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FEBRUARY 2017 Issue 229 £4.95


2017: a new dawn or more of the same? Our experts give their opinion of the year ahead

Light Rail/Metro An expanding part to play

Depots Inspiring places for top talent

Rail Ombudsman A Private matter




FEBRUARY 2017 IssUE 229 £4.95


2017: a new dawn or more of the same? Our experts give their opinion of the year ahead

Light Rail/Metro An expanding part to play

Depots Inspiring places for top talent

Rail Ombudsman A Private matter

PUBLISHER RAIL PROFESSIONAL LTD Hallmark House, Downham Road, Ramsden Heath, Essex CM11 1PU Telephone: +44 (0)1268 711811 EDITORIAL EDITOR LORNA SLADE BUSINESS PROFILE EDITOR SAM SHERWOOD-HALE ADVERTISING CHRISTIAN WILES HANNAH CARRATT LYNDSEY CAMPLIN ELLIOTT GATES SUBSCRIPTIONS BEN WARING ADMINISTRATION CHERIE NUGENT LISA ETHERINGTON JODI PRESSWELL DESIGN & PRODUCTION MILES JOHNSTONE Rail Professional welcomes contributions in the form of articles, photographs or letters, preferably by email. Original photographs may be submitted, but, while every care will be exercised, neither the editor nor the publisher take responsibility for loss of, or damage to, material sent. Submission of material to Rail Professional will be taken as permission for it to be published in the magazine. ISSN 1476-2196 © All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the copyright owners. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher, nor does it accept liability for any printing errors or otherwise which may occur.


editor’s note


eter Wilkinson was due to meet with me on the night of his now infamous comments in Croydon. He cancelled having his PA cite personal reasons. I thought it was uncharacteristic. As a fatalist it doesn’t seem relevant but I often wonder if he wishes he’d stuck to his original plans. The Times and the Guardian have been borrowing heavily from my December 2014 interview with Wilkinson, the only one he has given to any publication. I don’t know him extremely well, but enough – enough to know that he is currently a victim of his sometimes intense communication style more than anything else. It’s important for people on the outside of the industry to remember that what has gone on is the result of a situation the Rail Executive has since worked extremely hard to end: the West Coast fiasco had shown the DfT to be out of its depth and in need of external guidance. The deeper one delves into rail the more one realises that appearing to be naive is a constant prospect, and Rail Professional is not attempting to be The Washington Post. There are web pages discussing Philip Rutnam’s relationship with David Brown, Peter Wilkinson’s connection, via FCP, with Govia and so on, and it can’t be denied FCP was the DfT’s ‘go to’ agency in a heavy way – for example Wilkinson’s friend and colleague at FCP Matthew Crosse was project director for the East Coast re-franchise, and was interviewed by me at the offices of the DfT in early 2015. I first saw and heard Wilkinson at a Transport Focus event, where he came across as the absolute voice of reason, and I gave him my card and requested an interview. At a post-interview dinner he was clearly passionate about rail and highly principled, mentioning earnestly that the first thing he had done on taking up his permanent position was to sell his shares in FCP. At a further meeting at the DfT a year or so later, it appeared that the pressure of dealing with the ‘characters’ in the coalition government in this messy industry with no apparent model for all-round satisfaction was having an effect. With his words conveying his intense dislike of George Osborne echoing across the large open plan office, it occurred to me the job must be beyond difficult. In that meeting Wilkinson spoke with force about how well paid drivers were and how they needed to stay working to get people to their jobs. He certainly was not pro-strike and was acutely aware of the distress that commuters were going through. At the time Wilkinson also seemed concerned that rail’s underlying growth was being affected for example by cheap petrol, terrorism, the prospect of more open access, and all bringing the appetite to bid into question. The conversation was wide-ranging and in it he confirmed his very good relations with investors. In connection with that, Peter Hendy, in his lecture to the CILT commented that the ‘amount of senior people in the industry who can talk about why the railway is good and why you should invest in it is slim.’ Wilkinson is one of those people. And it’s rich coming from, of all banks, HSBC, not only to divulge details of a private meeting with Wilkinson, in which he allegedly stated that the DFT could retro-fit the risk-sharing mechanism, but to act as if the comment came as some kind of unethical shock. Seriously, Wilkinson is doing what he is paid to do. I’m damn sure he doesn’t need me to defend him, but if Wilkinson is the bogyman of rail right now, as he feels, then let’s hope reason prevails and he continues in his role. Lorna Slade Editor

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Prime minister backs rail vision to create 70,000 jobs; Abellio sells share in Greater Anglia to Mitsui; All change for Metrolink; Spades in the ground on new Trafford Park line; Government commits to additional compensation for Camden residents on HS2; Recognition for a man with a transport plan; First freight train from China arrives in London

In the passenger seat


Will 2017 be the year fares are made simpler for passengers and the penalty system more even-handed, asks David Sidebottom

Delivering the goods


Please government, don’t forget freight in rail reforms, says Chris MacRae

Oxford to London: Christmas come early?


What benefits is the choice between GWR and Chiltern likely to bring travellers from Oxford to London, and what can this project tell us about the likely success of future co-operation between track and train operators, asks Andrew Meaney

A practical way forward


Tim Loughton MP discusses his recently tabled Private Members’ Bill that would establish a network-wide Rail Ombudsman and redesign the system of compensation

Laying down the law


Martin Fleetwood looks at compliance and benchmarking with the Modern Slavery Act

On track towards an integrated railway?


Following Chris Grayling’s announcement to unite track and train operations, Tammy Samuel and Zoe Harris explore how the government might approach integration – and some of the challenges that may lie ahead

Integration for the nation


Jon Hart takes a look at the legal and contractual outlook for rail maintenance and renewals following the secretary of state’s announcements

Delivering a better rail network: a 2017 wish list


Rail Professional

Will this be a brave new year in terms of performance around the delivery of new projects and major enhancements, asks Mark Elsey



The experience on Southern shows how important it is for passengers to be assured that operators that under-perform during the contract are taken to task Nigel Keohane, page 47

Driving down delays


Jerry Alderson looks at whether the situation around driver shortages will experience a new dawn this year, and has an idea of his own

Promoting a positive impact


Keith Morey reviews IOSH’s Rail Industry Conference, where the theme of avoiding complacency came up time and again

Women in Rail


Adeline Ginn discusses why we should all be working towards a diverse workforce

Wafted in from Luton


Gavin Shuker MP discusses why the new East Midlands franchise must include four fast trains per hour to London Luton Airport

IRO News


News from the Institution of Railway Operators

What’s happening to rail demand?

A single measure please



A new research study into travel trends challenges old assumptions about travel behaviour, reveals Matthew Niblett

Nigel Keohane discusses what Chris Grayling’s proposed reforms tell us about his vision for rail lines

An inclusive process


Keith Wakefield has concerns about Chris Graylings proposals and says the developments he wants to see are tangible, not managerial, and based on local knowledge

Stand out and deliver


There will be stiff competition for Northern Powerhouse contracts. Dave Thornton provides advice on how to get ahead of the game

Open to change


What lies in wait for rail in 2017? We can expect many of the themes of 2016 to raise their heads again, as well as another turbulent twelve months predicts Nick Gross

Rail Professional



Cash converters


Neil Robertson looks at how to turn cash into skills to support the National Infrastructure Plan

To err is human


Thomas Ward looks at the history of non-technical skills’ development

View to an upgrade


Jane Wakeham discusses the implications of catenary free running for the statutory authorisation of tramways

An unavoidable decision


Andy Slater looks at the combination of factors needed to bring the UK to the forefront of multimodal transport

Consulting on the future


Mark Sleightholm looks at designing a new train fleet – with the help of its users

Not afraid to challenge

Storm Angus: lessons for UK rail



Building a new train maintenance business requires people power, says Jack Commandeur

Trust in rail


Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South discusses his Fellowship in the Rail Industry, which concluded at the Eurostar depot

Bracing lessons


If there’s one critical question from Japan it’s how can we make the UK learn to love its railways again, says Nadeem Karbhari

A cause for shame


In a modern democracy it is unacceptable that barriers exist preventing anyone from travelling when the means exist to remove those barriers, says Alan Benson

HYPERLOOP: innovation personified


More risk can mean less danger. Without it, we are in danger of getting stuck in the wrong kind of loop says Pierre- Etienne Gautier

Rail Professional

Nick Hawkins looks at critical communications technology and the benefits for operators in adopting it into their crisis response and business continuity procedures

Business news


Jointing Tech; Porterbrook Leasing; Nexus; Alstom; TWI; GTR; Greater Anglia; Proxama; Network Rail

Business profiles


Carter Jonas; SNC-Lavalin; Elite Precast Concrete; Geobrugg; MRSL; WAGO; Norbar; Socomec; Furrey+Frey; Walker Construction; William Cook Rail; MNB Precision; York EMC; Mechan; AJC Retail Solutions; NuAspect; LPT-IT; Omnicom and Balfour Beatty



Caroline Wake; Professor Peter Malcolm Jones; Hugh Wark; Katherine Liddell; Roger Mackintosh; Giles Barker; Brendan Sleight; Mark Walder; Ian David Ward; Chris Burchell; Mike Brown; Silla Maizey; John Mogford; Andy Haynes; Andy Slater; Tom Stables; Ian Hyde; Michael Colella; Mark Brooker; Dr Amy Pressland; Michele Ashton; Pete Waterman; Vince McGurk


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Time to upgrade your wipers? 9 NEWS |

... introducing PSV’s new replacement Prime minister backs rail system News in brief...

Name changer Global professional services consultancy WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff will be changing its name to WSP in May. The change, says the company, reflects its recent growth to 36,700 people globally with 7,100 based in the UK, and will cover more than 85 small and mid-sized to large companies that have previously come together. Mouchel Consulting, which was acquired in October 2016, will become WSP in July when it is integrated with the wider business. The name currently used on the Toronto Stock Exchange will remain unchanged (WSP Global Inc. (TSX: WSP)).

vision to create 70,000 jobs

Theresa May has backed a campaign – Growth track 360 – to secure £1 billion of rail improvements which it is said would transform the North Wales, Cheshire and Wirral economies and deliver 70,000 new jobs over 20 years. The Prime Minister told the House of Commons recently that the Department for Transport would work closely with campaigners and the Welsh Government to consider what can be accomplished as part of the campaign.

Growth track 360 is calling for: • the electrification of the line from Crewe to North Wales so the region can be linked to HS2 and fast London trains can continue to Bangor and Holyhead • the doubling of frequency of trains between the North Wales Coast Line and Wrexham to Manchester through Chester • the investment in new, modern, better equipped rolling stock • creating new services between Liverpool and Liverpool Airport to North Wales and Wrexham via Chester (Halton Curve) • doubling journey frequency between Wrexham and Liverpool via Deeside and Bidston. All time record for Groupe Eurotunnel 2016 truck Shuttle traffic increased by 11 The campaign is being driven by the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force per cent compared to 2015, with an all-time (NW&MD) and has the backing of the region’s eight local authorities, the Cheshire and record of 1,641,638 vehicles transported. For Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, the Mersey Dee Alliance, the North Wales the 14th consecutive month, December 2016 Economic Ambition Board, saw record-breaking monthly truck Shuttle the North Wales Business traffic compared to the corresponding period Council and the West in previous years. Also for the full year 2016, Cheshire & North system Wales Shuttle traffic increased by two ... passenger introducing PSV’s new replacement Chamber of Commerce. per cent compared to 2015, with 2,663,865 May, who was responding vehicles transported. In December 2016, to a question from Vale passenger traffic increased by six per cent of Clwyd MP Dr James compared to the previous year, confirming Davies, said: ‘I welcome the the upward trend of the last three months. establishment of the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Exterminate...exterminate Task Force and the work they A survey by asked are doing. more than 800 UK workers which jobs they ‘The plan he mentions sets think will be the first to go and those they out an ambitious programme would welcome being replaced by machines of rail improvements for the or AI. area and I’m sure they will Top of the list of jobs it is feared will vanish prioritise the most promising is customer service staff: 55 per cent felt options. The Department worried their job could be redundant in less • Arms for Transport will continue than five years, and 21 per cent had already • Wiper blades to work closely with the seen business tasks 110v) or roles outsourced to • Motors (24v and Task Force and the Welsh machinesystems technology. Topping the list of • Linkage government to consider what jobs people want to see automated is train • Control switches can be jointly accomplished.’ drivers. CEO Chris Meredith said: ‘The current • Components & spares Dr Davies hadof asked May We offer robustly engineered solutions for train industrial action might have had an impact in the heavy Whether your trains operate snow during Prime Minister’s answers but workers in certain professions themust mountains, the heat of the desert, or the harsh builders, and system upgrades for operators Questions if she would support the proposed improvements. Speaking afterwards, he said: be feeling their collars and giving salty environment a wiper (especially those experiencing a high LCCin on will continue to champion rail improvements to North Wales as they form a key role thought to their future.’ of the coast... you ‘Ineed enhancing the local economyoriginal and helpingequipment). to create jobs and opportunities in our towns system you can rely on. such asPSV Rhyl.’can help. Looking to lower your Life Cycle Costs?

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We offer robustly engineered solutions for train At PSV, we’ve been developing and manufacturing Our manufacturing facility in Worcester also has a builders, and system upgrades for operators ... introducing PSV’s new replacement system quality wiper systems for over 35(especially yearsthose (with 20 experiencing a high LCC onhighly experienced team of in-house designers years experience working withinoriginal theequipment). rail industry). and engineers who will work alongside you At PSV, we’ve been developing and manufacturing Our manufacturing facility in Worcester also has a to meet your individual needs. quality wiper systems for over 35 years (with 20 highly experienced team of in-house designers Weexperience are a proud supplier to international OEM years working within the rail industry). and engineers who will work alongside you to meet your individual needs. train builders, fleet operators and fleet support If you’re looking to replace or upgrade your wiper We are a proud supplier to international OEM train builders, fleet operators and fleet support If you’re looking to replace or upgrade your wiper distributors. systems, we’re just a phone call away. distributors. systems, we’re just asystem phone call away. Introducing PSV’s new replacement Whether your trains operate in the heavy snow of the mountains, the heat of the desert, or the harsh salty environment of the coast... you need a wiper system you can rely on.

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Why not discover the benefits of a PSV wiper system? Call us today and ask for our Rail Specialist, Paul Curry.

PSV Wipers Ltd., Navigation Road, Diglis, Worcester WR5 3DE Tel. +44 (0)1905 350 500 • PSV Wipers Ltd, Navigation Road, Diglis, Worcester WR5 3DE, United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0)1905 350 500 Photo reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Credit:

Looking to lower your Life Cycle Costs? PSV can help.

Whether your trains operate in the heavy snow of PSV Wipers Ltd, Navigation Road, Diglis, Worcester WR5 3DE, United Kingdom the mountains, the heat of the desert, or the harsh

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Time to upgrade y


News in brief... Glasgow TramTrain welcomed The All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group has welcomed the business case for a TramTrain to connect Glasgow Airport to Glasgow Central. The scheme, developed by Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council, will now be put to the Glasgow City Deal Cabinet for approval. APPLRG’s Jim Harkins said: ‘It could also provide a springboard to achieve light rail connections to nearby rail-detached towns such as Renfrew and Erskine.’ New ‘Hydrogen Council’ launched in Davos 13 energy, transport and industry companies have started a global initiative to voice a ‘united vision and ambition for hydrogen to foster the energy transition.’‘ In Europe the transportation sector is the second biggest producer of emissions,’ said Henri PoupartLafarge, CEO, Alstom. ‘Rail is the cleanest and safest form of mass transportation and needs to become even cleaner. Hydrogen traction is a revolution as it is 100 per cent emission free. The Hydrogen Council will further develop this technology that will change the face of transportation.’ ScotRail performance on the up The ScotRail Alliance’s punctuality performance for the past 12 months has risen to 90 per cent, making it the second best performing large operator in the UK. The Toc achieved a PPM of 89.7 per cent in the four weeks to Saturday 7th January – a rise of 6 per cent on the previous period, and 2.8 per cent higher year-on-year. ScotRail Alliance managing director Phil Verster said: ‘We can do more and we can go higher, and every single one of the 7,500 people who work on Scotland’s railway is committed to doing just that.’ A leader comment for The Scotsman is less effusive, saying the ‘clock is ticking’ on ScotRail’s performance ‘and unless we see the required improvement over the next two months, then the transport minister will have to step in again.’

... introducing PSV’s new rep

Abellio sells share in Greater Anglia to Mitsui

Abellio UK has signed an agreement to sell 40 per cent of the Greater Anglia rail franchise to Mitsui & Co, saying the deal will lead to significant improvements for passengers. Abellio and Mitsui have a track record of working together, having first entered into a joint venture to bid for the West Midlands rail franchise in 2016. Following that process Abellio felt Mitsui would be the best partner to help it deliver its programme to transform the Greater Anglia franchise.   Mitsui is a global conglomerate with business interests in numerous different sectors, including infrastructure, integrated transportation systems, energy, and IT and communications. The deal is also notable for marking the first time a Japanese company has become a shareholder of a British train operating company.   Abellio re-won the Greater Anglia franchise in August 2016, having first operated it from February 2012. It will continue to have a majority stake in the business and be in overall control. The franchise agreement will see £1.4 billion in investment over the next nine years, with the introduction of a completely new fleet and a commitment to cut average journey times by 10 per cent.   Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio said: ‘This fulfils Abellio’s long-standing objective of finding a suitable partner to run Greater Anglia in a 60:40 joint venture. With the introduction of Mitsui’s knowledge and experience, we look forward to delivering significant improvements for Greater Anglia’s customers.’ However the RMT said the deal, which follows the sale of the c2c franchise to Ternitalia, was ‘making a mockery’ of the Department for Transport’s franchising process. Mick Cash, secretary commented: ‘The checks andreplacement balances for both passengers ...general introducing PSV’s new system and the taxpayer, which the DfT claims are enshrined in its multi-million pound franchising programme, are clearly lacking when the winning bidder can simply walk away, share out its responsibilities and choose its replacement whenever it sees fit. They are flogging off Britain’s transport assets like Derek Trotter at some dodgy car boot sale.’ Abellio has refused to reveal the value of the deal, which is pending final regulatory approval. Mitsui has yet to comment. A DfT spokesperson said: ‘This sale is a commercial decision for Abellio. The government will only approve this partial sale once both parties have satisfied us that passengers will benefit from it.’ Greater Anglia recently won a Golden Spanner Award from Modern Railways magazine for reliability improvements on the Norwich to London line through Suffolk and Essex. Commuter routes in Essex saw an improvement of 54 per cent going from 17,553 miles per technical incident to 27,030. However Peter Slattery, chairman of the Southend Rail Travellers’ Association said this level of performance should have been there from the start • Arms of the franchise. ‘Greater Anglia still has a long way to go,’ he said. • Wiper blades • Motors (24v and 110v) • Linkage systems • Control switches A new operator is to run & Greater • Components sparesManchester’s iconic Metrolink network – now the largest of its kind in the UK –trains from summer. Whether your operate in the heavy snow of We of KeolisAmey, a joint venture partnership of UK public transport operator, Keolis, and the mountains, the heat of the desert, or the harsh builde infrastructure asset management specialist, Amey, will take over the reins when contracts salty environment of the coast... you need a wiper (espec with RATP Dev and MPT end in July 2017. The appointment follows a competitive process led by Transport for Greater Manchester system you can rely on. origin (TfGM) involving three other bidders, and Cycle has beenCosts? ratified byPSV Greater Looking to shortlisted lower your Life can help.

Time • Armsto upgrade your wipers? • Wiper blades • Motors (24v and 110v) • Linkage systems • Control switches • Components & spares

Lookingfor toMetrolink lower your Life Cycle C All change

Time to upgrade your wipers? ... introducing PSV’s new replacement system

We offer robustly engineered solutions for train At PSV, we’ve been developing and manufacturing Our m builders, and system upgrades for operators quality wiper systems for over 35(especially yearsthose (with 20 experiencing a high LCC onhighly original equipment). years experience working within the rail industry). and en At PSV, we’ve been developing and manufacturing Our manufacturing facility in Worcester also has a to me Looking to lower Life Cycle PSV can help. quality wiper systems for over 35your years (with 20 highlyCosts? experienced team of in-house designers Weexperience are a proud supplier to international OEM years working within the rail industry). and engineers who will work alongside you Whether your trains operate in the heavy snow of the mountains, the your heat of the desert, or the harsh salty to meet individual needs. train builders, fleet operators and fleet support If you We are a proud to international OEM you can environment of thesupplier coast, you need a wiper system rely on. builders, fleet operators and fleet support quality wiper If you’re looking to replace upgrade your wiper At train PSV, we’ve been developing and manufacturing systems for over 35 yearsor(with 20 years distributors. distributors. systems, we’re just aOEM phone callbuilders, away. fleet system experience working in the rail industry). We are a proud supplier to international train Whether your trains operate in the heavy snow of the mountains, the heat of the desert, or the harsh salty environment of the coast... you need a wiper system you can rely on.

operators and fleet support distributors. • Arms • Wiper blades • Motors (24v and 110v) • Linkage systems • Control switches • Components & spares

Why not discover the benefits of a PSV wiper system? Call us today and ask for our Rail Specialist, Paul Curry.

Why not discover the benefits of Call us today and ask for our Rail

PSV Wipers Ltd., Navigation Road, Diglis, Worcester WR5 3DE Tel. +44 350 500 • United PSV Wipers Ltd, Navigation Road, Diglis,(0)1905 Worcester WR5 3DE, Kingdom Tel. +44 (0)1905 350 500

Looking to lower your Life Cycle Costs? PSV can help. Whether your trains operate in the heavy snow of the mountains, the heat of the desert, or the harsh

We offer robustly engineered solutions for train builders, and system upgrades for operators

Photo reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Credit:

PSV Wipers Ltd, Navigation Road, Diglis, Worcester WR5 3DE, Uni

Time to upgrade your wipers 11 NEWS |

... introducing PSV’s new replacement system

Time to upgrade your wipers?

News in brief...

Edinburgh Trams on the case The company has been forced to defend itself after Scottish Conservatives published data suggesting the network was running at 25 per cent capacity. Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act showed it carried 5.3 million passengers in 2015 compared to a maximum capacity of just over 21 million. ET pointed out that two thirds of the capacity on a tram is standing, meaning usage levels based on seating capacity were around 80 per cent. A spokesperson said: ‘It’s disappointing that the Conservatives have issued a figure that misrepresents both the success of the trams to date and how public transport in general operates.’

... introducing PSV’s new replacement system

Manchester’s Combined Authority leaders. The new contract, signed last month, will start in July and run for up to 10 years. 2017 marks Metrolink’s silver jubilee and will see the completion of the Second City Crossing (2CC), a crucial piece in a transformational expansion that has already trebled the size of the original network, making it the largest of its kind in the country. One man and his train KeolisAmey will inherit a fleet of 120 modern trams that offer free Wi-Fi to passengers, The beleaguered Sussex area has a and the Trafford Park Line extension (see over). potential saviour in the form of 44 year-old The joint venture currently operates London’s Docklands Light Railway, which caters for self-employed Steve Salford, who has the more than 117 million journeys a year and has a performance and dependability record that is among the best in mainland UK (approximately 99 per cent of trains depart on schedule). idea of hiring his own locomotive to get to Keolis is also the operator of Nottingham’s NET (Nottingham Express Transit) tram work. Salford hopes commuters will join his network, which has achieved the highest passenger satisfaction rating of all light rail train running along the county’s coastway • Arms networks in the country (98 per cent), and runs the world’s largest tramway, Yarra Trams in routes from Chichester and Eastbourne Melbourne, Australia. when there is• noWiper direct serviceblades to London Key features of the contract include: on strike days. Each train would carry • Motors (24v • the creation of more than 300 jobs including drivers, apprenticeships and traineeships, about 500 people, with arrivals in Londonand 110v) and a commitment to upskill, enhance training and qualifications for staff from 8:00am and departures from 5:40pm. • Linkage systems • a major focus on improving operational reliability, customer service and security with an Long-term, Salford wants to source his own increased staff presence – particularly in the evening and at weekends trains and resurrect a version of the London • Control switches • a commitment to source a minimum of 40 per cent of supplier contracts within 25 miles Brighton & South Coast Railway, which ran • Components up until the 1920’s. ‘Let’s put the Great back& spares of Greater Manchester, and customer and community engagement, including ‘Meet the Manager’ and ‘Tweet the Manager’ sessions. into Britain, back into rail,’ he said.

• Arms • Wiper blades • Motors (24v and 110v) • Linkage systems • Control switches • Components & spares

Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester mayor, said: ‘It is vital that our transport infrastructure Mean what you say connects and supports the new homes and jobs we need, helps the local economy to flourish Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike told the and ensures residents can contribute to and benefit from our shared prosperity – and that Guardian that she had been forced to wet is precisely what this new contract seeks to achieve.’ herself on a train because the accessible Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM Committee, said: ‘After investing toilet was out of order, and has called so heavily in transforming the infrastructure, this was always going to be a pivotal for companies to be fined if they don’t appointment without compromise. What we have here is a long-term, affordable provide the facilities for disabled people commitment to providing a world-class service. that legislation requires. Fellow Paralympic ‘In reaching this decision, I would to pay tribute engineered to the operational staff who have athletes, including TV presenter and Whether your trains operate in the heavy snow of We like offer robustly solutions for train played a crucial part inof managing aWe period of great change with the delivery of solutions the network’sfor trai wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan, Whether your trains operate in the heavy snow offer robustly engineered the mountains, the heat of the desert, or the harsh builders, and system upgrades for operators expansion in recent years. The future looks very positive indeed.’ backed her call. ‘I have had to pee into the mountains, the heat of the desert, orGordon, the harsh builders, and system upgrades for environment need a wiper (especially those a high LCC operators on you Alistair chief executive of Keolis UK, said:experiencing ‘Metrolink has made a huge a bottle in thesalty past when the accessibleof the coast...

Looking loweryour your Life Life Cycle PSV cancan help. Looking to to lower CycleCosts? Costs? PSV help.

salty environment ofrely theon. coast... you needtoaGreater wiperManchester’s (especially those high contribution economic growth andexperiencing its ongoing successawill be a LCC on system you can original equipment). major factor in meeting the city region’s ambitions. We’re confident that we can bring the system you can rely on. original equipment). same success to the network.’ At PSV, we’ve been developing and manufacturing for overand 35 years (with 20 At PSV,quality we’vewiper beensystems developing manufacturing years experience working within the rail industry).

quality wiper systems for over 35 years (with 20 years experience working within the rail industry). We are a proud supplier to international OEM

Our manufacturing facility in Worcester also has a Time to upgrade your wipers highly experienced team of in-house designers Our manufacturing facility in Worcester also ha and engineers who will work you ... introducing PSV’salongside new replacement system highly experienced team of in-house designers to meet your individual needs.

and engineers who will work alongside you

We offer robustly solutions for train builders, andsupport system upgrades forIfoperators (especially those experiencing a train engineered builders, fleet operators and fleet you’re looking replace orneeds. upgrade your wiper to meet your to individual high LLCare ondistributors. original equipment). We a proud supplier to international OEM systems, we’re just a phone call away. Our manufacturing facility in Worcester also has a highly designers and engineers who will train builders, fleet operators and fleetexperienced support team of in-house If you’re looking to replace work alongside you to meet your individual needs.

or upgrade your w systems, we’re just a phone call away.


If you’re looking to replace or upgrade your wiper systems, we’re just a phone call away.

Why not discover the benefits of a PSV wiper system? • Arms • Wiper blades Call us today and ask for our Rail Specialist, Paul • Motors (24v and 110v) Curry.

Why not discover the benefits of athePSV system? Why not discover benefitswiper of a PSV wiper system? Call us today and ask for our Rail Specialist, Paul Curry. PSV Wipers Ltd, Navigation Road, Diglis, WR5our 3DE, Rail UnitedSpecialist, Kingdom Call us today andWorcester ask for Paul Curry. • Linkage systems • Control switches • Components & spares

Tel. +44 (0)1905 350 500 Looking to lower your Life Cycle Costs? PSV can help.

Photo reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Credit:

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News in brief... toilet wasn’t working,’ he said. ‘A lot of these companies are just paying lip service. Really they are just taking the mickey.’ TfL goes global Work to establish Sadiq Khan’s controversial TfL ‘trading arm’ that can run bus and other local transport services and sell Transport for London’s expertise at home and abroad is underway. With the transport body aiming to achieve £800m in efficiency savings a year for the next five years, Mike Brown MVO confirmed TfL’s business plan includes proposals to establish the commercial trading arm, which he revealed has already received expressions of interest from other cities globally. ‘The revenues it makes will be used to keep fares down in London just as foreign stateowned transport firms currently take profits made here to subsidise their services,’ said Khan. Oysters not to everyone’s taste Official figures show the money left on unused Oyster cards is increasing by £1 million a month with the figure currently sitting at £235m. The number of unused cards has jumped to nearly 43.7m – up by two million since the end of June 2016. Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, who highlighted the statistics, said: ‘14 years since the start of Oyster the amount left on dormant Oyster cards has reached a staggering level. ‘TfL should never forget that this is the public’s money they are holding and people should be able to reclaim it as easily as TfL take money from passengers in the first place.’ GTR recruiting drivers Govia Thameslink is recruiting new drivers for the Southern network, saying it wants to reduce its reliance on rest-day working. A DfT source told the Press Association the government would work with GTR to help with the recruitment drive, including targeting people who may want to work part-time as drivers. The spokesperson said having more flexible working in the role could open up careers to people ‘from all parts of society’. A spokeswoman for GTR said the operator had an ongoing objective to maintain a pool of 200 trainee drivers across its entire franchise and wanted to boost that number. Fire cause not obvious Vivarail has completed its initial investigation into the Class 230 test train fire and concluded the cause is ‘not

Rail Professional

Spades in the ground on new Trafford Park line Work has started on the much-anticipated £350 million Metrolink Trafford Park line, which will feature six stops offering rapid transport connections to key business and leisure destinations on a 3.4 mile (5.5km) route to the intu Trafford Centre. Boosting public transport connections to more than 1,300 businesses at Trafford Park, Europe’s largest industrial estate, the route will also take in other major visitor attractions including Old Trafford football stadium, the Imperial War Museum North and EventCity. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will continue its collaboration with MPactThales (MPT) and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff on the scheme, which will take around four years to complete. Mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, said: ‘Trafford Park is deserving of first class transport links – and this new route also takes in other iconic destinations.’ Public support for the Trafford Park line was established at a major public consultation in summer 2014, where 89 per cent of respondents were in favour. Following a public inquiry into the proposals in 2015, Chris Grayling, secretary of state for transport, granted TfGM powers to build the new line in October 2016. The line, which will increase the size of the Metrolink network to 64 miles (103km) served by 99 stops, will branch off from the existing Pomona stop.

Government commits to additional compensation for Camden residents on HS2 Camden’s push for a fairer deal on HS2 compensation has been given a significant boost after the government committed to offering additional compensation to communities most affected by HS2.   The government has also agreed to remove unnecessary compulsory purchase powers from the HS2 Bill, following pressure from the Council at Select Committee. But, says the Council, the government must do more to provide funding for the comprehensive redevelopment of Euston station and maximise materials transported by rail to reduce the impact of HS2 on Camden.    Councillor Phil Jones, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and planning at Camden Council, said: ‘It’s taken years of Camden pressure and hard negotiation, but now the government for the first time has said it is prepared to offer more compensation to Camden residents most affected by HS2.    ‘The government now has the opportunity to deliver the fair deal for Camden the Council and residents have long campaigned for. Our priority will be to scrutinise the new compensation scheme when details become available, to ensure that both tenants and property owners who face serious disruption are eligible for

compensation as suggested by the House of Lords. Jones added: ‘We welcome the government’s acceptance that far-reaching compulsory purchase powers have no place in the HS2 Bill. This will allow us to make the most of regeneration opportunities. However, we question if the government is truly committed to making the most

of opportunities at Euston to deliver a world-class station providing the maximum number of new homes and jobs. Despite acknowledging the need for a single, redesigned station, the government has not committed funding for Network Rail’s future design stages.   ‘Equally, HS2 Ltd’s targets for removing material by rail remain disappointingly low. We will continue to press HS2 Ltd to do more to get lorries off our roads and seek ways to reduce the impact of HS2 on Camden.’

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News in brief... immediately obvious’. On 30 December 2016, ten members of Vivarail staff were forced to evacuate the three-car Class 230 passenger train near Kenilworth station after one of its gensets set on fire during a test run from Tyseley to Nuneaton. The objectives of the test run included testing the reliability of the genset, which had been fitted with a new engine, and to record timing data to support planning activity in relation to proposed passenger operation on the Coventry to Nuneaton line. New ticket hall for Victoria The North ticket hall, a key part of the £700m project to upgrade Victoria Tube station, has opened as well as a new entrance on Victoria Street at the junction of Bressenden Place, which means customers can now exit the station onto Victoria Street without having to cross the road junctions outside the station. The modernisation of the station, which will double its size and provide step-free access, will finish in 2018. Kenilworth delayed Warwickshire County Council says the new station in Kenilworth will not now be opened until this December due to track and signalling issues, one year after services were meant to begin. The decision was made following discussions between the CC, Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright, the DfT and Network Rail. The secretary of state for transport has said that although the station delivery is on track, the main delays are being caused by issues around the signalling project’. Said Wright: ‘I have written to Network Rail to seek assurance that the December 2017 deadline is met.’ No charge at CrossCountry CrossCountry has ended the £10 administration charge to amend Advance tickets. Passengers who book online direct with the Toc and who later alter the time or date of travel will pay only any increase in fare compared with their original train. If the replacement service is cheaper they will receive a refund of the difference. The deal does not apply to tickets bought in person from stations nor online through third-party operators such as Trainline. Tickets printed by the passenger, and ‘m-tickets’ obtained through the CrossCountry app, cannot be changed.

More news at

Rail Professional

Recognition for a man with a transport plan Following a decade of dedication, Transport for Greater Manchester employee Andrew Walmsley has joined an exclusive group of national experts. The transport strategy senior analyst, from Stockport, has become just the third person in the UK to complete the Transport Planning Society’s Professional Development Scheme since it was launched in 2008. This achievement marks the culmination of ten years’ hard work across the transport planning industry for Walmsley, who joined TfGM last year. A flagship programme for the Transport Planning Society (TPS), the scheme provides a framework to enable transport planners to progress towards becoming accredited professionals. Walmsley’s CV includes project experience and verification of a range of transport planning specialisms gained at a multinational engineering consultancy company and, most recently, at TfGM. His role requires him to use analytical skills to provide intelligence on the economic, social and environmental challenges facing transport in order to support decision making, as well as working to identify opportunities to strengthen the organisation’s insight capabilities. He said: ‘I now look forward to mentoring others, something which in turn will further develop my own capabilities.’ Nicola Kane, head of strategic planning and research at TfGM, praised Walmsley’s efforts and said: ‘This comes at a key time for transport in Greater Manchester, as the devolution of powers continues and we work towards delivering our 2040 transport strategy. To have talent like Andrew in our team is reassuring for us and the city-region as a whole.’ Keith Buchan, director for skills at the Transport Planning Strategy, said: ‘The PDS scheme is continuously expanding to meet transport planning skills for the UK and beyond. It is rigorous but there is plenty of support available for our trainees, including the growing numbers from local authorities.’

First freight train from China arrives in London The first container train travelling between China and the UK arrived recently at DB Cargo UK’s London Eurohub terminal in Barking. The train is operated by the InterRail Group, a multinational transport operator headquartered in Switzerland, on behalf of China Railway subsidiary CRIMT. Various freight railways handle traction along the 12,000 kilometre route; DB Cargo is responsible for the section from Duisburg to London via the Channel Tunnel. The train originated in Yiwu in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. It reached London in around 18 days, making it twice as fast as transport by sea. The train was loaded primarily with textiles and other consumer goods. The 34’x40’ containers required specifically for the UK were loaded on to Deutsche Bahn’s container platforms at the Duisburg container terminal,

which are specially approved for the Channel Tunnel. The UK is just the latest destination added to the China–Europe rail link. London is one more international connection for the InterRail Group, along with Duisburg, Madrid, Afghanistan and Riga, on the ‘One Belt – One Road’ corridor, an initiative of the Chinese government. The train is initially being operated as a test train.


