a young beach. Once bare, the coach is winched through to the middle bay - the paint shop proper. Here it gets a protecting coat of primer. Steel bodies often have depressed spot welds while early aluminium bodies can have countersunk rivet heads exposed on the sides - in that case a thick spray ﬁller-paint is used that will conceal those recesses. If the carriage is in good condition, it moves into the third area. Here it is rubbed down to give a smooth ﬁnish to the primer coat. Once ready, the vehicle goes back to the paint shop for a coat of paint, and may then shuttle between the two bays a few times before being ﬁnished.
64 | the rail engineer | december 2012
(Above) the Class 317 project train and (Inset) its stripped out interior.
However, if the shotblasting showed up anything too unpleasant, another procedure is adopted. Sometimes, the blasting removes layers of ﬁller, or old paint, and reveals bad corrosion and even holes underneath. In these cases, a coat of primer is still applied for protection, but the whole car is then taken back to B Shop so that the damage can be properly repaired before being returned for its ﬁnal paint.
Under development and under wraps
Bombardier’s strategic bogie store.
The other half of B Shop contains a couple of roads where trains having a particularly intrusive overhaul can be housed. On the far right is a most interesting project. 317722 is a four-car train, one of the nine 317/7 sets which are now in storage having been released from Stansted Express. Owner Angel Trains is taking advantage of the break in service to develop a heavily-revised version of this thirty year old train that could see it ﬁt for another ten or ﬁfteen years of service. The project is to take the time until next summer to come up with a series of engineering improvements that can be readily ﬁtted to the rest of the class 317 ﬂeet, in total 72 four-car sets. Work revolves around two areas - the traction equipment, and the passenger cabin. As built, the train had DC traction motors ﬁtted to the single power car. These are being replaced by four new AC motors, one on each axle on the two motor bogies. The bogies
themselves were rebuilt only recently, so they aren’t being touched. Bombardier’s traction division at Västerås in Sweden has come up with an AC motor which not only is the same size as the DC original, it has the same mounting points. The motors can therefore be switched without modiﬁcation to the bogies. However, as the AC motors need more control equipment, the battery packs no longer ﬁt under the power car. They have therefore been stripped out and are being relocated to the adjacent trailer car. The new motors are also ﬁtted with regenerative braking. The driver’s controls in both cabs will be modiﬁed to reﬂect the new traction package. The design work for this area of the project has been undertaken by a combination of Ilford and Derby-based engineers. Inside, a completely new interior is being designed. When the trains were last rebuilt, by Railcare in 2000, air conditioning and a passenger information system were ﬁtted. That is being retained. In fact, everything is being retained in two cars, so that they will have a ‘before’ look with
their twelve year old upholstery, high partitions, large luggage racks and intrusive handrails. The other two cars, however, will beneﬁt from a range of improvements including new seats, smaller luggage racks and new partitions which will be lower than at present and angled back to enlarge the standing area near the doors. There will be new lighting, new door skins, and the whole interior will be lighter and appear more spacious. The ‘before and after’ effect will enable passengers and others to see immediately what has been done. Bombardier engineers are being given the time to get the job done properly. As Dave Adams, general manager for heavy maintenance, commented: “Having a design project like this in the depot has been very refreshing. We have a partnership with Angel Trains rather than a customer/supplier relationship. They know they can depend on us as a safe pair of hands.” Peter Keighron, the project manager, is equally upbeat. “This is an exciting project, and one that bodes well for the future. This is not a prototype train, it is a pre-series development. We fully intend that Angel will
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 65
be so pleased with the result that they will want to introduce the enhancements across the ﬂeet, if not immediately then whenever the new franchises come into force.” It is easy to see the buzz that having a design and development project, rather than conventional heavy overhaul, has created amongst the Ilford staff. The new interior will be ﬁnished in July 2013, and the train will go back into service in November 2013, most likely with Greater Anglia. Then both the operator and passengers will be consulted for their views on the improvements.
