Rail Professional December 2021 Issue 278

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DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE 278 £7.95



Mapping rail’s recovery from the pandemic

The combination of restructuring, Government bearing cost and revenue risk and carbon-neutral targets creates a unique opportunity Freight Innovative and sustainable wagon solutions in the UK

Rolling Stock Keeping innovation on track

Geotechnical Engineering Stuck between houses and a hard place

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DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE 278 £7.95



Mapping rail’s recovery from the pandemic

The combination of restructuring, Government bearing cost and revenue risk and carbon-neutral targets creates a unique opportunity Freight Innovative and sustainable wagon solutions in the UK

Rolling Stock Keeping innovation on track

editor’s note


Geotechnical Engineering Stuck between houses and a hard place

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 ADAM OVERALL DEAN SALISBURY 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 NICK FOGDEN ALISHA GENT REBECCA GOLDBERG production@railpro.co.uk

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

t’s rare that a big news story breaks right before we go to print, and even rarer that we receive so many strongly worded responses. On 18 November the Government released its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) which sets out proposals to transform the rail network in the North and Midlands. On the publication of the IRP, 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’. I imagine by time you’re reading this there will be more responses to add to the above, I’m certainly looking forward to delving deeper into this issue in the New Year and would welcome any contributions analysing the IRP in greater detail. On to this month’s issue and we round off 2021 with a focus on freight and rolling stock. Lucy Prior writes on modal shift in the context of COP26, Andy Bagnall looks at the HGV driver shortage and what it could mean for rail. Karen Power, Associate Director in Turley’s strategic communications team, analyses the All-Island Strategic Rail Review and Matthew Niblett and Sarah Kendall of the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) share some of the findings from a recent report by the ITC. Covering rolling stock, David Fisken, Head of Inward Investment at the West Midlands Growth Company outlines how the region is steering the rail innovation agenda. I’ll take this chance to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I won’t tempt fate by wishing for a quieter year in 2022, and given we can expect more details to be revealed on the formation of Great British Railways alongside other changes to the structure of our railways, I expect next year to be just as event-filled as this one. I would also like to invite you to order your copy of the 2022 Rail Professional Supply Chain Directory which will be available at the start of next year. You can pre-order it here: www.railpro.co.uk/rail-professional-supply-chain-directory

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8 News

33 Freight

HS2 celebrates big carbon saving on UK’s longest rail bridge, RIA welcomes Exports Strategy and new Tradeshow Programme, Regular trains to run on Dartmoor Line for first time in 50 years, New report highlights supply chain capability delivering major rail projects, RBF announce Heart of Gold Awards winners, Siemens Mobility cooperates with RazorSecure to strengthen cybersecurity, National rail contractor pledges to support new talent through the Kickstart Scheme

Freightliner has a proud history of setting the standards for innovative and sustainable wagon solutions in the UK

12 Rail Professional Interview Sam Sherwood-Hale, spoke to Glynn Hutton, UK Sales Development Manager at Global Display Solutions about display technology, market specific requirements and his design philosophy

15 The Cheek of it Chris Cheek takes a look at the Government’s new Integrated Rail Plan for the North and the Midlands


37 Freight Andy Bagnall, Director General at Rail Delivery Group explains this once in a generation opportunity for a transformative approach to rail freight

38 Freight Karen Power, Associate Director in Turley’s strategic communications team, discusses why she believes this is a unique opportunity that must consider both passenger and freight rail

41 Freight

19 Laying down the law

Matthew Niblett and Sarah Kendall of the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) share some of the findings from a recent report by the ITC

During the past 18 months, the Coronavirus pandemic has touched every sector of the United Kingdom

45 Freight

23 Women in Rail

Presented in December 2019, the overarching objective of the EU Green Deal is for the EU to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050, but how to get there?

25 Delivering the goods

47 Freight

Mags Simpson, Head of Policy Engagement at Logistics UK, explores the state of rail-air networks across different parts of the UK, and the benefits for business and industry that lie in greater connectivity

Woodland Group, one of the largest independent supply chain companies, have recently launched their new 360 digital solution, delivering full multimodal supply chain management to customers

30 Prior Knowledge

50 Rolling Stock

10 November 2021 for many of us in railway was a date we looked towards with intent and ambition, it being transport day at COP26, the day that the United Nations Climate Change conference focussed on transport and its role in reaching Net Zero 2050

With mounting pressure to decarbonise and digitise, David Fisken, Head of Inward Investment at the West Midlands Growth Company – the region’s official investment promotion agency – outlines how the region is steering the rail innovation agenda

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52 Rolling Stock

73 Viewpoint

Connectors for rail applications need to be extremely robust, but also easy to install and maintain

Edmund Caldecott, CEO of Whoosh, explains how the government should get people back onboard the rail for environmental and economic reasons

54 Rolling Stock High-performance fanless embedded system for in-vehicle NVR and security surveillance applications

57 Safety and Security In this final article in their four-part series on safety culture, Russel Keir, Vice Chair of the IOSH Railway Group and Paul Leach of rail industry body RSSB, reflect on the series and consider next steps for safety culture

59 Safety and Security Dr. Uwe Jasnoch, Transportation Industry Leader, Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division

61 Safety and Security Railways are a key pillar of our overarching transportation system and keeping them secure and safe is all-important, Karsten Oberle, Head of Rail at Nokia, explains why

64 The Digital Railway Using AI-based digital tools to revolutionise field risk assessments resulting in improved worker safety and productivity for field force operations

67 Viewpoint Robin Coombes recounts his experience of completing a doctorate into the study of heritage railways at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Rail Research and Education

71 Viewpoint

77 Viewpoint Matthew Shears, Co-Founder and Commercial Director at UP3 explores how rail operators can manage disruption

81 Viewpoint Monica Wick, CEO and founder at RedCabin explores the future of rail interiors post-pandemic

85 Geotechnical Engineering The BAM Ritchies team was called into action to assist Network Rail with an emergency during the height of the pandemic’s first wave to stabilise the delaminated spray concrete facing on a vertical 20-metre high, 200-metre long chalk cutting

89 Business Profiles The Railway Industry Association, Approved Hydraulics, Mabey Hire, Relec Electronics, Perfect Clean, Rosler, Stäubli Group, Forbo Flooring, RVE Exhibitions, RASIC, Layher

117 Business News Norbar Torque Tools develops unique torque tool for London Underground, HUBER+SUHNER launches rail antenna that boosts 4G and 5G connectivity, Plasser American Corp. acquires the worldwide first hybrid rail milling machine, Ricardo completes installation of pantograph monitoring technology on Scotland’s railway

118 People Neil Ethell, Eduardo Martin, Ciaran Ebbs, Neil Lindley, Mike Gardner, Martin Sheehan

Dave Clarke, Sales Director, Integrated Communication and Supervision Systems at Thales in the UK explores the evolution of journey planning in rail

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News in brief East West Rail Alliance putting the environment first

HS2 celebrates big carbon saving on UK’s longest rail bridge

East West Rail Connection Stage One is currently being built between Oxford, Bletchley and Milton Keynes by Network Rail and the East West Rail Alliance. The first phase of the project between Oxford and Bicester was completed in 2015 and construction is currently underway to build the second phase between Bicester, Bletchley and Milton Keynes. In a first for a major rail infrastructure project, the plans for the construction between Bicester, Bletchley and Milton Keynes committed to not only restore any habitats disrupted during construction but to also create ten per cent more so wildlife, trees and plants can thrive in future. Scotland’s Railway on track to achieve Net Zero by 2035 Scotland’s Railway is on track to be Net Zero by the Scottish Government’s 2035 target for rail, thanks to its increasing efforts to help fight climate change. ScotRail has reduced its carbon footprint by 38 per cent since 2014, including a 30,002-tonne saving in 2020. That’s the equivalent of over two million car journeys between Edinburgh and Glasgow or equivalent to the annual carbon footprint produced from 2,308 Scots over a twelve-month period. Scotland’s Railway is a rapidly evolving success story, with more than 76 per cent of passenger and 45 per cent of freight journeys already electrified. Rail Forum Midlands Launches ‘Route 2 Zero’ Programme As the COP26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow comes to a close, Rail Forum Midlands’ (RFM) is delighted to launch its Route 2 Zero Programme.

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HS2 has confirmed that it is on track to cut the amount of embedded carbon in the Colne Valley Viaduct by at least 28.4 per cent, as works continue for what will be the UK’s longest railway bridge. Applying lessons from the construction of the latest European high speed railway bridges, the British team has cut the amount of embedded carbon in the viaduct by 63,300 tonnes CO2e – the equivalent of 234,500 flights from London to Edinburgh. The production of concrete and steel are major sources of CO2 emissions, so narrowing the width of the viaduct allowed a significant reduction in carbon, and helps reduce disruption for local residents by reducing the number of HGVs on local roads. Inspired by the flight of a stone skimming over the surface of the water, the Colne Valley Viaduct will stretch for 3.4km across a series of lakes on the outskirts of London, and will be one of the most high-profile structures on the new HS2 high speed rail link under construction between London, the West Midlands and Crewe. HS2 Ltd’s main works contractor Align JV – a team made up of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick – worked for four years on the design with architects Grimshaw and design partners Jacobs and Ingerop-Rendel. Starting from the reference design produced as part of the HS2 parliamentary process, they

refined the design, challenged assumptions, and found efficiencies to help reduce the amount of steel and concrete in the structure. This included working closely with rail systems experts at HS2 Ltd to allow the structure to be narrowed by over one metre, while still allowing sufficient space for signalling and control equipment alongside the line. They also worked to bring the northbound and southbound tracks closer together further north, which in turn significantly reduced the amount of earthworks required for the approach embankment. Conscious of commitments made to the community about the appearance of the viaduct as it passed over the lakes, the team focused on creating long graceful arches over the water while reserving simpler, easier to construct, designs for the approaches. Inside the viaduct, the engineers opted for a ‘post-tension’ design, with lightweight superstrong steel cables running the full length of structure. The cables will be monitored 24/7 by a network of high-tech sensors and act to bind the viaduct together allowing it to handle the enormous forces produced by trains passing at speeds of up to 200mph (320 kph). This combination of steel and concrete allows for the most efficient use of the materials and the low elegant profile of the viaduct. Every element of the design was challenged during the design process, with noise


News in brief The Route 2 Zero Programme will launch in January with support from government. Following an initial online event for members there will be monthly events on specific topics including showcasing what companies – large and small – are already doing. There will be other supporting activities throughout 2022. The Route 2 Zero programme will be overseen and further developed by RFM’s Future Supply Chain Advisory Group which focusses on how RFM can best support suppliers in the short to medium term. Cambridge Quantum and Deutsche Bahn Netz AG to optimise train scheduling Cambridge Quantum (CQ) and Deutsche Bahn Netz AG (DB) have announced a partnership to explore how quantum computers can improve the rescheduling of rail traffic as part of DB’s long-term transformative plan, Digitale Schiene Deutschland, to digitise DB’s infrastructure and railway system using next-generation technologies to achieve a higher capacity and optimal utilisation of the rail network. Combining Cambridge Quantum’s latest combinatorial optimisation algorithm Filtering Variational Quantum Eigensolver (F-VQE) – recently shown to outperform leading quantum algorithms – with DB’s operations research expertise, the team reoptimised realistic train timetables after simulated delays and are now identifying areas for continued study.

barriers moving from solid concrete to a composite design with noise absorbing steel cassettes at the bottom and transparent acrylic at the top, helping to reduce the amount of concrete while also reducing the visual weight of the structure and enabling views across it.


An extensive programme of test piling was also completed ahead of the start of construction with geological and structural data from these tests fed back into the design of the viaduct. This has resulted in a 10-15 per cent reduction in the depth of the piles and associated time, cost and carbon savings.

RIA welcomes Exports Strategy and new Tradeshow Programme On 17 November the Government published a new Exports Strategy which includes the launch of a new Tradeshow Programme to support SMEs in attending overseas trade exhibitions. Neil Walker, Exports Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: ‘The rail industry has previously benefitted significantly from Tradeshow Access Programme grants for SMEs

to attend overseas shows, which has helped businesses attend exhibitions like InnoTrans and Middle East Rail. These small, but pivotal grants can introduce smaller companies to the world of exports, helping them to develop a presence in key markets around the world, thereby helping to boost the UK’s trade portfolio. It is important that the new programme is as effective as the one it replaces.’

Regular trains to run on Dartmoor Line for first time in 50 years

The Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2022: Enter Now! Returning for its seventh event, Women in Rail and Nimble Media are proud to announce the launch of The Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2022,

The line linking Okehampton to Exeter officially reopened to the public for regular year-round, all-week passenger services on 20 November. The Department for Transport, Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) have worked together to reopen this line ahead of time and under budget. Benefitting from the application of Rail Project SPEED approaches, the Dartmoor Line has been

transformed from a mothballed former freight railway with occasional Summer Sunday services to a full seven days per week passenger operation in a mere nine months since confirmation of funding, coming in more than £10 million under budget. A service will run every two hours, with plans to expand to an hourly service in 2022. This will benefit students heading to colleges in Exeter as well as tourists travelling towards Rail Professional



News in brief which will take place on Wednesday 22 June at Newark Showground. Consisting of a series of physical, mental and skill-based challenges, the event is designed specifically for the rail industry to promote the Women in Rail message: Gender Diversity: Better for People, Better for Business, Better for Rail. Greater Anglia dials down energy use at its rail stations Greater Anglia has saved more than 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from being emitted into the atmosphere, after installing energy management technology at some of its stations. The Wireless Energy Management Systems (WEMS) network of wireless sensors have been in place around the stations’ waiting rooms and offices and have been communicating to a main control panel that helps regulate temperatures and reduce energy usage wherever possible. Night Overground returns TfL has announced that Night Overground services will be returning next month in time for London’s festive celebrations. The all-night services, which link key areas in the city’s night-time economy such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and Upper Street in Islington, have been suspended since March 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic. Additional support for light rail operators The Scottish Government is to provide a further £2.2 million of emergency funding for light rail in response to the on-going financial impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. This latest emergency funding brings the total

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Dartmoor, easing congestion on local roads and helping boost local economies. Since 1997, the line has only been open during some Sundays in Summer after regular services were withdrawn in 1972. This has been made possible thanks to over £40 million of Government investment through the Restoring Your Railway programme. The Restoring Your Railway fund was launched in January 2020 to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations, many of which were cut following Dr Beeching’s report on ‘The Reshaping of British Railways’ in 1963. The

fund is focused on delivering schemes that can level up the country, reconnect cut-off communities, improve access to jobs, homes and education and boost opportunity across the country. The Department and its partners have accelerated the reopening of the railway, delivering passenger services in only 9 months from the original funding being approved to entry into service, and saving money at the same time. As the Government continues its overhaul of the railways following the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, more lines and stations will be reopened.

New report highlights supply chain capability delivering major rail projects The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the voice of the UK rail supply community, has published a new report highlighting the capabilities of the supply chain to deliver major projects on the railways, ahead of the publication of the Integrated Rail Plan likely later this week. The report, which includes a series of examples from across the industry, documents the expertise and experience of the supply chain in completing rail projects successfully. It also sets out some of the lessons that can be learned from previous schemes, to enable more efficient project delivery. The key lessons from the report include: 1. Collaboration and Leadership: Create strategic partnerships with contractors and clients that are based on shared goals. Recruit for and reward positive team behaviours including a continuous learning and development culture and the ability to manage change effectively. 2. Visibility and long-term investment: Once committed do not look back, share pipelines and plan long-term investment to drive competition, grow supply

chain capability and efficiency, and give confidence to the private sector to invest in skills, assets and innovation. 3. Innovation and SMEs: Support innovation at the earliest stages of a project, take full advantage of supply chain capability including international, SME and cross sectoral ideas and expertise. Harness supply chain skills on system thinking and whole life value. 4. Procurement: Engage suppliers early. Publishing transparent procurement pipelines and targeted outcome-focussed procurement models, support competition, efficiency, innovation and delivery. Effective procurement enables the development of intellectual property and unlocks collaborative funding and financing models. 5. Economic, Environmental and Social Value: Recognise the full economic, environmental and social value that rail brings to the UK. 6. People Trade and Exports: Celebrate the diversity of the supply chain and its people and promote UK rail expertise and capability internationally.

RBF announce Heart of Gold Awards winners Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) have announced the winners of their 2021 Heart of Gold Awards. They received a record breaking 7,000 votes this year, and for the first time introduced four categories to the awards. RBF were flooded with so many inspiring and heart-warming stories of rail heroes, receiving over 100 nominations this year.

Below are this year’s winners: • Going the Extra Mile Award Winner (Sponsored by Furrer + Frey) – Jennifer Birdsall. • Rising Star Award Winner (Sponsored by Railpen) – Paul Scott. • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner (Sponsored by Abellio Rail Replacement) – Siggy Cragwell. • Team Award Winner (Sponsored by Amaro) – Hatch End Station Team.



News in brief light rail support available to over £36 million and this will now be in place until the end of March 2022. This funding announcement follows ongoing discussions with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and Edinburgh Trams regarding available resources due to the unprecedented impact that Covid-19 has had on travel demand. Edinburgh Trams Launches Recruitment Drive with Vacancies for up to 20 Ticket Inspectors Edinburgh Trams is launching a major recruitment campaign with a drive to hire twenty Ticketing Service Assistants. The role – otherwise known as Ticket Inspector – is primarily responsible for delivering ‘Excellence for Edinburgh’ while protecting the organisation’s revenue and ensuring our customers receive the very best travelling experience. As the city’s tram operator recovers from the pandemic and ahead of a major expansion of the network, the campaign will continue throughout the coming months when more tram drivers and engineers will also be required. New community hub at train station gets tenants and job seekers on right track Transport for Wales (TfW) and the Welsh Government are behind the pioneering scheme at Llandudno station, where a vacant room has been renovated for use by the local community. The one-stop-shop is being managed by housing association Cartrefi Conwy and its not-for-profit subsidiary, Creating Enterprise, which is supported by more than £100,000 of funding from the Welsh Government through Transport for Wales, and Avanti West Coast.

Siemens Mobility cooperates with RazorSecure to strengthen cybersecurity Siemens Mobility and RazorSecure have signed a cooperation agreement to provide Rolling Stock operators worldwide with enhanced rail cybersecurity monitoring solutions. Increasing digitalization brings benefits, but also the need for adequate protection against cyber-attacks. The two companies will therefore pool their knowhow to secure

complex transport systems: RazorSecure is a specialist in providing rail cybersecurity solutions and continuously monitors the behaviour of individual systems and traffic across the full network in realtime. Siemens Mobility is committed to guaranteeing availability of rail systems with its smart digital asset management systems such as Railigent.