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In the passenger seat David Sidebottom

A simple matter Will 2017 be the year fares are made simpler for passengers and the penalty system more even-handed, asks David Sidebottom


assengers tell us time and time again how confusing they find rail fares and what a struggle it is to find the cheapest ticket. Our research shows that they find it hard to get the best deal when travelling by train and are baffled by the jargon used. The end of 2016 brought about a change in the air with the train companies agreeing to reform the fares and ticketing system. So, together with the government, the Rail Delivery Group, the Office of Rail and Road and Which?, we produced an action plan to tackle some of the worst problems. But what difference will I see next time I buy a ticket? There is still much work to do but the industry has committed to a real improvement for passengers in the next 12 months. As a result of the plan passengers will get a heads-up when stocks of the best value Advance tickets are running low as well as alerts at the time of purchase if changing travel times would be cheaper.

As a result of the plan passengers will get a heads-up when stocks of the best value Advance tickets are running low as well as alerts at the time of purchase if changing travel times would be cheaper. Ticket machines will also give customers clearer choices including cheaper options where available by changing time or service. The system has been full of jargon, so passenger bugbears such as ‘any permitted route’ on tickets will stop

Ticket machines will also give customers clearer choices including cheaper options where available by changing time or service. The system has been full of jargon, so passenger bugbears such as ‘any permitted route’ on tickets will stop. The industry will be testing changes to fare structures in the summer and the action plan group will be considering the changes and reporting on progress over the coming year. There is still more to do to make tickets and fares more passenger friendly, however these measures are a step along the way. Another welcome win Elsewhere, there was another welcome win for passengers. Following our four-year Ticket to Ride campaign to change the processes and protections surrounding ‘ticketless’ travel and penalty fares, the government has announced changes to ensure the penalty fares system is on the Rail Professional



Of course, train companies must act against fare-evading passengers. But when we investigated the complaints we received, we realised that the rules and regulations around ‘ticketless travel’ assumed guilt with an ultimate criminal sanction and the appeals system could be seen to be unfair and not even-handed side of the passenger. This all began as we were receiving a high proportion of complaints from passengers who had experienced harsh treatment through penalty fares from the train companies. This treatment was for a simple, honest mistake or for something that was not their fault. In one case, a passenger bought a reduced-fare ticket with a railcard but

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left the railcard at home. Despite paying the difference in fare, he was sent a letter warning of criminal prosecution. He sent proof of a valid railcard but a further threat of criminal prosecution resulted unless he paid £229. Passengers can receive different approaches from train companies. In one case, a young man bought a ticket on a train. Although his new railcard was in the post,

the guard gave him the benefit of the doubt and sold him the discounted ticket. But on arrival at the station he was issued with a penalty fare. Of course, train companies must act against fare-evading passengers. But when we investigated the complaints we received, we realised that the rules and regulations around ‘ticketless travel’ assumed guilt with an ultimate criminal sanction and the appeals system could be seen to be unfair and not even-handed. Appeals bodies will now be independent of train companies and include a new thirdstage independent appeals panel to make the system fairer. They are also making the payment of administration fees for appeals fairer. The government has committed to work with the industry to ensure that staff and passengers understand the penalty fares regime better, so avoiding inappropriate threats of criminal sanctions. This should give passengers greater confidence that they can get the appropriate hearing. Long-term, more fundamental reform is still needed if trust is ever going to be really established in the fares and ticketing system but these recent steps are welcome progress. David Sidebottom is passenger director at Transport Focus

27/02/2016 09:38

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A real test Please government, don’t forget freight in rail reforms, says Chris MacRae


he Freight Transport Association (FTA) has responded with caution to December’s government announcement of changes to the structure of the rail network, which transport secretary Chris Grayling says will create a joined-up team approach with train operators. The changes bring closer integration of passenger train franchises and infrastructure delivery and consider the possibility for future joint ventures to deliver these. This comes nearly a year after the Shaw Report into Network Rail’s future shape and financing. Network Rail responded to the Shaw Report with a system of route devolution, but with a virtual Freight and National Passenger Operators Route, set up to look after freight and GB-wide passenger operators’ needs as operators who crossed Network Rail route boundaries. For FTA it is vital that the further changes announced in December do not compromise what has been recognised as the needs of rail freight on a mixed-use network. A year ago FTA submitted its views on rail reform to the Shaw Review and produced a document on the institutional needs of rail freight which stressed the need for freight to have protections as a GB-wide activity. Most freight flows cross a Network Rail Route boundary so it is important that it is not treated second class in any rail reform that more closely aligns passenger franchises with infrastructure delivery. The establishment of the Network Rail Freight and National Passenger Operators Route was supposed to be Network Rail’s response to ensure freight can operate across route borders, and what is really important now is that it is correctly empowered in any further structural changes to deal with this. The current consultations on the Periodic Review of Network Rail’s finances for the next regulatory fiscal Control Period include

The establishment of the Network Rail Freight and National Passenger Operators Route was supposed to be Network Rail’s response to ensure freight can operate across route borders, and what is really important now is that it is correctly empowered in any further structural changes to deal with this


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While the structure of the railways in itself isn’t a direct concern for FTA’s shipper members, they most certainly care about what the outputs of the structure deliver if they are to contitnue to use rail or use it more as a part of their supply chains the concept of a ’system operator’ role, and for FTA it is vital that this is sufficiently strong and robust to protect GB-wide operators. While the structure of the railways in itself isn’t a direct concern for FTA’s shipper members, they most certainly care about what the outputs of the structure deliver if they are to continue to use rail or use it more as a part of their supply chains. FTA’s Agenda for More Freight by Rail – next steps document lays out the improvements in cost, access and service levels that shippers need to see to commit

more volume to rail. Deliver or frustrate? The real test of any new structure is will it deliver or frustrate? Practical issues include co-ordination of maintenance activities and diversionary routing for freight along with co-ordination of freight enhancement schemes delivery along key freight corridors such as the southern haven ports of Southampton, Felixstowe, or London Gateway to the Midlands, North of England and Scotland, all of which cross multiple Network Rail route boundaries.

It is also vital that any charges review for freight access of the network doesn’t price freight off rail and back on to road: the alternative of night trunking on the M6 is easier if the structure and charges of using rail freight makes it difficult for shippers. Road freight is continually improving its efficiency and it’s vital that rail freight does – and is allowed to do so too. Notes The government announcement on Network Rail reform can be seen at: government/speeches/rail-reform-future-ofthe-rail-network FTA’s submission to the Shaw Review can be seen at: fta/_galleries/downloads/rail_freight/govtrail-reviews.pdf FTA’s document Agenda for More freight by Rail can be seen at: downloads/rail_freight/agenda-for-morerail-guide-2016.pdf For further information on FTA’s rail freight policy work contact: Chris MacRae, head of policy – rail freight Tel: 07818 450353 Email: Visit:

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Oxford to London: Christmas come early? Travellers from Oxford to London now have a choice – GWR or Chiltern. What benefits is this choice likely to bring passengers, and what can this project tell us about the likely success of future co-operation between track and train operators, asks Andrew Meaney


n 12th December 2016 a landmark new rail connection opened – Oxford city centre to London via the Chiltern mainline. Chiltern Railways and Network Rail are rightly very proud of this achievement, and as a commuter into Oxford from another town on the line, I am joining in the celebrations (as much as I enjoyed spending over an hour on the bus in the mornings during the works…). So begins a rarity on the UK rail network – genuine on-rail competition between two major intercity operators – GWR and Chiltern from Oxford to London. Unlike on some other routes, the products are quite

So how will the operators respond to this new environment? A quick search suggests advance fares (on-peak) are level pegging and not at a significant discount to the full-fare interoperable tickets. So if a price war is going to arise, it hasn’t done as yet Rail Professional

differentiated – Chiltern currently offers generally newer stock (at least until the IEP’s hit the rails), different calling stations (including the new, popular Oxford Parkway), differences in reliability (the Chiltern line between Oxford and London is used almost exclusively by Chiltern services, making it slightly less prone to disruption), and a different London terminal.

For Oxford to London commuters, Christmas came early. There are now four services offered by each of the two operators arriving into London between 7:30 and 9:00am. Journey times are slightly longer via Chiltern, but with circa four trains an hour between the two operators, the reduction in average wait times may well offset this drawback for turn-up-and-go commuters. So how will the operators respond to this new environment? A quick search suggests advance fares (on-peak) are level pegging and

not at a significant discount to the full-fare interoperable tickets. So if a price war is going to arise, it hasn’t done as yet. The answer is likely to lie in the behaviour of customers. Commuters on the route probably have some form of season ticket, which may be valid on either route. That being the case, advance fares are less likely to impact on the travel decisions of these passengers. However, this route is also popular with business and leisure travellers and tourists in particular. A route that connects Bicester Village, Oxford city centre and the capital is likely to be attractive to international tourists. So perhaps more active advance ticket price competition between the two operators is more likely that it first appears? However, competition is a familiar friend to GWR. A Google search of ‘coach Oxford to London’ finds the first advertisement to pop up reads ‘Oxford To London From £6 – Travel With GWR Today’. GWR clearly takes coach competition very seriously. Both the Oxford Tube (operated by Stagecoach) and the X90 (operated by Go-Ahead) offer relatively fast, frequent and cheap connections to the capital from city centre to city centre. Who benefits? So who benefits from the new connection? Well it seems likely that Chiltern will do well out of it; from day one, I can recount from first-hand experience that trains were wellloaded. What about passengers? If fares don’t reduce, can passengers still benefit? Yes. On the Oxford to London route, passengers have both a more frequent service and a choice of operator. Not happy with one operator? Switch to the other. Work closer to Marylebone than Paddington? Ditto. Choice is valuable in itself and offers the possibility that consumer preferences will be better

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So, despite the potential for an adverse effect on the GWR premium paid to DfT (which may be partially offset by premiums paid by Chiltern, depending on the contract), this seems to me to be a good example of where on-rail competition is alive and well, and delivering benefits to passengers matched than in the absence of this choice. This is, indeed, what the Competition and Markets Authority concluded when it looked at options for more on-rail competition last year. What about everywhere else? Bicester, Haddenham and Thame, High Wycombe for example? These places all now have a direct train link into both Oxford and London, making them very desirable places to be located (and not just for those, like myself, who work between offices in those two cities). Will there be a discernable impact on house prices in those areas, like we have seen in areas along the soon-to-open Crossrail link? Only time will tell, but given the road

Rail Professional

congestion challenges faced by Oxford it would not be surprising to see commuting into Oxford looking a lot more appealing now that buses aren’t the only option (not least with rail prices set to match bus fares, at least initially). So, despite the potential for an adverse effect on the GWR premium paid to DfT (which may be partially offset by premiums paid by Chiltern, depending on the contract), this seems to me to be a good example of where on-rail competition is alive and well, and delivering benefits to passengers.

glowing example of successful co-operation between public and private sectors (Network Rail and Chiltern), do the Secretary of State’s plans for more private investment in new infrastructure look promising, in particular given the interest in making the rest of East West Rail (of which this new link is the western part) the first experiment? Tough to tell. Chiltern and Network Rail have a long history of working together, indeed, the first ‘Evergreen’ project was initiated in the 90’s. Such a relationship has been facilitated by the very long franchise granted to Chiltern at privatisation, which generates strong incentives for the two parties to work together. Nonetheless, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, and some aspects of the project proved to be particularly difficult. Overall, it seems clear to me that the discipline imposed by private sector money being on the table, dependent on passenger revenues to repay finance, has been a valuable driver of efficiency and on-time delivery on the Chiltern route. From where I’m sitting this is a grand achievement and if this is an indication of what can be delivered by closer working between track and train operators, then the Secretary of State may be on to a good thing.

A grand achievement Finally, with this new link a seemingly

Andrew Meaney leads Oxera’s Transport team



A practical way forward Tim Loughton MP discusses his recently tabled Private Members’ Bill that would establish a network-wide Rail Ombudsman and redesign the system of compensation


he Govia Thameslink franchise which includes Southern Rail is not working and hasn’t been for some time. The current industrial action by ASLEF and the RMT over a fabricated dispute about safety has made it virtually impossible for any train operator to run a decent service on this route; but the problems run deeper. Essentially the unique franchise/ management agreement granted to GTR was flawed. It is too large to handle, accounting for 23 per cent of the train travelling public in the UK even if GTR were up to running such a complex and crowded part of the network. When you add in the longstanding underinvestment in the rail infrastructure little changed from the 1930’s, a distinct lack of competent joined-up management between

The system for compensation payments is cumbersome and inadequate and the financial pain it inflicts on the train operator is minimal, which I think has a lot to do with the lack of urgency surrounding settling the current dispute

Southern and Network Rail when dealing with problems and anachronistic union barons spoiling for a ‘Red Robbo style’ fight then it was never going to work. Frankly no one comes out of this long-running shambolic state of affairs with any brownie points. What has been lacking in all of this though is the absence of concern for the person who should be at the heart of the whole rail – the passenger. When things go wrong, and they have been going very wrong over the past few months, effectively the passenger has to like it or lump it. The system for compensation payments is cumbersome and inadequate and the financial pain it inflicts on the train operator is minimal, which I think has a lot to do with the lack of urgency surrounding settling the current dispute. It is incredible that in such an important industry there is no really effective statutory regulator or system of redress to take up the cudgels for the passenger.   To address this anomaly just before Christmas I tabled a Private Members’ Bill that would establish a network-wide Rail Ombudsman and redesign the system of compensation. The Bill is not intended to resolve the immediate shambolic problems of Southern but it should go some way to help disincentivise complacency over consistent

failure in the future. There are two types of compensation payments at present. The first are payments from Network Rail to the train operating companies, known as Schedule 8 payments. These payments are designed to compensate Toc’s when something goes wrong with the infrastructure, such as points failures or the notorious signal box fire at Penge of the Reggie Perrin era. Extraordinarily the Toc’s are not required to pass this compensation on to passengers, who actually suffer the inconvenience and cost.   The second form of compensation is paid out directly by the Toc’s to customers where they are themselves liable for delays and cancellations caused by staffing problems, rolling stock breakdowns etc. The problem is that this depends specifically on passengers lodging a claim which can be very bureaucratic and often rejected on technicalities. As a result the take-up rate for claims is very low. Indeed in 2014 the Office of Rail and Road calculated that only 11 per cent of passengers ‘always’ or ‘usually’ claimed compensation.   If passengers do not claim then Toc’s can actually profit from Network Rail failures and profiteer on strike days as they have reduced salaries and energy costs to pay. It has been estimated the some 60 per cent of rail



compensation comes in Schedule 8 payments, indeed the Social Market Foundation calculated that in 2015 the Toc’s received £107 million in Schedule 8 payments from Network Rail, while passengers received just £26 million, which means the Toc’s profited by some £81 million. Last year the then Rail Minister stated that just £2 million has been levied against GTR in respect of cancellations and falling short of performance benchmarks, while some £2.2 million was paid out to passengers in compensation. This totals less than 0.4 per cent of GTR’s £1.3 billion turnover – over £1 billion of which comes from the taxpayer via government to run the trains – and is hardly an incentive to run an efficient service. There must be a better way of doing it.   The compensation and complaints procedure largely relies on the goodwill of the Toc’s beyond the minimum DelayRepay 15 obligations. The consumer champion, Which? recently said: ‘The current handling landscape in the rail sector is inadequate. There are major gaps in the provision of alternative dispute resolution with no effective route for redress and escalation of complaints if a train company does not resolve a compliant.’ They are absolutely correct and I am delighted that they have announced their support for my Bill. We both agree, as do many of those who we represent, that it is

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quite extraordinary there is no industry-wide ombudsman for rail complaints, particularly since its absence prevents passengers being able to obtain compensation and redress beyond the current delay thresholds, which pale into insignificance when the true cost of endless delays and cancellations are taken into account. Change the dynamics If my Bill were to receive the support of the government it could solve the issues of compensation and redress in two ways. Firstly, it will overhaul the compensation scheme, creating much tougher financial penalties on Toc’s, and a fairer and easier way of compensating passengers with a more realistic reflection of the inconvenience and costs they have suffered. The new scheme would mean that every time a train is late beyond an agreed threshold or cancelled altogether then a penalty fine will be paid into a central pot independent of Toc’s. The primary purpose of the pot will be to compensate passengers who will be able to make a claim in a much simpler way than present. I recently met a company that has devised an app that can track a passenger’s arrival at stations, automatically lodge a compensation claim where appropriate and the compensation will be paid directly into the passenger’s bank account without any paperwork being lodged. The app goes live in

January and will remove an unwieldly claims process. The pot would also be used to fund a new Rail Ombudsman, which would manage compensation claims, rather than the Toc’s, and any remaining funds would be used to offset fare rises thereby giving further payback to inconvenienced passengers. This would recalibrate the balance of power back to aggrieved passengers.   The Bill would also establish the aforementioned new Ombudsman and give it real teeth and proper statutory powers. It would be based on the Energy Ombudsman model which is already in operation and could be adapted in the rail sector. A Rail Ombudsman would not only greatly enhance the level of redress available to passengers but it would also help to improve confidence in the rail sector.   My Bill alone is not an immediate solution but does represent a practical way forward to change the dynamics within the rail industry. Most of our constituents are primarily concerned with being able to use a reliable rail service that gets them where they want to be roughly when they anticipated rather than compensation for an unreliable service. However the two are not mutually exclusive and I believe my Bill will help to achieve both. Tim Loughton is MP - East Worthing and Shoreham

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Laying down the law


Martin Fleetwood

Feel free to comply Martin Fleetwood looks at compliance and benchmarking with the Modern Slavery Act


t is estimated that some 12,000 UK companies are required to publish a statement to comply with s54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the MSA). By December 2016 fewer than 10 per cent had done so. However with the passing of the end of the calendar year, which corresponds to the end of the financial year for a number of businesses, there will no doubt have been a flurry of such statements. More will follow with financial years ending in April. Not just a ‘tick box’ exercise The statements required by s54 of the MSA are not things which can hide away in a corner of an organisation’s website. The MSA requires the statement to have a prominent link from the home page

In November 2015, the independent anti-slavery commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE expressed the view that while there were currently no punitive sanctions for non-compliance with section 54 at present, it could not be ruled out in the future

Process for s54 Modern Slavery Act Statements: • appoint senior person to oversee process • identify modern slavery and trafficking risks • map out supply chains and engage with stakeholders • address modern slavery and trafficking issues including embedding respect for human rights into organisation’s culture, knowledge and practices • draft statement - no prescription as to layout or content • board of directors to approve statement and director to sign • publish statement

of the organisation’s website. Bodies such as the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre are publishing links to the statements, making compliance or noncompliance much more obvious. Many organisations have struggled to

identify their first tier supply chain and a number of those who have succeeded have merely sent out letters to those suppliers asking them to confirm that the Modern Slavery legislation is being complied with. That has often been the limit of their Rail Professional



involvement, effectively allowing them to ‘tick the box’ and move on. Research has shown a number of organisations publishing statements are using identical wording for their statements, despite there being no prescribed format. This may be the result of one organisation using the published statement of another organisation as a template for their own. However, it has been observed that this ‘templating’ has included a duplication of non-compliance with the MSA requirements. A number of nongovernmental organisations are now closely monitoring the public statements already made and identifying those statements not considered compliant. On 6 December 2016, during Human Rights Week, the Law Society launched its own practice note setting out guidance to all solicitors on the MSA which included a template for a draft statement. The template contains a number of areas where an organisation is required to set out its own information and policies which relate to its activities, rather than copying those of others. Each organisation should ‘showcase’ its own compliance The government deliberately steered away from including a draft statement in its MSA

statutory guidance, preferring companies to be open and transparent about their supply chains and to use their own words to describe the efforts they are taking to prevent modern slavery in their business. More enlightened organisations have embraced the spirit of the legislation and have mapped at least the first tier of their supply chain, carryied out a risk assessment and, based on their findings, carried out further due diligence in high risk areas or sectors. This approach is certainly what the government expected under the MSA. In November 2015, the independent antislavery commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE expressed the view that while there were currently no punitive sanctions for noncompliance with section 54 at present, it could not be ruled out in the future. Use of the court of public opinion While there is currently no penalty for non-compliance (other than the government taking out an injunction to enforce publication) there is a risk to an organisation’s brand in the court of public opinion. A push for ethical industries is bringing non-compliance into focus and the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark pilot has already begun. The 2016 pilot benchmark will rank the top 100 companies in the agricultural, apparel and extractive

industries, with the results launched in March 2017. The 2017 benchmark is expected to cover more industries and shine a bright light onto how well organisations are meeting such obligations. Not quite the last chance saloon yet, but… Industry currently has a window available to it to focus fully on the requirements of the MSA and the fact that the government is taking compliance seriously. Pressure is being applied by the various NGO’s, with non- and poor compliance being highlighted at a high level. If the requirements are simply treated as a tick box exercise, there is a distinct possibility that not only will punitive sanctions for non-compliance be applied but the form of compliance will become more prescriptive, potentially at a significantly greater cost to industry.

Martin Fleetwood is corporate partner at Shoosmiths

Email: Disclaimer This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

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On track towards an integrated railway? Following Chris Grayling’s recent announcement to unite track and train operations, Tammy Samuel and Zoe Harris explore how the government might approach integration – and some of the challenges that may lie ahead


he secretary of state for transport, Chris Grayling, recently announced that he intends to bring back together the operation of track and train on Britain’s railways. He wants Network Rail to share its responsibility for running the tracks with private train operators to help the railways ‘run better on a day-to-day basis’. Integration of operations is not a new idea – the recommendation was put to the Department for Transport (DfT) five years ago by Sir Roy McNulty. While the secretary of state has made it clear that integration of management is only on the cards for now, the details are yet to be fleshed out. If the full vision is brought to fruition, the announcement could present an exciting opportunity for the rail industry – an opportunity to consider how best to integrate track and train operations on Britain’s railways. A more substantial alliancing model? Chris Grayling’s indication is that he expects new franchises to implement joint management teams, which will include representatives from both the private train operator and Network Rail. Both entities will continue to exist independently of one another for the time being. It is envisaged that the South Eastern and East Midlands franchises will be the first franchises to implement these joint management teams when they are re-let in 2018. At the moment, it is unclear how an integrated management structure will work in practice. Legal and regulatory constraints mean that a joint venture model is not

possible to implement in the short-term. The DfT is therefore likely to fall back on some form of an alliancing model, but it will be interesting to see whether this model will differ at all from the Network Rail alliance currently in place with Scotrail (and the previous alliance on South West Trains that has now been dissolved). One of the commonly accepted issues with the current alliance models is that in order to achieve synergies between track and train, Toc’s may need to take additional financial risk (e.g. by not claiming under possessions or delay regimes). Toc’s are unlikely to look favourably on an alliancing model that involves risk sharing where only the Toc is taking financial risk or the incentives are not correctly aligned. A move towards a more

substantial alliance model may therefore result in increased subsidies in franchise agreements to offset such financial risks – unless the benefits are clearly defined and achievable and there is a balance between the Toc and its Network Rail partner. Any alliance will also need to carefully consider the relationship between Toc’s across the network. Many Toc’s run services across multiple routes – will this mean that they will have to enter into multiple alliancing arrangements with Network Rail, or even alliances with other Toc’s? Similarly, if an issue arises on a particular route, the alliancing model will need to ensure that the views of all interested parties are taken into consideration, including all Toc’s that use the particular route (even if they are not a



party to the alliancing arrangement). Freight operators will be particularly alive to these issues given that the nature of their business is to run across a number of routes. They will not wish to see a particular Toc on a route being given priority by Network Rail which may then impact on the ability of the freight operator to manage its business. It naturally follows that this kind of model is better suited where there is one predominant operator on a network and fewer interfaces with other Toc’s. A strong regulator will also be needed to ensure that capacity allocation and charging is managed in a fair and transparent manner to allow other operators to access the tracks in the each area. Longer-term, if Network Rail is broken up and an integrated joint venture type approach is adopted, a review of how the law and regulation will be required, to adapt to an environment where there are multiple infrastructure managers and the interfaces that this would create. Opportunities arising from Brexit Having Network Rail and Toc’s working together in the same office is far less radical than a complete ‘re-unification’ of the railways. But with the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union slowly looming, this could be the right time to consider removing the strict separation of

train and infrastructure operations (soon to be regulated in a more substantial way with the introduction of the Fourth Railway Package) and consider some form of vertical integration. Whether the United Kingdom is in a position to move towards vertical integration will of course depend on the outcome of the negotiations to leave the European Union. Compliance with the Fourth Railway Package could also very well be a condition to the United Kingdom’s access to the single market. Care would also need to be taken to ensure that the railway’s legal and regulatory framework is ready for such a new structure. As noted above, vertical integration would inevitably result in multiple infrastructure managers across the network. The United Kingdom’s current regulatory framework is only designed to regulate one major infrastructure manager – Network Rail. How periodic reviews and charging will work in practice with multiple infrastructure managers will be particular areas for future discussion. It is also worth noting that although integration of the track and train partly removes an important interface (between the rail and the wheel), other interfaces will arise that will need to be considered – for example the interfaces between two or more vertically integrated

entities – and there will still be a wheel/rail interface for e.g. freight operations. Whatever the approach, integrated management of operations will probably see Toc’s taking a different approach to franchising – perhaps drawing on different expertise from within their wider group structure to manage infrastructure operations, enter into joint ventures with existing construction/maintenance contractors or even bringing in financiers to inject third party investment into the industry. The industry will be looking to the ITT documents for East Midlands and South Eastern (due to be released to shortlisted bidders in 2017) to see what approach the DfT intends to take on integration. Given that Network Rail is on the government’s balance sheet, this may provide the DfT with the incentive that it needs to develop a structure that will bring down costs and result in better day-to-day running of the railway. It may also generate new opportunities for the injection of new finance and encourage new parties to invest into the rail industry. Tammy Samuel is a partner and Zoe Harris is an associate in the rail team at Stephenson Harwood LLP

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Integration for the nation Jon Hart takes a look at the legal and contractual outlook for rail maintenance and renewals following the secretary of state’s announcements in early December


he rail industry is sometimes criticised for looking too much to the past and not enough to the future. Nostalgia for British Rail often crops up in discussions of the industry’s current difficulties. The announcements made by secretary of state, Chris Grayling, on 6th December last year cannot be accused of this, but seek to provide a vision of a better model for the industry, addressing the important and complex interface between ‘wheel and rail’ and bringing together those with responsibilities for providing passenger services with infrastructure maintenance, that were separated at time of the Railways Act 1993. is possible to envisage a set of ‘softer’ principles. These could well require franchisees to provide personnel and management for joint operating teams, or possibly the setting up of joint-ventures for delivery of specific initiatives

Privatisation: ‘It’s not my fault’ The architecture of privatisation created an issue which many members of the travelling public will only be too familiar with. A train is delayed and the slightly sarcastic comments of the on-board train manager blame this on over-running track works, which of course is nothing whatsoever to do with his or her employer, the train operating company. From a legal perspective, Network Rail (or prior to 2002, its predecessor, Railtrack) possesses the statutory licence which makes it responsible for the maintenance and renewal of physical infrastructure assets, while the train operator possesses the franchise giving it the right to operate services over those assets. Notionally, the costs of maintenance and renewal work, together with amounts to be paid by the train operator are subject to statutory regulation by the Office of Rail and Road Regulation and any contra-temps between Network Rail and the operator are dealt with through fault attribution processes set out in various contracts with the DfT and network rules governing the industry. The latest announcements talk about the need for change and requirements to produce an ‘industry more focused on passengers’. In this, the secretary of state is repeating the recommendations made by Nicola Shaw in her review of the funding of Network Rail from last year. It is doubtful that this focus on passengers is going to require changes to the governing legislation for the industry, were such a thing even seen to be politically achievable and/or desirable. Instead, the emphasis would appear, notionally, about making things more ‘joined up’ and driving behavioural changes in management.

Changing the franchises? Hard or soft edges? A new era of integration is going to require a degree of changes to the franchise model and alterations to route management approaches and strategies for Network Rail. Ironically, Grayling’s announcements come at precisely the same time as Network Rail has sought to reverse out of the key agreement designed to achieve these kind of outcomes – the so-called ‘deep alliance’ between the infrastructure owner, train operator and contractors for South West Trains’ Wessex Routes. A cynic might say that without contractual sticks and carrots involved principles of integration may at best be purely aspirational and unenforceable, at worst, a source of additional complexity and buck-passing. In contractual terms, this will mean further changes to the form of franchise agreement entered into between the DfT and train operators. The question remains as to what form these changes might take. At present, it would appear that there is no intention for franchisees to be required to take responsibility for delivery of specific construction projects (a ‘hard-edged’ form of franchise commitments) – although in relation to the new Wales and Borders (and Metro) franchise, for example, there appears to be a franchise specification which requires the franchisee to take on a much greater hands-on responsibility for infrastructure, given the unique requirements of the Valleys Lines. Instead, it is possible to envisage a set of ‘softer’ principles. These could well require franchisees to provide personnel and management for joint operating teams, or possibly the setting up of joint-ventures for delivery of specific initiatives. The challenge with this kind of softer arrangements is that they are often very difficult to document



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and (in the typically pessimistic lawyers’ universe) provide appropriate incentives and allocations of responsibility to encourage good performance and to deal with problems as they arise. Aligning interests: time for a re-think? This is going to require a degree of rethinking by all concerned. Network Rail, quite rightly, will say that it is already on this ‘journey’, as shown by the way in which devolution of route strategies has been developing over the last few years. Companies bidding for and running franchises might feel a little differently, given that they may be required to develop skillsets (and employ new engineering managers?) within their own organisations to address the challenges that a new model might require. Additionally, given the current ten to 15 year term of franchise agreements and the rolling five year control periods to which Network Rail is subject in relation to infrastructure investment decisions, there will need to be some careful thought as to how these timetables and potentially competing interests are aligned. Whisper it soft, but some train operators may be perfectly happy with current arrangements and the ability to take comfort in the fault attribute schedules under the Network

Rules. Freight operators might also believe that if passengers’ needs need to be properly represented in this brave new world, then their own interests to should also be respected and factored in. Furthermore (and perhaps ironically, given Grayling’s own views on the subject), there will need to be a degree of consideration of European regulations (socalled Fourth Railway Package) in relation to restrictions in relation to train operators and infrastructure providers. In the grand scheme of things, this last point might be seen of lesser concern. Brexit may mean Brexit, but does it also mean an end to controls on vertical integration? What about the builders? In addition to consideration of the position of Network Rail and franchisees, there is the position of the industry supply chain. Engineering contractors, who have been largely absent from a lot of the discussion so far, are also going to want to know who their employer is – and from whom instructions should be taken. There is a growing culture of ‘alliancing’ in the rail construction sector, and a number of contractors who have rapidly embraced this ‘best for the project/ no disputes’ approach with some degree of success – but this model has largely been developing on terms being provided

by Network Rail, without franchisee involvement. Additionally and perhaps of paramount importance above all else – any new approach will need to be safe. Network Rail has an exceptional safety record – particularly in comparison to other European infrastructure operators. It remains to be seen how this kind of approach might be formally meshed with the existing franchise and regulatory structure. Jam tomorrow? Perhaps a last point to highlight is that this is all going to take time. The current state of the DfT’s franchise programme is going to be a key determining factor. Unless there is intention to retrofit these kinds of arrangements onto existing franchises (and if so, at what cost?), it is far more likely that any changes will take place at the same rate of pace as new franchises are being let. For passengers, particularly those whose franchises are at the end of the programme, there may be a little longer to wait before major changes appear as a consequence of these new proposals.

Jon Hart is partner at Pinsent Masons LLP

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Delivering a better rail network: a 2017 wish list Will this be a brave new year in terms of performance around the delivery of new projects and major enhancements, asks Mark Elsey


s we enter another year, I experience a sense of déjà vu at the challenges facing our national rail network. While across the world 2016 delivered many surprises, in UK rail, whether Network Rail delays and cost overruns or Southern Region travails, we seemed caught in something of a time warp. Despite significant infrastructure development, performance levels and capacity are coming under ever greater pressures: a step change in performance is unlikely without challenging key elements currently underpinning the delivery of new projects and major enhancements. The challenges I see five main challenges to enhanced delivery.

We need to empower more procurers, remove some of the structural impediments, and make sure we really focus on defining the required outputs and priorities, including how to motivate and reward innovation and timely delivery

1) formulation and promotion: this is too centralised; too much responsibility vests in the DfT and in Network Rail and there is simply not the bandwidth across these organisations to come up with all the ideas and innovation needed to meet the demands of a modern 21st century economy. 2) planning: too long, too costly and too uncertain. 3) funding: not enough public money to meet the demands of modern Britain. Even if the latest plans from the chancellor are delivered, we will still be spending less on infrastructure than under the previous Labour administration, and significantly less than the average G7 nations. 4) access: is it realistic to expect major enhancements to be delivered efficiently and effectively with working hours on the railway constrained to a few hours each night and the occasional weekend blockade? 5) procurement: often over-engineered and too prescriptive, limiting real innovation and efficiency.

Network Rail should be repositioned more as a facilitator and overseer of the national strategic network, not necessarily a deliverer and maintainer; we also need to look at more regional transport authorities, along the TfL model, empowered to take control of both funding and delivering joined up local transport networks; and look at longer-term concessions granted to a mix of investors, contractors and operators with the ability to deliver a holistic vertically integrated rail service. Chris Grayling’s announcement in December of a special purpose vehicle to undertake the East-West rail project is a welcome step, but as yet it remains unclear how this entity is to be owned, empowered and funded. Alongside public sector change, we need to encourage more private sector innovation. If we exit from the EU, why not allow the private sector to put forward unsolicited proposals that, subject to sensible value and deliverability tests, can proceed without a long and costly open market procurement process?

So how do we meet these challenges? Here are some post-festive thoughts on each one.

2) Planning No easy answers here without a fundamental shift in the balance between individual rights and national/local strategic priorities. If we are not prepared to make that shift and reduce protection for individuals and individual interest groups we may never extract ourselves from the infrastructure log jam in this country. If we are prepared to change that balance, the time and costs that could be saved by expediting planning processes could fund enhanced compensation for those affected.

1) Formulation and promotion We need to spread the formulation and promotion procurement load, devolving power and responsibilities to a wider group of bodies who can come up with more localised solutions (rather than devoting disproportionate resources to large trophy projects). Government already recognises the need to devolve power and the move to create sub-national transport bodies is a helpful step. But if the government is serious about effective devolution of powers and responsibilities, it also needs to devolve appropriate control over delivery decisions, fundraising and spend. As part of this shift in responsibilities,

3) Funding It’s no secret that public purse strings are tight. On the other hand there is significant private liquidity and infrastructure that is increasingly attractive to investors across



the globe. The UK, despite the challenges of Brexit, is still a destination of choice for many global investors and as they hunt yield and look for better returns, these investors’ appetite for risk is increasing. So we need to be smart about attracting this money to the UK. In this context, it is good to see the Treasury appearing more receptive to alternative funding mechanisms under the current chancellor. Importantly, we need to accept that private finance is not just a balance sheet issue and that there is real value in private sector funding, including real financial accountability. Participants driven by profit and the potential to make money encourages innovation and efficiency. We need to dispel the myth that private funding equals privatisation, and that private sector profit is bad and represents a procurement failure. It’s not - profit is good as long as it’s reasonable and proportionate: the prospect of profit is the best way to motivate and incentivise efficient and cost-effective project delivery. We should accept that many projects (particularly in the rail sector) will not be self-funding. So where we need to mix public and private money or financial support, we need to be smart. Public support doesn’t have to take the form of cash or guarantees. The Thames Tideway Tunnel project is a good example of the government being smart and

surgical in its support, facilitating private sector funding for new infrastructure in a manner that delivers real value at lower cost for consumers. 4) Access As with planning, there are some hard tradeoffs. Given a choice, there must be a case to be made that travellers would opt for shorter periods of major disruption compared to years of continual delays, cancellations and uncertainty. Where possible, a blockade approach may allow more efficient and costeffective delivery. 5) Procurement We need the public sector to act as facilitator, making those hard choices and defining more clearly our needs and priorities. At the same time, we need to spend less time on considering relief events and termination, and more on defining how we want infrastructure to perform as well as how we are going to assess this and pay for it. Despite being at the heart of any major project, these issues have not always been given appropriate priority. One of the main reasons for this is that procurement is often seen as an engineering exercise rather than defining important outputs and how best to procure, fund and pay for them. Through over-engineering and over-prescription, we

stifle private sector innovation and efficiency. A cloudy crystal ball As we look both backwards and forwards, it is relatively self-evident that more of the same is not good enough. There are some encouraging signs, but to get this country really moving we must challenge conventional thinking, ideology and methodology. We need to empower more procurers, remove some of the structural impediments, and make sure we really focus on defining the required outputs and priorities, including how to motivate and reward innovation and timely delivery in the most efficient and costeffective way. As I polish my crystal ball, I am hopeful that the January 2018 picture will be different, that we will have taken some of the bold steps necessary to deliver the desperately needed enhanced rail network. With a government stretched to the limit by Brexit, healthcare and social welfare challenges and a range of international uncertainties, my worry is that, despite encouraging words from ministers, the more likely outcome will be another bout of déjà vu and a 2018 wish list that looks depressingly similar. Let’s hope I am wrong, particularly since I am a Southern rail commuter… Mark Elsey is partner at Ashurst LLP

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A single measure please Nigel Keohane discusses what Chris Grayling’s proposed reforms tell us about his vision for rail lines


here are multiple competing visions for the future of the UK’s rail network. Jeremy Corbyn and the unions promote renationalisation; Nicola Shaw argued in her review for more integration between track and train; the Competition and Markets Authority last year set out how rival train operators could compete on the same bit of track; and local leaders, whether in London or the regions press for greater localised democratic control. While the diversity of our network implies that we will always maintain a mix of approaches, a strategic decision is needed on the overall direction. A speech last year gave us the first signs of the route that the transport secretary may favour.   In December, Chris Grayling heralded a ‘brave new era for rail in Britain’. As he noted, the network is struggling to cope with much larger volumes of passengers and longer commuting distances, while there are enormous opportunities in new technologies.

