Rail Professional April 2022

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APRIL 2022 ISSUE 281 £7.95



Seamless partnering Bump-free operations all along the supply chain

Skills Closing the skills gap – at high speed

Cooperation What is Decarbonomics and what does it mean

Geotechnical Engineering Weighing in at Wadhurst



APRIL 2022 ISSUE 281 £7.95



Seamless partnering Bump-free operations all along the supply chain

editor’s note Skills Closing the skills gap – at high speed

Cooperation What is Decarbonomics and what does it mean

Geotechnical Engineering Weighing in at Wadhurst

PUBLISHER RAIL PROFESSIONAL LTD Hallmark House, Downham Road, Ramsden Heath, Essex CM11 1PU Telephone: +44 (0)1268 711811 EDITORIAL EDITOR SAM SHERWOOD-HALE editor@railpro.co.uk DISPLAY ADVERTISING DEAN SALISBURY ADAM OVERALL JAMIE TREGARTHEN sales@railpro.co.uk RECRUITMENT ADVERTISING recruitment@railpro.co.uk SUBSCRIPTIONS subscriptions@railpro.co.uk ADMINISTRATION CHERIE NUGENT info@railpro.co.uk LISA ETHERINGTON admin@railpro.co.uk DESIGN & PRODUCTION ALICIA BANNISTER LUKASZ SACZEK production@railpro.co.uk

Welcome to the April issue. I usually start my column by mentioning some recent Government announcement relating to rail and sharing the industry’s response. This month’s announcement came courtesy of The Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who presented his Spring Statement to Parliament and the country on 23 March. Darren Caplan Chief Executive of RIA noted the absence of the word ‘rail’ from the statement, saying that the statement could have provided ‘more certainty for key economic sectors like rail. Certainty has little financial implication for the Government but really does play a crucial part in supporting rail sector jobs and investment.’ Andy Bagnall, Director General of the Rail Delivery Group, noted the controversial decision to cut fuel duty but noted that: ‘In the long term, if the government is serious about meeting net zero targets it cannot make rail less competitive. Passenger and freight trains help to clean up the air in towns and cities and reduce congestion.’ Shifting focus to this issue, we are looking at skills and we have articles from HSR Group, Shoosmiths, National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure, PA Consulting, Potentuel and Public Policy Projects. Back in 2017, HS2 launched its first apprenticeships, welcoming 25 apprentices on a two-year programme across three disciplines. Five years on, the project now has 825 new apprentice starts. Deb Carson of the HSR Group brings us some interviews with three of them. Eliot Gillings, Policy Analyst at Public Policy Projects explores the different ways we can close the skills gap across different sectors and Lloyd Dean and Jonny Buckley of PA Consulting explain why training teams must continue to innovate in order to keep up. We also have some rather nice photographs and an accompanying story from Bam Ritchies whose teams have designed and delivered new strength and resilience to the 170-year old Wadhurst Cutting, located on the Tonbridge to Hastings line. Finally I hope you’re all looking forward to Railtex next month, I know we certainly are so please do stop by the stand for a chat! Sam Sherwood-Hale Editor

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 and online. ISSN 1476-2196 © All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced

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09 News

31 Delivering the goods

GWR Night Riviera returns to full service following engineering work, ‘Wales on Rails’ – new sustainable tourism project launched, DB Cargo UK successfully trials the use of ‘combiconsists’, Nexus appoints Taziker to carry out £3 million bridge renewal project on the Tyne and Wear Metro, CWE Ltd wins major overhaul project with Network Rail, One third of London Underground stations are now step-free

Mags Simpson, Head of Policy Engagement at Logistics UK, provides an overview of Logistics UK’s response as we seek to ensure the plan delivers the best possible outcome for Great Britain’s logistics sector

14 Rail Professional Interview

Siobhan Boyle, Marketing Manager at Veovo looks at answers transit operators can take from the Airport Operating Centres (APOC) playbook

Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Scott Harrison, Managing Director at Aquarius & Permaquip about the partnership between Aquarius and Permaquip, aligning company cultures, and new training techniques

19 Rail Professional Interview Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Paul Capener, Managing Director of XEIAD about the company’s training academy, upskilling the industry and the company’s growth

23 The Cheek of it Rail patronage continued to grow during the October to December quarter, latest ORR stats show

27 Laying down the law Martin considers cyber security and ways of managing the risk in the wake of increasing cyberattacks

29 Women in Rail Samyutha Bala, Head of Customer Experience at Great Western Railway and Ruth Busby, HR Director at Great Western Railway and co-Chairs of Women in Rail South describe how we can broaden the appeal of rail to young people of all backgrounds

35 Cooperation 39 Viewpoint Liam Johnston, Executive Director of Railway Mission explains the strategic partnership and settings approach to health promotion

41 Viewpoint Phil Bulman of Vendigital explores the different drivers for change across the rail industry

44 Cooperation Stuart McLaren, Director – Net Zero Infrastructure/ Decarbonomics at Atkins, along with Ali Mowahed, Director, Stations and TOD at Atkins and Cara Murphy, Client Director – Network Rail (UK) at Atkins, explain what Decarbonomics is and what it means

49 Skills It’s no secret that our industry has faced a skills challenge for some time, Deb Carson of the HSR Group brings us some interviews with participants in their apprenticeship programme

53 Skills Creating a culture of rail travel in the UK hinges on improving local rail networks says Michelle Craven-Faulkner, partner and rail lead at Shoosmiths

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57 Skills Training teams must continue to innovate in order to keep, say Lloyd Dean and Jonny Buckley of PA Consulting

61 Skills Across many industries and areas of society, the pandemic has accelerated long-term trends. There are few places that this will be felt more acutely than in the rail industry, Steve Tolton of Potentuel explains

63 Skills Eliot Gillings, Policy Analyst at Public Policy Projects explores the different ways we can close the skills gap across different sectors

67 Geotechnical Engineering BAM Ritchies have supported Network Rail in securing better, more reliable journeys on the key route between London and Hastings for at least the next 60 years

96 85 The Digital Railway Alan Stewart-Brown, VP EMEA, Opengear discusses the opportunities presented by the enhanced connectivity of IoT

71 Skills

87 Business Profiles

The National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure (NCATI)’s relaunch as part of the University of Birmingham group signals new leadership, new strategies, and new opportunities for tackling the sector’s skills gap

RSSB, DCA, Bollé Safety

75 Event

Rail Professional catches up with NIS’ Davie Carns to talk rail, skills and a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for the UK

Don’t miss out on the number one event for innovators in the UK rail industry, on 26 and 27 April at DeVere East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham

99 Business Profile

77 Business Profile As rail projects move off the drawing board and into reality, together as an industry we have the opportunity to deliver the safest projects in the UK’s history

79 Cooperation

96 Skills

As rail engineering managers and technicians strive to meet ever demanding deadlines, often with fewer skilled hands and tighter budgets, the benefits of professional tool storage and management become stronger than ever

100 Business News

Edmund Caldecott, CEO of Whoosh looks at the pandemic rebound and charts the recovery of rail usage

HS2 contractor EKFB awarded industry-first sustainability status, Pandrol receives world first CO2-neutral label for under sleeper pad, First joint project: Edge computer for mobile intralogistics, PriestmanGoode unveils flexible new rail interiors at London’s Marylebone Station

83 Cooperation

101 People

Judith Turner, Deputy Chief Ombudsman at the Rail Ombudsman explains how they cooperate with the industry in their support of passengers

Rob Mullen, Jon Harman, Ellie Burrows, Myrtle Dawes, Sarah Mussenden, Mark Eastwood, John Hudson CBE, Joel Sainsbury, Gary Robson

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News in brief Murphy Geospatial expand offering with new office in Birmingham Data experts Murphy Geospatial are set to expand their offering across the UK with an innovative new office in Birmingham. The impactful company provides critical surveys and data to clients so they can work with confidence and maximise efficiencies across the project lifecycle. Intertrain celebrates Ofsted recognition Intertrain, a City & Guilds business, have been awarded a ‘Good’ provider accreditation from Ofsted. Ofsted inspects institutions providing education and skills for learners of all ages to ensure that they are delivering training which meets the high standards set by the Government. Intertrain were praised by Ofsted for planning a curriculum to meet training needs and addressing the skill shortages in the rail infrastructure industry. Railway Benefit Fund launch an Emergency Fuel Fund for railway staff Charity the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) have launched an Emergency Fuel Fund, in reaction to the increased cost of living many are expected to experience in the UK. The Emergency Fuel Fund offers applicants a maximum grant of £200 to support with the cost of gas and electricity bills. RBF have created this Fund to help support those working in or retired from rail who will be hit the worst by price hikes this year. To be eligible for the grant, applicants must have at least one years’ experience on UK railways, and have a gross household income of less than £35,000. The Emergency Fuel Fund grant is available to current, former, and retired railway workers.


GWR Night Riviera returns to full service following engineering work The world famous GWR Night Riviera sleeper is returning to full service after critical engineering work at Parson’s Tunnel in South Devon, was completed. The service, which has been partly suspended since the end of January, will return to full operation with services once again operating on Sunday to Friday evenings. The overnight closure of the railway over the past eight weeks has enabled Network Rail’s engineers to safely complete crucial piling work as part of its £37.4 million resilience project to construct a rockfall shelter extension north of Parson’s Tunnel between Dawlish and Holcombe. Work on this important resilience project

had already started, however, engineers identified that the condition of the ground was not sufficient to be able to safely begin the piling work from the side of the railway, and that all piling must therefore be done by a specialist piling rig from the track itself. As a result, the railway line between Exeter St Davids and Teignmouth needed to be closed overnight for eight weeks to enable the work to be completed safely. This project forms part of Network Rail’s wider South West Rail Resilience Programme (SWRRP) which is helping protect the vital rail artery to the south west, helping to ensure a reliable train service for generations to come.

‘Wales on Rails’ – New Sustainable Tourism Project Launched A new tourism project called ‘Wales on Rails’ has been launched to encourage more people to travel around Wales sustainably using the national rail network, heritage railways and buses. Transport for Wales’s Community Rail Partnerships and Visit Wales have jointly funded the new initiative that promotes the use of public transport to link key tourist attractions and offers visitors the chance to experience some of the most scenic rail networks in the world. Through using the website www. walesonrails.co.uk, visitors are able to plan their trip around Wales and choose from visitor attraction themes such as fantastic food, awesome adventures, heroic heritage, glorious gardens and obtainable outdoors. James Price, Transport for Wales CEO added: ‘’Wales on Rails’ brings together our Wales and Borders rail network, 12

heritage and steam railways, and our bus routes, offering people the chance to use this sustainable transport network to travel around the country to a range of tourist attractions. It’s not only a safe and sustainable way to travel around Wales but the journeys themselves are a major part of the attraction, as some of our rail routes are the most scenic in the world. ‘This project is another example of the importance of our Community Rail Partnerships at TfW and how they are working collaboratively to bring social and economic benefits to the communities we serve.’ The project is being managed by the Great Little Trains of Wales, a partnership promoting the twelve heritage railways in Wales and supported by 5 Community Rail Partnerships.

Class 158 and 197 at Llandudno Junction

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DB Cargo UK successfully trials the use of ‘combiconsists’ DB Cargo UK is trialling the use of ‘combi-consists’ to increase capacity, improve customer service and improve its efficiency. In March the UK’s largest rail freight operator ran a unique jumbo train from Belmont Yard in Doncaster to Barking, East London, carrying a mix of wagons for two altogether different types of customers. The train consisted of two sets of empty wagons – 21 x MBA wagons for Ward Recycling and 18 x JNA wagons for FCC Environment – with an isolated DIT (dead-in-train) locomotive – in the middle. The MBA wagons had previously been discharged at Immingham in North Lincolnshire and the JNA wagons discharged at FCC Environment’s new waste transfer facility at Tinsley in South Yorkshire. Both sets of wagons were then taken to DB Cargo UK’s Belmont Yard depot in Doncaster where the jumbo train was assembled. The train travelled from Belmont Yard to Barking via Lincoln Central, Spalding, The East Coast Mainline, Hertford North and Canonbury Tunnel. Chief Sales Officer Roger Neary said DB was delighted with the results of the trial, which had numerous benefits for both the rail freight company and its customers. ‘Combining two customers’ services into one train allowed us to reduce the required number of traincrew, freeing up resources to use

on other services. It also enabled us to significantly reduce our fuel consumption, making the train not only leaner, but greener too. ‘We had to obtain special permission to run the service with a locomotive in the middle dead-in-train but this reduced the need for complicated shunting at both ends of the journey. It enabled us to hook FCC Environment’s wagons on to the back of Ward’s wagons without having to remove the locomotive and run it round. It’s much more efficient in terms of yard management’ he added. Roger said that the initiative would drive greater reliability on a rail corridor that has recently seen very strong growth, with new services from the ports of Felixstowe and London Gateway for Maritime and new services for FCC Environment from DB Cargo UK’s London aggregates terminals to two new terminals located at Tinsley and Peterborough. DB now intends to take the trial one step further by proving the concept on a greater portion of the East Coast Mainline & Midland Mainline, further improving the efficiency of the service.

Nexus appoints Taziker to carry out £3 million bridge renewal project on the Tyne and Wear Metro Nexus has appointed engineering specialists Taziker to carry out a major bridge replacement project on the Tyne and Wear Metro this summer. The Tanners Bank bridge, which is located on the Metro line between Tynemouth and North Shields, in North Tyneside, is to be removed to allow an entirely new bridge to be fitted. Taziker, a Lancashire based firm which specialises in big infrastructure schemes, will carry out the work on behalf of Metro’s operator, Nexus, in July. Nexus needs to replace Tanners Bank bridge due to its age. The current structure dates all the way back to the Victorian era. Taziker will remove the old bridge and use a specialist lifting rig to install the new bridge during a major line closure on Metro. The work will help to secure a key piece of Tyne and Wear Metro’s infrastructure for many years to come. North Tyneside Council and Nexus are working in partnership to improve this key road into the Fish Quay as part of the council’s wider North Shields regeneration plan, as well as making sure the Metro can run smoothly for decades to come. The project, funded through a £2.7 million grant from the Department for Transport’s Highways Challenge Fund, £300,000 from the Metro Asset Renewal Programme and £103,000 from North Tyneside Council, will see clearance beneath the bridge raised to allow large HGVs and double decker buses to get to and from the fish quay. Major Projects Director at Nexus, Cathy Massarella, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Taziker on this major bridge renewal project in North Tyneside. ‘Taziker have a fantastic track record in delivering big engineering schemes like this, and planning is already well underway ahead of the

works taking place in July. ‘The replacement of the bridge is a big engineering challenge, and when the work takes place it will only be the second time that we have completely removed a Metro bridge and replaced it in this way. The new bridge deck will be lifted into place using specialist heavy duty lifting equipment during a major line closure. ‘This is a vital part of Metro’s infrastructure which needs to be replaced as it’s life expired. The current bridge was built in 1863 and has served Metro for the last 41 years – but this summer is the right time to replace it. ‘The new structure will ensure that we can run trains in this area for many more generations to come, and the new one will allow greater clearance above the road that more buses are able to get down to North Shields Fish Quay.’

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News in brief Northern signs deal to help boost visitor economy of Peak District & Derbyshire Northern, has signed a deal with Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire to become one of its new strategic partners. In this role, it will work with the destination management organisation and a new network of other influential businesses on a shared commitment to promoting tourism in the Peak District and Derbyshire. The partnership seeks to increase the value of the area’s visitor economy and raise its profile as a world-class visitor destination.

Plans revealed for £3.5 million footbridge at Royston station Network Rail has announced plans to build a new £3.5 million accessible footbridge at Royston station to help Thameslink and Great Northern passengers switch platforms more easily. Installing the new footbridge will bring back a direct pathway between the two platforms, and two new lifts will provide a vital step-free route.

New £3.6 million bridge opens at Suggitt’s Lane in Cleethorpes A £3.6 million accessible footbridge in Cleethorpes opened on 18 March to reconnect people in the seaside town with the beachfront. The new bridge includes ramps and stairs to provide an accessible and safe route over the railway from Suggitt’s Lane to the promenade. The project was jointly funded with £2 million from Network Rail and £1.6 million from the DfT, and will now be owned and maintained by North East Lincolnshire Council. It was built to replace a level crossing which was closed for safety reasons in April 2019.

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CWE Ltd wins major overhaul project with Network Rail CWE Ltd – the independent supply, maintenance and logistics partner for the rail industry – has signed a major new contract with Network Rail to overhaul the draftgear assemblies of its Mk3 Autoballaster fleet. The Mk3 Autoballasters are part of Network Rail’s material delivery fleet and are used to deliver ballast to worksites. They undergo scheduled 10-yearly maintenance which includes the requirement to overhaul the draftgear. Each Mk3 Autoballaster rake consists of five wagons, with a set of draftgear composed of eight assemblies. In total, the project will see CWE overhaul 24 assembly sets at its Centre of Excellence for Rail, which is based at its facility in Crowle. CWE was chosen as the preferred partner for the project thanks to its long history of providing one of the most

comprehensive maintenance and overhaul services in the UK. The contract win builds on CWE’s existing work with Network Rail, which has seen it manage ad hoc and planned outage support for Network Rail’s rail grinder fleet,

overhauling multiple parts within the trains. It also comes after the recent launch of CWE’s Centre of Excellence for Rail, which brings all of its market-leading capabilities together on one site, and its new hydraulic and mechanical buffer cell.

One third of London Underground stations are now step-free Harrow-on-the Hill becomes London's 91st step-free Tube station, meaning that a third of Underground stations are now step-free. Four new lifts have been installed at Harrow-on-the-Hill station, providing a step-free route between the street and Metropolitan line trains. In addition, station signage has been enhanced to assist with wayfinding. Boarding ramps will continue to support customers boarding or alighting Chiltern trains, and with TfL's Turn-up-andgo service, staff will be on hand to assist customers if required. With the completion of step-free access schemes on the wider TfL network, the average additional journey time required for step-free journeys has now been reduced to around 6.7 minutes. This compares to 9.5 minutes in 2016, meaning significant progress has been taken towards the Mayor of London's aim of halving 2015's additional

journey time of eleven minutes by 2041. The completion of the step-free scheme at Harrow-on-the-Hill increases the total number of step-free London Underground stations to 91, meaning that one third of the 272 stations on the Tube network are now step-free – a 33 per cent increase since 2016, when Sadiq Khan was first elected as Mayor of London. In 2021, step-free access schemes were completed at Sudbury Hill (in December), Osterley (in October), Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms on the Northern Line Extension (in September), Wimbledon Park (in August), Ickenham (in June), Debden (in April) and Amersham (in February). In addition, Ealing Broadway was made stepfree in May 2021 in preparation for the Elizabeth line, and Whitechapel became stepfree when the original station entrance on Whitechapel Road re-opened in August 2021.




Scott Harrison, Managing Director at Aquarius & Permaquip Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Scott Harrison, Managing Director at Aquarius & Permaquip about the partnership between Aquarius and Permaquip, aligning company cultures, and new training techniques You’re coming up on two years as Chief Operating Officer at Permaquip, how has the experience been so far? With over 27 years of designing, procuring, using, maintaining, and refurbishing Permaquip equipment over the course of my career, I have to say it was fairly seamless when I joined the Permaquip team! I knew the equipment so well, and the team were really welcoming, so it was a real pleasure! You worked with Permaquip during your time at Network Rail, how has the company developed since your time working with them ten years ago? One of the great consistencies of Permaquip has been that the product quality has always remained high, and the behind-the-scenes investment in engineering services and MRP systems have definitely helped keep the design and manufacturing capability at the cutting edge. It’s easy to get complacent in an industry like rail, and I’m proud to say that in all the time I have been working with Permaquip products, both as a user and now as a team member, there is no letting the grass grow under our feet! There are a number of new products to launch in 2022 and beyond, and I’m excited to see them come to the market. You’re also approaching one year as Managing Director at Aquarius Railroad Technologies following on from Permaquip’s acquisition of the company last year. You said at the time your plan Rail Professional

was to retain the talent and experience within the business and listen to feedback from customers about where they need you to help them. How has this first year gone in terms of working towards that goal? In 1998 I met with James Platt in Bristol, Keynsham actually where he had dropped in to borrow a range of tools to fix his first Landrover that was on hire to Amey. From that day the Aquarius products played a key part of my working life. This allowed me to understand the products and brand and what was needed to build on past successes. In business there is always an element of staff churn, Aquarius being no exception - we are delighted that the majority of the team chose to stay with us for the next stage of the Aquarius journey and are grateful for the huge experience that they bring to the table every single day. There’s an incredible amount of product and industry knowledge within the Aquarius team, and that is something we are always keen to build on and support. Our plan from the start was to bolster staff numbers, we have supported this with the appointment of team leaders Julia Fryer in sales and marketing, and Mark Robinson in engineering design and support services. In Permaquip we have also appointed five new staff to support the new production facility, who also support the Aquarius team. As we move forwards into 2022, following feedback from existing customers, we will roll out our strategic plan for the launch of new products and services.

