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November 2012

i s s u e


Round and round we go

Painting the Tay Bridge

Highly organised High Output

London’s new orbital railway will be complete on 9th December.

Taziker Industrial (TI) has been awarded a 2 year £15 million contract for phase 3.

The High Output team is replacing and rebuilding Britain’s Railways nightly.

written by rail engineers for rail engineers

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november 2012 | the rail engineer | 3

welcome Grahame Taylor’s

Operating notice Dry river gravels that aren’t dry and cutting slopes that are crazily steep. These are just a couple of reasons why Hooley cutting in Sussex has been forever determined to infill itself and disrupt the main London to Brighton line. For our cover story, Chris Parker has been to see those rather damp river gravels and the determined efforts being made to sort things out once and for all. Autumn and Winter have crept up on us. Mainly, I suppose as we were still waiting for Summer to turn up. But the Olympics didn’t creep up on the railway network. Herculean efforts were made to make sure that nobody got stuck because of an engineering failure. Nigel Wordsworth has been speaking to Network Rail about what went on in the background to make sure that there were no surprises. A damp night in Belper. Can there really be such a thing? Apparently there can and Nigel can vouch for the fact having spent several invigorating hours watching the high output track layer unfurl from its chrysalis and, after a slow start, work at a prodigious rate of knots. Here’s a blow by blow account if you’ve never seen it in action. Round and round we go – well almost. Just like London Underground’s Circle line isn’t a trip of perpetual motion, London’s new orbital railway requires a couple of train changes to make the whole circuit. But that apart, the trip can now be made – if you really want to. Nigel has been to the key locations to see what has been involved. The ‘4 Cs’ challenge; Costs halved, Capacity doubled, Carbon halved, Customer satisfaction up to 99%. That’s not a lot to ask! It just needs a reengineering of the railway over a 20-30 year period. Clive Kessell went off to hear all about the new Technical Strategy from the Department for Transport. Re-engineering customers’ ever-shifting expectations would probably help too. Editor Grahame Taylor Production Editor Nigel Wordsworth Production and design Adam O'Connor Engineering writers Advertising Asif Ahmed Paul Curtis

There are complex relationship between the countries of the former Soviet Republics and the rest of Europe as David Shirres has discovered. There are not only tariff barriers and customs practices but also, of course, a different gauge to contend with. But the potential rail market is huge with nearly a million freight wagons alone being needed by 2030. David’s also been to the Tay Bridge to see how the painting is getting on. It’s all about logistics - the painting bit’s easy apparently. He also hints that Sir William Topaz McGonagall is the worst British poet of all time. So, to assist you in forming your own opinion, we’ve included four verses from his ‘poem’ about the Tay Bridge disaster. It’s not that difficult a call really! In a characteristically atmospheric piece, Graeme Bickerdike sets a little known human tragedy against the recent reopening of Combe Down and Devonshire tunnels on the outskirts of Bath. Many of these otherwise grotty holes in the ground belie the sheer effort involved in their construction and maintenance. Graeme’s account helps us to ponder a while on what is easily lost over all the years. First it was blackboards and chalk (which rubbed off), then whiteboards and writing (that rubbed off too), then boards with sticky notes (they blew away). Then came boards with magnets that usually didn’t fall off and finally the boards have disappeared to be replaced by displays supported by all the panoply of web-based technology. Steve Bissell has been looking at how possession planning really has embraced the technological revolution. And finally, I’ve been to Birkenhead to look down a very, very deep hole to see how the humble crisp packet can bring mighty Victorian engineering to its knees and how it’s all been sorted out by constructing a new steel staircase piece by piece from the top down! the rail engineer Ashby House, Bath Street, Ashby-de-la-Zouch Leicestershire, LE65 2FH Telephone: Fax: Email: Website:

in this issue

Stabilising Hooley Cutting In March 2012 the main works began, with a planned duration of 12 months.


Gold medal performance 11 During the Olympics there was no travel chaos and the Games went like clockwork. Round and round we go! 14 London’s new orbital railway will be complete on 9th December with a new timetable introduced. Painting the Tay Bridge 18 Taziker Industrial (TI) has been awarded a 2 year £15 million contract for Phase 3. Highly organised High Output 30 The High Output team is replacing and rebuilding Britain’s railways on a nightly basis. The fourth dimension 36 The two tunnels project - a congestion-busting artery into the heart of Bath.

Waterproofing options 50 Across the rail network, the deterioration of a bridge structure due to the action of water, can cause serious maintenance problems.

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Editorial copy Email: Free controlled circulation Email: The small print the rail engineer is published by RailStaff Publications Limited and printed by Pensord.

New Rail Technical Strategy 56 The DfT is about to launch a new Technical Strategy for Rail. Clive Kessell provides a preview of what will be published on 14th December.


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4 | the rail engineer | november 2012

IN BRIEF Automated trains Philippa Oldham, head of transport and manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, spoke recently about London Underground scrapping plans to introduce driverless trains: “London Underground drivers do a fantastic job and fortunately accidents due to driver error are very rare. “But there is a need to raise public confidence in driverless technologies, as in the future these technologies could save lives. Engineers and designers are already developing automated decisionmaking vehicles which will be able to achieve an even more reliable, precise and co-ordinated service than humans can. “Significantly, the Docklands Light Railway, which runs the only automated and driverless trains on London Underground, consistently outperforms the rest of the network for reliability.”

Manchester mumps The first tram has crossed Oldham Mumps, ahead of services on the new Metrolink line from Oldham Mumps to Shaw and Crompton potentially starting early in the New Year.



Man shot at RailStaff Awards! Tragedy occurred at the sixth annual RailStaff Awards in Birmingham as a squad of police broke into the ICC during the ceremony itself and disrupted proceedings. The organiser’s own security, under local personality Fat Tony, intervened and, in the ensuing scuffle, Rail Alliance chief executive Colin Flack had a bottle broken over his head and a man was shot. After a short while, Fat Tony’s men restored order and Mr Flack, although initially holding a cloth to his head, gamely carried on with presenting awards. Railway men and women are a hardy bunch, and they didn’t let this violent episode spoil their enjoyment of the evening. David Maidment, founder of the Railway Children charity, was honoured for his Lifetime Achievement. In addition, several railway engineers received awards. Chris Hooper of telent was named rail engineer of the year, Phil Graham of Network Rail won the signalling award and his colleague Tahir Ayub came out top in the

sustainability category. The team award went to Stobart Rail and the infrastructure prize to Simon Melville of Balfour Beatty Rail. A spokesman confirmed that Mr

Flack, although badly shaken, is recovering well. Police sources say that Fat Tony (who looks, in fact, remarkably svelte) is thought to have left the area.


Services to Rochdale Rail Station are expected to commence a few months later as further work is still required relating to the control system and commissioning. Ultimately, all the lines will be controlled by the new tram management system, which is a crucial part of the expansion as it will allow more trams to run on the existing network. The new system is also being integrated onto sections of the existing lines.

Siemens Eurostar takes shape

Global crossings More than 50 railway experts from around the world have visited Britain to see how Network Rail manages level crossings and examples of its £130m programme to improve level crossing safety. As part of the 12th Global Level Crossing and Trespass Symposium, the international delegates were given a technical tour by Network Rail’s national level crossing team of four crossings on the Bedford to Bletchley (Marston Vale) branch line to learn more. One way to reduce level crossing risk is to keep the number of crossings to a minimum. Network Rail has just closed the six hundredth crossing since 2009.

The first of ten new Siemens Velaro e320 trains, being built for cross-channel operator Eurostar, is taking shape in the factory at Krefeld in Germany. When the order for these new trains was first announced in 2010 it raised a storm as the French government complained that Eurostar, partly owned by French railway company SNCF, should have bought a French train. However, a

court ruled against them and the order for Siemens was confirmed. The new trains will be sixteen-car, 400-metre (1,312 ft) long sets which will have a top speed of 320 km/h (200 mph) and will seat around 900 passengers, compared to the current Eurostar fleet which has 750 seats. Although manufactured from aluminium to be lighter than steel, each bodyshell is fabricated from 190 large aluminium profiles, the

largest of which are around 21 metres long and weigh up to 640 kilograms. These are then welded together and inspected by lasers to make sure that everything is in the right place. The first Eurostar shells are now more-or-less complete and will soon be ready to be fitted out and to have their bogies, power and control systems added. Delivery is due to commence during 2014.

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Hooley Cutting


Chris Parker (Right) Aerial view of the Quarry (left) and Merstham (right) tunnel portals. The Redhill slow lines emerge from the Merstham tunnel and this cutting is the subject of the current project.

Work continues without interrupting train services.

96 of the rail engineer (October I ssue 2012), covered the strategic approach being used by Network Rail to manage its earthworks and drainage assets. This month’s article looks at work being carried out on a classic example of a structure that a railway engineer would consider might cause serious risks to the network. Lying just south of Coulsdon South station on the London to Brighton main lines, Hooley Cutting is actually two cuttings, running roughly parallel, where the four track route divides into two pairs. On the Down side are the fast lines, or Quarry Lines, and on the Up side lie the Redhill, or Slow Lines. This separation is required by the presence of the Merstham and Quarry Tunnels and the topography of the area to the south of the site, the two parallel tunnels each carrying two tracks. The sides of both cuttings are extremely steep by modern standards. There have been a significant number of cutting slips here, with two derailments caused by such events in the last twelve years. The cuttings were thus an obvious priority for remedial works.

Dry gravel that isn’t The reason for the instability of the cuttings was more complex than just the steepness of the slopes. The Quarry Lines cutting appears to have the steeper slopes of the two, but Network Rail considered this to be a lower priority than the neighbouring Redhill Slows cutting on the basis of both the numbers of incidents which have occurred in each and the conditions found by inspection and monitoring. The difference in behaviour between the two cuttings is caused by the geology of the site. The underlying ground is chalk, and the greater proportion of the depth of both cuttings lies in relatively competent chalk. However, throughout the site, the chalk is overlain by ‘dry river gravels’. Despite the geological name applied to them, these gravels are not necessarily dry! The name reflects the fact that they are gravels deposited by a river or rivers that have now disappeared, or dried up. In actuality the materials may well be very wet after rain, and so become unstable. The depth of these overlying materials varies widely, and sometimes quite suddenly, from place to place. This follows from the fact that there are old

river channels which were cut into the chalk long ago and were left full of sand and gravel after the river moved or retreated. This feature is evident when looking at the works, where the dry river gravels show as dark intrusions into the white chalk of the newly exposed slopes. The chalk stratum dips across the railway, meaning that the depth of gravels overlying it is greater in the case of the Redhill Slows cutting, causing that cutting to suffer from greater instability. Visiting the site on a very wet day in the company of Network Rail’s scheme project manager Stuart Jones, his colleague, construction manager Mick Hull and BAM Nuttall’s project agent Andrew O’Donovan, it was possible to get a good view of the site from above, as this is the way into the works for all purposes. The depth of the two cuttings and the steep side slopes are immediately apparent from the Crossing Forge Lane overbridge. Despite this, and the nature of the works being undertaken, Network Rail and their contractor BAM Nuttall had contrived a safe method of working that was allowing trains to proceed below at full line speed.

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 7


(Left) Soil nailing with men and machine suspended on ropes. (right) Drill bits showing the holes through which grout will be pumped.

Drilling, nailing and meshing

Preparatory works How have they achieved this? The first tactic was to prepare the cutting appropriately before the start of the main works. This was done in December 2011, when catch netting was installed over the whole of the affected area of the cutting slopes on both sides of the line. In addition, the first lift of scaffolding was erected on the Up side of the line at the foot of the cutting slope. The netting was designed to catch any debris that might fall down the slopes as the main works proceeded, preventing it from falling onto the line. The scaffold lift was to become the foundation for the much higher scaffold structure which now forms the main work access to the Up side slope. It also forms an additional safety barrier preventing anything falling onto the tracks. Access to the scaffold is now via an impressively tall temporary scaffold staircase adjacent to Forge Lane bridge. Another key preparatory task was the work undertaken by Network Rail to ensure access to the top of the cutting on the Up side throughout its 650 metre length. Here the greater proportion of the boundary is occupied by private houses and a few commercial premises. The company acquired two properties which were demolished to allow site accesses to be constructed. Temporary access to 24 other rear gardens was required as well, and Network Rail had to negotiate and agree these arrangements with the relevant parties before work could start.

In March 2012 the main works began, with a planned duration of 12 months. 12,000 cubic metres of material is being removed from the Down side cutting slope to reduce the quantity of weak material from the top of the slope above the chalk and to flatten the angle of this slope. The Up side will receive a much lighter removal of face material in specific locations before the installation of soil nails and mesh to the slope. All of this is being carried out from the tops of the slopes using a combination of hydraulic slope-climbing drill rigs and normal, medium and long reach excavators. All of the central spine slope and most of the Up side is being permanently strengthened by a technique involving soil nails. The top tier of these is to be encapsulated in a crest beam along the top of the cutting slope, this doubling as a walkway for future access and inspection. Below this, further tiers of soil nails and meshing are being applied to the top two thirds of the slopes, stabilising the dry valley gravel material. The soil nailing is quite unusual, as the three drilling rigs, which are powered hydraulically rather than by the more usual compressed air, have been specially built for the site by Rippamonte, the specialist Italian company, and supplied by Atlas Copco UK. They are being operated using roped access techniques whereby both rig and operator are supported from the top of the slope by approved temporary anchors. The operators are all appropriately trained and experienced for this specialist work. The hydraulic power packs sit below, on the scaffold platform. The system is very quiet in operation, even when the rigs are drilling percussively as is necessary when dealing with the lenses of flint sometimes encountered. When rotary drilling alone is in use, the rigs are hardly audible from above.

8 | the rail engineer | november 2012

(Right) The Deltax mesh, being used for the first time on the UK railway. (Left) The hollow Dywidrill soil nails.

The soil nails themselves are also unusual, being hollow threaded Dywidrill bars fitted with disposable screw-on drilling bits that are left in-situ. Both bars and bits are supplied by Dywidag Systems. The reason for using hollow bars is that it is then possible to pump the required grout through the bars via flushing holes incorporated in the drill head and out through the drill bits. This means bore stability and a grout annular is always maintained, saving the need to case the holes as the drilling progresses. Installing, and later recovering, drill casings is time consuming and would be very difficult in the circumstances of this site. BAM Nuttall’s choice of this methodology was based upon their past experience and specialist knowledge of this type of work. It means significant reductions in risk, together with appreciable savings of time and cost. Around 6,200 soil nails are to be installed during these works, some as much as 14 metres long. As this means something like 58 kilometres of drilling, it can be appreciated that even a small saving in the time taken to install and grout each nail will have a significant effect on overall timescales and cost. The mesh being used is another innovation. Deltax mesh is being used here for the first time on a railway site in the UK. Produced by Geobrugg and supplied, like the soil nails and drill bits, by Dywidag, it has a special coating that is warranted to give better corrosion protection and a longer service life than conventional galvanising. In fact, both the soil nail system and the mesh are designed for a 60 years lifespan, important when around 18,000 square metres of mesh are to be used on the site.

Concrete columns On the Up side, one section of the slope has been strengthened in the past by a different system. This employed a concrete “beam and grillage” system to support the slope. A further section is to be treated similarly under the current project. Twenty-one vertical concrete columns are to be built by concrete spraying against the cutting slope at intervals over the affected length. At the location of each of these columns, before it is sprayed, soil nails are being installed to support it against the horizontal and vertical components of the forces that will act on it. The beam and grillage framework contains vertical soil nails at the base (foundation point) and conventional raked soil nails throughout the remaining area. The grillage system will be completed by spraying horizontal concrete beams across the slope between the columns and mesh will be installed. In all, some 200 cubic metres of sprayed concrete will be applied.