He announced changes to the way that rail tracks would be owned and managed. For the vast majority of the network, these reforms are very modest (to start with at least). Network Rail will grant greater autonomy to local managers to make decisions on

In new franchises, companies should be directed to focus on a single measure of overall passenger satisfaction score. How they achieve this should be up to them... Firms could then be rewarded or penalised depending on how they measure up, with the best operators allowed greater flexibility on how they run services and set fares Rail Professional

maintenance and improvements. These local managers will make decisions in tandem with local teams from the rail operators. It is hoped this operational integration will make decisions more efficient and reduce the culture where operators and Network Rail blame each other when services run late. More radical But the prospect for the future may be more radical. Grayling argued that this is just a first step and that he ‘intend[s] to start bringing back together the operation of track and train on our railways.’ The first indication of a more deep-seated reform programme is the establishing of East West Rail to develop and run the route between Cambridge and Oxford. This new entity will be separate of Network Rail, will function as an integrated organisation and will seek to secure private sector involvement to design, build and operate the route.   The question is whether there is strong appetite to progress this agenda more widely across the network. It is one thing to establish such arrangements on new routes, but arguably even more important on some parts of the existing lines. For instance,


empirical studies have found that for more densely used railways vertical integration reduces costs. This has been ascribed to the fact that co-ordination costs increase more sharply as train density increases and that these co-ordination problems are harder to manage in vertically-separated networks. This suggests that integration between track and train may be most beneficial on existing lines that are heavily congested – such as in south east England. The Transport Secretary’s speech also alluded to a second, under-developed element of rail policy, namely service quality. Levels of passenger dissatisfaction are unacceptably high: a third of passengers are dissatisfied with the value for money of the price of their ticket, one in five are unhappy at the amount of room to sit and stand, and three in ten are unhappy with how companies deal with delays. In recent years, satisfaction with punctuality and reliability has flat-lined and dipped. There is also huge variance between rail operators, with the worst vastly underperforming the best over a five-year period.    Therefore, the Transport Secretary was right in his speech to sharpen the focus on improving the passenger experience.   So far we’ve been given little indication of how this could be achieved. Reforms could take one of two broad forms. First, rival rail operators could be encouraged to provide

services on the same bit of track competing for business and enabling passengers to choose which service best fits their needs. As the CMA enquiry showed last year, this mode of competition could be enacted in multiple ways: franchises could be split and awarded to two franchisees who would therefore have an incentive to attract passengers to their own services with better services and cheaper fares; the franchise system could be scrapped in favour of licensing multiple operators to compete on a line; or additional Open Access operators could be allowed to run trains that compete with services currently offered by franchise holders (such as happens on parts of the East Coast Main Line). In some cases, the potential for additional online competition may justify pursuing such steps, especially on inter-city lines where competition from other modes such as coaches or air is already strong. However, ultimately this vision of multiple train firms competing to run services on the same set of tracks sits awkwardly with the shift to greater vertical integration and will not be appropriate on many parts of the network.   Second alternative But, there is a second, alternative way to drive a focus on the passenger, which is more compatible with a vertically-integrated structure: namely, by increasing the


competitive pressure through the contracting process. Currently, as the Social Market Foundation has shown, firms have too little flexibility to respond to passenger demand because of over-specification of contracts and too little incentive to do so. In new franchises, companies should be directed to focus on a single measure of overall passenger satisfaction score. How they achieve this should be up to them, whether this is running more services, increasing punctuality, cutting fares or making journeys more comfortable. Firms could then be rewarded or penalised depending on how they measure up, with the best operators allowed greater flexibility on how they run services and set fares. Such a policy would reap the benefits of privatisation, providing firms with the flexibility and incentive to innovate and drive better quality and better value rail services. What helps with the service, may also help with the politics. The experience on Southern shows how it important it is for passengers to be assured that operators that under-perform during the contract are taken to task.

Nigel Keohane is research director at the Social Market Foundation

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An inclusive process Keith Wakefield has concerns about Chris Graylings proposals and says the developments he wants to see are tangible, not managerial, and based on local knowledge


t the start of December 2016, secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling announced that the government intends to reunite the management of the rail network’s tracks and trains. In a keynote speech, Grayling said he would demand that Network Rail and train operating companies work more closely together in the interests of passengers. Said Grayling: ‘Our railway is much better run by one joined-up team of people. They don’t have to work for the same company. They do have to work in the same team.’ As a member of the process that saw 29 local transport authorities across the north of England work together to specify the

We need developments in the rail industry that result in closer working and inclusivity to achieve real benefits for passengers. This means the involvement of local and regional transport bodies such as Combined and Transport Authorities and Transport for the North alongside the rail industry

new Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises, I can fully recommend the benefits of working in the same team. Introduced in April, the new rail franchises will see new, faster trains, reduced peak-time overcrowding and more evening and Sunday services. The development of the franchises was based on a shared understanding of local requirements and knowledge. The results are a testament to close joint working. There is no doubt that good, integrated transport links are vital to the Combined Authority achieving the aims set out in our Leeds City Region Strategic Economic Plan, of creating 36,000 extra jobs and generating

£3.7 billion of additional economic output. In West Yorkshire we already have an extensive metropolitan rail network with 69 stations, which local people use to make approaching 20 million journeys each year. Over the past year or so we have opened two of those stations – Apperley Bridge and Kirkstall Forge – along with the new, awardwinning Southern Entrance at Leeds station, which is used by around 20,000 people per day. Building more new rail stations such as one already under construction at Low Moor station between Bradford and Halifax and at Leeds Bradford Airport, is a key element of our plan. So are our plans to create new



We must certainly avoid creating an environment where organisations, supposedly working more closely together, are looking to offload the blame when things go wrong

rail infrastructure. At a time when a significant majority of the public support nationalisation of our rail system, recreating the failed Railtrack model, would be a backward step that would hamper economic growth and the creation of jobs. As well as ensuring that any changes to the structure of our rail industry must lead to better services for passengers, another prime consideration must be mainlining the network’s excellent safety record. We must guard against fragmentation of accountability or responsibility of service provision in this era of integrated transport opportunities. We must certainly avoid creating an environment where organisations, supposedly working more closely together, are looking to offload the blame when things go wrong, services are delayed or deadlines missed. We need developments in the rail industry that result in closer working and inclusivity to achieve real benefits for passengers. This means the involvement of local and regional transport bodies such as Combined and Transport Authorities and Transport for the North alongside the rail industry.

parkway stations and increase significantly the number of park and ride spaces at existing stations, which currently number around 2,500. A backward step My concern on hearing Grayling’s plans, announced on the same day as he unveiled plans for the fully privatised Oxford and Cambridge line, with one company managing trains and track, is that they could represent a harmful move towards further costly privatisation of the country’s

Message to Grayling This joined up and cooperative approach can also help to deliver efficiencies, such

as a more strategic approach to train procurement and better fleet utilisation, services that are better integrated with buses and trams and more attuned to customer requirements, electronic ticketing and simpler fares. My Leeds City Region colleagues and I are keen to work with the minister and the Department for Transport to achieve this. But the developments we want to see are tangible ones, not managerial, including work on HS2 being started in Yorkshire; government commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail, providing much-needed improvements to links between Leeds, Bradford, York, Manchester and beyond; and the electrification of existing City Region rail routes including the cross-Pennine, Calder Valley and Leeds Harrogate rail routes. So as we move into 2017, my message to Chris Grayling is: ‘We look forward to working with you to develop integrated transport networks across West Yorkshire, Leeds City Region the North and beyond that will support a real Northern Powerhouse. But that work must be an inclusive process based on local knowledge and expertise and it must deliver real benefits for passengers.’ Councillor Keith Wakefield is West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport chair




































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Stand out and deliver There will be stiff competition for Northern Powerhouse contracts. Dave Thornton provides advice on how to get ahead of the game


here are exciting developments in the pipeline for the rail sector but businesses need to step up to the mark to take advantage of opportunities – especially when it comes to Northern Powerhouse contracts. The significant planned expansion of the UK rail system presents a chance for ambitious businesses in the industry to be part of improving the country’s rail service and profit as a result, as I discovered at a recent conference.

A core component of the plans is the Northern Powerhouse Rail – or High Speed 3 – that was given the green light in the March 2016 budget, which allocated £60 million for development funding and preparing the route plan of the line. This year the project moves into the next phase – with plenty of contracts up for grabs for firms within the rail supply chain

The Northern Powerhouse proposal aims to boost economic growth in the North of England, particularly in the key cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, and Newcastle. A core component of the plans is Northern Powerhouse Rail – or High Speed 3 – that was given the green light in the March 2016 budget, which allocated £60 million for development funding and preparing the route plan of the line. This year the project moves into the next phase – with plenty of contracts up for grabs for firms within the rail supply chain. But despite the opportunities, the highly anticipated TansCityRail Northern Powerhouse Rail conference proved just how competitive contracts are set to be. More than 650 key decision makers, who hold the purse strings to procurement contracts worth millions, descended on the event, along with businesses and suppliers keen to learn more, discuss requirements and concerns, and network. The volume of buyers and businesses in attendance means that I’m predicating a competitive procurement exercise across all the contacts on offer. Naturally the number of contracts that will be made available means that



competition is high, but the invaluable information gleaned during the conference can certainly help support business aims and the desire for success. Throughout the conference buyers were keen to proactively engage with the supply chain, highlighting the importance of and enthusiasm for the project. The event was incredibly beneficial to suppliers, who were better able to get a feel for the requirements and needs of the various aspects of the plans. But those who couldn’t attend can still benefit from the practical information and insights that were available. Five key areas The number of eager companies that want to be part of the landmark project’s potentially lucrative and game changing plans mean that interested parties need to make sure they stand out during the procurement process. Businesses need to hone their bid skills to be successful and there are five key areas I believe firms should be focused on as they make their bids: 1. Track record – buyers will want you to demonstrate your track record in delivering projects to the same scale, with evidence to support these claims. You should prove that you have at least

delivered similar services on time, to budget, and to specification in the past. 2. Safety – health and safety is a key concern in the rail sector and this will need to be accurately and well-addressed in your bid. Outdated or ineffective responses to this portion of the process can have a hugely negative effect, while a strong response will add value. At an absolute minimum you need to demonstrate that you meet standard regulations. 3. Sustainability – environmental and sustainability questions are increasingly being used as a way to sort weak and strong submissions, particularly in the public sector. Outlining sustainability initiatives both in terms of the project and at your organisation on a wider scale could be enough to tip the final decision in your favour. 4. Delivery – the project will be working to a very strict timetable schedule and how efficient the delivery of the required components can be completed will be a crucial aspect for buyers. Considering the element of risk and the effects this could have on delivery should also be

analysed, including how these risks will be minimised with a strategic approach. 5. Writing skills – excellent bid writing skills will be essential for securing contracts from the Northern Powerhouse Rail project. The competition businesses face means that it’s vital that firms clearly communicate how they have researched the development objectives; will deliver the requirements outlined; have the capacity needed, and much more. Sharpening bid writing skills in preparation for submitting a bid can mean the difference between rejection and success. Many of the Northern Powerhouse rail contracts will be going through a strict procurement process. Buyers will be expecting to see evidence of how each firm can deliver on the above areas. For the rail supply chain, businesses that take a proactive approach could boost their future prospects significantly.

Dave Thornton is managing director of Thornton & Lowe

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Open to change What lies in wait for rail in 2017? We can expect many of the themes of 2016 to raise their heads again, as well as another turbulent twelve months predicts Nick Gross


rexit may have dominated the headlines in 2016, but the rail industry’s profile has rarely been higher. It made the news for many reasons, but much of the publicity it attracted was either negative or heralded imminent radical change. The position has become so parlous that Labour opposition has again suggested that private ownership of the industry would be in the interests of the public, triggered by yet another hike in ticket prices which comfortably exceeded the rate of inflation. The public must be beginning to wonder whether the Southern strike action is ever going to end, and despite numerous talks no resolution appears to be in sight. Surely it can’t be long before the government steps in? The problem is that, as I have

Perhaps the most exciting – and positive development in 2017 (for the passenger at least) may well be the wider introduction of open access services. Contrary to popular belief, the rail franchisees don’t have a monopoly on services in their franchised areas

pointed out previously in Rail Professional, the government will have to demonstrate that the force majeure rule doesn’t allow Govia Trains to successfully argue that it is not in breach of the terms of its franchise because the factors which result in its failure to provide an adequate service are beyond its control. Unless a compromise can be reached, my reluctant prediction is that this dispute will rumble on throughout the year. What of the rail infrastructure? In the Autumn Statement, the government announced its commitment to a fiscal stimulus to boost Britain’s roads and railways. The idea is that better road and rail links will improve productivity by helping workers to work more quickly. However, the government’s focus is to be on ‘shovel ready’ projects which can turn investment into productivity quickly, and I’m sceptical whether this can be achieved with the rail network given its antiquated condition and the planning complications inherent in major extensions or improvements to it. To complicate matters, the government

recently announced that it intends to reunite the operation of tracks and trains, which are currently the respective responsibilities of publicly owned Network Rail and the private train operating companies. It has emphasised that this doesn’t herald the demise of Network Rail, but a partnership being developed between Network Rail and the train operators, alongside the introduction of organisations which will be responsible for both certain lines and the trains which run on them, such as the new line linking Oxford and Cambridge. It’s not yet clear how this proposal will manifest, but the short-term uncertainty which will result will surely make it more difficult for the delivery of investment - whether from the public or private sector – to make a tangible difference to the lot of the passenger. Having said that, we are told to expect major improvement works taking place across the rail network, particularly in and around London, in areas as diverse as London Bridge and Liverpool. While this will hopefully deliver long-term benefits, in the



published a long-awaited review into the rail sector, in which it recommended the best way to push down fares and improve passenger services was to increase the number of train operators on the East Coast, West Coast and Great Western routes. This was followed by The Office of Rail and Road approving a new budget £25 service between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh, to compete with Virgin East Coast. There is a clear shift in thinking taking place. Grand Southern Railway has revealed its plan to launch a new open access company to run services between London Waterloo and Southampton on the South-Western network. It has pledged to run less expensive services with more comfortably laid-out carriages on the route, which South West Trains, owned by Stagecoach, currently runs as a commuter service. To use a railway expression, this development is long overdue. Finally, I haven’t mentioned HS2. This continues to progress, but so slowly that few headline developments are expected in 2017, given the National Audit Office’s pronouncement in June 2016 that the timetable set by the government was unrealistic.

To complicate matters, the government recently announced that it intends to reunite the operation of tracks and trains... It’s not yet clear how this proposal will manifest, but the short-term uncertainty which will result will surely make it more difficult for the delivery of investment - whether from the public or private sector – to make a tangible difference to the lot of the passenger short-term there will be more disruption for the long-suffering passenger. Brighter note On a brighter note, Network Rail has pledged to almost double the number of places on its three-year Advanced Apprenticeship scheme, which received more than 4,000 applications in 2015. 140 extra apprenticeships are planned, which will bring the total number to 300, with recruitment taking place in March and September 2017. Network Rail has also moved the scheme to its training and development centre near Coventry, where apprentices will specialise in one of five areas: electrification and plant, overhead lines, signalling, telecoms or track. They

will then move to local depots for on-thejob frontline training, as well as off-site learning. Perhaps the most exciting –and positive development in 2017 (for the passenger at least) may well be the wider introduction of open access services. Contrary to popular belief, the rail franchisees don’t have a monopoly on services in their franchised areas. Independent firms can compete with the franchise incumbent and operate rival services, as long as they can show that they will expand the rail market. However, the Office of Rail and Road only approved four out of 19 open access proposals received between 2000 and 2014. However, in March 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority

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Driving down delays Jerry Alderson looks at whether the situation around driver shortages will experience a new dawn this year, and has an idea of his own


t’s another new year and the railway is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. Because of government intransigence in demanding that regulated rail fares increase well above CPI inflation, each year the media gets three chances to attack: in August when the July RPI figure is announced; December when specific fare increases are revealed and on 2nd January when the fares rise – a day when few are at work and the media has little else to cover. Sadly, this year it was joined by a second unnecessary bad story: soul-destroying long-lasting disruption to passengers on Southern railway. The message conveyed is that the railway cannot be relied upon anywhere in Britain so buy a car instead: it won’t let you down. The service deterioration should not have come as a surprise. Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) was created as a megaconcession because the scale of works being undertaken on Thameslink – especially around London Bridge – guaranteed disruption with unpredictable revenue and costs. Passenger-focused plans to put drivers solely in charge of deciding when to close doors and depart had been announced prior to GTR commencing on 14th September 2014 and unions made their unhappiness known straightaway. It’s a pity that GTR does so little to tell passengers that those changes should benefit them (if implemented properly). Those problems are hopefully short-term. However, the entirely predictable and avoidable lack of staff across all four of GTR’s brands with a continuing inability to run the full scheduled service is a perennial problem that has dogged all parts of Britain’s railway including back in British Rail days. Root causes A lack of train crew because of inadequate staffing levels is something that passengers, who are often paying the highest fares in

...the entirely predictable and avoidable lack of staff across all four of GTR’s brands with a continuing inability to run the full scheduled service is a perennial problem that has dogged all parts of Britain’s railway including back in British Rail days. A lack of train crew because of inadequate staffing levels is something that passengers, who are often paying the highest fares in Europe, just cannot understand and should not have to accept



Europe, just cannot understand and should not have to accept. As Britain’s foremost pro-rail group, Railfuture campaigns for a bigger and better railway. We want to promote a good railway to the public while being the rail industry’s critical friend; but these own goals are a kick in the teeth. Government is focused on punctuality and reducing cancellations but neither it nor the rail industry is doing enough about the root causes. British Rail contracts with drivers didn’t cover Sundays, which relied upon rest-day working with drivers only having to confirm a willingness to do so on the preceding Wednesday – hardly a robust way to guarantee a service. Twenty years of private operators and voluntary working remains an issue both on Sundays, which are becoming an important day for travel, and to run the full service during the weekdays. Deliberately relying upon overtime can reduce the number of people to train and avoid additional pension contributions, but no business in a competitive industry would risk its reputation and market share on a voluntary system. The shortage of drivers is exacerbated by fragmentation – both geographic and temporal. Because of the pain of training drivers, which takes at least 11 months, one Toc attracts another Toc’s drivers by offering

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more money (often inter-city operators poach from commuter operators). This repeated behaviour has pushed up salaries (and, wow, have they risen in 20 years) and one Toc tends to suffer disproportionately as drivers usually do not want to move home so the recruiting Toc is poaching from a small area. It cannot be resolved by restricting employees’ rights to change employer. Temporal fragmentation has certainly come into play with GTR. Why would a Toc invest in training new drivers in the last 12+ months of their franchise when it will not see any return from that investment if it fails to retain the franchise, which is probable given that First Capital Connect (FCC) faced four rival bidders. Clearly FCC didn’t train enough drivers. GTR deserves criticism for not advertising for new drivers from the day it was announced as winner (or 10 days later when the standstill period ends) rather than discovering the shortfall after it took over three months later when any fool knew there would not be sufficient. Once an operator finds itself with a driver shortage it then gets worse because it has to take drivers off passenger duties to train the new drivers. By the time the operator is fully staffed the franchise/ concession is coming to an end and the entire vicious circle starts all over again.

This isn’t justification for going back to a BR model, not even a BR Plc one. Fragmentation is not a bad thing and is perfectly natural (e.g. farmer – manufacturer – wholesaler – retailer); it just needs to be done properly. Should the railway be fragmented differently? My personal view is that one or more nationwide ‘driver-cos’ - external companies providing drivers to operators - could be a solution. It would reduce both temporal and geographic fragmentation, especially if drivers relied more upon computer advice than route knowledge in their head. A brand new supplier would have seven-day contracts and being one of several sources of drivers would prevent 100 per cent stoppages that Southern is suffering, thereby avoiding the need for further government legislation to protect passengers. Given that drivers are not really customer-facing it is surprising the rail industry has not gone down this route beyond a few examples such as Freightliner Heavy Haul staff driving some TransPennine Express trains.

Jerry Alderson is director of finance and IT at Railfuture and is also a business consultant.

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Promoting a positive impact Keith Morey reviews IOSH’s Rail Industry Conference, where the theme of avoiding complacency came up time and again


or many people and organisations, the start of a new year provides an opportunity to reflect, evaluate and set new targets and goals. We in the rail sector are no different in that respect. On a personal level, I’m always looking to find and promote new ways that help improve working conditions for anyone working on the railway so they are happier, healthier and safer while at work. Avoiding complacency in our operations is a key consideration. In fact, when we staged our annual Rail Industry Conference towards the end of 2016, we heard industry experts say the same. For instance, John Gillespie, HM assistant chief inspector of railways at the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), told delegates that the UK rail sector needed to avoid becoming complacent about health and safety, with its position as having the safest railways in Europe being ‘incredibly fragile’. He said: ‘Complacency, for me, is acceptance of the status quo; acceptance that we are safe enough; acceptance that we do not need to improve. For me, that is what complacency feels like and it can become part of an organisation’s culture. We can still improve – even a small improvement is a good improvement.’ Gillespie also said that showing positive leadership is ‘essential if we are to have an impact’ on safety and health in the rail industry: ‘Positive leaders need to have an understanding of motivation, and what actually motivates individuals towards a positive goal,’ he added. ‘For me, there are three main motivators towards good health and safety performance – legal, financial and moral. These will play differently on different people, in different roles in an organisation.’ Throughout the conference – which was themed around ‘promoting a positive impact’ – we heard industry experts

share their thoughts on topics as varied as leadership techniques, learning from accidents, behavioural safety and occupational cancer. What was clear is that anyone within an organisation has the power to be a positive leader. You don’t have to be the company CEO to be able to make a decision which positively influences your working environment. Innovation honoured Every year, we as a group recognise new ideas that have had a positive impact on safety and health in the sector through our International Railway Group Award. The 2016 winner, Rail Safety Systems BV (RSS), was announced during the conference. It was in recognition of its work to develop a magnetic barrier which offers rail track workers protection from trains travelling at line speed, and other potential

health hazards. The Dutch-based firm said its innovation has ‘transformed the conventions of workforce protection’, saving time and money on installation compared to standard safety barriers. Previously, workers had to remove some of the ballast from beneath the rail track to secure a safety barrier in place. RSS’s barrier, however, uses magnets to attach the safety barrier directly to the web of the track itself – eliminating the need to disturb the ballast. RSS said this not only speeds up the process and requires fewer workers to install it, it also helps to reduce the chances of track distortion and of the workforce being exposed to silica dust and other pathogens as a result of disturbing the ballast. Paul Scapens, managing director of Innovative Railway Systems – the UK-arm of RSS – spoke during the conference about the invention, which he said has already been



used successfully by rail workers in the UK, Europe, the USA and Australia. He said: ‘The project was to produce a new type of safety barrier that didn’t require the removal of ballast. We noted all the disadvantages of existing systems of protecting the workforce in terms of health and safety, and set about defining a solution. Our design has transformed the conventions for workforce protection, overcoming all the disadvantages of existing systems and additionally providing extra benefits to save both time and cost. It affords superior levels of protection, assists the protection of the physical infrastructure and above all else, protects the health of the workforce.’ I personally felt RSS deservedly won the award as its idea is simple, more flexible than standard barriers and is lightweight. It’s a quick and easy fix and it’s available to every worker out there. Network Rail Infrastructure Projects’ Northern Business Unit was also highly commended for its work to tackle worker fatigue. It introduced a new way of monitoring fatigue through the use of apps and touchscreen technology, along with lowering the average shift from 12 to eight hours, which in itself was quite an achievement. It resulted in a reduction in incidents and accidents on site. Our hope is that by sharing ideas,

promoting best practice and rewarding the current efforts being made, it will inspire others to think about how they can make a difference in their own workplaces, so these improvements make a positive impact on

our railways and workforce in the future. Keith Morey is chair of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Railway Group




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Women in rail


Adeline Ginn

Split the difference Adeline Ginn discusses why we should all be working towards a diverse workforce


n recent years the tech world has made a concerted effort in working towards a more equal gender split, something that has seen women reaching senior positions that would have been unfathomable a decade ago. This progression is encouraging for all STEM industries and provides evidence of an appetite for equal genders in the workplace, as businesses increasingly recognise the benefits such as increased innovation and productivity. Although the tech industry is generating brilliant attention to the importance of the gender skills gap and highlighting the scale of the problem that must be addressed, there is still a long way to go for tech and

many other STEM industries, including rail. In the rail sector, we need more commitment and collaboration from companies to stick their head above the parapet and pledge their support for a 50:50 gender split. For the battle against filling the skills gap in rail companies to be won, we need to address the way we promote the industry to our younger generations and potential candidates. We believe this process needs to begin at home and in schools. Research by Surrey University has shown that parents of boys are much more likely to value engineering as a career for their sons, than parents of girls for their daughters. Currently girls in the UK are dropping STEM subjects by the time they get to A-levels.

Unconscious bias within STEM industries, including the rail industry, is something that further restricts the ability of reaching a 50:50 gender split. The bias and judgment people unconsciously make when taking decisions around recruitment – whether as employer or potential employee – affects gender balance in the short and long-term. This is something that Women in Rail is addressing by promoting a more diverse way of thinking at all levels of organisations, whether by raising the standards of equality and inclusion, creating the vision of a productive and inclusive workplace or designing interventions to spot and develop talent and, of course, align recruitment processes

There is an urgent need to educate parents and schools about the wide range of jobs a career in rail can offer. We need to show to our young girls that the industry is a modern and dynamic one where they can find a job not only as a track engineer or train driver but also as a project manager, lawyer, commercial manager or in a customer relations role, and that there is a department to suit everyone. Strong figureheads In conjunction with ensuring adequate understanding and promotion of rail, it is vital that we have strong figureheads in the industry and that we showcase women who have built successful careers in the railway. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, is an engineer by training and an advocate for pushing STEM education for young girls. She is a brilliant example of how women from engineering backgrounds can rise to the top in a spectacular fashion. The reality is that we don’t highlight these achievements nearly enough. In August last year Women in Rail announced a shortlist of the 20 Most Inspirational Women in Rail. The aim of the shortlist was to help showcase the amazing work women are doing across the industry and the impact they have on colleagues. Other European countries are far more successful than the UK in positioning engineering as desirable and sought after careers. This results in a more diverse and gender balanced workforce. In Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus, the percentage of women working in the engineering industry is 30 per cent. In the UK it’s fewer than 10 per cent – demonstrating that we still have a way to go in making the industry a celebrated career for women, and with the large rail infrastructure projects reaching significant milestones in 2017, such as Crossrail and HS2, now is the perfect time to celebrate opportunities in the sector. Unconscious bias within STEM industries, including the rail industry, is Rail Professional



something that further restricts the ability of reaching a 50:50 gender split. The bias and judgment people unconsciously make when taking decisions around recruitment – whether as employer or potential employee – affects gender balance in the short and long-term. This is something that Women in Rail is addressing by promoting a more diverse way of thinking at all levels of organisations, whether by raising the standards of equality and inclusion, creating the vision of a productive and inclusive workplace or designing interventions to spot and develop talent and, of course, align recruitment processes. In a global survey, 85 per cent of corporate diversity and talent leaders agreed that a diverse workforce is crucial at encouraging different ideas that drive innovation. It pays to be paying attention to diversity. With such a strong business case being put forward, why wouldn’t companies fight for 50:50? For rail to work towards a 50:50 gender split among its workforce, we need to be proactive in highlighting the diverse range of jobs available to future candidates and, at the same time, continue to nurture, develop and promote our existing female workforce. Adeline Ginn is founder of Women in Rail and general counsel at Angel Trains

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Wafted in from Luton Gavin Shuker MP discusses why the new East Midlands franchise must include four fast trains per hour to London Luton Airport


ccording to Department for Transport forecasts, UK air passenger numbers are set to more than double by 2050. However, as the Transport Select Committee has found, the capacity of UK airports’ rail links are one of the biggest factors limiting their growth This is particularly evident in the case of the airport in my constituency: London Luton Airport (LLA). It is the fastestgrowing major London airport, yet is the only one without an express-style rail service which links it with Central London. Of the 160 East Midlands trains that pass through Luton Airport Parkway (LAP) station each day, only 16 actually stop. The new East Midlands rail franchise is due to begin in 2018, presenting an ideal

What’s more, it can all be achieved with no additional capital spending, making the project a perfect example of the government’s desire for ‘small investments’ which can offer ‘big wins’

opportunity to address this shortfall. LLA is calling for four fast trains per hour to be introduced between LAP and Central London as part of the new franchise agreement. Doing so would bring significant economic benefits as well as helping to meet passenger demand for air travel and improving connectivity across the UK, not to mention vastly improving the journeys of those travelling to and from the airport. What’s more, it can all be achieved with no additional capital spending, making the project a perfect example of the government’s desire for ‘small investments’ which can offer ‘big wins’. Introducing more fast rail services between LAP and Central London requires amendments to the timetable and no new infrastructure, meaning there is effectively

no cost to the public. The impact though would be huge. First and most importantly, economic analysis shows that four fast trains could increase the airport’s rail modal share from 14 per cent today, to 23 per cent by 2019. This in turn means fare revenue for the industry would increase by up to £110 million a year. Secondly, it would boost economic growth and connectivity not just in my constituency but across the UK. LLA is currently investing £110 million in an ambitious project to increase annual capacity by 50 per cent, which is set to add an extra £1 billion per year to the UK economy by 2030 and create more than 10,000 new jobs. Improved rail connections will help accelerate that growth.



Improving rail access to the UK’s airports will help foster economic growth and regional development across the country. The Airport Operators Association has recently found that a five per cent improvement in average journey times to and from airports could generate £1.9 billion for the UK economy and support an additional 32,000 jobs The new franchise agreement also presents an exciting opportunity to create an integrated travel hub which connects North and South, as well as strengthening the East/West corridor. Having more trains stop at LLA will also benefit passengers coming to and from Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester to the North, as well as London to the South. Luton’s location on the Oxford-Cambridge corridor means that more fast trains will also strengthen links in this strategically important part of the UK.

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Thirdly, better rail links will help keep over 70,000 cars off the M1 each year, reducing congestion in the area and cutting CO2 emissions by around 500 tonnes a year. Finally, passengers will benefit from a faster, more efficient journey to and from the airport. Not an isolated case LLA’s expansion is being supported by a project by Luton Borough Council to upgrade the link between LAP and the airport terminal – currently a shuttle bus. A

£200 million light rail link will replace the bus by 2020, meaning the total journey time from London St Pancras could be less than 30 minutes – less time than it takes to get to either Stansted or Gatwick. This can only happen with an express style rail service Adding four fast trains to the new East Midlands franchise agreement will help LLA to realise its full potential and free up much needed airport capacity in the South East, helping to address the strong demand for air travel. But LLA isn’t an isolated case. Improving rail access to the UK’s airports will help foster economic growth and regional development across the country. The Airport Operators Association has recently found that a five per cent improvement in average journey times to and from airports could generate £1.9 billion for the UK economy and support an additional 32,000 jobs. This is an opportunity we can’t afford to miss. By ensuring London and Luton Airport Parkway is better connected, the government can prove that it is serious about achieving big wins when it comes to the UK’s rail infrastructure. Gavin Shuker is MP for Luton South

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Become a member… (Great Western Railway), Callum Radford Lifelong learning for railway professionals (Great Western Railway), Melanie Ruiz (Great The IRO is a focal point for raising standards Western Railway), Patrick Sheerin (Irish Rail), through operational training, sharing Benjamin Shewchuk (Great Western Railway), knowledge and expertise to provide its Andrew Stovold (Great Western Railway), members with the very best developmental Kieran Tatterton (Great Western Railway), The Our Annual Lunch for Membersopportunities. and Guests will beInstitution held at delivers a Rosaleen Wallace (Irish Rail), Barry Weldon rangeOn of career The Mermaid, Puddle Dock, London. Fridayenhancing 19th Aprilcourses tailored (ScotRail) and Thomas (Great Western specifically to the needs of the industry, all 2013 Whale from midday. Our guest speaker is the Rt. Hon. Railway). which lead to internationally recognised Simon Burns, Minister of Stateof for Transport. qualifications in railway operations Diploma of Higher Education in Railway management. Tickets – £47.00 per head Operations Management: As well as this, the IRO has a commitment Simon Aston (Network Rail), to lifelong Table ofGarry 10 –Blake £470.00 per tablelearning and has developed a range (Irish Rail), Janet (Ticket Camporese (Translink), prices are inclusive of VAT @ 20%) of continuing professional development Lorien Clarke (MTR Crossrail), Michael Collins activities to identify, define, improve, develop (Virgin Trains), William Cotter (Irish Rail), and monitor relevant professional skills and Download a booking form at: Anne Darcy (Transport for London), Neil work-related knowledge to support your Davis (Irish Rail), Ernest Elsworth-Wilson on-going career. In 2016 IRO Learn was also (Great Western Railwayt), Keith Farrelly (Irish launched – this new online learning platform Certificate of Higher Education in Railway Call: 01785 248113 Rail), Roy Galvin (Irish Rail), Lisa Gillman offers a variety of courses that can be studied Operations Management: (Great Western Railway), Shane Kearns (Irish at a pace that suits you. Natalie Barraclough (Great Western Railway), Rail), Simon Kelly (Great Western Railway), Why join? Membership of the IRO Emily Clarke (Great Western Railway), Shane Christopher Lanigan (Translink), Stephen will give you access to a great network Cooney (Irish Rail), Jordan Dunn (Great Lloyd (Network Rail), Ben Merryweather of professional expertise, professional Western Railway), Sarah Eden (Great Western (CrossCountry), Brian Moore (Virgin Trains development opportunities, industry endorsed Railway), Louise Edwards (Great Western East Coast), Ian Nevin (Irish Rail), Frank qualifications and professional affiliation and Railway), Ieuan Farnham (Great Western O’Leary (Irish Rail), Marieek Singh (Northern), recognition. Furthermore, if your employer is Railway), John Gadd (Great Western Railway), Richard Smith (Network Rail), Gavin Thomas a corporate member of the IRO you are eligible Joanne Gomez (Great Western Railway), (Northern) and Thomas Wynne (Irish Rail). to join the Institution for free. Regino Gomez (Great Western Railway), If you would to join or find out more please call David Griffiths (Great Western Railway), To find out more about the learning opportunities 03333 440523, visit www.railwayoperators. Katie Grimes (Great Western Railway), offered by the IRO please visit www. or email membership@ Christopher Marr (Network Rail), Shannon Noad (Great Western Railway), Michaela or email the learning teamThere at learning@ To find to out about upcoming IRO events visit: O’GormanYour (Greatlocal Western Railway), IRO Area Hollie runs events all year round. are opportunities see how others Phelps (Great Western Railway), David Pinder

Celebrating graduation success he Institution of Railway Operators (IRO) is delighted to present the latest graduates from its academic courses in Railway Operations Management. These courses, which are delivered in conjunction with Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), have allowed each graduate to study and enhance their knowledge of the art of railway operations. The ceremony, which was held at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 23rd November 2016, saw graduates mark their achievement with friends and family. The Institution would like to congratulate the graduates listed below on their success and commitment to their professional development.