National rail contractor pledges to support new talent through the Kickstart Scheme National rail contractor, QTS Group, has signed up to the Kickstart Scheme to help tackle unemployment in young people and showcase the rail industry as a positive career pathway. This Governmentled initiative provides funding which gives businesses the opportunity to provide work experience and enhance employability skills for young people. It is designed for 16 to 24-year-olds, who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, to help improve their employment prospects. QTS Group has successfully secured 20 part-time placements on the scheme, which covers employee wages for a 25-hour working week. Moreover, the company has decided

to make all the placements full-time and will cover the remaining costs. A mix of operational and support roles have been made available at the firm’s offices nationwide to help attract applicants from different backgrounds with varied skillsets and interests. The rail specialist’s application to the Kickstart Scheme is part of wider company plans to plug the skills and labour gap in the rail industry and encourage more young people to begin their career with QTS Group. The firm is also hoping to retain staff that make a positive impact on the business during their six-months on the scheme, meaning permanent job opportunities will be made available in 2022. Rail Professional




Glynn Hutton, UK Sales Development Manager at Global Display Solutions Sam Sherwood-Hale, spoke to Glynn Hutton, UK Sales Development Manager at Global Display Solutions about display technology, market specific requirements and his design philosophy Global Display Solutions design, manufacture, supply, install and maintain Passenger Information Displays for rail – how have you seen the technology change during the time you’ve been with the company? GDS focusses on innovation and research, aiming to be first to market with its technology so I have consequently seen a lot of changes in recent years! LCD technology has moved forward significantly in the past ten years with many displays now being 4K or UHD in resolution. We have found that LCD based screens have become more popular for outdoor and demanding semi-outdoor environments across Europe and the rest of the world. The UK rail industry still tends to use LED matrix displays, but our global customers find that LCD provides better resolution and more ‘screen space’ to display critical information for passengers. GDS has also developed a new eTela™ range of e-paper displays which are often solar powered. Although not a new innovation, GDS continues to innovate its’ displays for outdoor and harsh environments with the G+Bond, its’ own optical bonding material and process which is now into its third generation. This process removes the traditional ‘air gap’ between the front glass and LCD screen, significantly reducing the internal reflections, improving the display characteristics, preventing dust and moisture ingress and improving heat dissipation of the display. GDS Technology was awarded RISQS certification for the UK in December last year, what was the process of receiving that certification like? Despite the RISQS certification process being very thorough, the process was fairly Rail Professional


There has been an increasing trend towards ‘self-service’ where people would prefer to get information themselves than ask station staff and where a simple display would previously suffice, we are finding that interactive displays with more detailed information, relevant messaging and mapping is now required. straightforward for us, as being part of a large global group, and already holding accreditations such as ISO 9001, 14001, and IRIS, we were easily able to demonstrate all of the requirements. What are the most important things customers should consider when looking for Public Information Displays (PIDS)? We believe the most important thing that customers should consider is selecting hardware which has the lowest overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Often customers only consider the initial cost of the equipment, forgetting the lifetime costs of maintenance, reliability and replacement. I would also say that for any displays that are installed outdoors or in very high ambient lighting conditions that optical bonding is important as mentioned earlier. Customers should also ensure that displays are properly designed for their intended environment – bright, rugged, and easy to maintain in-situ. How does your flexible design philosophy help in the installation, maintenance and reliability of the PIDs? Our design philosophy, and long experience, ensures that our displays are easy to install and simple to maintain. In fact, as we install and maintain a lot of our own displays for our customers, we have first-hand experience in what works and what doesn’t! We thoroughly test all our displays at our in-house testing facilities to ensure they function as required within the demanding railway environment. How do you balance environmental and operating life requirements? We strongly believe that these factors perfectly complement each other. By reducing power consumption, and better managing thermal dissipation, we can extend the life of our displays. GDS designs its own LED backlights for LCD displays,

rather than relying on ‘off the shelf’ components, which allows us the ability to meet the specific requirements of PIDS in challenging environments. Our eTela™ range of e-paper displays are ultra-low power and can be solar powered making them the greenest displays on the market! How bespoke can you get when it comes to hardware and Digital Signage Software? Our hardware can be fully customised depending on the project scope and requirements - we offer a range of paint colours and finishes and in many cases design bespoke enclosures for clients. Signage software depends very much upon the use-case – for advertising we offer a fully featured content management system (CMS), whilst for passenger information systems we have our own custom software platform which can be adapted for specific customer needs allowing third party data (real time passenger information) to be displayed intelligently on our displays. Our software engineers work with clients to choose the right solution and provide longer term technical support and training. You describe your PIDs as ‘all-weather robust displays’, when it comes to robust displays, what are the most challenging ambient conditions you have to plan for? Our high quality digital displays are suitable for all environments. We have ranges for Indoor, Semi-Outdoor and Full Outdoor environments all of which have their own environmental conditions to overcome. We have displays installed and working successfully in the Middle East with the high temperatures, sand/dust issues and high brightness viewing considerations through to displays installed and working in Norway, close to the arctic circle. Literally from one extreme to the other! However, it is not just the climatic conditions that need consideration before


choosing and installing digital displays, the environment in which the display is installed in needs careful consideration as well. For example, on the underground or on the metro systems carbon dust from brakes can be very corrosive. We have displays installed in Oslo, Norway between the tracks where trains pass either side. If you want proof – you will see some of our displays in UK locations which are over ten years old! When it comes to the passenger/ pedestrian making use of the display, what are the changes you’ve seen in terms of requirements and expectations? We have seen a change from passengers being content with simple information such as train times and platforms, to now requiring much more information about their journey and the immediate environment. There has been an increasing trend towards ‘self-service’ where people would prefer to get information themselves than ask station staff and where a simple display would previously suffice, we are finding that interactive displays with more detailed information, relevant messaging and mapping is now required. You focus on the UK, but how do customer expectations in the UK differ to global customers? The UK differs from Europe, Asia and USA in market size and expectations. The UK tends to purchase LED Displays whereas in Europe and the US the ‘standard’ display technology tends to be LCD / TFT. The specification route varies around the globe as does the procurement standards and personnel. Europe and the US also embraces new technology and change quite readily, however we in the UK seem to be more reticent. Typically, in other markets the rail infrastructure is nationally managed, whereas the UK market is made up of much smaller entities with differing requirements. You provide services to industries other than transport, how do those other areas differ in terms of what you offer and what the customers expect? Yes, we do provide display solutions to many other industries including, medical, industrial, advertising, retail and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR). Alongside railways, we also provide screen solutions for bus, trams and smart cities. Each market is very specific in their requirements but all expect high quality and reliable digital display solutions with the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). Our screens can be found in many unusual places including in medical ventilators, cash machines and gym equipment! Rail Professional

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The Cheek of it Chris Cheek

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory Chris takes a look at the Government’s new Integrated Rail Plan for the North and the Midlands


he phrase about ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’ was once attributed to the first US President George Washington describing his Civil War general Ambrose Burnside, though it is now attributed to an 1891 article about baseball in the New York Times. It came into mind last month when watching the outpouring of anger and listening to the cries of betrayal emanating from the north of England over the Government’s new Integrated Plan for Rail for the North and the Midlands (the IRP) published in the middle of November. In many ways, the remarkable thing about the document is not what it leaves out, but the fact that exists at all. We are living in an era where the government is shelling out money hand over fist to keep the rail network running in the face of a 45 per cent to 50 per cent fall in demand post-Covid. Nobody knows when – if ever – demand is likely to recover. Meanwhile, government borrowing is at record levels, with debts soaring to post Second World War proportions. And yet it is seriously proposing to shell out a total of £96 billion on upgrading the network to accommodate future increases in demand that may never materialise. Dr Beeching is probably spinning in his grave at the same RPM as a Deltic. One could not help but feel that there was something politically inept about getting so roundly criticised for an announcement of such spending, encompassing two long-sought electrification schemes (TransPennine and Midland Main Line), new stretches of high-speed railway, 140mph running on the East Coast Main Line and a

mass transit network for West Yorkshire. Given the extent to which the cancellation of the eastern leg of HS2 had been signalled in the media in the days leading up to the announcement, one could not help but wonder how much of the outrage was genuine and how much had been scripted in advance for political purposes. The Government’s hope may have been that, having trailed the HS2 eastern leg announcement so extensively, people would discount it on publication day and concentrate on other aspects of the plan. If that was the idea, then they were disappointed – not surprisingly, of course, as the media don’t do detail. The DfT was also entitled to feel a little aggrieved over the hostile reaction to the TransPennine announcement, given that it has adopted an enhanced version of Option One of the proposals put forward in 2019 by Transport for the North. The new approach proposed in the IRP delivers a number of advantages not previously available, including a connection from HS2 into Liverpool, improved connections between Liverpool and Manchester Airport and upgrades to the Calder Valley Line. This will include faster journey times and electrification between Leeds and Bradford Interchange (the line to Forster Square is already electrified). Electrification of the whole TransPennine north route has been brought forward and is promised for completion by 2030. In truth, the eastern leg of HS2 had been in doubt for some time but was probably doomed from the moment the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) advised the government against going ahead with

it in December 2020. It is noteworthy that the Commission’s Chair Sir John Armitt, responding to the government’s announcement, remarked: ‘We now have a realistic plan for major long term investments to improve rail for the North and Midlands in the face of public spending constraints.’ Importantly, he highlighted that the plan offered, ‘a core pipeline of investment that should speed up delivery of benefits for communities and businesses’, arguing that if additional funding became available, ‘the focus should be on further improving connections between Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford and Hull which are the kind of regional links likely to enhance economic benefits.’ Speeding up delivery of benefits was one of the core messages of the new plan, committing to the completion of the upgrade and electrification of the Midland Main Line by 2030, and spreading the benefits of investment to other East Midlands communities, including Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, and Chesterfield, as well as Sheffield. Later, building HS2 east from Birmingham as far as East Midlands Parkway will give new HS2 connections directly to Nottingham (previously excluded from the route). In the 2030s, the government is also proposing the further enhancements on the East Coast Main line including the long-promised 140mph running (originally proposed with the delivery of the Class 91 and Mark IV stock in 1989). This will also deliver benefits to a wider cross-section of communities including smaller towns such as Grantham, Newark, Doncaster, Darlington and Durham as well as major Rail Professional



The DfT was also entitled to feel a little aggrieved over the hostile reaction to the TransPennine announcement, given that it has adopted an enhanced version of Option One of the proposals put forward in 2019 by Transport for the North centres like Leeds, York and Newcastle. Journey time savings of 20 minutes on ECML trains to Leeds and Newcastle are envisaged – but will not surely be achieved without major expenditure at Welwyn and Newark to remove major bottlenecks. A major constraint on both the ECML upgrades and the north TransPennine route is capacity in Leeds, both in the station and especially along the two-track section immediately to the east along to the Parish Church (now Minster). There’s a strong hint in the document that the preferred solution would be to use some form of tramtrain conversion to remove local services from these tracks rather than the hugely expensive and disruptive alternative of doubling the viaduct which carries the tracks

through the city – but in the end there may be no alternative. The other major constraint that will need to be addressed is the section between Deansgate and Manchester Piccadilly, currently the subject of a separate study by the Manchester Recovery Task Force set up by the DfT in 2020. In the longer term, the IRP proposes to connect the new TransPennine railway to be built from Manchester towards Huddersfield with HS2 tracks into a new Piccadilly station. This would ease the congestion. Between Warrington and Liverpool, the DfT has rejected the idea of a new line with a new underground station in Warrington. Instead, it is proposing to reinstate low level platforms at Bank Quay station (closed

in 1965) and refurbish the Fiddlers Ferry route into Liverpool, altering or extending Lime Street station to accommodate the additional services. If Liverpool City Region wants a brand new station, says the IRP, it will have to be locally funded. Authorities may have been critical of the decisions made and it may be argued that the government’s plans lack the vision that will be needed if the rail industry is to carry its fair share of the journeys that we need to shift away from the private car between now and 2050. But we also need to remember that, even before Covid, the northern regions could only muster 195,000 daily national rail commuters between them – just twelve per cent of the 1.5 million for London and the South East. Surely the important thing at the moment is that the IRP does not preclude implementing other more substantial schemes in future – and if the upgrades it proposes do happen, they will still be enough to transform the journey experience of rail passengers throughout the midlands and the north. That could then create the virtuous circle of requiring – and justifying – more substantial investment into the 2040s and beyond. The main lesson for this should be for Boris Johnson – whose flights of rhetoric and optimism created the expectations of even greater levels of future investment in the first place. It was the breaking of promises freely given that turned what could have been an exciting announcement of future projects into a cause for recrimination and complaint – so, like the hapless Ambrose Burnside, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.



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Laying down the law Martin Fleetwood

Having your say: getting ready for the Coronavirus public inquiry During the past 18 months, the Coronavirus pandemic has touched every sector of the United Kingdom


he rail industry has functioned nevertheless, from continuing to provide public transport to key workers to making sure that goods are safely and efficiently transported around the country. Behind that have been the supply chains and manufacturers, all of whom have had to cope with the effects of Covid-19 on workforces and the provision of materials and parts in order to keep those services operating. Since March 2020 the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee (the Committees) have held separate inquiries examining the Government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In October 2020, the Committees launched a joint inquiry, ‘Coronavirus: lessons learnt’, to consider key issues that emerged during the first wave of the pandemic. The Government has now published ‘Coronavirus: lessons learned to date’ (the Report) outlining lessons for the UK and others on how to confront future health emergencies. The Report’s findings are a useful guide to trying to prepare for and manage any future pandemic. The messages to maintain plans and systems to cope with such risks will be important advice to follow. However, the Report is not the end of the investigation. In Spring 2022, the Government is expected to launch its Covid Public Inquiry (the Covid Inquiry) and the Report is seen as an important preamble to the areas that the Covid Inquiry will consider. Whilst the full scope of the Covid Inquiry is yet to be determined, the Report’s areas of focus are likely to be mirrored in the Covid Inquiry’s main themes.

Findings of the report The Report sets out a number of findings, with some of the main ones being: • The UK’s pandemic planning tools were too focused on an influenza model and failed to learn lessons from the SARS, MERS and Ebola outbreaks. This resulted in the UK’s pandemic planning performing less well than that of other countries. • A more emphatic and rigorous approach to stopping the spread of Covid, comparable to that of many East and South East Asian countries, should have been taken. • A policy to try and manage the spread through the population rather than stop it from spreading altogether was wrong. • Public Health England (PHE), proved itself to be poor at delivering an operational testing system at the scale and urgency required by the pandemic. • it was a mistake to stop community testing early in the pandemic and Ministers and scientific advisers should have presented a greater challenge to PHE in order to increase testing capacity from the outset. • There was a much higher death rate amongst people from ethnic minority communities. • The pandemic has underlined the need for an urgent and long-term strategy to tackle health inequalities • The Government’s early investment into research and development of vaccines played a significant part in the vaccine programme’s success. While they give a useful base, the main work and recommendations will come from the Covid Inquiry.

Participating in the Covid Inquiry? With an opportunity to participate in the Covid Inquiry, businesses should strongly consider the benefits of active participation. Business involvement may take many forms, from Core Participant status to organisations being called upon to give evidence (and perhaps being compelled to do so). There is also the potential for reputational damage for a business if criticism is directed at it but they are not seen to engage with the process. There are three main benefits from participating in the Covid Inquiry: 1. An opportunity to influence the lessons to be learned and other procedural aspects of the inquiry. • One purpose of the Covid Inquiry will be to identify what went wrong and how to avoid similar failings in the future. Through participating, businesses will be able to express their views which may impact Government policy. Rail Professional



• Attending as a Core Participant will allow businesses to influence policy and have their say on impending regulations which may affect civil and criminal liabilities. It also prevents unfair challenges being made to a business without a right to reply. • Participants would have the opportunity to request permission from the inquiry Chair to ask questions of witnesses. This can assist in making sure that key facts are presented to the Inquiry and business interests are protected. • Core Participants would be provided with a copy of the Chair’s report to the Minister at the end of the Inquiry prior to its publication and would be best place to make comment or defend their position on publication of the report. 2. Access to Inquiry documents and evidence. • Participants would have access to Inquiry evidence such as Government documentation in relation to decisionmaking. This can be advantageous to businesses to enable them to access information they would not otherwise be able to and to ensure that they are properly informed about what went wrong and why.

• Participation would allow businesses to establish whether any evidence lodged is damaging to their interests and would allow them an opportunity to respond to it. • Any business may be compelled to produce documents or evidence, but if that business does not have Core Participant status, it is very difficult to provide any context in order to protect their interests. 3. Collective action and publicity. • A business can be given Core Participant status jointly with others. Collective action can reduce costs and increase the gravitas of the group. • Inquiries always attract significant publicity and by being involved as a Core Participant, whether alone or jointly, businesses have the opportunity to promote and raise awareness of key messages they want the Government and the public to know through submissions or witness evidence. What should the rail industry do to prepare? While an amount of focus in the rail sector is currently on the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and the establishment of Great British Railways, it will be important for the different parts of the rail sector to consider

how they wish to be represented at the Covid Inquiry. Businesses should take action now to ensure they are given a meaningful and prominent voice within the Covid Inquiry. They should also take proactive measures to prepare for managing any fall out that may arise from the Covid Inquiry. If a group of businesses want to look at registering for collective action, plans should begin sooner, rather than later. This will help to ensure that there is time for any agreements between the parties to be put in place and arrangements made to ensure that all the relevant interests are registered.

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.

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Women in Rail


Anna-Jane Hunter

Are you going to advertise this role? Anna-Jane Hunter FCILT, Partner at Winder Phillips Associates, Chair of Women in Rail North West regional group looks at how senior roles are advertised


’ve been involved with Women in Rail since around 2015. Over the past five years, I have spent three as Chair of the North West group committee. One of my greatest pleasures is seeing someone in my network, especially a woman or someone from an under-represented group, secure a great opportunity or promotion in the industry. The landscape is slowly changing, and more opportunities are being created, but it is not nearly enough, although it has improved in the years since I joined the industry in 2006.

However, a quick scan of the trade press, or LinkedIn continues to provide a regular, jarring wakeup call in two key areas where I think the industry needs to improve: advertisement of senior roles in rail and flexible working options. How many times have you seen a senior appointment announced and thought ‘That’s interesting, I don’t recall seeing that advertised anywhere?’. This either means the role was not advertised, and the recruitment was internal, or the role was not advertised from a wide enough platform to reach a larger group of potential candidates. In both cases, this begs the questions of ‘how do businesses know they’ve got the best candidate for the position if the role is not advertised at all or publicly enough?’ and ‘how can we improve diversity in senior roles if the role is not advertised well enough?’. The other area for improvement is openly advertising that the role can be undertaken remotely or part remotely, part on site or in-office. I suspect if a position is explicitly advertised as having flexible conditions, rather than merely stating ‘flexible working arrangements will be considered’, many more women, disabled people and people with specific needs or circumstances would apply. How many times have you looked at a role and refrained from applying because of its location or working hours? The world is changing in the post pandemic era where location is a more fluid concept and working hours have moulded around our new-found flexibility. This opens up a wealth of opportunities for both employers and employees to find the right fit. This needs to start with opening up opportunities to everyone. If you think your internal candidate is the best, then have the confidence to back them. If they’re that good, they’ll dismiss the competition easily, and be left with a far greater confidence in their own ability because they know they’ve won the role fair and square. And make all job roles explicitly flexible rather than on some small print at the bottom of the vacancy. At Women in Rail, we’re leading these challenging conversations. It’s not about favouring women (or any other minority groups) but about making our wonderful industry genuinely diverse by creating opportunities for all. No doubt other industries have issues in this area too, but wouldn’t it be great if rail could lead the way and stand out as a truly inclusive industry, blazing a trail in the post pandemic employment market? Rail Professional

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Delivering the goods Mags Simpson

Rail and air: making the connection Mags Simpson, Head of Policy Engagement at Logistics UK, explores the state of rail-air networks across different parts of the UK, and the benefits for business and industry that lie in greater connectivity


ith road transport accounting for ten per cent of global emissions, maximising the use of transport modes like rail freight (which is responsible for lower levels of pollutants) in logistics is essential for the UK to reach its decarbonisation goals. And while use of rail freight is growing – figures released by the Office of Rail and Road show a 36.5 per cent increase in the amount of freight carried by rail between April and June 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020 – there remains an opportunity for multi-modal freight systems in the UK to be enhanced and capitalised upon. Ensuring there are strong links between airports and rail networks can enhance the efficiency of logistics while removing vehicles from the UK’s congested roads; robust onward connectivity is also vital to attract international trade. In particular, poor rail connectivity in the North of England has been an obstacle to productivity and economic growth for decades. The Government’s recent decision to scrap the eastern leg of HS2 could have a detrimental effect on the future connectivity of industry in the North. However, the government also announced that there will be an upgrade to the TransPennine Main Line to enable additional freight services to be maximised in this part of the country, something the business group has been campaigning for over many years. We were also pleased to hear of the government’s intention to progress with the electrification of the TransPennine Mail Line and Midland Main Line, a vital move in the UK’s mission to decarbonise its economy. Logistics UK is examining the government’s rationale behind its latest rail package closely to decipher what the long-term impact will be on rail freight and its potential growth in the UK, and will be raising the concerns of our members with politicians and administrators. Traveling further up the UK, many businesses in Scotland are reliant on rail and road links from southern England’s airports and ports for export and import activity; according to Network Rail, more than seven thousand tonnes of products pass over the England-Scotland border via rail every 24 hours. Although Scottish ports, such as Inverness, are used regularly, a large proportion of the goods leaving Scotland for non-UK destinations are moved by ships and planes which leave from England, rather than from Scotland itself. The most significant airport for the Scottish supply chain is Heathrow Airport in London; the most used ports also lie in southern England: Felixstowe, London Gateway, Southampton,

and Dover. Improving Scotland’s aviation and shipping supply chain is therefore not exclusively about airports and ports in the country; the Government and MSPs understand this relationship and the trend in international shipping and aviation to base activities out of a few key central locations in northern Europe. The M6 is the only motorway connection into Scotland. While the A1 is another important corridor, it has a lower proportion of Rail Professional



HGVs on its roads compared to the M6 and a slower total traffic flow overall; rail is the main mass-transport mode across the England-Scotland border, according to the March 2021 Union Connectivity Review Interim Report. With this mind, improving England-Scotland rail links is vital to maximise the efficiencies of Scotland’s supply chain. Logistics UK supports Network Rail’s industry growth plan for rail freight in Scotland; primarily, the objective is to grow rail freight by 7.5 per cent between April 2019 and March 2024.