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10 | the rail engineer | november 2012

One of the Roman snails alongside a mobile for size comparison. (Right) A train passing at line speed while work continues.


Work is progressing well despite the heavy rain experienced across most of the country. However, the project has experienced some delays, and for a rather unusual reason - Roman snails! These creatures are quite impressive beasts, considerably larger than the sort of snail we are used to in the UK, and rare enough to be a protected species. It seems that they were originally brought to Britain by the Romans, who liked eating them and wanted a ready supply here. They have survived in a few places ever since, and this colony are apparently in the habit of hibernating on the slopes of the central spine of the site. They emerged shortly after the contractor began the main works, causing excavations to be stopped for about five weeks whilst permission was obtained from Natural England and the snails were collected and


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relocated. Around 400 were found, and they have been removed temporarily to another suitable site on Network Rail land, to be returned to their original location upon completion of the current works. By the time that the snails are back in their original home, in March 2013, Network Rail should have a much safer cutting with no further risk of derailment or disruption caused by slips. It seems likely that the decision to use a contractor with significant expertise and experience in similar works

will have paid off well, not only through quality, cost and time benefits, but also because their expertise has ensured that the works could be undertaken with no restrictions on train speeds, without any requirement for unplanned possessions and with limited disruptive possessions of the line. However, this won’t be the end of works at Hooley. Before too long, Network Rail will be back to stabilise the parallel Quarry Lines cutting.


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november 2012 | the rail engineer | 11





we are in November, and yet it H ere seems only yesterday that we were

Organising routine maintenance

cheering on our athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. It was all a great success, in many ways, but now we are left with those memories and the clearing up, some of which is still going on. In typical fashion, everything was going to be a disaster - if you believed the mainstream media before the event. Not only would we fail to win enough medals, but there would be travel chaos for spectators travelling to and from the Olympic Park and other venues around the country. The rail industry took those predictions seriously, although it had actually started planning at least four years earlier. In the end, there was no travel chaos, the games went like clockwork, and the world complimented Britain on the job it had done. Many people will not have noticed the job that the railways did. That is as it should be, train services only become news when they aren’t working. When they run as planned, no-one talks about them. The men tasked with making the railways invisible were Anglia route managing director Dave Ward and his infrastructure maintenance director Steve Hooker. Many of the Olympic services would run through their route anyway, but they were given the job of overseeing the whole programme. Planning got off to an early start. The programme was split into four parts: organising routine maintenance so the Olympic period would be interruption-free, preparing the railway so that it was in the best condition possible, keeping the network open during the whole of the games, and returning to a normal maintenance schedule afterwards.

Many parts of the railway infrastructure are inspected and maintained to a timetable. Track recording trains work to a schedule. Some assets are inspected every eight weeks, or every twelve. It is all part of the routine that keeps the railway running. However, booking a six week period of time when none of that was allowed to happen would severely disrupt that routine, not to mention break safety regulations. So, four years ahead of time, the whole timetable was slowly adjusted. Twelve week cycles occasionally became eleven, or thirteen. By the time the Olympics came around, nothing was scheduled to happen in that critical six-week period. The last major track recording train movements on the key routes happened three weeks before the games, leaving just enough time for all the defects to be repaired before the maintenance shut-down commenced. The operations teams were involved as well. At night, freight trains run along the lines normally used for passenger traffic during the day. With more late-night passenger trains running during the Olympics, different paths had to be found for freight using alternative and diversionary routes.

Preparing the routes The next task was to make sure that every component of the network was in the best possible condition prior to the start of the games. This not only applied to the passenger routes, but the freight diversionary routes had to be up to the task as well. Steve Hooker and his team worked hard to identify possible problem areas. Inspection standards were tightened up, and schedules for routine work such as track renewals accelerated. One obvious problem area would be the overhead catenary on the Great Eastern main line. Time expired, it was currently being replaced in a major project, but it would only be half-finished by July. Work was therefore organised to ‘patch up’ the half that wouldn’t have been refurbished in

An extra £10 million was spent on graffiti clean-up and vegetation removal.

12 | the rail engineer | november 2012

These routes were all left clear during the Olympic period.

time. Even though that work would be undone when those sections were replaced in the coming months and years, it was essential to minimise the chance of train delays. A plan was already in place to replace point machines at Liverpool Street in 2015. The Olympic Delivery Authority paid for them to be replaced in 2012 instead, to make the most of improved performance and there were other examples of work being pulled forward. The plan was to get the railway defect-free by 22 July. Normally there are around 6,500 defects on this area of railway awaiting attention. That isn’t as bad as it sounds, most are due to steady deterioration which need

feature attention at some time but are not critical. However, to get to a defect-free condition is a lot of work. It became even more work after a series of track quality recording train runs and detailed inspections. The last only three weeks before the games began, identified an actual total of 9,500 defects. The increase was caused by a deliberate tightening of standards to reduce the risk of any failure. Maintenance teams were mobilised and extra time authorised, a total of 121,000 extra man hours of it. By the start of the games there were just 16 defects not rectified in time - and they were non-critical. It was a superb effort from everyone involved.

The appearance of the network wasn’t neglected either. An extra £10 million was spent on graffiti clean-up and vegetation removal. It was left until the last minute, so the graffiti didn’t reappear and the vegetation didn’t regrow, but the overall look of the railway was much improved.

Games time Once the six week games period came around, the railway was as ready as it would ever be. Now it was time to implement the plans that would keep it running almost twenty-four hours a day. Emergency maintenance teams were set up. Normally 20% of the workforce is deployed as rapid response teams. During the games it would be 80%. Network Rail has a helicopter which monitors everything from track condition, the integrity of the fences, crowds, road vehicles, congestion and also inspects equipment from 1000 feet. During the games, there were three helicopters, one fitted with infra-red cameras to work at night. The main line into Liverpool Street was patrolled twice a day. One cause of delays is, unfortunately, suicides. Samaritans had teams out patrolling stations and other areas looking for distressed people so they could be helped before it went that far. British Transport Police had four teams deployed around London that could reach any part of the network within twenty minutes. Two ambulances were on constant standby and a contractor’s ‘clean-up crew’ was also available at all times. As it happened, there were no suicides on the Great Eastern main line during the games. Well done, Samaritans. Some work still had to be carried out at night. Critical tasks such as point lock tests couldn’t be put off. With only two hours a night of access in some areas, everything was pre-planned and went off without a hitch. Remote condition monitoring (RCM) thresholds were adjusted. Normally, a set of points is visited by engineers when the activation current reaches 50% higher than normal. This was reduced to 20% so that problems could be caught early. Because of this, between ten and twelve sets of points were maintained every night and no failures occurred. The 20% threshold will be retained at many key locations when the railway returns to normal running. Of course, nothing is ever perfect. The weather having been widely predicted to be wet and rainy was actually quite hot at the start of the games. This had two effects. Some of the old catenary got too hot, and the wires started to sag. Temporary speed restrictions were imposed locally but it wasn’t a major problem. Most of the welded rail had already been prestressed as part of the preparatory works so that running wouldn’t be affected under 50°C rail temperature. Six sites on the North London Line had not been so prepared, and as temperatures rose they also had localised speed limits imposed. These were closely managed so that safety was assured and performance achieved. There was one rail problem - a cracked crossing at Gidea Park. Normally there are five or six rail defects a week, each potentially resulting in around 4,000 minutes of service

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 13

feature delays. This was the only one in the whole games period and, with the rapid response teams mobilised, the total effect was 500 minutes of delay and, with close cooperation from the TOCs, six cancelled trains. And that was it. One cracked rail, some saggy catenary, and six sections of hot track with speed restrictions. In six weeks!

Staff redeployment One of the fears had been that, with routine maintenance virtually cancelled for the games period, the infrastructure maintenance contractors would have nothing to do. Certainly, the rapid response teams were almost exclusively Network Rail employees and there was less other work going on. However, several of the second tier contractors were asked to carry out ballast clearing projects in preparation for the plain line recognition system that is being introduced towards the end of the year. More graffiti and vegetation removal was undertaken, and other steps were taken to keep people in work. There was also other work happening around the country. Track replacement and signalling installations on secondary and freight routes were stepped up and that also gave more work to some contractors.

Aftermath Once the Paralympics were over, things could start to return to normal. Night-time access became easier, and routine work could start up again. A lot of the regular interval work that had been adjusted to fall

outside of the games period started to become due, and those intervals can be slowly adjusted to give an even spread of work again. Some lessons have been learned. The RCM results were far better than expected, and some of the revised alarm levels will be maintained. But at the end, it all came down to the hard work and cooperation of the men and women who maintain the railways. “I am very proud of my guys,” said Steve Hooker. “I’m particularly proud of the way they responded to anything and everything. On several occasions, when we called a rapid-response team out to an incident, two or three would arrive - just to make sure everything was OK.”

“We had a response team for structures on call around the clock - something we don’t normally do. On-track machines were parked up ready - in fact there were men and women on standby all over London and the UK , just waiting to be called when they were needed. They did a wonderful job.” The Olympic and Paralympic Games may

be a once in a lifetime event, but Network Rail and the British railways proved they are up to the challenge. Along with the winners of gold, silver and bronze, the country can be truly proud of the men and women in orange.

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feature Split responsibility writer


Wordsworth new orbital railway will be L ondon’s complete on 9 December 2012 when the new timetable will introduce a service of four trains per hour between Highbury and Islington and a new platform that Carillion has installed at Clapham Junction. It will not be a continuous service around the capital. (In fact, even the Tube’s Circle Line has a break at Edgware Road.) Anyone wishing to do a ‘lap’ of the new railway from Clapham Junction, which itself will be a terminus station for the service, will have to change at either Highbury & Islington or Cannonbury, but the new network will considerably improve travel possibilities for residents of south-east London. To complete the orbit, a new link had to be built between Surrey Quays, on the East London Line, and Queens Road Peckham on the Inner South London Line. Fortunately, there was a disused line running between just those two points which had closed in 1911. It was time to dust off that old line and relay it. Fortunately, most of the old alignment still existed, even though most of it was now a footpath.

In the region of Surrey Quays, the East London line is Transport for London (TfL) infrastructure. However, the Inner South London Line is owned by Network Rail. Because of this, two separate work packages were let. Birse Metro, part of the Balfour Beatty Group, was asked by TfL to build the junction at Surrey Quays and relay the bulk of the line. There would also be provision for a new station at Surrey Canal Road, which is due to be built around 2015 to serve a new housing development in the area. The junction of the new line with the Inner South London Line at Old Kent Road, just before Queens Road Peckham, was to be built by Carillion under a MAFA (Multi Asset Framework Agreement) contract awarded by Network Rail. To keep the two contracts apart (who says inter-company rivalry is dead?) a fence was built a few hundred yards from the Old Kent Road junction. At this point, the Inner South London Line runs on a viaduct. Built with the old junction in mind, there is plenty of space on that viaduct and, over time, the two tracks of the current layout were separated with a six-foot between them was more like twenty. The first preparatory job was therefore to reballast the trackbed to get it into good condition, and at the same time slew both

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tracks into a new position with a proper sixfoot. Work on the Down line was completed at the end of June 2011 with 250mm of new ballast. The Up line was retamped and slewed slightly in September.

New turnouts Design for the scheme was being undertaken by Arup for the track work, civil engineering, traction power and points heating, while specialists telent did the telecoms design. Carillion undertook the signalling design in-house. Some vacant land adjacent to the Down line was cleared and used to assemble the S&C that would be going into the line. All the components arrived from Progress Rail, and the Up line switch was built ready for installation. Over a weekend in early October 2011, Carillion took a 54 hour possession to install that Up line switch. Road-rail vehicles (RRVs) were used to remove the old track and ballast and the switch was moved into position using a PEM LEM track installation system. A temporary track layout was constructed, and a series of remote controlled straddle cranes lifted the new turnout into position. A second 54 hour possession in November saw the same process used to install the other switch as well as the crossover into

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 15


While installing a new signal, the ‘step’ creating platform 2 can be clearly seen. (Below) Completing work on the new track layout at Clapham Junction.

the Down line. The crossover was connected to the Up line switch installed previously. Both possessions went to plan, and the line was handed back on time and with no delays. The new S&C arrangement now had to be connected to the relayed track coming in from Surrey Quays, known as the Silwood Lines. Preparatory work could be undertaken under green zone conditions as it was far enough from the live railway. Ballast was put down and sleepers positioned. The rail could likewise be installed and even connected up to the new switches without disrupting traffic. New third rail was installed over several short night-time possessions. This was steel rail for the Network Rail connections, the Silwood lines themselves were being installed using aluminium third rails.

S&T At the end of April 2012, the signalling work came to fruition. On the Up line, a signal was relocated to before the junction and bolted to the side of the viaduct. The current signal on the Down line was retained but fitted with a new LED head. New signals were fitted on the Silwood lines. A Down signal close to the demarcation line between Carillion and Balfour Beatty protected the junction, while a new signal further along the Up line allows a train to be held at the start of the new chord but clear of the Inner South London Lines. All this was installed during normal night time possessions and line blockages.

As might be expected, a lot of cables run alongside the existing Inner South London Line. Some of these are Network Rail cables, either for power or communications, and most of these were replaced either by Carillion or by telent. There were also a number of third-party cables, supplied under contract to private organisations such as banks by Global Crossing, which also took the opportunity to renew several. Five big new cable crossings had to be installed under the new lines.

In total, twelve different cable routes had to be repositioned or replaced. Carson multiduct was selected as the best option to protect and segregate these critical pathways.

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16 | the rail engineer | november 2012


The whole project came together during the week commencing 24 June 2012. The new turnouts were connected to the track of the Silwood lines and final traction and SCADA commissioning carried out, with no last-minute unpleasant surprises. Apart from the tidying up, the work at Old Kent Road was complete, well in advance of the introduction of the new timetable on 9th December.

Clapham Junction (Top) Tamping the new track layout at Old Kent Road. (Right and Below) Using a PEM/LEM with temporary track to install the new S&C.

Once the new orbital is in service, trains using it will terminate at Clapham Junction. Passengers wishing to continue around the new circular route will change trains. This means that the already-busy station will have to cope with an extra four trains per hour coming in from the Silwood lines. This work was also awarded to Carillion, again by Network Rail using the MAFA framework.

The novel solution was to turn one platform into two. The existing layout had platform 1 and 2 being one island, 3 and 4 another, and a middle road between 2 and 3 running into the Kensington sidings. The solution was to terminate the track on platform 2 halfway down, and to extend the platform face behind that termination out to the middle road, creating a ‘step’ in the platform. The existing platform 1 was renamed platform 0, the terminus platform became 1, and the new ‘middle’ platform is now platform 2. New crossovers would be installed in the approach to allow terminating trains to come in on the Down line and depart onto the Up. However (isn’t there always a ‘however’ in these projects?), right in the way of the new track alignment was ‘Superloc’ - the signalling relay room for the whole of the Clapham area, which includes Europe’s busiest station. It would have to be moved. Fortunately, it didn’t have to be moved very far - about two metres. A new piled foundation was constructed overhanging the existing embankment, and a number of the signalling cables extended over a period of time. When all was ready, the entire relay room, a prefabricated building, was skidded into its new position using jacks and turfers. Once that was done, the four new sets of points could be installed. These were built up in Kensington sidings using Progress Rail

components. Over last Christmas and New Year, VolkerRail’s Kirow crane carried them, one at a time, to their new positions. The new switches were locked in straightahead positions until new signalling could be commissioned. This was carried out during the first week in May. New LED signal heads were fitted to existing signals. A platform starter signal for the new platform 2 had already been installed and a Rawie buffer stop placed at the terminated end of platform 1. A second unit was placed on the now-single Kensington siding. Operationally, everything is ready for the new timetable on 9th December. Carillion’s project manager, Jon Wells, was pleased that the main elements of the project have been completed in good time. “The main complication on this project was making sure we didn’t interrupt current services. We had a number of critical weekend blockades, but otherwise we only used normal night-time possessions. The track work went well, and moving the entire Superloc relay room without causing serious disruption was the result of good planning and excellent teamwork by all involved.” Some work on the station facilities, including an extension to the footbridge, wider stairs and a canopy on platform 2, still have to be completed. But there will be nothing to stop the new service commencing as planned, giving the nation’s capital its second orbital railway. Carillion vacancies on inside back cover.