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Travel trends in England: what’s happening to rail demand? A new research study into travel trends challenges old assumptions about travel behaviour, reveals Matthew Niblett


orecasts of travel demand have struggled to predict recent trends in road and rail travel in the UK. To explore these changing trends the Independent Transport Commission (ITC), a leading research charity, has devoted one of its work streams to uncovering what has been happening to patterns of land-based travel demand and why. The most recent research project in this work stream has been using National Travel Survey (NTS) data to unpick the patterns of road and rail travel trends in England over a 20-year period between 1995 and 2014. The ITC report – Recent trends in road and rail travel: What do they tell us? – was based on research commissioned from statistical experts Gordon Stokes and Peter Headicar. For consistency, the study was able to explore travel trends in England only, due to the recent devolution of the collection of transport statistics to the home nations. The research updated an earlier ITC report that looked at travel trends before the Great Recession in 2008-09. The focal point of this new work has been on the travel behaviour of individuals rather than on the aggregate trends. Assumptions about the drivers of travel demand have traditionally focused on three key areas: income, the cost of travel and population growth (or the number of travellers). However, it became evident in the mid-2000’s that car travel patterns, in particular, were not behaving as predicted: in spite of rising incomes and stagnant motoring costs, per capita car use appeared to be levelling off or falling, particularly among younger people. At the same time there was an explosion in rail travel demand after the mid-1990’s, well beyond what would have been expected from income and cost changes. The new ITC study has been exploring this phenomenon during and since the Great Recession. If traditional assumptions held, we would have expected to see a steep fall in

both road and rail travel during the period of the recession, with a recovery thereafter as demand increased alongside recovering incomes. Findings surprising The findings from the ITC research are surprising. The report reveals that the overall total miles travelled by English residents did peak in 2007 before falling sharply in 200809, and stabilising at this lower level. However, this aggregate trend needs to be read in the context of rapid population growth (which increased in England by almost 12 per cent between 1995 and 2014). As a result, the per capita (individual) weekly distance travelled is actually now 10 per cent lower than in the mid-2000’s. These overall trends mask striking differences among different modes of travel. Per capita car travel has failed to recover strongly since 2007, and has continued to

fall significantly in towns and cities. On the other hand, when we look at rail travel, the average rail mileage per person has continued to rise sharply, with only a brief pause during the recession, in spite of stagnant incomes and above-inflation rail fare rises until 2014. The ITC’s conclusion is that the historic correlations between incomes, costs and travel are weakening, and there appear to be wider forces at play shaping behaviour. Drilling further into the rail figures, the research provides a clearer picture of ridership trends. Young adults (17-34) particularly favour rail travel compared to other age groups, both in terms of the percentage that use rail and the distance they travel, with annual rail passenger miles per adult almost three times higher for this group than for seniors (over 60). Strikingly, however, the growth in rail travel over the past 20 years has almost wholly come from a higher percentage



of the population travelling, rather than existing travellers making more trips or travelling further. The research indicates that rail travel has significantly increased since 1995 across all income quintiles, although people from the richest quintile still travel twice as far by rail in terms of miles per year than any other income group. There are also clear differences in terms of rail travel depending on whether travellers live in rural or urban areas. The ITC research shows rapid growth in rail travel distance per person over the past 20 years in London and the largest built-up areas, but almost no growth at all by those living in rural areas and small settlements (under 3,000). Further research urgent The ITC was particularly intrigued by the discovery that that the huge growth in rail travel is attributable to a much higher proportion of the population using rail rather than to an increased frequency of travel by individual users or to longer average trip distances. This begs the question whether there is a natural limit to the percentage of the population that will travel by rail, and therefore an upper limit to the rapid growth in rail travel seen in recent decades? The need for further research into this question is urgent, and the ITC will be exploring this through a new study over the course of the coming year. Dr Matthew Niblett is director of the Independent Transport Commission Rail Professional

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Cash converters Neil Robertson looks at how to turn cash into skills to support the National Infrastructure Plan


he UK has embarked upon an ambitious £400 billion plan to upgrade its primary infrastructure over the next decade or so. This means new power stations, transmission lines, rail lines and trains as well as upgrades to existing rail, water, telecoms, road and energy infrastructure – all very welcome. As the Treasury productivity plan notes, modern high-capacity infrastructure drives economic growth. Few would dispute this, but it’s how these exciting and shiny new assets are built, commissioned, maintained and operated that matters. The growth is substantially predicated on one assumption – a high degree of local ‘content’. This means that ‘kit’ is built locally and the workforce, who need not be local, must pay their taxes and spend their cash in the UK. With the need to keep ROI’s competitive, not add to wage inflation and see benefits from the projects for UK workers, there is an almost inescapable conclusion that those responsible need a good plan for ensuring a plentiful supply of locally-based labour. Happily, the Treasury agrees and has published the National Infrastructure Plan for Skills. This sets out the scale of the challenge, reminds us of the well-documented skills shortages and unhelpful age profile of the current workforce, and challenges leadership to address these. There are a number of strands to this challenge to consider before looking at potential solutions and specifically ‘procuring for apprenticeships’ as a key part of the answer. Many barriers So firstly, what are the barriers to the infrastructure sub-sectors employing lots of skilled people? Many. They are in short supply. They are in global demand. Their own workforce is ageing. Sector attractiveness is relatively low. There is a paucity of graduates in relevant fields. The specialist nature of the

work means training is often best done on the job, making it demanding and expensive. There is a relatively poor supply at vocational level due to the historically low volumes, shortage of trainers, and cost of necessary equipment. There are safety concerns too. In short, a perfect storm. There are two further structural problems. Firstly, with uncertain workloads, short lead-in times, low margins and time-limited contracts, the supply chains have historically under -trained, preferring to poach and therefore drive wage inflation. Training has historically been an easy efficiency. The net effect is that around half of the skilled people will leave over the next decade and replacement rates are at less than half the required levels. Government has sought to increase the volume of apprenticeships by paying the sector the top tariffs, but these are not much against an all-in cost of £121,000 per apprenticeship. The energy regulator, Ofgem, to its credit recognised this and made an allowance in its settlement for training for workforce renewal. This, together with some inspirational leadership by energy and utility asset owning CEO’s, has increased numbers a little at the

top of the supply chains, but not significantly lower down, where the perception is still of a first mover disadvantage. Strategies published by the Department for Transport and the rail supply chain are hoping to drive similarly positive leadership. It remains to be seen whether the apprenticeship levy will drive demand but one significant approach is to mandate/incentivise apprenticeship development through the procurement process. The science, or art, of using procurement to drive skills is in its infancy. Government clearly believes there is mileage. The best hope So what prospects are there for procurement to really drive demand? There are many examples of enlightened procurers communicating clearly, but often informally, their expectations of supply chain people development activity including Scottish and Southern Energy on the Beauly/Denny transmission line upgrade, or the National Grid’s careers programme. These show doubters that the experience need not be painful. However, to achieve significant culture shift down the supply chain levels, legally Rail Professional



mandating training offers the best hope. One of the first meaningful attempts to formally link infrastructure procurement to skills development was in the Transport for London tube upgrade in 2007. TfL made it clear that it wanted successful contractors to engage and train specific numbers of young apprentices from particular postcodes. The programme delivered substantially on its promises, without challenge, and also enhanced TfL’s profile with its customers, who valued a very sensible approach. Crossrail was built on this approach. Led by Terry Morgan (now advising DfT on these questions), the Crossrail procurement process specified ratios of expected apprenticeship growth to value of contract spend. This was not done quietly; it has been identified as an important feature of the new line from the outset. What have we learnt? So what have we learnt about how to mandate with the necessary precision? It is clear that specifying a ratio-to-contract spend e.g. one apprentice per £3 million of spend, is workable. It has the advantage of being simple and relatively easily measurable. It is an output measure that doesn’t require a track record so perhaps removes some of the nonUK contractor concern. However, different infrastructure contracts have different proportions of expensive plant/equipment and 23/03/2016 technology.v2-half.pdf For example, 1£3 million doesn’t16:30 go

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very far when building a nuclear power station. So we need to vary the ratio or find another method. The energy and utilities sector, as one strand of their skills plan, identified procurement and set up a working group of lead asset owners and contractors who spent a year testing different approaches with their procurement specialists. They investigated setting expected levels of training at the outset of tendering – an input measure if you like. A figure of five per cent of workforce in training and or apprenticeships was tested and found to be stretching but not entirely unreasonable. There was a wider five per cent in training campaign running in service sectors at the time. The advantages of this approach are that it benefits those who have demonstrated the right behaviours on a voluntary basis in the past, and it is more likely to be rolled down the supply chain. The obvious disadvantage is that of apparently creating a barrier to entry to non-UK based companies. The government has both absorbed and encouraged this paradigm shift and we can expect more targets and examples as the National Infrastructure Plan unfolds. I believe the genie is almost out of the bottle. Such confidence cannot be exhibited in the prospects for natural commercial processes to drive training in other less regulated sectors. Whilst the minimum/living wage sectors will be influenced by the apprenticeship levy, it’s

harder to see how sectors such as finance or IT could use this lever to create a more level playing field. Voluntary agreements such as the ‘The 5% Club’, with their accompanying peer pressure and corporate and individual pride, may have more traction. Sectors not characterised by relatively low numbers of high value contracts will inevitably see less in this approach directly for them. Perhaps the way forward here is to develop the argument and evidence base where sustainability of capability becomes a strategic commercial necessity rather than an operational inconvenience or a social responsibility. The early pioneers, especially in the rail sector, have certainly shown that, with leadership, it is possible to mandate skills in infrastructure procurements. The methodologies are gaining in credibility and sophistication. No longer is the dreaded first mover disadvantage scenario inevitable – prowess and a track record in renewing one’s workforce can and should be a core tenet of commercial decision making. Neil Robertson is CEO of the National Skills Academy for Rail. This article is adapted from his chapter in A Race to the Top – Achieving Three Million More Apprenticeships by 2020, edited by David Way CBE and published by Winchester University Press.

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To err is human Thomas Ward looks at the history of non-technical skills’ development towards being integrated with the practical knowledge and abilities necessary to drive a train, operate a signal, or repair track


forgot about it after I jumped off the engine and it never entered my mind again until after the accident had happened.’ This was signalman James Tinsley’s less than satisfactory explanation for why he overlooked the train that had given him a ride to his signal box at Quintinshill. The tragic consequences of Tinsley’s memory lapse are infamous. Minutes later the signalman ran a troop special into the forgotten train and then failed to replace his signals to danger to protect the scene of the accident, thereby adding to the carnage. The result was the worst disaster in British railway history with more than 200 dead. Quintinshill continues to exercise a morbid fascination. Myths and theories swirl around the acknowledged facts like ghosts. Was Tinsley epileptic? Was he distracted by a signal box full of railwaymen discussing the war? Was his attention diverted by transferring train booking entries from a scrap of paper to the Train Register – an established fiddle designed to conceal the irregular shift changeover pattern at Quintinshill? Above all, was the full truth of the accident concealed in a stitch-up in which management and union colluded? Tinsley’s own explanation for the accident penetrates the differing views in its sharp and terrifying simplicity, however. He, the signalman on duty, the individual with primary responsibility for the safety of trains at Quintinshill, simply forgot that one of them was there. And he did so even though he had clambered down from the train in question moments before. As the railway historian J.A.B. Hamilton commented in his 1969 account of the Quintinshill disaster: ‘What would a psychologist make of such a mental blackout? We can only speculate.’ Increasingly, however, the rail industry

On a particular day a particular railway worker is distracted, or bored, or unclear in their communications and as a result they make a mistake performing a relatively routine task which they may have performed correctly hundreds of times before. The failsafe mechanics of railway interlocking and the checks and balances of the rule book mean that the consequences of such errors are very rarely fatal, but they can be Rail Professional



feels that speculation concerning such incidents is not enough. The grim fact is that there have been many railway accidents since Quintinshill in which drivers, signallers and other railway operators have made errors based not on their misunderstanding of railway rules but on their failure to recall or apply those rules promptly and correctly. As in Tinsley’s case, trains may be forgotten about, or routes may be incorrectly set during degraded working; permission may be given for members of the public to enter level crossings when it is unsafe to do so, or miscommunication may lead to trains passing signals at danger without authority. In each of these examples – and there are plenty of others – it is human error by the railway personnel involved which is the fundamental cause of the incident. On a particular day a particular railway worker is distracted, or bored, or unclear in their communications and as a result they make a mistake performing a relatively routine task which they may have performed correctly hundreds of times before. The failsafe mechanics of railway interlocking and the checks and balances of the rule book mean that the consequences of such errors are very rarely fatal, but they can be. And even if no one dies or is injured the expense and delay caused by mistakes which lead to derailments, damaged points, wrongroutings and SPADs is considerable. Large proportion of accidents due to staff The British railway has one of the best safety records of any railway in the world, the fruit of a deeply rooted culture of investigation, self-criticism and lessons-learned in responding to accidents and incidents. And concern about the causes and consequences of human error is historically embedded in this culture. As the LMS 1942 document Hints for Signalmen puts it: ‘British Railways

have had a reputation for safety for so long that it is now accepted as a commonplace fact, but I do not wish to approach the important question of train accidents from the point of view that our record is excellent, but rather from the fact that a large proportion of the accidents were due to want of care on the part of the staff and were, therefore, avoidable.’ An awareness of the significance of human error, or ‘want of care’, in running a safe and efficient railway is not new and neither is the systematic study of the subject. However, the promotion of nontechnical skills as a means of addressing the problem is a relatively recent development. In this area the railway is in good company among safety critical industries. Following a series of aircraft accidents in the 1970’s, in which aircrew error was a significant

contributory factor, the aviation industry introduced a series of Cockpit Resource Management programmes. These were later generalised to become Crew Resource Management as their scope was broadened to include all airline staff rather than just pilots, co-pilots and in-flight engineers. Crew Resource Management training is not primarily concerned with technical knowledge – the business of pushing the right buttons to keep a plane in the air – but with the cognitive and interpersonal skills required to make sure that the right people press the right buttons at the right time. These skills include: communications, situational awareness, problem solving, decision making and teamwork. When United Airlines flight 173 ran out of fuel and crashed in Portland, Oregon in 1978, for instance, it seems likely that the crew’s

Enclosures from the smallest to the largest. ENCLOSURES




It is obviously a mistake if air crew forget how much fuel they have, or if air traffic controllers and pilots fail to speak clearly to one another. The question remains, however: why did the people involved make the mistakes they did on these particular occasions? situational awareness was at fault. They were trouble-shooting a landing gear problem at the time and seemingly forgot to keep an eye on their fuel levels. When two Boeing 747s infamously collided on the ground at Tenerife airport in 1977, inadequate communication between the control tower and the aircraft was a key contributory factor, as was the relationship between the pilot and the co-pilot of one of the aircraft involved. In both of these accidents, and in most of the case studies relating to non-technical skills failures, it is easy but not particularly helpful to suggest that the people involved simply ‘made a mistake’. It is obviously a mistake if air crew forget how much fuel they have, or if air traffic controllers and pilots fail to speak clearly to one another. The question remains, however: why did the people involved make the mistakes they did on these particular occasions? Crew Resource Management was developed to examine this question, codifying the root causes of human error in order to better equip aircrew with the skills required to avoid making similar errors in future. Crew Resource Management Training


is now mandated under all major aviation regulatory regimes and similar schemes have been rolled out in comparable industries. In 1997 EUROCONTROL developed a three-day Team Resource Management programme for air traffic controllers covering team work, team roles, leadership, communication, situational awareness, decision-making, stress and safety, and error management. The maritime industry’s Bridge Resource Management programme was prompted by a number of investigations into accidents at sea which revealed inadequacies among some personnel in managing emergency situations effectively. In particular, the investigation into the grounding of the QE2 in Martha’s Vineyard in 1992 revealed failures by the pilot and master to exchange critical information, and the failure by all parties to maintain adequate situational awareness, as probable causes of the accident. Notwithstanding the different contexts, the overlap between the causes of this incident and the Portland and Tenerife aviation disasters is obvious. The technical skills required to fly a plane or sail a ship are different, but the non-technical skills required to keep planes in the air and


ships afloat turn out to be very similar. Other non-technical skills training programmes include Maintenance Resource Management in aircraft maintenance, Anaesthesia Crisis Resource Management in healthcare; Crew Resource Management for offshore control room operators, and Space Flight Resource Management Training for space flight crews, mission control flight controllers and space shuttle maintenance personnel. Even Houston recognises that it has (or had) a non-technical skills problem. Development of the individual The new concern for the non-technical skills of staff in safety-critical industries developed within the context of a broader appreciation of human factors in safety-critical work. Although they are often confused, the two terms are not synonymous. As the name implies, human factors deal with the entire human component of running an aircraft, or an operating theatre or a space shuttle: everything from the optimal design of equipment to the structure and culture of the organisations involved. Non-technical skills are more narrowly focused, dealing with the development of the individuals themselves. They are one crucial component of the human factors agenda, but they do not exhaust it. The Ladbroke Grove disaster of 1999, when a Thames Trains service SPADed and collided head on with a First Great Western train, served as a catalyst for the UK railway industry to begin to consider non-technical skills systematically, although the term was not widely used at the time. Among other things, Lord Cullen’s enquiry into the tragedy questioned why Thames Trains driver Michael Hodder passed signal SN109 at danger without authority, despite having received correct cautionary aspects on the




approach, and why the signaller at Slough signalling centre delayed for several seconds before sending an emergency all stop message to the trains involved. Had the signaller sent the message immediately the collision would not have been avoided, but the trains’ combined impact speed of nearly 130 mph would have reduced, mitigating the dreadful consequences of driver Hodder’s error. Train driver training was overhauled following the Cullen report and the rules concerning driver’s shift lengths and rest periods were tightened. But it was not until 2014 that non-technical skills training began to be formally integrated into the competence management system for existing drivers as a response to the still unacceptably high level of SPADs. Train operating companies drew on research undertaken by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) from 2010 onwards into what is called Rail Resource Management, which, following Ladbroke Grove, was concerned chiefly with the human factors associated with train driving. Cullen also recommended that signallers have practical sessions integrated into their training programme. This resulted in Railtrack commissioning a number of signal box simulators for use in signaller training and development. As a consequence, prospective signallers would no longer simply learn the regulations for dealing with incidents through a traditional ‘talk and chalk’ training delivery style, they would also be trained and assessed on their ability to put these regulations into practice in difficult situations. In terms of Ladbroke Grove, trainee signallers could now be assessed on how quickly they noticed that a SPAD had taken place and on how rapidly they acted to protect the incident by sending emergency messages and replacing the necessary signals to danger. Crucial non-technical skills such as communications, control under pressure and conscientiousness could be observed and, where necessary, developed in signallers, and an awareness of the significance of non-technical skills could be integrated into signaller training and competence

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The challenge for trainers, managers and front line workers is to recognise that there is unlikely to be a one size fits all solution to developing personnel’s non-technical skills. The focus has to be a coaching approach which provides the individual with personal feedback about their strengths and weaknesses, and then offers them opportunities to explore what will work to help them to develop their non-technical skills from the range of material available management. Finally universally adopted Since the millennium, different projects across the rail industry which had dealt with non-technical skills using different names and in semi-isolation from one another have become more closely integrated. The longstanding work that first Railtrack and then Network Rail had undertaken to improve signallers’ attentiveness at level crossings was used to inform research into the role of track lookouts, following a number of fatalities and near misses caused by lookouts’ lapses of attention. This work has slowly been connected to the ‘capabilities’ programmes for signallers, and to drivers’ rail resource management projects. The industry-wide effort to improve safety critical communications among railway workers has also been integrated into the whole. The term ‘nontechnical skills’ was finally universally adopted to describe this area of staff training and development, and the RSSB now facilitates an industry forum on the

subject. The forum produces material to support the development and integration of non-technical skills within competence management systems and hosts a nontechnical skills conference each year, attended by operators and trainers from across the industry and beyond. Both Network Rail and the RSSB now have frameworks to define what nontechnical skills are and to provide a basis for their assessment and development. The RSSB’s framework defines seven nontechnical skills: situational awareness, conscientiousness, communication, decision making, co-operation and working with others, workload management, selfmanagement. This list was adopted by the train operating companies, although for historical reasons the wording of Network Rail’s non-technical skill set is marginally different. Emma Lowe, the national training delivery manager (operations) for Network Rail describes the recent development of non-technical skills training on the railway: ‘There had been a lot of human factors work prior to Ladbroke Grove but this had begun to lose momentum and the memory about why it is important had begun to fade. The term non-technical skills has given us a common language to talk about human error again and a way of emphasising its importance. Our work on non-technical skills has also enabled us to learn from the experience of other safety critical industries and to borrow their good practice. Much progress has been made: we now have an established framework which we can use to integrate non-technical skills into selection, training, assessment and development of railway personnel, but we often characterise non-technical skills awareness and integration as a journey, I think correctly’. On this journey, there is still some way



to go and a number of challenges to be overcome. Perhaps the most significant, as well as the most uncomfortable, of these challenges is the resistance among some railway personnel to the whole idea of nontechnical skills as a formal component of their professional competence. A recent paper dealing with the introduction of nontechnical skills training into the Australian rail industry is typical: While in general the initial reactions towards the project were positive, some resistance has been observed in two forms. The first argues that the industry has been doing Human Factors all along, and, therefore, there is no need for this more formal approach. The second (contradictory) argument is that the industry has gotten along just fine without it – so why change anything. The fact that most of the serious work concerning non-technical skills is done at a fairly sophisticated level probably does not help matters. The challenge facing nontechnical skills enthusiasts within the rail industry is one of translation: how do they explain the excellent academic work that is being undertaken in this field so that it connects with the day-to-day experience of drivers, signallers, track workers, shunters, controllers etc? The danger, if this translation is unsuccessful, is that nontechnical skills training will be received as irrelevant psychobabble nonsense, delivered by so-called ‘experts’ removed from front line railway work. The paper dealing with the Australian experience notes: The less favourable feedback surrounded issues such as … using facilitators with local knowledge and credibility, wider staff involvement and the relevance of the information to the individual rail operator. The non-contectualisation of Human Factors/ non-technical skills programs is one of the most common criticisms and areas for improvement. Another challenge facing trainers and competence managers seeking to integrate non-technical skills training within their role is the rail industry’s emphasis on ‘keeping the job going’ from day-to-day in order to meet performance targets. If a set of points has been run through at Wakefield Kirkgate West Junction, or a train has failed at Saltmarsh Signal Box, or eighty sheep are on the line at Blea Moor, the priority is to restore the service safely as soon as possible. In these contexts considerations about the relevant operators’ relationships with people or their planning and decision making or control under pressure will be likely to take a back seat. The danger when a compliance orientated culture meets the huge challenges of routine railway operations, is that recording workers’ non-technical skills will become a tick box exercise. Perhaps, therefore, non-technical skills present

challenges and opportunities for managers as well as for front line operators. These skills may be effective tools in encouraging everyone to develop an even more proactive safety culture. There are also fundamental questions about the variety and malleability of railway workers’ non-technical skills. Railway rules and operational practice can generally be trained and, as necessary, re-trained, but the accompanying non-technical skills reach more fundamentally into the personalities of the staff concerned, making it more difficult to address any development needs in this area. If an individual worker is irritable and short tempered by nature, for instance, it may be difficult to encourage them to develop good relationships with people at work. If another worker is naturally panicky in stressful situations, it may be difficult to make them controlled under pressure when their job presents them with demanding and potentially dangerous challenges. While it is true, however, that some people may have a personality-driven preference for certain non-technical skills and not others, the railway’s non-technical skills are competencies that everyone can do something to improve. Simple strategies and tools are available to help develop workers’ control under pressure, or their cooperation and working with others, or their attention management, regardless of their natural strengths and weaknesses in these areas. The challenge for trainers, managers and front line workers is to recognise that there is unlikely to be a one size fits all solution to developing personnel’s non-technical skills. The focus has to be a coaching approach which provides the individual with personal feedback about their strengths and weaknesses, and then offers them opportunities to explore what will work to help them to develop their nontechnical skills from the range of material available. Finally, non-technical skills may suffer from a public relations problem among railway personnel simply because of their name. To describe a component of rail

workers’ competence in negative terms – as the skills which are not technical – might serve to marginalise non-technical skills from the outset. Emma Lowe addresses this point: ‘We need to move from a situation where non-technical skills are regarded as something separate from and probably subordinate to a railway worker’s technical skills, to seeing them as entirely integrated with the practical knowledge and abilities necessary to drive a train, or signal, or repair track. It would be great to get to a place where non-technical skills training is seen simply as technical skills training done better. A possible way forward is to stop viewing non-technical skills primarily as the study of error reduction, but to see it also as a way of thinking about and sharing what our best practice already looks like.’ Capturing this living resource Whether it was because he was epileptic, or distracted by colleagues, or sloppy in his working practices, signalman Tinsley forgot about the train that he had just been riding on at Quintinshill, and the results were disastrous. But for every signalman Tinsley, there have been thousands of signallers since who have not forgotten about trains, often in complex and demanding situations. And there have been tens of thousands of other front line railway personnel who have worked superbly day and night to keep Britain’s trains moving safely and efficiently. As well as their excellent technical knowledge, these people have displayed outstanding non-technical skills, whether they know it or not, and whether they choose to refer to them by name or not. Perhaps the first task facing non-technical skills enthusiasts in the rail industry, therefore, is to capture this living resource of great practice, with appropriate help from comparable industries. The next task is to share this resource among railway personnel in a way that is meaningful, relevant and practical. Thomas Ward is workforce development specialist at Network Rail Rail Professional



View to an upgrade Jane Wakeham looks at the implications of catenary free running for the statutory authorisation of tramways


ecent years have seen a resurgence of tramway systems in our major urban conurbations, with more on the way. As a method of getting large numbers of people into and around city centres efficiently, and reducing reliance on the car, they have much to recommend them. One of the perceived disadvantages of such systems is the amount of infrastructure associated with, and the unsightliness of, the overhead electrical line equipment (OLE) required to power the trams. The word ‘catenary’, often used to describe this, refers to the curve formed by the hanging wires which rely on attachment to buildings or tall poles for support. Fortunately, new technologies coming forward mean there are now a number of viable alternatives to OLE that avoid the disadvantages associated with catenary. This article discusses some of the implications of the availability of such alternatives for promoters of new tramway schemes. When discussing ‘catenary free’ operation we are therefore referring to any form of powering a tram that does not involve the use of OLE. The construction and operation of a new tramway in England and Wales requires statutory powers conferred by an Order of the Secretary of State for Transport (or Welsh Ministers) under the Transport and Works Act 1992 (TWAO)1. It is also development for the purposes of requiring planning consent under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA). An Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 will authorise the street tramway within the limits of deviation described in it and it must include all those powers that the Promoter requires to construct, operate and maintain the scheme. Where the construction and operation of the new tramway is likely to have a significant effect on the environment, which is pretty much always going to be the case, an environmental impact assessment will be

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required to support the proposals. Difficulties associated with OLE Catenary free operating is desirable because of the difficulties associated with OLE for the aspiring promoter of a new tramway scheme. OLE will generally necessitate the inclusion in the TWAO of specific powers to attach the catenary to other people’s properties and/or to install OLE poles. A promoter will also need continuing statutory authority to maintain the OLE, which may involve the exercise of powers to enter the properties to which brackets are fixed. Such interference with property interests can be problematic and may well give rise to objections to the scheme from landowners whose status as statutory consultees in the TWAO application enables them to insist on a public local Inquiry to determine the application. It can also have implications for compensation and future payments. Another key difficulty of importance to the promoter of a new scheme is the impact of OLE on the townscape or cityscape. One great advantage of trams over trains is that they can be brought right into the heart of our towns and cities. However, many of these city centres are of significant historic and/or architectural interest. There

is no doubt that OLE can be unsightly and, with the poles, fixings and other street furniture associated with it, OLE can be intrusive to the extent that it may have a major significant adverse impact upon its surroundings. Where the proposed tramway will operate in the vicinity of listed buildings and conservation areas, this can give rise to very real problems in balancing the need for the scheme, and the significant benefits that it would provide against the adverse effects on the environment. It is a truism that environmental impact assessments often go into considerable detail about the potential adverse impacts of a scheme without giving much more than a wave towards the environmental benefits. For example, when considering air quality impacts, assessments tend to concentrate on the potential impacts of construction rather than the air quality benefits of reducing reliance on cars. Alternatives to OLE The alternatives to OLE that are currently available or emerging, such as batteries, lightweight batteries, fuel cell technology or inductive charging2, for example, may not give rise to the same sort of environmental impacts as catenary but each has its own issues. For example, there may be a need for additional charging stations in the streetscape. On the whole, though, they are less intrusive. It follows that, where a Promoter intends to construct an entirely catenary-free scheme, there are likely to be fewer controversial effects and it will not be necessary to include some of the usual and, let’s face it, draconian provisions seen in tramway orders; for example, relating to powers to carry out surveys to buildings to ascertain their suitability for attaching brackets, and permanent powers of entry to maintain them (although it may be necessary to include other, possibly bespoke, provisions to ensure that the Order powers capture all the


It may be unwise, therefore, for the fan of the new technology to get carried away when seeking powers to construct and operate a new tramway. If powers applicable to OLE are not included in the Order, there will be no statutory power to incorporate it on all or part of the route at a later stage infrastructure requirements of the catenaryfree solution). But would it be wise to promote a scheme on that basis? From the operational viewpoint, it is worth bearing in mind that statutory powers will usually be sought before a scheme reaches the detailed design stage and, possibly, before the promoter is in the position to make a final decision on

what is feasible in terms of catenary-free running. Further, will the business case stack up? One of the main obstacles to the introduction of catenary-free running is the capital outlay required at start up and additional operating costs (although there may be a saving in the infrastructure costs and compensation associated with an OLE system). Cost per tram is considerably higher, for example. Batteries, at least historically, ran down rapidly and became less effective with repeated re-charging with the result that they would require frequent and expensive replacement, especially where used to power a tram up steep gradients. Time taken to recharge batteries at stops may increase journey times, making the system less attractive to users. Finally, the additional weight of batteries has been enough to affect the rate at which the entire tram system wears, thereby adding to the life-time costs of the tramway. It may be unwise, therefore, for the fan of the new technology to get carried away when seeking powers to construct and operate a new tramway. If powers applicable to OLE are not included in the Order, there will be no statutory power to incorporate it on all or part of the route at a later stage. A promoter will need to consider whether this is a risk to the scheme if, as the design develops or economic circumstances change, it is discovered that it is not practicable to do


without OLE. Unless appropriate powers are included from the outset, it may be necessary to promote a further TWA Order. What seems most likely – at least for the time-being – is that tram systems being brought forward will want the option of operating on a mixture of catenaryfree (battery, say) and OLE. In such circumstances, it may well be easier to make a case at the outset for a scheme that depends on OLE with a view to ‘upgrading’ it at a later stage, within the envelope that has been environmentally assessed, once the statutory powers to construct and operate the scheme have been obtained. Careful consideration will need to be given to the drafting of any proposed Order to ensure that it offers maximum flexibility to the Promoter while not straying from the scheme as environmentally assessed and described in the application documents. Jane Wakeham is a senior associate in the Transport and Infrastructure team at Winckworth Sherwood.

Email: 1. In Scotland, a Promoter will apply to Scottish ministers under the Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007 2. Inductive charging can offer charging for short distances, whilst longer charges can be given at termini.



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An unavoidable decision Andy Slater looks at the combination of factors needed to really bring the UK to the forefront of multimodal transport


conomic growth, reduced carbon emissions and less congestion are just a few of the proven benefits of having an effective public transport system. And it would seem that more and more people are turning to public transport to get around – according to the Department for Transport rail passenger journeys have more than doubled since privatisation in 1994/95. In 2015, light rail systems carried 240 million passengers – the highest volume ever recorded – but car travel still accounted for around 64 per cent of trips in England during 2014. So what’s stopping us from using public transport as the number one way to get from A to B? It could be that there are still too many

There are a combination of factors we need to really bring the UK to the forefront of multimodal transport. A more collaborative approach between public and private sector could help to ease the financial investments needed to create connected journeys

‘pain points’. The fact that most transport systems have different ticketing and scheduling means that it’s more difficult than it should be to transition from one mode of travel to another. Fixing this, by introducing intelligent mobility to improve customer journeys is at the heart of creating a multimodal transport system. But this feeds into some of the other challenges of creating a truly integrated transport network – whether it’s local authorities not having the autonomy to make long-term strategic decisions about infrastructure or not having the technology to allow transport operators to share data

about how people are using their services. Data the lynch pin Cities like Lyon in France are ahead of the curve in terms of understanding future needs versus current capabilities, especially when considering connectivity. For multimodal transport to work, data is crucial. Without understanding how people use public transport it’s not possible to know what infrastructure is needed or how technology and innovation can simplify bookings to take away the stress of using multimodal systems. In my world, interpreting data is really important. It sits right alongside operational Rail Professional



Take Docklands Light Railway or the Manchester Metrolink, for example. Neither of these networks started out the size they are today. They’ve been expanded based on need, and in Manchester the Trafford line continues to grow, bringing greater connectivity to the suburbs which in turn enhances the travel experience for passengers and heightens economic stability at a local level

delivery to maximise our performance and drive improvements. And this is key to integrating light rail and metro solutions into wider transport networks. More than a cog in the wheel While light rail and metro solutions are most effective as part of a broader transport system, they bring a number of advantages to the table. For example, by running on electricity rather than fossil fuels, they offer a number of clear environmental benefits compared to other forms of transport. Add to this the ability to move more passengers than buses, for instance, with similar frequency timetables – if the right investment is made. But what makes light rail and metro a really interesting proposition for transport planners is the ability to superimpose onto existing infrastructure to share capacity and network demand as well as its expandability. Take the Docklands Light Railway or the Manchester Metrolink, for example. Neither of these networks started out the size they are today. They’ve been expanded based on need, and in Manchester the Trafford line continues to grow, bringing greater connectivity to the suburbs which in turn enhances the travel experience for passengers and heightens economic stability at a local level. With George Osborne announcing even

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further budget cuts in his last Spending Review, light rail and metro solutions can also be good news for the public purse as these are often significantly cheaper to expand than their heavy rail counterparts. Bringing UK to the forefront There are a combination of factors we need to really bring the UK to the forefront of multimodal transport. A more collaborative approach between public and private sector could help to ease the financial investments needed to create connected journeys. We also need to change the mindsets of travellers by showing that public transport systems can accommodate and cater for their travel and experience needs. And we need to find ways of simplifying and reducing both the process and time it takes to bring these capital projects to the delivery stage. Investment must be in both the capital projects that are the foundation of creating the multimodal systems, but also in the applications travellers can use to simplify their ‘experience’ of using the transport system. It is not just a case of having the system, it’s a case of creating the unavoidable decision to use it, because it is the best option when considering it from a customer’s perspective.