We are working closely with the Scottish Freight Joint Board Group (SFJB) to support its work with Transport Scotland to monitor progress against this growth strategy. All members of the Group recognise the importance of the government and the owners and operators of freight modes working together to identify solutions to support effective multi-modal systems. Logistics UK is also working with the newly established Great British Railways organisation to ensure that the decisions made by the new body maximise the opportunities rail freight can bring to the economy and environment.

The most significant airport for the Scottish supply chain is Heathrow Airport in London; the most used ports also lie in southern England: Felixstowe, London Gateway, Southampton, and Dover

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While we have not been able to cover all parts of the UK in the piece, widespread rail-air connectivity is essential to grow the use of rail freight in the UK while improving supply chain efficiency and attracting international trade; it is also vital to support the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. Logistics UK will continue working with its members, government and other stakeholders to help ensure multi-modal systems are maximised. 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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Prior Knowledge Lucy Prior

We Mean Green: the rail freight perspective 10 November 2021 for many of us in rail was a date we looked towards with intent and ambition, it being transport day at COP26, the day that the United Nations Climate Change conference focussed on transport and its role in reaching Net Zero 2050


aken from the United Nation’s news page, its description of transport days describes: ‘A world where every car, bus and truck sold is electric and affordable, where shipping vessels use only sustainable fuels, and where planes can run on green hydrogen may sound like a sci-fi movie, but here, at COP26, many governments and businesses said they have started to work to make it a reality.’ (https://news.un.org/ en/story/2021/11/1105462 ). The glaring omission from this statement: rail. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) rail only contributes to circa one per cent of global CO₂ emissions (see fig 1), so do we even need to bother to improve our industry’s carbon footprint, if rail freight represents such a negligible percentage? I am certain that anyone reading this article already knows that rail freight reduces CO₂ emissions by up to 76 per cent compared to road and that this increase to 99 per cent when pulled under electric. Our potential to help mitigate the effects of road transport Rail Professional

emissions on global warming could be, in fact should be, enormous. But this depends on a) if we can impress upon the world the need to move more by rail and b) secure as much support and policy as possible to reduce, and hopefully remove, rail’s own usage rate of fossil fuels. Despite rail not being at the forefront of COP26 discussions, we as a sector made a huge effort to convey to the world the importance of rail within the wider transport discussion. Network Rail, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the Office of Rail and Road Regulation (ORR) and many more all supported and pushed the #WeMeanGreen message. The importance of rail’s role in realising a decarbonised society was underpinned by Hitachi’s involvement in COP26 as the event’s Principal Partner, demonstrating its strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by being a climate change innovator. Hitachi is striving to achieve carbon neutrality at all its business sites by fiscal year 2030 and across the company’s entire value chain by fiscal year

2050. Throughout the entire conference Hitachi delivered a programme of events and exhibits to illustrate this ambition. I was honoured to have been invited to take part in their seminar presentation ‘Powering Good: Recharging Rail to Power Economies and Connect Communities’. Chaired by Andy Bagnall of the RDG,

The premise of the debate was how can we in rail encourage and support modal shift? Quite often the conversation focuses on how we can encourage individuals to make the shift from the private motor car to public transport. Similarly, talk of shifting to electric vehicles (EV) from fossil fuelled vehicles tends to focus on the private EV.

the panel comprised the host, Alistair Dormer, Hitachi’s Chief Environmental Officer and Executive Vice President, Andrew Haines OBE, Chief Executive of Network Rail and Heather Waugh, train driver for Freightliner, and rail freight industry spokesperson and myself.

Let’s refer again to the IEA’s figures: globally, road freight represents almost 30 per cent of GHG emissions compared to passenger’s 45 per cent. Of course, there must be a focus on the largest category of GHG emissions, but our collective thinking needs to bigger and


more joined up. We need to encourage modal shift in freight, whilst simultaneously improving rail freight’s own decarbonisation capabilities. We need more rail freight, and we need it to be powered as greenly as possible. The opinion I always put across is from a supply chain perspective, especially that of the small-medium sized enterprise (SME), but this change needs to be supported from the very top of the rail freight supply chain. Fortunately, this is the case: speaking to Chris Swan, Head of Rail at Tarmac, he believes that to see modal shift to rail freight we need more terminals, and that these terminals be easier to connect to for rail. According to the ORR’s quarterly report domestic intermodal freight, i.e., the transporting of goods to and from Britain’s ports makes up most of the rail freight moved by commodity. The rail freight sector could be moving much more though. Currently intermodal services remove 2.9 million HGV journeys off the road each year. Were we to have more, better-connected intermodal and cross-modal terminals, as Chris campaigns for, this could rise significantly. This could remove huge amounts of lorries off our roads, and thus help to reduce the 30 per cent reported by the IEA. Furthermore, Chris is one of many industry voices who repeat the message that we must work better together

as an industry on key strategic questions. Specific to the topic of modal shift, we must work better together to push electrification for the rail freight sector and make workstreams such as ‘Target 26’ a reality (Target 26: to increase capacities via an increased rake of 26 wagons). Together this would mean we had more capacity, capability, and connectivity to move more by rail, and in a more environmentally sustainable manner.

The need to work better together is an opinion echoed by Kathryn Oldale, Head of Strategy, Policy and Communications at DB Cargo (UK) Ltd. DB Cargo is dedicated to achieving its own plans to decarbonise all of its operations. As well as supporting the campaign for electrification, it is also looking to other renewable fuels. In 2020 DB Cargo (UK) successfully trialled the use of 100 per cent renewable hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a fossil-free alternative to mineral diesel manufactured from 100 per cent renewable raw materials. The change that the rail

freight sector needs to see however cannot be realised by stakeholders in isolation. As Kathryn states: ‘We need intense collaboration, not destructive competition.’ She adds: ‘As an industry, we need to collaborate on lessons learned and on innovative ideas to decarbonise. We are all working on the same goal, Net Zero 2050, but one thing is clear: we must work together to inform and educate the regulator and

the consumer of the benefits of rail vs road. We have to show why freight belongs on rail.’ Modal shift, specifically moving freight onto rail has many benefits. In the April 2021 report ‘Assessing the Value of Rail Freight’ prepared by Deloitte on behalf of the RDG we find that modal shift generates £800 million in social benefits (defined within the report as congestion relief, reduced carbon emissions, reduced noise pollution, better air quality and reduced safety incidences). ‘Social benefits are driven by the lorry journeys rail freight has enabled to avoid


through modal switch [but] for rail freight to play its part going forward, appropriate consideration of the benefits of rail freight in decision-making frameworks will be necessary.’ It is in this final point, educating the regulator and the customer, where we can all contribute. By reducing our dependency as organisations on road haulage, and whereby as consumers we articulate the positive benefits of modal shift with our wider networks, we can all show that we mean green.

Lucy joined the railways in 2006, having previously worked in travel, hospitality and logistics. Lucy’s rail career has always been working for or with small to medium sized enterprises within the rail and wider supply chain. She is the Business Growth Director at TroughTec Systems, part of the Hird Group, a company that puts sustainability at the heart of everything it does; its products are certified with Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) status, and its Doncaster site is accredited with ISO14001. Lucy is a Board member of the Railway Industry Association and Chairs their SME group. She was awarded an MBE for services to rail export in 2108 which also recognised her support for ED&I. She has been nominated for the Northern Power Women 2022 Agent of Change award, which recognises individuals who strive to shift the status quo by being committed to achieving lasting improvements in gender equality. Rail Professional



Freightliner’s New 40’ container wagon – pushing the boundaries Freightliner has a proud history of setting the standards for innovative and sustainable wagon solutions in the UK


n the face of it, wagons that carry intermodal containers are simple – a flat, skeletal platform with container fixing points at each corner. Upon closer scrutiny, however, there are many complexities in optimising a seemingly simple concept:

• Unlike other wagon types that are usually either tare or fully laden, the intermodal wagon must be capable of carrying an infinitely variable weight between its tare and maximum gross load and not be over or under-braked in any state. An under-braked vehicle will threaten a train’s mandatory stopping distances, whilst over braking can lead to wheel damage and excessive compressive forces down the train. • In order to carry shipping containers, the wagon’s ability to ride smoothly and precisely control sway and curve overthrow must be exact. • Shipping containers can be 20ft, 30ft, or 40ft long, and some short-sea and domestic containers might be 45ft or even 53ft long. So, the fixing points for the container pockets need to be flexible and accommodate various loads. • Today’s environmental and sustainability standards require constant pushing. So, the wagon needs to be light to reduce train dead-weight and ideally optimised to reduce aerodynamic drag. • The wagons must be capable of travelling at speeds that are compatible with a rail network that is shared with passenger trains. They must be optimised to carry as many containers per unit length to fit into the passing loops on the UK network and travel at speeds between those passing loops so as not to delay passenger trains. • The intermodal wagon must deploy new technologies that minimise wear from heavy and fast freight on both the track and the wagon itself.

The existing UK intermodal wagon fleet is made up primarily of historical wagon designs, configured around 60ft platforms that were designed to carry single-stacked 8’6” high containers on the British Rail standard freight gauges. In the 1980s and 1990s, British rail and Freightliner developed ‘low platform’ wagons that can carry 9’6” high by 40ft long containers in the same clearance diagram. Over the time that these wagons have been in operation, both the freight clearance diagram and the container mix have evolved as follows: • The containers moved by maritime customers have migrated from predominantly 20‘long, 8’6” high containers to a mix of 40’ long, 8’6” high and 9’6” high containers and a much

smaller residual 20’ container demand. The migration has been sufficiently significant that there is often an inability to sell the 20’ space on a 66’ wagon to a customer, so the train runs with an empty space. • The aforementioned growth in 9’6” containers has impacted the ability to load the container on a “standard wagon” (typically with a deck height of just below 1000 mm), with the taller container fouling the clearance diagram. • All ‘low platform’ wagon designs harbour significant design compromises. These wagons necessitate small wheels that have low rolling inertia, resulting in a propensity to slide and become damaged under braking. They also require a ‘well’ between the bogies to accommodate

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the container, which means the wagon must be 70’ long and will only accept a 40’ container between the wheels, compromising the number of containers that can be loaded in a given train length. In response, Network Rail infrastructure investment programmes over the last 15 years have steadily lowered tracks under bridges or tunnels (or raised bridges and tunnels over the tracks) to increase the clearance diagram to predominately W10, meaning that today a ‘standard height’ wagon can accommodate a 9’6” high container over the majority of the core intermodal freight corridors. As a result, in 2004, Freightliner commissioned a wagon capable of carrying 40ft containers to maximise the number of containers in any given train length. These first wagons took time to develop, and economic pressures during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 delayed their arrival to market until 2014, when Freightliner became the first operator of the VTG Ecofret 40’ wagon. The early designs were ballasted to improve vehicle ride and ensure their resistance to derailment in all loading conditions was uncompromised. As the first Freight Operating Company to develop standard 40ft high platform wagons and the first to introduce the 40’ Ecofret wagon, Freightliner has a proud history of setting the standards for innovative and sustainable wagon solutions in the UK. Deloitte recently calculated that rail freight generates £2.45 billion in benefits to the UK economy each year, including over £1.6 billion in productivity gains for businesses and over £800 million in social benefits, including environmental, congestion and safety. Deloitte also developed a framework for valuing a path on the network, which could be used to inform decision-making over capacity allocation. They calculated that a path for an intermodal train is worth up to £1.5 million per year. As the largest freight operator of electric locomotives in the UK, Freightliner is committed to driving forward decarbonisation, which is at the heart of their strategic focus and aligns them directly with customer expectations. Freightliner is leading the way in exploring, developing and delivering innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint even further, including reductions in locomotive idling times, longer trains, locomotive efficiency upgrades and a hydrated vegetable oil trial. They have also secured government funding for both a Freight Energy and Emissions Calculation tool as well as the development of a dual-fuel solution for the Class 66 locomotive. As well as a 40’ wagon improving aerodynamic drag by increasing load density over a long freight train, it is important that the wagon is as light as possible to reduce the amount of ‘dead weight’ on the train. The dead weight of the wagon will remain for its useful life of typically 40 Rail Professional

years, and every tonne of dead weight will contribute to years of carbon emissions. So, Freightliner was unwilling to accept the compromise of a ballasted wagon as a solution to the vehicle ride issue and set a unique challenge to industry partners Greenbrier Europe and Wabtec. Freightliner has worked with Greenbrier and its European team based in Wagonyswinica, Poland, for over 20 years, having produced over ten wagon designs and constructed more than 1,400 wagons for use in the UK and Europe. Greenbrier is a tried and tested partner with a focus on innovation, quality, customer service and value that has become synonymous with its relationship. Similarly, Freightliner has launched four new designs of track-friendly

bogies with Powel Duffryn, Probotec, SCT all now owned by Wabtec. The teams responsible for this innovation are largely the same people that Freightliner has dealt with over the last 20-year period. The project team was given the challenging target to deliver a new wagon design for the business, optimised for fuel efficiency and low maintenance and, unlike any other 40’ wagon, to achieve full gauge clearance with a 9’6” container across the W10 network. The new FFA-G wagon delivers full W10 network clearance using modern low track force bogies with a class leading tare weight of just 18.5t, whilst meeting all the applicable European and UK standards. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have the right people on


a project team and to ensure that they all work and communicate together, sharing their combined wealth of expertise. It’s not just a case of assembling experts – the FFA-G project team had to be able to collaborate well and deploy creativity in navigating the challenges. As any experienced Engineer will tell you, whilst doing something new is exciting, it’s also fraught with challenges and the odd surprise or two. The FFA-G project had a new bogie, new underframe, new demanding safety standards and of course… a ‘new normal’ as Covid-19 swept the globe. With Freightliner leading the project, Greenbrier set about as wagon designer, builder and system integrator, whilst WABTEC focused on delivering the new designed bogie and on vehicle derailment resistance and ride. Freightliner also selected its preferred certification and assessment partner, TUV Rhineland, to make sure that the wagon met all mandatory vehicle acceptance and safety standards. The complex gauging work required to get the vehicle route clearance on the network was led by D Gauge with support from Network Rail. In practise, all the parties were heavily interdependent on each other to get the design right. The starting point for the project design phase was to carry out research on existing wagon types and operations to see what lessons could be learnt. Freightliner has a long history of operating intermodal wagons and, as such, has a wealth of knowledge deep within its businesses. With safety and ease of maintenance in mind, the Freightliner project team engaged widely throughout their Engineering Maintenance, Operations and Safety teams. For example, the FFA-G, unlike some intermodal wagons, has a split inter-vehicle coupler to allow platforms to be separated safely during in-the-field maintenance. The decision to include this option was made directly following feedback from Freightliner’s in- the-field maintenance teams. The folding 20ft spigots were designed based on wider experience gained from other intermodal wagon types, ensuring they are reliable and durable over the vehicle’s life. Positioning and access to key maintenance components was carefully considered to minimise maintenance downtime wherever possible. Before detailed design could commence, the project had to create its Authorisation strategy. For this it was necessary to understand not only what methodologies and standards were available and applicable, but also which path to go down, as there is more than one way to obtain Authorisation. Working with partners TuV Rhineland and in consultation with the ORR, the Authorisation strategy was agreed at the top of the project, where it would then shape all proceeding tasks. With the loading gauge a critical requirement, from the outset the project team engaged with gauging specialists at D Gauge and Network Rail to ensure that the wagon could achieve this challenging target

with the new TF20 low track force freight bogie. The suspension characteristics and vehicle dimensions were carefully selected, and preliminary vehicle models were run over the virtual W10 network before any designs were committed. This ensured that, with a working deck height of 980mm, the FFA-G wagon could achieve route acceptance for the entire W10 network with a 40ft, 9’6” ISO container. Also critical was the demonstration of vehicle ride and resistance to derailment. The wagon was fully tested and met the requirements of ride standards EN14363 and GMRT2141 Iss 4 at the Velim Test facilities in the Czech Republic. This included the new and previously unseen and untested UK requirements to physically demonstrate resistance to derailment with offset container loads applied. There was much activity on all sides to ensure that all involved understood the new requirements and that the testing was designed and performed to demonstrate the wagons performance against them. Due to Covid,


there was very little opportunity for any of the team to visit the wagons during testing, adding to the challenges. The new requirements to demonstrate compliance with cyclic top, would be later demonstrated via modelling software with the now validated model. The FFA-G wagon is just the latest contribution to Freightliner’s strategy. With the clear aim of improving rail’s environmental benefits further, the FFA-G has been designed with fuel efficiency in mind, being two-and-a-half tonnes lighter than its nearest competitor, incrementally meaning that an additional two per cent of carbon emissions are saved in a train of FFA-G wagons than other rail services. The modern low track force bogies ensure that noise levels are reduced to a minimum. The FFA-G wagon further leverages the environmental benefits of rail, achieving 78 per cent saving of carbon per gross tonne moved over road and an even greater contribution to bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Rail Professional

Merry Christmas From us all at Signet Solutions We would like to wish all our delegates a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year! We want to thank you all for your support through another successful year in challenging times. We look forward to working with you in 2022. Please see our website or call us for course updates and news.

+44 (0)1332 343 585 enquiries@signet-solutions.com www.signet-solutions.com Rail Professional



Betting on rail freight Andy Bagnall, Director General at Rail Delivery Group explains this once in a generation opportunity for a transformative approach to rail freight


he ongoing heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver shortage has shone a light on the critical role that the freight sector plays to keep the goods we rely on moving. Many people have rightly pointed towards rail freight as a solution to the challenges faced by the road sector. All Freight Operating Companies have experienced an uptick in enquiries from potential new rail customers wanting to understand more about rail freight’s offering, which has resulted in several new rail services over the past two months. Indeed, major existing customers like Tesco are committed to increasing the amount of their produce moved by rail from 65,000 containers to 90,000 by the end of this year. The desire to move more goods by rail is not just a recent phenomenon resulting from HGV driver shortages. Increasingly, environmentally conscious customers are looking to rail freight as a low-carbon solution, with each tonne of freight transported by rail producing 76 per cent less carbon than the equivalent transported by road. The economic benefits of rail freight are also well-established. Our recent research demonstrated that rail freight delivers approximately £2.45 billion to the country’s economy every year and is also supporting the levelling up agenda with 90 per cent of these benefits accruing outside of London and the South East. Despite the ambitions of freight operators, within the existing rail and freight markets there are some fundamental constraints which continue to inhibit rail’s ability to pick up more volumes. While the use of rail has helped to alleviate some of the pressure at the UK’s major ports where containers have stacked up because of the HGV driver shortages, in many cases this has simply shifted container congestion up the tracks to inland rail freight terminals, with some now implementing a ‘one container in, one container out’ policy. It continues to be more attractive for road hauliers to transport one longer HGV service from a port than providing potentially multiple short journeys from an in-land rail freight terminal to a good’s final destination. This is largely due to the fact that road movements from ports can be more lucrative with significant queues at in-land terminals not helping that equation. To address this, the road and rail sectors must continue to work together to ensure they are organised efficiently to deliver for customers, and society. Issues surrounding rail capacity and infrastructure persist. There are currently 37 daily trains running out of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest port. Additional trains will not be able to run without further investment to improve the line between the port and the network in the wider region. Furthermore, acquiring new rail freight paths can be an arduous process because the benefits to freight customers are not included in capacity allocation assessments, this ultimately suppresses freight volumes and can restrict the sector’s ability to respond quickly to customer demands. We now have the opportunity to address some of these barriers to make sure that rail freight can play an enhanced role within the freight and logistics sector in the future, increasing its economic and environmental contribution, but also making our supply chains more robust to deal with future shocks. The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail is full of positivity about the freight sector recognising the dynamism of the rail freight market which has adapted to support an evolving customer base and has improved productivity and performance by investing over £3 billion since rail privatisation.