TOCs and ROSCOs Angel Trains’ involvement in the 317/7 project brings home the fact that although the trains that are being worked on at Ilford are operated by various TOCs, it is actually the ROSCOs which own the trains and are paying the bills. Bombardier also works with Angel Trains to do C4 overhauls on its class 165 and 317 ﬂeets. Mark 3s are being worked on for Porterbrook, and C4 overhauls are being undertaken on class 315 and class 321 trains for Eversholt. In a small building beside A Shop is a Hegenscheidt wheel lathe. Like much of the equipment at Ilford, this is not a newly installed electronic do-anything lathe such as the one at Etches Park in Derby - another Bombardier inﬂuenced site. This one was installed in 1984 but has been heavily updated since. CNC controls and integral gauging have made this single-axle lathe able to do almost anything. Team leader Colin Sloman has even developed some extension arms which mean the lathe can now turn wheels of up to 6’ 8” diameter - useful when 6233 Duchess of Sutherland needs attention. More conventional tooling is used on the regular Greater Anglia or C2C ﬂeet.
Major move Talking of Greater Anglia, its Seven Kings depot is at the other end of the site. And shortly, there will be some new developments that will improve the area even further. Crossrail will need sidings to stable part of its ﬂeet of new trains, whoever makes them, and Ilford is apparently an ideal place. A new arrangement of sidings will be built between the Greater Anglia and Bombardier depots. The snag is, that is exactly where B Shop is now. As a result, major changes will happen in the next couple of years. A completely new shop will be built just to the south of the existing wheel lathe building. The existing paint shop will also be relocated to the London end of the site. As part of the development, A Shop will get a new roof, new cladding and other improvements which will completely transform its appearance, so that Bombardier is able to carry on with the same sort of work that it currently does in B Shop. When all that is done, the current B Shop will be torn down so that Crossrail can build its sidings. At that time, Bombardier’s boundary will be more-or-less under the long footbridge, which will be retained. This development is independent of the fact that Bombardier is tendering to build the Crossrail trains. So whoever wins, some of the new ﬂeet will be parked at Ilford. With this development waiting to proceed over the next couple of years, and an order book that seems secure, Bombardier’s Ilford team appear to have a good future. the rail engineer will be back when 317722 is ready to be viewed, and tested.
(Left) The wheel lathe can even machine the large wheels on steam locomotives.
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66 | the rail engineer | december 2012
december 2012 | the rail engineer | 67
Technical Support Engineer, Lucchini UK Role outline Lucchini UK is a subsidiary of Lucchini RS Group, based in northern Italy. Lucchini UK is based in Manchester and is a machining and assembly operation in the supply and maintenance of wheel systems that operate under trains. Semi-finished components are supplied from Lucchini Italy then finished and distributed by Lucchini UK to markets in the UK, Europe, USA and the Far East. Lucchini UK currently has 175 employees and an annual turnover of some £24 million. The company requires an engineer to join its team in controlling the technical compliance required by its product portfolio. This is a middle management role. The role will involve providing technical
support to all functions within the company and also to its customer base, with particular focus on providing support to the NDT functions of the company; therefore training of NDT techniques will be provided. Qualifications A Technical Degree, preferably in Mechanical Engineering or Metallurgy. Experience in the Rail industry, particularly with bogies or wheelsets, is an advantage. Skills & Experience • Ability to read and interpret engineering drawings • Analytical skills in reading and understanding technical specifications • Working on own initiative and in a
• Project managing Lucchini-led innovations by working closely with the client • Writing technical work instructions and procedures.
team environment • Service-oriented and commercial approach to customers • Knowledge of NDT techniques is advantageous, but not essential • Ability to work with minimum supervision and to tight deadlines • Good communication and presentation skills • Willing to travel within and outside of the UK. Responsibilities • Reporting directly to and, as necessary, deputising for the Technical Services Manager • Providing technical support within the company and to its customer base • Liaising with colleagues within the Lucchini RS Group
Salary & Benefits A salary of around £30,000 per annum is envisaged. An annual bonus at the discretion of the Managing Director is usually paid. A contributory pension scheme is in place. The company offers private health care, Death in Service & Income Protection insurance.
To apply send CV and covering letter to our HR Department: hr@lucchiniRS.co.uk
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