18 | the rail engineer | november 2012



David Shirres rail route between Edinburgh T heanddirect Dundee required the construction

(Below) Aerial view of Tay Bridge from the South. (Inset) View of bridge from Wormit shore.

of the Forth and Tay bridges - respectively the UK’s most iconic and longest. This was a massive investment and demonstrated the economic importance of rail traffic of the time. However, it didn’t start well. The first Tay Bridge, which opened in 1878, was designed by Thomas Bouch and took six years to build. Eighteen months later, it collapsed in high winds as a train crossed over it, killing 76 people. At the time, Bouch had started to supervise construction of a Forth rail suspension bridge. Not surprisingly this work was stopped. Following the disaster, the Board of Trade set up a commission to consider wind loading on railway bridges and Parliament specified that the Forth Bridge should “gain the confidence of the public and enjoy a reputation of being not only the biggest and strongest, but also the stiffest in the world”. Another grim consequence of the bridge’s collapse was a poem about the disaster by William McGonagall, arguably Britain’s worst poet.

The longest bridge Work on the current Tay Bridge started in 1883 and took five years. The contractor was William Arrol & Co, which also constructed the Forth Bridge. The Board of Trade specified that, for river navigation, the new bridge piers had to be constructed adjacent to those of the original bridge enabling reuse of girders from the original bridge. Constructing the UK’s longest rail bridge required 25,000 tons of iron and steel, 70,000 tons of concrete, ten million bricks and three million rivets. The bridge is 10,711 feet long and has 85 piers. The south approach from Wormit consists of piers 1 to 28 supporting lattice girders that carry the railway. Piers 28 to 41 are the “high girders” with the railway inside them to give shipping a 77 ft clearance at high water. The north approach from Dundee has piers 41 to 85. From Wormit the gradient falls at 1 in 762


over the south approach, is level through the high girders and then falls at 1 in 113 on the north approach down to Dundee. The Tay and Forth Bridges are impressive examples of Victorian engineering that have been inherited by Network Rail which now faces the challenge of maintaining these huge structures in a harsh marine environment. With the completion of the £130 million repainting project last December; this is not such an issue for the Forth Bridge. However there is still much to be done on the Tay Bridge. the rail engineer was invited to the middle of the Firth of Tay to learn more.

Painting is the easy bit Stuart MacDonald is a man who has given a lot of thought to his task of painting Britain’s longest bridge, commenting: “It’s all about logistics, painting is the easy bit”. Stuart has been on the bridge since June this year and is project manager for Taziker Industrial (TI) which has been awarded a two year £15 million contract for phase three of Network Rail’s Tay Bridge refurbishment programme. This comprises piers and spans 12 to 27 (immediately south of the high girders) and 80 to 83 (landspans at the north end of bridge). Network Rail’s construction manager, Ian Simms, has worked on the bridge in various capacities for 20 years. He advises that TI’s contract is part of a long term four phase programme that started in 2006 and is planned for completion in 2017 the final phase being the high girders.

the Tay

As well as painting, TI’s contract requires them to repair steelwork defects before applying the surface treatment. Experience to date is that there are typically 240 such defects per span. Most of these are minor repairs requiring small amounts of steel for which TI have a fabrication shop in their compound on the north side of the bridge. To do this work, TI has a workforce of more than 55 employees, including those from Network Scaffolding, a division of TI. Ten personnel alone are required for loading materials onto the bridge. The quantities of materials involved illustrate the challenge TI faces. Each span has 1200 square metres of steelwork and two 25 kg bags of grit are required to blast each square metre. The surface coating system is the same as that used on the Forth Bridge. This is a four coat treatment that requires a primer (5 square metres per litre); glass flake coat (1 square metre per litre); an intermediate coat (10 square metres per litre) and a final coat of Tay Bridge Grey (5 square metres per litre). Add to this the scaffolding and other materials required and the logistical challenge of getting these materials onto the bridge 1000 feet from the shore can be appreciated. One advantage is that, for phase three, there is no requirement for possessions to work on the steelwork below the railway or to access it. Night-time possessions are however required (4.5 hours on weekdays, 6 hours on Saturdays) to transport materials onto the bridge from TI’s storage compound









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to be more eďŹƒcient than on-track plant. The 1 in 762 gradient on the south end of the bridge does not present a problem for hand trolleys. TI’s strategy for spans 12 to 27 is to use four sets of scaffolding to ďŹ rstly encapsulate spans 12, 16, 20 and 24. As each span is completed, each set of scaffolding then

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 19

by the sidings at the south end of the bridge. During these possessions, seven hand trolleys are pushed onto the bridge to either spans 15 or 23 on which storage areas have been established. Materials are then passed over the windfence onto a rail level platform from where they are lowered by a hoist. Although such a labour-intensive approach might seem odd, Stuart explains that materials transported are essentially a lot of small items that can be hand carried and that the use of hand trolleys has proved

Walking over the Tay

moves to the next span along. Spans are on the critical path and piers, which are independent of the scaffolding, will be sequenced as required. TI is using the HAKI scaffolding system they used on the Royal Albert Bridge (issue 95, September 2012). This uses beaded sheets that slide into slotted tubes to provide encapsulation. Other than the high girders, a timber catwalk runs the length of the bridge within its trusses along the bottom of the bridge spans. Also running the length of the bridge are electricity and water supplies. TI has also provided a compressed air manifold for the grit blast pots which are located on the storage spans. This walkway is the only means of access and enables materials to be distributed from the storage spans. It was replaced around ten years ago but, with the bridge being a Grade 1 listed structure, its replacement had to be as original - a pitch pine walkway. Walking a mile or so along this exposed walkway 60 feet above the Tay requires a head for heights. It is also no easy stroll with the need to stoop every 20 feet as the walkway passes under diagonal cross bracing.

We work hard to keep you updated

(Above) View from access walkway at TI’s Wormit compound. (left) Tay Bridge walkway.

20 | the rail engineer | november 2012


(Above and left) View of bridge taken on the river from the rescue boat showing encapsulation.

A battle won by logistics

ge Disaster The Tay Brid nagall Topaz McGo By Sir William e Silv’ry Tay! ay Bridge of th ilw Ra ul tif Beau sorry to say Alas! I am very taken away ve es ha been That ninety liv 1879, bbath day of On the last Sa ry long time. ve a r ember’d fo m re be ill w Which at night, seven o’clock ’Twas about its might, blew with all it d in w e th And g down, came pourin And the rain to frown, ’d em se clouds And the dark em’d to sayon of the air se Tay.” And the Dem ge n the Brid of “I’ll blow dow rgh n left Edinbu , When the trai felt no sorrow d ere light an w ts ar he ’ rs le, The passenge ew a terrific ga But Boreas bl quail, to r fo ts their hear d sayWhich made rs with fear di the passenge of Tay.” of y ge id an Br m e nd th A safe across us nd se ill w “I hope God Bay, ar to Wormit train came ne e th , n ay he br w y t Bu loud and angr y Boreas he did e Bridge of Ta l girders of th ra nt ce e th , k 1879 And shoo bbath day of On the last Sa ry long time. ve a r fo remember’d be ill w ch hi W e verses plus four mor

(Right) TI’s planning board for work on the bridge and office anemometer readings for spans 15 and 26.

Stuart is very conscious of the impact wind has on his project. TI have anemometers on spans 15 and 26 and monitor windspeed in their Wormit compound. In addition, workgroups have portable anemometers. He explains that windspeed can be very variable and it is not unusual for the weather to be quite calm at Wormit while it is blowing hard in the centre of the Tay. TI has various rules concerning windspeed. For example, above 40 mph work on the bridge stops and above 27 mph scaffolders are not allowed to lift boards. Applying paint is also weather dependant. Painting is not allowed below 5° C and at certain levels of humidity. Stuart has studied weather records to assess the impact of weather on the contract programme and is confident there is sufficient contingency. On the bridge, the safety regime is evident. A tagging system is used to record who is on the bridge and where they are, everyone has radios which are frequently tested, the previous day’s Behavioural Safety briefing is a frequent topic of conversation and the standby rescue boat can be anywhere under the bridge in 90 seconds. Stuart mentioned that confined spaces are also a hazard due to the requirement to work inside the piers - twin hexagonal columns joined to form an arch with an internal wrought-iron framework concealed inside the hollow interior.

General Eisenhower once said: “You will not find it difficult to prove that battles have been won or lost primarily because of logistics.” Working in the middle of the Tay is a battle which will be won by planning and preparation, such as the four months that TI have spent putting scaffolding and services on the bridge and delivering materials. This shows just how much is needed to be done before the real work can start. Now that this set-up work is almost complete, TI is able to start their production line refurbishment of spans 12 to 27, about a quarter of the bridge. The weather may not be kind to them but there are contingencies for this and no doubt much new paintwork will be evident by next summer. With the phase 4 contract to be let after TI complete their work, it will be 2017 before Network Rail can announce that Tay Bridge painting is complete. Then it will once more be the “Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay” of William McGonagall’s poem.

Follow us @tazikerind Taziker Industrial Ltd || Unit 6, Lodge Bank, Crown Lane, Horwich, Bolton, BL6 5HY Tel: 01204 468080 || Email: sales@ || Web:テ学ww.

22 | the rail engineer | november 2012


Russian Railways

back in Berlin vast collection, finding your W ithwayitsaround the British Museum is

(Above) Russian Railways stand at InnoTrans. (below) Vladimir Yakunin speaking to press on Russian Railways stand.

difficult. Some readers may recall the Radio 4 series “A history of the world in a hundred objects” which featured key exhibits and, if used as a focus, made visiting the museum far less intimidating. Berlin’s InnoTrans, the world’s biggest rail trade fair, is also vast and intimidating with 2,500 exhibitors over 81,000 square metres and 3,500 metres of sidings. So it helps to have a focus. For the rail engineer, this was provided by Russian Railways (RZD) in the form of an invitation to attend both InnoTrans and a conference entitled “Railway Engineering: A Spingboard to a Closer Partnership between 1520 & 1435”.

Russian high speed As is often the case, an invitation from Russian Railways offers an opportunity to speak with RZD President, Vladimir Yakunin, who is to be the next UIC Chairman. On RZD’s InnoTrans stand he fielded questions from a media scrum in his usual frank manner. Perhaps his most significant announcement was that there will be no new high speed line between Moscow and St Petersburg for the 2018 World Cup. Yakunin was confident that the line would be built but explained that construction awaited new funding arrangements for its estimated €17 billion cost. Even without a high speed line, trains have been running at up to 250 km/h between


David Shirres Moscow and St Petersburg since 2009. These are ten-coach Siemens Sapsan trains, derived from the German ICE 3 train but designed to suit the 330mm wider Russian loading gauge and winterised for -50ºC. In May 2009, a Sapsan running at 290 km/h became the fastest train in Russia. Alstom also have fast trains running in Russia (and Finland), with its 220 km /h Allegro reducing the St Petersburg to Helsinki journey from 6 to 3.5 hours. These trains have been provided to Karelian Trains, a joint venture of RZD and the Finnish railways, and are a dual voltage 3kV DC/25kV AC Pendolino variant.

Russian Rolling Stock on display Despite the sidings being standard gauge, there was some Russian rolling stock to be seen. In fact, it was difficult to avoid the new Lastochka EMU. It towered above all the other trains on display, being 0.5 metre higher that UIC standard gauge and resting its 1520mm gauge bogies on standard gauge wheel skates. Getting this train to InnoTrans had involved a 360 mile road journey from Siemens’ Krefeld factory, with bogies and all underframe components removed for re-assembly on site. The Lastochka is described in more detail in issue 94 (August 2012) of your favourite railway engineering magazine. There was one other Russian coach on display, albeit within UIC gauge on standard gauge bogies. This was a dual-gauge sleeping coach, one of 200 now rolling off Siemens’s Vienna production line which have sets of both 1520mm and 1435mm bogies, designed for rapid bogie change at the break of gauge. They are currently subject to certification tests in Russia and Europe, having been designed to meet both European TSIs and GOST standards applicable to the Commonwealth of


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24 | the rail engineer | november 2012

Independent States (CIS). They show RZD’s intention to increase rail passenger traffic between Moscow and Europe, something further demonstrated by this year’s agreement with Talgo for 200km/h sleeper trains with Talgo’s automatic gauge changing system which changes wheelset gauge at slow speed. Talgo are clearly hopeful that this will result in further orders.

Russian partnerships

Siemens Lastochka EMU with its Russian gauge bogies on a standard gauge wheelskate.

Alstom’s president, Henri Poupart-LaFarge, described their involvement in Russia at his press conference. This included UNIFE’s predications that, despite the recession, the rail market will grow by 2.6% in the next five years, and by 4.5% in the CIS. Part of Alstom’s strategy is becoming closer to customers, so he described how Alstom has sent 200 engineers to its Russian partner Transmash Holding (TMH) in a collaboration that has been far more successful than had been hoped for. His engineers are working with TMH to develop the best technology, with no distinction of where it was coming from. In 1996, Bombardier was the first European company to establish a joint venture with RZD following which they have installed EBILock 950 computer-based interlocking systems at 118 locations in Russia. In 2010, Bombardier purchased a stake in RZD’s manufacturing subsidiary Elteza, Russia’s largest signalling manufacturers, in one of the first examples of the privatisation of a RZD subsidiary. In July this year, Bombardier signed an agreement with Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) to jointly develop and produce metros

feature and trams and to provide UVZ with a licence to manufacture Russian trams using Bombardier’s low-floor tram technology, FLEXX bogies and MITRAC traction control systems.

Localisation and standards The engineering conference was advertised as a partnership of 1520 and 1435 manufacturers and was introduced by RZD’s senior vice president, Valentin Gapanovich, who focused on localisation and harmonisation of railway technical standards across the two gauges. Sitting next to each other, the Alstom and Siemens presidents described their rolling stock partnerships and how these were intended to develop Russia production capability.

freight. Common rail technical standards are becoming increasingly important with the increase in passenger and freight traffic across the break of gauge. Specific examples are rules for the transportation of dangerous goods, automatic gauge changing systems and electromagnetic interference from sleeping coaches. Although much has been done, international working groups still have to resolve a number of issues.