Great British Railways (GBR) will have a statutory commitment to support freight growth underpinned by the introduction of a rail freight growth target. In line with the government’s commitment to decarbonise the UK economy by 2050, now is the time for an ambitious rail freight growth target which will unleash further private sector investment to improve connectivity. As evidenced in Scotland, an ambitious freight growth target can catalyse a cultural change in how rail freight is treated within the industry. It will complement the delivery of some of the other key commitments made in the White Paper, such as an overhaul of the access framework and the creation of a national freight coordination team within GBR to act as a single point of contact for freight operators and customers across the network. The target will also inform decisions made on how the rail network is used and infrastructure investment. In turn, this will create huge opportunities to grow capacity for rail freight services on the UK network and deliver significant modal shift from road to rail. The role of rail freight during the pandemic has also been recognised with the sector demonstrating great resilience to ensure that vital goods were transported to keep supermarket shelves stacked and warehouses stocked. Recent data from the Office of Rail and Road show that rail freight volumes have now returned to pre-pandemic levels. But we must do more than just get back to prepandemic levels. Now, the goodwill that rail freight has accrued must be converted into meaningful policy change, and the commitments on rail freight outlined in the White Paper present a once in a generation opportunity for a transformative approach to rail freight in the UK. Andy Bagnall is Director General at Rail Delivery Group Rail Professional



The All-Island Strategic Rail Review Karen Power, Associate Director in Turley’s strategic communications team, discusses why she believes this is a unique opportunity that must consider both passenger and freight rail


he All-Island Strategic Rail Review has made bold and ambitious promises to improve rail connectivity across the island of Ireland, but is it missing a key opportunity to improve the freight network too? The Irish Government and Northern Ireland Executive launched the All-Island Strategic Rail Review in April this year. Its purpose is to review how the rail network on the island of Ireland can improve sustainable connectivity between major cities, enhance regional accessibility and support balanced regional development. It promises to deliver ambitious change to the way the island’s railway infrastructure supports regions and citizens. What’s clear is that improving connectivity and the movement of goods is a major focus for both governments. And yet, the launch of the All-Island Strategic Rail Review, which could support those wider ambitions, only briefly mentioned the role of rail freight. The review is one of a number of investment projects being delivered by both governments to improve infrastructure on the island of Ireland – particularly those with a cross-border benefit. The National Development Plan (NDP), released in October this year by the Irish Government, for instance, outlined a €165 billion (£141 billion) investment plan which included improving transport and the nation’s connectivity with the UK, the EU and the rest of the world through its ports and airports. In addition, Rosslare Europort is set to receive a €30 million (£25.5 million) investment over the next five years to support the local region as well as the wider national economy. And the Port of Cork has undergone an €80 million (£68.5 million) investment to improve the movement of goods in and out of the ROI. The scope of the All-Island Strategic Rail Review primarily focuses on passenger rail. And while there is no denying the importance of this and how improvements to lines could benefit businesses, regions and citizens, it is vital that the importance of freight rail in improving our Rail Professional

connectivity across the island of Ireland, and contributing to lowering our emissions, is not understated. The opportunity we face is striking when considering the key driver behind the huge sums of investment being made into ports and airports - to improve how goods are imported and exported. If the journey of those goods on land isn’t as efficient as it could be, are the governments missing a trick in not pushing our freight potential as much as possible? Supporting growth in the logistics sector The transport of goods on land has arguably never been a more important and timely issue, with demand for logistics and

warehouse space at an all-time-high. Figures from Savills found that logistics space demand in Ireland was up 22 per cent in Q2 this year, compared with the same period last year. This is evidenced by retailers like Amazon which are choosing cities including Dublin to open huge fulfilment centres to meet growing customer demand. Connecting warehouses with other logistics hubs and customers is critical and rail freight has the potential to speed up delivery and provide a more sustainable transportation method to road and air. Both the Irish Government and Northern Ireland Executive have committed to improving last mile logistics facilities, and rail freight can and should play a considerable role within that.


The opportunity we face is striking when considering the key driver behind the huge sums of investment being made into ports and airports - to improve how goods are imported and exported. If the journey of those goods on land isn’t as efficient as it could be, are the governments missing a trick in not pushing our freight potential as much as possible?

The risk with not taking a holistic approach to our rail network is that any changes made at a local level may be carried out in isolation and not be able to take advantage of the opportunity provided by an all-island rail system. A comprehensive approach will ensure that the island doesn’t end up with a piecemeal freight network that doesn’t meet the needs of businesses or citizens. Interestingly the potential for improving all-island rail services featured heavily in NDP. Within the NDP there is a more prescriptive focus on freight specifically within the All-Island Strategic Rail Review, compared to the brief reference afforded to it in the initial scope of the review. The NDP commits that the strategic plan for freight will look at the capacity of routes from major ports such as the Rosslare to Dublin line. The Review will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the strategic potential of currently lightly used lines. These include the Waterford to Limerick Junction line, disused lines such as the Wexford to Waterford line, the Western Rail Corridor or the Navan to Kingscourt line and indeed the potential of possible new alignments or corridors, such as along the Western seaboard that may warrant consideration. Outside of the All-Island Rail Review, the NDP also commits to funding a new train protection system. This will maintain


and enhance safety on the network, while the indicative allocations also support the implementation of a number of initiatives to support the development of rail freight. It also emphasises that plans for strengthening surface connectivity to ports and airports will continue to be prioritised, with a particular focus on rail freight connectivity to the Ports of National Significance. These specific commitments to freight rail are welcome and indeed vital to ensure joined-up thinking and long-term delivery on strategic projects that benefit the country as a whole. Improving only some elements of the island of Ireland’s wider transport network won’t deliver what we need it to especially when we consider that freight services do not currently operate in Northern Ireland partly due to the limited rail infrastructure. Rail freight must have a solid strategy in place as part of the island’s future transport network and making sure it is given equal weight in the All-Island Rail Review is the best way to achieve that. Karen Power is an Associate Director in the strategic communications team at Turley, a planning and development consultancy. Based in the business’ Dublin office, Karen works with developers, local authorities and housebuilders to improve communication between them and local communities during the planning process.


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Mapping rail’s recovery from the pandemic Matthew Niblett and Sarah Kendall of the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) share some of the findings from a recent report by the ITC


he global pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the measures to control it have had a disruptive impact on everyday life in Britain and forced changes to how we live, work and travel. Although the vaccination programme during 2021 has facilitated a recovery in travel, uncertainties remain about the extent to which behaviours have been permanently altered. To understand the implications for transport and land use policy, the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) think tank recently published a report on The Covid-19 Pandemic, Transport and Land Use in Britain. In this article we share some of the findings relevant to rail travel and discuss the future implications and opportunities for the sector. The impact upon rail demand Rail demand has been severely affected by the pandemic. The Government advice to work from home, and avoid crowded places such as public transport, combined with reductions in service levels, caused rail passenger numbers to fall to about five per cent of pre-pandemic levels during the first lockdown in Spring 2020. This recovered to a maximum of about 40 per cent of prepandemic levels as restrictions were eased in summer 2020, only to fall back again to around 15 per cent during the second national lockdown in early 2021. As public health measures have been relaxed through 2021 demand has recovered significantly, rising to almost 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by Autumn 2021. Rail passenger demand has lagged behind demand for private car travel which is now approaching pre-pandemic levels. A crucial reason why rail demand has been hit particularly hard is rail’s reliance on commuting and business travel compared to other modes. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, over 50 per cent of rail journeys were for these purposes; by comparison, less than 20 per cent of bus journeys outside London were commuting or business related. Moreover, rail travellers tend to be disproportionately working in officebased professions or in the knowledge

economy, where jobs can be more easily be undertaken remotely. As a result, the sudden shift towards working from home, and the furlough scheme, instantly removed most rail commuting journeys. Although employers have been encouraging workers to return to the office during summer 2021, many now offer hybrid and flexible working opportunities, and these dampen demand for daily commuting travel in comparison with the pre-pandemic situation. Conversely, there are indications that leisure travel by rail has fared better during the pandemic. This has been helped by the rise in domestic tourism during the pandemic, with international travel restricted and more complex. As pandemic restrictions eased, we have also seen a resurgence in visiting friends and relatives in Britain which has driven the recovery in travel demand. This is reflected in the DfT data on travel during the pandemic

which shows that weekend rail travel, predominantly leisure trips, has recovered more strongly than weekday rail travel. Rail freight was initially hit hard by the pandemic, falling initially to about 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels due to significantly reduced demand for aggregates, new cars and aviation fuel. However, rail freight has since rebounded strongly to prepandemic levels, especially after construction and car sales reopened, and intermodal freight demand increased (Fig 1). The reduction in passenger services operated has also allowed capacity for more rail freight pathways in the timetable, and increased reliability, improving the service offered. The future direction of rail travel A crucial issue is how lasting these trends will be, and how they will affect future patterns of rail demand. The pandemic has reinforced trends in working patterns that were already observed – such as the

Rail Freight recovered to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2021. Source: ORR, Freight Rail Usage and Performance Data Portal (public domain) Rail Professional



Liverpool Street Station on Thursday 17th June 2021, 08:07 – what used to be the rush hour

Reduced commuting travel could mean an end to overcrowding during rush hour. Source: Independent Transport Commission

reduction in five day a week commuting. It seems clear that cities are not dead, and most people do not wish to work entirely from home. However, surveys repeatedly show that most employees prefer a hybrid or flexible working schedule, and this has been reinforced by announcements from many major employers, such as Lloyds, Natwest, Centrica and John Lewis. Previous ITC research into the drivers of rail demand showed that much of the huge growth in rail travel since the start of the century has arisen from changes in residential and employment location. In particular, our research demonstrated the influence of more housing developments in close proximity to rail stations, as well as more jobs being based in city-centre locations as the knowledge economy has grown at the expense of manufacturing industries. Given the macro trends in the global economy, and increased pressure for sustainable development policies, these trends are likely to continue to be supportive of rail demand in the future. As a result, Rail Professional

over the longer term, commuting and business travel by rail might well recover to pre-pandemic levels, although in the shortto-medium term we believe it likely they will remain constrained. The picture for leisure travel by rail appears encouraging. Uncertainty and complexity around international travel may lead to a permanent increase in demand for domestic holidays and tourism. The rapid recovery of travel demand for social purposes (such as visiting friends and relatives) also suggests that leisure will make up a larger percentage of rail journeys in the future. This is reinforced by the trend towards reduced car ownership among young people identified in previous ITC research. How will these trends affect the timing of travel and rail capacity? Reduced commuting travel could mean less peak-hour weekday stress on the network and on travellers, but only if people use their flexible working opportunities to spread travel over different days of the week or at different times of the day (Fig 2). This hasn’t yet received

much attention in discussions about future working patterns, and there is a risk we will see peak hour overcrowding concentrated on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The strong recovery in leisure travel already means increased crowding on the network at weekends. This shift in peak demand should prompt a re-examination of when and how engineering work is scheduled. It is important to place the discussion about future rail demand in the context of the phenomenal success story of rail in Britain with patronage doubling since the start of this century. Some estimates have indicated rail will recover in the near future to 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, but it is worth recalling this would be the same level as in 2011, and twice the level of demand in 1995. This is far from an apocalyptic scenario, particularly as many routes and services pre-pandemic were suffering from overcrowding and capacity constraints that negatively impacted reliability and customer experience.



Rail Passenger journeys in GB, 1872 to 2020. Total Passenger journeys (million p.a.)

The chart illustrates how rail passenger numbers doubled since the 1980s on an infrastructure that has not expanded. A reduction in peak travel, nudged by the pandemic potentially creates an opportunity for a less congested and more reliable rail network to operate with some spare capacity to give resilience. Source: ORR Passenger Rail Usage data portal (public domain)

Implications for rail infrastructure, funding and investment Although the effects of the pandemic on rail have been serious, there are opportunities for the sector to position itself strongly for a post-pandemic world. On the passenger side, with a higher proportion of rail leisure travel and less frequent commuting, there is a need to re-examine the fares system since the funding base of season tickets and higher fare peak business travel has been eroded. Environmental targets can help prioritise a rebalancing of funding between users and taxpayers and encourage desired behaviours. Government control through Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements and the new National Rail Contracts provides a rare opportunity for fundamental structural changes in revenue and fares. During the pandemic, the rail industry has responded with agility and speed to make changes in timetables and capacity. That capability needs to be harnessed to deliver timetabling and resourcing that is much more responsive in future. Passenger demand now exhibits the short-term variations that have long been present in the freight sector. More flexible and shorter notice planning of passenger and freight services, as well as infrastructure maintenance and construction, will be needed. The long timescales involved with rail infrastructure delivery mean that it remains essential to take the long view. Rail patronage post-pandemic will still be much higher than at the start of the century, and the rail network needs to be viewed in the context of the commitments the Government has made to achieving a netzero carbon economy. Rail has an essential role to play in reaching these ambitions and remains the best transport mode for moving large numbers of people in and out of city centres quickly, reliably and safely. The increase in passengers has been delivered

through increased capacity on trains and signalling upgrades rather than expansion of the track infrastructure. There is an increasing need to link rail infrastructure investment to new housing developments and other service infrastructure such as hospitals and universities. To achieve this there must be greater policy co-ordination across Government departments. The combination of post-pandemic travel pattern changes and the need to meet net-zero carbon targets could lead to a period of modest network expansion as well as capacity creation to meet passenger and freight requirements such as more reliable and faster journeys. There is scope for infrastructure project timescales to be accelerated, and for future flexibility and capacity to be designed in rather than value-engineered out. Financing the rail network and its services will remain contentious. The combination of rail industry restructuring, Government bearing cost and revenue risk for the Train Operating Companies due to the pandemic and carbon-neutral targets creates a unique opportunity. Ongoing increased taxpayer support for rail seems likely to be needed over the medium term, as identified recently by the Office for Budget Responsibility. Justification for additional rail funding should come from improved appraisal processes, which correctly value rail’s major contribution to reducing carbon emissions, ‘levelling up’ regional economies, improving urban air quality and alleviating road congestion. Rail has an exciting future in post pandemic Britain, but only if it receives the investment it needs and if the industry, through Great British Railways, steps up with appropriate solutions. You can read the report here: https://tinyurl.com/4ejsbcxj

Matthew Niblett is Director of the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He oversees the ITC’s research portfolio and has presented findings from this research to Ministers and Parliamentary Select Committee enquiries. Matthew holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford and was a Senior Research Associate at Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit. He is the co- editor of Why Travel? Understanding our need to move and how it shapes our lives (Bristol University Press, 2021).

Sarah Kendall is a transport professional with significant experience in operational delivery and strategic roles, primarily in the rail sector. She has worked internationally in Europe and North America and regularly advises client organisations and governments on transport services and infrastructure. Sarah is a Fellow of the Institution of Railway Operators (FIRO) and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (FICE) and a Trustee of the Independent Transport Commission (ITC).

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Hybrid locomotives – the future of rail freight transport Presented in December 2019, the overarching objective of the EU Green Deal is for the EU to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050, but how to get there?


upporting the acceleration of the modal shift from road to rail is a clear objective and all EU countries are implementing measures to further support the growth of rail freight traffic. Also, the industry is looking for ways to further improve rail freight transport, one of these solutions is the introduction of new, innovative hybrid locomotives. European Loc Pool AG (ELP) was founded in 2018, to assist rail freight operators in Europe to implement these hybrid locomotives in their fleets. Providing the rail operators with easy access to full-service leasing, without the significant financial burden and risk of investing into a new fleet of locomotives and a subsequent maintenance organisation. ELP is a young, innovative and creative leasing company specialising in the latest generation of hybrid locomotives, founded by two strong, Swiss shareholders, that bring profound expertise in the Corporate and Structured Finance Segments in Europe. By way of innovation and increased productivity and efficiency ELP intends to positively disrupt the European rail freight market and to force it into a new and brighter era. ELP started its operations with the brand new EuroDual locomotives manufactured Stadler in Valencia. This state-of-theart hybrid locomotive provides maximum flexibility and increased efficiency in combination with compliancy to the latest emission standards. This six-axle hybrid locomotive, with up to 2.8MW diesel, 6MW electric and 500kN tractive effort, convinces in every respect. It allows operation on electrified and non-electrified lines and an increased loading capacity of up to 30 per cent to 50 per cent in comparison to the current standard four-axle locomotives. With its high tractive effort, the EuroDual locomotive will not only be able to replace classic double traction Bo’Bo’ locomotives on many routes, but also heavy haul diesel locomotives now running on electrified lines! The use of electrical energy is not only far more cost efficient, saving up to €6 per kilometre, but also much more environmentally friendly. Thanks to all this, the EuroDual locomotive allows to further minimise the already low carbon footprint of rail freight transport. But even when diesel traction is required, it saves additional costs thanks to the increased fuel efficiency, whilst also complying with the latest EURO 3B engine emission standards. In short, the EuroDual locomotives provide a win-win-win situation, with increased performance, against lower operational expenses and a positive impact on the environment, the Green Deal at work. Standard equipped with ETCS L2 BL3.4.0 the locomotives are also prepared for the future; no expensive and time-consuming retrofits or modifications are required in the foreseeable future. Thanks to the powerful 2.8MW diesel engine and the radio remote control, there is also no need to organise sperate (third-party) shunting activities on the first and last miles. The large diesel engine also enables higher shunting speeds and heavier loads on non-electrified lines. Another important aspect is employee-satisfaction by providing a clean, attractive and healthy working environment for the locomotive drivers. The locomotives have a central driver seat

concept and a fully air-conditioned cabin, with very limited exposure to noise and/or vibrations thanks to the insulated cabin and engine compartment design. USB charging facilities, 230V sockets and refrigerators are standard equipment in both cabins. The locomotives meet the latest comfort and ergonomics standards, a simple and uniform operating concept and the latest safety standards regarding crash and fire risks. As the launching ‘customer’, ELP will, from mid of 2023, put the next generation hybrid locomotive variant, the Euro9000, into service. This locomotive is designed as a multi-system locomotive for use on the European corridors through several countries. It enables efficient, cross-border European freight transport. The first variant will be delivered with two 950kW Engines, providing a total of 1.9MW of diesel power and 9MW electric power at 500kN tractive effort for Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. Thanks to the full multi-system (AC/DC) capabilities of all four main European voltages and the diesel boost mode to support the 3kV DC catenary with additional 1.7 MW power at the wheel, the Euro9000 is ideal for use throughout Europe. Subsequently, the operational area of this locomotive will be extended to other countries and corridors. Test runs have already started in several countries and are successfully underway. Hybrid locomotives offer the advantage of combining the energy efficiency and environmental friendliness of an electric locomotive with the flexibility and power of a heavy diesel locomotive. This allows operators to design completely new traction concepts and optimise trainloads and transit times. Longer and heavier trains are needed to compete with road-transport and move more freight from road to rail and to optimise capacity on the already congested rail infrastructure. Meeting the demands and challenges of tomorrow, the EuroDual and Euro9000 Hybrid Locomotives are fit for these duties! Tel. +41 52 723 36 20 Email: info@europeanlocpool.com Visit: www.europeanlocpool.com Rail Professional


Connections: a key link in the railway transport chain As an industry partner and key supplier in the international railway sector for more than 30 years, we have a clear insight into your challenges and expectations, such as service continuity, extreme weather conditions and mechanical stresses. We provide an effective response with optimized solutions, whether for high-speed, main-line, suburban or regional trains, or tramways and underground railways. www.staubli.com

Stäubli Electrical Connectors, ec.marcom@staubli.com

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Woodland Group deliver carbon conscious supply chain solutions Woodland Group, one of the largest independent supply chain companies, have recently launched their new 360 digital solution, delivering full multimodal supply chain management to customers


he tool’s key features range from online quoting and booking, to tracking, reporting, WMS and supplier integration, stock and PO management, and crucially the integrated use of Woodland Group’s carbon calculator. Woodland Group is one of the leading independent freight forwarding businesses in the UK, specialising in worldwide multimodal supply chain management. Experts in moving goods across various industries, from Food and Beverage to Automotive to the Music Industry, Woodland has invested heavily into technology and increased its carbon conscious efforts with the goal of creating opportunity and delivering efficient and sustainable supply chains to its clients. Known as Woodland Online, Woodland Group’s latest digital tool gives users the freedom of full visibility over their supply chain alongside increased quoting and reporting functionality. Woodland Online delivers: • Instant access to over one million rates for quick online quotations and booking. • Online order management solution with real-time shipment tracking. • Reporting functionality spanning all aspects of supply chain, from finance to carbon footprints. Mobilising its bespoke supply chain systems and partner networks, Woodland Online can deliver supplier and PO management as well as client finance reports and customs documentation. Woodland Online also offers clients the opportunity to access reports on their supply chain’s environmental impact, a continuation of Woodland Group’s growing carbon conscious solutions aimed

at supporting businesses in tracking and reducing their impact and meeting changing regulations around businesses’ environmental reporting. Woodland’s Carbon Calculator gives clients the ability to track and analyse the carbon footprint of the supply chain for each shipment, providing a full breakdown for each leg of the journey and each mode of transport. The carbon calculator not only gives businesses the data needed to make informed decisions on their goods’ transport emissions, it allows Woodland to work with clients on building alternative, carbon conscious solutions to meet climate protection goals. Woodland Group is a business with a strong focus and investment strategy on sustainability and carbon reduction. Carbon consciousness has become a crucial part of the business not just in client facing services but in order to optimise as a business to improve in the run up to 2030.