What do you see as some of the cornerstones of what has made Aquarius such a success? The continual development of a Road 2 Rail offering that meets market requirements is definitely the key to Aquarius’ ongoing success. The ability to seamlessly transport the vehicle, trailer, goods, tools and personnel from a depot to the worksite in one seamless operation provides a standalone unique offering in the UK. That said, having some great designs and products to support this helps, and Aquarius is the industry leader in the provision of vehicles and trailers up to 3.5t in the global market. How has the partnership faired, has it been a sort of ‘greater than the sum of its parts’ relationship? I believe that every successful relationship should be greater than the sum of its parts, shouldn’t it? Permaquip and Aquarius are natural bed fellows. Our joint facilities are now located together, which has allowed our efficiencies to increase, and our teams are now both aligned to a four-day working week – something which research has shown provides no drop in productivity, but delivers a significant boost to employee morale, something which in today’s turbulent world, we are keen to ensure! I think we can all agree that if the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that ensuring every person within an organisation has a good work-life balance,



Aquarius Rail D-Max R2R Vehicle

Aquarius Rail R2R 4x4 with Welfare Unit



it’s as important as any corporate decision. The next stage of our joint partnership is delivering the recent awards we have secured. There’s plenty to keep everyone busy, but I’m confident that the teams that we have in place will deliver over and above! What does ‘seamless partnering’ mean to you? This works both up and down the supply chain, with the customer, and with internal teams. Seamless partnering will fall apart if there’s not a perfect blend between these three elements. In order for it to work, there can be no gaps, no breaks in progress, and a bump-free operation has to be delivered from start to finish, over the full life cycle of the product. In truth, although we source our materials within the UK it’s been near impossible during a worldwide pandemic and now as we face a significant international conflict to maintain seamless partnering in a real life context. However, I believe the important part is good, honest communication up and down the chain – everyone is in the same boat with the challenges we are facing and I hope everyone we work with understands that we will always pull out every stop to deliver safely and on time. Bringing together the Permaquip and Permaquip Type B Trolley

Aquarius supply chains allows us to reduce risk, build a more robust supply chain, all with the goal of providing just in time materials and services to support the customer’s end demands and needs. What sort of challenges have you faced so far? With both Permaquip and Aquarius the challenge has been the pure volume of new customers and opportunities to supply globally. Which is a terrible problem to have, I’m sure you’ll agree! What are some techniques you’ve employed for aligning the different company cultures? In relocating Permaquip to Aquarius we had the opportunity to standardise on one operating structure for staff, a four-day working week and a ‘one’ team attitude in employment, training, and appraisals. I have been open and honest with every member of both teams, whether incoming, outgoing or remaining. There have been stressful times, of course – moving a factory 200 miles up the road over a cold Christmas is never going to be entirely plain sailing, and there have been some moments where we’ve all been stood in the snow in Ripon, scratching our heads and laughing at a

ball we’ve dropped, but you have to turn these hiccups into opportunities for pulling together. There’s no benefit in pointing fingers and apportioning blame, we’re one team and all in it together. Add to this investment into sales and customer support CRM systems, enhanced manufacturing systems via CIM50 and one single process flow for staff to work to all allows for a clearer understanding of what we do and how we service our customers better. The acquisition allowed for additional facilities to be made available to Permaquip, how have you made use of these new facilities? Training, testing and development have been the main areas of our activity. Product familiarisation and training are key to internal quality and understanding as well as to helping customers reduce damage and repair costs whilst getting the best out of the equipment that they can. Our Aquarius test track is ideal for Permaquip products to be familiarised on and our internal training workshop area has been completed in February. Our final stage will be the fitment of the IT to the existing training room, bringing classroom, workshop and trackside training all into one offering.


So far the training area has been used internally to support the development of the new battery power pack, lightweight stressor and existing stressor upgrade kits, our new rail trolley and iron man products. Allowing hundreds of hours to be clocked up in on-track use, all pre-proving Permaquip products. Permaquip’s relocation has also given you access to a dedicated test and exhibition area: including an on-site test track. The move was recent, but have you had a chance to take advantage of the test track? We have used the test area quite extensively with the development work on our stressing equipment. We have hosted a number of end-user product familiarisation and test days to gain feedback on our product modifications, we have also held a number of contract review meetings for new products. To date, all the feedback has been positive, which is all to the credit of the Permaquip and Aquarius staff who arrange and run the event days on-site! In terms of training, how have you adapted to the new environment? With 50 years of industry supply in Permaquip and 25 years in Aquarius, both

companies have some great processes. The first stage was to review the processes and look for where improvements could be cross implemented, quick wins, simple and effective. All of Permaquip and Aquarius products are covered by detailed build plans that are then supported by RPA assessments and LOLER training for all staff. Refreshing the new team with the required training was as simple as following the procedure! There have been some changes, we have promoted to staff the importance of carbon reduction, how we reuse or recycle certain materials. The change of location has allowed us to reset what we feel is important to the planet as well as to what is important to our business. Looking ahead to the upcoming structural changes in the rail industry, what plans do you have in place to continue your role in working with the major players in the UK’s rail sector – both at the regulatory level and elsewhere in the supply chain? The commitment from myself, Permaquip and Aquarius is to make sure a reputation of quality service and products are continued into the future. In the months since acquiring Aquarius we have made considerable steps forward, especially in aligning with our customers.


We have a full vehicle and trailer build order book out to September 2023 and our hire fleet is pretty much booked out for UK and overseas work. On the Permaquip side we have a contract order book of around the same period, plus an expanding product line that will drive safety, improved ergonomics, lower whole life cost and longterm refurbishment cost to our customers. These contracted orders will allow us to work with key organisations during the industry structural changes. Personally, driving safety, innovation, development, and reduced carbon-producing products into rail and highways are key for me. At regulatory level this driver will enable us all to bring change to the industry by supply chain alignment. For any suppliers who believe they have products or services that could be introduced to rail or highways, I hold a monthly roundtable to assess and review. Without continual new innovation, we will never get to where we need to be. I am proud to work in an industry where there is always an exciting new innovation waiting at the next stop, and am always happy to work with and between suppliers who have a product and a passion for change! Scott Harrison, Managing Director at Aquarius & Permaquip

Permaquip Ironman

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Paul Capener, Managing Director of XEIAD Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Paul Capener, Managing Director of XEIAD about the company’s training academy, upskilling the industry and the company’s growth In January, Paul Capener was appointed as Managing Director of XEIAD, an established UK structural inspection and investigation engineering consultancy. Paul has been with XEIAD for 18 years and has been integral to the development of the business taking XEIAD from a micro-SME to an established SME now employing circa 200 staff. He is experienced in managing and coordinating major asset inspection and structural investigation contracts, rail civils projects including track renewal schemes, bridge reconstruction and rehabilitation, civil asset repairs and maintenance, and structural health monitoring. How did XEIAD get started, what significant changes to the rail sector have you seen during that time, and how would you say XEIAD has adapted to those changes? The business was formed in 2003, focussing on specialist access inspections, specifically rope access and diving, in the transportation sector. Over the initial ten years, the business grew from a start-up to an established SME delivering a wide range of projects and spread organically into marine and petrochemical markets. In 2014, with new investment we shifted our focus from being a small company just growing organically to looking at achieving a step change. The majority of our operations had always been around structural inspections whether that be within a confined space, dangling from ropes or diving below water to determine asset condition for clients. When I joined the rail industry 25 years ago, the examination contracts were procured in a way that generally prohibited SME organisations from tendering. The only opportunities companies like ours had was to support the larger organisations as a Tier Two supplier. This did create opportunities

for growth, but our vision was always to secure one of the main contracts ourselves. 2014 saw the first of our big opportunities with Network Rail bringing the North West and Central examinations contract in-house. The specialist access framework was the first of our Tier One contracts with Network Rail and allowed us to commit to development in people and technology. This was the start of our digitisation process. In the latest round of procurement, Network Rail had dramatically changed their approach to market and facilitated opportunities for SMEs to tender for the Regional examination contracts by restructuring the contracts into a number of Lots. As XEIAD had been carefully preparing for this since the beginning of CP6, we were well positioned to define exactly which of the Lots we sought to secure and prepared ourselves accordingly. With the incumbent supplier having held the contracts throughout the majority of the UK for the past 20+ years, we knew that the tender process was going to be tough. We had a great bid team though, with a wealth of technical and commercial knowledge drawn from a wide pool of industry experience, we knew that our tender submission would be strong. So this brings us to 2021. Having been successful in all tenders that we prepared for, we secured the Eastern Region Detailed Examinations Contract, Western Route Structures Examination Contract, Wessex Route Structures Examination Contract,

Southern Region Culverts Examinations Contract and Southern Region Underwater Examinations Contract. On top of this, we also secured a seven-year contract with National Highways for the Historic Railway Estate East Area Examinations Contract and more recently the Southwest Technical Surveys and Testing contract for Highway Bridge Inspections. So all in, quite a successful year! In order to step up and mobilise for the contracts, competent people, particularly skilled Engineers and Examiners were always going to be essential. We successfully transferred over 100 people into the business and directly recruited over 25 more, however, as part of our delivery strategy the one area that needed urgent investment was the training and upskilling of new Examiners throughout the country. Unfortunately, over the past ten years, there has been a significant underinvestment in new Examination and Inspection resources, this has not just been restricted to the rail sector though as we’ve seen a shortage in competent inspection resource throughout the wider industry – this is an industry challenge. Rail Professional



recruitment for the course has been very stringent and we’ve only selected the very best. So what used to be a two year process now only takes four to five months. The learning never stops though, additional modules and further training, development and assessment will continue for many years to come. We've got three cohorts scheduled this year, that’s over 30 new Examiners which will be trained up and deployed into our teams this year. Following that, we’re looking at the prospect of delivering further examination programmes but not only for us, but to support the wider industry. With the coming launch of Great British Railways, how do you anticipate your place within the supply chain changing? So you’ve identified a long term trend that actually needs to also be solved in the short term, how did you develop these shorter training courses that delivered qualified staff within that shorter timeframe? Historically, to become a competent Structures Examiner, you would normally take around two years to achieve the right level of competence. However, in that time we are going to be moving towards the back end of our contracts already, so we needed to define a way where we could develop resources and have them trained up much more quickly. Traditionally, you would have Trainee Examiners working on active site work and the training would be delivered progressively over a period of time. Our proposal was to condense the technical training into a shorter time frame but crucially, for the on site mentoring phase, we removed the Trainees from productive and billable work and placed them into environments where they can learn quickly with multiple mentors and assessors providing dedicated support in a safe and supportive environment. By delivering the training programme this way, their focus is to complete a large number of inspections in a condensed timeframe which exposes them to a wide variety of different types of structures and a range of conditions. Many of the structures we’re inspecting during the programme are on historic and heritage railway lines, which present the range of defects required to generate the knowledge and experience required. This programme is an intensive one and is not going to be for everyone, our Rail Professional

The work XEIAD do is safety critical and essential to ensure the safe upkeep of our railways, the transition to Great British Railways is not going to change that. I believe that the structural inspection services should be left within the private sector, we are very well placed to invest in both people and technologies that will improve productivity and optimise delivery of services. The important alignment is the continual knowledge sharing within industry so that our developments are clearly meeting the needs of the ultimate client. In terms of technology, how do you anticipate things might change in the next five to ten years? The one thing I think I've seen over last few years is the introduction of drones and other survey technologies, whilst they have huge advantages in specific areas, in terms of everyday structural inspections, they are still very much a tool in the box. For safety critical assets, I believe there will always be a place for the competent Inspector or Engineer looking at the structure and interpreting the data to produce a report and provide recommendations to the client who can then make their informed decisions. Over the 5-10 years, I expect the visualisation of assets to become more commonplace. We’re starting to do this already with some great results, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we complemented the traditional reports we see today with 3D models of assets as a standard deliverable highlighting defined defects and providing

overlays to compare deterioration from one inspection to the next. However, the one consistent factor with this will still be the competent Structures Examiner who remains the eyes and ears on the ground. What do you have planned for the year ahead? The focus for us has been on mobilising for these examination contracts, at the same time we’ve gone from 60 people in the business and will be employing well over 200 people by the end of the year. In terms of new contracts, CP7 isn’t too far away so we’re looking at new opportunities and specifically where we can widen our service provision now that we’ve got the geographical coverage across the UK. We will continue to remind industry that we Keep Critical Infrastructure Safe. As a business, our focus is to capture accurate digital data on site, be that a bridge inspection, site investigation, river survey, or structural investigation and produce interpretive and factual reports to allow asset owners and managers to make informed decisions on their assets. Now that we’ve achieved the geographical coverage and have the major contracts to support investment in technology and digitalisation of our data, we will be looking at how we develop our services within those boundaries but also within that sphere of data collection and interpretation, including deployment of alternative reporting methods beyond the traditional formats. So if we were speak again this time next year, what would make you look back on the year that had just gone and say it was a successful year? I would look at the fulfilment of our recent contract wins as a symbol of the successful mobilisation across multiple regions. The challenge of bringing people across from one company to another, to recruit and train people in the XEIAD way, all of which would not have been achieved without the support of both the existing team and those who transferred across. We have some great engineers, trainers and assessors at XEIAD who have lived and breathed structures examinations for many years and they are eager to impart that knowledge on others. I’ve had a number of mentors over the years who have supported me to where I am now and I want to ensure that the next generation of engineers and examiners have those same opportunities too. Finally, I would like to thank the Great Central Railway, Network Rail and National Highways for access to their assets and their ongoing support in the development and implementation of the XEIAD Examiner Training Programme. Paul Capener is Managing Director of XEIAD






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The Cheek of it Chris Cheek

Rail recovery continues during autumn quarter Rail patronage continued to grow during the October to December quarter, latest ORR stats show


he recovery in demand for rail services in Britain from the depths of the Covid lockdowns continued during the autumn, with passenger numbers more than 80 per cent higher than the same quarter in 2020. Demand was affected in both years by surges in Covid, though the three-week lockdown imposed in November/ December 2020 was not repeated. Overall, demand rose by 86.2 per cent over the same quarter in 2020, according to National Rail Trends statistics, published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). However, numbers were still 44 per cent lower than in 2019. The provisional figures cover the third quarter of fiscal year 2021/22, finishing at the end of December: across the network, 259.1 million passenger journeys were made during the twelve-week period, up from 139.2 million in 2020. Between them, they covered eleven billion passenger kilometres, 166 per cent up, and paid a total of £1.7 billion in fares, 165 per cent more than in 2020. Looking at demand by ticket type, advance tickets were up by 283 per cent, whilst anytime peak and off-peak fares were up by 105.5 per cent and 135.5 per cent respectively. Season ticket holders made 30.8 per cent more journeys. However, all categories continued to be down on 2019 levels, with season tickets down 69.1 per cent, followed by anytime peak fares at 30.2

per cent and off-peak fares at 18.3 per cent. Advance purchase tickets came within 4.9 per cent of 2019 levels. The long distance InterCity operations

259.1 million passenger journeys were made during the twelve-week period, up from 139.2 million in 2020. saw the strongest growth during the quarter, being 216.8 per cent up on 2020, and 31.8 per cent down on 2019. Looking at individual InterCity operators, LNER fared the best, growing its traffic by 292 per cent and recovering to 83.6 per cent of 2019 levels. Cross Country fared the worst on 173 per cent growth over 2020, thus only recovering to 58.5 per cent of its 2019 patronage.

Amongst the regional franchises, total patronage was 169 per cent up on 2020, but remained 36.6 per cent below 2019 levels. Amongst individual TOCs, TfW saw the strongest recovery, with patronage up 207 per cent from 2020, though still 66.5 per cent below its 2019 figures. Merseyrail saw the lowest growth in the quarter, 38.3 per cent, leaving it at 48 per cent below 2019 levels. The recovery was at its most sluggish in London and South East operators. Between them, they carried 165.6m passengers in 2021, up 56.4 per cent on 2020 and 47.3 per cent below 2019. Strongest quarterly growth came at West Midlands (up 161.5 per cent), Chiltern (149.6 per cent) and Southeastern (94.7 per cent). Weakest were c2c (53.2 per cent) and South Western Railway (55.9 per cent). Rolling year figures The national totals for the twelve months ended 31 December show that, compared with the last pre-Covid year of 2018/19, the number of passenger journeys was 55.5 per cent lower at 792 million. Passenger kilometres travelled fell by 55.8 per cent to 30.2 billion, whilst passenger revenue saw a similar fall of 56.9 per cent to £4.6 billion. Once again, performance varied between the sectors, though less markedly than in previous Covid-hit quarters. Passenger journeys saw a 53.9 per cent decrease on the InterCity routes, whilst 53.4 per cent fewer



passenger kilometres were travelled. On the regional routes, there was a 55.1 per cent reduction in the number of journeys, with passenger km 53.1 per cent down. Passenger journeys on the London and South East routes fell by 55.9 per cent, with passenger kilometres down by 58.8 per cent. Comment There were some similarities between the two autumn quarters, with both years seeing fewer restrictions at the start of the period, with surges in infection rates depressing demand once again towards the end.

Season ticket holders made 30.8 per cent more journeys. The clear upward movement we saw during the summer quarter was maintained, though the recovery was much stronger in the longer distance and regional routes, with the commuter routes in London and the South East lagging a full fifteen points behind the other sectors, only recovering to 53 per cent of 2019 levels compared with 68 per cent on the InterCity routes and 63.4 per cent in the regions. This is reflected in ticket sales too: season ticket sales once again showed the weakest recovery of any ticket type and passenger journeys remained almost 70 per cent down on 2019 levels, with revenue similarly down. By contrast, the mainly leisure-based advance-purchase products grew to within just four per cent of the 2019 levels. Sales of high-yielding Anytime Peak tickets remained

more than 30 per cent down on 2019 levels, but off-peak sales recovered to within 18 per cent of pre-Covid levels. The problem for DfT, and eventually for Great British Railways, is that not only are passenger numbers still well down, but the revenue earned for each passenger kilometre travelled is also down. Across the system, the fall is around 2.5 per cent over 2019 levels (before inflation), but the loss rises to 5.9 per cent for advance and anytime peak products. The one bright spot is in off-peak fares, where the yield has improved by 1.6 per cent. Season ticket yields are down by 2.9 per cent. More recent trends on patronage levels are still available from the Department for Transport, through its continuing publication of transport demand estimates every week since the lockdown began in March 2020. At the start of the quarter, rail use was around 65-70 per cent of the 2019 figure, hitting over 70 per cent for three consecutive weeks in November. Then Omicron came along, pushing the government into plan ‘B’ and reimposing the ‘work from home’ advice, pushing passenger levels back down to just below the 60 per cent mark for most of January and early February. After the advice was lifted again in mid-January, demand began to recover again, and topped 70 per cent once more during the third week of February. However, there has been little further progress since then, and as I write, the most recent figure for the third week of March was still 70 per cent. This raises the question as to whether that is going to prove to be the upper limit to the recovery. The simple answer is ‘we don’t know’, but I have to say that it is still not looking good. We know that the combination of hybrid working, mass use of video conferencing and online shopping spells trouble for the railways – the big uncertainty is how much trouble. Modelling of the workforce suggests that hybrid/homeworking could be the longterm choice of 37 per cent of the workforce, rising to over 44 per cent in London. Latest

statistics on High Street footfall continue to show a fall of between 15 and 20 per cent compared with 2019. There seems to be a consensus amongst analysts that business travel volumes are likely to peak at 80 per cent of previous levels. This is before we add uncertainties of the outbreak of war in Europe, the return of inflation and the expected ongoing rise in interest rates to the mix.

TfW saw the strongest recovery, with patronage up 207 per cent from 2020, though still 66.5 per cent below its 2019 fi gures. All of which sets the context for government pressure on the industry to cut costs and reduce the revenue support bill. One of the features of the rail industry is its high level of fixed costs, especially in the short term. This restricts the scope for savings. Workforce numbers and the cost of pensions are two key areas in which cost reductions might be achieved – mention of which tends to provoke much sabre-rattling from the trade unions. The American author and self-help expert Karen Salmansohn once wrote that ‘the most challenging times bring us the most empowering lessons.’ Prepare to be empowered!