Reaching out for each other Russia offers a huge rail market with RZD’s development plan requiring 23,300 locomotives, 996,000 freight wagons and 29,500 passenger coaches by 2030. Although this is a great opportunity for European rail manufacturers, penetration


Rolling Stock


Siemens and Uralskiye

3kV DC/25kV AC

1470 coaches


Lastochka EMU

€2.5 billion

Siemens and

2ES10 - Teo unit 3kV DC

221 locomotives

Sinara Group

8,800 kW freight locomotive

€1 billion

Alstom and

EP20 - 3kV DC/25kV AC, 7,200 kW

200 locomotives


200 km/h passenger locomotive

€1 billion

Subsequent speakers described the development of the Russian supply chain to support this localisation, with companies such as SKF, Euro Group and Knorr-Bremse supporting their Russian partners to produce specialist components. This includes the introduction of IRIS (International Railway Industry Standards) certification, currently held by seven Russian companies with a further 72 working to achieve it. Gaponovich made it clear that harmonisation of railway standards between the CIS and Europe was a very real issue, despite the different gauge and rolling stock. Non-technical standards, such as tariff barriers and customs practices, can reduce the competitiveness of international rail

Localisation (by value) 80% by 2017

100% by 2014

60% by 2012

into this market requires partnerships with Russian companies and consequent technology sharing. Thus the partnership between 1520 and 1435 is very real, despite the barriers of gauge and language. This is not to say that Europe cannot learn from Russia. For example RZD’s stand at InnoTrans had displays on GPS used both with in-cab signalling and for intelligent traffic control systems and rolling stock energy management systems - RZD consumes 5% of Russia’s electricity. So far as Russia is concerned, the key message from InnoTrans was that RZD and Europe are reaching out to each other. No doubt this will be accelerated by Yakunin’s forthcoming UIC chairmanship and his vision of a truly global rail network.

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26 | the rail engineer | november 2012


“It’s on the right.” “No, it’s straight on.” “In 100 yards…turn left,” intones the dispassionate satnav voice. “It can’t be, I can see it. Turn that thing off!”


Grahame Taylor Looking down the shaft at the new staircase.

be fair, Shore Road pumping station is T odifficult to reach. Network Rail’s project manager Simon Barraclough and his colleague Behnam Sarani had been doing battle with their belligerent satnav that had already succeeded in sending them on three circuits of Birkenhead and was determined to have them drive back down through the Mersey tunnel to Manchester.

Flooding Back in the 1880s the engineers of the time had slightly weightier problems to deal with. The Mersey railway company aspired to drive a tunnel under the river through permeable and fissured sandstone. They knew that they would encounter large quantities of water and this presented a major challenge with the real possibility of the tunnel being inundated if not carefully controlled. Their solution was to drive three tunnels the railway tunnel, a tunnel for ventilation and one for drainage. In the end, the ventilation and drainage headings were combined under the deepest part of the railway tunnel. The drainage scheme involves a deep-level heading driven on a rising gradient from each side of the river meeting at a central high point just below the main tunnel. At the Birkenhead and Liverpool banks, two deep shafts were sunk to take the water that flows back from the centre. Both are around 170 feet (52 metres) deep. The Liverpool shaft is 15ft (4.5m) in diameter, the Birkenhead shaft 17’6” (5.3m). Pumping stations were built over the shafts and water has been pumped out continuously ever since.

Industrial archaeology

Litter problem

The Shore Road pumping station in Birkenhead is a tall, narrow but imposing building set back from the road. There is a constant sound of rushing water and the hum of heavy machinery. Just inside the main entrance, the first impression is of gantries, handrails and steel latticework, all set in a cavernous and labyrinthine structure. Looming silent and dark over all the modern paraphernalia are the remains of the original beam pumping engine occupying the vast height of the building. Up on an intermediate gallery the dial of the Hardings Improved Counter shows that it stopped on stroke number 0061362. Of the shaft there is no immediate sign. But lean over the handrails, peer down through the gratings and it’s a different matter! And it’s a sharp pull back from any temptation to linger on industrial archaeology. There is work going on in the shaft. Hammering, flickering lights, voices echoing, radios crackling, and down, down, way down, almost out of sight, is the gently heaving limpid black water in the sump 170 feet below.

The modern pumps are, of course, electrically powered. They are heavy submersible machines that have to be lowered down the shaft from a permanent gantry. Once upon a time it was possible to reach the water in the sump via a precarious arrangement of timber staircases and landings. Each staircase was very steep about 75° - and had only a rudimentary rope handrail. Coupled with the fact that the shaft is, by definition, a confined space and that the timberwork was in poor condition, it is not surprising that the staircase access fell into disuse. But, on the face of it, is there any real need to get down there? A combination of retail outlets and fire regulations have forced a revisit to the stygian depths. Retail outlets sell stuff. Stuff is wrapped in packaging. Packaging is discarded. Fire regulations say that there must be no litter bins in the Merseyrail Loop so packaging becomes litter. It is dropped on the platforms and finds its way onto the tracks. It gets blown into drainage gullies and eventually, courtesy of the


november 2012 | the rail engineer | 27


magnificent Victorian drainage headings, lands up in the sumps at the bottom of the shafts and then, very quickly, into the drainage pump intake filters. These become clogged and the pumps overheat and eventually burn out. The damaged pumps are then winched all the way to the surface a very complex process - replaced or repaired only to be lowered back into the litter soup in the sump. So there is an imperative to reach the lower part of the shaft so that pumps can be serviced without having to be hauled all the way to the surface. In parallel there is work going on to limit the litter issue generally.

Top down approach

Restricted access

There are eleven individual landings. Each one of the top six landings is supported by a pair of massive timbers set into the unlined sandstone walls. These have survived decades of damp and are in good condition, although the same cannot be said for the rest of the staircase materials. The timbers have been used as the basis for new galvanised steel landings. Pockets have been taken out of the sandstone at the ends of the timbers to allow main beams to be landed in the sandstone and also bolted to the timbers. Once fixed, they are bricked in using a quick setting compound that can cure even in these hostile conditions without being washed away. Terracaulk 40AF by tecroc is a purpose designed Portland cement, fibre and polymer reinforced, shrinkage compensated mortar.

Martin Taylor of Murphys shrugs his shoulders. “Access to the site is so restricted. There’s no parking in the street and there is just this one small courtyard which has to be kept clear for access to the operational pumps.” Thursday is delivery day, when a fresh load of steelwork arrives and is sorted into batches. Each piece is then lowered via a Tirfor winch through the narrow grating with long items up-ended and threaded through.

Components for the rest of the landings, and for the staircases, are then built on from there. Work has proceeded from the top down with each subsequent landing and ladder being suspended from the one above. Each old staircase is demolished to give space for the new assembly. This goes on down to level five which is where a side adit enters the shaft. A special landing arrangement will give access from the shaft to the adit which in turn leads to the main railway tunnel. From level five downwards, the arrangement alters and all further landings are suspended from this point to the water level below.

By the end of August the final staircase will be in place and the Murphy team will move on to work on to their next assignment on a Cumbrian rail viaduct. The total cost of the works will be in the region of £350,000. It is a substantial and fascinating project that will be forever out of sight of the travelling public. The pumps have to run. Without them, and their counterparts on the Liverpool bank, the railway tunnel under the Mersey would be inundated exactly as the Victorian engineers predicted. The attempt to return to Manchester was just as fraught after the obligatory circuit of Birkenhead.

Complex project Simon explains: “The scheme was forever on the ‘rather tricky’ pile, but it was developed by Murphy as part of their framework agreement with Network Rail. It was such specialist work that a single negotiated tender was deemed the best way forward.” Murphy used Opus Design to survey and draft a scheme for a new access arrangement that would meet modern safety requirements. Fabrication was by Structural Fabrications Ltd. “Right from the start this has been a complex project. It takes place in amongst a fully operational pumping station with water being pumped out of the tunnels continuously.” Despite the huge dimensions of the shaft, the access is very restricted. With the existing machinery, its maintenance equipment and the ever-present remains of the old pumping engine the only way down is via a 900mm x 900mm grating. Fortunately, Murphy operates a roped access team for use in such tricky projects. All their staff are confined space trained and are IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) qualified. For them this is their bread and butter.

(Top right) Pump intake filters often become clogged by litter. (Bottom) The skeleton of the old beam engine is still in place.

“Over there… M62 Manchester.” “In 100yds… turn right onto the A57… to Manchester.” “We want the M62.” “Do a U turn…turn left and take the A57… to Manchester.” “There’s the M62. Turn that wretched thing off!”

28 | the rail engineer | november 2012



Steve Bissell

A diagram for change A magnetic board being used by a PICOP to give a visual overview of a possession.

to achieve a seven-day railway S triving puts pressure on the maintenance teams which have to maintain its infrastructure. With limited time to carry out work at night, planning is of the essence so no time is wasted. In the past, this planning consumed a lot of paper, and pencils, and writing on whiteboards. It also involved getting key personnel together in one room at the same time so they could view the aforesaid whiteboards and be handed copies of the pieces of paper.

and trackside operatives referring to their portable diagrams. The whole process vastly improved safety communications between all involved. Infrasafe has since supplied its magnetic boards to a number of leading contractors working within the industry on various projects. Each personalised board provides invaluable track infrastructure data for any specified locations and vastly improves operational safety, communications and efficiencies.

From magnets to the internet Going magnetic In 2002, First Engineering of Glasgow approached Les Savory, founder of Infrasafe, to manage a 70 mile long possession on the Settle and Carlisle line that would have approximately 20 worksites within the possession at any one time and over three hundred trains entering and leaving over a six week period. To manage this complex project, Les developed a magnetic board that could be used in a PICOP (Person In Charge Of the Possession) control centre as a visual aid tool. Magnetic symbols on the board represented activities taking place at ballast level, giving a visual overview of the possession at any given time. Following the success of this project, the track diagram template was formatted to A4 page size. The compact, portable diagrams enabled personnel to use them trackside. The effect substantially improved all-round communications within the possession. The PICOP was now able to talk to the signaller whilst viewing the magnetic board, with the signaller looking at the signal box diagram

Now, Infrasafe has taken the process one step further and turned the whole system into a website. Using the latest computerised technology and the internet, a new Infrastructure Mapping System (IMS) has been designed to enable signal layout diagrams to be reduced to A4 size and published on a secure website where it can be accessed by planning and operations personnel. Data can be readily updated by authorised staff, and the latest version of the information is always available. Continuous development of the system now allows users to click on various points of the diagram and locate and view infrastructure from a link to Google Earth. Additionally, with links to Sectional Appendix and Hazard Directory reference material within the diagrams, the user can move from the track diagram view to these documents with a simple click of the mouse. Current developments to the system include the plotting and linking of each signal position to the Google Earth facility.

Further developments The functionality of IMS has allowed Infrasafe to take the next step and develop a complete Remote Operational Management System (ROMS). This is a great advance on the traditional magnetic board systems on which engineering possessions are currently planned and delivered. It gives an overview of the worksite in the context of the signalling diagram and allows the PICOP to relate to the site as seen by the signaller. These views are used during the planning of the work as well as during the conduct of the possession. With UK and international patents pending, the system is operated from a high specification computer which drives an array of eight or ten display screens. The schematic track diagram is designed to fit within the workstation, giving users an overview of the full area, but the system also has a facility to quickly zoom in to a view of particular areas of the worksite. A novel feature of this system is that users can access the PICOP’s workstation from any computer terminal in the UK as well as from site via an iPad or iPhone, which makes it ideal for management monitoring of a possession’s progress without having to interrupt personnel on site. This remote access facility also makes prepossession site meetings more efficient as they can be conducted remotely with all participants logged on to the workstation. The ROMS additionally features a voice over internet (VoIP) connection so that all participants can participate in the meeting, thus saving many hours of travel and associated costs.

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 29

feature Background database ROMS is more than just a mapping system. There is a database behind it, so that symbols on the display can ‘hold’ important information. Clicking on the symbol retrieves this information and opens a popup information window. Once read, that window is closed down and the display reverts to the map. For the operator, linking the database information to symbols is a simple process, simply dragging the data from the system database window and dropping it on to the symbol to make the database connection. The system also has a layer facility which enables electrical isolation diagrams to be applied which can show overhead line isolation sections. The system has built in safety reminders. For example, if the PICOP requests the signaller to operate a set of points, a ‘points reminder’ can be set on the workstation to highlight that the points have been reversed. Equally, a reminder can be given to show when an automatic level crossing is under local control. Symbols can also be used to link with a ‘rules and regulations’ prompt to remind the PICOP of rules compliance. This feature consists of an instruction window that appears when the PICOP places the cursor over the symbol. Symbols on the diagram, such as those for signals, points, bridges and tunnels, can also be linked with asset data. The facility allows the operator to see the detail of a particular asset by simply selecting the infrastructure symbol shown on the diagram and opening a data window.

Nationwide mapping Les Savoury feels that the time is right for the industry to have a nationwide internetbased track diagram mapping system. This would need to be strictly controlled to ensure that planned changes to the infrastructure are captured and controlled from a single source of information. Diagrams would be updated, uploaded and made available on line for the commissioning date of any infrastructure alterations so that displayed information is always current. He firmly believes that, if the industry is determined to improve communications at all levels, then this is a key component in achieving that goal. Innovations such as ROMS are helping to revolutionise rail safety communications and operational performance. Les states “The

Infrasafe is one of the UK’s leading providers of innovative rail safety solutions. Our management team combines vast industry expertise with a forward thinking approach to deliver significant improvements in project safety and productivity time.

features of systems such as ROMS and IMS certainly tick all of the right boxes for Network Rail’s future vision.” He would welcome the opportunity to work with Network Rail and other partners on the further development of such a national infrastructure mapping system and would like to see a ROMS trial carried out in an agreed test area. “There’s no doubt that Infrasafe will continue to show determination and vision to meet the demands of the rail industry”, says Les. “Times change, technology changes, and sometimes the rail industry struggles to keep up with this. We pride ourselves in being pioneers in the field, but our forward-thinking approach is based on hands-on traditional experience and a desire to promote safe working practices on the railway.”

An operator using the Remote Operational Management System.

Rail Safety Training & Assessment

Our specialist services include: •

Design & manufacture of railway magnetic board systems (Planning and Engineering Delivery)

Design & management of internet-based track diagram systems

Design of remote access systems to plan and deliver railway engineering projects (ROMS)

Nationwide railway safety training & assessment

Minor works including railway cable ducting

Supply of safety critical personnel

SSOW and possession engineering planning

Railway security services

Magnetic Board Design

Magnetic Board Manufacture

Internet Based Track Diagrams

Remote Operational Management System

Cable Duct Installation and Minor Works

Safety Critical Personnel

30 | the rail engineer | november 2012

(Right) Cutting the end of the new rail, so that it fits with the previous section. (Below) The central gantry carries a pallet of new sleepers over the top of the Pancut wagon.


a dark night, with rain in the air, a car O nturns left onto a narrow lane on the outskirts of Belper in Derbyshire. As it makes the turn, a stream of vehicles approaches from the other direction to turn right and follow it down the lane. A few cars are mixed in with an assortment of white vans bearing logos such as AmeyColas, McGinley, Sky Blue and Network Rail. The high-output tracklaying team is in town. Network Rail has two of these high-output teams, as well as five for ballast cleaning, one of which the rail engineer visited recently (issue 96, October 2012). Based around the country, this particular team has been working in the East Midlands for the last six months. However, before that they were in the West Country, and many of the team originated from Scotland as they originally worked for First Swietelsky before they transferred over to AmeyColas. Now, wherever they came from, and whichever company they are actually paid by, they are an integrated team, replacing and rebuilding Britain’s railways on a nightly basis. And they have some great toys to play with! The high output tracklaying train, built by Matisa in Switzerland, is about 800 metres long and weighs up to 2500 tonnes. It can tear up old track, smooth off the ballast, place fresh concrete sleepers on it and then lay continuously welded rail into position, fastening the clips up neatly - all faster than you can walk. Plain line track replacement is now thoroughly mechanised. Like any highvolume system, it has its limitations. However, when conditions are right, the amount of work it can carry out is truly impressive. Tonight’s job forms part of the complete renewal of an eighteen mile stretch of the midland main line between Derby and Chesterfield being undertaken during nighttime possessions on Mondays to Thursdays. Eight miles out of Derby on the Down line, the worksite has just reached Belper. In another few weeks, at Christmas, it will be time to turn around at Chesterfield and come back again on the Up line.