Woodland’s sustainability efforts include: • Materiality Assessment – the foundation for sustainability reporting and KPIs, helping drive future change within the business. • Investment into obtaining the ISO14001 accreditation. • Successful implementation of their Environmental Management System. • Improving renewable energy infrastructure when building new facilities. • Running and developing a carbon optimisation programme for their owned fleet and collaborating with clients to create new, carbon conscious transport alternatives. • Launching a new rail service, taking more than 1,000 vehicles off the road, to reduce carbon footprints of clients’ transport chains by more than 60 per cent. • Working closely and partnering with associations and regulatory bodies looking into positive change and environmental impact. Rail Professional



Woodland Group’s digital investment Having invested into its digital capabilities for the last decade, first buying software company Freightfilter to build a fully integrated online quoting and booking system and more recently backing software company Ceedbox to combine the original Woodland Online solution with full 360 tracking and reporting, Woodland Group has since developed the offering further to provide a full supply chain management solution. Appreciating the importance of a digital offering that allows instant visibility and facilitates early, and at times preventative, measures to be taken to manage all stakeholders of a supply chain, Woodland Group clients can get free access to Woodland Online to benefit from full visibility and 24/7 access to all supply chain information and their supply chain ecosystem. Through Woodland Online, clients can connect with Woodland Group’s various locations across the globe and their dedicated team members, sector-specialists and network providing consultative support to streamline solutions and reduce cost, and guide clients through regulatory, political, and economic changes impacting supply chains and source preferential rates. The supply chain industry has seen a surge of digital freight forwarder start-ups emerging, all bidding to disrupt an industry that has traditionally been human-centric, and reliant on networks, contacts, and expertise. Woodland Online stands apart as a continuation and innovation of the traditional values and services offered by Woodland Group. It is an amalgamation of Woodland’s human approach, knowledge, network and assets built up over 30 years’ in the logistics industry and the visibility, agility, customisation and 24 hour access delivered by this new digital solution to make clients’ supply chain management Rail Professional

processes even easier and create opportunity for further growth. The platform has initially been rolled out to the UK market before reaching its worldwide audience in the near future. Woodland Group overview Woodland Group have been providing innovative logistics, e-commerce and supply chain management services since 1988. Today Woodland is one of the UK’s largest global logistics businesses, with 13 locations across the UK alone, and international hubs spread across Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region. Thanks to its expert teams and agile approach, Woodland Group has become known for its success in delivering clients’ supply chains through recent and ongoing industry concerns, growing a significant eCommerce offering and sourcing innovative carbon-conscious supply chain solutions, whilst also finding a pragmatic approach to Brexit, allowing for a near-seamless transition for its growing client base. As a result, Woodland Group has seen a surge in demand and was able to grow its customer base by 26 per cent in 2021. Kevin Stevens, CEO and Chairman comments: ‘Since Woodland’s foundation in 1988, we’ve been able to grow and innovate by listening to our clients’ needs and delivering solutions to make business simple for them, to help streamline processes to save time, cost and the stress associated with the management of comprehensive supply chains. As technology developed, so have we - while always focussing on retaining the personal approach and expert guidance we’re known for. Launching our new Woodland Online platform is a proud moment for us as we combine the best of traditional freight forwarding with the benefits digitalisation can bring to a

business’ management and health. 30 years’ experience, our people focus, network and owned assets provide a strong footing to build truly instant connectivity on.’ Woodland Group is one of the leading and fastest growing privately owned global supply chain and logistics businesses in the UK. This latest step in Woodland Group’s journey reinforces the company’s aim to create opportunities for clients and help deliver the sustainable supply chains of tomorrow. For more information, visit Woodland Group’s website at woodlandgroup.com or email the UK office today at web-emea@ woodlandgroup.com


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 later, SOLIS is the new generation of eco-friendly safety eyewear: made of collected and recycled fishing net.

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Keeping innovation on track With mounting pressure to decarbonise and digitise, David Fisken, Head of Inward Investment at the West Midlands Growth Company – the region’s official investment promotion agency – outlines how the region is steering the rail innovation agenda


he arrival of COP26 in Scotland last month saw the eyes of the world fixed on the UK’s net zero ambitions. While Glasgow Central train station was physically at the heart of all the action, it was critical innovation from the West Midlands’ rail cluster that took centre stage. The UK’s only commercially developed battery-powered train – developed by Warwickshire SME Vivarail – and first Hydrogen train – led by the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) and rolling stock provider Porterbrook – were both on show to delegates from across the globe, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson among those keen to take a look at the next generation technology during a headline event hosted by Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street. Capable of travelling 100 kilometres between charges, which only take an impressive ten minutes, the Vivarail train journeyed over the city’s iconic Forth Bridge – becoming the first electric train to do so. The train provides an emission-free solution for rail routes without overhead power lines and has been designed to retrofit mid-life diesel

rolling stock, overcoming the challenges and costs associated with electrification, and preventing unnecessary waste. The hydrogen project HydroFLEX is taking a similar approach, reconfiguring existing rolling stock to accommodate alternative fuel supply. The technology was successfully trialled on the mainline network in 2020 and is anticipated to be widely available for commercial passenger vehicles by 2023. Engineering the future But these ground-breaking projects represented just a fraction of the scale of rail innovation we have underway here. In fact, a new comparative report of the UK’s emerging tech capabilities has found that of all regions, the West Midlands is leading when it comes to future mobility advancements. Conducted by London Economics and glass.ai, the UK-wide study found the region accounts for 14 per cent of the UK’s total future mobility sector, with a greater number of firms and more people employed in transport and advanced manufacturing than anywhere else – including London. The data also shows the West Midlands has the highest concentration of companies in rail tech, construction tech and battery tech specifically. A new way to travel Our influence is evident when you delve beyond the numbers and consider how projects across the region are steering the industry’s decarbonisation and digitisation standards. In urban mobility, we are pioneering a Very Light Rail concept. Led by Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick and a consortium of private sector partners, a new lightweight, shuttle-style scheme is being piloted in Coventry, for which a first-of-its-kind track form was unveiled earlier this year, designed to sit 30cm inside the road surface to improve installation, and maintenance access and costs. Supported by an inaugural Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre (VLRNIC) in Dudley, a zero-emission, battery-powered vehicle has been developed in tandem, which will eventually run autonomously to offer a multi-modal ‘hop on and off’ way of getting around the city. Carving a new identity for the West Midlands’ manufacturing sector, this revolutionary train travel concept is already generating excitement, attracting forward-

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thinking companies to join our thriving rail community, such as rail tech firm Motive Zero. Providing combined technology and hybrid solutions for trains and locomotives, the company recently established a permanent base at the VLRNIC – managed by the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation (BCIMO) – to access the local growth and innovation opportunities in decarbonisation technologies. High-speed innovation Elsewhere, our position at the centre of the UK’s new High-Speed 2 (HS2) rail network continues to grow our reputation as a future rail hub. Well over a year into the start of construction on the London-Birmingham branch, the project is supporting over 20,000 jobs, establishing a 350-strong supply chain in the West Midlands alone of businesses engaged in project works; from on-the-ground engineering production to consultancy. A further £3 billion of commercial contracts in railway systems and rolling stock services are also up for grabs. Crucially, the project is catalysing new ideas in railway design and delivery, thanks to its dedicated Innovation Programme. Cutting carbon from construction is a headline innovation mission for the project, and April 2021 saw a landmark alternative fuels trial at a HS2 construction site near Coventry measure tail-pipe emissions to determine the potential air quality benefits of sustainable fuels over red diesel.


From lab to line Additionally, research from the region’s universities is funnelling new concepts to market, especially in digital technologies, where the opening of a purpose-built Centre of Excellence for Digital Systems at the University of Birmingham has boosted capabilities. Delivered in partnership with the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) and supported by investment from Research England, the building’s facilities include cab simulators, a signalling control centre, and labs for developing robotics and automation technology for rail. Together, these enable research and development activities that go all the way from idea initiation via proof-of-concept to full scale demonstration and test. This new building cements the university’s

Rail in real-time These projects are complemented by the region’s status as the UK’s first multicity 5G testbed, which is facilitating exclusive, real-world trials of new technologies and techniques to signal a new era of train operations. Spearheaded by West Midlands 5G (WM5G) – the UK’s first region-wide 5G innovation company – access to the network is developing much-needed solutions to some of the biggest challenges often faced by train operators, such as passenger management, safety, and accessibility. In fact, earlier this year the region unveiled the UK’s very first 5G-connected tram, which has since hosted multiple trials – most notably in journey experience, where customers can report feedback on issues such as cabin temperature, capacity, and incidents in real-time to help operators improve travel services, and consequently encourage greater use of public transport. Other trials underway focus on safety, with on-board tram CCTV systems retrofitted with 5G connectivity to improve detection of security and accessibility needs.

impact in modernising Britain’s railways. Among many current projects, researchers are working with HS2 to digitally model scenarios for the new line under construction. This includes predicting performance of engineering components and stress-testing timetable plans in different weather and capacity scenarios in advance of its launch, to ensure trains run as planned once installed. Academics are also engaged in preparing the region to host the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games next year, creating a ‘digital twin’ of the West Midlands’ rail network to model passenger journeys at stations close to key sporting venues, as a way to manage and maintain services at the peak of the international sporting event.

Going global As well as taking ideas out to industry, as a region we are also actively inviting collaboration from up-and-coming rail innovators. The region’s 5G commercial application accelerator – titled 5PRING – is offering start-ups and SMEs the opportunity to develop and scale 5G-enabled solutions to major challenges set by big-name local service providers, including HS2 Ltd., Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), National Express and BCRRE. Infrastructure monitoring, geotechnical operations, and railway station management are some of the areas seeking transformative 5G use cases, where applicants with concepts that leverage

Meanwhile, its Innovation Accelerator has reached its third cohort milestone, welcoming the most diverse group of SMEs to develop techniques for carbon-free railway construction, and to monitor and improve site safety and security.


augmented reality, computer vision, IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics are encouraged to apply. Alongside rising rail stars, we are also engaging with well-known international brands. Just a few weeks ago we hosted a delegation of revered companies from Germany, as well as representatives from the German Rail Association (VDB) and German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, to introduce them to our industry network and show first-hand the scale of opportunities available in the region. Next year will see us welcome more global industry players, as the 13th World Congress on Railway Research 2022 arrives at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre (ICC). Both these events cement the international scale of our railway expertise, which we plan to bolster through targeted overseas investment attraction activity, as part of a dedicated Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) around the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Designed to deepen links between the UK and overseas markets and boost the local economy by leveraging the profile of the Games, in rail we will be leading a proactive communications and marketing campaign across key Commonwealth countries with a synergy for rail innovation to entice more investors to explore our region’s potential. There is no doubt that it is an incredibly exciting time for the West Midlands’ railway industry. Despite the pandemic, our region has steadfastly focused on the future of rail, proving that no matter the challenge, we are the prime location for firms around the world to realise new concepts from test to track.

David Fisken is Head of Inward Investment at the West Midlands Growth Company Rail Professional



New solutions for energy distribution in rail vehicles Connectors for rail applications need to be extremely robust, but also easy to install and maintain


ARTING has developed new solutions for rail vehicles which focus on the safety and durability of the entire infrastructure. These three new HARTING products are part of a complete system of cabling that extends from the vehicle roof to the underfloor distribution. The Han® HPR (High Pressure Railway) VarioShell is a housing system which has been specially designed for jumper applications. Thanks to a circumferential internal seal and mounting frame, the two-piece housing/hood achieves an IP69K rating. As the cover is removable, the housing/hood can be installed from both inside and outside the rail vehicle. This Rail Professional

also simplifies servicing and maintenance because the housing cover can be opened and faulty conductors or contacts replaced without disconnecting all the connections. The contours of the VarioShell allow dirt deposits to slide off while channels guide water away from the housing screws so that rust does not form. Special curvatures on the upper side ensure that ice and snow slide off without exerting pressure on the wall and housing, increasing service life. The VarioShell is an open system that also houses mounting frames, cable managers and shielding plates to route and hold cables with different diameters. It can be used as a surface or panel mounted housing and is a robust alternative to distribution boxes for

installation on the roof, outer wall or bogie. The Han® HPR HPTC (High Performance Transformer Connector) has been developed to meet all the requirements of the rail market. Hoods, housings and cable glands have been optimised for outdoor use, ensuring the connection between pantograph, transformer and train busbar remains stable over the long term. Existing contours on the transformer can be reused, meaning design changes are unnecessary. This product has been specially designed for simple assembly, maximum safety and to minimise the number of components used. A crimped contact on the cable side is inserted into a three-part, touch-proof insulating body and there is a cable gland


that protects against dust and moisture whilst also forming part of the shielding, absorbing residual currents and transferring them to the housing. The hoods and housings are metallically contacting on all sides, which means the cover and underside are connected across the entire contact surface. This is a new development, being the first transformer connector that is specially designed for shielded connections. Collecting and discharging residual currents is achieved with the Han® HPR HPTC P800 thanks to its two separate contact zones. It is directly connected to the flange housing by a surface on the underside and there is a thread on the upper side for a potential grounding, which dissipates the remaining residual currents. Neither shrinking nor taping are required in the assembly process and the interfaces are quick to prepare; simply crimp the contacts, insert the insulating body with shield contact into the housing, close the cover, and the cable side is ready. Two coding elements in the panel mounted housing enable 16 different possible combinations and one connector is sufficient for the transformer connection, meaning there is no risk of confusion. The Han® HPR TrainPowerLine (TPL) replaces existing solutions such as UIC, power or Y-distributors for train busbars. It is tailored to modern trains running in a network and offers weight advantages of up to ten kilograms per rail vehicle compared to previous standards. As a result, very little

space is required to reliably supply all the electrical equipment and systems of the train. Following requests from customers, the application was simplified considerably. A uniform solution replaces the many variants that were previously required for busbar construction and the number of parts used has been significantly reduced. At the same time, safety is top priority: male and female contacts are designed to be touch-proof and there are ground potentials on the top and bottom of the housing. The contours of the TPL also effectively remove dirt and ice to the sides. Previous interfaces for the underfloor were often hard-wired. The TPL is designed so that all connection points are now pluggable. The housings are equipped with Han® HC Modular high-current contacts that transmit power up to 800 A / 5100 V DC / 3000 V AC. The housing is based on the Han® HPR design and is made of corrosion-resistant aluminium die castings. Therefore, the TPL is ideally suited for use in harsh environmental conditions and outdoor applications. This interface is a uniform connector design for the entire underbody distribution system of a train. Its advantages include shorter installation times, more economical use of materials, weight reduction and standardised assembly processes. As well as product systems, HARTING also offer customised solutions for rail vehicle technology. This supports the trend of progressive modularisation, whereby


modern rail vehicles are often built at different production sites. This modular approach offers many advantages to manufacturers such as time savings both in the assembly and commissioning of rail vehicles. With specialisms including cable assemblies, box builds and inter-car jumpers for the rail market, HARTING use their experience to design and create custom solutions that meet your exact requirements. All customised products are built and tested at their fully IRIS-certified manufacturing facility in Northampton and are based on market-leading connectors from the extensive HARTING range, including M12 and Han-Modular®. Inter-car jumpers are designed to run connections between train carriages, including roof or underfloor systems, ensuring a reliable supply of data, signals and power along the train. The HanModular® series allows you to create a versatile solution by combining individual inserts for different transmission media into standard-sized industrial connector housings. The series offers over a hundred different inserts, enabling a wide range of customisable combination options. For example, as the demand for data communications in rail vehicles increases, powerful network and data interfaces are required to power information systems and fast, reliable internet access. The Han® Gigabit module enables Cat. 7A transmission in the inter-vehicle area and delivers higher frequency bandwidth for the flow of data. The interface is also shock and vibration resistant according to EN 61373 and shielded against electromagnetic interference (EMC). For the connection of WLAN equipment, X-coded M12 PushPull connectors enclosed in a box build are the ideal solution. As space for components becomes increasingly scarce in rail vehicles, the M12 PushPull offers handling, time and reliability benefits. The two sections are clicked into place by hand, a tool-free installation method which simplifies tricky installations and means the assembly density can be significantly increased, helping to save valuable space. No matter what the degree of complexity, HARTING have the capacity to produce bespoke, project-specific solutions to suit your needs, including installing components, efficiently routing cable harnesses and fabrication. To further assist you, their design team can create a 3D CAD visualisation of your build beforehand to ensure absolute accuracy before manufacturing begins. To learn more about HARTING’s range of rail products and solutions, get in touch via the contact information below. Tel: 01604 827500 Email: salesUK@harting.com Visit: www.harting.com/UK/en-gb/markets/ transportation Rail Professional



Fanless embedded systems High-performance fanless embedded system for in-vehicle NVR and security surveillance applications


xiomtek – a world-renowned leader relentlessly devoted in the research, development, and manufacture of series of innovative and reliable industrial computer products of high efficiency – is proud to introduce the UST510-52B-FL, its E-Mark certified invehicle embedded system with a maximum of eight RJ-45 PoE connectors. This allin-one in-vehicle box PC is powered by the LGA1151 Intel® Xeon®, 9th/8th generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3, Celeron® or Pentium® processor (codename: Coffee Lake) with up to 65W TDP and has the Intel® C246 chipset. It supports Smart Ignition power control for the protection of vehicle battery from unstable voltages. The UST510-52B-FL is ideal for in-vehicle applications, including NVR, onboard security surveillance, vehicle controls, fleet monitoring, and onboard passenger infotainment systems. The UST510-52B-FL can support eight RJ-45 GbE PoE outputs with its internal PoE PSU solution which can provide 90 watts of PoE power. Users can connect IP cameras directly without installing an extra PoE

This fanless embedded system is featured with Axiomtek’s exclusive AXView software, allowing operators to monitor the status of each PoE port on-site without rebooting the system, as well as the overall system status from the power chart switch, minimizing overall deployment costs and installation space onboard. Two HDMI and VGA ports support three surveillance monitors to provide drivers and commuters with timely and accurate on-road and traffic-related information. Moreover, the UST510-52B-FL can operate under a wide

Advanced Features • CE, FCC, and E-Mark certified. • LGA1151 Intel® Xeon®, 9th/8th gen Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3, Celeron®, and Pentium® processor (up to 65W) with Intel® C246 (Coffee Lake). • Fanless and wide operating temperatures from -40°C to +70°C. • Up to eight GbE PoE ports by RJ-45 connector type. • Supports M.2 Key B and M.2 Key E for wireless communication module. • Intelligent Smart Ignition for power on/ off schedule, vehicle battery protection and different power mode. • Two hot-swappable HDD/SSD slots and 2 flexible I/O windows.

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range of temperatures from -40°C to 70°C and vibration of up to three Grms. By switching the power mode, the user-friendly in-vehicle fanless box PC features either twelve and 24 VDC typical automotive power input with Smart Ignition or wide-range nine to 36V DC power input for general purpose.