Andy Slater is Amey’s business director for light rail and metro

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Consulting on the future Mark Sleightholm looks at designing a new train fleet – with the help of its users


he Tyne and Wear Metro is the UK’s busiest urban rail system outside of London, but its 40-year-old fleet of Metrocars is in need of replacement. Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, is applying to the Department for Transport to fund the new fleet – designing them is a bit more complicated. With a decades-long lifespan and a price tag of £540 million, the new trains need to be good. So who should design them? Professional railway engineers, or the 40 million passengers who use Metro every year? Ideally it would be a bit of both, and it was this desire to design trains with, as well as for, their users that led to the Metro Futures project. In addition to a paper and online survey, Nexus enlisted the help of Open Lab,

While it would be easy to dismiss these ideas as unrealistic or fantastical – disco balls and sky-lights both made an appearance – the Metro Futures team wanted to capture uninhibited, blue-sky ideas that could bring something genuinely new to train design

Newcastle University’s cross-disciplinary research centre into human-computer interaction. Open Lab brought new tools and technologies to the Metro Futures project to move the discussion beyond a simple tick-box questionnaire. Best placed ‘We believe it’s the people who use Metro – and also those who don’t – who are best placed to tell us what works and what doesn’t,’ explained Simon Bowen, who leads the project for Open Lab. ‘Instead of the traditional passenger survey we are interested in how modern technology such as mobiles, tablets and web-based tools can be used to help citizens have a voice in how the future Metro should look. ‘By sharing experiences and imagining alternatives, we hope to discover how Metro is used now and how it might be used in forty years’ time. Our findings will be used to help Nexus commission a Metro that is right for the future.’ People in the North East were invited to share their views of Metro and ideas for its

future. Throughout November Open Lab and Nexus held pop-up labs in locations across Tyne and Wear, where the public could find out more about the project and share their own opinions. ‘We want local people to tell us much as possible about what they want to see from new trains,’ explained Huw Lewis, head of customer services at Nexus. ‘The pop-up labs put together by Open Lab were a fun and informative way for people right across the communities Metro serves to get involved.’ To kick-start the conversation, a team of 30 local people were recruited as coresearchers. They filmed their Metro journeys and uploaded this footage to the Metro Futures website for others to view and comment on. For the more creatively-minded, there was JigsAudio, developed by Alexander Wilson, a PhD student at Open Lab. Here people could draw their ideas onto wooden jigsaw pieces that, put together, depicted a Metrocar. They could then record an audio clip to explain their design onto a Raspberry Pi embedded within each piece.

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and their stories, videos and drawings are now part of the discussion on the Metro Futures website. While it would be easy to dismiss these ideas as unrealistic or fantastical – disco balls and sky-lights both made an appearance – the Metro Futures team wanted to capture uninhibited, blue-sky ideas that could bring something genuinely new to train design. Heart of the discussion So what came out of the consultation? Complaints about the temperature were common, and better passenger information displays were a frequent request Space was at the heart of much of the discussion. Bikes, bags and standing passengers were all contentious issues – should there be fewer seats, or flip-up seats more commonly seen on buses? Cycle space was a particularly popular idea, vindicating Nexus’s recent trial of allowing bikes on Metros at non-peak times. Even the design of the seats themselves raised debate. Some passengers felt the padded cushions harboured germs, while Echoing the trialling of the original others felt more hygienic plastic seats would Metrocars by schoolchildren in the be uncomfortable. One of the aims of the 1970’s, several local schools took part in a Open Lab researchers was to encourage competition to imagine the Metro of the people to see these kinds of issues from the future. The winners spent a day on an empty points of views of other Metro users, the Metrocar filming adverts for their designs, 1027_Image_E_Contractors_File_190_x_135_mm_4 13.08.2012 13:48 Uhr in Seite

Some passengers felt the padded cushions harboured germs, while others felt more hygienic plastic seats would be uncomfortable

hope of building towards a consensus. In the region which saw the first public steam railway and Britain’s first electrified suburban rail network, the Tyne and Wear Metro is a source of pride for the North East, and this came through in the consultation. When it opened in 1980 Metro was groundbreaking in its accessibility and became one of the first non-smoking transport systems in the world. It is this heritage of progress that Nexus is hoping to build on with the new Metrocars, and the consultation for this – combining cutting-edge technology with simple face-to-face conversations – shows what could well be the future of train design. Mark Sleightholm is media and communications 1officer, Open Lab | Newcastle University

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Not afraid to challenge Building a new train maintenance business requires people power, says Jack Commandeur


f you were to ask many people what they are most proud of in their careers, I’m willing to bet many would say it was when they had the opportunity and the freedom to ‘build something new’ or ‘do something differently’ within a business. Well, at Hitachi Rail Europe, I’m lucky enough to be doing just that. It is my job to build a new maintenance organisation, growing it from a single Hitachi depot at Ashford maintaining one fleet, to a national organisation that will maintain several different fleets. By 2020, we will have 900 people working in maintenance centres across 12 sites nationwide. These will service a host of new, pioneering Hitachi trains that will transport passengers across the UK network. This new organisation will transform our company into one of the biggest maintainers of trains in the UK.

The physical environment is also extremely important. Our new depots are light, clean, professional places to work, as far removed as can be from the old image of gloomy, ‘oily’ workshops. Creating high quality environments is crucial, because to recruit top talent, and people from more diverse backgrounds, we need to offer attractive, inspiring places to work than rail may have done in the past

So, is building such a large organisation so quickly a challenge? Certainly. Is it an exciting opportunity to create something new? You bet. The beauty of creating something new is that one can go back to first principles and ask ‘what does excellent look like?’ You’re also not encumbered by having to adapt existing processes or legacy issues. You can look at what has gone before and, hopefully, take all the best bits and avoid the things that didn’t work so well. Hitachi has a vision to develop superior, original technology and products - aims which I intend to keep to. I want our organisation to be more than ‘just another maintenance business’, and instead be a leader in the field by 2020. To achieve this ambition for excellence, I started by looking at what I could learn from both my own experience and best practice in the industry and elsewhere. I borrowed from my time at East Coast Trains, where part of my role was to oversee the maintenance of the 40-year old intercity fleet. I learnt from the excellent work Hitachi was already doing maintaining the Javelin trains at Ashford, where it has an excellent relationship with the customer, SouthEastern, and a 99.7 per cent availability rate for the start of service. Finally, I looked at how other industries,

including aviation, carried out similar operations. Clear principles Through these insights I’ve developed clear principles upon which our maintenance organisation is founded. The first was using innovative technology and collaboration to deliver a superior maintenance service. It is clear to me that in order to do this, maintenance has to be driven by a comprehensive understanding of fleet condition. With technology on board the train telling us, in real time, what it needs and where it needs it, we’re delivering a step change in efficiency for maintenance regimes. Furthermore, reliability centred maintenance (RCM) and condition-based maintenance (CBM) inform what tasks need performing, and when, so we work smart and reduce like-for-like maintenance hours. My second principle is about operational excellence – delivering a safe, reliable and available operation. To do this, it is key that we have a mindset that puts daily operations and the travelling customer at the forefront of all we do. This means not only delivering a product that meets our clients’ expectations, but listening to feedback and being alive to their future needs. Rail Professional


Great people Much of this is about recruiting great people, which we’re doing at the moment. Our founding principles of harmony, sincerity and pioneering spirit are values that we try to ensure each new recruit embodies. Once they’re here, we want our

people to feel valued and supported and to develop their talents. The physical environment is also extremely important. Our new depots are light, clean, professional places to work, as far removed as can be from the old image of gloomy, ‘oily’ workshops. Creating high quality environments is crucial, because to recruit top talent, and people from more diverse backgrounds, we need to offer attractive, inspiring places to work than rail may have done in the past. We’re confident that is just what we’re doing, and that’s why as part of our recruitment for new staff in Stoke Gifford and Doncaster, we’re hosting a number of open days where potential employees can come and see the place for themselves. Having seen how our maintenance organisation is developing I’m confident these principles will stand us in good stead. Our task now is to ensure this new capability is ready for the first passenger services. This

year the first of the new Intercity Express trains will go into service on the Great Western Main Line, and new depots will be ready to service and maintain them as part of a continuous 24-hour, seven day a week schedule. The roll-out of new Hitachi units across the country will continue every year until there are more than 250 newlybuilt IEP trains, transporting millions of passengers, being serviced at our depots by 2020. Ambitious? Sure. Exciting, rewarding and achievable? You bet. Jack Commandeur is chief operating officer at Hitachi Rail Europe

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My third principle is about standardising our best practice across all our maintenance sites so that our service regime is scalable and universal. Naturally, if we find a way of wheel lathing more efficiently in Doncaster, for example, then we want to make sure that our depot at Stoke Gifford does it the same way. This allows us to offer a consistent quality of service to our customers. Also, if we win new work or need to increase the levels of maintenance we do, we can easily increase our capabilities without having to develop all new processes. My final principle is about creating a culture of excellence. We’re building a maintenance organisation that intentionally has the look and feel of an elite engineering branch of the Hitachi family. This is about creating the continuous pursuit of better. This chimes with Hitachi’s emphasis on kaizen, or continuous improvement. A culture that redefines the UK rail industry and is not afraid to challenge when there is room for improvement.

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Trust in rail Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South discusses his Fellowship in the Rail Industry, which concluded at the Eurostar depot


n order to aid my work in Parliament, I recently undertook a Fellowship with the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT), focusing on the rail industry. The IPT Fellowship programme is designed to provide MP’s, MEP’s, peers and senior parliamentary staff with a unique insight into business and industry. This opportunity has enabled me to gain a greater understanding of one of the key components of the UK’s transport sector and assist me with my work on the Transport Select Committee. Members on the Fellowship Scheme, like myself, are able to work with one or more organisations – from multinational corporations and FTSE 100 companies to social enterprises and government agencies, over the course of 15 days. Throughout my

Another significant rail project for my constituency is EastWest Rail, which seeks to re-open the Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge. I established the All Party Parliamentary Group for the project soon after I was elected in 2010 and I have been pleased to see the line assume a high priority in the industry’s investment plans for the future

Fellowship I had the pleasure of spending time with companies such as BP, Thales, Network Rail, Go Ahead, CrossCountry and finally, Eurostar. As part of my final Fellowship visit last October, I had the opportunity to visit

Eurostar’s Temple Mills depot. Opened in 2007, the site is the home of a £402 million maintenance centre for Eurostar sets. Located near Stratford International and on the edge of the Olympic Park, it replaced the original Eurostar ‘North Pole’ to coincide Rail Professional



with the opening of the new international terminal at St Pancras. Eurostar continues to be a valuable transport option for thousands of travellers, including my constituents, journeying to destinations such as Brussels, Lille, Paris, Lyon and Marseille. During the visit I had the chance to speak at great length with Max Van Cauwenberghe, head of fleet planning, about the importance of the depot in ensuring that the main maintenance lines remain efficient. I was also given a tour of the space by Sergio Barcena, head of engineering, including the train washer, spare part stores and the full range of technical equipment required to ensure that Eurostar’s high-speed trains continue to provide a reliable and high quality service for customers. It was a very informative afternoon. Overall, it was fascinating to see how this facility ensures that vital requirements and standards are maintained year-round. We need a modern rail network to support economic growth and productivity, and to help people get around quickly and safely. I was pleased to see first-hand how Eurostar is playing its part in the High Speed Rail Project which is the biggest rail modernisation since Victorian times. This project will provide much needed extra capacity, more services and better journeys for all travellers.

Passionately pro-rail I am passionate about the development of the High Speed network in the UK. HS2 has significant challenges to overcome – not least the inevitable consequences for existing classic services using Euston during the construction phase of the project. However, the enhanced knowledge afforded to me by my Fellowship will better equip me to scrutinise these and help to ensure that this new network will realise its enormous potential for the rail infrastructure and economic development of this country. In addition to benefiting my work on the Transport Select Committee, my Fellowship visits such as this enhance my knowledge and ability to contribute to discussions about individual rail projects. I am passionately pro-rail and I actively participate in various schemes designed to improve rail services in this country. At a local level, I have recently welcomed the publishing of the invitation to tender for the West Midlands rail franchise, which includes the Birmingham to London route that serves Wolverton, Milton Keynes and Bletchley. This should lead to significant improvements for my constituents. Similarly, for the consultation on the new InterCity West Coast franchise – which also serves Milton Keynes – I was able to use my increased knowledge of the industry to

create a survey for my constituents to input their comments and suggestions. Another significant rail project for my constituency is East-West Rail, which seeks to re-open the Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge. I established the All Party Parliamentary Group for the project soon after I was elected in 2010 and I have been pleased to see the line assume a high priority in the industry’s investment plans for the future; most recently in the National Infrastructure Commission’s proposals for developing the economic potential of the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge corridor, and Chris Grayling’s announcement of a vertically integrated company to design, build and operate the line. Finally, I would like to thank the IPT for their hard work in organising this Fellowship in the Rail Industry and making sure that we bridge the gap between parliamentarians and the business community. My work on the Transport Select Committee and my knowledge and understanding of the sector has been greatly increased by this Fellowship and I would strongly encourage other members to get involved with the Trust’s work.

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Bracing lessons If there’s one critical question from Japan it’s how can we make the UK learn to love its railways again, says Nadeem Karbhari, in discussing a recent exchange programme


ven when Japan was still in the early and messy stages of working out its privatisation strategy, British Rail could see there were lessons for the UK system; in particular it wanted to find out about the ‘threat’ of privatisation and how it might be avoided. A failed mission, but the exchange programme with what became the JR Group, organised by Adrian Shooter CBE in 1986 when he was a senior executive at British Rail and before he took on the transformation of the privatised Chiltern Railways thirty years’ later, is still running, and delivering some bracing lessons for the UK. Since the privatisation of the Japanese railways in 1987, the seven for-profit firms that took on the national assets and operations have managed to turn its railway into the country’s most successful and admired organisation, one that’s become renowned globally. Famously, JR Group handles seven billion passenger journeys each year in a relatively small country, and it does it with unwavering efficiency and remarkable punctuality. What mattered most from the mix of lectures and visits to JR Group stations and depots was the holistic view: you can learn all you like about the technology that powers the services in the control rooms, but it’s the evidence from the wider context and environment that’s been created, the policies, processes and people, that explain how such a high standard has been maintained and how all the cogs work together. Part of a bigger organism The group education for more than 18,000 employees is impressive. All employees spend time at the General Education Centre at Nagoya. This isn’t the occasional day of update training, or even a special week for the top executives. People will stay for two

months alongside the teachers who live there with them. There’s all the facilities that people need for an extended stay, the canteen, the gym and other leisure activities. It’s a way in which the business doesn’t just pass on learning but makes the JR Group an important part of employee lives, embedding culture and values. Staff learn together rather than as competing individuals, with a sense of being part of a bigger organism and making progress as a whole team. Self-development is offered online. JR Group has more than 3,000 people learning about 30 different areas of operations and business each year. I asked

how they incentivise people to give up their time to do this and whether it is reflected directly in pay or prospects. But no, they say, the take-up is based around the concept of being better for their immediate colleagues, not letting the side down and not falling behind. So here’s the crux of organisational efficiency being achieved: Incredibly specific and high standards for every aspect of the operation, whether that’s in maintenance, control rooms, customer service or cleaning trains. Everyone knows to the finest degree what’s needed from them, and they follow the standards Rail Professional



because they want to, and believe that paying customers deserve it. The success isn’t delivered through enforcement or overworking – there’s discipline, but it’s based on the ways in which people get a great deal from their sense of being part of something bigger than themselves and their individual career, which the UK could learn from. The biggest lessons for the UK would seem to be around passenger culture. We got to visit some of the busiest stations in the world, at Shibuya and Shinjuku. These stations are crammed to the limit and operations are always stretched. If people aren’t using the daily commuter trains, they’re in the stations doing their shopping. What makes the potential chaos work is that the passengers are on-board and understand how the service works, that everything is being done to make it work. In the UK there’s a lot of activity around delivering information of course – but what we don’t do as well is in engaging customers so they feel it’s their railway, we’re in it together. More screens in trains sharing real-time information, more app-based content would help, but the issue is cultural. There is also the level of attention to counter measures. The JR Group identifies any problems for services and maps all the factors that contribute to risks. It then looks

at ways to change or mitigate these risks so they have done everything possible to avoid small issues turning into larger ones. For example, drivers can turn up late for shifts, causing delays and a problem for any train operating company. In Japan the drivers are able to sleep at the depot. It’s a facility that means drivers can come off their shift and go to a room to sleep. They’ve looked at every detail to make it an attractive proposition, even making sure the angle of beds is optimised according to the kind of sleep needed, a short power-nap as opposed to a night’s sleep. One of great achievements of the JR

Group is public perception. The Dr Yellow phenomenon says it all: there are Dr Yellow branded t-shirts, hats, shoes, soft toys; parents will take time out to take their children to see Dr Yellow pass by. And it’s basically just a maintenance train that runs every 10 days. The UK has a far stronger heritage in the sector as pioneers, and not so long ago jobs on the railways were also a dream. So if there’s one critical question from Japan it’s how can we make the UK learn to love its railways again? Nadeem Karbhari is performance reporting and analysis manager at MTR Crossrail

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A cause for shame In a modern democracy it is unacceptable that barriers exist preventing anyone from travelling when the means exist to remove those barriers, says Alan Benson


ecent press coverage has revealed some pretty shocking examples of the difficulties disabled and older people face when travelling on railways in the UK. The experience of Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike MBE made headlines nationwide when she revealed that she was forced to wet herself on a long train journey after the only accessible toilet on board was not working. Her story was followed by similar revelations from athlete and TV presenter Ade Adepitan. These high profile stories are just the tip of a very large iceberg. Transport for All is a disability rights charity that champions the rights of disabled and older people to travel with freedom and independence. We hear daily of the unacceptable treatment faced by so many disabled travellers and the sad fact is that so many of these incidents could be easily prevented. It is a cause for national shame that in 2017 it has come to this, so we at Transport for All are starting the year by calling on the government and the rail industry to tackle this discrimination. We demand that all disabled and older people have the same right to travel on our railways as everyone else. It is currently the case that if you need assistance to use a train you must book with the train company at least 24 hours in advance. Even then we know that often this help arrives late or not at all. This is completely unacceptable. Disabled and older people must be able to ‘Turn Up and Go’ just like everyone else. Restore and increase Access for All funding We demand that government not only restores Access for All funding, but increases it. The Department of Transport has accepted the recommendations by Sir Peter Hendy in his review of Network Rail to defer around 50 per cent of the vital Access for All fund for five years. This is causing a delay to many essential upgrade works across the country. Only around one in five of our stations offer step free access. This Rail Professional

is a scandal. The government’s own figures show that for every £1 spent on accessibility infrastructure there is an economic benefit of £2.60. These projects make stations easier to use for everyone. We also demand that small and mediumsized scooters are allowed on all trains. Currently each train company has its own rules about which size scooters they will carry, with some companies still maintaining a blanket ban. Scooters are becoming increasingly popular. They are a cheaper and easier alternative to wheelchairs for many. As our society ages we are seeing that they are increasing giving back the freedom many have lost. Yet differing size restrictions make rail travel a lottery for scooter users. Standards must be set and adopted across all train operating companies. We demand that there are no staff cuts, either on board trains or at stations. Staff are the single most important element of making the railways accessible. The flexible and adaptive assistance provided by

individual staff members is able to overcome so many of the barriers that exist on the network. Maintaining this support is vital to halt the continuing decline in accessibility. We demand that all railway staff begin to receive Disability Equality Training delivered by a specialist trainer. This training must be refreshed regularly to ensure staff service levels are maintained. As well as equipping staff with the knowledge to provide appropriate assistance, DET gives staff the experience to deliver that assistance confidently. We demand that all station upgrades fully consult with disabled and older people from the outset. Too often we see projects implemented which meet building standards but make fundamental mistakes in their accessibility provision. By consulting early and often with those with expertise, those who experience the barriers every day, these errors can be designed out of the project. This not only improves the end result but reduces the cost associated with


Improving access benefits everyone, not just those with access needs. It also allows disabled and older people to play an active part in society as well as improving their health and well-being. In a modern democracy it is unacceptable that barriers exist preventing anyone from travelling when the means exist to remove those barriers. Government and train companies can and must do everything necessary to turn round the current falling standards any remedial work. We demand that a taxi is provided where a station is inaccessible and that this policy is publicised. When a passenger has booked assistance from or to an inaccessible station a taxi is provided to the nearest accessible alternative. This policy does not apply when assistance has not been prearranged. The policy also does not apply when there is disruption, such as a broken lift or engineering works. These disruptions are not just an inconvenience but can be an insurmountable barrier to travel.

Introducing and publicising this taxi policy across all train companies overcomes this. We demand that that the 2020 target for all trains to be accessible is met. Until then companies operating mixed fleets must better communicate with passengers about their options, and further, that access should be based on each type of train rather than a principle of the lowest common denominator. We demand that all trains should have audio visual announcement systems. These must be properly maintained and


checked to ensure that they are fully working. Train companies that fail to maintain these vital systems must face financial penalties. We demand the devolution of London’s rail network to bring it under the control of Transport for London. TfL’s provision of all stations staffed First to Last and adoption of Turn Up and Go has resulted in a marked improvement in the travel options for disabled and older people. Devolution would expand these improvements across the capital. Improving access benefits everyone, not just those with access needs. It also allows disabled and older people to play an active part in society as well as improving their health and well-being. In a modern democracy it is unacceptable that barriers exist preventing anyone from travelling when the means exist to remove those barriers. Government and train companies can and must do everything necessary to turn round the current falling standards. Alan Benson is chair of Transport for All

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Introducing the Monbat Front Access Range Easystart is extending its Front Access range of batteries by supplying the highly accredited Monbat battery to be supplied alongside Haze which the company has offered for the past 10 years. Haze has become a renowned name in the Front Access market over the years, being used in a wide range of standby and telecom applications. Easystart will now offer both ranges alongside one another as there are size and specification variations and also approvals for a wider number of brands associated with the Monbat range. Monbat is a European made factory brand used by a number of the continents largest telecom companies such as EE, BT, Ericsson, Telefonica and Vodafone just to name a few. Easystart is the official distributor for the whole Monbat factory range across the United Kingdom and will now offer the Front Access range to expand its already growing presence in the telecom and standby Front Access market. For more information regarding the new Monbat range or the existing Haze range, please contact Easystart’s Sales Manager, Cillian Brugha on or 01536 203030.

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In the UK, SYSTRA Ltd provides Rail and Urban Transport engineering services and Transport Planning consultancy. SYSTRA is a global leader in public transport infrastructure. Its 5,400 employees specialising in engineering and consulting.

Mass Rapid Transit Crossrail

SYSTRA benefits from nearly 60 years of experience from its parent companies, SNCF and RATP. It employs state of the art engineering techniques and develops innovative solutions that meet the explosive growth in demand for public transport in and around the world’s largest cities, which are home to over half the world’s population. Active in 80 countries worldwide, SYSTRA is involved in project planning well before the start of the design stage and continues through to deployment.

High-Speed Rail HS1

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Light Rail Aarhus, Denmark For more information please contact: Tim Steiner: Images © SYSTRA and Crossrail 2017



HYPERLOOP: innovation personified More risk can mean less danger. Without it, we are in danger of getting stuck in the wrong kind of loop says Pierre- Etienne Gautier


nnovation. It’s probably one of the most overused words in the business world. Who doesn’t want their company or products to be described as innovative? But every now and then, something comes along that really does deserve the term, something that threatens to be genuinely (to use another over-worked buzz word) groundbreaking. Hyperloop is one of those things: a completely new concept in freight and passenger transport. Inspired by a paper published in 2013 by Elon Musk - the famous tech guru and CEO of Tesla - the idea is that pods or capsules will be fired through de-pressurised tubes at incredible speeds – possibly in excess of 600mph and propelled along a powerful magnetic field. It raises the possibility of public transport at a speed

In a few years it will be clear whether Hyperloop has delivered its promise of revolutionary change. But one way or the other, the excitement of real innovation that it represents should continue to be felt throughout the world of transport planning and design and the lessons it offers for the power of open, collaborative approaches for solving complex problems should continue to be learned

faster than commercial flights and with all the added convenience of inter-city rail travel. For example London to Edinburgh in 40 minutes – less time than it takes to commute from Tunbridge Wells to Charing Cross. It is hard to overstate the potential revolutionary importance of Hyperloop. Every major advance in human civilisation has coincided with a significant advance in transport technology, starting with the first draft animals and running through paved roads, canals railways, the internal combustion engine and jet flight. For a while it looked like commercial airlines were the last word, that we might make progress in terms of improved designs and efficiency, but that there were no new frontiers to cross. Hyperloop proves that we were wrong. A working prototype has already been

successfully tested in the Arizona desert and Hyperloop One – the California-based company that is leading the development of the technology – plans to launch the first freight service by 2019 and to carry commercial passengers by 2021. Innovation means risk Is that too ambitious? Perhaps, and with anything that is truly innovative the possibility of failure is never far from view. But excitement is growing and interest from cities like Dubai is making that ambition look more and more realistic. Still, there is no denying that innovation means risk. And if you want to bind innovation deep into your DNA, as we seek to do at SYSTRA, you have to be prepared to step way outside of what makes you comfortable. Such a willingness to step outside of the safe Rail Professional



space has long characterised our approach to projects and is one of the reasons that we were asked to join Hyperloop One’s technical advisory board. SYSTRA is one of the partners assessing the more-than 1,000 proposals from around the world in competition for the first commercial Hyperloop developments, looking for the three or four that are not only the most practical and detailed but which have the most imaginative and thoughtful commitment to the possibilities of the new technology, that show a real awareness of just how transformative it can be. What that means in practical terms is, first, that people are placed at the centre of everything. Clients and users must be deeply involved in design and planning, which is risky, of course. If you ask what people want and need – and are really prepared to listen – you lose some control, which can be frightening, especially for engineers. But it can stimulate the release of those creative energies that are the driving force of true innovation. We have learned the value of a genuine collaborative approach through years of experience: and also learned that collaboration has to be real and creatively managed if it isn’t going to be collaboration in name only. We have run more than 72 client and user events over the last two and a half years, that’s more than 500 hours of workshops using highly innovative, hands-on approaches like Professor Neil Gershenfeld’s Fab Labs. It’s not simply a question of asking questions but of creating a space where deep collaboration can take place that will take us in directions we could not anticipate. Time and again we have seen how doing rather than just thinking sparks creativity and takes our collaborators and us to unexpected places. It is one more reason Rail Professional

why we prefer to keep a role in project delivery and not just project management: doing as well as planning and directing keeps us creatively as well as practically engaged. Principles of openness and collaboration An understanding of the power of creative collaboration is what inspired Hyperloop from the start. Elon Musk, a long time champion of the principle of free information, put the idea out there so that any individual or organisation could pick them up and run with them. Those principles of openness and collaboration have inspired Hyperloop One and the extraordinary speed with which the project has travelled from a mere dream to something much more tangible. It has inspired SYSTRA too. Our projects innovate because we know how to stimulate a community of designers, planners, architects, designers, as well as clients and users. Last year our team beat 67 others from 26 counties to win the competition to design an environmentally sustainable passenger and freight Hyperloop infrastructure for a notional development in Dubai in just two days. That is two days to create a fully integrated, sustainable design for 127km of Hyperloop and three stations. Just imagine what we could do in a week. If and when that Hyperloop system – or something like it – gets built, the power of innovation will be felt. Not just at the level of the attention-grabbing disruptive new technology (exciting though that is) but deep under the skin in the users’ experience of the vehicles and the station environment and other structures. That is because integration is one of the fundamental principles driving the innovation teams

at SYSTRA. New and exciting does not have to mean jarring and shocking. The new experience should integrate well with travellers’ expectations while extending their horizons and anticipating their changing needs such as better connectivity, more information and better acoustics that compete less with personal music systems. Better all round But innovative integration is not enough. We have to be able to build and run systems better too. Optimising the use of materials and operating at ever higher levels of efficiency – better for the end user, of course, but also offering better value for money. What if we could cut material costs for building high speed railways from current levels but with no reduction in performance, for example? We are currently drafting a technical guidebook on how to do just that. In a few years it will be clear whether Hyperloop has delivered its promise of revolutionary change. But one way or the other, the excitement of real innovation that it represents should continue to be felt throughout the world of transport planning and design and the lessons it offers for the power of open, collaborative approaches for solving complex problems should continue to be learned. At SYSTRA we plan to keep reminding ourselves that innovation must be more than a buzz word, but should be at the root of the business culture for any ambitious 21st century enterprise. It means learning to love risk, but more risk can mean less danger. Without it, we are in danger of getting stuck in the wrong kind of loop. Pierre- Etienne Gautier is vice president innovation at SYSTRA




Major rebrand for Jointing Tech K distributor of specialist power cables and accessories, Jointing Tech, has undergone a complete brand review with a new logo, tagline, online and offline presence reflecting the company’s growth and suite of products and services within the electricity sector. Managing director Adam Lloyd said: ‘Jointing Tech has continued to grow and develop hand-in-hand with our customers, resulting in a company that offers a full range of products and services. It was time to make sure our brand reflected our industry standing and the introduction of a tagline ‘The Power to Deliver’ ensures that everyone knows we are always on hand with the right support for any project large or small.’ The new brand coincides with the reopening of Jointing Tech’s Woking head office following a major fire last year. Martin Parker, sales and marketing director commented: ‘This is an exciting time for us as we continue to develop and grow, supporting our customer base and leading the way in the power industry. Our new brand supports that commitment, reflecting our stronger identity online and offline.’ Visit: Porterbrook and Northern to introduce bi-mode Class 319 Flex trains orterbrook Leasing has committed to deliver to Northern a variant of a Class 319 electric train which is able to operate over electrified and non-electrified routes. The project is supported by Rail North, representing local authorities in the north of England. The Class 319 Flex concept is designed to create a bi-mode train by fitting two diesel powered alternators, one under each of the driving trailer cars. These provide power to the existing traction and auxiliary equipment to allow the EMU to operate without an overhead or third rail supply. The systems will provide power through the train’s DC bus, avoiding any significant changes to the existing equipment and creating a unit capable of operating from a number of different power sources. The concept was developed to minimise alterations to the existing vehicle design and hence keep the cost of conversion to an attractive level. Zena Dent, projects & technical director for Porterbrook said the unit ‘will provide operators with a ‘go anywhere’ train, something which is not currently available with any other rolling stock solution.’ The first units will be in passenger service with Northern by spring 2018 and from then on be available to a wide range of operators.



Abellio ScotRail Class 170 Refurbishment orterbrook Leasing’s Class 170 units on lease with Abellio ScotRail are currently undergoing a £7 million refurbishment programme at Wabtec Rail Scotland, upgrading passenger facilities on a total of 17 x 3 Car units. Transport Scotland specified that ScotRail should invest in new and refurbished rolling stock and the fleet is receiving an internal refurbishment plus a heavy overhaul to all door equipment and air conditioning systems. With the programme at the half way point, the seventh unit to be completed, 170407, carries the British Transport Police external livery, promoting the 61016 text service, sponsored by Transport Scotland.  To mark the milestone, Transport Scotland’s chief executive, Roy Brannen, visited Wabtec Rail Scotland to view unit 170407 in its final phase of completion.  He said: ‘This type of refurbishment is not only meeting our aspirations for improved passenger experience, it also supports investment in local jobs.’ Olivier André, Porterbrook’s commercial director, said: ‘Porterbrook and Abellio ScotRail are working towards a better, more reliable and safer railway in Scotland and we are pleased to support Transport Scotland and British Transport Police with such a worthwhile livery.’ Nexus completes track replacement scheme (pic) exus, the public body which owns, manages and is modernising the Tyne and Wear Metro, has completed a £3 million programme to replace four kilometres of track in the tunnels which run from Jesmond to the QEII Metro Bridge across the Tyne.   The work, which forms part of the £350 million Metro all change modernisation programme, has been carried out entirely during night shifts.  Director of rail and infrastructure for Nexus, Raymond Johnstone, said: ‘The tunnels are a challenging environment to work in but the project was more straightforward as the actual track beds are concrete and didn’t need to be replaced. I’m also


delighted that Nexus was able to deliver this work in-house using our own staff and equipment.’ This is the first time the rails in Metro’s city centre tunnels have been entirely replaced since the system opened to passengers in August 1980. The tunnels beneath the streets of Newcastle were bored out in the late 1970’s and built to carry Metro trains through the city centre towards Gateshead and South Tyneside. 

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Alstom to acquire Nomad Digital lstom has signed an agreement to acquire Nomad Holdings, commercially known as Nomad Digital, from Amadeus Capital Partners, SEB Venture Capital and Deutsche Telekom Strategic Investments, together with other investors. Nomad Digital provides passenger and fleet connectivity solutions to the rail industry. Founded in 2002 it employs around 230 people and is headquartered in Newcastle, with 13 offices worldwide and a turnover of more than £30 million. ‘This acquisition illustrates our strategy to offer more tailor-made solutions to our customers’, said Pascal Cléré, senior vice president for digital mobility at Alstom. He continued: ‘We are confident in the success of this new activity as Nomad Digital allows operators to enhance the passenger experience. These new skills and technologies will enable us to accelerate the digitalisation of our offering.’ Alstom will begin integrating Nomad Holdings into its own group, while ensuring that the company operates as a whollyowned subsidiary retaining its brand and independent identity.

TWI secures funding for research and innovation in Wales n £878,000 EU funding boost for a Port Talbot company investing in major rail and oil and gas schemes has been welcomed by Welsh government finance secretary Mark Drakeford. TWI Technology Centre Wales will work with European partners over the next two years to develop new technology and products to help improve the performance of rail infrastructure. The two schemes are being funded through Horizon 2020, the European Union’s largest research and innovation programme. Professor Drakeford said: ‘This is yet another example of how EU funding and collaboration opportunities benefit Welsh business. It is great news that, as a result of these schemes, research and development with such potential will take place in transport safety and energy engineering that are of significant importance to Wales.’ The rail infrastructure scheme will involve working with the University of Birmingham and partners in Belgium, Portugal and Spain to develop a robotic evaluation system which will enable more frequent inspection of rail tracks and improved detection of faults and defects. Philip Wallace, TWI regional manager in Wales, said: ‘TWI knowhow will help fast-track innovation within these schemes and allow pioneering new products to reach commercial readiness and success.’


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Modernised depot for Great Northern rail services reat Northern says its passengers are set to see a transformation in rail services with the completion of an enlarged, modernised train depot in Hornsey, north London, which is now one of the biggest in the UK, housing and maintaining £1 billion-worth of new train fleets. Hornsey’s state-of-the-art maintenance building, built by Siemens using main contractor Volker-Fitzpatrick, features large new sidings and improved servicing for the trains which Great Northern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will run: • Class 387 trains for Great Northern services between London King’s Cross and Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn (entering service now) • Class 700 trains for new Thameslink services across London to the south from many Great Northern stations


between the capital and Peterborough and Cambridge (trains arrive on Great Northern in 2017 and begin running as Thameslink in 2018) • Class 717 trains for Great Northern suburban services from Welwyn Garden City, Hertford and Stevenage to and from Moorgate in the City of London (arriving late 2018) Hornsey will also become a centre for apprenticeship schemes run by both GTR and Siemens, with up to 20 apprentices a year trained in the maintenance and servicing of a range of more than six classes of trains. GTR engineering director Gerry McFadden said: ‘This facility will support the biggest fleet renewal in the history of this part of the Great Northern railway. Built specifically for Siemens to maintain our new Class 700 Thameslink trains, the new building complements the improved existing depot where we care for the Great Northern fleet, and together they create a centre of excellence in engineering.’


Greater Anglia first to offer smarter way to buy season tickets assengers using the Toc’s services in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire have become the first in the country to use new Smart Cards and are being advised to upgrade their paper season tickets. Smart Card season tickets, which allow customers to simply touch the smart card on the reader at ticket gates, can be purchased online at www.greateranglia. Once the card arrives, the ticket is loaded onto the Smart Card by presenting it at the ticket gate or a ticket machine and is ready for use.   Said GA: ‘Smart Cards are plastic and more durable and will open up greater opportunities for developments such as flexible ticketing, tailored to individual travellers’ needs.’ Upgrading to a Smart Card is free and can be done when the season ticket is renewed, or an existing paper ticket can be swapped for a Smartcard if the season ticket




Proxama brings beacon powered proximity marketing to trains obile proximity marketing company Proxama has announced that as part of a wider customer information trial, its beacons have been installed on a number of Chiltern Railways’ Birmingham to London mainline trains. Its partnership with platform developer Enable iD extends the consumer reach of Proxama’s advertising network, already the biggest in the UK, to Arriva UK Trains, owner of Chiltern and one of the largest European transport operators. Brands can utilise the Proxama network to deliver ‘contextual, location-based advertising’ straight to passengers’ devices ‘dramatically improving engagement and RoI’. When sitting idle on a train, travelling long-distance, users, it says, are more likely to be receptive to targeted brand engagements. Beyond the advertising trial the beacon network will be also be used to ‘improve services and the overall commuter experience’, says the company. ‘Using Enable iD’s expertise in the Internet of Things and data solutions, personalised customer journey information can be delivered and consumer insight gleaned, while preserving the privacy of individuals.’ ‘This is the first time that our platform and integrated beacons have been used for a trial on the rail network,’ said Chris Thompson, chief strategy Officer at Enable iD. ‘Recognising the power of technologies such as beacons to deliver a differentiated consumer experience is an important milestone in building a more innovative, engaging, and better connected UK rail network.’ ‘We’re focused on expanding our beacon network around major transport hubs’ said John Kennedy, CEO of Proxama. ‘Enable iD and Arriva UK Trains are important partners for us as we take our first steps into the rail sector.’