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Laying down the law

27 27

Martin Fleetwood

Managing the risk of cyber attacks Martin considers cyber security and ways of managing the risk in the wake of increasing cyberattacks


oint research by the British Chamber of Commerce and IT company Cisco, which was published earlier this year, revealed that over half of the companies they surveyed believed that their IT systems had been left more exposed to a cyber-attack due to the increase in people working from home. While the nature of the rail industry means that only a limited number of employees are working from home, there are significant number of employees who are engaged in remote working. Technology means that most remote workers stay in touch with their central office or with each other using electronic communications, giving a similar level of vulnerability as home workers. Setting the right level of protection Fortunately, the National Cyber Security Council (NCSC) have recently published a guide for organisations on the precautions to be taken when the cyber threat is heightened. It is important to note that the cyber threat an organisation faces may vary over time and a balance needs to be struck between putting in place complicated and expensive defences and having a workable system which can be managed by employees, particularly if they are in remote locations with limited

technical support available. For any organisation, the first step should be to ensure that the fundamentals of cyber security are in place and functioning correctly. How well do they actually function given the working arrangements in place? There is no point in having a complicated but secure system in place if it is considered too difficult to use and employees use a simpler, less secure ‘workaround’ to send data to each other. Sufficient training should also be provided so that staff are confident in using all of the security controls that form part of the system.

a different patching method compared to the software on the device. • Ensure internet-facing servers are patched for known security vulnerabilities. • Check to see whether third party equipment which links into the company's system is also correctly patched. If not, consider whether access permissions should be withdrawn until the relevant patch is installed.

Filling the known gaps Ensuring that the software is up to date and includes all relevant security patches is a really important aspect of cyber security. Software ‘patches’ are generally provided once a cyber-threat is identified and are designed to give a quick fix. Once a patch has been produced by a software provider a company's IT Team should:

Automatic updating of software can be applied to many types of device, but in a number of cases the user also needs to confirm the updating can take place. This can delay the introduction of the patch, particularly if the device cannot be used while the updating takes place. Managing the application of patches should be a consideration for the IT Team when a new patch is announced and relevant guidance given to management so that they can control the effects of the installation on the company's operations.

• Ensure that all of the company's desktops, laptops and mobile devices have received the patch and it is properly installed. • Check to make sure that any firmware on the company's devices is also patched – sometimes firmware requires

Controlling access How easy is it to access an IT system by pretending to be an existing user? All too often people use simple, easy to remember passwords or the same password for many devices, both personal and work related. Here the IT Team should:

Rail Professional



• Ask staff to ensure that their passwords are unique to the company's business system and are not used elsewhere. • Make sure that passwords are strong. NCSC recommends a string of three random words, although other organisations recommend using nonalphabet characters and numbers within the password. • If multi-factor authentication is enabled, it should be checked to ensure it is properly configured. • Review user accounts and remove any old or unused accounts, particularly those for people who have left the organisation. Where an account has privileged or administrative access, particular care should be taken to check who uses that account and whether the special rights are justified. Where privileged access is used for sensitive information or resources, consider whether additional access controls should be required, such as multi-factor identification. Managing incidents Cyber-attacks can be subtle, such as a phishing exercise, or a full frontal ‘denial of service’ attack. The first line of defence

Rail Professional

is to make users aware of potential cyberattacks and what to look out for. However, if the organisation's defences are breached, there should be an incident response plan available to manage and mitigate the effects. The IT and management teams should: • Review the incident response plan to ensure it is up to date and fit for purpose. • Confirm that the escalation routes and methods of contact work, particularly in the case of a cyber-attack taking out key systems. • Ensure there is clarity on who has authority to make key decisions on a 24/7 basis. • Ensure that back-up and recovery systems function as intended. • Undertake a table-top ‘war game’ to check that the relevant systems are able to be deployed and work correctly. If this is not the case, they should be updated ASAP. Prevention is better than recovery Protection against a cyber-attack is only as strong as the weakest link in the system. As data and access to data become more important to the operation of the rail

system, it is important that the correct levels of protection are provided. Systems should be backed up regularly (and checked for correct data recording), a copy kept offline and the restoration process fully understood. The next cyber-attack could be a simple click away, so now is the time to check that your system is as secure as it can be and that procedures are in place in case the worst does occur.

Martin Fleetwood is a Consultant at Addleshaw Goddard’s Transport practice. The Rail Team has over 30 lawyers who advise clients in both the private and public sectors across a wide range of legal areas. As well as contractual issues, the team advises on operational matters, franchises, concessions, finance, regulatory, property, employment, environmental and procurement issues. 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.


Women in Rail


Samyutha Bala & Ruth Busby

Improving gender diversity across the sector

Samyutha Bala

Ruth Busby

Samyutha Bala, Head of Customer Experience at Great Western Railway and Ruth Busby, HR Director at Great Western Railway and co-Chairs of Women in Rail South describe how we can broaden the appeal of rail to young people of all backgrounds


he pandemic has had a huge impact on our lives, one that will be felt long after the life returns to whatever new normal we settle in. Many of the changes have hit women particularly hard. Whilst there remain many challenges, opportunities have also arisen, including changes in the way we do things. When we took over as co-chairs of WR South in late 2020 we reflected on what value we could add, during the seemingly interminable series of lockdowns and home schooling, where the burden has fallen disproportionately on women, but also on the road to recovery. As we build back better, we must identify the opportunities to build back a more equitable world – generation defining events only come along every so often. With that in mind, we set about defining our strategy and areas of focus. We aim to improve the gender diversity in rail with four key areas of focus. Firstly, to broaden the appeal of rail to young people from all backgrounds, especially young girls, and women. Rail can seem like an intimidating and impenetrable

industry if you don’t know someone already working in it. School and university visits, virtual career fairs, work experience, and working with local authorities are all ways we can let young people know about our amazing industry and the incredible variety of roles we have to offer. To help make the industry more accessible and easier to discover we’ve launched an Instagram page –@womeninrailsouth – and plan to launch a podcast featuring a wide variety of women in rail. Secondly, we need to support women already in the industry to help them to grow and develop and to retain their talents within rail. Our events on personal and professional development, providing opportunities to network and build skills aim to support this. Our monthly book club is one of the enjoyable networking opportunities we’ve introduced, and all are welcome to join us in our April when we are reading ‘We Have Always Been Here’ by Samra Habib. Thirdly, there are many internal staff networks working within companies across rail that are doing a fantastic job in promoting gender diversity. We see our role

as bringing them together and sharing and learning from each other. And finally, we want to provide support for health, wellbeing, and resilience. After the year we’ve had, there is nothing that is more important than our mental and physical health. From Pamper sessions to workshops on wellbeing and resilience as we come out of the pandemic, we have events to support this. Rail has a huge part to play in levelling up, not only the economy, but in providing opportunities and careers for people and we need to show how inclusive and open we are to everyone from all walks of life. We’ve felt embraced and included in the big rail family in our own careers and hope to play our part in opening that up to more people. Here’s to a more equal, equitable and exciting industry!

To find out about Women in Rail and Women in Rail South Group, contact wr@womeninrail.org and South@ womeninrail.org

Rail Professional



Delivering the goods Mags Simpson

The future of rail freight in our hands: the whole industry Mags Simpson, Head of Policy Engagement at Logistics UK, provides an overview of Logistics UK’s response as we seek to ensure the plan delivers the best possible outcome for Great Britain’s logistics sector


he development of a Whole Industry Strategic Plan (WISP) for rail presents a unique opportunity to future proof our railways and address the key issues that have been curtailing their growth for decades. In February 2022, Logistics UK submitted its response to the Great British Railways Transition Team’s call for evidence to help develop this strategy. Commissioned by the Secretary of State for Transport, the WISP will detail five longterm strategy objectives for the rail industry: meeting customers’ needs; delivering financial sustainability; contributing to long-term economic growth; levelling up and connectivity; and delivering environmental sustainability. Delivering environmental sustainability The environmental benefits of utilising rail over other freight modes are well documented – for example, rail reduces CO2 emissions by up to 76 per cent compared to road – but the network needs to be decarbonised completely, predominately through electrification. The development of the WISP has a critical role to play in bringing forwards long-term, affordable plans for electrification of the network which will create the backbone for a net-zero rail network. In addition to transitioning rail freight to a low carbon mode, as the earth’s temperature continues to rise, climate change resilience must be built into the network. The Climate Adaptation Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk notes that the 2018 heatwave led to a 40-50 per cent increase in rail asset failure, and that 3,500 kilometres of rail length in areas are at significant risk of

surface water flooding. The report calls for engineered solutions in both road and rail, such as re-surfacing, changes in materials used, and earthworks and vegetation management to ensure services can continue effectively despite the impact of rising temperatures. Delivering financial sustainability As a private sector enterprise, rail freight operations rely on a sound business case to run services and attract investment; at present, the comparatively high cost-base of rail can make it challenging to deliver financially sustainable services. The rail charging regime is complex, and because freight operators can move several different products for customers in the same load, and often have both diesel and electric traction, they are subject to up to four separate charges: freight-specific charges for certain commodities; variable user charges; electrification asset user charges and traction electricity charges. Logistics UK is pleased that Great British Railways (GBR) – the replacement for Network Rail – will be reviewing charging mechanisms; to increase the use of rail for freight, we are calling on

the group to ensure there is a transparent and fair charging regime, balanced by clear independent oversight. Levelling up and connectivity Rail freight has a proven role in supporting the ‘levelling up’ agenda: the government’s intention to improve economic and social opportunities across the country. Research by Rail Delivery Group show that the rail sector’s benefits are ‘dispersed from Rail Professional



the South of England through the industrial Heartland of the Midlands, Wales and North England up into the central belt of Scotland and beyond’. Rail freight facilities such as intermodal interchanges, as well as rail-linked industrial facilities such as aggregates, power stations, construction sites and ports, all help unlock activity and employment in local areas. Inland rail intermodal interchanges are a clear example of added economic value, with developments such as East Midlands Gateway, Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, and East Midlands Gateway acting as catalysts to economic activity and development in the region. Logistics UK is urging GBR to seek out existing economic benefit analysis of these projects or if required, commission new work to assess this to ensure its value is understood and captured in planning scenarios. Future development of rail freight A key challenge for the rail sector is to accommodate the pent-up demand for freight rail services through the provision of capacity and by enabling operators and intermediaries to deliver reliable, valueadd services to customers; for example, Network Rail forecasts that if capacity

was unconstrained, there could be an increase of 32 per cent in tonnes (46 per cent in tonne kilometres), with intermodal tonnes doubling, for 2033/34. Logistics UK is calling for GBR to review this data and ensure that addressing the capacity limitations for freight services is a key objective in its plans. The international rail freight sector is under-utilised with international flows accounting for just two per cent of the domestic market. There has been a very welcome development recently with Getlink launching a daily unaccompanied freight service, and we encourage GBR to review inland rail connection facilities to enable this route to grow. There are many other areas where GBR could encourage rail freight growth, for example, the express parcel sector, the waste market, and the construction sector. For all core rail freight markets, the government should deliver the Strategic Freight Network (SFN) package of measures, which will boost rail capacity on the key freight market routes. To support the intermodal market, which has considerable growth potential, there are several SFN projects that GBR should prioritise, such as the Trans Pennine Route Upgrade committed in the Integrated Rail Plan,

and Southampton Train Lengthening, among others. The development of WISP and the creation of GBR is a golden opportunity to transform GB’s railways to ensure its use is maximised by businesses and consumers in the decades to come, while future proofing the mode against climate change and other challenges. Logistics UK will be working with GBR throughout the development of the WISP to ensure the voices of our members are heard. Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Covid-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of Covid-19 on the whole supply chain, please visit logistics.org.uk.

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What rail operators can learn from airports in smoothing journeys Siobhan Boyle, Marketing Manager at Veovo looks at answers transit operators can take from the Airport Operating Centres (APOC) playbook


ravel by city rail or metro has a long history of crowded platforms. Many of these stations are old and built in places where there's either no room to expand or, if underground, very costly to expand. The networks and stations are today moving a lot more people than they were planned for when designed decades ago. Busy can quickly turn into unsafe with delays in train arrival or departure; sudden influxes of unexpected groups of people, or platform closures due to maintenance works. Left unmanaged, crowds on stairs, escalators and platforms can cause a cycle of service operation issues and quickly turn a busy station into a safety risk hotspot. The more commuters there are, the longer trains have to wait for them to board and alight. The later trains are, as a result, the more crowded, uncomfortable and hazardous platforms become. Balancing safety, security and efficiency We know that positive rider experiences are built on a solid foundation of safety, security and efficiency. Safety hinges on the ability to prevent crowds before they form. Security relies on having a clear view of potential problems. And efficiency is only achieved when operators have a clear understanding of demand to plan resources and services accurately. There's nothing new to this conundrum; it is a challenge that rail operators have been dealing with since the early days. The question is, how can it be solved practically and cost-effectively. Rail operators aren't in it alone. Their travel counterparts, airports, also face irregular operations such as delays, mechanical issues and unexpected passenger behaviour – making decisions in real-time to balance resources with demand, minimise

disruption and create positive passenger experiences. So are there lessons that rail networks can learn from airports, including how to apply proven methodologies and coordinate multiple parties, to control crowding, provide safe travel, and streamline operations?

By capturing how people move, dwell, and transfer and linking it with scheduling information, operators can more accurately view trends over time Holistic problem solving Airport Operating Centres (APOC) are the eyes and ears of an airport. Organised as a physical or virtual centre, the APOC connects airport stakeholders – operations management, airlines, handlers, air traffic control, security and police – and provides a transparent picture of what's happening around the airport. The full potential of APOC boils down to capturing data and lots of it. Anything that could impact the timely departure of aircraft

or the safety of people – crowding, security queues, road traffic delays, air network traffic changes, aircraft mechanical issues, apron congestions, terminal incidents and more. Some rail networks and stations already run control rooms where they can manage signals, monitor trains and monitor CCTV camera feeds. These centres also allow them to work with emergency services to react quickly to large scale incidents. But simply sharing information doesn't always result in the best action, especially if its impact is not fully anticipated. Therein lies the strength of APOCs at airports, such as Schiphol and Brussels: predictive intelligence. These airports not only monitor real-time operational performance they also apply advanced analytics across a vast range of data to understand what will happen next. This enables airports to get ahead of issues with their partners – allowing for more efficient use of ground crew and resources, improving on-time departures and lifting overall air network performance. Mapping journeys start-to-end with real data Rail and transit operators can take a page of the airport APOC playbook by setting up a similar structure that provides a more holistic and predictive picture of activity across busy stations and the wider network. By capturing how people move, dwell, and transfer and linking it with scheduling information, operators can more accurately view trends over time– including passenger load per train, busier or quieter times of day or days of the week, and any effects of delays or planned city events. Importantly, mapping journeys, and not just movement within stations, helps identify travel patterns and pressure points that are not always evident from entry/exit logs or ticketing information. Rail Professional



A window of opportunity Advanced analytics combines these historical patterns with real-time movement data to predict the future, allowing rail operators to anticipate deviations from the normal and understand any expected knockon effect of disruptions. From unexpected traveller surges, train delays, security issues, breakdowns – proactive actions can be taken to eliminate or at least reduce any impact in both the station and across the network. For example, in response to anticipated overcrowding, riders could receive dynamic information on journeys. This could be recommendations at street level to use other entrances, messages on platforms on best places to stand and carriage to use. Or proactive suggestions to use alternative routes, diverting passengers from building hot spots. Likewise, automated turnstiles can control the flow of people into an already busy station, or digital signage could change to optimise flows to one way rather than bi-directional. Incorporating real-time platform and train occupancy data can also be used for operational decisions and service optimisation, such as minor adjustments to the train release. From better safety to better services As well as tackling operational challenges, airports have also been able to use passenger movement patterns to plan for better services and experiences. Many have increased their revenue and lowered their cost to serve as a result. For example, by installing people movement sensors in the wider airport

precinct, a North American airport now understands what transport options travellers use to get to the airport, identify

Incorporating real-time platform and train occupancy data can also be used for operational decisions and service optimisation, such as minor adjustments to the train release. any barriers to timely arrival and optimise connecting transport planning and parking facilities. Another European airport was able to clearly understand the routes passengers take through the terminal to the gate and the time spent in each area, including shopping and dwell patterns. With this

knowledge, they can better plan food and beverage site locations, including the placement of pop-up stores in high-density dwell areas, and adjust flow patterns to improve experiences and likelihood of increased spend. By understanding restrooms usage patterns and how it linked to the flight schedule, a European airport moved from rigid bathroom cleaning schedules to demand-based services, resulting in improved cleaning efficiency and cleaner facilities. Following the path of airports to smoother journeys With the right data, advanced analytics and a coordinated, centralised approach to decision making, it is possible for rail operators to reach new levels of efficiency and performance. From ensuring that crowds are redistributed as they start forming to allocating staff and services in real-time to where they're needed most, operations can be more efficient, safe and secure – in turn, attracting more riders and investment dollars. For airports, investing in centralised, data-driven operations centres has taken the front seat in improving performance, minimising disruptions and creating better passenger journeys. There's nothing stopping rail operators from doing the same. Need to inject some new thinking into your rail planning? Just look to the sky. Siobhan Boyle is Marketing Manager at Veovo

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Creating an environment for emotional and social wellbeing Liam Johnston, Executive Director of Railway Mission explains the strategic partnership and settings approach to health promotion


strategic settings approach to health promotion uses an internal/external partnership such as the Railway Mission chaplaincy. Chaplaincy enters the workplace with a mandate of pastoral support that is independent of the employer and is impartial and confidential support of all colleagues regardless of their position. Nonetheless, the railway industry may be considered as a single organisation that is made up of multiple parts. All of the larger railway businesses contribute to the support of the chaplaincy service. But, perhaps in the new era of Great British Railway, there is an opportunity to enhance the support and engagement with chaplaincy. There is a business case to make for the financial support of the Railway Mission chaplaincy. Early intervention is the most costeffective support for the health and wellbeing of individuals, as it is often said, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Hospitals, prisons, the army, navy and air force along with the railway industry have long recognised the value of pastoral care being provided by a chaplaincy team. Nevertheless, some in the railway industry still do not fully grasp the importance of the care and support provided by external organisations such as the Railway Mission chaplaincy team in creating and supporting an environment for emotional and social wellbeing. In July 1997, the WHO’s Fourth International Conference on Health Promotion adopted ‘The Jakarta Declaration’ which set out the direction of health promotion in the 21st century. The conference emphasised the importance of multi-sectoral cooperation and partnerships in addressing the health challenges that face our modern society. It also highlighted what is known as a ‘settings approach’ as one of

the main strategies for achieving the goals. The workplace is perhaps the most important of all the settings listed, along with schools, hospitals, and civil society in large conurbations that can affect positively and negatively the physical, mental, economic and social well-being of individuals, and in turn the health and wellbeing of their families, communities and the wider national culture. The rail industry offers the ideal background and structure to support the advancement of health and wellbeing of a large number of people. Of course, the focus is often directed at the environmental changes that can affect the support both of the physical health mental health. However, psychosocial hazards can either directly or indirectly be associated with workplace injuries, because indirect influences can be just as dangerous. Colleagues experiencing psychosocial hazards may suffer from poor quality of

sleep, depression or anxiety, self-medication with alcohol or other substances, through to emotional instability. When people experience any of these there is a greater risk of colleagues becoming momentarily distracted or making dangerous errors in judgement. There is also a risk of people putting their bodies under stress, increasing the potential for strains and sprains as well as reduced hand-eye coordination. This is the reason that the emphasis has shifted towards mental and even spiritual wellbeing in recent times. It is widely recognised that the health of railway colleagues is also affected by nonwork-related issues. In the past managers would say, ‘don’t bring your problems to work,’ but in reality, our problems become so embedded in our psyche, that not only do they stay with us, but can shape our view of the world and our relationships with colleagues and management. It is therefore important to ensure that the industry seeks Rail Professional



to give railway industry colleagues strategies and support that would aid the development of their understanding and skills to manage their personal health. Establishing a working environment conducive to health and wellbeing within and outside the respective railway company working environments has benefits beyond the individual worker because their families and the workplace colleagues also benefit. Moreover, a healthpromoting company can bring about positive changes which support the overall success of the organisation. The idea of a ‘health-promoting workplace’ is increasingly recognised as an important and relevant part of the overall corporate responsibility. Moreover, it is recognised that the future of any organisation and its success in an increasingly globalised marketplace can only be achieved with a healthy, qualified and motivated workforce. A health-promoting workplace can help to ensure a flexible and dynamic balance between customer expectations and organisational goals on the one hand, and employees' health needs and skills on the other. This is both essential


and desirable for companies if they are to participate effectively in the modern railway industry. The development of a health-promoting workplace is a prerequisite for sustainable social and commercial improvement. The WHO's Global Healthy Work Approach calls for the development of a comprehensive approach towards the promotion of health of all working populations. This approach is based upon four fundamental complementary principles: health promotion, occupational health and safety, human resource management,

and sustainable development. Fundamental to this approach are the partnerships and the involvement and co-operation of the key players not only from within a specific workplace but from all the areas that affect our working lives. The need to create partnerships and networks to effectively promote health was a key message of the Jakarta Conference. For a workplace setting's approach to health and wellbeing to be successful it is important that partnerships and networks are developed that can both facilitate the effective use of knowledge and resources to foster coordinated actions that will promote health, wellbeing and lifestyle changes. Such partnerships also can have a positive influence on issues that are external to the working environment such as psychosocial hazards from home and family environmental factors. Liam Johnston is Executive Director of Railway Mission he can be reached via the contact information below Twitter: @railwaychaplain Visit: www.railwaymission.org



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Staffing strategies must be ‘fixed’ to secure future for UK rail Phil Bulman of Vendigital explores the different drivers for change across the rail industry


iven that rail is a heavy asset industry, it is surprising that (according to analysis of ORR figures) staff represent 35 per cent of the costs of running the UK’s railways. On this basis, implementing more efficient staffing strategies is key to unlocking cost savings and securing a more sustainable future for the rail industry. To achieve this, a focus on mapping the workforce’s changing skills requirements and close collaboration with trade unions will be essential. The need for change is being driven by three factors; changes in technology, an ageing workforce and the challenge from Government to increase efficiency and reduce costs, in order to balance the books of the industry’s finances. Over the past years two years alone, 7,000 new and refurbished rail vehicles have entered service, constituting ~45 per cent of the total UK rail fleet. These new vehicles often replace trains built in the 1970s, bringing with them the latest in technology and capability. In addition to this, the first of a new breed of hybrid trains are beginning to enter service, often modifying mid-life rolling stock to decarbonise selected journeys. One such example is Chiltern Railways recently testing a hybridpowered train on its network, developed by Porterbrook. In another case, Alstom and Eversholt Rail have also announced plans to launch the UK’s first ever hydrogen-powered train fleet. Add to this the significant expected upgrades in signalling, moving to ETCS technology, starting with the East Coast digital project and the continued roll-out of digital ticketing solutions nationwide and this adds up to a huge change in the technology the railways. While this is great news in terms of the reliability and productivity that can be achieved, the workforce will need to adapt. Secondly, it is common knowledge in the sector that the retirement rate in the

rail workforce is above national average, with 45 per cent of the current workforce expected to retire in the next ten years. In order to meet its future skills requirements, the rail sector is expecting to recruit around 120,000 additional workers over the next five to ten years. With the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan pledging £96 billion investment for improvements such as the upgrading and electrification of existing lines and the rollout of digital ticketing, there will also be a need for the sector to respond by securing the right digital skills. Increased automation, in particular around ticketing, is also altering levels of demand for customer service. The final driver for change is following the Autumn Budget, the Treasury and Department for Transport (DfT) challenging train operating companies (TOCs) and Network Rail to reduce spending across the sector by ten per cent, with a view to addressing the £8bn hole in the industry’s finances. However, at a time when encouraging people back on the services is more important than ever, it’s vital that cost reduction efforts don’t come at the expense of the passenger experience. Addressing these three challenges will be key to delivering for both passengers, employees and the taxpayer and the response from all parts of the sector must be to embrace rather than resist the change.