The UST510-52B-FL integrates userfriendly design, secure protection functions, rugged reliability, and excellent system performance for in-vehicle mission-critical applications. It offers two I/O windows for flexible extension options to meet different customization requirements. In addition, this fanless embedded system is featured with Axiomtek’s exclusive AXView software, allowing operators to monitor the status of each PoE port on-site without rebooting the system, as well as the overall system status from the power chart. The UST510-52B-FL comes with two 260pin DDR4-2666 SO-DIMM slots for up to 64GB of non-ECC/ECC memory. For extra expansion, the fanless embedded system

offers one full-size PCIe Mini Card slot with support of mSATA/USB/PCIe and one halfsize PCIe Mini Card slot with support for mSATA/USB. It also offers one M.2 Key E 2230 for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules, one M.2 Key B 3050/3042 for 4G LTE, and two SIM card slots for 5G radio connectivity. For additional storage, two hot-swappable 2.5-inch SATA drives with Intel® RAID 0/1 function and two mSATA are available. Additionally, the UST510-52B-FL adopts rich I/O interfaces including eight GbE PoE, four USB 3.0, two RS-232/422/485, one isolated 6-in/2-out DIO, one VGA, two HDMI, one audio (Mic-in/Line-out), and four antenna openings for WLAN and WWAN usage. Two flexible I/O


windows for CAN Bus, LAN, DIO as well as Audio modules are available for various applications in a single system. The UST51052B-FL supports Windows® 10 and Linux. It also features Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM 2.0) to ensure critical information security. For more product information or customization services, please visit our global website at www.axiomtek.com or contact one of our sales representatives at info@axiomtek.com.tw. Tel: 0161 209 3680 Email: info@axiomtek.co.uk Visit: www.axiomtek.com

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What next for building a clear safety vision and culture? In this final article in their four-part series on safety culture, Russell Keir, Vice Chair of the IOSH Railway Group and Paul Leach of rail industry body RSSB, reflect on the series and consider next steps for safety culture O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us! Oh, would some Power give us the gift To see ourselves as others see us!


he great Scots poet Robbie Burns wrote these words in the final verse of To a Louse. It actually sums up a key component of a safe culture: being able to truly reflect on how the organisation is performing and behaving and what strengths can be built on and areas developed. Being focused on risk, developing competence to change and sustain change and building a clear safety vision are key. So are the elements typically described in many safety culture models such as leadership, communication, learning, involvement and risk perception. So, where do we go from here? There are many ongoing developments in safety culture. For example, organisations are redeveloping their just/fair culture decision making models so that they start by looking at what happened within the system rather than what the individual did or didn’t do. Psychological safety is being further explored to see how the concept can be better utilised to support open and reflective safety cultures and improve team cohesion and performance. Language and its ability to shape perceptions and behaviours is also being explored; for example, moving away from the terms ‘error’ and ‘violation’, which create negative perceptions of people’s behaviour and actions.

Safety II with its focus on successes rather than failures is being used to support culture development. Safety II is the study of how people and systems succeed under differing conditions with the aim of increasing intended and acceptable outcomes to as high a level as possible. This is compared to the traditional approach to safety (or safety I) which looks at why systems and people fail, with the aim to reduce these events and the harm associated with them. The area of leadership derailment may also start to gain more interest in safety critical industries, such as rail. There is a significant body of work exploring how leaders can derail. For example, with career plateau, or where leadership decisions and behaviours become detrimental to the business and sometimes endanger its survival. Examples could include Enron, Royal Bank of Scotland and the fall of Topshop, Topman and Debenhams. As safety critical industries, such as rail, undergo significant change, there could be potential for leadership derailment, particularly when performance vs safety conflicts may become more acute. Another area for consideration is greater use of multiorganisational culture assessment and development – this links back to the safety culture stack approach by Eurocontrol, which we discussed in the first article in this series. Work typically involves multiple organisations, all with different cultures. Understanding each other’s

cultures, making better use of different strengths and identifying common areas for development could help reduce duplication of effort and bring enhanced inter-organisational working. Within rail there are many areas of operation that involve multiple organisations working together or operating in the same space. One example would be train stations with multiple operators. A passenger may make a journey with one operator; another operator may be working the gates; they may change trains; while a further operator, such as Network Rail, may manage the station environment the passenger enters, navigates through and leaves from. Each can affect a passenger’s journey and their overall satisfaction. In this example, enhanced inter-organisational working would help to uncover how each party affects the passenger’s journey and where improvements could be made across their end-to-end journey. This could also include different modes of transport; for example stations that are also served by metro lines, buses, and trams. This would likely represent the door-to-door passenger journey. There are many other areas in rail where the culture stack approach could be applied; for example, depots, with different operators working in the same location. There are integrated railway operating centres that can include train operators, fleet operators and Network Rail, as well as track work, were staff from multiple organisations may be working on the line at the same time.

Russell Keir

Paul Leach

We hope our series of articles on safety culture has given you food for thought and helped to encourage debate and further consideration of safety culture for rail and other safety critical industries. As always, we welcome feedback, challenge and further discussion on this key topic.

Russell Keir is Vice Chair of the Railway Group at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Paul Leach is Human Factors Specialist & Occupational Psychologist at the RSSB Rail Professional

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The key to safer railways Dr. Uwe Jasnoch, Transportation Industry Leader, Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division Rail continually gathers data about its tracks and the surrounding landscape to build a detailed picture of the gaps between trains and the infrastructure around them. This data includes features such as tunnels, tracks, and bridges, ensuring a safe clearance between the train and edges of these structures. In the past, Network Rail collected and analysed this data manually, which was a very time consuming process that could take months and even years. In contrast, the new approach with Innovate UK will leverage AI and LiDAR to automate the identification and measurement of the railway structures. This will save a significant amount of time and resources that can be dedicated elsewhere.


ail operators routinely face a wide array of hazards, from security incidents and asset failures to weather-related events, including landslides, floods, lightning strikes, and even fallen leaves. Meanwhile, passenger and freight traffic are expected to double by 2050, making safety and security assurances for rail organisations more important than ever. A recent report found that in 2020-2021 there were 20 rail-related fatalities in the UK and 342 near misses at level crossings with pedestrians, the highest number since the report began in 2002-2003. While the fatalities in rail are significantly lower than other types of transport, there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the general safety of the UK’s rail networks. Fortunately, new technologies are emerging that can bolster the safety of trains, tracks, and the entire operational environment. Automating infrastructure mapping with LiDAR and AI By leveraging AI and LiDAR, operators can improve the speed and precision of railway infrastructure mapping. An example of this in practice is the collaboration between Network Rail and Innovate UK. Network

Smart monitoring with integrated systems and digital twins The ability to monitor and automatically detect anomalies on tracks is a key component to protecting people and freight. Rail operators continually inspect and monitor their environment to understand not just the health of the tracks and potential obstructions, but also internal functioning of the trains, crossroad maintenance, and more. Obviously, this produces a vast amount of data that needs to be analysed by numerous personnel across departments. An integrated transport network information system can combine all asset and spatial data into one report, rather than inputting them into separate databases. This ensures the data is always up-to-date and easily accessible for anyone across the organisation who may need to see it. Therefore, if any issues arise, no time will be lost trying to figure out where, when, or why. Instead, resources can be immediately dedicated to resolving the problem. Another key benefit is the ability to create a digital twin of the rail network using a 3D model of the infrastructure and the inputted operational data. Digital twins are exact replicas of the entire network with all features included from the tracks, bridges, and stops right down to details such as benches, rubbish bins, and trees. The model is linked up with integrated data so, using AI-powered automation, it can provide insight into the exact location of an immediate issue as well as give analysis of predicated and potential future events. For

example, the system could highlight areas that have the potential to impact safety, such as areas of high congestion, giving operators the opportunity to mitigate the potential issues before they become a problem. Optimising emergency response Though digital twins and infrastructure mapping are vital components to keeping passengers and freight safe, at the end of the day, physical security will always be a necessity. Intrusions can occur almost anywhere along a rail network, with places like tunnels and terminals at a heightened risk for vandalism, theft, and even terrorism. Operators need to be able to detect, assess, and respond to threats and incidents and collaborate with outside organisations when needed to address the complete lifecycle of incident management. With an integrated approach to security and surveillance, operators can unite 3D surveillance systems with security, dispatching, and collaboration software. The combination of fixed and mobile sensors integrated with AI-equipped incident management solutions enables the highest levels of monitoring and automated detection of potential safety impacts. Rail operators can better protect their assets, passengers, and freight to reduce disruptions and improve safety and customer satisfaction. Leveraging data is the key Each of the new technologies mentioned plays an important role in making railways safer, and the common thread between all of them is data. The huge amount of data available to rail operators has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and safety of rail if it is properly utilised. However, there is still some way to go, especially as rail use is only predicted to increase with time. Safety is the most important item on the agenda of any rail operator and embracing new technologies will expedite its guarantee.

Dr. Uwe Jasnoch is Transportation Industry Leader at Hexagon’s Safety Infrastructure & Geospatial division

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A new approach to rail cyber-security Railways are a key pillar of our overarching transportation system and keeping them secure and safe is all-important, Karsten Oberle, Head of Rail at Nokia, explains why


he job of protecting them, however, is changing, shifting emphasis away from protection against physical threats towards cyber-threats. This shift reflects the digitalisation of rail operations, and the increasing interconnection between different railway sub-systems, which is providing new entry points into the system for hackers and cyber-criminals. As digital complexity increases, rail operators need a robust, end-to-end cyber-security strategy that can address these challenges and ensure the safety of this key transportation pillar. Cyber-threats are expanding Most rail professionals today are aware of the general threat posed by cyber-attacks. But it is difficult to keep up with the innovations being made by hackers and criminal organisations. They seem to be endlessly creative and capable of exploiting even the most advanced systems. The increase in the number and scale of threats is not entirely due to a growth in hacking, it is also an indirect result of railways digitally transforming their operations. Often referred to as Railway 4.0, digitalisation is an important trend in the rail industry that promises to lower costs, increase safety and improve the passenger experience. IoT sensors and devices are now making it possible to collect data on everything from the condition of the rolling stock to the monitoring of extreme weather events and the prediction of maintenance requirements. Driverless and remote-controlled train projects may steal the headlines, but important data is being logged for mundane things, from rubbish levels in bins to an individual passenger’s train choices correlated against timetables and fares. This data-driven approach to operations holds huge promise for both greater efficiency and safety. The data that is generated across the system can be analysed by artificial intelligence and machine learning, creating advanced algorithms that can optimise and automate processes, workflows and even predictive maintenance

schedules. These ‘smart’ systems also hold the answer to how railways can become more secure. Moving away from perimeter security The traditional approach to digital security has been all about securing the perimeter of the system. When there is a strong moat and one drawbridge, this is a feasible approach that makes it possible to be relatively relaxed about the security of the internal network. Many enterprise security systems have traditionally used this to protect the enterprise LAN. The problem today is that the moat, to the extent that there is one, has multiple entry points to secure. This is especially the case when internal users are accessing

With even the deepest moat, a single phishing attack that fools employees into revealing their identity credentials to an external actor, can open the entire system to be exploited. External suppliers that work on the systems and disgruntled employees are also potential weak links in the security chain

‘as-a-service’ applications that run on the public cloud. But, even if railways keep all their data and applications running off a private cloud, the sheer number of subsystems that are integrated means that there are multiple points of entry that can be exploited, including sensors, other IoT devices, handheld terminals, phones, laptops, automatic ticketing systems – and the list goes on. To tie up all these loose ends and secure every one of them is possible, but as the digital transformation grows, it becomes increasingly expensive. And, importantly, it doesn’t account for internal threats. With even the deepest moat, a single phishing attack that fools employees into revealing their identity credentials to an external actor, can open the entire system to be exploited. External suppliers that work on the systems and disgruntled employees are also potential weak links in the security chain. The SOAR approach to security The more complex network security issues that arise with digitalisation require a holistic approach to security. This more in-depth approach uses some of the same analytic tools that are powering Railway 4.0. Identified by Gartner as the new security paradigm, they named it SOAR for ‘security orchestration, analytics and response’. Rail Professional



A SOAR approach to security doesn’t replace existing security infrastructure but acts as an overall eye-in-the-sky to pick up security threats that individual systems might not be able to recognise. SOAR relies on the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) programmes to create an in-depth model of what normal operations looks like. It can automate responses workflow to gather and analyse security data from various different sources, making them more available and easily digestible for stakeholders. Security attacks almost always look abnormal, and many generate distinct traffic patterns or ‘signatures’. Known attacks can be quickly identified and shut down. Even novel attacks are identified, and security personnel alerted to the anomalous behaviour. SOAR can also automate the response of the network to known attacks. Thus, for instance, a distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) can be recognised by security analytics that spot the unusual rise in traffic, identify the machines (either inside the enterprise network or outside it) that are sending the attack traffic and automatically

instruct edge routers to simply not forward traffic from those attacking machines. SOAR-based security approaches can also measure compliance across multiple systems in real-time and automate the updating of networks and devices to meet the bestpractice standards set by the regulator. Cyber peace of mind Security and safety are watchwords of the rail industry. Security teams need a better way to gather the supporting information about the security state from a wider range of sources, but also to automate security processes. The adoption of digital technologies based on more open IP platforms has been slow, in part because of fears around security and safety. But operators can take comfort knowing that SOAR approaches to security are being widely adopted across telecom and enterprise networking. The power of new analytics technologies such as AI/ML are making this kind of in-depth security feasible and affordable. Rail operations have much to gain from digitalisation. New IP-based applications that boost the efficiency of a variety of

critical functions, such as train control, signal control, maintenance monitoring, video protection and passenger information systems, can now do it safely and securely. With a SOAR-based cyber-security architecture, operators can eliminate or quickly mitigate threats, allowing them to focus on their primary operations, delivering freight and people quickly and safely to their destinations.

Karsten Oberle is Head of Rail at Nokia. Karsten Oberle received the Dipl.-Ing. (FH) degree in communications engineering from the University of Applied Sciences ‘Fachhochschule für Technik’ Mannheim, Germany, in 1998. In the same year, he joined the Alcatel Research Center in Stuttgart. As Head of Rail, he is responsible for expanding Nokia’s business in the railway sector with a current focus on the future of rail communication (e.g. FRMCS, 5G), cybersecurity for railways and analytics. This includes building and managing new sales programs, steering of global business development activities, and guiding regional sales and marketing teams on customer engagements.

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AI-driven risk assessments Using AI-based digital tools to revolutionise field risk assessments resulting in improved worker safety and productivity for field force operations


eeping field force workers safe is challenging in many industries, and the rail sector is no exception. In fact, with 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels, and viaducts, as well as thousands of signals, level crossings and stations, the vast expanse of the rail network makes it almost impossible for managers and safety professionals to know where the highest risks are and where to focus their attention. Nearly 10,000 harmful incidents are reported every year (numbers dropped during Covid-19 lockdowns) to railway workers. This is despite a significant focus on safety and a stringent regulatory framework. Network rail uses standard processes like safety risk assessments to achieve their key safety goals, which they list as follows:

• Reducing risks from driving 7,500 vehicles over 100 million miles per year. • Reducing risks of being struck by a train while working on the railway. • Improve planning for safe access to the track and safe execution of work. • Improve the monitoring and management of worker fatigue caused by long-distance travel to job sites, long working hours, and disruptive work patterns associated with emergency call outs. Safety is not the only challenge for the rail industry. Productivity is also an area of concern. The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, published in May 2021, painted a sobering picture of the state of the industry and the radical shifts necessary to improve performance in all areas. The report states: ‘But the current sums being paid to operate and maintain the railways are not sustainable. To truly secure rail’s future, there must be radical change.’ It goes on to say, ‘Some working practices have not changed in decades.’ One of those stagnant practices is the paper-based site risk assessments conducted by field crews for each maintenance task they execute on the network. Paper-based risk assessments and their limitations Risk assessments should enable work crews to identify risks so that they can take action to mitigate them and reduce the chance of an injury. However, most risk assessments still use paper-based forms with limited potency. Repetitive, paper-based activities tend to lose their effectiveness over time because of worker familiarity. Risks from previous tasks are copied over into new risk assessments without considering the specific nuances of the new job site. The result is a tick box exercise that does little to protect workers from harm. Additionally, managers and safety professionals have no access to the risk assessment until it is filed after the job is complete. They cannot offer their insights to reduce the job risk. They are unaware of which site under their supervision has the highest risk and could benefit from a site visit. It is unlikely for a risk assessment to receive management attention unless an incident on-site requires an investigation. Digitisation helps by transferring paper-based processes to digital forms but cannot solve the inherent limitations of the current work process. However, a complete redesign of the risk assessment process using artificial intelligence (AI) can deliver a step-change in safety and productivity. Rail Professional

What is FYLD, and what does it do? FYLD is an AI-empowered digital platform for risk assessments and fieldwork management. Field workers video their job site and talk through the hazards they see and don’t see as they do so. FYLD then generates a risk assessment with suggested control measures for review. The engine adds value to the process based on learnings from thousands of job sites gathered during the development stage. This means that each field crew is gaining the collective experience of all those other risk assessments into their analysis of hazards and control measures at their current job site. FYLD bridges the gap between field workers and remote managers or support staff through its collaborative digital platform. The system allows managers and safety professionals to participate in the risk assessment as though they were present on-site, giving them an opportunity to approve the control measures or to provide expert input for their enhancement. Remote managers have access to the risk assessments of all their site jobs in real-time, thus enabling them to focus on job sites with the highest risk. FYLD’s collaborative environment also facilitates productivity improvements. Field workers can post photos and video evidence of progress or highlight job blockers that are holding up work. Remote managers can use this information to make data-driven decisions and prioritise sites for their intervention. They can action solutions to job blockers immediately or redirect crews to other jobs if there is no short-term solution available. Collaboration and visual evidencing also help prevent field crews from making workarounds, which is a common cause of safety incidents.


Shift handover is another critical activity for worker safety and productivity. FYLD’s wrap-up functionality helps enforce a high standard of site cleanliness and provides evidence of safety conditions during the transition from one crew to the next. The platform also keeps track of factors affecting worker fatigue and enables shift changes to be planned accordingly. The benefits of FYLD FYLD has been deployed in the gas distribution sector, where remarkable results were achieved. The trial company improved their number of safe days (in which there were no safety incidents) by 42 per cent using FYLD. As a result, they achieved a 20 per cent reduction in the number of safety incidents over the period. Additionally, field crews performed risk assessments 75 per cent quicker using FYLD than they did using paper-based systems. This data shows that the system produces better quality risk assessments in a shorter time. As an added benefit, up to 105,000 fewer paper items were generated each year. The benefits of FYLD extended to the remote managers of the gas distributor. Managers could identify the highest risk work and the most challenging job blockers and, therefore, optimise their site visits. As a result, they reduced their total mileage by 36 per cent in our trial. Less driving means a lower risk of road accidents and a reduction in fuel consumption. Therefore, FYLD contributed to both improved safety and environmental performance of the company.