Network Rail awards £49m Shotts Line electrification contract etwork Rail has awarded Carillion Powerlines the contract to deliver the electrification of the Shotts line between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction. The contract will deliver 74km of electrified railway, as part of a wider £160 million Scottish government investment in the line between Scotland’s largest cities. It covers the physical delivery of all elements required to electrify the line, such as erecting stanchions and stringing the overhead powerlines, and will be carried out in tandem with work on a range of bridges as part of a route clearance programme to ensure the power cables can run under structures on the line. Electric services will be introduced on Edinburgh-Glasgow Central via Shotts following completion of the work in 2019 and will offer improved reliability and increased capacity for passengers. Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: ‘This contract award is a major step forward in the delivery of the electrification programme and rail passengers across North Lanarkshire and West Lothian will feel the benefits for many years to come.’

has at least 30 days left to run. Greater Anglia was the first train operator in the UK to launch Smart season tickets as part of the SEFT (South East Flexible Ticketing) scheme early in 2016.  The Department for Transport funded programme is aimed at accelerating the deployment of season tickets on smart cards across the south-east, the largest commuter market in the UK. Greater Anglia, c2c, GTR, South West Trains and Southeastern will cover 73 per cent of the annual season ticket market.

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New Members of the Rail Alliance as at end November 2016 L.C. Switchgear: product range designed to provide low maintenance, cost-effective, long life solutions for railway isolation and bonding requirements INDO Lighting: manufacturer of Direct Drive® LED street lights and retrofit solutions Cisco International: specialises in networking in the areas of trackside networks, stations and on-board communications for railways Eland Cables: global supplier of cables and cable accessories. Offers Network Rail approved cables for next day delivery in UK Cecence: has developed a portfolio of materials with focus on aerospace and rail interiors. Can supply lightweight shaped panels which pass FST standards. John Bell Pipeline Equipment Co: supplies a range of composite access products including non-conductive fencing and platform gates, litter screens, viaduct gratings and rail platform extensions National College for High Speed Rail: largest of five new employer-led colleges created by government to help British students develop world-class skills required to create HS2 & future High Speed Rail projects

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Storm Angus: lessons for UK rail Nick Hawkins looks at critical communications technology and the benefits for operators in adopting it into their crisis response and business continuity procedures


n November 2016, large parts of the UK were subject to the extreme weather of Storm Angus. Billed as the first of many storms predicted to strike the UK throughout the winter months, Angus brought with it gale force winds and heavy rainfall, resulting in flash flooding and large-scale travel disruption. The UK’s rail networks—across the South of England especially—were badly affected, with line closures and delayed services meaning thousands of passengers were left stranded and many more frustrated at the chaos that awaited them at stations. Some of the UK’s busiest train stations, including London Waterloo, Paddington and King’s Cross saw passengers waiting up to two hours for a train, with some services being cancelled altogether. Bristol Temple Meads station was temporarily closed following flash flooding that led to severe overcrowding and fears for passenger safety, with Great Western Railway (GWR) advising passengers not to travel. Every winter the UK is subject to bouts

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of extreme weather that seriously impact public transport services, but the same issues continue to bring the rail network to a standstill. With UK passengers spending six times more on rail fares compared to other European countries, the pressure is growing on operators to do more. The technology to ensure that both the passengers and the rail operators are better prepared in an emergency is available, now all it needs is a rail operator to invest in implementing it. This solution is critical communications technology and the benefits for operators in adopting it into their crisis response and business continuity procedures are twofold: the technology can help ensure passengers are kept up-to-date with fast-changing situations and it enables operators to deploy resources to protect infrastructure more effectively – limiting the impact of a storm. Prioritising passenger safety In the event of extreme weather, the first priority is ensuring passengers remain

safe. The second priority is enabling them to complete their journey. For station staff on the front-line, having a means of communicating with passengers en masse, even in advance of them arriving at an already overcrowded station, is extremely beneficial. Critical communications platforms can be used to send out emergency notifications to all passengers informing them of delayed or cancelled services, the latest information regarding weather warnings and any announcements of temporary station queuing measures put in place as a result. These critical alerts can be sent out instantly via more than 100 communication channels and devices – including SMS, email, textto-speech, social media alerts and push notifications – providing a mechanism for effective and reliable communication between rail staff and passengers. By having passengers sign-up to be contacted at the point of purchasing their ticket, operators are able to send out emergency alerts via the available communication channels and these notifications will continue to be sent until a response has been acknowledged. For rail operators these responses are vital as they help provide a clear overview of an incident, the areas and people most affected and how best to deploy resources to resolve it. As such, effective two-way communication plays a vital part in reducing uncertainty during an incident and ensuring passenger safety is prioritised. For example, if a passenger finds themselves on a platform as it begins to flood, they can instantly alert rail staff who can then deploy resources to get the passenger to safety. A further benefit to travellers during incidents of extreme weather is that these communication systems are capable of notifying them of potential alternative valid routes of travel, often before they arrive at the station.


The most effective critical communications platforms are cloud-based and therefore operate independently from a rail operator’s internal network. The advantage of this is that should extreme weather disable the mobile network or an IT outage knock out an operator’s computer systems, the platform is still able to get messages out to the right people at the right time. Operators back in control Aside from the benefits this type of technology offers rail passengers, it can also significantly improve the way the UK’s rail networks operate in an emergency. For instance, rail staff can use the platform’s geolocation data to have a precise understanding of where on-duty engineering staff are at all times. Should an emergency situation like Storm Angus develop, rail officials are able to use live weather data to predict which lines will be most affected and the most effective place to deploy resources. During the most extreme incidents, operators can send out a critical alert to relevant employees (or if it is a localised emergency, employees in a specific geographic location) asking who is available to help. Using the same two-way communications process as before, operators will have a clear understanding of its available staffing resources within minutes. Once

an emergency engineering team has been deployed, they can use the technology to update management on their progress, who can then in turn inform the passengers of expected delays to any services or alternative routes of travel. Aside from its duty of care to passengers, rail companies also have a duty of care to staff working in extreme conditions to keep services running. Again, critical communications technology can be used to locate and communicate with employees, automating the time-intensive process of manual emergency cascades and recalling staff to duty. Modern critical communications providers offer smartphone applications which staff can use in the event of an emergency. Everbridge, a provider of critical communications technology, has a panic button built into its app which users can press to alert management that they are in urgent need of assistance. Critical communications platforms have proven to be vital for organisations around the world. For instance, in 2016 Everbridge was used by emergency services, local government agencies and transport authorities in the State of Florida to help keep more than 20 million citizens safe from harm during Hurricane Matthew. By funnelling all communication through one unified platform, these organisations were able to reduce emergency notification


response times, ensure residents remained safe and provide updates on danger zones and emergency evacuation protocol. This direct citizen engagement is heavily used in the US, however, it is yet to be adopted in the UK. The States of Guernsey is the first roll out of opt-in critical communications services. In November 2016, it sent notifications to the island’s registered dog owners to share information regarding upcoming firework displays. In 2017, Guernsey plans to evolve its citizen communication to incorporate weather warnings and traffic disruptions. Future technology In times of crisis, such as a derailed train, speed of response is key and a critical communications platform can mean the difference between life and death. By facilitating an efficient and reliable flow of information rail passengers and staff can be informed at all stages of an incident meaning that safety can be prioritised and the UK’s rail infrastructure can manage crises in a timely fashion with little disruption. Only by learning from the lessons of the past and investing in proactive methods of improving the UK’s rail system operations, can rail companies hope to change the outcomes of the future. Nick Hawkins is managing director EMEA at Everbridge

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The Varsity Line: pumping new blood Simon Mole looks at how technology and foresight is helping to keep a vital rail artery on track


ork to create a new integrated rail link between Oxford and Cambridge that re-establishes the old Varsity Line is being kept on track using the very latest technology. The route was cut in the late 1960’s, although not a victim of the Beeching Review. It avoided the swinging of the good doctor’s axe that removed so many cross country and branch rail routes from 1963 onwards – but that proved insufficient to keep it alive. Work is now being progressed on the East-West Rail Link Phase 2, from Bicester to Bedford. Bicester already has a fast twin track rail connection to Oxford Parkway, recently opened and now to be linked with central Oxford. This work is part of our wider services to Network Rail which spans across England and includes land acquisition, valuation, agency, building surveying, and development advice. As Network Rail’s remit adjusts over the next few years it is likely that redundant railway sites or land close to railway stations will provide excellent opportunities for redevelopment to support housing and growth. For example Network Rail, Bristol City Council, and the Homes and Communities Agency are combining land ownerships and ambitions to provide 70 hectares of prime development land outside of Bristol Temple Meads Station providing 240,000 square metres of residential, commercial, retail and leisure development. In addition, Network Rail is looking at ways to redevelop above stations and tracks, something which traditionally has been difficult to achieve. East-West Rail Phase 2 is one example of a project being delivered by Network Rail in often challenging environments. In Newbury, we are advising Network Rail on the replacement of a traditional low road bridge required for the Great Western Electrification scheme. The current structure, installed by the Americans during WW2, is both narrow and difficult to maintain so no longer fit for purpose. The removal of the existing bridge and installation of the new is within an extremely confined envelope surrounded by housing, commercial, and industrial uses on

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all sides. East-West Rail Phase 2 can unleash the potential of this important region starved of not only rail connections but also usable arterial road routes, too. Upgrading the road network, tortuous at present and a real strait jacket on development of both industry and housing in the area, will work in parallel with the new East-West Rail Link that promises to provide a new umbilical connection between the UK’s two major high tech and scientific centres in Cambridge and Oxford. The UK is a world leader in many of these technologies, which also see strong demand for input from the highly successful world base for many of the top Formula One motor racing teams centred in the area around Brackley and Silverstone, close to the new rail route.Our work with Network Rail uses the very latest mapping and satellite technology to turn what has become largely a walking route along the old rail bed for leisure users into a driver for the 21st Century economic wellbeing of the country. Importance of infrastructure The importance of infrastructure was recognised in The Queen’s Speech last May with the announcement of the intention to place the National Infrastructure Commission, led by Lord Adonis, on a statutory footing. ‘I strongly welcome

the government’s announcement that it will make the National Infrastructure Commission statutory and independent,’ said Adonis after the announcement. ‘This is a major advance for infrastructure planning in Britain and will give the commission the power it needs to do its work.’ At present, we are busy gaining consents through Transport and Works Act Order applications that will enable us to deliver the land needed both for the route and essential access and work areas during its construction. Together with the in-house Carter Jonas Mapping and GIS team we are able to identify a route or specific locations for a task, value them, and set the process in train to bring together what’s needed to build and operate the scheme. The East-West Rail Link is more than just a train track – it’s a route to a new prosperity for the population in the areas surrounding Milton Keynes, which has always been the focus until now. The new route will eliminate the need to travel into and across London and then out again. It will connect two centres of technology with an artery pumping new blood into the area, bringing new prosperity to a population that has waited for an economic revival for half a century since the Varsity Line was closed in 1967.

Simon Mole is a partner at Carter Jonas



February to March 2017 If you have an event to promote visit FEBRUARY 2nd Annual Transport-Led Development in the North of England 2017 01/02/2017 DLA Piper, Manchester Tel: +44 (0)20 7067 1597 International Railway Summit 2017 15/02/2017 to 17/02/2017 Paris Tel: +44 (0)20 7112 5 MARCH CeMAT SEA, TransAsia Jakarta, ColdChain Indonesia 2017 02/03/2017 to 04/03/2017Indonesia Tel: +6281299200992 7th Eurasia Rail Istanbul, Turkey 02/03/2017 to 04/03/2017 Istanbul Expo Center Tel: + 905414555795 Design & Analysis of Protective Structures Masterclass 2017 06/03/2017 to 10/03/2017 singapore ERTMS and ETCS 2017: The Future of Railway Signalling in the UK 21/03/2017 to 22/03/2017 London Asia Pacific Rail 2017 21/03/2017 to 22/03/2017 Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre Tel: + 65 63222700 International Railway Forum & Conference 22/03/2017 to 24/03/2017 Clarion Congress Hotel Prague Policy priorities for UK rail services - market reform, the digital railway and customer service 23/03/2017 London Tel: 01344 864796

Featured Event... The Rail Freight Group Conference returns for its 25th year, convening the entire industry to explore how to respond to emerging opportunities and overcome the biggest challenges facing the sector in 2017 and beyond. Attend to understand the emerging implications of Brexit for freight and how the industry can plan and respond accordingly; discuss the importance of improving freight connections at ports and how this can be achieved; and hear from freight users and customers on rail freight performance. Opening address from Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP. To register, email or call 0207 067 1597, quoting discount code 320RPROF to SAVE 10%

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Optimising supply chain relationships to accelerate growth in uncertain times The Rail Freight Group Conference returns for its 25th year, convening the entire industry to explore how to respond to emerging opportunities and overcome the biggest challenges facing the sector in 2017 and beyond

Key speakers include: RT Hons Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport | Network Rail | ORR | Rail Delivery Group and more... §

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Plugging the skills gap from within WAGO’s Paul Witherington, marketing manager UK and Ireland, argues that it’s going to take more than new apprentices to plug the skills gap


he UK rail network continues to enjoy a renaissance both in freight and passenger numbers, but as technology becomes more advanced, it is important to ensure that rail in the UK can retain, improve and grow the skillset of its personnel to ensure it continues to serve the needs of its customers. The risk of a skills shortage is no secret, not just in rail but across all UK industry. An estimated 87,000 new engineers are needed each year just to maintain the status quo, and experienced engineers are currently leaving the industry faster than qualified new graduates can replace them. According to government figures conventional rail already requires an extra 900 engineering and technical workers, while high-speed rail will require an extra 7,200 by 2020. TfL meanwhile estimates a shortage of 1,800. A 2015 report by the Office of Rail and Road found major skills shortages in a number of areas, particularly signalling and electrification, and this is only set to become more severe unless action is taken quickly. Large new flagship projects like Crossrail typically have little trouble finding the best and brightest, but what does that mean for the rest of the industry? The entire network needs qualified engineers with the skills to help keep UK rail at the forefront of efficiency and reliability. The Government has made encouraging steps in this direction in announcing plans to create 20,000 new apprenticeships by 2020. However the fact remains that whilst there’s a clear need for new apprentices in

rail, ideally we need those skills right now rather than in five, 10 or 20 years’ time. We need to ensure in the short to medium term that rail has workers with the experience and abilities to fill senior specialist roles and replace those who are moving towards retirement. How to mobilise talent The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) estimates that 10,000-15,000 of the existing workforce needs upskilling, but this takes time. Training a new worker from technician all the way up to chartered engineer can take upwards of 20 years, and so it is vital that the rail industry mobilises quickly to protect the industry now and in the future. As well as training the next generation of engineers, the rail industry therefore also needs to upskill its existing workforce, and help it keep pace with new technological developments. With industries increasingly embracing advanced technological concepts such as the Internet of Things (IoT), the need for workforces with the skills and experience to build, maintain and optimise these systems is becoming more and more urgent. Automation is a rapidly growing area, and IoT technologies are being deployed across the rail network to automate almost every imaginable process and task. However skilled human engineers and technicians are still required to configure, monitor and optimise operations, as well as carrying out programming, modelling and diagnostic tasks. Plugging the skills gap is clearly easier said than done and businesses can be

reluctant to invest, particularly in an uncertain business climate. However, consider the opportunity cost: train operating companies will have a hard time realising the efficiency, productivity and reliability benefits of complex new technologies unless they have a workforce capable of understanding and implementing them effectively. A lack of skills can at best lead to costly inefficiencies, but at worst could lead to failures and downtime that can be expensive and time consuming to remedy. Future problems If predictions are correct, the skills shortage in rail is likely to get worse before it gets better, and if graduates aren’t able to plug the gap, the rail industry needs to make sure that it consolidates and improves the skills of its existing workforce to keep up with new technologies. WAGO is helping to address this skills gap by offering IoT training courses for industry professionals, allowing rail sector workers to benefit from professional learning directly from automation experts. Specialist instructors provide practical solutions to industry problems, with courses tailored to the appropriate skill level. Tel: 01788 568008 Email: Visit:

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Trackbed Scanning Services & Products

Rethinking trackbed inspection. With the jigsaw fits.

Free Draining Layer

Multiple View Video Ballast Fouling

Subgrade Erosion Buried Structures

Vegetation Management

Surface Mudspots Thickness Ballast

Ballast Pockets

Tie Mapping

Asset Mapping

Track Geometry

Ballast Volume

Surface Mudspots Ballast Deficit

Track Drainage

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Rail Profile

Structure Clearances

Low cost measurement of ballast quality, trackbed condition, maintenance efficiency contact: Asger Eriksen email: tel: +44 (0)1993 886682 web: twitter: @ZeticaRail



Ride on (real) time with ‘black box’ project Monitoring part of the train fleet on London’s Docklands Light Railway in real time has become a reality, thanks to an SNC-Lavalin project that showcases both technical skills and close partnership working


70 channels of information available 24/7 and 94 vehicles running on a network spanning 45 different stations: there are a lot of numbers, not to mention complexity, involved in SNC-Lavalin’s project to help improve the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in London. This project has been a true collaboration for Rail & Transit; working with the rolling stock engineering and maintenance teams of DLR and KeolisAmey Docklands along with the lead contractor Arrowvale Electronics and communication supplier Nomad Digital. The combined team has delivered a challenging and innovative scheme which will help improve the reliability and availability of DLR passenger services. DLR asked the main contractor to replace obsolete on-train monitoring equipment on two thirds of its rolling stock fleet. The client also wanted to upgrade the equipment on its B92K rolling stock to enable remote, real time monitoring of this fleet – a new capability. Virtual monitoring on-board The upgraded train fleet has now been fitted with new rail equivalent ‘black box’ recorders (which are in fact, orange, in colour) and associated electronics. This means that the trains can be monitored at all times when they are in service, wherever they are on the DLR network – and information is sent back to monitoring screens in no more than three seconds. SNC-Lavalin project manager Mark Zawisza, who co-ordinated the project work, said the immediate real-time availability of information and ‘status changes’ of different on-board factors is a real bonus for the DLR’s operators and other interested parties. Said Zawisza: ‘The Control Centre knowing where a problem is occurring on a vehicle, for example, an imperceptible passenger door fault, immediately reduces dwell times at stations, improves availability and therefore, from an operational point of view, the service is much enhanced.’ He continued: ‘It is the first real outing for our Diagnostyx product so that is a big

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win for us. It has been quite a challenging and complex project; trying to monitor 270 different channels of information is in itself quite difficult and the volume of data we are getting off the trains is quite high. The fact that we (SNC-Lavalin) can see the train in the virtual sense, where it is and what it is doing in real time, for me, is very rewarding.’ Skills are ‘second to none’ Richard George, SNC-Lavalin’s group managing director, has been impressed by the results of the project and his teams’ work. ‘The DLR work is a superb project that demonstrates our technical skills are second to none when it comes to technical development and innovation on an existing railway operation,’ he said. ‘Arrowvale supplied most of the electronics; communications control units were supplied by Nomad Digital and SNCLavalin helped in several ways, including providing the installation design of the equipment, as well as installation teams, assurance and software; work which

involved many teams at the company.’ Continued George: ‘The DLR’s new virtual ‘eyes’ are helping people in its control room monitor factors including trains’ brake pressures, whether doors are open and shut and the performance of the traction control system. The Diagnostyx package used on the DLR’s automated train may in future benefit other train operators running services in the UK, or in other parts of the world.’ Mark Zawisza, overall project manager – DLR SNC-Lavalin

Tel: +44(0) 1332 223095 Email:





THE INDUSTRY CHOICE Headlights, lanterns, inspection lights, site lighting, ATEX safety torches and much more - built to deliver superior reliability in the most hostile & temperamental working conditions.








Tying it all together Elite Precast Concrete works with semi-dry and wet-cast, high strength (50N/mm2) concrete products which are supplied to every sector of UK industry


lite was the first to manufacture interlocking blocks for fire breaks, retaining, blast and push walls and for creating solid barriers between open rail lines and those being replaced to avoid the need for disruptive all line blocks by allowing adjacent live line working. All of Elite’s blocks have a minimum of 100 years design life. The largest interlocking block in the Elite range is called the Legato, the name coming from the Italian for ‘tied together’. One of the benefits of in-situ concrete is incredible long term durability and strength without the expense, disruption, long build time and lack of flexibility usually associated concrete cast on site. Elite is the only company in Europe to manufacture interlocking blocks using high strength (50N/mm2) concrete. This allows its Legato blocks to exhibit extreme levels of durability, combined with the flexibility of having their own cast-in lifting pin. As each standard block will build 1.28m2 of wall, they provide an incredibly quick solution in a wide variety of applications. Another block called the Duo block is made from 600mm thick high-strength concrete and has the advantage of not requiring expensive, specialist lifting equipment. The clever design (which incorporates a cast-in lifting pin flush with the concrete surface) allows the blocks to

be easily dry laid onto any firm surface, creating bay dimensions to suit almost any site. Easy installation and rigid construction The third interlocking block in the Elite range is the Vee Interlocking Concrete block. These blocks interlock horizontally

and vertically and can provide radiation shielding (either temporary or permanent) as well as providing a retaining wall. The blocks interlock with each other using a unique ‘V’ system along the base, sides and top giving incredible strength and stability. Precast concrete Kentledge blocks are used to act as ballast or counterweights for fencing, hoarding, scaffolding, or for various temporary works. They can also be attached to wire ropes which are fixed to the structure to provide greater stability. Its security blocks, interlocking concrete blocks and Vee interlocking blocks all make excellent counterweight blocks for fall arrest systems and heavy lifting as well as most types of temporary works situations. Elite offers a range of options when it comes to securing your premises against unwanted visitors, to manage site traffic and for use as HGV MOT test weights. Security components Elite’s large two tonne precast concrete blocks are designed and manufactured to be used as security blocks preventing access to land and buildings and are ideal for blocking entrances and gateways or for use as HGV MOT test weights. The Security block, Vee interlocking block, Legato interlocking block, and Duo

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interlocking block all provide security solutions suitable for various temporary works applications. All systems come with integral lifting options and can be painted in company colours, Ministry of Transport approved chevrons along with other designs and provide a much cheaper alternative when compared to hiring-in barriers. All of the blocks have their own lifting and placing systems. For traffic management and for safely segregating pedestrians from traffic / vehicles the Elite Interlocking Jersey barrier is an ideal heavy duty system which has been designed for the ultimate in antivehicle perimeter protection. Cast from Elite’s standard high-strength concrete (50N/mm2) the barriers are ideal for traffic management, flood defence, site security, rockfall, and edge protection. Jersey barriers are 2,500mm long and weigh 1,450kg. The unique interlocking system provides incredible levels of security against unwanted visitors whilst allowing sections to be easily removed and repositioned should emergency access be required. Vertical barriers Elite’s Temporary Vertical Concrete Barriers (TVCBs) are the perfect safety

barrier for a huge variety of applications. • to create a safe working area for the workforce • to provide flood defences • protecting pedestrians from traffic • providing traffic barriers / bases for secure fencing to be fixed to (particularly useful for large public events such as the Olympics / Commonwealth games • preventing un-authorised access to forecourts, car parks, fields and site compounds • helping direct traffic flows safely • as counterweights, kentledge for scaffolding, fencing, cranes, etc • proving security against ram raiders and terrorist attacks The safety barriers are connected together at the scarf joint by M24 high tensile bolts. Precast concrete ducting Precast concrete ducting is a system that allows for the accommodation of a number of different services from multiple utility and building providers. The trough and lid system has a number of distinct advantages over direct bury and overhead suspension systems. Rectangular Ducts are available in a wide variety of


dimensions and they are usually available straight off-the shelf or with very short lead times. Concrete Cable Protection Cover Tiles, also known as Cable Route Markers, are used frequently by utility companies to provide a clear indication to site staff who may be working close to underground electrical cables. Covers act as a protective barrier against damage to buried electricity cables eliminating the risk of accidents and costly repairs. They can also be used to locate and identify other underground services. Protection covers are reinforced precast concrete units manufactured and tested to BS 2484 specifications. The covers are imprinted, as standard, with the words ‘DANGER ELECTRICITY’ and are available in three sizes. Concrete Cable Protection Cover Tiles (also known as Cable Route Markers) are manufactured to BS 2484 and imprinted as standard with the indented lettering warning legend DANGER ELECTRICITY and the internationally recognised Danger Sign. Precast concrete indicator posts are widely used by utility companies and are installed to assist the location and identification of underground services. Marker posts are made from reinforced precast concrete, manufactured and tested to BS 1881 standards. They are available in a variety of types and sizes. Elite manufactures several standard marker posts in accordance with BS 1881. Marker posts are available with or without anchor bases. Hydrant posts have preformed holes to accept plates within. Precast concrete marker blocks are primarily used to aid in the location and identification of electric cables and other utility services that are buried underground. They can also be used to mark boundaries and other reference points. Steel backbone They are made from precast concrete and are manufactured and tested in accordance with BS 1881 standards. Marker Blocks are manufactured in accordance with BS 1881. Where applicable blocks have a recess on the underside which houses a 6mm galvanised bar to enable cable draw ropes and other accessories to be attached. The standard recess size for identification plates is 100mm x 75mm. Elite’s utility protection slabs are made from precast concrete and are heavily reinforced with steel. They are designed to protect a range of vulnerable utilities such as water pipelines, high pressure gas mains and power cables from damage from aboveground traffic. Standard slabs are 2450mm x 1000mm in area and are 200mm thick. Both faces are reinforced with heavy duty mesh and each slab weighs in at 1,200kg. Tel: 01952 588 885 Visit: Rail Professional



Debris flows and shallow landslides Recent years have seen both an increase in the number and severity of winter storms, last year saw 11 named storms hit the UK


his trend is forecast to continue, leading to increasingly wetter winters. There are two main natural hazards that are closely associated with heavy rain from storms: debris flows and shallow landslides. Debris flows are channelised flows with a relatively high velocity up to 10 m/s and the potential to carry huge volumes of debris down the channel, dependant on the size of the catchment area. After periods of rainfall the ground is saturated, depending on the drainage capacity of the ground a debris flow can occur within a very short period of time following the start of rainfall. For debris flows the intensity and duration of the rainfall are key indicators of the likely severity of the event, the higher the volume of water the more debris can be carried down slope. This is important for understanding the process and for the design of protection measures. Modern environments Recent winters have led many asset owners to re-evaluate the capacity of their culverts. Due to their channelised nature debris flows usually occur within known stream valleys. These streams are traditionally routed under infrastructure via culverts. The storms of recent winters have however led many asset owners to re-evaluate the capacity of their culverts, many of which were put in place several decades ago based on rainfall averages that do not take into account the volume and intensity of rainfall from recent storms. With normal stream flows or in light rain water easily passes through the culvert, however in a large storm if the stream becomes a debris flow which carries large volumes of soil, rocks and vegetation down the channel, these quickly block the culvert and lead to an over spilling of the debris on to the asset. In the case of a rail line this leads to a closure until the debris can be cleared and the culvert unblocked. The short intervals between storms last winter, six in November and December, made the task of safely emptying before the next event very difficult. While a stream will need to be routed under an asset, there is a

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these have the benefit of allowing some dissipation of water. However they are still a static structure and are not strong enough to reliably withstand the dynamic forces of a shallow landslide impact.

solution that will protect the culvert from being blocked by debris. Flexible debris flow barriers installed upstream of the barrier allow water to pass unobstructed through the barrier but hold back the debris therefore protecting the culvert and the infrastructure. Damage and blockage Debris can easily accumulate in the barrier which leads to it acting as an energy absorber slowing the water and therefore helping to reduce bank erosion below the barrier. Every channel is unique in cross section, geology, volume capacity and potential for debris accumulation. It is for this reason that every barrier can be considered a bespoke solution. Geobrugg engineers are on hand to offer advice on the best type, arrangement and specification of barrier. The Geobrugg range of debris flow barriers are constructed using ROCCO ring nets, made from high-tensile steel wire. The ring nets provide the optimum combination of stability to stop a flow and flexibility to enable the continued flow of water. Energy is dissipated through the use of brake rings which are anchored using spiral rope anchors designed to bend to a certain degree without reduction of load capacity. Because a one size fits all approach is not suitable, the range is fully customisable with options available for differently shaped valleys, different barrier heights and different expected loads. Geobrugg hightensile steel wire nets gives high strength with low weight, this makes the barriers both easy to transport and very quick and easy to install, even in the toughest of terrain. Barriers from Geobrugg have been field tested in real world conditions with external supervision. These protection systems can be designed for high volumes to accommodate multiple filling events, minimizing the number of times they need to be emptied over the winter. Or if space is limited they can be stacked with multiple barriers in a valley providing extra capacity. Following a filling event the barrier can be

quickly assessed for remaining capacity or damage. As the parts are standard across all barriers replacements can be quickly sourced and mobilised to site. Forecasting difficulties Shallow landslides are typically near surface slides occurring where an impermeable soil, in the UK typically boulder clay, sits atop an impermeable rock. These are far harder to forecast as the path and volume of materials involved are very dependent on the slope conditions and the underlying geology. The typical mechanism involves water reaching the interface between the soil and rock, lubricating the sliding plane, leading to a shallow landslide. Where a shallow landslide impacts on infrastructure significant damage is done, often requiring an extended closure to repair the damage. Traditional protection measures have included driven steel pile walls to hold back the landslide, piled solutions hold back both the soil and water so need to be designed for very high impact loads. The major disadvantage is that installation is costly and slow, especially as landslides occur on steep slopes often away from easy access. An often deployed temporary solution is gabion baskets,

Ideal solution Geobrugg flexible landslide barriers provide an ideal solution. Their construction from high-tensile steel wire mesh gives the flexibility for rapid dissipation of the initial impact energy while providing maximum strength to hold the high static loads after the event. The open mesh allows for rapid dissipation of water but retains all of the coarse material. The system is easily adaptable at design stage and can be customised to suit the terrain along the slope. Producing different height systems where necessary and allowing for any generic interference. Geobrugg engineers are available to assist with the design and to find the best solution for that slope. As with the debris flow barriers, the barrier is easy to asses for remaining capacity and any damage caused by a filling event. The components are designed to be lightweight and easy to transport and install. Geobrugg barriers have been field tested in 1:1 conditions and are the only barriers to hold the CE marking for landslide barriers. They have also been tested for rock fall impacts with a minimum energy absorption capacity of 500 kJ, as the two hazards are often closely associated. The shallow landslide protection system has been proven to be effective in the UK. In December 2015 a barrier on the A83 in Scotland successfully caught and held back a large landslide during storm Desmond, a cyclone which caused major flooding over huge areas of northern Europe. The barriers were more than equal to the challenge and kept the road open and sustained no damage. Tel: +44 758 207 9319 Email: Visit: 

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A workplace hazard Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas that’s always present in our blood. It is the waste product generated as the body uses up oxygen


t normal levels, its presence has no measurable adverse effects on an individual, but if breathing is compromised or we are exposed to large amounts of this gas, we can experience a wide range of side effects, some of which include permanent injury and death. Carbon dioxide is known as an asphyxiant, which is a substance that bonds with our blood in place of oxygen. The website notes that while most simple asphyxiants do not have any inherent toxicity of their own, cases of CO2 poisoning have been linked to central nervous system damage and permanent deterioration of respiratory functions. Because of these findings, CO2 is considered not just a simple asphyxiant, but a gas with acute systemic effects as well. If blood becomes saturated with too much CO2, we can develop the condition known as hypercapnia. Increased levels of CO2 also affect the pH level of our blood, turning it more acidic. This condition is called academia and, if prolonged, causes acidosis, which is injury to the body’s cells by a rise in acidity that leads to faltering functions of the heart. Some possible outcomes of this interference with the heart include low blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia. The central nervous system can also experience damage as a result of high acidity.

These conditions are the result of temporary or permanent nerve damage brought on by acidemia, and include delirium, hallucinations, seizures, respiratory failure, coma or death. Asphyxiation As an asphyxiant, carbon dioxide displaces breathable oxygen and impairs pulmonary gas exchange. While asphyxiation is commonly associated with choking on a physical object or drowning, one can suffocate on CO2 without any visible abnormality or obstruction of our breathing. If the oxygen content of the air we breathe is insufficient, one slowly suffocates due to selective oxygen depletion until a person experiences permanent damage or death. Intoxication & poisoning As the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, people start to experience carbon dioxide intoxication, which may progress to carbon dioxide poisoning and sometimes death. Elevated blood and tissue levels of carbon dioxide are termed hypercapnia and hypercarbia. Treatment of carbon dioxide intoxication or carbon dioxide poisoning involves getting carbon dioxide levels back to normal in the patient’s bloodstream and tissues. A person suffering from mild carbon dioxide intoxication typically can recover

Extract from HSE For over a century CO2 has been recognised as a workplace hazard at high concentrations. However, CO2 is naturally present in the air we breathe at a concentration of about 0.037% and is not harmful to health at low concentrations. At room temperature and atmospheric pressure CO2 is a colourless and odourless gas and, because of this, people are unable to see it or smell it at elevated concentrations. CO2 is not flammable and will not support combustion. As the concentration CO2 in air rises it can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion and loss of consciousness. Since CO2 is heavier than air, fatalities from asphyxiation have occurred when, at high concentrations, it has entered confined spaces such as tanks, sumps or cellars and displaced Oxygen. It is also possible for CO2 to accumulate in trenches or depressions outside following leaks and this is more likely to occur following a pressurised release where the released CO2 is colder than the surrounding air. In GB, CO2 is classed as a ‘substance hazardous to health’ under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). The HSE publication ‘EH40/2005 Workplace exposure limits’ provides workplace exposure limits (WELs) for CO2. WELs are limits to airborne concentrations of hazardous substances in the workplace and are set in order to help protect the health of workers. Workplace exposure is calculated by taking an average over a specified period of time. The WELs for CO2 are: • Long-term exposure limit (8-hr reference period) of 5000 ppm • Short-term exposure limit (15 minute reference period) of 15000 ppm

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Carbon dioxide, with a specific gravity greater than air, may lie in a tank, manhole, culvert or tunnel for hours or days after opening/reopening. Since this gas is colourless and odourless, it poses an immediate hazard to health unless appropriate oxygen measurements and ventilation are adequately carried out simply by breathing normal air. However, it is important to communicate a suspicion of carbon dioxide intoxication in case the symptoms worsen so that proper medical treatment may be administered. If multiple or serious symptoms are seen, call for emergency medical help. The best treatment is prevention and education, so that conditions of high CO2 levels are avoided and so one knows what to watch for if it is suspected the levels may be too high. Symptoms of intoxication & poisoning • deeper breathing • twitching of Muscles • increased blood pressure • headache • increased pulse rate • loss of judgement • laboured breathing • unconsciousness (occurs in under a minute when CO2 concentration rises about 10 per cent) • death Oxygen depletion In the absence of adequate ventilation, the


















level of oxygen can be reduced surprisingly quickly by breathing and combustion processes. Oxygen levels may also be depleted due to dilution by gases other than carbon dioxide (also a toxic gas) such as nitrogen or helium, and chemical absorption by corrosion processes and similar reactions. Consideration needs to be given to the density of the diluting gas and the “breathing” zone (nose level). For example helium is lighter than air and will displace the oxygen from the ceiling downwards whereas carbon dioxide, being heavier than air, will predominately displace the oxygen below the breathing zone. Carbon dioxide, with a specific gravity greater than air, may lie in a tank, manhole, culvert or tunnel for hours or days after opening/reopening. Since this

gas is colourless and odourless, it poses an immediate hazard to health unless appropriate oxygen measurements and ventilation are adequately carried out. When ventilating, care needs to be taken as the diluted gas is moved from its current location due to the possibility that the contaminants can affect others as it is being moved away from one area to another. Diluting gas effect The table above shows the effect of a diluting gas on the level of oxygen. Oxygen monitors Oxygen monitors usually provide a first-level alarm when the oxygen concentration has dropped to 19 per cent volume. Most people will begin to behave abnormally when the level reaches 17 per cent, and hence a second


alarm is usually set at this threshold. Exposure to atmospheres containing between 10 per cent and 13 per cent oxygen can bring about unconsciousness very rapidly; death comes very quickly if the oxygen level drops below 6 per cent volume. The hazard presented by oxygen deficiency is easily under-estimated; especially as risks can exist in non-industrial environments. Oxygen depletion due to corrosion or bacterial activities presents a significant risk in confined spaces such as pipes, vessels, sewers and tunnels. The effects of inhaling varying concentrations of CO2 are different but it should be appreciated that the reactions and the timescales to cause the effects of CO2 in a specific individual depend on the concentration and duration of exposure as well as individual factors, such as age, health, physiological make-up, physical activity, occupation, and lifestyle. The effects of CO2 are independent of the effects of O2 deficiency. The O2 content in the atmosphere is consequently not an effective indication of the hazard from CO2. The correct type of gas monitor should be utilised to test the atmosphere for the likely gases to be encountered. Tel: 01977 676700 Email: Visit: Rail Professional



Ultrasonic bolt measurement This final article completes the tour of the world of torque by delving into the subject of ultrasonic bolt measurement


n previous articles Norbar has examined the role of torque wrenches in the rail industry and their specific applications which range from fishplate bolts through to bolts used on rolling stock. The articles have covered the different types of torque wrench available, from insulated wrenches through to electronic torque wrenches, like NorTronic, and their suitability for different rail applications. Also covered was the use of torque multipliers, including hand torque multipliers and electric torque tools, such as EvoTorque, that are increasingly being used for bolted steelwork applications for rail infrastructure, along with locomotive and rolling stock manufacture and maintenance. Most recently examined was measurement and calibration, specifically the importance of accurately applying torque in rail applications. Finally ultrasonic bolt measurement is put in focus. Ultrasonic measurement provides a very precise method of determining the elongation of a bolt during the tightening process. Normally, there is enough tolerance for torque alone to be used as the means of assembly. In cases involving more critical applications consideration should be given to bolting friction and its variables. Friction, both under the head, and in the threaded portion, absorbs the vast majority of the applied force. So, a small change in the friction causes a large change in the applied load and large changes in the load can lead to joint failure, which in real applications such as trackside bolting, can cause critical failure and the potential for fatal accidents. Ultrasonic measurement is not effected by friction. When the elongation of a fastener is measured, the stress in the bolt is being calculated, which is directly proportional to load. However, there are many difficulties inherent in good ultrasonic technique, in order to achieve an accurate reading of the applied load. How does ultrasonic measurement work? Ultrasonic measurement of bolt preload is made possible by introducing a sonic pulse at one end of the fastener and accurately measuring the time of flight (TOF) required for the echo to return from the opposite end.