The key question is how can the industry balance these forces for transformation? The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has recently commented that jobs in the railways “will need to change to become more passenger-centric”, in response to reports that hundreds of rail ticket offices could potentially close, as part of its plan to modernise rail services. By embracing new technologies and accepting that change is needed, the TOCs, Network Rail and critically the unions could work proactively together. This should involve planning how the workforce can adapt to new technologies, with recruitment, training and retraining of staff and the increased use of apprenticeships, to create a positive movement, with the interests of all parts of the industry at its heart. Achieving this will require more openness from all parties and will require a re-think of current work practices. A wide range of



solutions will also need to be considered to upskill staff working with new technology and build more flexibility into people’s roles. This is crucial to avoid disruption leading to single points of failure in staffing (e.g. driver shortages), which have been exacerbated in recent times due to Covid-19. By comparison, other sectors, such as aviation, went through this transition in years gone by and have reaped the rewards in terms of growth, investment and value for staff. In the long-term, expanding the scope of rail sector roles could also open up valuable opportunities for workers and help to support their career development, taking on more skilled tasks and responsibilities, working with new technology and reducing the need for manual tasks. Clearly promoting this message across all levels of the industry will therefore be important to getting staff and workers at all levels on board. The fear for many workers and unions is that any change will lead to lower wages and reduced workers in the sector and clearly the introduction of more automation and technology will mean less manual activity is needed in the long run. It is, however, quite achievable to see this happen in a gradual planned way that respects the existing workforce and manages the transition

in a productive and positive way. The organisations in the rail sector will need to make this very clear and perhaps make commitments to the spirit of the change protecting the rights of individual workers. Introducing greater flexibility around workers’ roles has traditionally been a sensitive area and unions have historically played an important role in facilitating member communications and optimising outcomes for the workforce. However, in order to achieve a sustainable future, it’s vital that the entire industry works together to deliver improvements in staffing strategies, for the benefit of all. These must take into account the requirements of TOCs, passengers and workers alike. Not recognising the urgent need for change in this area will inevitably result in falling passenger numbers and poor financial performance – a lose-lose situation for everyone. The industry should also think laterally about other opportunities to drive efficiencies, including the use of innovative contracts with private sector companies to drive innovation and productivity. Trade unions could play a central role in supporting this transformation by helping to map the industry’s changing skills requirements, assigning new staff to the right roles and upskilling workers wherever

necessary. This process must be delivered in line with developments in technology and the sector’s strategic objectives. For example, Network Rail is already in the process of setting up collaborative forums at a regional level, designed to facilitate constructive discussions across the industry. This could provide a valuable opportunity for unions to provide positive input around how to meet passengers’ future requirements, while looking out for the interests of workers. A radical rethink of rail sector roles is urgently needed to step up the industry’s productivity levels and improve its cost base, while strengthening passenger experience. However, this process doesn’t have to result in winners and losers. By adopting a joinedup approach to preparing the workforce and engaging positively with trade unions, UK rail stands a better chance of securing a sustainable future while protecting the interests of workers. The key question is who will take leadership in pulling organisations together and grasping the nettle!

Phil Bulman is a partner and cost-based management consultant at Vendigital. He specialises in advising businesses in the transport sector.

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Making carbon visible Stuart McLaren, Director – Net Zero Infrastructure/Decarbonomics at Atkins, along with Ali Mowahed, Director, Stations and TOD at Atkins and Cara Murphy, Client Director – Network Rail (UK) at Atkins, explain what Decarbonomics is and what it means


dentifying carbon within existing network assets could be the key to reaching net zero faster, with new data-driven solution, Decarbonomics, from SNC-Lavalin, Atkins and Faithful+Gould. Meeting net zero targets is no small task, particularly in the current climate of escalating costs, budget squeezes and rising customer expectations. When we factor in the crippling effects of Covid-19 on rail use, the proportion of antiquated and near end-of-life assets across the network, and the complex operational interfaces required to integrate with numerous facilities, services and infrastructure, it’s clear the UK rail industry has one of the toughest challenges ahead. Every organisation needs a net zero plan, and there’s increasing pressure from government, regulators and customers to be ever more ambitious with decarbonisation targets as we move towards 2050. To cut through the greenwash, interventions need to be realistic, effective, and ready to be rolled out imminently. The challenge is to identify the interventions that will give you the biggest ‘bang for your buck’; managing assets more effectively to reduce carbon emissions while representing good value for money. The obvious starting point is to build greener, through more rigorous building standards, modern methods of construction and the use of low carbon materials to minimise embodied carbon in new builds across the network. There’s no doubt this will go some way to reducing the massive carbon emissions associated with traditional construction, but it’s unlikely to be enough. With more than 80 per cent of buildings that will exist in 2050 already built, perhaps we should instead turn our heads to existing assets as a more effectual route to net zero. Unlocking potential When it comes to existing assets, there’s a tendency – across all sectors – to resign ourselves to the fact that the building work is complete, accept it would be too difficult and costly to retrofit, and put Rail Professional

up with the embodied carbon hangover left behind. This often means the only contribution these assets can make towards decarbonisation is through operational emissions savings where possible (which can be tricky in inefficient old buildings) and ‘balancing the books’ through offsetting – the effectiveness of which is contentious, to say the least. There are more than 2,500 regional railway stations in Great Britain, each of them with associated assets including buildings, platforms, parking facilities, lighting, telecommunications and security. Add in operational assets, such as control rooms, depots, train maintenance facilities and office space, and the sheer scale of what we’re dealing with starts to emerge. Dated, carbon-heavy assets are often seen as a burden of ongoing maintenance and failure management, but perhaps when it comes to opportunities to clear our carbon debt, they are just the ticket. With all this inherent carbon comes potential to significantly neutralise it through a range of interventions, from minor changes that are easy to implement, like upgrading lightbulbs, to complex adaptations that futureproof a building by making it modular or replacement-ready; reducing its carbon footprint in the long term.

The flipside of a carbon surplus is the scope for change and more freedom to explore innovative opportunities. Alternative energy generation – even using an asset base to create its own energy through solar panels or the utilisation of excess heat generation, for example, has the potential to minimise – or even eliminate – the need to use traditional energy sources on site. What if, instead of viewing our outdated assets as an inconvenient write off, it turned out this huge portfolio was in fact a unique opportunity to decarbonise on a massive scale, and significantly accelerate rail’s journey to net zero? It’s this proposition that forms the basis of the new paradigm-shifting Decarbonomics solution, developed by SNC-Lavalin, Atkins and Faithful+Gould. By shining a light on the unlocked potential of existing assets, it’s clear – not least in the rail industry – that this is where we can effect real change. What is Decarbonomics? Decarbonomics is an end-to-end solution that transforms system thinking into a deployable service, and gives a complete picture of carbon across a full portfolio of assets. It creates delivery-optimised roadmaps, offers industry-leading asset management, and integrates Project Management Office (PMO) tools and processes through advanced visual interfaces. By drawing on the wide range of capabilities across Atkins’ people, data and technology, Decarbonomics brings data to life and uncovers important technical and financial insights in a way that is easy to interpret. It uses advanced algorithms and dynamic dashboards to present opportunities for decarbonisation and demonstrate the impact of possible interventions. Manipulating a wide range of in-house and open source data, Decarbonomics enables informed decision making, supports the prioritisation of investment and helps organisations reach net zero faster. It offers individualised interventions at site-level in the context of a complete portfolio, and employs a bespoke algorithm to finely tune a


combination of measures that minimise risk, maximise value for money and optimise decarbonisation. Only with improved carbon literacy, access to complex data and accurate carbon profiling – through tools such as Atkins’ Rail Carbon Tool and the Decarbonomics Carbon Data Insights platform – can we land on targeted, carbon-friendly adaptations and alternatives to deliver ambitious climate targets cost effectively. Decarbonomics makes carbon visible, THE PROCESS Decarbonomics is based on a simple three-step process: 1. Benchmark – Data from across the portfolio is captured, structured and managed to benchmark current performance and develop a tailored carbon baseline to act as a starting point, identifying carbonintense assets and areas of focus that will make the biggest impact, quickly. 2. Roadmap – Carbon, cost and engineering solutions are analysed using advanced algorithms, industry-leading asset management tools, data digital twins and scenario modelling to create a bespoke roadmap employing the most cost-effective and pragmatic interventions. 3. Deliver – Measurable decarbonisation interventions are delivered, with real-time dashboard views of performance against the roadmap.

enabling organisations to get a hold of exactly how much carbon is locked up in existing assets. It provides game-changing, data-driven tools to tackle that carbon in the best way possible, accelerating the journey to net zero – and optimising it along the way. A new business as usual An ageing portfolio undeniably means a significant proportion of station buildings on the network are at odds with a commitment across the industry to be driven by customer needs, and to put passengers first. Unfortunately, some buildings are at best uninviting, and at worst, antisocial – and the fact that fewer than ten per cent of regional rail stations are fully wheelchair accessible speaks for itself. There’s a fervent drive for reform in the sector to facilitate comfortable and convenient rail travel for everyone, that provides an attractive alternative to private transport – something that’s critical for the economic stability of the network, and indeed for the global effort to quash emissions. In upgrading facilities, capital expenditure should be seen as an investment not a cost and viewed on a whole life basis. Organisations should be actively pulling away from making investment decisions based on capital costs only. Within the context of rising carbon costs in the form of taxes and penalties, spending more might seem counterintuitive, but with the right support, business cases can be adapted, and indeed made stronger. Through the data-driven modelling mobilised by Decarbonomics, various scenarios can be played out in order to


demonstrate how, despite the growing cost of carbon, we can strike the fine balance needed to get the most out of investments and the best out of existing assets, for the long term. This proactive approach to decarbonisation can help uncover hidden areas of carbon density, as well as unveil lean modifications and adaptations to re-use what’s already built to create greener, evolving assets designed for a circular economy. The insights projected by Decarbonomics will make the journey to net zero easier to visualise and easier to justify in terms of investment and risk. By enabling us to identify and capitalise on opportunities to decarbonise in the first place, and then to adapt interventions through ongoing monitoring of what works, and what doesn’t, Decarbonomics will set the route to long-term savings and optimised operations. As we go forward, armed with robust data-driven approaches such as Decarbonomics, we’re reshaping business as usual, and moving towards a new, smarter and data driven era of development, where value for money is aligned with customer needs, carbonneutral interventions – and ultimately, a net zero future. Stuart McLaren, Director – Net Zero Infrastructure/ Decarbonomics, Atkins stuart.mclaren@atkinsglobal.com Ali Mowahed, Director, Stations and TOD, Atkins ali.mowahed@atkinsglobal.com Cara Murphy, Client Director – Network Rail (UK), Atkins cara.murphy@atkinsglobal.com Rail Professional






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Closing the skills gap – at high speed It’s no secret that our industry has faced a skills challenge for some time. A huge, transformational project like HS2 has the credentials to bring about change; by leaving a lasting skills legacy through its apprenticeship and graduate programmes. Deb Carson from the High Speed Rail Group brings us some interviews with participants from their apprentice network

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espite a pipeline of major infrastructure projects over the last 10-20 years, there’s more we need to do to truly inspire young people about the potential career opportunities in the rail and infrastructure sectors, and the value and importance of STEM subjects. A huge, transformational project like HS2 has the credentials to bring about change; by leaving a lasting skills legacy through its apprenticeship and graduate programmes. Back in 2017, HS2 launched its first apprenticeships, welcoming 25 apprentices on a two-year programme across three disciplines. Five years on, the project now has 825 new apprentice starts, which is impressive progress considering it’s only around 18 months since main works construction started on Phase One of the railway. Skills, Employment & Education (SEE) is one of HS2’s strategic priorities, and during the lifecycle of the project HS2 and its supply chain will create at least 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities across a wide range of disciplines and specialisms; from the more obvious civil engineering and quality control to cyber security, commercial procurement, business support and health and safety. The application process for apprenticeships is designed with inclusivity and accessibility at its core, which is clearly paying off with 41 per cent of the apprentice intake at HS2 Ltd in Rail Professional

2020/21 from BAME backgrounds, with 38 per cent female. Members of the High Speed Rail Group (HSRG) all have an interest in the successful delivery of high speed rail in Britain, having helped deliver major infrastructure projects here and around the world, ranging from creating entirely new high speed networks through to maintaining and improving the UK’s existing rail network. We are a unique group, with a unique set of expertise. In 2020 the group established a network – the High Speed Rail Apprentice Network made up of apprentices and graduates from across our member companies. The aim of the network was to help connect apprentices from across HS2 and its contractors, and the wider HSR industry - providing apprentices with opportunities for building a much broader awareness of the HS2 project across its many and varied facets, meeting other apprentices and sharing experiences and best practice. The network makes the skills and jobs gains of HS2 tangible, with continued investment in future talent helping to address the UK’s skills gap and also ensure we have a highly skilled workforce in place to deliver not just HS2 but also major infrastructure projects of the future. More widely, investment in apprenticeships will support research and development, and facilitate productivity and competitiveness for UK plc in the longer term. This is a significant investment by HSRG,

highlighting how important and tangible the industry considers benefits accrued from a network designed to develop longterm relationships and cross-industry partnerships. For the apprentices on our network this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on the biggest infrastructure project in Europe. The scale, geography and multiphase delivery of HS2 means that a broad range of apprenticeships are on offer, with the opportunity to get involved in both the early planning and concept stages, right through to the highly-skilled engineering and delivery activity. The Hitachi-Alstom High Speed (HAH-S) is a 50/50 joint venture which has been contracted to design, build, and maintain the next-generation of high-speed trains for HS2 – a contract worth approximately £2billion. The joint venture means that 54 trains will be built and maintained here in Britain at the Hitachi Newton Aycliffe and Alstom manufacturing facilities in Derby and at Crewe. This creates a huge opportunity to create exciting new opportunities for apprentices and graduates as well as upskilling and developing current apprentices who are the backbone of other leading contracts. HAH-S apprenticeships range from Level 2-7 which are spread across an increasingly wide range of business functions such as Engineering, Manufacturing, Maintenance, Finance and Project Management.


Alstom apprentice profile – Sardar, Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Currently I am working as a qualified Train Driver and Test Technician on our test track, test driving our trains making sure all the systems are functioning correctly. I am also involved in the process of fixing any faults that are identified during the testing process. Before I started my apprenticeship I was studying at an engineering school doing my level 2 manufacturing engineering. I have always been interested and fascinated by the rail industry, especially how trains are built and how they operate. I thought getting into the rail industry would be an amazing opportunity to achieve my career goals. When I did my work experience, I really enjoyed it and wanted to go back and learn how to build trains from start to finish and further develop my engineering skills and knowledge. I wanted to work for Alstom as the company is the leading UK supplier of designing, manufacturing and testing new trains and servicing them. To join the Alstom group was a massive achievement and honour for me as it’s such a huge company which gives me the opportunities to grow and progress in the company. I am learning new things every day, like communication and teamwork, problem solving and the most up-to-date technical knowledge and skills, all of which make each day different and interesting. I am lucky to be working with and learning from many talented and experienced colleagues who have spent many years in rail industry. I’m very excited and looking forward to working on the HS2 project with my colleagues to produce and deliver such an iconic and amazing train. After I have finished my apprenticeship I would like to develop my engineering skills and knowledge further and carry on finishing my degree in electrical and electronic engineering, and work towards achieving my career goals. Atkins is part of HS2’s Engineering Delivery Partner a team made up of Atkins, Jacobs and Sener. The Atkins/ Jacobs and Sener team are fully integrated within HS2 Ltd in order to drive long term efficiencies across the design and build process. Their role is focused on providing expert engineering and construction management and supporting the transition to the design delivery stage.

Atkins (SNC Lavalin) apprentice profile – Andrew, Degree Apprentice (Railway Systems and Infrastructure) I am a multi-disciplinary specialist with core experience in software engineering, systems integration, and solution architecture design. Before I started my apprenticeship I was in education completing A-Levels in computing, product design and maths. I really had fairly minimal knowledge of the specifics of the sector, and specifically of rail – but I did understand that there was a growing movement towards the use of digital technologies to grow and improve, and that really interested me. Since joining the company one of the key things I’ve learnt, which is a very transferable skill, is how to interface and communicate with clients. I’ve also discovered how to create solutions with a tangible and visible result and impact. Working on the HS2 project I am involved in systems engineering work, where I manage and develop digital architectures, specifications, and requirements. I also develop various digital solutions to support and automate tasks including requirements management, data extraction and document generation. In the future I’d love to continue to grow my knowledge and experience at Atkins, it would be great to apply my knowledge of digital technologies to other projects in the future. Balfour Beatty VINCI is a long-established joint venture for the delivery of critical infrastructure across rail, transport and other iconic projects in the UK and beyond. The companies started working together over 30 years ago. Today, we have teams delivering over 90 kilometres of HS2 in the Midlands as well as, in a joint venture with SYSTRA, at HS2’s Old Oak Common Station in West London. In the Midlands, it is Balfour Beatty VINCI’s job to prepare the final design of the route and build the railway ready for tracks and signalling to be installed. Balfour Beatty VINCI currently has 90 apprentices in its workforce forming more than five per cent of directly employed personnel. In addition a further 54 apprentices are employed across BBV’s supply chain making a combined total of 144 within its total workforce. Apprentices are developing skills across


a broad range of occupations including Quality, Construction Management, Design, Civil Engineering, Materials Testing, Quantity Surveying, BIM, Plant Operations, Environmental Practitioner and Land Drilling. These numbers are set to rise considerably during the course of 2022 in line with the ramp up in the construction programme which will also diversify the nature and scope of apprenticeships on offer to local residents. Balfour Beatty VINCI aims to recruit a minimum of 400 apprentices during its delivery of HS2 at intermediate, advanced and degree levels, particularly in skills shortage areas, ensuring its workforce is equipped to meet the current and future demands of a modern, digitised construction sector.

Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV) apprentice profile – Blessings, Apprentice Supervisor In my role, I am involved in the control of Health and Safety, Environment and Quality standards on-site, monitoring performance and making recommendations for improvement. Prior to joining BBV I was studying Politics with Internationals and was also part of the Women into Construction (WiC) group. During my time with WiC, I secured work experience with HS2 Ltd and was able to network and learn from several experts on the project, which led me to this role. My perception of the industry was that I knew women had jobs within rail and construction but I wasn’t quite aware of all the different roles available to them on a construction site. In joining BBV, I now work with women from almost every discipline in the construction industry and since starting my apprenticeship, I have learnt never to be afraid to ask for help, as everyone is always willing to offer support, and that every day is a learning day. I’ve also learnt to be patient and take advantage of all the training opportunities that are on offer at BBV. The most exciting part of my job has definitely been to get so much exposure to different areas within the project. I am not always at the same location which has enabled me to expand my knowledge on all the different things happening across BBV. Deb Carson is Head of Operations at High Speed Rail Group Rail Professional

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Calling for a local rail revolution Creating a culture of rail travel in the UK hinges on improving local rail networks says Michelle Craven-Faulkner, partner and rail lead at Shoosmiths


owever, despite ongoing pleas from communities currently underserved by reliant and regular rail links, efforts to upgrade local services and infrastructure remains limited. These challenges have been well charted, as demonstrated by the Guardian’s north of England editor, Helen Pidd, who recorded several interviews investigating rail in Winsford, Cheshire – revealing the overcrowding and infrequency of trains passing through the station. The prevailing feeling of the passengers interviewed was ‘that improved local services were a far higher priority than faster trains to London.’

If it (Government) is serious about the ‘levelling up agenda’, further investment is needed into the local rail network – with the knowledge that by opening up a new community station, or adding more services, it will be aiding people to commute to work or travel for leisure.

Compare this rail experience to commuting by road, which can be seen by travellers as more convenient and often quicker, and it’s easy to understand why so many people continue to travel in their cars. Passenger landscape While launched in April 2020, before Covid-19’s impact was fully realised, the government’s community rail development strategy highlighted the potential of local rail. The report revealed that historically community rail lines have been used by over 40 million customers annually. Some community lines even received higher passenger growth than the wider rail system, which has seen a doubling in passenger numbers over the last 20 years. These high levels of use have placed the local rail system under extreme pressure. Indeed, train punctuality fell to a 13-year low in 2018, with delays, cancellations and overcrowding on many lines. Some peak routes were operating at 187 per cent in excess of capacity. While Covid-19 continues to impact the rail industry, usage is increasing, with journeys completed reaching levels not seen since the pandemic started. Many passengers are now returning to a local rail network still managing the same issues.

Rather than focusing on the barriers to progress, it’s important to highlight the potential of upgrading the local rail network and improving integration, which if done sufficiently, could benefit millions of people across the UK. Balanced approach Many may have looked to the Integrated Rail Plan for ways to bolster the local rail network. The commitments to various highspeed lines and electrification of existing routes will help to improve connectivity, however, the measures and investment laid out in the Plan are broader in scope – focusing on key routes and cityto-city travel, instead of at a local level. It is, therefore, critical that a balance is found between the more ‘top-level’ measures set out in the Integrated Rail Plan and those that support improving local rail systems. For example, key considerations must be given to increasing local capacity and the frequency of services, alongside opening up smaller community stations and lines. The advent of Great British Railways (GBR) is a key opportunity to make this change. Moving away from the franchise model provides GBR with greater control over timetabling and revenues, with its ‘station management teams’ also overseeing Rail Professional



stations and land. Considering its powers, GBR has a major role to play in improving local rail. Reinvestment will be critical to this and while a realistic approach is needed considering the financial turmoil wrought by Covid-19, using funding strategically to open or bolster lines in local areas in most need could deliver major benefits to surrounding communities. This is not to say that the main focus should only be on improving local rail networks, but rather that the dial needs to be turned slightly and a balance found. Collaboration Any conversation about investing in the UK railways, especially at a local level, will always raise questions about viability and where the funding is coming from. With the government effectively funding the rail industry’s operations and survival since the outbreak of Covid-19, there is uncertainty around the scale of capital it can deploy. However, if it is serious about the ‘levelling up agenda’, further investment is needed into the local rail network – with the knowledge that by opening up a new community station, or adding more services, it will be aiding people to commute to work or travel for leisure. The economic implications of connecting local communities are therefore wide-reaching, creating jobs and supporting business growth. Boosting local rail is not just the responsibility of national government. Collaboration is required from across the private and public sector. Community rail organisations and partnerships help to demonstrate what can

A report published by the Community Rail Network revealed a range of community rail projects that are in place now along the railways and delivering both environmental and social benefits, while helping people connect with the rail network. be achieved through collaboration. A report published by the Community Rail Network revealed a range of community rail projects

that are in place now along the railways and delivering both environmental and social benefits, while helping people connect with the rail network. By working with these types of community organisations, the government, along with the wider public and private sector can build their understanding of the local rail network, which is critical to identifying and devoting resources to projects that will deliver the biggest impact. Environment Improving the local rail system isn’t just about the economic and social benefits, though. Rail travel has key environmental advantages – taking people off roads and onto carriages. Establishing a local rail network that is both reliable and connected forms an important part of the UK’s journey to net zero. Integrating the railway with other forms of transport will further these environmental benefits – one scenario being a passenger stepping off the train at their local station, before then utilising a shared bike to cycle home. While a long-term vision, this type of fully integrated local rail network is possible. That is why it is critical that we understand its potential benefits, including on the environment, society and economy, and provide the funding and resources to realise them. Until then, a culture of rail travel will remain a dream, not a reality. Michelle Craven-Faulkner is a partner and rail lead at Shoosmiths

RAIL PLAN COMMENTARY FROM ACROSS THE INDUSTRY Last year in November the Government released its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) which set out proposals to transform the rail network in the North and Midlands. Commenting on the Integrated Rail Plan, Michelle Craven-Faulkner, partner and rail lead at Shoosmiths, said: ‘The eastern leg of HS2 was set to create new gateways to parts of the UK that are currently underserved by fast rail links, while also improving connectivity cross country between some of our major cities. The proposed infrastructure had one of the best economic cases of any part of the new high-speed rail network, supporting 74,000 new jobs and £4 billion in gross value added in the East Midlands alone. ‘Improving the rail system isn’t just about the economic and social

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benefits, though. Rail travel has key environmental advantages. While the new plans will go some way to upgrading local transport links, scaling back high-speed rail will limit much needed connectivity and hinder the UK’s journey to net zero.’ Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of RIA, said: ‘Whether individual schemes have been scrapped, amended or given the green light, at least we all now know the Government’s thinking. It is positive to see confirmation of some local and regional rail projects … However, it is difficult to see this IRP as anything other than a piecemeal approach to national strategic railway infrastructure development, given the abandonment of HS2 Eastern Leg and the scaling back of Northern Powerhouse Rail.’ Andy Bagnall, Director General of

the Rail Delivery Group, representing independent train operators, said: ‘Rail has a vital role to play in driving the new economy and the fair, clean recovery the country wants to see. While millions of people will benefit from this major investment in boosting connectivity between major cities in the North of England and the Midlands, leaving out key pieces of the jigsaw will inevitably hold back the ability for the railways to power the levelling up agenda and the drive to net zero.’ Cllr Louise Gittins, Interim Chair of Transport for the North, called the announcement ‘woefully inadequate’ with Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, describing it as ‘the very opposite of levelling up’.

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Keeping pace with rapid change Training teams must continue to innovate in order to keep up, say Lloyd Dean and Jonny Buckley of PA Consulting


ovid-19 disrupted how people within organisations learn and develop new skills. Teams were having to grapple with how to use MS Teams, ensuring that staff remain compliant through virtual classroom delivery as well as keeping up to date with maturing technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and the Metaverse. However, whilst lockdowns, social distancing and remote working have increased the adoption of certain technologies, the fundamentals of learning to improve business performance have not changed. For the rail industry, the concept of a Digital Railway will provide unique challenges and re-skilling as individuals interact with a wider range of new technologies, leverage value from data and work with integrated systems. To meet these challenges, there are three critical things to do to ensure that training teams deliver impactful and innovative solutions: 1. Develop a learning partnership with their business colleagues. 2. Link new and innovative ideas to the strategic outcomes of the business. 3. Have a framework that ensures training teams deliver continuous innovation. Training should be seen as an investment and not a cost Learning and development departments should be seen as enabling the business objectives rather than the traditional subservient task masters. Before any technology or innovation strategy is put into place, the training teams must work with, challenge and partner with the business to understand their requirements. When business stakeholders come to the training team with the solution, rather than a description of the problem, alarm bells should sound as it is a potential indicator that the need might not be clearly defined which means that it will be a challenge to demonstrate the business impact of the problem. This is not always the case, but it is important to have a discovery conversation with the business

to truly support their outcomes in the longer term. The training team needs to be brave and challenge the business through insightful and intelligent questioning. So, the next time you are asked to deliver a virtual reality solution, for example, consider the longer-term implications of saying ‘yes’ if the need is not clearly defined. In evolving the approach of training to performance consulting, requirements and projects will be objectively clearer. After a period of delivering measurable outcomes and communicating this, the training team will be seen as an asset to the business that enables teams to achieve their goals, rather than an ongoing and hard to justify cost to the organisation. Navigating the noise Assuming the foundations of the team are in place, and value is being delivered by the training department, they can work with business colleagues to understand and translate what tool or piece of technology is best used to deliver the aspired outcomes. Training teams within the rail sector have witnessed significant

digital change and transformation since the start of Covid-19 following the rapid deployment of virtual and technology tools that have become ubiquitous at work. Overnight, many organisations changed how they worked. Teams who were used to operating and working in an office had to suddenly use the Microsoft 365 suite and it was the training teams, more often than not, who had to become experts on Microsoft Teams as well as knowing how to use other tools such as Miro and Zoom. Historically, these tools would be viewed as technology that IT departments were responsible for. Today, the training team has a key role in understanding user requirements and working with IT to get the most out of what is currently available. Away from online tools, Facebook’s rebrand of its corporate name to Meta reflects the surge in interest around Digital Twins, Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities. Too many organisations want to work with these technologies without considering why or even thinking about the strategy around product selection, maintenance and upgrading or how they intend to scale the technology across a Rail Professional



whole organisation in the longer term. Setting up a framework is helpful in deciding what digital tools will be a success in your organisation.

The rail sector, like many others, will naturally become interested in the positive role data and Artifiicial Intelligence can play in supporting ongoing business requirements.

The rail sector, like many others, will naturally become interested in the positive role data and Artificial Intelligence can play in supporting ongoing business requirements. Yet, many individuals still struggle to decipher the difference between a bot and a chat-bot let alone embark on a journey to strategically deploy deep learning techniques to understand and predict potential safety issues, as one example. Structure is needed to navigate these challenges which includes a mixture of exploration, trial and error as well as embedding the learning solution into the everyday flow of work. Ensuring ongoing learning innovation Once the training team’s purpose is clear, and they have an idea of the ‘noise’, several key points can be implemented to take the team on a journey to deliver ongoing value in innovative ways. The following approaches are key parts of the journey: • Horizon Scanning – exploring what a product is, its offerings and how it might solve a current or future business problem. • Proof of Concepts – piloting at various stages through early adoption and

further scaled up pilots to take the business on the journey of how a product evolves. This is where Agile methodologies can help. • Business as usual – an area that is either forgotten about, or teams try and do too quickly, is considering how learning technology and products can be transitioned into everyday business for our rail colleagues. These changes can take concerted time and effort as the rail industry continually evolves into greater digital ways of operating. Some team members could struggle with the move to performance consulting relationships with the business, or a project stakeholder might be insistent on a specific solution. It is important for the leadership team to deliver the vision and be seen to lead the way through this change in order to deliver impactful and innovative solutions that improve business performance. Lloyd Dean is a learning performance and innovation expert, and Jonny Buckley is a rail operations and training expert, at PA Consulting For more information, visit www.paconsulting.com/ industries/transport-and-logistics/rail

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People are the rail sector’s biggest asset Across many industries and areas of society, the pandemic has accelerated long-term trends. There are few places that this will be felt more acutely than in the rail industry, Steve Tolton of Potentuel explains


study from City & Guilds and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) published this year suggests that skill shortages are set to escalate significantly as up to 120,000 additional people will be required in the sector over the next five to ten years. From engineers to drivers, train managers and crew, the problem of recruiting and retaining staff has never been more acute. The industry is facing a period of unprecedented change as it emerges from the pandemic that saw a rapid decline in passenger numbers and a longer-term move to greater home working. As it moves toward a new model under the government’s Great British Railways plans the 115,000 people who work in the industry will need to resilient and flexible as never before. It is time for a fundamental change to the relationship the industry has with its people. Only by making the sector a more empowering and engaging place to work can it hope to retain staff and attract new talent. A study by the Social Market Foundation found that happy workers are up to 20 per cent more productive than unhappy workers. As the economy recovers from multiple lockdowns, employee satisfaction is increasingly important. The argument is a simple one – organisations thrive when their people are happy. We can define a happy employee as someone who believes that matter in their role within a company and what they do has an impact. People also need to know they are making progress against a defined career path and they feel supported in their jobs. Too often, companies focus on outputs rather than outcomes and reduce people to roles rather than individuals with dreams and a passion for their work. Yes, job security and financial stability remain important to job satisfaction, but it’s a far more complex equation. There are several steps that employers can

take to change their relationship with their teams that will not only create happier and more engaged employees but also increase productivity. In any change programme, it is vital to start with an endpoint that everyone buys into. The approach at Potentuel is, to begin with, people engagement, which powers a new, improved service culture and, in turn, customer leadership. The aim is to arrive at a universally successful destination for everyone. Potentuel delivers a strategic response to covid and the business challenges of today, recognising that employees and customers have new expectations. It is designed to negotiate the opportunities and pitfalls of this new world. Understanding and genuinely respecting the views of people and recognising them as the most valuable asset and primary source for future success is key. It changes the style of leadership, planning and management from top-down to a more collegiate approach. The approach requires the whole leadership team to recognise that people are the most valuable asset and primary source for future success and competitive advantage. Leaders will need the humility, inspiration and empathy to listen and be prepared to change and want to know – good and bad – how their people feel and what they think. The leadership team must then demonstrate that they are keen to prioritise and enact the new ideas. Talented people expect to influence more than just where or how they work. They want to actively contribute to the mission, vision, innovation and commercial success of their enterprise. Unlocking this potential in a business-like way needs to be the priority, while ensuring that the newly empowered people understand their responsibilities and the business priorities. They will reciprocate with their everyday actions. Data shows that 28 per cent of workers

over the age of 50 may be eligible to retire by 2025. Meanwhile, Brexit is expected to compound the problem by restricting access to foreign labour. Between 2016 and 2018, the share of EU workers employed in the rail sector fell from 17 per cent to 15 per cent, and this trend is projected to continue. The economic case is a compelling one. There is a clear danger to the rail sector if it fails to retain existing staff and attract fresh talent over the next few years. To achieve this goal, it must become an employer of choice where happy and engaged workers are its biggest advocates. In addition, according to a large study by the Oxford Said Business School on happiness and productivity, happy people are 13 per cent more productive, so investment in people will quickly pay dividends. The industry will have to be more aligned with the new ‘trust economy’ if it is to build long term customer relationships. It requires greater transparency with customers and earning the same in response. Bringing together staff and the leadership team can align people and in turn, their customers to the aims of their business. It will serve the short-term commercial aims and drive longer-term growth. Those closest to the processes and experiences that need to be improved are the greatest people to rethink your present business. The benefits from such an approach will be fundamental. The bottom line is that people need to continue to grow in order to remain engaged and productive, and companies across the sector have to change the way they operate to ensure this happens. The rail sector is essential for the recovery and future growth of the UK economy. But unless the talent issue is addressed, it will see that growth hindered. Steve Tolton is a founder of the management consultancy Potentuel Rail Professional

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Skills shortages run deeper than industry Eliot Gillings, Policy Analyst at Public Policy Projects explores the different ways we can close the skills gap across different sectors


he rail industry will need between 7,000 and 12,000 additional workers each year for the next five to ten years, as forecasted in a report released last year by City & Guilds and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR). The report's press release states, ‘serious systemic issues in the industry’s talent and skills pipeline have created a shortage of trained and talented employees just when the industry needs them most’. But the rail industry isn’t alone. The offshore wind sector in the UK needs an additional 69,000 people to reach the 40-gigawatt target that the government hopes to reach by 2030. In late 2021, more than 60 per cent of the 400 firms asked by the South West Manufacturing Advisory Services and the Manufacturing Growth Programme said they had struggled to find skilled staff since mid-2020. In some industries, there are hopes that advancements in technology will help bridge these widening gaps. However, the experience of the manufacturing sector highlights that these new technologies (or Industry 4.0) still require people with the right skills to harness their potential. Industry leaders know this, which is why every industry impacted by the growing shortage of skilled workers is currently heavily invested in finding solutions to widen and upskill their available talent pools. Many of the initiatives being undertaken by industry to address systemic issues within their respective fields have found success already. But they require greater support from the central government to deal with the root causes of a skills gap that has been widening for some time. While last year’s effective cancellation of the 2017 Industrial Strategy in favour of The Plan for Growth was heralded by the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng as a move away from ‘a pudding without a theme’ it was considered by many to be a move away from a solid foundation for industry to collaborate with government. The Plan for Growth focuses on capital,

people and ideas. But aside from moving away from industry-specific strategies, and emphasising more generalised ‘levelling up’ programs, it is not clear what exactly the plan will do to address those areas of concern. As the government continues to develop its long-term vision this lack of clarity has problematised planning across industry and created anxiety over the future. These fears were only exacerbated by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s apparent rejection of the idea that the ‘government should decide which sectors will be important in the future’ in this year’s Mais Lecture. The Plan for Growth does have potential. In the right climate, doing away with industry-specific strategies could simplify the broad strokes of planning investment and training. Promises to simplify qualifications and review the Apprenticeships Levy are also welcome. But in other areas the plan fails to show the adequate ambition to address the issues facing British industry, and a prime example is its narrow focus on adult skills education. In late 2018, 81 per cent of UK manufacturers and 70 per cent of service sector firms stated that they struggled to find people with the right experience and qualifications to fill vacant roles, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The difficulty of recruiting overseas workers post-Brexit has a significant role to play, but much more of this demand has been stoked by an ageing workforce. For instance, nearly

15,000 rail industry employees are expected to retire by 2025, which could seriously disrupt its development just as it needs to expand to support the UK’s net zero ambitions. Adult skills training programs will be able to help plug some of the gaps, but they won’t be sufficient given the scale of the problem. They also won’t be able to fully address the clear imbalances in age, gender, and ethnic representation within a number of industries that pose serious obstacles to upping recruitment. Breaking down the barriers to entry is a job that requires a deeper analysis of the UK’s education system. The direction that groups such as Women in Rail have been headed is proof. The aforementioned study by City & Guilds and the NSAR revealed that just 16 per cent of the rail industry’s workforce is female and only 24 per cent of women would consider a career in rail, compared to 41 per cent of men. Women in Rail have been looking to address this Rail Professional



imbalance through a mixture of industry initiatives that prioritise collaboration and mentorship programs that serve those already in rail, and recruitment and education programmes that bring new people in. On the latter point, Shona Clive (ViceChair of Women in Rail) has said that ‘reaching young people at school age is key’ to changing the perception of rail as a career option. This outlook is consistent with data from the NSAR that shows that only 26 per cent of 18-24-year-olds would consider a career in rail, and a recent report from Brunel in which 41.3 per cent of employers in the UK energy sector ‘felt that the biggest driver of the skills shortage is insufficient education and training’. Of the 7 recommendations put forward by the NSAR report, 4 focused on building participation and interest in younger generations. While the development of OT skills almost by necessity requires robust and functional adult education pathways, and IT skills can be similarly developed on the job, a lack of education in key fields before leaving school poses a significant barrier to entry that can prevent industries from recruiting more broadly. A lack of a developed pathway for young people to work in industry also impacts gender and racial representation. As

such, the more that the Plan for Growth can integrate its aims with the UK’s educational strategies, the better it can raise the profiles of industries that are in desperate need of new recruits. There are initiatives out there already improving access to technology in schools and emphasising the digital upskilling of teachers and students with an eye to industry – like the Design and Technology Association’s Skills for Industry programme and Digital World’s Tech Industry in the Classrooms. These initiatives build on the ethos of DfE's digital and technology strategy, which has emphasised the integration of digital technologies into education and has already produced positive results since its unveiling in 2019. Based on surveys conducted at the end of 2021 and the beginning of this year, 88 per cent of headteachers and 84 per cent of teachers reported that they felt ‘edtech had or would better student outcomes’. Further integrating education into the Plan for Growth and collaborating with industry to develop skills more effectively in classrooms should be considered by the government a means to both raise the profiles of various industries and improve the quality of the candidates they can access. It should also be considered as an essential

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part of any other program to deal with the issues faced by British industry – such as a widening productivity gap that has opened by 26 per cent since 2008 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The journey to more efficient, productive, and equal industries begins with improving the quality of candidates entering the workforce. That in turn demands plans to improve primary, secondary and tertiary education become part of any industrial strategy or Plan for Growth. Ongoing initiatives show that industry is aware of this need, but added support from central authorities will speed up this necessary work. It will also help industry address issues that ostensibly go beyond the scope of skills training, such as the falling value of UK exports. Add in the fact that the US and EU are committing hundreds of billions to transform their economies, and the case for serious investment into the UK’s human capital seems overwhelming. Eliot is a Policy Analyst at Public Policy Projects specialising in industrial development and green infrastructure. Serving as the policy co-lead for PPP’s Mission Zero series, Eliot is interested in finding policy solutions to maximise social value in the procurement and delivery of infrastructure projects.