FYLD for the rail sector As an AI-driven collaborative platform for safety risk assessments and work process management, FYLD is well matched to the needs of field forces in the rail sector. Earlier this year, FYLD was selected by HS2 as one of only five companies to join the latest cohort of its highly coveted Innovation Accelerator programme. Rob Cairns, HS2 Ltd Innovation Manager, said: ‘With the third cohort intake for the Innovation Accelerator programme, we focused on reaching a diverse range of businesses who we believe can bring fresh thinking and a new perspective to our mission of reducing HS2’s carbon footprint and improving the health and safety of our teams, as well as the security of our worksites. ‘This is why FYLD and its innovative AI solution was chosen to contribute to the programme. The award-winning digital platform transforms operations by improving productivity and safety for field workers and we are proud to have the team on board as we progress together towards our net zero goals.’ FYLD’s tool also addresses each of the safety priorities highlighted by Network Rail: • It reduces supervisor trips to site, thus minimising the risks of road travel. • It facilitates high-quality risk assessment and job planning to minimise the risk of worker injuries. • It monitors the factors that contribute to worker fatigue so managers can safely manage their field workforces. Besides the short-term benefits from FYLD, data generated over time also puts companies in a position to solve systemic problems. For example, suppose the availability of barrier boards at the beginning of a shift regularly shows up as a job blocker. In that case, the company can initiate plans to resolve that issue by buying more boards or staggering shift start times. However, when the data that shows these systemic issues is not available, they will never be resolved, leading to worker frustration, productivity losses and increased costs. FYLD makes systemic issues visible over time, giving organisations the insights they need to drive long term efficiency gains. These benefits can help the rail sector meet the industry’s demands and achieve the step-change requirements outlined in the WilliamsShapps Plan for Rail. Rail Professional

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Should you consider doing a PhD to further your railway career? Robin Coombes recounts his experience of completing a doctorate into the study of heritage railways at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Rail Research and Education


he simple answer to the question in the title is: yes absolutely. For those who have pondered this question, as I did for many years, it will perhaps be of value to share my recent experience. I have just recent, as a mature student, completed and been awarded the first doctorate into heritage railways. Why do a PhD? Like the mountaineer wanting to conquer a particular summit, it has always been in the back of my mind as representing the ultimate academic challenge. Like the famous quiz master said, ‘I’ve started so I will finish’ – a logical progression from school exams, ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s and

finally a PhD. However, that by itself is not a good enough reason and there is a danger of becoming a perpetual student. The ‘why’ therefore has to be your belief, and only yours, that it is the right thing to do at the right time in your career, in order to explore something you are curious about. I was careful not to say ‘find answers’ because it is not that simple, and the research may lead to different conclusions and discoveries, than what you originally thought, which happened in my case. For me, it was to better understand a topic that I was passionate about – heritage railways. I would be then able to use the results to help others sustain what is important to me – protecting and preserving

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I immersed myself in the running of heritage railways by becoming the Company Secretary of a mainline Train Operating Company and a member of several heritage railways, attending their meetings, and following social media. The evidence I found changed my thinking and theory. My original theory was ‘good governance ‘was the key determinate, but the evidence did not support this as railways survived despite poor governance. Then I looked for reasons to explain this by analysing ‘near death’ experiences of heritage railways and discovered it was social capital that had saved the day and so revised my proposition.

the amazing legacy that heritage railways have built up over the last sixty years. For many, the decision to undertake a PhD will be to give a boost to early career prospects, while for others perhaps it will be about researching a live project, or in mid-career, a desire to change direction or to delve deeper into a subject that fascinates you. If your reason ‘why’ is strong, and deep down you will know if it is, then I would encourage you to ‘go for it’. A PhD is not for everyone, and certainly not a requirement or ‘free pass’ on most career paths on the railway. The benefits are likely to be far more subtle: more confidence, more inner resilience and self-reliance, and a greater ability and capacity to think through issues and consequences. Once you have satisfied the ‘why’ you want to do it, next is the ‘what’. This is very much an individual choice, after all it is you, and only you, who will be living, breathing and thinking of little else for between the next three to six years. It matters not if it is the science of passenger flows, cutting edge engineering systems, the latest management styles or climate risk, it is what is important to YOU. The criteria to be satisfied is that you have identified a knowledge gap in the subject of your choice and your research will address that gap and make an original contribution. So you are always both building on what others have found out, and treading new ground. For me, it was also important that the results would have some practical benefit beyond the pure research. The question I addressed was how do heritage railways become sustainable, and what determines their longevity and sustainability? My overall proposition was that heritage railways have proved Rail Professional

themselves more resilient in operation than could reasonably have been expected at their beginning – their average life being now over 40 years (compared to ten years for a typical SME), with no major casualties, albeit a few close calls. The final part was the ‘how’. I developed a conceptual framework built up from a number of overlapping theories – governance, sustainability, complex and dynamic systems, social capital, organisational change, risk management, heritage tourism, operation and safety. The design of the methodology was based on finding techniques that could measure and provide evidence of the standards of governance and performance. The practicalities of finding out and testing my theory meant I read a lot – including the full set of more than 500 Steam Railway magazines and the relevant editions of Railway Magazine that cover the preservation era! There are few academic papers specifically on heritage railways, so I broadened my sources to related fields – railways in general, social history, governance, economics, sustainability, social capital, safety and risk management, heritage tourism; then wider still, to psychology and philosophy – to see if and how this wider knowledge and its related theories could be applied to heritage railways. For me, being able to explore related topic areas was the great eye opener. I visited numerous heritage railways, trying to see them though fresh and objective eyes. I talked to a lot of people, asking many, many questions, and listened so I could gain an insight from different perspectives – the visitor, the volunteer, the director, the Regulator. I researched and wrote up case studies of individual railways.

The three takeaways from the research are: • The story of heritage railways has shown they have made the art of the impossible possible. • Governance is incredibly important, but their social capital or goodwill is even more important. • Heritage railways are now mature heritage tourist attractions but are going to need to be focused, innovative and dig deep into their goodwill and reserves if they are to continue to renew themselves, meet the current challenges and pass on their legacy to a new generation. The thesis made 14 practical recommendations, based on the conditions found, including the establishment of a Heritage Railways Safety and Standards Board, which has been taken up by the HRA and supported by the ORR, and I am writing a ‘Handbook for Heritage Railways’. And finally, there is the trepidation (sheer terror) of the Viva where, after years of blood, sweat and tears, your work is examined by an external and internal examiner. Needless to say, the elation, relief of passing and subsequent celebration made it all worthwhile. This, in a nutshell, was my experience, though I could not have done it without the guidance and support of my two supervisors – Professor Anson Jack and Dr Julian Clark – and the help of Ian Skinner of the ORR. It is vital in considering a PhD to find a supervisor(s) who you can respect and work well with. Knowledge aside, a good supervisor must be willing to devote time to the thesis. From anecdotal tales, beware the elusive professor, however stellar his or her reputation. It is worth talking to a supervisor’s past or current PhD students before making your request. I am happy to provide further advice if needed and can be contacted through the Editor. Robin Coombes undertook the research as a mature student. His previous career included a managerial role at British Railways, Environment Consultant (ERES), Chairman of a national Architecture Consultancy (B3) and Company Secretary of a Train Operating Company (Vintage Trains). He is an accomplished photographer with two books of railway photography published. He plans to use the results of his research to assist heritage railways increase their resilience and attractiveness to a new generation.


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20 Years of Darwin Dave Clarke, Sales Director, Integrated Communication and Supervision Systems at Thales in the UK explores the evolution of journey planning in rail


he last few months have seen increasing numbers of commuters returning to the office in evergrowing numbers, with some returning to their five-day week and many others embracing permanent hybrid working patterns. With this, the familiar sight of commuters standing on platforms is back, regularly checking departure boards and travel apps for live updates on the whereabouts of their trains. Whether it is getting the latest train times, alerts about delays, or updates on which platforms trains will be pulling into, all the key travel information passengers need is available in the palm of their hands. It seems so normal now to have such easy access to all of this journey information, but it was only 20 years ago that the public would have to ring a call centre or their local station to get this information – and too often it was inaccurate anyway! This all comes at a time where migration out of major cities is accelerating as a result of the pandemic, meaning accurate journey information for those choosing to commute for fewer, but longer journeys, is more important than ever going forward. The good news is rail information systems have developed at an impressive rate in recent years, making it an essential source for UK rail operating companies and travellers alike. One of the reasons the UK is in a good place is, over the last two decades, Thales has been proudly maintaining and developing Darwin – its centralised train information system, which gives passengers instant, live access to the data they need to navigate and manage the stresses of their commute. So, how has Darwin evolved the UK’s rail industry over the past 20 years and what future innovation is coming down the tracks? The journey so far When initially implemented by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), Darwin provided a solution to the inaccurate information that hampered passenger experience and reflected poorly on train operators. However, with the system collecting an array of data from various sources, it was always the intention that rail information services could one day drive greater impact by determining where every train is compared to where it should be and providing accurate, real-time predictions. Being able to leverage this data in real-time is so valuable to operators and

passengers as it provides a single source of truth, with information being centralised and then disseminated to where it’s needed. This means it can be tailored for specific uses and services, whether that’s to station information services or third-party providers that have developed in its wake, such as Trainline and the National Rail Enquiries’ Online Journey Planner. More than anything though, these systems are designed with passengers in mind – and information is the key. The vast amount of centralised data and its movements through various third-party platforms allows for seamless decision making across every leg of a journey, ultimately giving customers control over their time. Plans can be changed, and meetings rescheduled thanks to the wealth of live information being delivered into the palms of a customer’s hands. The development of other technologies, with more sophisticated signalling and train management within the industry, and the growing number of devices available to us all, means these systems are continuing to evolve. For example, Darwin was originally operated from a Thales data centre, but has since migrated to the cloud, allowing for greater flexibility and ability to upscale according to demand. The next destination With commuting patterns more fluid than ever, a passenger-centric approach will be vital for the evolution of rail information delivery going forward. Rail operators are already embracing a new phase of digital transformation and the next step is working toward an integrated transport network that reaches as close to the door-to-door concept as possible. This means creating a fully connected journey for commuters, where they’re constantly updated in real time and able to plan their journey down to the last minute, all while communicating to other people they might be meeting too. A key aspect to enabling this regular flow of information is possible is ensuring passengers have a constant internet connection. Delivering high-speed connectivity is vital to ensuring commuters are able to justify their commuting times. Given the way people want to work, the train industry needs to continue to innovate to convince passengers that they’re as connected when commuting as at home. We are therefore likely to see operators prioritise further innovation that focuses

on the smartphone over advancements in station screens for example. For commuters, their phones are now the primary contact for everything, so this is where the focus must lie. This is why we’ll see an increase in near field communications (NFC), for example, which will allow passengers to seamlessly walk-through barriers onto a pre-booked train without fumbling around for tickets, or increased connectivity to enable them to send emails or even present on the train. The future of innovation must be always built around the needs of the customer as they go from A to B. The rapid evolution of Darwin, as well as information gathering and delivery more generally in rail, has been astonishing in recent years. The transformational shift in travel habits, continued advancements in technology and the prospect of major rail projects like HS2 will make accurate and detailed information even more important to customers and operators alike. If stakeholders within the industry work together, more innovation is sure to spark and the evolution of how we consume travel data and plan our journeys will only continue to accelerate.

Dave Clarke is Sales Director, Integrated Communication and Supervision Systems at Thales in the UK Rail Professional

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The Real-Time Journey Dashboard Edmund Caldecott, CEO of Whoosh, explains how the government should get people back onboard the rail for environmental and economic reasons


hether we like it or not, rail travel is back. In fact, the latest statistics demonstrate that 182 million journeys were made in Great Britain between April and June this year. That’s more than five times more than during the same period last year whilst under travel restrictions. However, these latest figures are just 41.6 per cent of what they were two years ago. Every commuter will testify that rail travel is back to normal as they hop onto an overcrowded service which has been quiet for the last couple of months. Typically, the UK had some of the busiest rails in Europe and therefore with minimal help, the industry could reach pre-pandemic highs and reap the wider economic and environmental benefits of this. For example, according to the Railway Industry Association, use of the UK rail network is typically around 60 per cent higher than the EU average. While passenger numbers have bounced back, there still remains a long and challenging route to pre-pandemic highs. On the other hand, this is without a doubt necessary as the Government looks to help the country recover economically from the pandemic whilst being at the forefront of promoting environmentalism. While the William-Shapps plan has largely been well-received (thanks to its ambitious aims to deliver passenger-orientated travel), many still believe that it is simply not enough to fully modernise the British rail network. Fundamentally, rail travel has long been neglected

in favour of other forms of transport and therefore it must be incentivised. Whoosh, the travel-tech firm which offers journey improving tech platforms has recently found that despite government initiatives, there are some fundamental issues for customers which are limiting travellers getting back onboard. Essentially, the British public feel that operators do not have their best interests at heart. 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. Enter: The Real-Time Journey Dashboard, accessed via QR codes, which solves gripes and delivers on what travellers want during their journey through sharing real-time updates bespoke to each journey direct to customers’ smart phones. This can include live train running info; station departure boards; refreshments delivered straight to your seat; goodwill gestures for service disruption; and onward travel departure details. Environmentally, there has never been a more urgent need for Britain to get people back on track. Travel is an unavoidable part of life and the pandemic proved to us that we would never want to avoid it. But it comes with a cost, and more and more of us are becoming concerned with the environmental impacts of our journeys. Train travel offers a greener way to travel as the least carbon-intensive mode of transport and emits 80 per cent less gas emissions than cars. Promoting this shift could be a valuable tool for the government

to meet its commitment to zero emissions by 2050. It is obviously clear that every sector and aspect of life was affected by Covid-19 and the question remains over which aspects will be back to normal. For example, we ask whether the 2019 research by the Department of Transport which found that that whilst car was still the nation’s preferred mode of transport, the rate of rail usage was going up faster than any other form of transport will continue with usage more than doubling since the mid1990s. Therefore, as the roads get busier, rail travel should be incentivised to get the British public back on track. Economically speaking, rail is fantastic for the UK. It complements remote working. People can be productive onboard through the option for many people to be productive onboard, especially with increased connectivity. The interconnected nature of the UK combined with hybrid-working means previousoffice workers can live outside London. This supports one of Johnson’s governments key pledges; to level up the northsouth divide. The extent of this was illustrated by the Williams review which declared that in 2019 around 50 per cent of journeys are taken by commuters. In the same review it was found that 25 per cent of rail traffic was for pleasure. Although the statistics are not yet reported, it is likely that this will be significantly higher now post the staycationboom. The interconnected nature of the rail network was vital in spreading the tourist-pound, helping hotspots thrive through what could have been two very bleak peak seasons.

By the Government encouraging the British public to get back onboard, they can capitalise on the public’s recently found love of ‘slowtravel’. Especially, as the price of flying is continually on the rise and is deemed far less convenient. A continued demand for ‘staycationing’ can provide the UK huge financial and environmental benefits and aid the country in building a sustainable economy and longlasting job opportunities which are critically needed. Another pressing economic issue for the current government has been Brexit and the chaos caused by it. This has been thrown into the spotlight in recent weeks with the consequence of a shortage of HGV drivers causing extensive queues at petrol stations with more like this predicted to happen in the upcoming months. Subsequently, demand for freight services is growing, with 4.33 billion net tonne kilometres moved by rail this quarter, a figure 1.3 per cent higher than two years ago. The current shortage of HGV drivers has shown us how reliant we are as a country on reliable Rail Professional



and continuous deliveries. If current systems are not able to meet demands the rail industry could position itself to take up the strain. Earlier this year, we were thrilled to receive funding from The Department for Transport alongside Innovate UK who have invested almost £25 million into the ‘First of a Kind’ fund. This competition has been introduced as a result of the government’s focus on rail to boost the country’s economy and environmental efforts through facilitating the development of several critical projects. This is a fantastic initiative which emphasises the government’s recent determination to meet the aforementioned environmental and economic potential. This funding enabled Whoosh’s Real-Time Journey Dashboard to be put onboard Grand Central Trains, hence highlighting not only the government’s commitment but

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that of this particular Train Operating Company. Through supporting customercentric demands such as the Innovate UK competition did, the onboard experience can be more enjoyable and a worthy competition to car. The fundamental success of this small change can already be seen with the platform across the Yorkshirebased Grand Central trains, being scanned by 68 per cent of passengers a day at its launch. This brings us onto the point that at the core, getting people back onboard trains is an issue not just for the government but for the sector itself. Both the private and public aspects should work to give each individual a clear reason to board the train whether that be for convenience, reliability or price. While all the administrative changes in the world can be made to rail oversight bodies and operator contracts, the simple truth is that rail travel must make itself

an attractive transport option. While rail operators may feel they are doing all they can to cater to customer needs, there will always be areas where improvements can be made. One of these is the quality of communication the passenger receives. For some passengers the idea of a rail journey can conjure memories of train delays and lengthy waits, accompanied by a soundtrack of crackling overheard announcements and illuminated by out of order displays. Whoosh asked customers about their experiences of rail travel and 44 per cent complained of at station communication not working. A further 22 per cent said they’d experienced outdated or incorrect information while attempting to travel by train. This is frankly not good enough. There will always be grumbles surrounding the price, which in the vast majority of situations cannot be helped. What can be

helped is the perceived value for money by the consumer. This is something that only 26 per cent of rail passengers are currently satisfied with. There are countless benefits for not just the government but the wider public when it comes to rail travel. In order to maximise this potential, the government should kickstart it, something which their enthusiasm for is already evident of whether that be through the William-Shapps review or the Innovate UK funding. This is in turn trickling down to the operators who cannot rest on their laurels which favour stakeholders but are and should be adopting customer-centric solutions in order to drive their own profit. Luck is on their side as consumers are keen to embrace environmental choices and are aware of the practicality, speed and comfort that rail can provide in the ‘new normal’. Edmund Caldecott is CEO of Whoosh

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Why TOCs must be more disruptive in managing disruptions Matthew Shears, Co-Founder and Commercial Director at UP3 explores how rail operators can manage disruption


ven with the best of intentions, both planned and unplanned rail service disruptions are a fact of life around the world, exacerbated amongst other factors by ageing networks, increasingly extreme weather, crime, and freak accidents. While disruptions are something rail operators often cannot influence, the outcome for the customer is something they can do a lot about, especially with the right information and tools at their disposal. The difference between a well-managed disruption and a poorly managed one can be huge in terms of customer satisfaction and ultimately the operator’s ability to hold onto its contracts. In the UK specifically, a recent study into rail journey disruption management commissioned by the Department of Transport, showed that the handling of disruptions by Operators was perceived as poor or very poor by 38 per cent of passengers, compared to only 22 per cent thinking they were handled well. Longer disruptions contributed to poor ratings, as did cancellations. Moreover, the information given to customers by Operators during disruptions was perceived as predominantly negative by recipients. While train operators need to work on minimising disruptions themselves, they can’t ignore the need to make the best of a bad situation when it happens. On the global rail stage, although different networks have different challenges, the same basic premise exists; rail operators can make a big difference in how they manage any disruption when it comes along. The challenge has been that all disruptions are complex to manage and require an effective flow of detailed real-time information. And it’s not simply a case of ensuring passengerfacing workers have the information to pass on. Operators must coordinate a response involving trains, services, on-board and platform staff, multiple third parties, which

here in the UK means Network Rail and British Transport Police among others. This is additional to ensuring passengers are provided with the latest, correct information about when their next train will be available and whether they may use their ticket to travel with a different Operator, wherever they seek it. This disruption management needs to be orchestrated while still ensuring that normal service operations are restored as quickly

as possible to avoid facing performance penalties and damage to customer satisfaction. Until now this process has been coordinated largely by a complex series of cascading phone calls, text based messages and manual processes that frequently overlap and often contradict. It has, until recently, been deemed too difficult and slow by many operators to develop disruption management applications that can ensure these processes Rail Professional



kick in immediately and effectively when things go awry. But the evolution of low code application development platforms over recent years has changed that. Low code tools such as ServiceNow App Engine are giving Operators the opportunity to pool all their existing data sources, and systems to build workflow applications quickly, to handle disruption management alongside many other operational process challenges from passenger complaints to compensation and fraud. Low code/no code is a current trend in business IT whereby applications can be developed with limited need for coding by developers, replaced by simpler, business processes and data integrations. As a phrase, low code/no code can be a little misleading. At the simpler end of the spectrum are workflow creators that literally work on simple drag and drop principles, from which anyone could achieve quick and simple efficiency wins with no tech knowledge. At the other end of the low code spectrum are tools that still do much to simplify the process of converting a set of business requirements through development into a useable application. These more ‘enterprisescale’ tools allow Operators and their implementation partners to work more smartly to build and adapt apps for many different use cases, many of which are linked across the operational business.

Once one enterprise app is built on the platform, it becomes easier to use as a foundation for future apps and process automation. These are just some of the reasons why low code is seeing such massive growth. According to the research company Gartner, the low code/no market will be worth $13.8 billion (£10.25 billion) in 2021 – up 23 per cent from the previous year. By 2025, Gartner predicts that 70 per cent of new applications developed by companies will be low code/no code, up from less than 25 per cent in 2020. UP3 was involved in one of the first low code rail disruption applications to be developed in the UK, rolled out to Virgin Trains (now Avanti West Coast) in 2019. Within two weeks, Virgin Trains reported a £70,000 saving by preventing fraud in customer compensation payments. Of course, TOCs can opt to take a more traditional approach to developing applications for areas such as fraud management, but they should consider some of the challenges this can pose. The first of these is time; not only total timespan it takes to build the app but the number of developer hours also required. Even though low code is not a cure-all, it does expedite the process, alongside careful business scoping and focused consultancy to get to the nub of the issue in the first place.