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Using material constants, ultrasonic measurement equipment, such as the Norbar USM-3, converts this TOF into an ‘ultrasonic length’ of the fastener, providing a baseline from which future measurements will be made. When the fastener is tightened, the TOF increases and the USM-3 will again utilise material constants to eliminate the effects of stress and temperature variations on sound velocity, providing an accurate elongation or load measurement. The USM-3 uses state of the art hardware and software to achieve these measurements with maximum automation, and minimises the need for operator interpretation. Offering digital recording and transmission of data, in addition to analogue signal output the USM-3 provides a complete system for measurement, recording, and control of fastener tension in the most demanding applications. Bolt preparation In order to have a good ultrasonic measurement the right preparations must be made. The type of bolt can greatly change the scope of the job. It is very important to have your bolt prepared as non-parallel or rough surfaces can cause the signal noise to rise.

The transducer contact area determines the amount of signal coupled from the transducer to the bolt. Surface preparation is very important. The optimum situation is to have an area prepared on the end of the bolt large enough for the transducer to sit perfectly flat. It is extremely important that the transducer does not rock or tilt during the measurement process. Grade markings are a specific problem. When grade marks are located on the outside perimeter, there is often room in the centre for the transducer. However, they may have to be ground off to allow transducer connectivity. Saw cut bolts and bolts that are sanded flat with a hand grinder typically have a surface not compatible with the transducers and are likely to provide poor results. Couplant, the adhesive between the transducer and the bolt is also important. Norbar can offer advice regarding appropriate bolt preparation. Calibration In any piece of measurement equipment, proper calibration is essential. Calibration of ultrasonic bolt load measurement equipment is a very complex subject, but it is important to understand. For many applications, the default factors are completely adequate, and no further calibration work is required. For the highest precision, however,



individual bolts must be calibrated, along with calibration of the transducer, velocity, stress factor and temperature factors. This requires the use of suitable tensile testing equipment. Measuring the unloaded length In order to measure the elongation of a bolt, it is necessary to measure the unloaded length. At first, it might seem that this step is unnecessary. Why not machine all the bolts to a known length and then only one ultrasonic measurement (of the stretched bolt) would be required? Unfortunately, the variation in sound velocity from bolt to bolt, and in fact, from place to place on a single bolt, makes this unworkable. Instead, it is necessary to measure an unloaded length for each bolt, store that length, and then recall it as the baseline reference after the bolts are tightened. Measuring the elongation With the Norbar USM-3 a number of values other than the length of the bolt are stored. These include the gain and threshold settings, the amplitude of the peaks, and the frequency of the echo. All these settings are retained for each bolt, and when measuring elongation, the stored values are recalled and compared to the current bolt with reference to the stored baseline value.

A reading of the elongation can be taken placing the transducer back on the bolt, in the same location used to measure the unloaded length. Once it has been verified that the bolt group and temperature is correct and that the bolt number is the same, the measurement process can begin. The USM-3 can produce reports by sending data via its USB port. These

reports can be sent to a printer directly, to a computer using a communications port, or to a computer using the Sonic Bolt software. The report format is designed to be imported into an Excel spreadsheet software for creating graphs and data analysis. Tel: + 44 (0) 1295 270333 Email: Visit:

NORBAR THE VOICE OF TORQUE CONTROL Norbar has a long history of association with the rail industry. Our involvement starts with the manufacturers and then extends through the life of the rolling stock and rail networks. We are also extensively involved with the rail infrastructure; building and maintaining the rail networks. • • • • •

Pneumatic Torque Multipliers Electronic Torque Multipliers Industrial Torque Wrenches Calibration Services Engineer To Order

CONTACT: +44 (0)1295 753600

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High performance rail infrastructure Providing electrical power solutions for all rail facility applications can throw up some extremely challenging operating environments


he key drivers for every high performance rail infrastructure are continually evolving; legislation and standards, a reduction in energy usage and the ongoing monitoring of power quality. The most advanced low voltage electrical solutions for rail specific system architectures are able to guarantee network safety and robustness. Metering & monitoring provides critical information on the status of an electrical network which, when applied correctly, will anticipate potential issues affecting reliability as well as delivering demand side reductions and lower costs. Ongoing investment Constantly replenishing the available money, particularly in the latest monitoring and metering technology, can deliver tangible returns whilst also enabling rail to remain an attractive mass transportation option. The continued investment also leads to keeping the industry commercially viable in terms of the movement of goods. The regular effort to modernise networks, including systems interfaces with digital technology, can deliver important reductions in operating costs. In turn, traffic capacity and overall network quality can be improved – improving the long term competitiveness of rail operators and enabling the service to evolve to meet the changing needs of rail customers. Delivering solutions for traction power, signalling, buildings, stations, tunnels, ventilation shafts, maintenance portals and onboard rolling stock systems, Socomec provides electrical power solutions for all rail facility applications – in the most challenging operating environments. Colin Dean Socomec UK managing director, comments; ‘Whether planning a new installation or retrospectively upgrading an existing facility, Socomec delivers optimized system performance whilst enabling our rail customers to retain control over costs both in terms of cost management and allocation; the effective management of energy costs starts with the accurate measurement and centralized monitoring of energy consumption.’

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Accurate energy management Socomec has a track record in delivering the most accurate energy management solutions. A key partner in high profile critical power projects to develop or regenerate railway building infrastructure, Socomec’s flagship developments include key Digiware installations at London

Underground’s Victoria, Paddington and Charing Cross stations, as well as on the mid tunnel vent shaft panels. Ensuring the high availability and quality of power to the technology engine rooms and critical infrastructure means that people and facilities are guaranteed the highest levels of protection – and that energy performance is optimized. The most advanced monitoring, measurement and management systems – such as Socomec’s Digiware - provide control over energy costs whilst improving both energy quality and efficiency – vital for the unique demands of the rail sector. A fully digital, plug and play measurement concept, with a common display for multi-circuit systems, Digiware is compact and quick to install, and provides the industry’s most accurate and effective metering, measurement and monitoring of electrical energy quality. Infinitely scalable, it is capable of monitoring thousands of connection points. Socomec’s Digiware has enabled London Underground to flag any



corrosion tropicalised circuit boards: this system will operate where conductive dust or dripping water may be present. The electromagnetic disturbance immunity level is double that required by European EMC standards and has been independently tested and certified to pass EN 50121-4 and 5. Furthermore, low smoke, zero halogen cables are fitted as standard. Modular UPS Exactly what is required for easy, fullyassured and time-saving integration, Socomec’s Modulys GP is a 3-phase modular UPS system designed for integration across multiple applications. Easy to integrate and install whilst simple to manage and maintain, it provides maximum availability and power protection in a compact design - leaving space for other rack-mounted devices. As a completely modular system – designed for maximum availability- Modulys GP delivers reliable power whilst ensuring optimum load protection, even during power upgrades or maintenance procedures. Also available as a rack mounted version, the Modulys RM GP has been specifically designed for 19” rack integration, with adjustable rails and mounting accessories. Supplied as a pre-cabled, pre-engineered and lab-tested system, connectivity is simple – and total reliability is assured. Furthermore, the Modulys RM has been independently tested and certified to pass EM50121-4 and 5 for the UK.

potential issues before they arise, resulting in the provision of a more reliable service to customers. Furthermore, Digiware now meets all the requirements of the new London Underground metering standards which came into effect in January 2016. Socomec’s compact, single screen Diris Digiware system delivers the most advanced energy monitoring, measuring and management solution with accuracy of class 0.5 to IEC61557-12 from 2 per cent to 120 per cent of nominal current. Installation – and retrofit - is quick; the system has been engineered for submetering panels. Furthermore, the system is future proof as the modules and gateway

can be updated in the field by LUL or by Socomec’s engineering team. Specific features of the Diris Q800 include harmonic analysis to the 63rd rank plus event capture and download. With Class A time synchronization by GPS or Ethernet, the crest factor also means that the UPS is not overloaded. High quality power - guaranteed Socomec’s Network Rail PADs approved IP+ RAIL range provides the very latest UPS technology for the mass transportation sector. Housed in a compact, robust, steelframed enclosure, the system has IP31 or IP52 ingress protection as well as anti-

A comprehensive service From design and build through to installation and commissioning – as well as ongoing maintenance – Socomec has a strong track record in providing robust, efficient and complex critical power solutions for the exacting requirements of the rail sector. Colin Dean explains ‘Delivering innovation to the rail industry also requires ongoing support to ensure that the installed systems continue to operate at optimum performance levels. Our dedicated engineering teams will ensure business continuity, optimize efficiency and guarantee the safe performance of the network’s electrical infrastructure. With the necessary trackside training and accreditations, our teams and subcontractors will install and support equipment, and provide preventative, consultative and technical call-outs, throughout the equipment lifecycle.’ When handling any situation, Socomec will assess the unique requirements of the electrical infrastructure in order to develop and deliver a custom solution, including operative training, which will optimize equipment performance enabling energy targets to be achieved. Tel: 01285 86 33 00 Email: Visit: Rail Professional



Battery powered rail vehicles Multi-modal ultra high power charging stations are already radically changing the way traction power is delivered to road and rail vehicles


urrer+Frey’s Railbaar system targets existing low traffic diesel traction routes as well as new light rail and tram projects. The technology applies to battery powered trams and trains (Railbaar), buses (Busbaar) and trucks (Trukbaar). The railway industry has utilised electrification for improved efficiency and reliability, and now as part of a wider sustainable mobility solution using electricity from renewable sources. However, the initial high capital investment for standard overhead line equipment (OLE) has always been a problem for low volume lines, and diesel traction remains common not only on rural and low-traffic sub-urban routes but also for city transport. Furrer+Frey’s RailBaar bridges this gap by providing ultra-high power charging infrastructure for battery powered trains, trams and light rail. Onboard batteries and

high power charging stations eradicate the need for overhead lines by expanding the scope and range of battery powered trains. This innovation is a game changer which dramatically reduces the costs of electrification, and makes feasible many electrification projects that were considered too costly in the past. Un-electric For example, a good candidate for battery trains is the Ormskirk to Preston line near Liverpool. This line is a 12 kilometre stretch of un-electrified track that connects two electrified systems. A few old diesel locomotives provide an infrequent hourly yet popular service feeding into the Liverpool electric metro system. A local community group has been requesting electrification for years, but it is cost prohibitive for such a low frequency service. However, the incremental cost

of electrification using battery trains that provide every 30 minute service is estimated to be about 10 per cent of this cost of traditional OLE, plus avoids the inconvenience of transferring from the diesel train to the electric metro system at Ormskirk. Good candidates for battery rail lines are relatively short lines that are currently uneconomical to electrify using OLE. There are large numbers of these lines in the U.K.. Converting these lines to electricity using batteries and fast chargers is an economic way to upgrade to a sustainable, fast, and reliable transportation service. Upgrading an old polluting diesel rail line to a battery electric line makes for a better and faster commute that is appreciated by everyone. Charging stations The Furrer+Frey RailBaar is an ultra highpower charging station for battery-powered

Rapid Charge Stations The ultra-fast charing system provides multi-modal rapid charge stations for battery powered buses, trams, trains and lorries. The design is rooted in proven technology already successfully in use around the world enabling agile transport networks.



Compact overhead unit reduces visual impact and allows use of a wide variety of mounting posts to complement existing station architecture


Pantograph automatically lowers to the train when it arrives in platform

Hood After charging pantograph withdraws to the hood, returning to a safe de- energised mode


Local trains




Charging stations easily added to network extensions


Mainline trains

Mainline trains







Tram routes Bus routes Tram routes


Wind farm

infographic: Paul Weston |

Bus routes

Battery storage can be added throughout the network to both reinforce the electric grid and allow faster charging times


Local trains A 650kW charge can add over 30km of range in 3 minutes

Mainline trains CS

Possible route extensions Rapid Charge Station








Local renewables linked to the battery storage newtwork will balance unpredictable renewables generation with peak use morning and evening rush hour. Longer term options are being developed which could use battery capacity of electric cars parked in station car parks.

Charge stations are interchangable throughout the transport modes of the network, without need for design modifications. Buses and trams can use the same charge station. Industry standard compatible for agile interoperability of both vehicles and other types of charing stations.

The rapid charging station's design can integrate with road and rail transport networks. The auto adjustment allows different buses, tram and rail vehicles as well as other electric vehicles such as refuse trucks and delivery trucks.

The charging station concept is flexible and makes extending transport network routes easy through modular design. Networks can grow with strategic placement of further charging stations.

distance between charge stations

Design life

<5 secs


The pantograph drops from the hood to the vehicle in less than 5 seconds with top-up charges taking only 1 to 3 minutes and full charges taking 10 to 30 minutes. 300kWQ to 1.2MW charging power keeps vehicles running instead of charging

The Rapid Charge Stystem has many benefits: + easily integrated with existing transport infrastructure for more sustainable modes of transport + lower system costs + higher capacity reduces battery size + no vendor lock-in + better ROI + increased safety Rapid Charge System will be a major part of future transport projects.

18 to 60km 20 years

Pantograph lowering time

Depot charger applications

1 to 3mins For top-up charges

Find out more...

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electric trains that is based on the successful Opbrid BusBaar charging station for battery buses. Opbrid was acquired by Furrer+Frey in 2015. The Opbrid BusBaar has been in use on buses since 2010, and is reducing fuel and energy consumption in a number of projects in Europe. For instance, the system has helped Volvo to reduce fuel consumption by over 80 per cent and total energy consumption by over 60 per cent on buses using BusBaar charging station in Gothenburg. Furrer+Frey/Opbrid supplied the control systems, the charger and software along with the mechanical infrastructure of the charging station. In another system, the Opbrid Busbaar system in Umea Sweden transfers power at 650kW, over ten times more powerful than typical fast chargers for cars. The Railbaar charging station is equipped with an inverted pantograph which is fitted with copper conductors. These are connected to a power source via cables and have a flexible design to suit charger capacity. Trains require even higher power transfer rates than buses, which the Railbaar handles with ease. One MW (1000kW) or even higher power transfers are possible using the Railbaar. The pantograph is stored in a protective hood and can be lowered to the height of any train and then raised to a safe height when not charging. The train roof is equipped with simple and inexpensive fixed copper current collectors. To operate, the inverted pantograph automatically lowers to make contact with the collectors to enable charging to take place as the train arrives in the platform. After charging, the pantograph raises up, returning to a safe de-energised mode. In addition, the unique physical geometry of the Railbaar system ensures that the correct contact is always made to prevent overheating or sparks during this ultra-high power charging. Furrer+Frey is eminently suited as a supplier for these systems, since it has been in the business of providing overhead electrical infrastructure for heavy rail, tram, and trolleybus since 1923. The RailBaar charger connects to the grid

using either low voltage or medium voltage AC power supply, with output voltage in the range of 500 to 1000V DC (depending on internal voltage of the rolling stock). The system has a capacity of up to 1200kW (1.2MW) to allow trains to receive an ultrafast charge when waiting at the platform. Short charging time The charging time to 100 per cent capacity varies from 5-30 minutes depending on the battery size and charger power. For example, on a 3 coach train, a 650kW charger can add up to 65 kilometres of range in six minutes. The range of travel is dependent on terrain, stoppage time and battery size, and typically varies from 30 to 65 kilometres, with speeds up to 140 kph. With the RailBaar charging station, a battery-powered electric train can run 24 hours a day with only a few minutes of charging required at charging stations. Additionally, braking energy is recovered and stored in the batteries, further saving energy. Batteries can also be used within the trackside Railbaar charging station to lower peak grid demand during charging. It is also possible to connect local renewable energy to this battery storage to time shift solar or wind electricity to peak travel times. The charging systemâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s versatile design can integrate with road and rail transport to create a multi-modal transport network. The mechanical lowering contacts are able to charge buses, trams and rail vehicles, with auto adjustment to different vehicle heights. The charging stations are also interchangeable throughout the transport modes of the network, without need for design modifications. Common electrical infrastructure can be used at interchanges reducing costs. The charging infrastructure can also be used by refuse trucks or delivery trucks during times that it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t used by the public transport. Also, the charging station concept is flexible and makes extending transport network routes easy through modular design. The technology also offers substantial potential savings compared with conventional overhead line electrification.


The estimated cost of installing the mechanical and battery infrastructure along with two RailBaar charging stations on a prospective 20 kilometre installation is around a sixth of the similar cost of installing overhead electrification, excluding rolling stock upgrades. Convert to battery power An existing diesel unit can be converted to a battery powered train at a much lower costs with a payback time of just over three years. In addition, by eliminating diesel engines or electric traction equipment, the weight of the train is dramatically reduced, improving performance and capacity. Long lifetime LTO batteries available from Furrer+Frey can last over ten years on 15-charge cycles per day (60k cycles, 80 per cent SOC). Furrer+Frey can supply everything needed, from trackside charging stations, to onboard batteries, communication, and control. An integrated back office management system is also available to monitor both vehicles and charging stations which predicts problems before they occur to maximize uptime. Furrer+Frey has had a successful railbased implementation in China where the 20.3 kilometre Huaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;an light rail line is entirely catenary-free and utilises batterypowered LRVs which recharge at charging stations at end of the route. Furrer+Frey supplied the mechanical part of the charging infrastructure and is exploring further opportunities in this sector. Tel: 0203 740 5455 Email: Visit Rail Professional



On the right track for 2017 In June last year the UK voted to leave the European Union, ensuring that 2017 would be a volatile year for the construction industry


alker Construction has been in business since 1964 and has weathered many turbulent events in the previous 52 years. Through remaining positive and facing the challenges collaboratively, 2017 will be an exciting time to be operating in the construction and rail industry. Clapham depot To facilitate the increase in rolling stock and berthing requirements at Clapham depot an additional maintenance pit with lighting, drainage and electrification to road eight within the existing carriage shed was commissioned. The scope of the work included; the removal of all existing trackside equipment, running rails, fixings and buffer stops. The removal of the existing concrete slabs was a challenge due to the location of the work within a working building, both dust and noise need to be assessed and managed throughout the duration of the project. To reduce the noise within the building acoustic fencing and tents were utilised when carrying out specific tasks. The concrete slab was cut using an industrial floor saw with a diamond tipped blade and plenty of water for a dust suppressant. The concrete was broken out using a 3t 360 excavator fitted with a hydraulic breaker. The installation of shuttering, steel reinforcement and concreting was carried out in sections following on from the installation of new sump drainage. The depot was fully operational during the work and there were no reported

disruptions, safety issues or delays to the contract. This also included the deliveries and collections from site were all preplanned in advance and undertaken outside of the stations peak hours. Dalston Kingsland station The existing booking hall at Dalston Kingsland London Overground station was constructed in the 1980s, due to increased usage of the network, the existing booking hall and gate-line was insufficient to handle the passenger flow at peak times and therefore a decision was made to carry out a major alteration and refurbishment to the stations external elevation, booking hall and installation of eight new automatic ticket barriers. This contract required close collaboration between Walker Construction, The Trevor Patrick Partnership and the Station Manager to agree on a workable phased programme and methodology without disrupting the station or customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experience. Fire rated hoarding was installed to demarcate the working areas from the public areas and to allow the work to be carried out safely and efficiently during normal working hours. The existing partition walls and retail unit walls were dismantled to create a larger open planned booking hall thus creating space for eight new automatic ticket barriers. The flooring in the booking hall, ticket office and retail unit was replaced with large non-slip floor tiles achieving a level threshold throughout to comply with specification and regulation. All work that would raise the decibel levels above the legal

requirement was deferred to out of hours working with the additional aid of acoustic fencing and tents and the use of a dust suppressant and air extraction units. Large wall tiles were installed to all the perimeter walls, bonded over the existing tiles to achieve value engineering on the removal of existing tiles. The ceiling was created using a suspended tubular ceiling system with bespoke lighting set within the ceiling. To compensate for the level flooring the existing door frames were all adjusted to suit and the existing doors rehung and decorated along with the existing door frames and walls. The mechanical and electrical services were replaced throughout as part of the refurbishment including CCTV, TVM and CIS screens, lighting and air conditioning. The new entrance compensated for the additional flow of customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s especially at peak hours and with the introduction of additional glazing increased the natural lighting within the booking hall. Whitechapel Walker Construction was awarded the contract by Transport for London to undertake remedial and strengthening work to an existing retaining wall, located on the East London Line between Whitechapel and

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construction to mitigate delay to the project. As the wall would need to be dismantled and rebuilt in its entirety, additional supports and protection was required to the vertical face of the walls to ensure that no spoil could fail the railway line. This would allow for the work to be carried out during normal working hours and meant the lines could remain open and

Shoreditch High Street Stations. This section of railway, dating back to the Victorian era, is on the northern approach to Brunel’s Thames Tunnel and located eight metres below existing ground level in an open cutting. The parapet wall on the retaining wall was originally brickwork but was replaced by blockwork due to WW2 bomb damage, and was now in need of replacing. The land to the rear comprised of a residential development with terraced properties in Trahorn Close having gardens that abut to the railway property. Dense overgrowth had blocked any access to the wall for many years and the routes were also causing issues with the retaining and parapet walls. Once a majority of the vegetation had been removed (except for the Japanese Knotweed), access to the rear of the retaining wall was achieved and the work could begin. The structural surveys carried out pre tender indicated that the walls

appeared to be in a stable condition, with no major cracks or defects indicating movement or instability. However in order to ensure that the wall did not move during the work a temporary wall support system was designed, installed and monitored throughout the duration of the work. The work area was limited to a seven metre wide strip adjacent to the rear of the existing wall. Once work had begun it become apparent that the extent of the Japanese Knotweed contamination was greater than originally anticipated and additional site investigations confirmed that an additional area of 200m2 needed to be excavated to eradicate the Japanese knotweed. Once the structural engineer was able to gain access to the walls a decision was made for them to be removed and replaced with new walls. Walker Construction and TFL worked together in developing a design for the new scheme with value engineer in the

operational. To commence the dismantling of the wall the company was required to excavate to a depth of three metres and batter back the sides of the excavation. An eight tonne 360 excavator with zero tail swing and slew restrictors under astute control of the operator, banksman and machine controllers carried out the excavation work. Vehicle stop blocks were in place to ensure that no plant or machines could foul or endanger the railway. The existing walls were carefully dismantled by hand and held breakers due to the risk of excessive vibration levels being transferred on to the existing wall structure. The debris and spoil generated from this activity was transported by dumper to a stock pile ready removal from site to a licensed waste transfer station for recycling. Specialist brick layers built the wall to the required line, level and specification over six weeks. This allowed time for the wall to cure and for the backfilling and top soiling to be carried out behind the new parapet and retaining walls. Tel:  01303 851111 Email: Visit: Rail Professional



Focus on UK made The Northern Powerhouse and high-speed rail projects across Britain involve procurement of new trains worth billions of pounds


illiam Cook Rail exports 80 per cent of its output to blue chip train manufacturers throughout Europe and elsewhere. Customers include Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens and France, Spain, Germany, the United States, and Poland. The company manufactures complete systems for bogies, couplers, drawgear assemblies and brake discs for the world’s trains. It is a global leader in the design, manufacture and overhaul of safety critical components and complete coupler systems for rail vehicles. It has invested £10 million in new machinery and buildings, engaged a new managing director, Tim Bentley, with a strong international track record in the rail industry and increased the size of its skilled workforce to more than 100 people. Mr Bentley said ‘We believe the government must specify minimum levels of UK-made content in the procurement of new trains for the UK market if we are to grow

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the rail manufacturing sector as desired by the government’s rail supply group. ‘UK suppliers are competitive and can deliver quality. We employ local people, develop local skills and invest in people and infrastructure. ‘Buying trains from Spain, Japan or Switzerland with no consideration for this capability ensures that UK suppliers do not get a fair crack and eventually wither and die. Established international supply chains are difficult to break into.’ The company, part of family-owned William Cook Holdings, has hosted visits by prominent politicians to showcase its factory in Leeds and argue the case for greater strategic support for British manufacturing. The former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visited the factory in December. He was accompanied by Lord O’Neill, a treasury minister in the previous government and the former chief economist at Goldman Sachs. They toured the factory with chairman Sir Andrew Cook CBE,

spoke to company staff and watched the manufacture of high engineered steel cast products. Afterwards, Mr Osborne posted a message on his Twitter account to his 189,000 followers, saying ‘trains made here at William Cook are exported to Europe. Advanced manufacturing is a key strength of the Northern Powerhouse’. The chairman said Mr Osborne expressed ‘surprise and concern’ that William Cook Rail is currently not supplying components for the new TransPennine trains being made by the Japanese company Hitachi. The visit was part of the former Chancellor’s effort to maintain momentum in his vision to create a stronger economic counterweight to London and the South East. Sir Andrew said ‘I am delighted to have had the opportunity of showing George Osborne our modern rail bogie component factory in Leeds. Better trains are essential if the Northern Powerhouse is ever going to get off the ground. ‘It does concern me


however that of the £1 billion already committed for these new trains, as matters currently stand, train components will all be made in Spain and Japan.’ The company stepped up its campaign for UK manufacturing the following week with the visit of constituency MP Hilary Benn, who chairs the new parliamentary committee that will scrutinise government policy on the UK’s exit from the European Union. The Labour MP for Leeds Central urged the government to support UK manufacturing. Mr Benn said ‘I was delighted to visit William Cook Rail in my constituency and see its manufacturing capabilities and meet the staff and chairman Sir Andrew Cook. Britain is embarking on the biggest taxpayer-funded investment in railways since the Victorian era and I hope the government will seek substantial UK-manufactured content as part of the procurement process.’ Sir Andrew said he was grateful to Mr Benn for showing real interest in the company’s products and the people who make them. He added: ‘We had a refreshing discussion and we have a clear identity of interest in promoting manufacturing industry both locally and nationally. ‘It is little short of a scandal that none of our products are finding their way onto the new trains being bought as part of the socalled Northern Powerhouse initiative, and that the taxpayers’ money helping to finance these is being spent, not on supporting manufacturing jobs in Leeds, but in Spain and Japan. ‘Substantial UK-manufactured content should be an essential part of the

procurement process, particularly as international train manufacturers already have established supply chains in their own countries which are often difficult to break into.’ Prototypes in 3D William Cook Rail’s design engineers work with train builders from the concept stage through to manufacture, assembly and commission. The group has invested in state-of-theart machine tools and other equipment, including an industrial 3D printing suite, to make full-size prototype parts to the same material specification as production parts. These innovative prototypes can then be used by train builders for safety testing of components before a design is finalised. Product safety is the company’s top priority. It uses its own high-energy digital radiography to confirm the soundness of all products. Laser scanning, magnetic particle, liquid penetrant and ultrasonic inspection complement a comprehensive metallurgical laboratory. Increasing sales Turnover is expected to rise by 20 per cent to £15 million this financial year. That said, it is hard work and it would help to have a stronger home market. Sir Andrew said: “Alstom in France, CAF in Spain, Siemens in Germany and Bombardier in Canada all come with powerful government support and a national flag.  “Each is a national champion and their products dominate their domestic markets. In contrast, the UK does not have a national champion train-builder and all new trains


are imported. There appears little respect to manufacturers with established UK investment history and presence. “This makes it all the more difficult for William Cook Rail, which to get its products onto Britain’s new trains has first to export them to the train builder, invariably in the face of local competition. “It is noteworthy that the new Japanese trains being assembled in Newton Aycliffe have almost no UK-engineered content within their sub-systems. “It is a stated objective of the new government to have an industrial strategy that spreads wealth across the country, but it cannot set up the Rail Supply Group and aim to increase exports without supporting the rail industry.” William Cook Rail is working hard to create a sustainable future for UK rail engineering and is investing in the next generation of industry talent. In September, the wider William Cook group welcomed its largest ever intake of apprentices - a dozen - via its new partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham. It has also appointed its first female materials engineer, the Cambridge graduate Rebecca Feldman, who provides technical and scientific support to the design and manufacturing team. William Cook Rail will continue to increase its exports and fly the flag for British manufacturing overseas while pushing for its products to be used on trains in its home market. Tel: 0113 249 6363 Email: Visit: Rail Professional



Keeping Britain’s rail industry on track Rail journeys have more than doubled in the past twenty years with an average of 4.6 million journeys made every day


ike Marmite, you either love or hate Britain’s rail network. If you are a commuter dogged by signal failures, late-running trains and rising fares there is every chance you will fall into the latter camp. If you understand the complexity of engineering which keeps ten thousand miles of rail network on track you will most likely fall into the former. In 2014 the number of rail journeys in the UK was second highest in the European Union behind Germany. Most recently the spotlight has fallen on the age of the rolling stock, with criticism coming from the think tank IPPR North. Analysis suggests the average age of our trains is 20 years old. The

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government has promised to do more with a massive rail modernisation programme. So, good news for those companies that work in the rail industry, but in order to stay on track suppliers will have to up their game. One Midland’s company, which has both quality and safety at the heart of everything it does, is MNB Precision Engineering. It is a third generation company that has always had a focus on quality, high end precision engineering and safety – crucial elements of the UK transport system. The company has continued its work in the rail market after supplying precision engineered parts to be fitted into new axle mounted locomotive gearboxes for Clayton Equipment – a UK manufacturer of battery,

trolley and diesel locomotives for mining, tunnelling and mainline applications. MNB Precision took Clayton Equipment’s own design for bearing houses and seal housings that will be fitted into the gearbox to facilitate its assembly before machining the parts according to bespoke requirements. For MNB, it’s the size of the company’s machining capabilities that is attracting work in the rail sector. The business is one of a very small number of engineering companies in the UK with the capability to precision engineer a product to four microns over eight metres, an engineering capacity that is typically difficult to source. The Coventry company also produces


work for customers working on London Underground projects and for suppliers into OEMs and Tier 1 companies such as Bombardier. MNB Precision is also now taking on the machining work for some of its key customers and putting this into the supply chain.

MNB Precision’s rail capabilities • long machining • full suite of machines available • machining of forgings in wide breadth of hard materials • non-destructive testing • supply Chain Capability • fitting • smaller batch quantities. This is especially useful for rail refurbishment. New rail projects can take months to implement whereas refurbishment of rolling stock can be turned around quickly. Services that keep the rail sector moving Everything produced by the business is part of a bigger picture. Parts for rail tracks, rolling stock and engines all make up Britain’s rail network. The company has equipment which means the design and specification for components can be constantly upgraded and enhanced throughout their working life. MNB’s clients rely on the company doing its job and the company is one that highlights the quality of British engineering that is renowned throughout the world. The company works with clients to explore ways in which more value can be introduced into their business. The factory manufactures and assembles as and when components are required as well as producing the highest quality parts. This adds more customer value to machined components by acting as a supply chain integrator.

Overall, MNB is keen to seek innovative technical and commercial arrangements which can better align the interests of customers and suppliers and yield superior value for all parties. Services include • CNC turning and milling • jig borer • manual turning and milling • spark erosion machine • wire erosion services • precision shot peening services. Quality and safety At MNB Precision Engineering quality is in its DNA. It’s not simply about whether the machines and parts it produces will last, but whether they are fit for purpose. Statistics from the Office or Rail and Road have said older trains could result in less


comfortable journeys and worse reliability and performance than modern rolling stock. But it said older trains could be refurbished. Safety is vital in the rail industry. High quality precision engineering of the kind MNB Precision Engineering produces ensures safety comes first. In this new age of manufacturing it believes in using advanced technologies with identification and traceability throughout all its processes. Nothing goes unchecked. At its Coventry site the temperature controlled, central metrology area houses three coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). It has also invested in the latest CNC computer numerical control (CNC) machines. Active and passive scanning sensors, single and multipoint sensors, camera and line scanning sensors are all part of ensuring the whole process stays on track. The company also carries out quality inspection for other businesses. Quality is not subjective. It is measurable, and that is what differentiates the precision engineering company from its competitors. Reliability When you have to run to a timetable you need suppliers who are reliable. The company recently looked at its own processes to see how it could do better and add value for its customers. The result was the introduction of servitization – bringing in-house the services which had previously been outsourced. As well as being more cost-efficient it also allows staff to track what is happening at each stage of production, machining and assembly processes. This attention to detail and focus on reliability means it can offer flexibility to meet customer requirements. This is regardless of whether it is for new product developments or components in full production. Servitization has helped cut lead times allowing MNB to add value to customers throughout the whole manufacturing and machining process. Company profile MNB Precision Engineering is a family run business based in Coventry, which provides manufacturing and precision engineering services to world leading companies across the rail, oil and gas, power generation, aerospace and other manufacturing industries. Specialising in precision engineering, the company’s 36,000 ft² factory offers services including CNC milling and turning, jig boring, spark erosion, wire erosion, grinding and shot penning. These in-house capabilities are supplemented with a robust and controlled supply chain, enabling the business to offer an efficient turnkey solution to customers globally. The company has 35 years’ experience in the business. Tel: ++44 (0)2467 695959 Email: Visit: Rail Professional



Urban rail transport Electromagnetic compatibility is important as it helps to avoid interference with new or upgraded light rail or metro systems


ork EMC Services has been working in the rail sector for over 20 years helping to manage, assist and support suppliers, operators and manufactures and installers. One of the main activities it undertakes is electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) management to ensure that projects meets with the legal requirements of the EMC directive. Light rail and metro systems are being looked at more closely in recent years, as commuters and out of town residents seek easy access to city centres. Many of the older light rail and metro systems are looking to upgrade to increase reliability, passenger numbers and service levels. EMC EMC is the art of ensuring that products, apparatus and fixed installations all function together satisfactorily. Anything that contains electronics is capable of electromagnetic emissions, in general, the larger the currents or voltages involved the larger the emissions. This makes railways a very harsh electromagnetic environment. The other side of EMC is immunity: the capacity of a piece of electronic equipment to withstand the emissions from another piece of equipment and still function satisfactorily. If EMC emissions and immunity are not appropriately managed and controlled there is a risk of electromagnetic interference affecting functionality, performance and ultimately safety. In the rail environment unwanted interference therefore has a

knock-on effect on reliability, availability, maintainability and safety (RAMS). York EMC Services is able to measure the existing EMC environment, advise on any changes to the environment and take a risk based approach to ensure that EMC hazards are appropriately managed and mitigated.