Diggers and brute force It’s time for a safety briefing, ably conducted by Flint from McGinley. It looks as though most of the trackside team come from McGinley. The machine operators are all AmeyColas, while Sky Blue employees are there to do the welding. Flint stresses that tonight’s work will be conducted on the Down main line, and that the adjacent Up line will remain open, albeit with a 20mph speed restriction. There will be lookouts posted, and the COSS, Controller Of Site Safety, will be in contact with the signallers throughout the night, so he will know of any approaching train well in advance. Out on track, with Flint acting as guide and shepherd, at first it is all a bit of an anticlimax. A Quattro road-rail excavator trundles along and, without fuss, digs a hole both sides of the track, depositing the spoil on the grass embankment to one side. It then moves off to go and do some work on an overbridge a little further along the line.




Highly organised

high output

Next, a man stands on the track between the two holes and attacks the trackbed with a shovel. To start with, he doesn’t seem to be achieving much, but it becomes apparent that he’s knocking the ballast directly under the track sideways into the two holes, creating a void that will leave three or four sleepers hanging in the air. This will be the starting point for the machine. Up ahead, a gang of men with keying hammers are knocking all the clips out of the sleepers. In fact, they are leaving one in twenty in place, as they will retain the track just enough for the machine to run on it.

The train arrives Once that is all finished, there is a blare of sirens from the lookout-operated warning system, a row of orange flashing lights, and headlights in the distance. Pulled by a class 66 locomotive, which interestingly is in Bardon Aggregates colours, the high-output machine is arriving.

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 31


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32 | the rail engineer | november 2012

As the lights of the train shine on the underside of a bridge, the safety barrier, keeping operatives away from the live adjacent line, can be seen. (Right) More track cutting alongside the Pancut wagon while a gantry passes overhead.

This is TRS2 (track renewal system 2). The other one is TRS4. Don’t ask! No numbering system is perfect and there is sure to be a logical, if lengthy, explanation. Once the loco has passed, it is followed by a flatbed wagon loaded with 120 concrete sleepers on five pallets. And a second wagon. And a third. And another. And another. Twelve wagons later (the train can actually handle a maximum of 31 - enough for 2000 metres of track), the clever part of the machine arrives. Three vehicles make up this section, the first of which looks a bit like a conservatory. In fact it is the Pancut (Pandrol and rail Cutting) area where members of the team can work on the track safely protected not just from the weather but also the hazards of the work site and from passing trains on the adjacent line. As the train moves, they walk along protected in their little glass house with opening sides. There are also tripwires to stop the train in case anyone falls. An abrasive cut-off wheel is used to cut the track directly under the train. In addition, the new rail, which is lying alongside the existing one, is cut to the same length.


At this stage they are pointed fore-and-aft, as this allows the wagons and pallets to be narrower and keeps the gantries clear of the open adjacent line, but the cranes on this gantry are on turntables, so in lifting them they are rotated through 90° ready to go on track. They are placed on a conveyor to be fed down into the bowels of the machine.

Starting up Sleeper cars Meantime, the rest of the train is getting ready. The countless wagons with the concrete sleepers have a flat steel rail on the outer edges of their flat beds. These are joined up by spacer beams between the wagons to form a railway along the whole length of the train. Three gantries run along these tracks, with long spindly legs and a cabin on top, they can straddle the wagons and pick up pallets to move them up and down the train. Due to gauge limitations, the operator in the cabin on top of each gantry is almost lying down. One gantry picks up pallets from the far end of the train and brings them most of the way back to the operating end. It then deposits it on a wagon and goes off to fetch a second. Another gantry collects that pallet and brings it to the middle work vehicle which also has a flat bed at the front end. This operation could be performed by a single gantry, but the distances along the train are so large that it is more efficient to have two sharing the work, even with the gantries running at about 16 km/h. A third and more specialised gantry then picks up one layer of sleepers off their pallet.

By now the rails have been cut, and the train inches forward. Men in the Pancut area have knocked out the remaining track clips and left them between the rails, from where a rotating magnetic drum further back on the train will pick them up and recover them. The old rail is splayed out from where it has lain on the old sleepers and the new rail, having been located by a pair of flanged rollers, is now curved up and over the old rail, and into place. Working in the pre-dug hole with a steel bar, one of the train team has bunched up three sleepers to create a space. Pick-up forks are lined up, and the first sleeper is lifted off the trackbed and placed onto a conveyor. A small ballast plough running ahead of this location has cut a groove in the ballast shoulder to expose the ends of the old sleepers and, as the train moves forward, a snowplough-looking blade under the wagon pushes the old ballast aside to create a flat bed for the new track. New concrete sleepers, looking very white in the dim light, and pre-fitted with green Pandrol Fastclips, come down another conveyor and are laid on that newlyploughed trackbed in a measured line.

One small snag is that there is a bogie just ahead of the sleeper conveyors, at the back of the middle work wagon. And at this stage, there is no rail under that wagon as the old rail has been curved away and the new one won’t be lined up until the sleepers have been placed. So what is the bogie running on? The answer is - fresh air. As it reached the cut ends of the rail at the end of the previous section, the bogie simply ran off the end. However, there was no big bang and expensive derailment. Instead, the weight of the train is being taken on a small set of caterpillar tracks running on the old sleepers which, at that location, are still in place. But it is enough to worry even a seasoned railwayman the first time they see the bogie being deliberately run off the end of the track! So the caterpillar track runs on the top of the old sleepers. Then the unsupported bogie goes past. The old sleepers are picked up, the ballast is ploughed away and the new sleepers are placed on the smooth bed, and finally the new rail curves in and into place. It sits down on top of the sleepers, is held in place by rollers while the clips are fastened, and the new track is in place. At the start, the new rail is fastened to the end of the previous section by Robel clamps. The welders will follow on and, when the train is clear, weld up the joint.

On the move! Once the new rail is clamped in place, and all the conveyors are primed, the train can start to move at operational speed. It has taken about two and a half hours to get this far, and a cynic would say he could have laid

34 | the rail engineer | november 2012

(Top) The TRS2 train in daylight showing the overall length. The gantries can be clearly seen. (Bottom) Concrete sleepers have been turned by the rotating cranes on the gantry which feeds the conveyors.

quite a bit of track by traditional methods in that time. However, once the train gets moving, it was easy to see how, even on restricted access times, the train can lay so much more track. In one eight-hour shift, during which the train only works for about 2.5 hours, it can easily lay 648 metres of new track and the record is 864 metres in seven hours. The 432 metres it was being asked to do tonight was well within its capabilities and was the end of a section of work. Track sections tend to be in multiples of 216 metres. This rather strange measurement system came about from the old 60 foot track panel. New rails are now manufactured by Tata Steel in Scunthorpe in 108 metre lengths, the equivalent of six 60 foot panels. Two of these are welded together to make a single 216 metre length, which is what is actually delivered to site. This then becomes the base unit. Tonight they are laying two new sections. Often, they manage three. Moving at speed, the whole train is an impressive sight. The main section is 140 metres long and has sixteen powered axles. The two class 66s, one each end, are just used for ferrying the train to and from site at this stage the train is running under its own power and is controlled from the rear vehicle. Twenty people work on the TRS itself, removing clips, running the gantries,


positioning the new rail and controlling the operations. The gantries bring in pallets of new sleepers, feed them into the conveyors, lift recovered sleepers into pallets and place them back down the train. They even recover the wooden spacers between the layers of sleepers on the pallets and tidy them into a bin so they can be reused. While the machine is running, the sirens blare again and an East Midlands Train class 222 comes past on the adjacent line. It is empty stock being relocated overnight, but it just shows that the high output track layer can work without blocking the railway completely.

Before and behind Up ahead, a signalling team is removing under-track cables and signalling connections before the train arrives and tears them up. They will all have to be replaced later. The excavator has dug some relieving pits over the bridge, so that when the ballast is pushed out of the old trackbed it falls into the pits rather than stressing, and perhaps collapsing, the walls of the bridge. Once it has done that, the RRV will carry on to the end of tonight’s section and dig another couple of holes so that the high output machine can extract itself from the railway in a reversal of the way it arrived. Behind the train is a gang of welders and a hand trolley, with a ballast regulator behind them, and a Plasser & Theurer 09-3X dynamic tamper bringing up the rear. The

tamper is fitted with DTS (Dynamic Track Stabilisation) which shakes the track, compacting the ballast by simulating the passing of heavy freight trains. When everything is finished, the section will be handed back to the operators with an 80mph temporary speed restriction. Tomorrow night, when the tamper has been over it again, it will be back to full line speed. Yesterday’s work has already been retamped and is now fit for 125mph running, even though the current linespeed is only 110. The line is therefore already prepared for a future linespeed enhancement on this section of the route. The train may be expensive, but it lays track at a rate of knots and does so without completely closing the railway and with a small, highly competent and integrated team of people. In addition, apart from a few missing clips, the only gap in the track at any one time is about 40 metres long under the train. If something goes badly wrong, such as a complete power failure, the train can be extracted and that short gap rebuilt by hand. In a conventional track replacement, the old track has to be lifted out and new panels lifted in - something that can result in half a mile or more of missing railway. Friday is a day off, and then over the weekend the machine, which is parked up and maintained at Toton near Nottingham during the day, will be working between Derby and Birmingham. Night-time working is impossible here as the access is too restricted, so it works the longer weekend possessions on this stretch of line. But on Monday night, whatever the weather, TRS2 will be appearing again on a track near Belper. Replacing and upgrading the railway network is a never-ending job.

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36 | the rail engineer | november 2012





h t r u fdo imension the


Blood, sweat and tears rederick Francis became a statistic at the age of 36. His was one of 1,032 lives taken by Britain’s railways in 1879. Back then, where trains went, death too often attended. Struck at just 10mph, Francis lost a boot, found later by the engine driver with his foot still in it. His left leg was crushed; six ribs had been broken and his scalp bore a large gash. But this wasn’t suicide or the aftermath of trespass. The deceased was “a railway servant” and had been hand-picked for the duties that killed him, such was his diligence…and misfortune. Recruited by the Somerset & Dorset Railway in 1877, Francis joined a permanent way gang under foreman platelayer Henry Ingle. Their patch encompassed the line’s centrepiece - the 1,829-yard Combe Down Tunnel which had opened three years earlier after 15 months in the making. A cabin was built into its east sidewall to accommodate them. Francis’ attachment to the gang proved eventful but brief. On Friday 13 December 1878, shortly after the 7:20am goods had passed through, a substantial collapse blocked the tunnel close to the northern entrance. This spoiled the weekend for upwards of 70 labourers who spent it clearing away the debris. Four weeks later, a second fall dislodged timbers supporting the roof, again disrupting services.


(Left) Pipework is attached to the sidewall as part of drainage improvements in the Devonshire Tunnel. (Right) The parapets of SAD/14 have been rebuilt as a result of bowing.

By spring 1879, the tunnel was alive with industry as a works party extended the lining - which had originally encased just the extremities - and rebuilt sections of existing brickwork. On 21st March, sidewalls were being taken down 300 yards from the north end. Francis found himself alone, much further into the tunnel, replacing a broken fishplate bolt. At around 2:40pm, a Wimborne to Bath train entered via the south portal. The change in air pressure would have tweaked his eardrums and caused the flame of his hand lamp to flicker, but neither prompted Francis to stand clear - an error of judgement he paid for. He lay next to the track, still conscious, until the locomotive foreman arrived from Bath where his boot had been discovered. He was soon claimed by his injuries. At the inquest, Ingle “could not account for the accident” as there was “plenty of standing room”, by which he meant 2 feet 9 inches between wall and train. This preamble serves to illustrate that tunnels are more than just grotty holes through hills. Each conceals a unique history, adding another dimension to its three physical ones. While Combe Down’s last operational chapter was written in 1966, a sequel is in development as the tunnel prepares to become a conduit for people once again.

Recycle path The idea of harnessing the S&D’s former trackbed, including Combe Down and Devonshire tunnels, as a congestion-busting artery into the heart of Bath had been floated before. But wishful thinking gave way to campaigning muscle throughout 2005 when a group of like-minded cyclists formed the Two Tunnels Group to give the idea a firmer push. Traction was gained when Sustrans, the charity behind our everexpanding National Cycle Network, included it in a successful bid for £50 million of lottery funding. Collectively known as Connect2, the aim was to improve journeys across 79 communities by establishing links between existing paths. That was five years ago. Procedural challenges subsequently hampered progress on Two Tunnels, but issues surrounding the route’s structures were resolved and appropriate surveys undertaken. The first earth moved in 2010 when excavators unplugged the buried northern portal of Devonshire Tunnel. Earlier this year, a 30 metre footbridge was hoisted into place over Monksdale Road,

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 37

feature A concrete slope is inserted into one of Combe Down Tunnel’s refuges.

spanning a gap previously occupied by a railway structure. And the S&D’s bridge across the Great Western Main Line threatened with demolition by impending electrification - has been reprieved to host the new path, albeit delayed while investigations and repairs take place. What’s left is a demanding works package that involves joining together the tunnels, an eight-arch viaduct, two three-span bridges, cuttings and embankments with 2¼ miles of tarmac. Another footbridge comprising a 40 metre Warren truss - has also to be installed following diversion of a gas main that ran too close to the desired alignment.

Getting physical In an age of austerity and financial scrutiny, the value-for-money on offer here is outstanding, even before the local economy accrues its benefits. The total bill will be just £2.5 million - perhaps enough to buy a stepfree footbridge over a railway. Pragmatism is key: what needs to be done gets done, but nothing is gold-plated. And the venture has not been overburdened by gooey layers of management. Patrick Tully, senior engineer at Sustrans, is overseeing the project - one of the most ambitious the charity has undertaken. Contracted to deliver it is Hydrock, with senior site manager Julian Geer leading the team. Mobilisation got underway in late June with the establishment of two

compounds - one at the north end of Devonshire Tunnel, reached via a haul road around Bloomfield Park, and the other two miles to the south-east beneath Tucking Mill Viaduct. An encapsulated scaffold was wrapped around this structure. Physical works on the tunnels began on 23 July with the removal of gates, a blockwall and years of accumulated detritus, thereafter allowing the installation of temporary lighting. To rid them of their soot, gritblasting has taken place to a height of 2.4m. Complicating the logistics between the tunnels is tranquil Lyncombe Vale and its three underbridges, one of which required a new deck before access over it could be gained.

Due care Throughout the site, structural repairs have been carried out by subcontractor Falcon. Heading southwards, Devonshire Tunnel (SAD/10) is first to be met, 447 yards in length and lined throughout in masonry. Prior to Sustrans securing a 40-year lease, this had benefited from the inspection regime of British Railways Board (Residuary). Few remedial works were needed, with

minor repointing at the crown, some crack stitching around the portals and brickwork repairs to the wing walls. Aluminium piping has been fitted into existing weep holes to ensure they don’t get blocked. Routes have then been established to allow water to reach the tunnel’s p-way drainage, around 200 metres of which has been renewed. Beyond the southern approach cutting is SAD/11, a 2.2 metre underbridge with its new 250mm concrete deck, a product of

Surface mounted cabling is installed for the tunnel lighting.