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Weighing in at Wadhurst BAM Ritchies have supported Network Rail in securing better, more reliable journeys on the key route between London and Hastings for at least the next 60 years


ur teams have designed and delivered new strength and resilience to this 170-year old cutting, using a combination of active and passive rock bolting, netting and soil nails in an area with protected species and logistical challenges with no safety incidents. Wadhurst Cutting is located on the Tonbridge to Hastings rail line, running approximately 300 metres from the north and south tunnel portals. The cutting height ranges between eight to 18 metres and the geology consists of weathered Wadhurst Clay, underlain by the Wadhurst Clay Formation and Ashdown Formation. Following failures of the over steepened cutting in 2014, 2016, and 2019, BAM was engaged to install a Network Rail approved design to remediate the cutting. The project was in two phases, the Country end (Initial Emergency Works) and London end. It involved a wide range of geotechnical stabilisation installations which you would expect to see on failing earthwork infrastructure. There were a number of independent systems working alongside each other. There was an active soil nail system on the upper slopes of the cutting consisting of nails that vary in length from five metres to 14 metres. This was meshed using Greenaxe integrated mesh and erosion matting on the active soil nails. There was also a passive rock bolt drape net system with rock bolts top and bottom, with the top row following the undulation of the rock crop from the tunnel portal until it drops away to ground level. The third system is an active rock bolt system for the first 20 yards either side of the portal as it opens up. The soil nails head up the bulk of the installation with approximately 13,000 l/m installed and in excess of 1,000 l/m of rock bolts. The meshed area in total is approximately 15,000m2 when all systems are combined. Subsequent to vegetation removal an additional LiDAR survey was completed. We used the results to further refine the design, resulting in the soil nails of two sections being shortened. During analysis of the emergency work Network Rail design, it became clear that there was an opportunity to challenge the design and significant value engineering was possible for the majority of the stabilisation project. BAM Ritchies then approached specialist geotechnical design consultant

Byrne Looby and requested they work with us on a value engineering feasibility study to confirm if, and to what degree, value engineering was possible. Through the team’s analysis we confirmed savings were possible by increasing the reinforcement mesh strength which allowed for the soil nails spacing to be increased from a one metre by 1.5 metre grid to a 1.5 metre by two metre grid. The horizontal spacing of the rock bolts over the lower portion of the cutting was also increased from 2.2 metres to three metres. These proposed alterations to the design offered a 46 per cent reduction in the liner meters of soil nails and rock bolts installed and reduced the programme by 20 weeks, reducing overall cost by around £1.5 million. Network Rail were impressed with the level of savings offered whilst

maintaining compliance with specifications, standard details and Eurocodes. We used a blockade at the country end in October 2021 to deliver the emergency works that enabled the installation of lower rock bolts and soil nails, which were not possible during earlier ALO working. It was a very busy half-term on the blockade. An incident-free 7 days of digitally rehearsed, predictable, sustainable delivery providing resilience to the earthwork’s infrastructure of the Kent and Sussex Railway. We installed over 450 soil nails and rock bolts, with a total meterage in excess of 2,200 metres. Three drillings rigs, working over 2,700 hours, were fuelled by HVO instead of diesel, reducing our carbon footprint by 90 per cent. The split in soil nails and rock bolts is Rail Professional


due to the challenging strata which has Wadhurst clay sited over the Ashdown rock formation. After some test drilling with the self-drilling nails it became apparent our preferred system for production drilling and installation was not going to be as straight forward with the Wadhurst clay becoming very, very hard Wadhurst clay. This problem was overcome by the application of hydraulic drill heads fitted to the traditional air masts and a hybrid system was installed that still used air flush to open hole but with the speed associated with a hydraulic terrapin face rig, production as a result exceeded expectation. This was an example of daily innovation delivering improving outcomes for Network Rail. Sustainability was a key driver for this project and this can be seen in the efforts made to ensure any overengineering of the design was eliminated. Efforts were also made in the type of erosion protection used on the slope. The original scope indicated a plastic based erosion mat should be incorporated into the reinforcement mesh. Following conversations with the erosion mat supplier it became known that their products begin to degrade after 2 years; resulting in microplastics being discharged into the environment. Once this potential pollutant was known BAM Ritchies engineers investigated alternative solutions and with the assistance of Bryne Looby we convinced Network Rail to approve the switch to woven coir matting which did not present an environmental risk. Ecological challenges consisted of managing a resident badger sett which needing a licence and permission to close the set, in advance of our works. Also on site were Dormice, which required the creation of a dead hedge mouse highway to avoid the works and also a licence to plant Dormice friendly plants on completion of the works. While at Wadhurst we also worked in partnership with EAVE as they looked to improve their technology with their GEN3 ear defenders. The trials were carried

out over 2 weeks, with Eave leaving site with some excellent data regarding noise exposure and where it is most prevalent upon our site operations. This will support them in developing and delivering the protection to meet future demands of the geotechnical sector and the ground engineering industry. Benefits of work Reduced risk of landslips on the line – in the past decade alone, engineers have visited Wadhurst tunnel on numerous occasions to secure the railway and install temporary fixes to weather-related movements. This seven-day emergency blockade during October half-term meant engineers could strengthen the cutting, making it as secure as possible as quickly as possible. Less overall disruption to passengers and the benefits delivered sooner – the blockade condensed essential work into the shortest period so the overall disruption to passengers was significantly reduced.


Better, more reliable journeys – this essential work will help reduce the number of delays in the long term and therefore improve passenger journeys. The Wadhurst Cutting project is an excellent example of a specialist geotechnical contractor working in close collaboration with the designer to produce outstanding results for the client. The value engineering work carried out significantly reduced both the cost and programme of the project and the close relationship between BAM Nuttall, BAM Ritchies and Byne Looby allowed for any construction issues to be mitigated quickly and correctly. A fantastic effort by all parties involved included our key supply chain partners, true collaboration across all parties creating one team focused on the project’s success. Tel: 07740 771075 Email: matt.ewing@bam.com Visit: www.bamritchies.co.uk Rail Professional

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Levelling up our training for the sector The National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure (NCATI)’s relaunch as part of the University of Birmingham group signals new leadership, new strategies, and new opportunities for tackling the sector’s skills gap


t’s a really exciting time to work in rail. Railway projects are booming, and with sustainability now at the top of decision-makers’ agendas, significant investment in rail is likely to continue over the coming decades. This means that there is already a high demand for skilled workers trained in the specific details of the railway sector and the complex nature of railway systems. Central to NCATI’s mission is making people outside of the sector aware of this demand and attracting them into the sector to help address it – and with the University of Birmingham now at its helm, the College is better placed than ever before to take on the challenge. Guaranteeing quality After all, the University of Birmingham is known across the world for the high quality of its teaching, consistently ranking amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Not only that, but in the specific area of rail, the University is one of only two higher education providers in the UK offering an undergraduate railway degree, and one of three offering a postgraduate programme in rail engineering. With over 550 students registered onto their rail programmes in the UK and Singapore, it is by far the largest provider of Level 6 and Level 7 academic qualifications in rail, offering additional and specialised progression routes for those interested in the sector or those who want to upskill. The University is demonstrably committed to investing in rail, recognising the sector’s skills gap and also having the expertise and resources to confront it head-on. Since being incorporated into the University of Birmingham group in April 2021, NCATI has already benefited hugely from this new collaboration, drawing upon the University’s rail expertise in the form of shared lecturers and curriculum development. Learners will also benefit: with the University’s track record of high-calibre delivery and a results-driven

approach, students can be confident they are being trained by the best, in the skills needed now and into the future. This renewed focus on quality and improved learner outcomes within NCATI is essential to attracting the thousands of talented engineers needed by the sector over the next decade. Providing apprenticeship support In addition to attracting new people into the industry, NCATI is also dedicated to inspiring those already within the sector to help gear up their organisation’s skills and talent pipelines. This means working closely with rail employers to upskill their current employees, as well as investing in and taking on new apprentices. Apprenticeships are core to NCATI’s training offer: combining alternating periods at the workplace and in a training institution, they are ideally placed to

provide young people with an entry point into a career in rail as well as to upskill an organisation’s existing workforce, thus supplying rail companies with a steady, long-term pipeline of skilled workers. To ensure sufficient supply of the right skills to the sector, apprenticeships are developed in accordance with a standard, in which rail employers are able to integrate their views on the required competencies and skills for certain occupations. This ensures that apprenticeships are always closely aligned to the broader needs of industry, which is imperative in a sector that is constantly diversifying and requiring different skillsets. While the rail sector has been thoroughly engaged in the development of industry-specific apprenticeship standards, in order for us to meet current ambitious plans for growth and innovation, we need to boost the uptake of apprenticeships across rail Rail Professional



companies, and urgently. One of the most common obstacles to employer uptake of apprenticeships is capacity, or lack thereof – be it capacity for understanding which apprenticeship is the right fit, or capacity for onboarding new starters. Choosing to outsource training to a dedicated education provider like NCATI removes a significant portion of this administrative burden: we not only deliver off-the-job training, but also now provide a wholesale support service for each apprentice and their employer, right from the very beginning. NCATI is putting this apprenticeship support service front and centre of its offer, and this is reflected in the makeup of its new team. Speaking about the College’s renewed emphasis on employer relationships and engagement, Principal and CEO Ian Fitzpatrick said, ‘We see apprenticeships as a three-way partnership between the College, our employer partners, and our learners, and now have the people to prove it. Since our relaunch last year, we have devoted a lot of time to building up a robust and responsive Business Development function, with each member of the team ready to support our employer partners every step of the way, from understanding how apprenticeships work and how to make the most of their levy, to providing regular and tailored updates on their apprentices’ progress while studying with us.’ Diversifying our offer Regular engagement with employer partners is not only intrinsic to NCATI’s apprenticeship service, but is also vital when developing the training itself. NCATI’s ultimate goal is to deliver skilled professionals to the rail sector, but without listening to our partners in industry, how can we know we’re training people in the right skills? That is why we are continuing to work with industry to develop our curriculum, with our most recent

efforts working with the Society of Land Referencers to create the brand-new Level 4 Land Referencer apprenticeship standard demonstrating the mutually beneficial relationship that arises from employers and education providers working together. We are always looking to forge new partnerships in the area of apprenticeships, and invite you to please get in touch if there is something we provide that you would like to recruit apprentices to, or if there is something we don’t currently provide but you would be interested in running to address a particular skills gap in your area. For instance, the apprenticeship training offered by NCATI has historically started at Level 4 and ended at Level 6, but that is about to change. Having listened to our partners in industry, we recognise there are skills gaps within rail that need filling at lower and higher levels than the current provision, something the University of Birmingham have already responded to

with their rollout last month of the brand new Level 7 Geotechnical Engineering degree apprenticeship. NCATI is also committed to diversifying and extending its apprenticeship provision, and hopes to run training from Levels 3 to 7 in the near future. The College is also exploring different training avenues outside of and in addition to the traditional apprenticeship track, including skills academies and bootcamps – all with a view to providing the sector with as many routes into rail as possible. Pledging to tackle the skills gap Under its new leadership, NCATI now gets a second chance to forge successful partnerships with organisations across the rail sector, and to make sure that these partnerships help provide the skilled workforce of the future with the right equipment, the right courses, and the right career opportunities. To this end, the College has developed a Skills Pledge, in which we invite organisations across the sector to engage with us and discuss how best we can support each other in providing skilled employees to the sector, be it through apprenticeship recruitment, mentoring, or recognition towards contractor obligations (for example HS2’s Skills, Employment and Education outputs). If you’re interested in engaging with us or finding out more about the work we do, please get in touch – we’re always happy to help, and would really welcome your support in addressing the sector’s skills challenges. You can find out more about the National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure by getting in touch via the contact information below. Tel: 0330 120 0375 Email: enquiries@ncati.ac.uk Visit: www.ncati.ac.uk

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RIA Innovation Conference 2022 Don’t miss out on the number one event for innovators in the UK rail industry, on 26 and 27 April at DeVere East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham


IA’s innovation events have built an impressive track record over the last decade; they have become key diary dates for innovators in the UK railway industry, in both the supply chain and in client / government organisations, offering a mix of information, networking and interaction to make innovation happen. This year the RIA Innovation conference will explore the theme: Getting ready for Great British Railways and the programme will be developed around some of the key topics included in an Innovation report that RIA will be launching before the Innovation Conference. These are: 1. Innovation Funding 2. Bringing Innovations to Market 3. Overcoming the Barriers to Innovation 4. Enabling Radical Innovation 5. Whole System Innovation 6. Skills and Culture of Continuous Learning The RIA Innovation Conference provides a unique opportunity for engagement between RIA Members and invited representatives from the wider rail industry, as well as from academia and innovation bodies. Regular participants include Network Rail, HS2, Department for Transport, Transport for London, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Office or Rail and Road, Train Operating Companies, Rail Delivery Group, UK Rail Research & Innovation Network, Innovate UK and many more. Key speakers from within and beyond the industry address important themes surrounding innovation to provoke and inspire. We are proud that our Innovation Conference has won the Trade Association Forum’s Best Conference Award 2018 and MEMCOM’s Best Membership Event of the Year 2020!

Speaker’s programme The conference will have a mix of thought-provoking sessions, including panel discussions and keynote speeches. Confirmed speakers include: • Robert Ampomah, Chief Technology Officer, Network Rail • Thomas Ableman, Director of Innovation, Transport for London • Anita Brown, Head of Innovation and Engagement, Avanti West Coast • Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman, Network Rail • Howard Mitchell, Head of Innovation, HS2 • Sarah Sharples, Chief Scientific Advisor, Department of Transport • Keith Williams, Chair, Williams-Schapps Review The conference programme will also include workshops to allow delegates to influence thinking on innovation strategies. Speaking on last year’s event, Ben Blackwall, Solution Architect, Capgemini (Conference Sponsor 2021) said: ‘It felt like great value for money and its was good to see so many influential people talking about innovation. The agenda was on-point and consistent, not feeling ‘forced’ at all.’

Exhibition Featuring the biggest Innovation Conference exhibition so far, 35+ industry innovators, including clients and supply chain companies, will be presenting their innovative solutions and also sharing their challenges to find ways of collaborating to overcome these through innovation. Sam Stephens, Director, TBAT Innovation (Conference exhibitor 2019) said: ‘Congratulations on a great conference – well organised, top speakers and excellent networking. An opportunity to meet innovative SMEs as well as key players in the OEMs and Tier 1 networks. We got 15 really good leads which I am now following up – looking forward to the next RIA event!’ Network Rail R&D Showcase This year the event will be hosting a dedicated Network Rail Research and Development Showcase to promote the emerging outcomes from NR’s £245m R&D Programme. It will include demonstrations of all its major projects and how they are to be deployed across Routes & Regions. For information and registrations please visit: www.riagb.org.uk/RIC2022 Rail Professional

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Industry-leading safety performance is achieved only through focus As rail projects move off the drawing board and into reality, together as an industry we have the opportunity to deliver the safest projects in the UK’s history


his ambition can only be realised through an unrelenting focus on safety, innovative processes and training programmes for colleagues and clients, and a culture where safety always comes first. A holistic approach to safety An organisation’s safety programme needs to challenge employees’ beliefs about safety, helping individuals and teams to make better choices. Programmes also need to involve delivery teams in the development of plans which can improve the safety performance in their own organisations, ensuring a safety-first culture extends across the ecosystem of clients and contractors. In order for safety programmes to be successful, managing health and wellbeing must also be addressed, including the influence energy levels can have on performance and safety. An impactful programme creates tools and techniques which are pragmatic and accessible, and helps teams to improve energy levels through improving physical and mental fitness, diet, hydration, rest and recovery. Healthy teams are safer teams. It’s crucial that these programmes are underpinned by a culture that prioritises safety above anything else. A blame-free environment, where all issues are taken seriously, investigated thoroughly and mitigations are put in place to prevent future hazards builds trust and sustains safety. Delivering an outstanding culture of safety A culture of continuous improvement has allowed UK Power Networks Services to embed safety as everyone’s priority – not only for staff, but also for contractors and clients. Continuous improvement is driven by analytics which inform proactive action. Safety pervades through design,

implementing rigorous safety practices and learning from incidents, hazards and near misses. The company leads in health and safety, with more than six million working hours, and more than twelve years providing the traction and non-traction power to High Speed 1 without a single lost time injury. This exceptional safety record on High Speed 1 and across the rest of the business isn’t luck, it’s the result of a safety-first culture that permeates everything they do. The implementation of 100 mental health first aiders across the business to support the wellbeing of our teams is a recent example of this. Their innovative design of the power distribution systems on High Speed 1 includes system resilience to allow planned maintenance to be undertaken during the working day. This has reduced risk and improved safety outcomes, contributing to maintenance goals and achieving a culture of safety. We have also incorporated interactive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality to increase the effectiveness and accessibility of our training. Not only do they manage the associated risks of working with electricity, but deliver safely for clients in the most complex and challenging environments every day. Whilst working on Europe’s busiest runways, trackside on the UK’s fastest mainline railway, at nuclear sites, and military facilities UK Power Networks Services has achieved an unprecedented safety record. The company’s commitment and

relentless focus on safety goes beyond just aiming for zero harm and moves to a focus on ‘beyond zero’, where their staff’s physical and mental wellbeing, and quality of life is actively improved at work. This leads to healthier, stronger, smarter and better trained teams that are also engaged with

safety at all levels and who arrive home in better shape than when they left. The impressive safety performance is a direct result of the dedication of their people who keep safety their top priority when they come to work each day, ensuring their colleagues and clients go home to their families safely each evening. The design, build and ongoing maintenance of national rail infrastructure projects brings significant challenges to those teams working on these projects. Safety should not be one of those challenges. Future projects have the opportunity to be the safest projects in the UK’s history. This ambition can be realised through innovative processes and programmes, and a culture where safety always comes first. Email: enquiries@ukpowernetworks.co.uk Visit: ukpowernetworksservices.co.uk LinkedIn: UK Power Networks Services Rail Professional

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Putting passengers at the heart of rail travel Edmund Caldecott, CEO of Whoosh looks at the pandemic rebound and charts the recovery of rail usage


ritain has a love-hate relationship with rail. It is at the heart of our identity. We love the idyllic notion of a steam train chugging through rolling green hills or the romance of closing your eyes at London Kings Cross to wake up in the Scottish Highlands. However, often this ideal is far from the reality – daily we whinge about our commutes; the delays, the cost and simply spending more time pressed against a stranger’s armpit than with our loved ones. Preparing for the pandemic rebound Statistics suggest that we are absolutely on track (pardon the pun) to get back to pre-pandemic levels of rail usage, whereby the UK had some of the busiest in Europe. This is likely to be sped up by PM Boris Johnson’s announcement that workers are no longer required to work from home, and with many large companies enforcing the imminent return. But this is not pre-pandemic life, and one of the major shifts coming out of the past two years is that consumers are no longer simply tolerating of the daily life of old. For the rail sector this means a clear movement towards putting passengers at the heart of the experience. This could mean getting people back onboard with incentives or efforts to tackle the fundamental issues that hold consumers back from hopping onboard. This shift has to have its roots from within the industry, government and operators and is nicely summed up by the independent watchdog Transport Focus which has outlined what is needed as ‘punctual and reliable services, enough space onboard and improved value for money tickets’. Obstacles to take into consideration Let’s address the clear issue here, the money. The saving grace for many throughout the pandemic has been the cost savings that working from home has resulted in whether that be saving the price of daily lunchtime sandwiches and many-times-daily takeaway coffees, the after-work beers or an expensive commute.