EMC Legal Obligations EMC in itself is governed by a Europeanwide directive 2014/30/EU; the text within this directive covers what is known as the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;essential requirementsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The essential requirements of the EMC directive are: 1) equipment shall be so designed and manufactured, having regard to the state of the art, as to ensure that: (a) the electromagnetic disturbance generated does not exceed the level above which radio and telecommunications equipment or other equipment cannot operate as intended; (b) it has a level of immunity to the electromagnetic disturbance to be expected in its intended use which allows it to operate without unacceptable degradation of its intended use 2) specific requirements for fixed installations, installation and intended use of components: â&#x20AC;˘ a fixed installation shall be installed applying good engineering practices

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and respecting the information on the intended use of its components, with a view to meeting the essential requirements set out in point 1. When looking at a light rail or metro system a combination of equipment and fixed installations is clear to see. Fixed installations include things like substations, depots and electrification systems. Rolling stock counts as a piece of equipment under this definition. So in order to comply with the EMC directive there needs to be some consideration to the EMC of all equipment used as part of the project, be it onboard a piece of rolling stock, part of a substation build, or a line side installation. Urban Rail EMC Environment The urban rail EMC environment is particularly harsh in terms of emissions from rolling stock and infrastructure for a few different reasons. • high currents, and in some cases voltages • large and electromagnetically noisy mobile apparatus (rolling stock) • the ongoing issue of space. One of the best solutions to reducing EMC interference problems is the physical separation of source and victim. This would work in instances where the source is the generating the EMC emissions and the victim is adversely affected by the emissions. This is a particular struggle for urban rail environments where there may be very limited space available to increase the actual distance between potential sources and victims. By understanding the electromagnetics involved, York EMC Services can help when designing systems to ensure that traction power signalling, control and low power cabling can be sited as close as possible to each other without causing interference problems. In an urban environment where space is at a premium this is therefore often the optimum or only way to proceed in order to reduce interference risk. In general, EMC emissions (and immunity requirements) are segmented into three different environments: • residential commercial and light industrial (RCLI) • industrial environment • railway environment. In order of emissions requirements, the RCLI environment has the most stringent and the rail the least stringent with the industrial lying between the two. In terms of immunity, the rail environment has the highest requirements, the RCLI the lowest and the industrial again between the two. This range of environments can cause problems when installing a harsh rail environment (with the least stringent emissions requirements) in a residential, commercial or light industrial environment

(with the lowest immunity requirements). Urban EMC Management and Control The interface between rail and urban electromagnetic environments therefore needs to be carefully managed, normally using an EMC Strategy, an EMC management plan or an EMC control plan. The exact purpose of these documents varies in the details but the overall effect is the same; that an EMC management plan or strategy ensures that the risk of incompatibility with neighbours is correctly dealt with. This risk management becomes particularly important when changing the electromagnetic environment including new installations such as tram lines in cities or upgrading existing infrastructure through electrification. York EMC Services has worked on many such major London Underground projects alongside urban and extra-urban Network Rail, Thameslink and Crossrail projects. During these projects it has carried out a range of management, reviews and testing activities. Induced Voltages Of particular relevance to light rail and metro systems are induced voltage studies that cover not only rail systems but also line side equipment. Induced voltages occur from line side cabling such as signalling and communications cables having a voltage induced on them from power cables; normally either HV or traction power. There are three aspects to these induced voltages. • inducing a voltage capable of giving someone an electric shock • inducing a voltage capable of affecting equipment • inducing a voltage in-between cores

within a cable that affects the signal or data in that cable. The first two also apply to armoured fibre-optic cables. York EMC Services has extensive experience of modelling such scenarios which are often essential in an electrified railway project or environment. The company has also been involved in electromagnetic modelling for tram systems and bespoke DC stay current measurements for power systems. Overview The Urban Rail EMC environment is both complex and harsh. EMC mismanagement or omission can have major consequences adding to project costs and timescales and can adversely affect brand reputation. In the worst case scenario poor EMC management can compromise customer and public safety. York EMC Services is experienced in all aspects of urban rail EMC support and solutions. Help can be supplied in the form of just a few hours on the phone or assisting at project meetings, right through to full EMC management and control. Tel: +44 (0) 1904 324440 Email: Visit: Rail Professional



Express deliveries lift outlook Rail depot equipment specialist, Mechan, might work across the world, but high profile UK rail projects continue to dominate its order book


heffield-based manufacturer, Mechan, has recently finished installing equipment at the new train maintenance facility opened in Doncaster this month, to serve the Department for Transport’s flagship intercity express programme (IEP). Main contractor, Volker-Fitzpatrick, commissioned Mechan to supply a threeroad equipment drop, 40 lifting jacks with a 15-tonne capacity and two bogie turntables for the depot, on behalf of train producer, Hitachi Rail. Drop systems have been a major component in Mechan’s involvement in the IEP, featuring in three of the four orders it has received. Again, working with Volker-Fitzpatrick, an equipment drop with two bridges was delivered to North Pole in west London, alongside another 40 lifting jacks. As it is sited in the centre of the depot, its unusual configuration had to be designed to enable one of the bridges to retract into the pit, so it does not undermine other work and normal operations can continue when it is not in use. The firm has also developed a further two equipment drops for the new Stoke Gifford depot near Bristol. All four units use the same control philosophy to establish consistency and allow trained operatives to be moved between locations if necessary.

Time efficiency Bogie drops are installed within the depot floor, enabling complete bogies and undercar modules to be removed or exchanged without lifting or splitting carriages. They make bogie change feasible within one hour and can save time on other work, easing pressure on maintenance providers to achieve ever faster servicing times. Mechan supplies equipment drops with two types of mechanism, the traditional

scissor action or an intelligent screw jack system, which offers a greatly reduced pit depth and minimal civil costs. In both cases, heavy duty actuator pins fitted to the drop latch into place when it is not in use, ensuring the road remains accessible. Like all Mechan equipment, bogie drops are made to the client’s unique requirements. They are available with a range of optional extras, such as a pit continuation for enhanced clearance under the bogie and side platforms to improve access to the item being changed. Adapters can also be added so that any type of undercar module to be removed or replaced. Richard Carr, Mechan’s chief executive, said ‘We have established excellent relationships with Hitachi Rail and VolkerFitzpatrick whilst fulfilling these various IEP contracts and playing such an integral role in such sophisticated maintenance environments makes us very proud.’ Bespoke design Work on the IEP has boosted Mechan’s profile in the production of traversers and it is the only company in the UK that can showcase an ability to design and build these large, bespoke installations for any size or weight vehicle. Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe facility in County Durham is using two 80 tonne traversers to help produce the new highspeed trains for the IEP, moving vehicles between 33 tracks inside the facility and out to the test area. Without them, this

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and excellence, bringing a selection of third party products to the UK and Irish markets that complement its in house capabilities.

sophisticated production line would have needed to be three times as long. Each traverser is different and the pair constructed for Hitachi was made to the client’s specification. The internal unit has a special low profile design and four-metre long hydraulic ‘wing’ ramps, to allow the pit to be used as a thoroughfare when the traverser is not in use. The external installation has a more conventional construction, but was fitted with a canopy to protect new rail vehicles from the elements. Despite recent interest in bogie drops and traversers, Mechan’s ubiquitous lifting jacks remain at the heart of its operation and almost 90 have been supplied to IEP projects, including eight 25 tonne units that were installed at a new £7 million facility near Swindon, built to service a unique train carrying out the necessary line upgrades. Amey Rail commissioned the jacks for Network Rail’s High Output Operational Base (HOOB). The behind the scenes depot houses and maintains a 23-vehicle High Output Plant System, which is being used to install overhead electric cabling along the Great Western mainline route. Jacks are vital for access to bogies, wheelsets and underfloor components, offering a reliable yet flexible way to lift complete trains without decoupling. Boasting a design life of at least 25 years, they will maintain a load even when power is lost and can be modified to suit wide or tall vehicles, moved around as necessary and configured to lift a train of any length.

height deviations. Megalink enables just one person to manage a lift, using a remote, full colour touch screen that displays useful data about maintenance and servicing and gives the operator a complete overview or the option to focus in on a particular jack, making it easier to diagnose faults. This commitment to innovation, build quality and safety is at the heart of Mechan’s success and forms the basis of its homegrown equipment. Thanks to continued investment in research and development, the firm’s product range has expanded organically to cater for all types of underfloor lifting and handling, bogie storage, handling and replacement and vehicle component removal. In recent years, the firm has looked to Europe to enhance its portfolio. It has forged links with a number of manufacturers that demonstrate a similar commitment to value

European innovations Laser measuring is a must for checking wheel, brake disc and rail wear and the handheld CALIPRI from NextSense is one of the most sophisticated tools on the market. It uses three simple lasers to record all relevant parameters on wheelsets and tracks and is proven to eliminate human error, producing tamper-proof results. Improving air quality and the depot environment is growing in popularity among maintenance providers looking to make cost savings through better recruitment and retention of staff. Again, Mechan has sourced a number of innovations offering clear environmental benefits, including Klein automated sandbox filling systems that use a pneumatic pipe to eliminate dust and flexible exhaust hoods from Blaschke, guaranteeing the removal of diesel fumes at source. A greener alternative to traditional shunters is also available to aid the movement of vehicles around a depot. Zwiehoff’s award winning electric road and rail shunters are emission free, relying solely on battery power to trail loads of up to 500 tonnes. This continued pressure to make handling equipment faster, cleaner and more efficient, drives Mechan to find new ways to refine and enhance the way we service trains. By combining the best traditional engineering skills with the latest technological advances, the firm is cementing its reputation as a market leader in depot maintenance. Tel: (0114) 257 0563 Email: Visit:

Corrections and control Mechan’s patented Megalink control system combines the latest technology and networking expertise to synchronise unlimited numbers of jacks, whilst still producing a smooth and safe lift. The theoretical position of every unit in a chain is broadcast at regular intervals, so each one can make speed adjustments so precise they are undetectable to the eye, correcting any Rail Professional



Front line refreshment At the Rail Exec ‘most interesting awards’ the Safe tea trolley won the The Most Interesting thing we saw in 2016 award


he British worker doesn’t get very far without a cup of tea, so a tea trolley for track workers stranded far from an access point is essential. No longer do workers have to trudge to an access point miles away to fetch their flasks from the car, instead, freshly brewed hot drinks are available on site. The brainchild of the Track Safety Alliance and Amey, and built by catering trailer specialist AJC, the tea trolley is available now for purchase or long term hire. Track workers trialled the prototype at an industry event at Grange Sidings, Stokeon-Trent, and their feedback was taken into consideration to make improvements to the original design.

More welfare facilities Besides providing hot and cold water for drinks, the trolley has storage to accommodate an optional Chiller, first aid kit if required and an emergency eye wash station. Adrian Fricker, safety improvement specialist, Infrastructure Projects, said ‘The safe tea trolley has been designed for track workers with track-side safety and antifatigue measures in mind. The flexible choice of drink options including an optional water chiller facility reflects the importance of trackside welfare. ‘These stations do not replace any other welfare facilities. The trolleys are an enhancement of facilities available on site. They move with the team so that people can take regular breaks safely and effectively without having to return to the main welfare facilities. Rail Professional

‘The fact that we tested the prototype trackside and we received feedback means we now have a product with modern, robust design with additional features to support trackside teams during their shift.’ Steve Featherstone, Track Programme Director for Network Rail, said ‘We often forget when we are in warm, dry offices or signal boxes that the orange army works in all weathers to keep the railway working properly. And when you are part way through a shift it is important to have a hot drink to reduce the risk of fatigue. Feedback has been fantastic and it’s great to have ideas like this developed by the frontline, for the frontline.’

Tea trolleys will have to be loaded on to a van or pick-up to be delivered to sites. The safe tea trolley weighs approximately 80 kilograms and has handles that allows it to be lifted – by four people for a straight back lift– and placed on to a standard rail trolley. Once in the correct position, the safe tea trolley is secured in place using toggle catches designed to fit on all rail-mounted hand trolleys. Adrian added ‘We have worked closely with AJC Retail Solutions on developing this product. The cost of each tea trolley is reduced by 5 per cent to TSA member organisations. All prices are ex-works but delivery can be included at extra cost.’

Requesting a trolley Safe tea trolleys are made of a 9mm polymer material to make them light and strong, with a rail approved generator and water boiler, carry handles and storage access to accommodate a 12v water cooler or first aid kit. The current model was improved from the first prototype to include extended carry handles, a generator drip-tray and an alternative venting to aid generator cooling and efficiency.

Next destination AJC Retail Solutions also manufacture bespoke storage options for the rail industry ‘Sanders fitted to trains to spread a coating of fine sand on rail heads, are set for a more widespread role in the battle against leaves on the line, following research that shows their use significantly reduces the risk of signals passed at danger.’ With this in mind AJC were involved in the provision of bespoke galvanised sand stores, sized to take two pallets of fine sand, thus maximising the shelf life of the sand by keeping it dry. The development of both of these products is a good example of bespoke projects undertaken by AJC Retail Solutions to fulfil a particular need for the rail sector. Tel: 01582 727 760 Email: Visit:



Testing times It takes a lot to provide signalling testing & commissioning leadership and management for major projects


uAspect has been supporting the management and delivery of signalling testing and commissioning for Thales ground transportation systems (GTS) for over six years. The most successful of this was the delivery of the Jubilee & Northern line upgrades and Neasden depot upgrade on the London Underground. More recently, as part of the Thales tram management system (TMS) management team, NuAspect was contracted to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) for the design, construction and commissioning contract of the major expansion of the Metrolink Tram network. Background Manchester’s Metrolink is a light rail tram network serving both the city centre and greater Manchester. The network is formed of seven lines built on former railway lines and on-street sections shared with pedestrians and road vehicles. TfGM commenced the £1.5 billion expansion and upgrade programme in 2008. Thales, as part of the M-Pact consortium, was awarded the contract for the Phase 1, 2 and 3 delivery. The network now consists of 93 tram stops and 92 kilometres of track. A second city crossing (2CC) for the city centre is nearing completion with a full opening planned for early 2017. Further expansion of the network will include a new line serving Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre which attracts over 30 million people a year. Consultancy NuAspect has provided key consultancy support for the development of the testing and commissioning strategy for both the Neasden Depot and Manchester Metrolink upgrades, enabling the introduction of novel signalling, signalling control and

tram management systems all of which have required the capture of a multitude of stakeholder requirements, innovative value engineering development and careful assessment to ensure the chosen solutions not only meet the stakeholder requirements, but are also deliverable and fit within the budgetary and programme constraints. NuAspect has also provided support in the development of Thales’s personnel and apprentices in new rail and tram systems leading to National Vocational Qualifications and IRSE licensing. Project delivery NuAspect was instrumental in the delivery of the upgrade of LU’s Neasden Depot, the main depot for the Metropolitan and Circle Line’s S7 and S8 rolling stock. The provision of key project delivery and testing & commissioning management enabled the delivery and integration of Signal Interlocking software, designed produced and tested by Thales Portugal, with the site interlocking at Neasden. Driving over 120 new signals, point machines and AzLM axle counter technology, the project was delivered with minimal disruption to the day to day operations of the depot. Rob Hughes, head of field operations, Thales GTS said; ‘NuAspect has provided the type of service that Thales expects from its senior consultants – invaluable knowledge and experience for the development and delivery of major signalling projects. NuAspect’s experience in testing and commissioning management, coupled with excellent leadership qualities and business acumen, has contributed to the safe and successful delivery of two Thales signalling projects in London and Manchester.’

working relationships with other specialist SME’s to build capabilities that can collectively provide similar consultancy and delivery focused services to major rail infrastructure projects in the UK. This will build on the current capabilities supporting the delivery of projects for LU, London Trams and Manchester Metrolink. Tel: 0207 1010 800 Email: Visit:

The future NuAspect is developing collaborative

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Controlling your monitor network Blank monitors or monitors hanging with an error dialog box can be the biggest irritation for display networks


PT-IT delivers passenger information systems for railway stations and airports, its services are not limited to only the distribution of departure and arrival information but also include delay calculations, mass cancellation routines, and distribution of special messages, data exchange by protocols like SIRI and monitor surveillance. If this happens in a PIDS system, passengers are not correctly informed or even misinformed. If it happens in a digital signage system, the station may fail to show the number of adverts it is being paid for. Precautions There are a few precautions to take when purchasing a monitor solution. The monitor controller should have a built-in watchdog and the software on the monitor should use it correctly. It isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always simple to make

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the watchdog work in every case. First, be sure that all parts of the software are linked into the watchdog retriggering logic. Secondly, the watchdog must not be disabled during a reboot, but on the timeout must be long enough for the controller to get up and running, avoiding an endless rebooting loop. The player software showing the contents to the public should work in a closed loop with the server sending the content. In the past, there have been solutions where a browser is used as the player, where the data is either just polled from a web server or the data is pushed to a local storage on the controller and polled from there. In those cases, the browser is out of control. If the browser hangs, you will never know. A better approach is to let code in the browser communicate with the server. In this way if the browser hangs the server will

detect that the browser does not respond and raise an error flag. Surveillance Many monitor controllers have a built-in SNMP server that can be used to monitor the health of the controller and to receive commands to the controller. The health parameters exposed through SNMP could be: CPU-temperature, general temperature, fan speed, fan status, disk space, RAM usage, CPU idle time, contrast, brightness, backlight status, power consumption etc. The SNMP server can also be used for controlling your monitor. Many SNMP implementations allows for issuing commands to the monitor like setting brightness, stop fans, setting standby times where the monitor is blank, rebooting the controller, setting IP-addresses and other things of that nature. There are tools on the market for


monitoring and controlling SNMP enabled devices. The tools can monitor all types of devices on a TCP/IP network. In the tools, you can typically setup the SNMP parameters you want to monitor on each device. Tracking In cases where a passenger claims that the information on the monitor was incorrect it can be of great help if the tool you are using for monitoring the devices can show a copy of the image on the monitor at any time in the past. This can be achieved if the controller stores a number of compressed images on its local disk for a given number of days back in time. A small program on the controller takes a screen dump of the monitor in given intervals and stores the new picture every time there is a change from the previously stored picture. The user is then able to at his frontend to enter a given date and time and then jump from one picture to the next simply by clicking the mouse. Maintenance In huge monitor networks, there will often be a dedicated number of staff assigned to carry out the maintenance of the monitors and related equipment like network routers,

switches, cables etc. This work often requires travelling a long distance to the stations to do the job. When the maintenance staff is on a site, they want to do as much work as possible to avoid another trip a few days later. Therefore, your surveillance solution should be capable of producing statistics which give an overview of the errors and warnings that have been registered from the monitors on that location. The list can be used to make preventative maintenance on monitors that are still working but reports errors every now and then. Another feature is to have a prioritized list of stations of importance. By ranking the stations after the daily number of passengers, that uses the station, helps the maintenance people to priorities their work. After selecting, the primary station they want to work on they should have a list of nearby stations with errors that can be serviced when the primary job is done. Asset management Asset management where each device is registered with a brand name, type, installation date, serial number, configuration options, installation address, detailed installation location etc. can be very helpful for getting an overview over the state of your network.


The application should be able to register a history of all errors on the device and register the exchange of all spare parts. Each maintenance visit should be registered with date and time and stored for future use, it should also be able to calculate an MTBF value. It is also essential that it can store all comments registered on each device collected from either passengers, train drivers or maintenance people. By have all these data together, it should be possible to run different algorithms on the data to detect patterns of strange behavior and possibly act on it accordingly. Vias program family The Vias program family is an example of a program family that has all the above features. The vias Monitor can be used for surveillance of existing monitor networks where the controller supports SNMP. The vias Monitor can be used to find what was shown on any monitor at a particular time in the past. One can then browse through forward and backward from one change of content to the next to find a clear picture of what was shown. Tel: +45 76740484 Email: Visit:

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...WE THINK LIFE IS PRICELESS. Smart Depot Personnel Protection System (DPPS™) The Smart DPPS™ is a highly advanced, state-of-the-art protection system incorporating the use of intelligent distributed control and communication technology, as well as electronic personnel datakeys to identify staff working in different safety zones.

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• Protects staff and equipement • ensures safe and controlled movement of rail vehicles into and out of the depot • allows train maintenance operations to be conducted without endangering the safety of staff or damaging infrastructure

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zonegreen safe working solutions

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A new vision In today’s high-speed, 24/7 rail environment, there is little time allowance for manual track inspection


he consequence of not inspecting or rushing inspection can be fatal. OmniVision improves both the quality and safety of the process whilst saving considerable time and therefore cost. It also means that tracks do not have to be closed to traffic whilst they are being inspected. The key benefits of the system are: • improved inspection quality allowing reduction in inspection frequency and improved safety of staff and passengers • digital record of existing track infrastructure • qualitative and auditable assessment of the infrastructure • building up of a comprehensive knowledge database of track defects and their location • better management information on the status and condition of the infrastructure network. OmniVision is composed of a real time image and profile acquisition module and an offline post processing system. The acquisition system has evolved with available technology to acquire high resolution profile and linescan images and operates at speeds of over 200kph. The acquisition system is modular, which provides flexibility both in terms of system configuration and installation requirements. The post-processing system uses machine vision software to identify the location of rail defects and assets. A business logic engine can be configured to enable clients to specify the priority given to an individual or collection of defects. Third party system integration is available

with the Balfour Beatty TrueTrak track geometry system being used with the UK OmniVision deployments. Easy navigation Through the OmniVision Viewer application, inspectors are presented with a breakdown of the assets and defects along with the associated images for a pre-specified geography. This allows them to navigate through, review and prioritise defects. On completion, the system will generate customer-specific inspection reports for distribution to senior managers or colleagues as well as interfacing to downstream maintenance and condition systems. The OmniVision system has a safety case for operation and can replace routine manual inspection of track assets on an operational railway. OmniVision holds a product acceptance certificate and has been approved for use by the UK mainline operator, Network Rail. The five systems currently deployed will inspect 75 per cent of the UK rail network on a 4 weekly basis. OmniVision and the plain line pattern recognition system have won several accolades, National Rail Awards Innovation of the Year, IET Innovation Award for Asset Management and Railway Industry Innovation Award for Engineering and Safety, amongst others. Back story Founded in 1995, Omnicom is a UK company which specialises in the development of vehicle borne software and hardware platforms for asset survey, inspection and monitoring, for use across the transportation sector to enhance

effectiveness of infrastructure assets. The company, based across York and Derby, has a client base which includes Network Rail in the UK and Australia’s largest rail freight operator, Aurizon. Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, acquired Omnicom Engineering in October 2016. Mark Bullock, managing director of Balfour Beatty’s UK rail business, said ‘Omnicom Engineering is a true innovator which is benefiting from over twenty years of investment in research and development.

‘We will leverage this expertise alongside the high speed laser measurement technology that already exists within Balfour Beatty, to provide unrivalled technical solutions to clients in the growing high-speed and unattended data collection market in which we see opportunities for increasing our business. ‘Together, Omnicom and Balfour Beatty’s range of asset management solutions will offer an unrivalled richness of information to support the maintenance of roads and railways across the world.’ Balfour Beatty’s existing systems include high -speed laser and inertial measurement of track geometry, infrastructure gauge, points condition monitoring and software solutions to visualise condition and support asset management decisions. Tel: +44 1904 778 100 Email: Visit:

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Looking to fill a key management vacancy? A recruitment advertisement in Rail Professional is the most direct route to the biggest pool of quality rail talent in the country. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a key post to fill, Rail Professional is the magazine read by the professionals â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 59 per cent of readers are managers or board-level executives.

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Opportunities to enhance your engineering career Network Certification Body (NCB) is a dynamic independent company within the Network Rail group, at the cutting edge of railway certification in the UK and growing to meet the needs of this expanding market. What you can expect as an engineer with NCB is career progression, support and encouragement with developing your career.

When you join us, you’ll be encouraged to enhance your capability by working on a large and diverse portfolio of projects. You’ll also have the ability to broaden your skill sets across vehicle and infrastructure disciplines. To find out more information about the featured roles below contact us today at

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• Check the conformance of designs for new or modified railway infrastructure assets against mandatory standards • Assess projects to determine their impact on railway system safety



Opportunities with Frazer-Nash At Frazer-Nash, we employ dynamic and original thinkers who challenge all boundaries to find the perfect solution for clients. This way of thinking has enabled us to grow into a rapidly expanding systems and engineering technology consultancy, with offices throughout the UK and Australia. Our rail business continues to grow and to help meet the increased demand for our expertise, we’re looking to recruit the following roles: • • • • •

Electrical Power and HV Engineer Rail Consultant Rail ERTMS and CCS Engineer Rail Safety Consultant Rail Systems Engineer

Our staff are rewarded with a competitive salary, generous benefits package and the opportunity to work as part of a dynamic and successful team. We always look for strong talent in our key business sectors and across all of our locations in the UK and Australia. To apply, please forward your CV and covering letter to, quoting reference RP0217. Due to the nature of the work that Frazer-Nash undertakes we will require successful candidates to gain UK security clearance.

Our market sectors aerospace • transport • nuclear • marine • defence • power and energy • oil and gas Our offices UK: Basingstoke • Bristol • Burton • Dorchester • Dorking • Glasgow • Gloucester • Plymouth • Warrington Australia: Adelaide • Canberra • Melbourne

SYSTEMS AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY FNC_RP0117 130 x 183mm.indd 1 10/01/2017 10:18:04

Training Programme Development Manager Competitive salary package West Midlands Since 2007 London Midland has been providing excellent train services throughout the heart of England, from London in the South to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the North West. Over 60 million passenger journeys a year are made using our trains and we manage 150 stations, operating over 1,300 services a day. Due to department expansion a unique opportunity has arisen for a talented individual to join the Training Academy Team within London Midland. Playing a crucial role in the successful ongoing development of our colleagues your key focus as Training Programme Development Manager, will be the design and development of new and existing operational training programmes which represent changes in industry, best practice, safety regulations, European Driving Licensing Regulations and compliance with Operational and Occupational Standards. Whilst embracing new technology you will be responsible for adapting existing materials and techniques to meet the ever changing development needs of our front line teams and communicating these changes effectively to the wider Operations Training Team, supporting them to ensure their successful delivery.

Due to the nature of this role previous experience within the Train Driver role and a good knowledge of traction and railway rules and regulations would be an advantage. Practical experience in designing and delivering training programmes, identifying learning needs and writing training guides and learner material to cater for different learning styles is essential for this role as is an excellent knowledge and understanding Microsoft Office packages. You should be highly motivated, passionate about the development of people whilst possessing excellent communication and presentation skills which will allow you to engage with key stakeholders to design and deliver programmes which will inspire learning and reflect London Midland vision and values. Full support will be offered to ensure the ongoing development of your technical and professional knowledge, a defined benefit pension scheme, 32 days annual leave including bank holidays, and an attractive salary and benefits package.

To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to Charlotte Ruff at Rail Professional



The New Year’s Honours 2017 recognised a number of senior figures in transport


ead of the UK delegation, Channel Tunnel Safety Authority, Caroline Wake, was awarded an OBE for services to transport safety and the community in Kent. Independent transport commissioner Professor Peter Malcolm Jones was made an OBE. Jones was a founding member of the Independent Transport Commission in 1999 and was recognised for his contributions to UK transport policies including the ITC’s Road and Rail Travel Trends research from 2015. Dr Matthew Niblett (see his feature on page 77), director of the ITC, said: ‘Over his career Peter has made a number of fundamental contributions to improving transport policy in Britain and our understanding of travel behaviour. It has been a privilege to work with him and we are delighted to learn that Peter’s groundbreaking work has been recognised with this richly deserved honour.’ Hugh Wark, previously project director on the Borders Railway, was awarded an OBE for services to transport and the economy in Scotland. Katherine Liddell, team organiser, maintenance delivery unit at Network Rail was awarded an MBE for services to transport in the East of England. Roger Mackintosh, senior executive officer, traffic and engineering at the Department for Transport, was awarded an MBE for services to transport. Giles Barker, chair, staff network group for disability at Transport for London was awarded a BEM (Medal of the Order of the British Empire) for services to transport in London and the Armed Forces Covenant.  Brendan Sleight, chair, staff network for injured and sick ex-forces and reservist personnel at Transport for London, was awarded a BEM for services to transport and the community in London. Mark Walder, special sergeant, British Transport Police, was awarded a BEM for voluntary service to the community in East Sussex. Ian David Ward, director, Isle of Wight Community Bus Partnership was awarded a BEM for services to community transport.

More on the leaving train at HS2 wo more of the most senior managers at HS2 have resigned their positions. Alistair Kirk, programme and strategy director, who was in charge of ‘ensuring the programme gains the confidence of key government stakeholders’, has left, as has chief information officer James Findlay.


Rail Professional

Chris Burchell appointed as chairman of Rail Delivery Group Burchell, managing director for UK Trains at Arriva, commenced his role on 1st January and succeeds Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach Group, who chaired the RDG Board for a planned three-year term since December 2013. Said Burchell: ‘I am proud to have been asked to lead the important work of the RDG.’ Griffiths said: ‘Train companies, Network Rail, government and other stakeholders each need to face up to tough choices in the parts of the system they control and make the critical changes needed to give our customers a modern railway fit for the 21st century.’

DB Cargo employee to lead Women in Rail Yorkshire branch An employee from DB Cargo has been nominated to co-lead the Yorkshire branch of Women in Rail. The voluntary role will see Dr Amy Pressland, international HR projects manager at DB Cargo, join Jennie Pitt from Virgin Trains East Coast to head up the group, which will empower women in rail across the region through training, networking events and other activities. Pressland said: ‘I am eager to begin working with Jennie to provide opportunities for women throughout the county.’


Phil Verster to head up East West rail project etwork Rail and Abellio have announced that ScotRail Alliance MD Verster will be moving to become managing director of the East West rail project that was announced by transport secretary Chris Grayling in December. He will take up his new post in the spring. Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail said: ‘Phil has done a great job setting up the ScotRail Alliance. I am delighted that a leader of his calibre will be heading up the new East West rail project. We have agreed a replacement to succeed Phil and will be making an announcement shortly.’ Phil Verster said: ‘Over the last two years I have worked with my team to launch the ScotRail Alliance, delivering hundreds of commitments and laying the ground for the exciting new train fleets that will start to arrive later this year. The opportunity to build on these same principles with the creation of a new business such as East West Rail is great for me and my family, and I wish the ScotRail Alliance team all the best for the future.’


New non-execs join Network Rail board etwork Rail has appointed Silla Maizey and John Mogford as non-executive directors, replacing Malcolm Brinded and Janis Kong. Maizey currently serves as a nonexecutive director of John Menzies, NHS Business Services Authority and Crown Commercial Service. She will sit on both the Audit and Risk and Treasury committees. Mogford currently serves as a non-executive director of Environmental Resources management, DOF Subsea and Weir Group. He is a visiting professor in Process Safety at Strathclyde University. He will sit on the Safety, Health and Environment committee. Network Rail chair, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: ‘Silla and John both bring decades of experience in diverse industries and will be valuable additions to the board.’



New chair of NSAR inister of state at the DfT John Hayes has announced Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown MVO as the new chairman of NSAR, succeeding Chris Fenton. ‘The move to appoint Mike Brown is key to NSAR’s plan to bring the importance of skills and apprenticeships in the spotlight in 2017 and help the industry to achieve the targets,’ said Hayes. Beth West, commercial director, HS2; Andy Joy, managing director, Carillion Rail; George Clark, engineering director, London Underground have also joined NSAR’s board of directors.


Moving chaplains ichele Ashton has been appointed as Railway Mission chaplain to East Anglia and Liverpool Street, replacing Christopher Henley who has moved south to cover the rail network serviced by South West Trains. Ashton, who comes to Railway Mission from the catering industry, said: ‘I realised my skills were transferable and I had a sense that chaplaincy would be a great opportunity for me to help and support people. The railway is a challenging environment, but I have found the staff warm and welcoming.’ Liam Johnston, executive director of Railway Mission said: ‘We welcome Michele to a fantastic industry.’


New MD for National Express Rail and UK Coach om Stables has succeeded Andrew Chivers, who retired at the end of 2016 after 38 years in the rail industry. Stables had been MD UK Coach for four years previously. Dean Finch, National Express Group CEO, said: ‘Andrew can look forward to a well-earned retirement and reflect on a great career within the industry. For National Express he not only helped us top the charts for reliability and performance but also led our entry in to the German rail market.’


Pete Waterman OBE appointed a vice president of the Transport Trust he record producer/songwriter and railway expert has accepted an invitation to the role with the UK charity, dedicated to the preservation of the nation’s transport heritage. ‘We are absolutely delighted that Pete has agreed to come on board,’ said chairman Stuart Wilkinson. ‘He has a very high profile in rail preservation and brings with him a huge amount of experience.’ Waterman, who began his working life in the winter of 1962 as a fireman on a steam loco, said: ‘As an enthusiast myself it is so good to be asked to be involved in an organisation that is so dedicated to preserving the transport heritage of the nation.’


Rail Professional



Andy Haynes joins Network Rail aynes has joined the company as contracts and procurement director and will lead the delivery of route services’ contracts to ‘bring a more efficient national service to Network Rail’s devolved route businesses.’ Haynes, who has extensive experience working in Network Rail, most recently as project director on its Greater West Programme, will report to route services director, Susan Cooklin.


Amey names new business director for Metro and Light Rail ndy Slater, who has joined the company’s Rail Team, was formerly director of international rolling stock for Eurostar. Nicola Hindle, managing director of Amey’s Consulting and Rail business, said: ‘Andy’s understanding of rolling stock operation and performance will be an invaluable addition in helping our customers make smart asset management decisions.’ Said Slater: ‘We need a more collaborative multi-modal transport system that enables people to remove stress points in their journeys and rail – including light rail and metro – has a core part to play in that strategy.’


Michael Colella joins Steer Davies Gleave olella has joined the transport consultancy as associate director to develop its rail and transport capabilities. Colella, who will be based in the London advisory team, joins from Transport for London where he worked in a range of roles including HS2 lead sponsor, coordinating and leading TfL’s input into the new line.


Rail Professional

Northern’s new head of new trains on board he largest Toc outside of London’s multi-million pound programme of modernisation and transformation has, the company says, received a further boost with the arrival of Ian Hyde in the role. Alex Hynes, managing Director at Northern, said: ‘Ian’s skill at building relationships with stakeholders in a challenging environment has delivered project benefits across international clients, cultures and teams and we are pleased to have secured his services from our sister company Cross Country.’ Northern’s modernisation programme – announced by Arriva Rail North as part of the new franchise – will see more than 280 new trains introduced across the network and the complete refurbishment of all other Northern carriages. Said Hyde: ‘We know the Pacers, while holding a degree of nostalgia for some, need to be replaced as soon as practicable.’


New MD at Wincanton incanton, the British logistics company has apppointed Vince McGurk as the managing director of Pullman Fleet Services, the independent provider of commercial vehicle maintenance and fleet management. McGurk has been instrumental in returning Pullman Fleet Services to profit over the last eighteen months and will continue to drive further improvements. He will report to Chris Fenton, managing director of industrial & transport.


Trainline appoints Mark Brooker to newly created COO role he European tech company and independent rail retailer has named Brooker to the role, in which he will be responsible for marketing, product and Trainline International. He will report to CEO Clare Gilmartin. Brooker joins Trainline from Betfair, where he was COO. ‘I look forward to partnering with Clare and our team to continue to innovate in the rail sector,’ said Brooker.


Building on Experience In business over 50 years Walker Construction (UK) Ltd provide Civil & Construction solutions to the Rail Industry

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