38 | the rail engineer | november 2012

(Left) Tucking Mill Viaduct had to be wrapped in scaffolding for its remedial works. (Right) Repairs to the parapets have been carried out in matching blue brick.

Preparatory works at Dartmouth Avenue ahead of the footbridge installation.

HDG Construction. The original span had been removed following closure. Its abutments’ upper brickwork was loose, missing or spalled - this has been reconstructed in Staffordshire blue brick, as has some of the masonry. Low parapet walls with galvanised steel handrails were added above the slab. While the work was straightforward, the bridge would restrict access through the site until the concrete had cured sufficiently to carry construction traffic. September’s inclement weather worked in the team’s favour, ensuring full strength was exceeded in just 14 days. The line was carried on embankment as far as SAD/12, a three-arch underbridge. Little attention was demanded here except stitching to vertical cracks in the piers, brickwork repairs at the parapet ends and some spot repointing. Due to erosion beyond one end of the bridge, stub trench sheet walls have been built as retainers at both sides of the path, tied together beneath it to provide mutual support. A simple, neat solution. Works to this and SAD/13, a single-arch bridge across a cutting, were carried out from MEWPs while elsewhere, platforms were erected by S N Scaffolds. The overbridge required little more than its vegetation being cut away.


SAD by name and nature was bridge 14, another three-span structure close to Combe Down Tunnel. This had kept the line’s engineers busy, with both the piers and arch barrels refaced in blue brick, as well as numerous patch repairs to the spandrels. But only when its ivy growth had been stripped was it apparent that the parapets were bowed to below the string course. As an addition to the planned works, these have been taken down, rebuilt and secured to a concrete reinforcement strip inserted behind them.

Honeypot attractions Until its recent transfer to Sustrans, ownership of Combe Down Tunnel (SAD/15) had been vested in Wessex Water, for reasons even it didn’t fully understand. Despite its size, rehabilitating the structure has not proved onerous: descaling spalled brickwork to alleviate any risk, a fair quantity of repointing, and drainage reconstruction particularly at the south end. Although its lining was extended following the 1878 collapse - which is marked by a significant change in section - much of the tunnel’s central portion features only occasional collars of brickwork, exposing the honeycoloured Bath stone which characterises the local architecture. Some of this was extracted from mines above the tunnel. Refurbishments to Tucking Mill Viaduct (SAD/16) necessitated a full scaffold. Originally built for a single track, a second structure was erected on its west side in 1903 as part of a scheme - ultimately abandoned on cost grounds - to increase capacity into Bath. The two structures were skinned in engineering brick to seamlessly tie them together, although movement has since resulted in some arch barrel cracks. These have been stitched and the skin extensively repointed. Tie bars have been introduced where bowing was identified in the spandrels. A new waterproofing membrane, hoppers and pipework will improve the drainage situation. Prior to the works, blockwalls at either end prevented access onto the viaduct; these proved so impregnable that 83 reptiles had colonised the deck. A licenced ecologist relocated them. 52 feet above ground level, the parapets had partly succumbed to vandalism so they were lowered slightly and tidied up. Blue brick has been used to infill the open refuges and replace aesthetically displeasing breezeblock repairs. A concrete coping has also been poured.

Nice but dim Yet to be installed is the tunnel lighting, although its cabling is already in place. Externally, this runs in a duct buried through the site, together with fibre optics for CCTV coverage - a security stipulation. To deter lurkers from standing in them, the bases of all the refuges have had a steep concrete slope inserted. Self-evidently, lighting plays a major role and brings conflict with it. Current standards remain silent on tunnels used for foot and cycle paths, but it’s clear that humans favour bright while bats welcome gloom. The compromise will see directional LEDs set at a height of 2.7 metres, creating a dark space at the crown. Lighting Services Group is geared up to install them. On top of this, United Visual Artists will brighten many of Combe Down’s refuges with feature lighting and a soundscape of musical voices. But ethereal matters take a back seat as the project’s most challenging element looms: tarmacking in confined spaces, hitting upwards of 200 metres daily to stay within programme. There is little room for manoeuvre - a 2.5 metre surface must be laid through 3.2 metre tunnels so, once the paver is in situ, the vehicles feeding it must travel back and forth over the same route. “Sorted”, asserts Julian, before outlining his plan - six track dumpers with a pivoting seat and dual controls will obviate any need for reversing. They will meet at designated passing places, each carrying 3 tonnes of material per trip. To deal with the fumes, fans installed at the tunnel entrances will push fresh air through at 2m/s, clearing Combe Down in 14 minutes.

Plot lines Eight years after a local, Mark Annand, resolved to change the map of Bath, the improbable Two Tunnels Greenway is approaching fruition. It benefited from a slice of “right place, right time”, but couldn’t have happened without the campaign group’s drive, the ambition and tenacity of Sustrans, and, in Hydrock, a contractor with proven delivery skills. Cartographers will be on standby in January. Many twists and turns have been woven into the story of Combe Down Tunnel since Frederick Francis played his bit part. What an anti-climax it would have been if the last page had brought decay and abandonment. Saved from that fate, the plot is about to thicken.

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40 | the rail engineer | november 2012

plant & equipment



the I nlatter half of 2011, revisions were made to the existing European Waste Framework Directive (EWD) which have far-reaching implications for every size and type of industry, not least rolling stock manufacture and maintenance. Now enshrined in UK law, the revisions have yet to receive the usual push for compliance, possibly because the focus across Europe remains on the dreadful economic climate. However, as with all such legislation, it will inevitably become more and more of a concern across industry, and the wise manager takes notice now to ensure any decisions made on processes, new plant or new equipment don’t fall foul of its requirements.

So what IS the WFD? The main thrust of the WFD is to ensure that companies continually work to minimise the amount of waste they produce. This might be anything from raw material wastage to lubrication oils and the wastes generated by process equipment. It is therefore not just applicable to the “waste end” of the chain, but to everything that creates that waste. So, in practical terms, the requirements range from controlling the amount of waste actually generated to recycling or reusing waste materials wherever this is a commercially available option.

Central to this legislation is a published hierarchy, or list of waste management options. It is now the legal obligation of every waste producer to choose the most environmentally acceptable option available - that is, the highest up the list that is commercially available and practicable. A glance at the hierarchy reveals that waste prevention tops the list as might be expected. However the next best option - Preparing for Re-use - may be a little less clear, especially as it is followed in the list by Recycling. Aren’t re-use and recycling the same thing? In fact, no. Re-use is when the waste is turned back into its original form and used again, whereas recycling means turning it into something else that is useable for another purpose. So, used oily rags that are high-temperature washed can be ‘re-used’, whereas waste oils that can be turned into an industrial fuel are ‘recycled’.

In practice In the case of many industrial wastes, the choice is very much governed by what is actually possible and available, but the onus is legally on the waste producer to make sure the best option is chosen. There’s plenty of information available on this, especially

for hazardous wastes such as oils, solvents, acids and even fluorescent tubes, where both the Environment Agency and DEFRA provide guidance. Reputable waste contractors can also advise. However, where it becomes tricky - and very much down to each individual waste producer is when considering the “Whole of Life” aspect of the waste, which the law also demands. In simple terms, this says that every aspect of waste from the raw material that produces it, through to the processes involved and its final treatment by a waste contractor, must produce the least detrimental impact on the environment. So, for example, if a maintenance depot has located a waste contractor which can collect and re-use (or recycle) every single waste it generates, but has to make five round trips of 200 miles each time it does so, then this is the wrong choice because of high diesel usage and exhaust gases generated. A recycling or re-use process that uses very high amounts of energy may be similarly inappropriate. In fact, the “Whole of Life” is pretty much a common sense approach designed for the best outcome all round, but it undoubtedly doesn’t make a waste manager’s job any easier. However, it can’t be ignored because, for some months now, a new consignment note format has existed; every time a waste producer signs these notes when waste is collected, he or she is also confirming that they have observed the law and chosen the best environmental option. So there’s no saying “I didn’t know”!

Ongoing review All of these considerations point to the need for works managers and waste managers to conduct an ongoing review of materials, plant and processes as well as waste management. Most will do this already with a view to cost control, and indeed further minimising waste generally produces its own cost benefits anyway. However, taking the required ‘Whole of Life’ approach to any review may reveal other solutions that can work quite seamlessly with existing provision. One company that feels it has welcome solutions to these considerations is Safetykleen, which provides component

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 41

plant & equipment cleaning equipment and waste services to rail maintenance depots and manufacturers alike. It has always offered a service built on the recycling and/or re-use of the waste fluid produced by the component cleaning process, and this has been expanded to manage a wide range of wastes from oil filters and batteries to acids and lubricants. However, it is the company’s branch system and service model which it believes is the key to compliance assistance and the “Whole of Life” aspect. Marketing director Leon McMahon explains: “Our business is very much based on local provision through a 17-branch network, and this naturally supports the WFD in a number of ways. There is never an issue with long distances for pick-ups because our vans and oil collection tankers are branch-based and the travel distances short, but more importantly we can collect several different wastes in one go at a cost-effective rate. “These visits may also be combined with the maintenance and waste removal visits for our parts washers, de-rusters, spraygun cleaners or other supplied equipment, cutting both required time and therefore costs still further. It also makes life much easier for the customer as he or she only has to deal with one company, and can benefit from packaged service rates”. Other ‘Whole of Life’ improvements can be made through choosing more energyefficient workshop equipment, and more and more manufacturers are making the relevant information available. Recycled products such as paint thinners and synthetic items such as lubricants can also add to the ‘plus’ tally. The

important thing is to be able to show that all these aspects have been considered, and the appropriate ones adopted. As with all legislation, there’s no escaping the fact that its observance is yet another burden for industry to carry. However, the plus side is that less waste, possibly coupled to more equipment efficiency, results in lower waste costs, lower running costs and greater productivity. Enhancing a company’s green credentials is a further positive. Leon McMahon continues: “The challenge for workshop and maintenance equipment suppliers is to produce ever more efficient machines with ever lower running costs. We have already launched new generation

component cleaners to meet this need, and to help our customers comply with the latest WFD.”


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42 | the rail engineer | november 2012

plant & equipment writer


Gregg Taylor Business development manager, ArcGen Hilta

Low Total Cost of Ownership

Prime Minister David Cameron W hen announced the “biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era” back in July, in the form of the High Level Output Specification (HLOS), it became apparent that a major transformation of the current UK rail infrastructure was about to be seen. However, at a time when companies are still suffering from financial instability, many will be looking to reap the rewards of this activity by decreasing their spending and increasing profit margins. Whilst this is a fair way of claiming back money lost during the recession, an all too common and frequent way that contractors look to reduce their costs on a project is by cutting the price of their plant and equipment. Unfortunately, this often means sacrificing the quality and reliability of that equipment, which can have an adverse effect on the long term efficiency, and therefore overall cost, of a project.

Generators as an example One area in which this is known to happen is in the selection and purchase of generators. These are essential pieces of plant for the majority of rail projects, but there is a risk that contractors will look to purchase cheaper products to reduce their budgets. Rather than looking solely at purchase price, it is far better to take in to account total cost of ownership (TCO) as a benchmark when specifying new equipment. If one considers that the standard cost of a generator is generally less than 20% of its lifetime cost, it is easy to see how, in the long term, TCO is a more efficient way of saving money than cutting back on initial expenditure. A number of elements factor in to TCO, including purchase price, performance, reliability and resale price. Making smarter purchasing decisions will reduce the total cost of ownership and ensure maximum profitability for long term projects. One of the first things to be considered is reliability. It stands to reason that the more reliable a machine is, the less project downtime will be experienced due to breakdowns and other problems. Because many onsite generators work in a wide variety of locations, purchasers should look for a strong base frame, a reliable brand of engine and additional extras such as heavyduty air filtration.

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 43

plant & equipment

(Top) Large side doors and panels are essential for easy maintenance. (Below) Fork pockets and lifting points make moving generators easier and cheaper.

Specifying additional features, such as the cation electro-painting of canopies, to protect the machine from the weather and possible site handling damage will also help to provide durability and longevity of the equipment.

Maintenance and repair As an extension of this, one should always try to ensure that repair costs can be kept to a minimum by purchasing a high quality machine with technical functions that monitor for potential issues - after all, it is better to catch a problem early than risk complete shutdown. For instance, some generators carry easily readable control panels with a digital display of warning lights that can alert operators to an issue before it becomes critical. Additionally, generators can be equipped with self-protection devices to reduce the risk of breakdowns and lower TCO. Functions such as auto engine shutdown in the event of low oil pressure, high water temperature, insufficient charge or overspeed of engine also prevent more damage being done to a machine in the case of a malfunction. Maintenance costs are the third consideration to be taken in to account when looking at TCO. All machines will need maintenance from time to time, but reducing the amount of time and effort required for maintenance will reduce costs considerably, and there are a number of generator features that can assist with this. Large side doors and panels are essential for easier servicing - the quicker it is to service, the cheaper the work is and the less time the machine spends out of commission and not earning money.

Stunningly efficient and bright Another thing to consider is minimising transport costs. Generators are big, bulky pieces of plant, and it can be time consuming and expensive to transport them from one site to another - anything that makes this easier will reduce TCO. When choosing a new generator, look for fork pockets and central lifting points as key features that will make moving heavy generators much easier, and therefore cheaper.

Resale price One of the final factors to realise is that buying strong, popular brand names will increase resale value if, or when, it is time to sell a generator. ArcGen Hilta often buys back its own machines when projects are finished so they can be refurbished and sold to other customers The company is confident that its brand of generators can stand the test of time. Whilst a cheaper brand will cost less initially, the return on investment will inevitably be lower when reselling than that of a high profile, reliable piece of kit that commands a higher second-hand price. When purchasing a generator, or indeed any other piece of plant, for a rail project, the concept of total cost of ownership is often overlooked. However, by taking these factors in to consideration, a company can look to invest for the future with its plant and machinery, making smarter purchasing decisions and making their equipment work harder for them. And, with the beginning of David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s £9 billion package of investment in the rail industry, this will be essential to ensure constant operation and progression in the face of financial constraints.

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For your next project on Bridges & Tunnels, Track Relaying / Lowering, Drainage, Earthworks, or Emergency Response If you need to hire Unimogs, Road Rail Dumpers, Rail Dozers, Rail Bugs, Gators, Excavators, MEWPS, Rail Trailers, Spoil Boxes, Tracked/Wheeled Excavators, Loading Shovels, Dumpers, Tower Lights, Fuel Bowsers, Low Loaders, Flatbed Arctic Wagons, Plant Wagons with Hi-Ab's & All kinds of Attachments we can help.

To enquire about our road-rail vehicles for use on your next project (can include POL) or for our most recent plant availability list contact us.

David Richardson Plant Hire t. 01228 518 150 e. Kirk Taylor Managing Director t. 01228 882 300 e.

Rail Team of the year 2012

46 | the rail engineer | november 2012

plant & equipment

TRACTORS ON TRACK are useful pieces of kit - ask T ractors any farmer. They are strong and reliable, they can go almost anywhere, and the range of attachments that can be fastened to them is huge.

Plant tyre repair services proven on rail projects nationwide Fast • Rapid 24/7 response from experienced, fully-insured fitters • All specialist roadrailer and Gigarailer tyres ready in stock

Fair • Agreed service level and fixed prices • Photographic evidence of tyre damage to eliminate third-party disputes

Efficient • Electronic job sheet delivered direct to your in-box • Paperless E-billing through Coins/Tradex hubs to Basda, Sap, Movex etc.

Can you afford to trust anyone else?