However, as we start to head back into work offices, or indeed travel for pleasure, we are being hit slap bang in the face with a skyrocketing cost of train tickets in conjunction with a much-reported and very real cost-of-living increase. But yet, many passengers are seeing little to no difference in the value for money they are receiving when they step onboard, frustrating levels of service and a struggle to get the information they need when they need it. For example, a quarter of rail customers complain of crashing websites or apps getting in the way and one in five rail users find it difficult to get the information they need*. This feels extremely out of touch when we’re all used to being able to do so much, so easily from our smartphones whenever we want. Not to mention incredibly frustrating when the public have received the news that rail fares will rise by 3.8 per cent in England and Wales this month and have already done so in Scotland. One of the biggest incentives for embracing train travel is the sustainable benefits that it brings, something which is a vital issue for British consumers having been spurred on by COP26 late last year. While the rail sector may emit 80 per cent less gas emissions than road vehicles, it is unlikely that these benefits are going to be realised with passengers experiencing basic errors holding them back from making the eco-choice. The additional burden of staff shortages as a result of Covid cannot be helped but there was undoubtedly a huge impact on the sentiment of passengers about rail with 4.4% of services cancelled between 12

December and 8 January. We can’t predict what the future of Covid (or indeed any other unforeseen major disruptions) holds, therefore concerns should, and can, be tackled to at the very least reduce passenger uncertainty. Overcoming the hurdles As founder of Whoosh, the traveltechnology company, we are pleased to be part of the narrative on reshaping the rail industry towards being customer-centric across some of these concerns. This includes our Real-Time Journey Dashboard which is a unique piece of technology which is accessed via QR codes through sharing real-time updates bespoke to each journey direct to customers’ smart phones. The platform can include live train running info; station departure boards; refreshments delivered straight to your seat; Rail Professional



goodwill gestures for service disruption; and onward travel departure details. This solves gripes and delivers on what travellers want during their journey. Even better, due to its open API, the offerings are entirely customisable and can be bespoke to each operator to target what their consumers want and need. For example, the platform was invaluable for operators during staff shortages as it could provide the onboard travel information and customer services needed to bridge this gap whilst enforcing a customer-orientated feeling during such a crisis. It is brilliant to see key players are not willing to just accept that for every ten trains we take, one will be delayed. This is evident in the introduction of the Department for Transport’s First of a Kind 2021 competition, delivered by Innovate UK Fund. This £25 million fund is going towards facilitating the development of several critical projects which look to improve the speed, efficiency and connectivity of Britain’s rails. The economic focus of this is closely linked to the spread of the urban pound across the UK with Johnson promising levelling up from the get-go of his premiership. As well as impressive pledges from Government and operators, it is great to see

Rail Professional

further support from within the industry. This includes the soon to be launched Great British Railways, a body which is responsible for ‘growing the network and getting more people travelling’ by train with its well overdue focus of ‘integrating the railways and delivering simpler, cheaper, passengerfocused travel’. This also mirrors Boris’ keenness to create economic equality with nominations currently open for a town or city that is deserving of jobs, investment, and improved rail links. Putting some joy into your journey When it comes to taking the train to a holiday – after all, rail can reach every corner of the UK and for years there has been the option to have a croissant in your hand in the French capital quicker than getting to Edinburgh – more and more of us are now considering the journey as part of the holiday. It is the time to kick back and relax, something many of us are doing as soon as we get onboard a flight is, at the moment, is not always fully replicated onboard a train. However, it is significantly improved by our aim to bring ‘first class’ service to everyday rail journeys through a contactfree innovation to allow customers to choose, order and pay for food and drink items without having to move about the

carriage or visit a dining car. This comes as there are some great schemes being implemented by operators to create special moments on rail travel with free bacon rolls, audiobooks and music streaming services becoming commonplace, an idea endorsed by Transport Focus. Onto the final destination Fundamentally, there are still significant issues at the core of the industry such as delays and last-minute cancellations but technology such as the Real-Time Journey Dashboard can make a huge impact on this and drive forward this customer-orientated movement with significant ease and limited cost. As we hop onboard for the next era of rail travel, there has never been such a significant move towards what passengers want and need. The Government has kickstarted things and operators are more aware than ever that if they do not match only each other but other transport options, that they will likely flounder. I can’t wait to see passengers rule the roost! Edmund Caldecott is CEO of Whoosh *Survey research data was collected from a customer survey in May 2021 from 2,458 respondents


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Collaboration strengthens support for rail and bus users Judith Turner, Deputy Chief Ombudsman at the Rail Ombudsman explains how they cooperate with the industry in their support of passengers


ince the Rail Ombudsman was established over three years ago following a campaign by consumer and industry bodies to a achieve a landmark within the rail sector; we have many milestones and successes to celebrate, including our latest partnership with the Charity BusUsers UK in which we’re sharing best practice and collaborating on projects that affect customers of both rail and bus networks. BusUsers UK campaigns for accessible, inclusive transport and is an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Body for bus and coach passengers. The Rail Ombudsman offers ADR to help sort out unresolved customer complaints about service providers within the rail industry; our service is free for consumers to use. Our vision is to inspire customer confidence and to deliver our service fairly to ensure the evidence is appropriately considered in every case. We also support the rail industry to raise standards. Importantly from a service improvement perspective we publish case studies and data and make recommendations which can help Rail Service Providers to understand what they could do to raise standards. The bus and rail networks play a huge role in the lives of thousands of people every day across the country. We depend on them not only to get us to our places of work and to reach health appointments but to provide vital support for local economies. This new collaboration is looking into a range of projects including workshops on complaints handling, on-street ‘Let’s talk transport’ events to bring passengers and transport providers together, particularly in areas with no transport interchanges, and joint initiatives on Passenger Rights and Alternative Dispute Resolution. As the industry moves towards greater integration focusing on multi-modal arrangements, collaboration with other organisations, such as the BusUsers UK initiative becomes even more important. Joining forces will ultimately help improve services for public transport users and raise awareness of Alternative Dispute Resolution, helping passengers and

operators to settle complaints. By combing our efforts, the Rail Ombudsman and Bus Users UK will be striving for accessible, inclusive and fair travel services for all passengers, and for industry wide best-practice and consumer protection. Accessibility The scope of the Rail Ombudsman scheme enables us to consider the provision of assistance and to make awards where this is not adequately managed. We have also investigated the quality of how a Rail ADR Scheme Member has managed the impact of known limitations of current station or on train amenities for consumers with reduced mobility on a specific journey. We have considered claims from consumers who have become stranded when lifts were not operational during advertised hours; consumers who have booked passenger assist which was not provided to them; consumers who have experienced difficulties travelling with mobility scooters or on rail replacement services. In all cases, we consider the evidence provided and listen to the accounts of both parties. We have made awards to consumers and made recommendations to minimise the risk of reoccurrence. Single-front door The rail industry can be complicated for consumers to navigate with several key players and stakeholders, such that it was considered that a ‘one-stop’ shop for consumers to bring their complaints would simplify matters and make access to fair remedies easier for consumers. This means that consumers can bring any complaint to us and this forms part of our feedback to the industry. However, we do operate within a defined scope and if we

are unable to look at a particular dispute, we give reasons to the consumer and let them know where to go next. We can transfer their claim to one of the passenger watchdogs, such as Transport Focus or London TravelWatch, or, in some instances, the claim might be better suited to the courts or other channels and we signpost the consumer if this is the case. What disputes can the Rail Ombudsman investigate? Our role is to investigate the quality of service provided to the consumer based on the commitments a rail service provider has made in the National Rail Conditions of Travel and their Passenger Charters. Examples of this include: customer service; provision of information; losses arising out of train delays and cancellations; availability and access to station facilities including toilets, lifts, waiting rooms, parking, cycle storage, announcements, ticket sales, and lost property; on-train facilities, such as accessible toilets, catering Rail Professional



and other advertised services. We can also investigate disputes arising out of passenger assistance, facilities for customers with disabilities, and discrimination or issues arising under the Equality Act 2010. We cannot look into complaints to do with industry policies or regulations or how the railways are run. Similarly, strike action, how engineering works on a railway line affect a consumer’s home and staff disciplinary matters would all fall outside of our scope. Consumer rights From 1 October 2016 the Consumer Rights Act 2015 was extended to cover rail travel which means that consumers now have consistent rights where services are not carried out with reasonable care and skill. This means that consumers can claim damages, including out of pocket expenses, as a right. Having said that, the outcome of a claim brought to the Rail Ombudsman may still vary since it will depend on the circumstances of each case and might be agreed between the parties at mediation. Decisions taken by an ombudsman at adjudication may include a refund or discount orINTRO an award including out of pocket GENERAL Advert

Joining forces will ultimately help improve services for public transport users and raise awareness of Alternative Dispute Resolution, helping passengers and operators to settle complaints

losses or compensation for time and trouble. We may ask that the rail service provider gives an explanation, apology or a gesture of goodwill which could be complimentary travel or a gift. Listening, empathising and providing appropriate and timely resolution, will be crucial as passengers return to the rail network, sometimes with a different purpose in mind to their pre-pandemic travel plans. The Rail Ombudsman has provided a consistent platform for consumers to raise disputes and continues to present the industry with an opportunity to learn from these. Listening to the voice of the consumer through the independent lens of Ombudsman, as well as collaborating with key industry partners such as BusUsers UK and providing feedback will be a crucial metric in navigating the changes that the rail industry faces in 2022 and beyond. Ensuring the longevity of a knowledgeable and constant source of learning will benefit the industry and the passengers it serves, whether they be on road or rail, alike. Judith Turner is Deputy Chief Ombudsman at the Rail Ombudsman Visit: www.railombudsman.org

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How IoT and secure remote access is transforming the Alan Stewart-Brown, VP EMEA, Opengear discusses the opportunities presented by the enhanced connectivity of IoT


he global market size for digital transformation in transportation is expected to reach more than £106 billion by 2025. Companies in this industry are constantly dealing with challenges related to visibility, agility and sustainability. However, organisations are beginning to undertake digital transformation initiatives to help bypass those challenges, mainly created by legacy applications and disparate IT silos. Digital transformation is already bringing rapid change to multiple industries: from retail to manufacturing to logistics – and transportation is among the sectors where its impact has the potential to be most far-reaching. Consider commuter and freight rail. Trains are already safe compared to cars, with only a fraction of the latter’s accident totals. Still, operators are looking for better ways to keep systems up and running, efficiently maintain ageing infrastructure; monitor emissions; stay updated on track status and avoid collisions. Many trains still rely on trackside switches located in harsh, remote areas. These must be correctly positioned to ensure trains run on the right tracks and at safe speeds, minimising the risk of derailment. To that end, operators often manually inspect switches, since there may not be nearby power lines or wireless connectivity to support automatic machine-to-machine monitoring. Plus, the switches themselves aren’t smart sensors that are connected to IP networks or dedicated energy sources. In other words, it is a sector ripe for digitalisation. The truth is that today, digitalisation is already having an immense impact across the sector. Automation, geo-location tracking and self-diagnosing advances are improving operations. Digital systems are improving the reliability of operations and reduce the need for outdated infrastructure like railway signal boxes and copper wires. Larger volumes of data can be collected and analysed using 5G or the cloud, eliminating the need for cumbersome railside infrastructure Self-learning algorithms

ensure more efficient dispatching, routing and maintenance scheduling. Finally, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies aid with damage detection, logistics providers and communications with other systems. An industry ripe for the delivery of enhanced connectivity The rail sector is well-placed to take advantage of IoT. Total UK rail industry income in 2020-21 was £20.7 billion, a 2.4 per cent increase from 2019-20 but rail systems are also key to economies the world over. Given how much value is literally riding on them, the rail system is unsurprisingly a prime opportunity for IoT innovation. Cisco, for example has invested heavily in Connected Rail, part of its IoT Smart Solutions initiative. The company aims to modernise rail stations, tracks, controls and trains themselves through improvements to: IP video (as a replacement for analogue); digital signage; ticketing and fare collection systems; indoor and outdoor passenger WiFi and replacement of legacy load signalling systems with IP-enabled ones. Remote monitoring and access is key As train systems become increasingly networked and specialised, remote connectivity will become increasingly pivotal for the anytime/anywhere management of all associated equipment. With the emergence of the IoT and remote monitoring, there’s an opportunity to remake trackside infrastructure, from switches to power lines. Doing so, could

automate many of the routine safety checks and drive down both costs, derailments and operator stress. Rail companies increasingly understand that carrying out extensive manual monitoring of the track infrastructure is not cost-effective, or economically sustainable over the long run. They need to adopt a centralised monitoring approach, capable of managing network devices via connected console servers at multiple locations to be able to see how railway systems are running and take action to rapidly rectify any problems identified. That kind of monitoring can go beyond the railway itself today and even extend to moving trains. Doing this is important. Obtaining real-time information about locomotive emissions and locations is key to regulatory compliance and operating efficiency, yet it is hardly simple. Trains move, after all, setting them apart from the stationary data centres that are the usual Rail Professional



Obtaining real-time information about locomotive emissions and locations is key to regulatory compliance and operating efficiency, yet it is hardly simple.

subjects of remote access and monitoring. Often, this will require comprehensive monitoring as well as quick identification and resolution of issues. Systems will need integrated wireless connectivity – 4G and GPS, as well as a secure VPN capability to effectively treat each engine as if it were a mobile data centre. Diagnosing the problem should also be the prelude to then fixing it and that can be achieved through secure remote access. That’s where Smart Out-of-Band Management has a key role to play. It allows secure, access to critical devices even when the primary network is down. It offers presence and proximity to a distributed network, with a console server at every location, physically connected to routers, switches and key hardware. In the context of the railways, that means engineers having access to critical parts of the rail infrastructure whenever problems occur to identify and resolve any problems. The addition of 4G-LTE provides a secure alternative access path, with Failover to Cellular to deliver enough bandwidth for critical processes to continue to operate during an outage, keeping the trains on track, even with the main network is down.

Why rail is ripe for IoT The central role of rail in economies around the world makes it a prime candidate for integration into the IoT. As railways become smarter, remote site monitoring solutions can and will provide secure, efficient access to equipment, ensuring that it functions properly and complies with regulations, and that railways as a whole are safer and more reliable. We are already seeing advanced IoT-based innovations coming on line across the rail sector. Given the success already achieved, we can expect to see many more coming down the track in the years to come.

Alan Stewart Brown is the VP of EMEA of network resilience experts, Opengear. An executive business leader and hands on team builder with an uninterrupted career spanning 29 years and a demonstrable track record of driving sustained growth through strategic sales, channel development, and operational leadership, with general management and board level remits. Alan has several decades of Sales Management, Business Strategy and Business Development experience gained throughout the EMEAR region.


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Steady as we go RSSB’s third quarter safety performance update demonstrates an even trend, but the need for vigilance remains


o make sure everyone gets home safe every day, you need to have eyes everywhere. For this, you need data, but you also need to be able to look down to the weaker signals evident in the daily control logs…and you need to be able to check that what you’re doing is making a difference. This is exactly why RSSB produced the Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railway strategy and why it publishes a quarterly update to make sure members have a clear picture of what’s going on out there. The latest of these reports covers the third quarter of the 2021/22 fiscal year, essentially mid-September to mid-December.

lockdown and while children were on their Easter holidays. Child-related trespass has continued to rise in line with all trespassrelated events. Cases of children (and older) sitting over the edges of platforms are still being recorded, as are ill-advised games of ‘chicken’ involving running across the track between platforms. The industry supported the important messages to prevent trespass and shared the new You vs Train campaign via social media. A new campaign is also being planned to mitigate the increase in trespass over the holiday peaks. New resources to educate children from ages 3-16, to promote safe crossing use, have also been made available to schools via

So, what are the big headlines? First, there are still train accidents – potentially higher-risk ones, we call them. Four occurred in Quarter 3 (Q3) – a buffer stop collision, a collision with a road vehicle at a level crossing, a collision between two trains and one derailment. One of the precursors to a train accident is a signal passed at danger event, a SPAD. There were 62 in Q3, two more than the previous quarter. The associated risk has gone up too – but this doesn’t mean that the railway is suddenly a dangerous place, as the risk figure will have changed to reflect the SPAD that led to the collision at Salisbury Tunnel Junction on 31 October 2021. As RAIB has revealed, the cause of the SPAD in the first place was wheel slide. RAIB will release its findings in due course, and RSSB – and the Train Accident Risk Group – will take the lessons forward in future thinking and future projects aimed at mitigating against the causes. The number of recorded trespass incidents in Q3 was just under 2,700, which is fewer than the number reported for the same quarter last year (2,864). This follows a spike seen at the start of 2021/22 as we were phasing out of the second

www.switchedonrailsafety.co.uk We are pleased to report that there were no workforce fatalities in Q3, pleased too that near misses have continued to fall. This reflects the efforts of Network Rail’s Safety Task Force (STF) to cut unassisted lookout working and use more line blockages, although a steady increase in line blockage incidents is now starting to be seen. Where safety data has always been comparatively plentiful, the same has not been the case for health and wellbeing. Thankfully, that looks set to change, with the launch of a new Health and Wellbeing Index (HWI). To streamline the data collection process, HWI components have also been integrated into the Industry Health & Wellbeing Performance Measurement System, an ongoing project to develop an industry-wide health and wellbeing monitoring dashboard.

The cross-industry Rail Mental Health Survey report was published on 2 November, with some insightful outcomes. The results showed that over 40 per cent of rail workers are experiencing mental health problems. Rates of anxiety and PTSD in particular were found to be higher among rail workers than the general population. In addition to the main report, companies with high numbers of responses have each received a highlights report for their company. The Q3 report reflects a period of improvement, but it is a continuing journey. Here are just three things to look out for in the coming months: • Improving our Safety Management Intelligence System (SMIS). RSSB is currently working with industry to simplify SMIS to make it quicker and easier to record events and enable automatic data transfer with company systems. • Rebuilding the Safety Risk Model (SRM). The SRM provides estimates of the risk from rail operations and maintenance. It is currently being rebuilt to create a simpler more flexible structure which better meets requirements for localized risk assessment. • Developing the regional Precursor Indicator Model (PIM). The PIM provides a risk-weighted measure of failures, acts, and conditions that have potential to cause a train accident in different circumstances. Following engagement with 30 industry stakeholders, work is under way to update the calculations, produce regional breakdowns and build a dashboard to present the results. Read the report at https://www.rssb.co.uk/ safety-and-health/leading-health-and-safetyon-britains-railway/lhsbr-quarterly-progressreport Rail Professional

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ountries and cities around the world take great pride in announcing large scale transport projects: think HS2 in the UK, the Shinkansen in Japan and China High Speed Rail. These are promoted with exciting concepts, which are a critical part of the design process. Early sketches and glossy renders help to grab public attention, build expectations and generate slick visions of what is to come. All too often though, the human element, or the impact it has on users, can be overlooked or left out. Adding it later to the design process is likely to cause friction and change, often to the detriment of the original design vision, and it can also be time consuming and costly. Of course, the design of trains, high speed or metro, does not have to follow down this well-trodden path. There is another way whereby the human element is factored in from the outset. This greatly reduces any issues and potential conflicts and often helps fuel the creative process. The argument for more human focused designs is clear. It leads to better trains and services for all. Developing services that more people can use makes ethical and financial sense. A big incentive for inclusive train design, beyond the ethical imperatives, is a greater target audience and increased ridership as well as potentially happier passengers. With an ageing global population, this becomes

Interior designed by DCA delivering visual distinction, inclusivity and usability

particularly relevant in driving passenger numbers up worldwide. Alongside the ethical and commercial incentives though, there exists an everincreasing legislative burden. Since the 1990s public awareness of disabilities and the right to equal access has become a central focus of public transport design. The introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 followed by the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR) and now the Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM TSI) has brought legislation and guidelines that describe and define best practice and minimum acceptable levels. Issues such as step heights, colour contrasts, access ramps, and wheelchair accessible spaces have all become commonplace. Train operators and manufacturers have to consider these issues very carefully and make sure that the correct provision is in place. Historically the initial focus of these standards was on physical capabilities – suggested in the title PRM (Persons with Reduced Mobility). However, this acronym is misleading as many of the requirements are in place to address sensory capabilities as well. More recently still, we are seeing a much greater recognition for cognitive capabilities. The latest topic, currently attracting far more attention, is neurodiversity – design for mind and the impact that the built environment has on our perceptions of the world around us.