Rail Division

National Contact Centre: 01530 244441

Visit us online:

Of course, some of those attachments are industry-specific. Ploughs and harrows are useful in agriculture, but wouldn’t be much use in a railway environment. However others, such as the chippers and mulchers used in forestry and land management, can carry over into rail applications. As in most other areas of plant and equipment, there are several major manufacturers of tractors. However one of them, Valtra of Finland, has a neat trick that makes their tractors particularly interesting to railway users. They can be driven equally quickly in either direction.

Two way street One of the options available for the cab of Valtra’s T-series tractors is a ‘reverse drive’ system. The seat can be rotated through 180° and then faces a second set of controls, a steering wheel and foot pedals. This allows the tractor

to be driven backwards, and makes it easier for the operator to use rearmounted implements. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decide that this will then make an ideal platform to be turned into a road-rail vehicle. Add a pair of flanged wheels front and back, some extra controls and there you are. Specialist rail plant hire company TRAC Engineering has two of these tractors, both 160hpVatra T121s. They were added to the fleet in summer 2010.

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 47

plant & equipment Chipping and Mulching A 16x14 Vandaele chipper can be mounted to the front power take-off (PTO). This processes timber using three multitooth blades mounted on a flywheel. Each blade has eight individual carbide-tipped teeth to give long life and good cutting performance. This can reduce bushes, dead wood and even sizeable trees to wood chips in no time at all, spraying the resultant chippings out of an adjustable nozzle. At the rear, a PTO driven Noremat mulcher with eighteen double sided cutting hammers and a seven metre reach has been fitted. The cutting drum can rotate in both directions enabling mulching operations to be carried out when driving in either forward or reverse. This tool is ideal for clearing all types of vegetation including brambles, young growth and saplings from embankments and other areas. As an alternative, the chipper on the front can be replaced by a weed spraying unit. This has a 1500 litre clean water tank and a separate 90 litre chemical tank. In operation, the water and chemical are mixed in a separate chamber as required, ensuring that the water tank will never be contaminated with chemical. Spraying is carried out using four forwardfacing ‘Radi-Arc’ vibrating nozzles. They are positioned so they can spray both the track bed area and the banking area if required. When all four ‘Radi-Arcs’ are operating at the same time, the coverage is out to seven metres from the centre of the 4-foot, either side of the track. Alternatively they can be

switched on individually to accommodate differing track configurations. With all 4 heads in operation, it will treat 6 miles of track.

(Top) The Noremat mulcher has a seven metre reach. (Left) The brand new Vandaele chipper working on track two days after delivery.

And there’s more… The two tractors worked throughout the UK during the winter of 2010, and have been busy ever since. Since August this year, one has been working in North Wales out of the Shrewsbury delivery unit. It is set to be there for another six months with TRAC’s specially trained operatives. The other tractor is predominantly working in the Yorkshire area, completing de-vegetation works. With demand growing and both machines booked out solidly for the foreseeable


future, TRAC has just taken delivery of two more of these tractors. These are updated Valtra T133 machines and they have arrived just in time to handle the workload over the winter. They already have customers waiting. So the versatility of the humble tractor makes it a vehicle of choice for the railway industry as well as agriculture. With a bit of time (if they ever get it) and two new tractors to play with, it will be interesting to see what attachments TRAC Engineering comes up with next.

Principal Contractors Licence & Plant Operators Licence

Delivering your projects safely, on budget and on time.

TRAC is a specialist engineering contractor delivering engineering solutions from minor works through to complete turn-key engineering solutions to the rail sector. Holding both Network Rail Principal Contractor and Plant Operator in Possession Licences,TRAC have the management capability and operating systems to effectively control and deliver projects safely, on time and to budget.

+44 (0)1698 831111

48 | the rail engineer | november 2012

plant & equipment


tool store

The ePod is an unmanned, selfcontained, self-service rental/hire portal.

working on the construction of W hen new rail track, or track renewals, the work is generally undertaken outside of peak travel times, meaning that working weekends and evenings is commonplace for many rail engineers. This aspect of work in the rail industry means that, for any contractor hiring equipment, the job needs to be planned exactly and tools need to be hired during the working 9am-5pm week, not allowing for unexpected changes or flexibility in the job. Speedy continually looks to ‘find a better way’ and recognised a need for a more specialised hire service so, working in conjunction with Motorola and Codegate, Speedy has developed the ePOD™.

Requirement There is an obvious need for an ‘on-site’ depot with flexible hours which can accommodate the schedules of rail engineers and their various crews. With a traditional on-site facility, a delivery van with a stock of tools and equipment is required, as well as a storeman to remain at a single site to conduct transactions. Seeking a more efficient way to serve such on-site customers, Speedy proposed to create a self-service equipment storage and rental system. They envisioned a mobile equipment ‘pod’ that could be used anywhere, transported on the back of a small delivery vehicle and manoeuvred by fork-lift. The pod would be stocked with the specific tools and equipment required by that customer. Tools leaving or returning to the pod would be automatically tracked and rental fees assessed by means of embedded RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags and an ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID fixed reader integrated in the pod. Working with Codegate, an integrator which had previously helped with successful mobile IT projects, Speedy began testing to find a combination of tags and readers that could function reliably in the dust and dirt of a rail site, where metal surfaces, liquids, radio-based communications, unshielded generators and other RF interference sources are the rule rather than the exception.

Testing tags A variety of UHF RFID tags were fitted on or inside Speedy equipment. Mounting tags inside power tools and onto metal surfaces required careful positioning to ensure that tags would be out of the way of the equipment user, protected against removal and yet remain readable by the portal. To properly tag some equipment, tag manufacturer Omni-ID developed new fixing techniques, including a zip-tie system to keep tags from moving or slipping in use or storage. The tag development process incorporated ATEX certification, signifying compliance with the EU directives for items to be used in ‘ATmosphères EXplosives’, and HALT (highly accelerated life testing) to ensure tags would meet or exceed shock and vibration standards for use in arduous or hazardous environments. RFID read performance was then tested in an anechoic chamber at Omni-ID’s UK base. After less than ideal results with other readers, the introduction of the Motorola FX9500 into the design increased read rates by ten times or more, ensuring reliable reads for every scan. The FX9500 features an IP53 ingress protection rating and an extremely rugged design, built to perform in extreme temperatures and dusty environments. The iterative design process and customer input ensured that the final system design exceeded the dynamic and static load tests needed for Speedy’s customer environment. Once initial tests had demonstrated that RFID could provide reliable and accurate data capture even in a challenging environment, a pod unit was constructed to demonstrate a proof of concept for the self-service system, and was then refined and tested for several

months. The prototype was then also shown to some of the largest construction companies in the UK for their buy in. Production was approved and deployment of the first units was scheduled.

Production design The ePod, is an unmanned, self-contained, self-service rental/hire portal that can be inserted inside a warehouse shop or standard shipping container. It can be transported quickly and easily using a truck and a forklift. Lighting is connected and operated by the built-in Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensors. No other electrical service is required. The customer is issued a unique low frequency RFID entry tag for each authorised ePod user, which means that it is very useful in managing multiple sub-contractors, or gangs on site. The user simply swipes the entry tag to unlock the external door. On entering, the user is greeted by an audible welcome message and talked through how to use the unit. (Entry tags can be programmed to use a specified language file for each user, which means this is ideal for sites with a variety of languages spoken). An automatic scan determines whether any tools are being returned into stock, in which case they are placed back on the racking inside the storage area. Damaged items are returned into the damage store and the system automatically alerts Speedy that the equipment is to be replaced. After returning and selecting equipment, the user is scanned for any assets that they are taking out. When the scan has completed, a green light lets the user know they can now leave.

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 49

plant & equipment

All asset movements and ePod status reports are sent back to Speedy over the mobile phone network via a GPRS transmitter. Every movement is accompanied by a photograph of the user taken by a built-in webcam, which means that it is great in providing an audit trail of which users removed or returned equipment, therefore reducing damages and losses. Equipment movement data and asset status from the ePod unit are available to the customer via Speedy’s extranet web portal, including reports of all items in the damage store. The same information is sent to Speedy by way of an internal web portal. Alerts and warnings from the ePod generate an e-mail and/or SMS text message both to the customer and to Speedy. Asset movements are passed back into Speedy’s

Enterprise Solution which is delivered using Microsoft Dynamics AX. This system automatically generates all invoices. The ePod solution will offer customers an improved and more cost-effective service to on-site customers, as well as to customers in geographical areas not currently served by Speedy depots. Customers will have 24/7 access to the equipment they use, providing complete flexibility to meet variable work crew needs. Customers will also benefit by

Speedy Supporting the Rail industry

paying rental fees only when the equipment is actually in use, reducing their total operating costs. In addition, automatic updates of each customer’s “My Speedy” extranet account will provide greater visibility to current usage patterns and associated charges, enabling customers to plan and budget more effectively.


Speedy’s range of specialist rail equipment and services covers all your rail project needs from site planning, mobilisation, enabling & advanced works. Announcing the opening of our brand new Doncaster rail depot servicing projects across Yorkshire, the North East & East Coast.

0845 601 5129

The ePod can be transported quickly and easily using a truck and a forklift.

50 | the rail engineer | november 2012


Waterproofing options Its working party set about identifying the ideal specification which an effective new waterproofing system must achieve and arrived at the following key criteria: • Long and effective life • Quick and easy, all year round application • Capable of load bearing after one hour • Tough enough to resist random site damage • Bridge shrinkage cracks in concrete decks over a wide temperature range • High bridge deck bond strength • Easily repairable.

Rail industry relationship

(Top) Installing a Hytec flexible waterproofing system. (Below) Eliminator was used extensively at St. Pancras to waterproof the track wells.

the rail network, the deterioration A cross of a bridge structure due to the action of water, exacerbated by the presence of chloride ions, can cause serious maintenance problems, incur major expense and lead to inconvenient line closures. The installation of an effective waterproofing membrane is therefore an essential part of any bridge building or refurbishment programme. It’s over 40 years since the UK rail industry first recognised the seriousness of these problems, following investigative work by the then British Rail Civil Engineers body into the degradation of their structures, which identified defective waterproofing as the major cause.

There followed an extensive laboratory and site-based testing programme to achieve this and it was during this time that Stirling Lloyd’s close involvement with the UK rail industry began. Approached by the plastics development unit to utilise its knowledge of polymer chemistry, Stirling Lloyd’s three years of laboratory tests and four years of on-site trials eventually arrived at the Eliminator waterproofing system. This methyl methacrylate-based, liquid membrane system, spray applied in one or two coats, was the only one that could meet all key criteria in both laboratory and on-site conditions. The many advantages the system offered included easy detailing with no vulnerable joints, a high bond strength to the substrate, ease and speed of application to minimise track possession time, toughness with no protection boards required, crack building capabilities and tolerance of difficult site and climatic conditions enabling all year round application. The Eliminator has gone on to enjoy some 40 years of success and continues to protect hundreds of high profile rail bridge structures at home and abroad, with international recognition from some of the world’s leading rail authorities. Throughout this time, Stirling Lloyd has continued to invest in the development of both the Eliminator and other polymer-based systems.

Remaining concerns In pursuit of continuous improvement and success, Stirling Lloyd has maintained its ongoing dialogue with the rail industry. Though generally accepted that the best waterproofing is provided by a tough, flexible, tightly bonded system, it emerged, through these regular rail industry discussions, that certain situations would require the use of a nonbonded system. The general opinion amongst most engineers remained that, in the long term, a fully bonded system would have the benefit of restricting any water penetration caused by localised damage or failure of the waterproofing, and that liquid systems were the most adaptable, accommodating changes in plane with ease and requiring little special attention at details and terminations. However, two concerns remained, both relating to refurbishment possession work where conditions would remain unknown until the work commenced. The first concern was that liquid systems could not be applied if the substrate was of loose, friable material such as masonry arch fill. Whilst this was not strictly true as Eliminator has been successfully applied onto such substrates using a geotextile base, it did establish the need for Stirling Lloyd to provide better guidance concerning the use of its materials. The second concern was the one element of a contract that no-one has any control over; inclement weather. Whilst low temperatures and high humidity create no problems, wet weather does, requiring either a suspension of the waterproofing work or the provision of suitable temporary protection. It seemed that even the Eliminator fully bonded system was not immune to the problems caused by rain during a possession. As a result, Stirling Lloyd set up a development team to produce a system which was not inconvenienced by wet weather and could be offered alongside Eliminator.

30 years later and we’re still on track

For over three decades, Stirling Lloyd have been involved in numerous highly challenging rail projects in the UK and around !"#$%&'()#*+,,'-./0#!.0!#,"&1%&23/4"#$3 "&,&%%5#/0#*-* "2*# that have played an integral part in the long-term protection of both the UK’s and international rail networks. Working closely with the design team we are able to offer tailored solutions with both our tightly bonded and loose-laid sheet $3 "&,&%%5#/0#*-* "2*#%11"&./0#(.* ./4 #%/6*. "#3/(#./6*. +# ,"&1%&23/4"#3(73/ 30"*#,&%7.(./0#3#%/"6* %,#$3 "&,&%%5#/0# solution for the rail industry.

Stirling Lloyd’s solutions for the rail industry include: !"#$%&'%()&*+,%!-!../&0$&&&&&&&&1200%3&*+,%!-!../&0$& 4,+,".0&5%62!7"89:%0,&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&;+!&<+!)&5%62!7"89:%0,&& =..,7!"#$%8&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&;.3.2!&'%:+!(+,".0

<5>?@A& 5B'C@&'@;D&*E1@5<5>>=BAC @3":"0+,.!® is a seamless, cold spray applied system that cures &3,.('-# %#1%&2#3#(+&38'")#9#":.8'"#2"28&3/"#$. !#/%#7+'/"&38'"# joints or seams. Developed with rail engineers to produce the .("3'#8&.(0"#("4;#$3 "&,&%%5#/0#2"28&3/")#@3":"0+,.!® offers long-term, effective protection that outlasts the design life of !"#8&.(0"<#="" *# !"#>?#@3.' &34;#A,"4.5#43 .%/#B@CDECFGHCIJK# for tightly-bonded systems. 4@5;>&<E'4&FGHIJKFFFGL Hytec#.*#3#'%%*"6'3.()#9#":.8'"#*!"" #2"28&3/"#$. !#":4", .%/3' mechanical properties. Developed for fast track rail possession working, when deck and climate conditions are uncertain and 23*%/&-#3&4!#8&.(0"*#$!"&"#/%#4%/ ./+%+*#("4;#":.* *<#="" *# !"#>?#@3.' &34;#A,"4.5#43 .%/#B@CDECFGHCIJK#1%&#'%%*"6'3.(# systems. 4@5;>&<E'4&FGHIJHFMJGL

Stirling Lloyd’s Major Rail Projects include:

St Pancras Station, London, UK ELIMINATOR

Moorcock Viaduct, Cumbria, UK HYTEC

Blackfriars Bridge, London, UK ELIMINATOR

For more information on our rail systems, FREE CPD or to discuss how we can assist you with your rail project, please contact: JANET TOON 01565 6332150


KATH KING: 01565 6332149

STIRLING LLOYD UK & WORLD WIDE Stirling Lloyd Polychem Ltd. Union Bank . King Street . Knutsford . Cheshire . WA16 6EF . UK Tel: 01565 633111 . Fax: 01565 633555 . Email: Web:


52 | the rail engineer | november 2012

(Top) Both Hytec and Eliminator have been used on the East London line. (Centre) Spraying Eliminator onto a bridge deck and (Bottom) Testing a finished installation.