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Sensory stimulation, such as audible or visual noise can cause dizziness, headaches or disorientation. Design intervention to improve the environment is complicated because a solution for one type of sensory difference might be to the detriment of another. It is very important that, as designers, we engage with stakeholders representing a range of capabilities to ensure all needs can be reasonably met. Human Factors (HF), as a design discipline, covers everything from anthropometrics, usability, psychological and physiological principles to the engineering and design of products. HF design advocates an explicit consideration of people’s capabilities (from a physical, sensory, and cognitive perspective) from the outset of a project. Applying HF ‘best practice’ is one of the challenges that falls to designers, as a duty of care, to ensure that the train and the service it delivers meet the HF needs of the widest possible audience and, importantly, the laws and regulations surrounding their use and operation. Our experience of HF design, as one of the leading transport design consultants, is to treat the subject as a creative problemsolving exercise. It is very easy to criticise and reject design proposals on the grounds that they don’t meet a particular standard or specified criteria. This critical rejection cycle hinders the design process and acts as Rail Professional



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a brake on progress often causing project deadlines to slip while alternative solutions are sought. DCA recognises the importance and benefits of integrating multi-faceted skill sets, including Human Factors, to solve problems and bring a project to a successful outcome. HF design can be seen as a key driver in decision-making right from the start of a project. Our approach is to make Human Factors integral to each stage of the design process beginning with a clear definition of the HF related standards and requirements that have to be met. A Human Factors Integration Plan (HFIP) should be created at the outset of a project. It outlines the process required to meet the standards and identifies the key milestones in the design process at which information and evidence will be available to allow the sign off of a design or concept. Safety and legal requirements are applied to the design subject in a creative and practical approach to ensure that the key metrics are met. It is important to decide before a project starts which data sets (human anthropometric measurement data) and what size populations need to be considered. Design solutions are generated and applied to the product or service, with sizes matched to user populations, contrast values applied to colour choices, and spatial clearance for user activities. However, compliance with standards and guidelines should not be viewed as the end goal, rather as the minimal requirement. True inclusive design Rail Professional

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actually takes creativity and imagination. It involves working with a broad range of stakeholders, testing designs and running through different use cases and scenarios. User trials can be conducted to demonstrate and test the ideas not only against the standards, but also to find better ways of doing things. Trials can be carried out on simple mock-ups or rigs or using Virtual Reality (VR). A combination of VR and simple spatial rigs, used to define fixed hard points, can create an Augmented Reality (AR) environment that can often work very well at an early stage of the design process as a check to establish compliance before committing to detailed engineering development. How does this differ from the usual design process? In a rail context, the key difference is the way in which a design brief or specification is used at the beginning of a project. Often the manufacturer or supplier provides just a series of technical requirements, for instance in the form of a Train Technical Description or TTD. As designers, our role then is to interpret these requirements to guide and manage the design outcome. This is where the difference comes in. We add HF into the mix of design activities to ensure that the TTD requirements related to Human Factors are met throughout the development cycle. Feedback is applied to the design using the outcome of the HF activities and user trials, and the HF compliance process is clearly documented

alongside the design development rather than attempting to bolt it on retrospectively at the end of the design programme. The final output would usually be a consolidated design book that tells the story of the development process combining the visual rendered images and the design evidence gathered through the HF review process. This would show how compliance is achieved against each HF requirement in the TTD that governs the train operation, and from a visual perspective it would also show how the design achieves the operator’s service brand aspirations. Successful design projects, in our view, integrate the design and HF activities into the development cycle so that, when concepts are generated, a balanced combination of visual, practical and HF elements is achieved in order that they can all work together for mutual benefit. We see this as an iterative process that informs each stage of the project, ticking off HF compliance issues as early as we can to provide an inclusive perspective throughout. This ensures that the final product represents a truly holistic design that meets the needs of its users and retains the early aspirational ideas and excitement that originated the project. Tel: 01926 499461 Email: transport@dca-design.com Visit: www.dca-design.com

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esigned to go beyond protection to enhance vision and performance, CSP lenses shield the eyes while perfecting vision for precision at work. Clear vision with eye protection Workers in widely different environments, from factories with LED lighting to outdoors in full sun, can be exposed to a variety of hazards throughout the day. High-risk activities like welding, mining, electrical, and drilling require visual precision while protecting eye health.

Working in low light, LED lighting, or full sun requires glasses designed to reduce eye strain and filter UV rays. Bollé Safety eyewear ensures optimal comfort and exceptional visual definition, no matter the situation. The innovative technology in CSP lenses shields the eyes while boosting the senses, increasing the precision of tasks and movements. Eyewear lens tints adapted to unique work environments Protective eyewear is an important PPE that must be compatible and adaptable to changing conditions and circumstances.

Bollé Safety CSP tinted lens comes in a range of colours designed for ultimate performance enhancement. Indoor environments The GRADIENT BRONZE tints counter the aggressiveness of artificial lighting, including neon light, and halogens, to reduce eye fatigue for optimum working comfort. Navigating interior and exterior environments AMBER safety eyewear is ideal for agricultural and forestry environments, as

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well as mechanical and warehouse work. These photochromic lens tints darken automatically according to UV levels throughout the day, optimizing sight, protection and comfort. The COPPER and COPPER FLASH coloured polycarbonate lenses protect the eyes of hard-working employees such as forklift truck operators, drivers, and night workers, who work in factories with LED lighting. Outdoor protection End glare with the dark-coloured POLARIZED lenses which improve visual comfort, contrast, and depth, while reducing strain. Allowing for infallible protection in outdoor activities like rig drilling. A total UV blocker,

the ONYX lenses filter 99.99 per cent of UVA and UVB rays, ideal for construction and building industries. For drivers in low light conditions, the QUARTZ improves depth perception and contrast by increasing visual acuity. BRONZE tints enhance vision in low luminosity, including in mines, electricity and outdoor work. By absorbing over 75 per cent of blue light, visual contrast is improved for better accuracy and safety. For outdoor activities, including in marine and drilling environments, and long-distance drivers,

the SILVER FLASH, COBALT FLASH, and FIRE FLASH safety glasses ensure protection in full sunshine. For welders and welding assistants The green WELDING models protect from UV and infrared radiation while providing workers with heightened gesture precision and effectiveness. Multiple welding tints are adapted to specific uses, including torch soldering, brazing, and light cutting. Exceptional vision with protection Bollé Safety CSP lenses usher in a new era of exceptional visual definition through specially designed colored tints. Protecting employees and allowing for clear sight at all times. Bollé Safety, the global brand for eye protection. With a wide range of innovative, comfortable and protective safety and prescription eyewear, we are trusted with the protection of over 20 million workers’ vision in 100 countries.

Tel: 0208 391 3194 Email: rebecca.francis@bolle-safety.com Visit: www.bolle-safety.com Rail Professional


RECYCLED ____ FISHING NET ____ Proud of our innovative efforts, we launched in 2014 the first ever ecoframe compliant to EN166 standards with SOLIS B-Green. Seven years is the new later, SOLIS generation of eco-friendly safety eyewear: made of collected and recycled fishing net.


Rail Professional



On track Rail Professional catches up with NIS’ Davie Carns to talk rail, skills and a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for the UK


here’s very few Managing Directors in the UK that can list professional football and Royal Marine Commandos on their CV. It’s not something Davie Carns, founder of National Infrastructure Solutions (NIS), talks openly about unless pushed, but they are two important phases of his life that have helped shape his approach to business. The 36-year-old adopted ‘yam yam’ is passionate about people and giving them a purpose having seen first-hand how important ‘education and the ability to work’ was to people on the streets of Afghanistan. It was a profound life lesson and one he swore he would take with him in his future career away from the military, a career that started as a trainee Works Manager with Amey Colas in 2014 and led to him eventually becoming Associate Director with RSS Infrastructure responsible for their Resourcing Department. ‘There were a few positions in between, and I think it’s fair to just say I was cajoled into the resources role’ joked Davie, who was quick to point out the strenuous and timeconsuming nature of such a role, especially in a 24/7 industry such as rail. He seems remarkably calm for a person who has got a major challenge on his shoulder to help the rail sector find or develop another 120,000 people over the next three to five years. This huge number, verified by the City & Guilds and the National Skills Academy for Rail, is what is required if the UK is successfully going to deliver the level of transport connectivity it is going to need in the modern world. ‘The demands focus on prestigious projects such as HS2 as well as those closer to our home in Wolverhampton, such as the reopening of Darlaston and Willenhall Train Rail Professional

Stations, both of which have been closed since 1965.’ Davie went on to add: ‘The opening of these will service residents and commuters and is a real indication of why connectivity is so important. ‘I see it as ‘once in a generation opportunity’ and the West Midlands is at the very heart of it. There is so much untapped, diverse talent here…we just need to divert it so that it starts looking at rail and civil engineering as great careers to be involved in. ‘My time on tour in Afghanistan taught me so much, but the one thing that will stay with me forever was the desire of local people to better themselves and to have real purpose in their life. Their desire was inspirational, they just needed a route to achieve their potential. I couldn’t give those individuals the platform, but I can give it to

local young people and adults.’ Davie, who represented the Welsh national football team at Under 19 and Under 20 level, set up National Infrastructure Solutions to fulfil this ambition, again not taking the conventional route by officially launching at the end of 2020 and in the height of Covid-19. He wanted to create a training provider that focused on the rail, construction and civils markets and would deliver courses that give individuals the skills an employer is looking for. This could be at an entry level for those seeking to enter the sector, but of equal importance was to support those already in the industry to progress and create sustainable employment for years to come. From the very start, there was a desire to disrupt the status quo and make everything employer-led from shaping the content of the training to creating a dedicated space



where people could safely learn and practice using industry tools. ‘This is where the City of Wolverhampton College really came into its own. When I talked through my vision for NIS, the college engaged immediately’ continued Davie. ‘Backed by West Midlands Combined Authority, we have created some fantastic opportunities for people. ‘You just can’t beat that backing and, true to their word, we entered into a strategic partnership with the construction of a new rail training centre at its Wellington Road Campus – the real jewel in our crown and something I am really proud of. ‘This facility is equipped with installation and maintenance equipment to support courses on conventional, high speed and light rail lines. ‘It is also the first in the UK to offer training on slab track systems that are used in the construction of highspeed rail lines, such as HS2, directly adjacent to a conventional rail track for training purposes.’ National Infrastructure Solutions turned over £1 million in its first twelve months and boasts huge industry employers, such as Rhomberg Sersa, Amey Rail and ISS Labour, as early adopters. Demand for its employer-led services has increased by 300 per cent over the last six months and the firm has responded by trebling its full-time workforce, sourcing local talent that is representative of the city it calls home. It has trained 300 individuals so far, with 70 per cent of participants going on to find sustained employment. ‘Supporting our learners before, during and after their training is essential’ explained Davie who is adamant that tracking learner journeys is often overlooked across the sector. NIS will also run free rail training courses for people who are registered as unemployed through a sector-based work academy programme (SWAP). The six-week scheme will offer pre-employment training, onsite work experience and a guaranteed job interview with an industry employer looking to recruit new staff. Davie concluded: ‘One of our biggest tasks is reaching out to people who wouldn’t normally consider a career in this industry. We need to understand what turns them off and look at ways where we can put that right, whether this is increasing females across industry, college or university leavers or those looking for a new career after the Armed Forces or Emergency Services. ‘We need to offer more than just courses and qualifications. There needs to be a focus on the wraparound support, and we need to ask ourselves the question – what help does this person need to reach their potential? ‘If we get that bit right, combined with industry engagement, outstanding training and access to the specialist training centre, then we may just make the most of this once in a generation opportunity.’ Rail Professional

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Tighter budgets strengthen need for efficient tool storage As rail engineering managers and technicians strive to meet ever demanding deadlines, often with fewer skilled hands and tighter budgets, the benefits of professional tool storage and management become stronger than ever


nap-on Industrial’s Level 5™ automated total asset management system brings order to any workplace, enabling engineers and technicians to know exactly where to find every tool they need, when they need it, saving time and easing stress. How useful would it be if valuable tools and equipment could be tracked from one central point? Level 5 enables that, providing complete reports on everything managers or supervisors need to keep an eye on. They are even informed when a tool needs to be refilled or ordered. And then there’s FOD. The threat of foreign object damage is a real and present danger in any engineering workshop, no matter how diligant its professionals are in seeking to prevent it. Using Snap-on Level 5 minimises the risk of human error, as automated tool control constantly tracks every tool and audibly announces which tools have been removed or returned, ensuring greater protection against FOD. Engineered to automatically track individual tools by user, without bar codes, scanners, RFID tags or other add-ons, the system works at the speed its users demand. Other systems require additional

steps to scan or log activity. The Snap-on system does this automatically so users don’t waste time and don’t have to depend on other steps to ensure accurate results. Snap-on’s Level 5™ ATC boxes are network ready, using either Ethernet or wireless connection. That enables users to review activity at all Level 5 boxes in your location from one central computer, avoiding the time consuming need to inspect each box. Major benefits of the system include: • No individual tool scanning required. • No RFID tags to install or replace. • No limitations on tool size: from ¼” screwdriver bit to just less than the size of the drawer. • Intuitive interface, with an easy to use touchscreen. • Audible voice notification of tool removal and replacement. • Automatic locking for maximum security. • Errors announced and displayed to indicate incorrect tool position or advise when a drawer is not closed. Level 5 ATC tool boxes are networked, either wirelessly or by Ethernet and managed by powerful, easy-to-use software. The administrator can view all the boxes on the network, whether they are on or off-line, and see the status of each box, including the number of tools issued, identify active users, and review all history. System alerts, for example by sending e-mails to supervisors, can be customized for lost or broken tools or calibration requirements. Reports can be created on each tool’s frequency of use, inspection and calibration dates as well as other specific location requirements. Finding the right tool for the job in hand can take up even more time if the tool is difficult to spot. Snap-on solutions for better visibility shorten the search time. Coloured, oil resistant foam inserts in

profiled drawers, easily identified tool handles, boards and toolbox organisers increase visibility and improve team productivity. The more organised the workplace the easier and quicker it is to meet schedules. Snap-on offers complete tool audits to determine what level of tool control each customer needs. Special tool sets can be designed to meet specific requirements. Tool cabinet security is essential to complete tool management. Snap-on’s solution to the problem of using keys, which can be lost or shared with others is simple: don’t use keys at all. Level 5 boxes are equipped with Keyless Access Control, giving users the ease of access they need but with security built in. The control system can be configured with magnetic cards, barcodes, PIN numbers and proximity cards. And using Snap-on’s proprietary software managers can control access from a system or network. Access control maintains productivity while keeping unauthorised users away. Richard Packham, Director UK & Europe for Snap-on Industrial says: ‘Snap-on’s automated system takes tool management to an entirely new level, giving rail workshop managers and other authorised users easy access to the tools they need for the job in hand while protecting against foreign object damage. ‘The ability to monitor several boxes from one central computer offers managers a huge time saving advantage.’ Tel: 01536 413904 Email: industrialuk@snapon.com Visit: www.snapon-industrial.co.uk Rail Professional



HS2 contractor EKFB awarded industry-first sustainability status HS2’s main works contractor, EKFB - a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall, has become the first construction joint venture to achieve a new sustainability status awarded by the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS). The status is part of a new programme within the School’s

Plant Charter which recognises the actions taken by construction organisations to lower emissions on construction sites, resulting in improved air quality and a cleaner working environment. Each organisation that becomes a signatory to the Charter makes a public pledge to work towards five commitments

that address these emissions. These include minimum standards in procurement, engagement with stakeholders, awareness raising and education, measurement and reporting, and innovation. EKFB has started on the Bronze level and their plan is to progress towards Silver and then aim to achieve Gold in the next 18 months.

Pandrol receives world first CO2-neutral label for under sleeper pad Global rail fastening specialist Pandrol has underlined its commitment to working collaboratively towards global carbon neutrality, supporting certified climate projects across the world to reduce

its total carbon impact. Pandrol’s Under Sleeper Pads (USPs) are made from end-oflife tires, using around 2.3kg per sleeper, producing a carbon footprint that is less than half of the same product made using

virgin material. Every kilometre of railway track installed with Pandrol’s Under Sleeper Pads, saves 3,000 tyres from landfill or burning.

First joint project: Edge computer for mobile intralogistics Congatec – a leading vendor of embedded and edge computing technology – and Etteplan – a technology service company specializing in software and embedded solutions for manufacturing industry – enter into strategic partnership to digitalize smart mobility and robotic applications in rugged environments such

as industrial machinery and agriculture. The partnership combines Congatec’s capabilities in designing and building edge computing ready Computer-on-Modules for rugged applications and Etteplan’s comprehensive expertise in embedded software and rugged system platform engineering. The partnership aims to provide mobility

OEMs and system integrators with application ready solutions designed for the digitalization of mobility in rugged environments. Typical targets include fleets of intralogistics vehicles in factories, warehouses and distribution hubs, heavy construction machinery, and agricultural machinery for farmers and cooperatives.

PriestmanGoode unveils flexible new rail interiors at London’s Marylebone Station Transport design consultancy PriestmanGoode has unveiled a new train interior that aims to transform future rail experience. The new Proteus rail interior system is a collection of ideas that offer more flexibility, improved comfort and design features that benefit both commuters and leisure travellers. It responds to evolving patterns of travel following the pandemic and supports the goal of bringing more passengers back to rail. PriestmanGoode was awarded funding for the project through the Department for Transport’s First of a Kind competition run by Innovate UK, with their application sponsored and supported by project partners Angel Trains and Chiltern Railways. A specially constructed ‘demonstrator’ Rail Professional

unveiled today in Marylebone Station allows members of the public to test the new seats and aspects of the train layout. Proteus takes its name from the Greek God’s ability to assume many forms and foretell the future. The main features that respond to different patterns in commuter travel, a busier leisure market, increased concerns for personal space and hygiene, include: • An innovative staggered seat layout that eliminates ‘shoulder clash’ and a headrest to improve comfort and privacy. • A wider, more accessible aisle with a 2-2 seat configuration achieved by the removal of the unpopular and underutilised middle seat.

• Pairs of seats designed for comfort, with tip-up seat pan on aisle seats, allowing passengers to keep cases or fold-up bikes close-by. • Benefits for families with buggies allowing them to travel together in the carriage in open bay seats that offer the same tip-up seat flexibility. • Flexible spaces adjacent to all entrance vestibules with longitudinal seating that can be used for multiple purposes, depending on demand. • The latest developments in sustainable materials, trims and finishes used • Features are subject to design registration by PriestmanGoode.



DB Cargo UK appoints new Head of Asset Management and Maintenance DB Cargo UK has appointed a new Head of Asset Management and Maintenance to oversee the company’s in-house and third-party engineering operations. Jon Harman, who was previously Head of Fleet for First Bus, has more than three decades of experience in engineering, having worked in senior management roles for a variety of companies including Thomsonfly, Lex Multipart and Arriva London.

Serco appoints new Director, Rail Technical Services in Derby Serco has appointed Joel Sainsbury as the new Director, Rail Technical Services, based in Derby. Joel joined Serco’s Rail Technical Services business nine months ago. Richard Hobson, who has led Rail Technical Services since 2011 will be retiring at the end of April after a long and successful career.

Go-Ahead appoints Chief Financial Officer Go-Ahead has appointed Sarah Mussenden as Group Chief Financial Officer with effect from 9 May 2022. Mark Ferriday, Group Financial Controller, will report to Christian Schreyer, Group CEO, until then. Sarah, a qualified Chartered Accountant, has extensive experience across multiple sectors, including her present role as Interim Chief Financial Officer at Royal Mail UK.

FirstGroup plc Non-Executive Director Appointment FirstGroup has appointed Myrtle Dawes to the Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director with effect from 1 April 2022. Myrtle is an established leader with extensive experience in the energy sector both in the UK and internationally. A chartered Chemical Engineer, she has held a number of senior safety and engineering project management roles in the offshore oil and gas industry, including for BP and BHP Petroleum.

Rail Professional



Spencer Group appoints experienced lead to enhance in-house rail design capabilities Multi-disciplinary engineering business Spencer Group has appointed an experienced lead to drive forward the growth of its in-house rail design capabilities. Gary Robson has joined Spencer Group as Engineering Manager, with specific responsibility for rail project design. He brings significant expertise and experience to the role, having held numerous senior civil engineering consultancy positions throughout his 30-year career, which includes 20 years working in the rail sector.

Nuclear Transport Solutions has appointed an independent NonExecutive Director Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS) has appointed John Hudson CBE to its Board as an independent Non-Executive Director. John has over 20 years of Executive Management experience working on large complex programmes with a particular focus on the maritime sector.

Rail Professional

Trenitalia c2c announces appointment of new Managing Director Train operator Trenitalia c2c has appointed Rob Mullen as Managing Director, following the departure of Ben Ackroyd who leaves the role this Spring. Rob joins c2c from Thameslink and Great Northern, part of GTR, where he was Train Services Director and oversaw a real improvement in overall safety and operational delivery, with a focus on implementing Automatic Train Operation and the European Train Control System through London’s core, in addition to navigating the pandemic.

New Chair of key RSSB safety leadership group Network Rail’s Anglia Director, Ellie Burrows, has been appointed chair of RSSB’s System Safety Risk Group (SSRG). SSRG promotes collaboration through the industry’s shared strategy: ‘Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railway’ (LHBSR). This sets out the opportunities to improve across twelve key risk areas as well as industry’s own capabilities, helping to keep Britain’s railways among the safest in the world.

New Commercial Strategy Lead at Heathrow Express Heathrow Express – the fastest route between Paddington and Heathrow Airport – has announced that Mark Eastwood will become Commercial Strategy Lead from 1 March 2022. Mark has been Business Development Manager at Heathrow Express since 2018 and in that time has been instrumental in implementing new distribution strategies for the business.




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