Non-bonded system The result was its Hytec flexible polypropylene waterproofing system, designed especially for fast track rail possession working, where deck or climatic conditions are uncertain, or for masonry arch bridges where no continuous deck exists. This loose laid sheet system can be seamed using traditional hot-air welding which is quick, clean and highly effective, or by hot wedge or extrusion welding. Sheets of Hytec membrane may be seamed on-site or pre-formed into large tailormade sheets off-site prior to the works. The material is produced from a compound of polypropylene and ethylene propylene (EP) rubber and combines the heat weldable seaming benefits of traditional thermoplastics with the superior mechanical properties and resistance to ageing of thermoset elastomers. Flexible polypropylene materials were first developed to provide a superior, but environmentally less damaging, alternative to traditional thermoplastics. They are now used in all major industrial sectors in over 100 countries throughout the world. Hytec offers exceptional resistance to chemical attack, UV, tear initiation and propagation and puncture, with its excellent physical properties also helping to ensure a long service. These are maintained across an unusually broad range of temperatures even when exposure is for long periods. A high melting point of 140°C and retained flexibility and impact resistance down to 40°C ensures handling is possible and integrity is maintained under all weather conditions. Hytec is inert and completely resistant to stress cracking. It has an unusually low coefficient of thermal expansion which reduces dimensional change, simplifying installation and handling as well as reducing stresses on seams and anchor points. In short, the Hytec loose laid system can be applied under unreliable installation conditions where the substrate condition is unknown and under variable weather conditions, including very wet conditions, with no loss of quality.

Alternative systems New structures, replacement bridges, deck replacements and the refurbishment of existing structures can all now be accommodated with a combination of non-bonded and bonded deck waterproofing systems, regardless of site or climatic conditions. Both systems conform to Specification NR/L3/CIV/041 Issue 3 and are PADS Registered. Eliminator’s catalogue number is 028/97002 while Hytec’s is 028/980492. Much of London’s recent rail infrastructure improvements, carried out as part of the capital’s public transport network development ahead of the Olympic Games, has, for example, involved these systems. The East London Line extension stretching from West Croydon to Dalston, and a major project to enhance the overground rail service to the Olympic Park site, has seen both Eliminator and Hytec installed. Some 22 bridges in total were waterproofed using these systems to provide long term protection for a total area of over 32,000m².

Elsewhere in London, following earlier successes at Waterloo International Terminal and on various bridge and viaduct structures along the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now HS1), Eliminator was also chosen as the ideal waterproofing system during the major renovation project at St Pancras Station. Here too it was used on all rail bridges as well as to waterproof the track wells, providing essential long-term protection for the retail area below the refurbished station.

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 53


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54 | the rail engineer | november 2012



Paul Smith Sales Manager-Rail, Charcon Specialist Products


construction kit the key areas in which Network O neRailofuses precast concrete products is in the construction of station platforms. Look at a modern platform or platform extension, and it is likely to be made from a variety of concrete beams, slabs and trestles, all manufactured elsewhere and then assembled on site like a giant construction kit. Charcon Specialist Products, part of Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, has supplied Britain’s railways with precast concrete platform products for over 30 years. It has maintained a strong market presence throughout this time, and the range of products it is now able to offer has increased significantly over the last few years through acquisitions and expansions.

Recent success

Significant investment A large capital investment from its parent company has allowed Charcon to expand and improve its flagship manufacturing facility at Littleport, Cambridgeshire, which forms the hub of its precast rail operations. Charcon’s rail products portfolio traditionally included platform surface products such as copings, edge warning tactile paving, trestle slabs, oversail blocks and bridge parapet copings. As a result of the new investment, this has now expanded to include components for platform construction itself, including support beam and hollowcore flooring, platform retaining walls, semi and fully modular precast platform solutions. The platform construction side of the business is a key part of Charcon Specialist Products’ growth strategy, with a significant amount of investment going into capacity enhancements. The additional products complete the range and create a ‘one stop shop’ for precast rail platform products.

While the market for platform surface products is reasonably stable, the real growth area is in precast modular platform solutions. Charcon engineers spent a long time with Network Rail working on a Form A approval in principle for precast modular platforms. Now that this is included in the Network Rail specification NR/L3/CIV/162 issue 2 for platform extensions, it is no longer perceived as something unusual or a risk. The result is that more schemes are now using precast platforms due to the benefits such systems offer, and as specialists in the field Charcon is well placed to capitalise on these opportunities.

The Littleport factory has already proved that it can deliver high-quality modular precast platform products to the rail industry on time and on budget by supplying projects such as the remodelled station at Blackfriars. Charcon produced the precast modular platforms, along with other platform surface products including copers and tactiles. More recently, Charcon has been appointed by Costain as one of its delivery partners for the remodelling of London Bridge Station and is currently working as part of the project team to develop the precast platform designs for the project. That work has developed from very early meetings with Network Rail through to the contractor tender process, promoting the benefits of a precast modular solution. Charcon was invited by Costain to tender for the works and now, as part of the delivery team, is able to offer significant cost savings and efficiency, demonstrating the benefits of early engagement in the project. Charcon is an operating division of Aggregate Industries, one of the largest construction materials suppliers in the UK. As such, it has the largest geographical reach of any precast supplier in the country due to the extensive facilities within the Aggregate Industries family. If the project dictates, production can be set up in the manufacturing facility nearest to the site, or at the very least products can be stored close to the project, which improves efficiency and reduces handling and transport costs.

november 2012 | the rail engineer | 55


In-house manufacture Charcon is one of the few companies in the industry able to manufacture all its precast rail products in house at its own facilities, giving the customer confidence that what they are receiving is actually an Aggregate Industries product. This allows it to provide complete traceability on all its production, both from a QA perspective, right down to which quarry actually produced the raw materials. The rail industry particularly needs to have confidence in the product it is receiving and to know that the supplier will be around for

many years to come, offering complete traceability and accountability on its products. Competition in the sector is fierce with a relatively small number of approved suppliers competing against each other, so all manufacturers are constantly striving to innovate and find new ways to do business. Charcon is no exception, and understands that innovation is essential. It has long been a market leader in this sector, and the resources at its disposal allow the company to constantly be looking at ways to become more efficient and drive down cost.

One recent example of this is the distribution arrangement that Charcon has entered into with Keyline. The company recognised that not all projects are set up to take full loads of product direct onto site during normal working hours, and having Keyline acting as a stockist ensures that Charcon remains competitive on projects of all sizes. Despite going into 2013 with a secure order book, Charcon expects the rail side of its business to grow substantially in the next 3 years. With a programme of continuing innovation and customer focus, it is sure that it will be supplying the rail network for another 30 years.

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56 | the rail engineer | november 2012



Clive Kessell

New Rail Technical Strategy Department for Transport (DfT) is T heabout to launch a new Technical Strategy for Rail in the UK. What is this all about and why is it necessary? The Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) recently hosted a Railway Engineers Forum (REF) meeting at which Clive Burrows from First Group and James Hardy from the Railway Safety and Standards Board gave a preview on the new strategy and how it will differ from previous attempts to influence the longer term future. The first strategy for rail in recent times was published in 2007 with a focus on delivering a sustainable railway, whatever that was meant to mean. It tried to concentrate on a whole system approach with work needing to be done to enhance capacity, maintain safety levels, reduce carbon emissions and obtain a better customer experience, but above all to reduce cost. This led in turn to the high level output statements HLOS 1 and HLOS 2 including some major projects to be undertaken and a review of the passenger railway franchising system. The vision centred around improved performance but without any real link to the technical and engineering elements that would be needed to make it happen. Thus the Technical Strategy Leadership Group (TSLG) was formed to investigate the problems of the: • Asset Base • Standards • Timetable • People and Resources • Supply Chain. A re-engineering of the railway over a 2030 year period was envisaged, concentrating initially on achieving a low carbon railway by means of energy reduction, regenerative braking and intelligent system management. Another challenge was to move the technical direction away from being a Government document and something that was seen to be owned by the industry - hence the TSLG.

A Changing Rail Prospectus Since 2007, the perception of rail has undergone a transformation. Many changes are now happening, but one of the biggest has been the acceptance of a major electrification programme, something that had been advocated for years but without any real hope that it would happen. Other initiatives have been: • 2010 - The Route Mapping exercise undertaken by 150 industry professionals under the direction of Cambridge University; • 2010 - A major consultation on the contents of any future Rail Technical Strategy; • 2011 - The Barriers to Innovation report; • 2012 - The concept of a Transport Systems Catapult, funded in part by the HLOS 2 Innovation Fund and covering all modes of transport - road, rail, marine and air. From these come the ‘4 Cs’ challenge: i) Cost to be halved, ii) Capacity to be doubled on key routes, iii) Carbon emissions to halve, iv) Customer satisfaction to be increased from 90 to 99%. These are brave objectives and the road ahead is likely to encounter many setbacks and conflicts. However the Technical Strategy will set out how these goals will be achieved over a 40 year period. First step is to produce a framework on how it can happen. This will be done in a logical progression: • Concepts - how to corral the various elements and bring them together; • Themes - evolve logical themes from the concepts into technical areas; • Route Maps - develop so-called route maps from the themes and produce project plans within these; • Encouragement of Innovation - bringing together of ideas from universities, European Research and Standards Group, Railway Industry Association, Transport Knowledge Transfer Network, Research Council, Royal Academy of Engineering.

Technology - analysis and impact. One early aspiration will be the formulation of a vision for a sustainable railway. Recent analysis has shown that the network infrastructure still includes a plethora of signalling systems, telecom networks and equipment, as well as diverse types of rolling stock, none of which have been designed with sustainability in mind. So what is required? • Radio based signalling with trains knowing where they are; • Lightweight trains to reduce energy requirements; • Intelligent control to optimise train paths and minimise acceleration and braking; • Whole journey information for both controllers and passengers; • Precision of operation to avoid conflicts and quickly recover from perturbations. One example of less-than-optimised opportunities from the past is regenerative braking. This was available as early as the 1950s on the Manchester - Sheffield DC overhead electrified line. Not much more was done until the Class 323s on the Birmingham cross city electrification of the 1990s. By 2005, 60% of trains had a regenerative capability, but only 12% were using it with none on the third-rail DC lines. This raises the question of why did it take so long to get this significant energy saving measure in place?

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58 | the rail engineer | november 2012


To try and ensure similar opportunities are not missed again, a new industry structure will emerge to examine the availability of technology, align this with need, and work out the costs and benefits for application in the different parts of the system. This will be led by the Rail Delivery Group (already in existence on an ad-hoc basis but about to have a more formalised structure) that will give guidance to the TSLG in the formulation of detailed technical strategy and the direction of a National Task Force and a Planning Operations Group. Funding for Innovation will be from a variety of sources including Government for the Transport Systems Catapult, and from some European Bodies, which together with others will amount to £70 million for rail.

The strategy in context The Technical Strategy will concentrate on six main areas. These are: • Control, Command and Communications • Energy • Infrastructure • Rolling Stock • Information • Customer Experience. For each of these, a vision for 2040 will emerge that produces a seven-day railway through optimised capacity, intelligent traffic management, low carbon emissions, cost effective standardised designs including remote condition monitoring, transport integration at stations, integrated ticketing, freight route availability, and encouragement of innovative ideas in all areas. Taking each of these in turn, the likely deliverables will be: • Control, Command and Communication: ERTMS including in-cab signalling and possible adoption of Level 3, increased automation, operational optimisation, high speed, driver advisory systems, automatic train operation; • Infrastructure: simple, reliable and cost effective, sustainable and resilient, condition monitoring; • Rolling Stock: low mass, optimised

interfaces, alternative traction power sources, operationally better freight trains; • Energy: low carbon, reduced reliance on fossil fuel, electrification, smart grid technology; • Customer Experience: seamless journeys, accurate information, a competitive advantage for freight, end-to-end journey capability; • Information: customer services, reduced costs, common architecture, commercial partnerships, recognition that this is a valued rail asset. Whilst these are mere headings, the way in which each will be achieved will need to be considered in detail but three main methods will be employed: • Innovation - contribution to business success, cross industry technology and systems, removal of barriers, commercial models, support for innovators, identification of technical areas; • Whole System Approach - industry wide framework, co-ordinated planning, whole system modelling; • People - emphasis on leadership, reliable supply chain, design technology, skills forecasting, partnerships, competence. Good progress is already being made in many of these activities by the National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering (NSARE).

Vision and reality The presentation was quite lengthy, and many of the items within the strategy were entirely predictable. No-one is pretending that all of this will come about quickly. Strategy documents, by their very nature, lack detail. Just how this vision for rail will be achieved is not yet defined. Conflicts can be predicted, an example being the traditional presumption that innovation is the enemy of standards and vice versa. The faith in ERTMS may fail to appreciate the shortcomings with the present state of development and particularly the lack of data capacity within GSM-R. Much emphasis is being placed on innovation but there will need to be a process to distinguish between those ideas which can genuinely improve the railway and those that are the brainchild of ‘blue sky’ inventors and would never stand up to professional scrutiny. In the past, this role has been done by a centralised research body, but it is not clear if such an organisation will be created to fulfil this task. Little was said about safety, other than to infer that current safety standards must be maintained. However, the process of safety approval is tortuous and may well be a barrier to progress when trying to implement new systems and introduce new equipment. Maybe this problem will have to be tackled at a European level as much of the bureaucracy stems from legislation devised by the EU. The safety industry has grown to significant proportions over the past twenty years and it is all too easy for this to become self-sustaining by persons within it prolonging the approval process through pedantic detail. Whilst customer focus is admirable, there was no mention of how this might impact on fares, presumably because this is outside the technical remit. With everything else looking rosy for the rail industry, is it too much to hope that a general reduction in the standard fare structure might be achieved? The REF presentation was a preview of what will finally be published on 13 December. Getting a glimpse of the content was much appreciated and thanks were duly made to the two presenters. The RSSB will be holding a workshop on the Technical Strategy on 14 December, the day after launch, and further information can be accessed on the dedicated website.


november 2012 | the rail engineer | 59

senior appointments


Is your career on the right track? If you are looking to join a first class rail organisation with genuine opportunities for career progression, then read on. As Carillion Rail continues to grow and successfully secures rail project works from different sector clients, there is a need to grow our professional rail teams to ensure we maintain our history of successful delivery. We are looking for Rail experienced staff to join us and our project teams across various UK locations including London, Home Counties, Midlands, the North West and Scotland. We are especially looking for candidates for the following roles within Power, OHL and Track:

OHL Project Engineers

Power Design Engineers

Contract Responsible Engineers

OHL Design Engineers

Power Engineering Managers

Contractor Engineering Managers

OHL Engineering Managers

Permanent Way Project Engineers

Construction Managers

OHL / Power Design Group Managers

Senior Engineers

Site Managers

Signalling Project Engineers

Senior Project Engineers

Senior Supervisors

Signalling Design Engineers

Project Managers


Signalling Engineering Managers

Senior Project Managers

Carillion offers competitive salaries and an excellent benefits package with opportunities for training and development for successful candidates. If you are interested in joining us and leading the Rail industry forward then please apply by emailing your CV to quoting the job title/s you are interested in. Visit

All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence. We are not taking enquiries from agencies at this time.

Influencing your energy strategies with integrated solutions UK Power Networks Services is a leading provider of electrical infrastructure with significant experience of working on high profile transport projects such as High Speed 1, High Speed 2 and Crossrail. UK Power Networks Services: • Consistently delivers results on the most challenging projects • Can undertake the total requirements of any strategic infrastructure project • Has access to a wealth of international experience in providing finance solutions

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The Rail Engineer - Issue 97 - November 2012  

The Rail Engineer Issue 97 November 2012

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