Another challenge is available resources. Developers are in high demand; they move roles and often the knowledge of how a bespoke app has been built can ‘leave the business’ with them. The benefit of using a low code platform is that it keeps the app ‘blueprint’ firmly within the business, locked into the application platform. This also ticks the IT governance box – using a platform that has already been measured up from a governance point of view. And this leads to another advantage – adaptability. Once you have built one app and have the data model and integrations to support it, finding adjacent solutions becomes much easier as many of the necessary data points are already in place. Low code certainly offers Transport Operators globally the opportunity to innovate and be more disruptive to combat crucial issues such as disruption management that have a direct impact on quality of service. However, it is important to ensure that, at an enterprise level, low code is not considered a cure for all ills. It is a way of expediting, repurposing, and adapting application delivery, alongside expert business process knowledge and requirements scoping. Matthew Shears is Co-Founder and Commercial Director at UP3

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Change is coming Monica Wick, CEO and founder at RedCabin explores the future of rail interiors post-pandemic


rior to the pandemic, rail passenger numbers had been steadily increasing year-on-year for almost a decade. But despite coronavirus restrictions easing across the UK and Europe, passenger numbers remain at approximately 55 percent of pre-Covid levels. Rail travel is the most environmentally friendly mode of public transport, with greenhouse emissions per kilometre estimated to be 80 percent less than cars. To reduce emissions, France has also announced a ban on short-haul domestic flights (under two and a half hours) with people encouraged to make their journey by train – an approach more European countries are considering. Rail travel offers a great sense of adventure and has traditionally provided passengers with a more social and relaxing experience than other forms of transport. However, unlike other modes of transport, rail interiors have remained largely stagnant in recent decades – while aircraft cabins, for example, have moved on considerably in terms of design, materials, and technology. With some passengers still anxious about stepping back onboard the rail network, reimagining the passenger experience could give people a new reason to choose to travel by train. Innovation has arrived The interiors of trains and aeroplanes share similarities in terms of design challenges. Seats need to be laid out in an effective way to balance ticket revenue with passenger comfort, surfaces need to be hygienic and easy-to-clean, and lighting and connectivity need to add to the cabin ambience. Post-pandemic, there is now a much greater demand from travellers for a ‘homelike’ atmosphere onboard trains, which is manifesting itself in a desire for increased privacy through curved seat shrouds or headrests; greater use of textiles in the seat environment for enhanced comfort; and a more efficient use of space to enable passengers to micro-nest and connect personal devices to the onboard Wi-Fi. The new Intercity Day Train interior from ÖBB Austrian Federal Railways – created in partnership with Siemens and PriestmanGoode – is a great example of how the next-generation of rail interiors could look. With multi-use areas and dedicated ‘family zones’, fixed headrests which wrap around passengers, creative under-seat stowage, and in-seat power and connectivity,

it not only enhances individual privacy but gives the operator an offer which stands out – helping to drive revenue. As we move into the post-Covid era, flexibility will be key for rail operators who may want to transform rolling stock interiors depending on routes and passenger numbers. We have already seen several interesting concepts unveiled with the aim of overcoming this challenge. First, the ‘IdeasTrain’ from Deutsche Bahn uses ‘multi-flex’ seating that enables the cabin layout to be repositioned at the touch of a button, creating spaces and convenient resting areas for people standing. This generates additional space for commuters while offering different seating options during off-peak periods. Designed primarily for inner-city use, the interior also offers multi-purpose zones that include dedicated partitioned areas with in-built displays for working or taking video calls on the move. In a similar vein, a new concept from Seymourpowell and Angel Trains envisages rolling stock that can be transformed from business to leisure modes. It features folding seats which can be repositioned

during off-peak times to provide increased space, under-seat storage, touchless doors, ‘perch’ seats for working on the move, and multipurpose zones for leisure travellers – and even offers the potential to transform seats into beds. As uncertainty around passenger numbers lingers, and operators under intense revenue pressure, this type of flexibility could be crucial in creating a bright future for rail travel. Clean machine While concepts like these offer real hope of an innovative future, in the short term, the critical priority is ensuring rolling stock interiors meet increased demands from passengers around hygiene and cleanliness. While stringent cabin cleaning and disinfection routines are already in place, there is a growing desire to increase the use of antimicrobial and antiviral materials and coatings in the carriage – especially for high-touch points like tables, seat backs, handrails, and sidewalls. Companies like Sekisui Kydex are actively working with designers and operators to create bespoke thermoplastics, which not Rail Professional



only provide enhanced hygiene benefits but produce eye-catching designs and patterns as part of the creative colour, material, and finish (CMF) of rolling stock. Longer term, there is a growing design trend to use more natural and sustainable materials to create larger, flat surfaces which not only reduce split-lines and dirt traps, but also make them easier and quicker to clean. The introduction of touchless technologies, like facial recognition for contactless boarding and automatic flush and faucets in lavatories, are also supporting the rail industry in becoming an even more hygienic and clean way to travel. Awaking adventure 2021 is the European Year of Rail and given the commitments made at COP26, many governments are looking to investments in rail as a way of encouraging sustainable travel. To use France as an example again, the government will invest €75 billion (£64 billion) in the rail sector by 2030 – €100 million (£85.5 million) of which will be spent on upgrading night trains. Austria’s ÖBB night train interior – with its sleeping compartments for couples that feature a bed that converts into a seating area as well as an en-suite shower – is leading the way, offering passengers an

affordable, comfortable, and sustainable way to travel. But they are not the only ones. New French company, Midnight Trains, is developing a super-luxurious sleeper train covering routes from Paris to other major European cities. The cabin is more akin to a high-end boutique hotel with its large beds and onboard restaurant and bar. The concept is very striking so it will be interesting to see whether this kickstarts a new design trend when it launches in 2024. Platform for a brighter future What is clear, however, is that during the last 18-months a raft of new innovations and concepts have been developed in response to the pandemic and things are changing quickly. The willingness of all parts of the industry to work together to bring about change has been a positive outcome of the pandemic. If we can keep this collaborative mindset alive and harness it to its full potential – putting aside competitive advantage at times – we can enhance rail travel for all. But to make these ideas a reality, there needs to be an increased focus on collaboration right across the supply chain – and at an earlier stage. By bringing designers, operators, and manufacturers

together from the outset to share knowledge and experiences, we can create the nextgeneration of innovations much more effectively – and work together to give passengers a new reason to fall in love with rail travel all over again. As passenger habits continue to evolve, that is the challenge facing the industry. And we must embrace it. About RedCabin Founded in 2017, RedCabin is home to the global travel summit series, #RedCabinLIVE, which is focused on using collaboration and interactivity to develop new products, partnerships and processes which tackle the biggest challenges in transport and improve the passenger experience. Attended by senior executives from the world’s major rail, aviation, and automotive organisations – including design houses, operators and manufacturers – RedCabin is the birthplace of many innovative projects and ideas which are reshaping how we travel. The next RedCabin Railway Interior Innovation Summit is taking place on 19 -20 April 2022. You can find out more here: https://railway-interior-innovation-usa. redcabin.de/ Monica Wick is CEO and founder at RedCabin

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BAM Ritchies: Stuck between houses and a hard place The BAM Ritchies team was called into action to assist Network Rail with an emergency during the height of the pandemic’s first wave to stabilise the delaminated spray concrete facing on a vertical 20-metre high, 200-metre long chalk cutting


he project team was immediately assembled, comprising operational, engineering and design experts who understand not only the geotechnical but the structure performance and failure mechanisms of the aging sprayed concrete façade. This failing cliff is literally the rock between two hard places for access, the site is situated between a continuous row of terrace houses and a fully operational train depot. The permanent design included the backfilling of the heavily voided spray concrete face using a thixotropic grout mix, a rare and efficient solution which

would avoid the severe disruption to the depot and significant nuisance to neighbours. A truly challenging logistical and geotechnical scheme delivered during the height of the pandemic. This was a design and build scheme to provide an emergency stabilisation of the failing face block and another area of concern adjacent to the eleven railway lines going into the Brighton depot. The emergency works design consisted of a rock bolt and mesh solution, draped over the failing feature to temporarily secure and make safe to work around until the main stabilisation design could be formulated.

Initially the emergency works were completed which comprised the installation of 180nr rock bolts, five-metre length over five emergency works areas identified, with 2,500m2 mesh installed Tecco G65/3 whilst the design for the permanent solution was being completed. Permanent stabilisation design was produced concurrently to the emergency works phase to accelerate the solution as everyone was very aware that the stability of this structure was quickly becoming critical. Eliminating wasteful duplication of emergency and temporary works in the permanent solution was

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key to demonstrating a delivery of value and quality for the client. We developed a solution that meant the temporary works were incorporated into the main works by collaborating with the designers as well as all emergency works forming a compliant part of the permanent solution. We continued to undertake thorough twice-weekly inspections of the cutting during the break between emergency works and permanent works phases, providing photographic reports after each inspection. Advising the client of any changes or degradation to enable informed decisions to be made on further emergency works or risk mitigation. Throughout the works, we undertook comprehensive surveys on the entirety of the spray concrete face, use of iPads by our Rope Access Geotechnicians were used to gather the vast quantities of survey data on the face, including condition of existing drainage, quantity and width of cracks, level of vegetation cover, level of voiding and thickness of spray concrete; thus providing the designer with extensive information on the condition of the slope. Using iPads to capture this meant all information could be input in real time and referenced to a unique ID, by applying a grid pattern to the site ensured meaningful spatial correlation between structural and

geological features were not lost. Photos attached at each location, minimising admin time to process the data and feeding information to both the designer and the client without delay. These surveys were interpreted to produce a series of interactive ‘hazard drawings’ of the entire cliff face’s condition which meant we were able to identify further ‘at risk’ areas where extensive cracking and root-jacking was visible, leading to further five emergency works’ areas that required stabilisation. This allowed the various assets owners to understand and reduce the risk to the depot working below and give the client peace of mind whilst the main works stabilisation could be designed. All the survey data directly fed live and direct to the Designer, informing the permanent works design, and ensuring an efficient design and construction process. We successfully managed the interface with GTR, with all plant and equipment brought in from the toe, through the depot. Despite this we established an efficient system of moving materials through the depot to site, liaising with the depot manager daily and in advance of requirements to ensure minimal disruption to the depot, primarily utilising their quiet periods during the week. All works were undertaken using rope access with the depot

remaining open and operational throughout. Naturally, the proximity to residential gardens meant a high interface with the public and extensive consideration for minimising the disruption to both nearby residents and passengers on the railway, successfully managed with clear, open, and honest regular communication. Company profile BAM Ritchies is the specialist geotechnical division of BAM Nuttall Ltd.; one of the UK’s leading civil engineering contractors and an operating company of the European construction group Royal BAM. BAM Ritchies started business in Scotland over 55 years ago in 1963 and is now one of the country’s leading and award-winning geotechnical contractors. The organisation employs 300 trained and experienced staff. BAM Ritchies has a turnover of over £62 million carrying out ground investigation, ground engineering, drilling and blasting and concrete techniques: completing contracts up to £20 million in value. BAM Ritchies operate UK wide from offices in Kilsyth near Glasgow, Warrington, Nailsea near Bristol, and Godstone in Surrey. Tel: 07740 771075 Email: matt.ewing@bam.com Visit: www.bamritchies.co.uk


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The Railway Industry Association: why now is the perfect time to join! The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the national trade body for the rail supply community. We represent some 300 companies across the rail supply chain, including both multi-nationals and SMEs.


oining RIA can help support your business, whether you’re new to the industry or well established. We provide all the tools you need to navigate the sector, with technical advice and support, by representing you at the highest levels of Government and clients, arranging trade missions and pavilions at overseas exhibitions and organising events for you to network and engage with colleagues across the industry. What do we do? Ultimately, we aim to build a bigger and better rail supply industry, supporting the UK to deliver its ambitious programme of rail investment, and supporting UK rail to build new railways overseas. We have four key functions, all of which are aimed at supporting our members in growing and thriving in the rail sector: Public affairs and policy We represent the rail supply industry to Government, ensuring the voice of the sector is heard at the highest levels. We engage with Ministers, Shadow Ministers, MPs, MSs and MSPs, civil servants and clients including Network Rail, HS2 and Transport for London, amongst many others. We ensure they are considering how the rail supply chain can best deliver investment plans and how political and policy changes in rail will impact the industry. Our Rail Fellowship Programme also supports politicians in understanding what the rail supply sector does. It works by matching politicians with sites in or near their constituency, offering them the chance to spend a day with a RIA member experiencing what local suppliers do. We’ve had more than 30 politicians take part since 2018, including Rail Minister Chris HeatonRail Professional



Harris MP, the Home Secretary Priti Patel MP, the Shadow Light Rail Minister Sam Tarry MP and many more. As Mick Rayner, Managing Director – Rail at Balfour Beatty, says: ‘What the Railway Industry Association does really well is to act as the voice of the whole sector, making sure that we’re articulating the key role the railway industry plays as a driver of growth and jobs.’ Technical and innovation Our technical team focus on supporting companies to navigate the rail sector, providing in-depth advice and support and representing the sector on industry technical committees. We also run a series of free-to-attend Unlocking Innovation events, which aim to bring problem solvers in rail together, to ensure that new ideas and innovations are developed into products and services that benefit the industry. The programme helps to build new supply chains, supports clients in finding creative solutions and showcases the incredible work going on by businesses to deliver a bigger, better rail network. Unlocking Innovation has connected thousands of people, for more than a decade, in all parts of the UK. We run around six Unlocking Innovation events a year, all around the country, in partnership with Network Rail and the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN). The events are famous for their ‘elevator pitch’ sessions, where attendees get Rail Professional

a few minutes to explain their idea, product or concept to the conference. Here’s Ken Foster, Business Liaison Strategy and Markets Director from Amey, on his experience: ‘RIA’s forums and events have long provided excellent networking opportunities and has been both meeting place and a ‘seed bed’ for many alliances, consortiums and JV’s, not just between the major consultancies and tier 1 and 2 contractors, but also to provide access for SME’s and specialist individuals and suppliers.’ Exports UK rail is actually a significant exporter of goods and services, selling £600 million around the world each year. Our Exports team arrange tradeshow exhibitions, trade missions and briefings for members on overseas markets, in partnership with the Department for International Trade. Our Exports function is focused on ensuring we help rail suppliers get into exporting and we represent the rail sector as a vital UK export industry. We have a presence at each InnoTrans, as well as tradeshows like Middle East Rail, AusRail, Trako and many more! Events and information We hold over 50 events a year, including regular policy and technical interest group meetings, networking sessions, meet the buyer events and major flagship conferences. Each year, we hold our awardwinning Innovation Conference, Annual

Conference, Gala Dinner and Parliamentary Reception, all which provide unbeatable networking opportunities, putting rail suppliers in touch with key decision makers across the sector. Lucy Prior, Business Growth Director, Hird Group, puts it well: ‘RIA offers great choice across its functions, providing countless opportunities to grow, network and remain updated on industry news. In particular, RIA’s interest groups each enable access into different echelons and aspects of the supply chain and its stakeholders.’ We also provide five email newsletters a week – the RIA Mail, with key policy and commercial updates; TechTalk, with more technically focused information; our Exports Mail, on overseas opportunities; our Events Mail, listing upcoming events; and the RIA Politic, providing a rail-focused political briefing. RIA’s website is also a highly useful source of information, with a members-only area providing information on where to access tenders, competitions and pipelines from various clients and bodies. We list event discounts, providing RIA members with exclusive codes to reduce the cost of tickets to industry events. We offer discounted rates to our office space too, located in the heart of Westminster. And, we offer a Member News Service, available only to RIA members, where they can share press releases and good news stories via the RIA website, with each news item going out on our social media channels and through our mailings. RIA in the nations and regions As the voice of the UK supply chain, we have recently launched our plans to develop a UK Nations & Regions network, in order to better support our members across the UK. This follows clear demand from members in recent years for RIA to increase and enhance its offer outside of London, to provide more intelligence, events and policy and public affairs capability at a UK nations and regions level. The areas cover: RIA Scotland; RIA Wales & Western; RIA Northern Ireland; RIA North; RIA Midlands & Eastern; and RIA London & South. The new network will mean that rail businesses in each area will be able to draw on RIA resources, including lobbying, intelligence, events, networking and meetings, in their particular region or nation. Events are planned in the nations and regions around the country over the coming months, including in Glasgow, Manchester, Derby, Cardiff, Belfast, London and many more. So keep an eye out over 2022 for more activity coming up! Find out more Becoming a RIA member is fast and easy to do. To find out how, email ria@riagb.org.uk or call 0207 201 0777. We’d be happy to speak to you!

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From a man with a van to a global reach Adam Hindle of Approved Hydraulics takes us through the history of the company and what they offer the rail industry in the UK


pproved Hydraulics started 34 years ago as Geoff Hindle (a man with a van), focusing on repairs and service work to the hydraulic industry. The work covered all and everything under the hydraulic banner but was focused more towards the truck hydraulic industry (lorry cranes, skip loaders, hook lifts etc...). Over the years the company has changed and evolved to move into new areas. As the repair business became less sustainable due to a lack of engineers and longer free service contracts from equipment manufacturers, the company decided to move into more of a sales role, using the years of hands on experience to ensure customers would not only receive the correct parts for the job, but also the back up and knowledge support on how to fit and install components correctly. How did you get involved in Approved Hydraulics? As the son of the owner, I always wanted to work for the family business, I have been saying it ever since I was around three years old. However, I was not allowed to simply join the company, I first had to study for a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering then a Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering before finally attaining a BEng Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Joining the business when I was younger meant I had always been around and used to seeing hydraulic equipment and therefore had a slight leg up on many my age at the time. Over the past few years, I have worked my way through the company from handling stock control to sales and now head up the Attachment Sales Department for the company along with also being a shareholder of the business. Tell me about your rail specific UK dealerships? As well as providing support and knowledge, to become a leader in any market you need to have good quality products behind you. We hold five main rail attachment UK dealerships that we believe offer all this. The company has always been based around Manchester, covering the North

West of the UK as a service and repair company. However, as the company moved into sales, we now cover all the UK and Ireland and more frequently export to Europe and the rest of the world. We cover a large range of sectors, almost any in the hydraulic industry in some way. However, some more prominent than others such as the forestry market, rail market, truck hydraulic market, industrial hydraulics for factories, demolition markets and subsea & offshore sectors. What can you tell us about Approved Hydraulics range of equipment? What was the motivation behind this venture? Approved Hydraulics began their own product range around five years ago called HYDRA-Part. HYDRA-Part covers a full range of standard hydraulic components including control valve, line mounted valves, pumps, PTO units, tanks, motors, stabilser pads and cages to name a few of an ever-growing range. We spent some time shopping around and negotiating on quality and price with a world of manufactures. We signed UK sole rights on most of the range and it is all branded under our HYDRA-Part registered trademark. We had always sold these items but with no real strong hold or price advantage to the customer. After the world started to buy online, we were left with only two options, compete in this market, or simply bow out! We have never been the type of company to turn down a challenge, so we decided to compete. Once we found all the right parts at the right price, we started to sell all our products on our purpose-built website. This has been very successful as we now sell a full range of standard hydraulic equipment to end users, dealers, and original equipment manufacturers. We have worked with rail companies for many years, initially on our standard equipment and in the repair sector. As the company moved into sales and sales of hydraulic attachments, the rail market became an obvious market for us. We already knew many of the companies in this sector and the type of equipment they used. We were also aware that our

range of attachments were becoming well recognised in the market for great quality. After we supplied the first few attachments the sales grew naturally as our equipment was frequently being cross hired between companies leading into new opportunities. In addition to our components and grab attachment portfolio, we are also the UK’s sole distributor for Scanreco Radio Remote Controls. The Scanreco radio remote control systems are renowned for their ease of operation, unrivalled reliability and flexibility. As a result, these systems are now adopted around the world by some of the leading manufacturers of lorry loader cranes, forestry machines, mining and general plant equipment. Radio remote control systems are varied and can be used for all types of applications with options to suit specific requirements. What demand are we seeing the moment? What’s popular? Anything in our Intermercato range and Femac range is always very popular and we will regularly have around 50 to 100 attachments on order at any one time. However, we do have some top sellers. For the rail industry specifically our TG 42S Log Grab + GR16S Hydraulic Swinging Rotator and a bespoke built head bracket (to customers dims) have been popular for years with regular orders for four or eight units at a time. In more recent times we have seen an increase in clamshell bucket sales to this market. With the Minelli MBB (bulk bucket) and the MBV – FS (between sleepers) clamshell digging bucket proving to be the grab of choice for working on tracks. How is the Rail market generally right now? The rail market always seems to be very buoyant due to everchanging transport plans and more recently the HS2 line being implemented. We very rarely see a dip in sales. As we have such a wide range of equipment if one item slows down for any reason, it’s very likely we are selling more of something else to compensate. However, there is always great room for maneuverability in the rail market Rail Professional



as customers are always looking for the next best thing and suppliers are always producing the next best thing. This gives us great scope for the future to keep expanding our services and keep offering customers great innovative products. What are some memorable deals you have been involved in? When we first started suppling attachments into the rail industry a big steppingstone was when we picked up an order for four grabs at the rail live show (many years ago) from a large user. This was a large order for our growing company at the time, but it was a sure sign we were onto something good that we had to pursue. Another case would be the time that, after years and years of knocking on one customer’s door with very little success, we received a call from them stating they had borrowed some clamshell grabs from another of our customers. They were really impressed with the function and quality of the equipment and finally ordered two bucket grab packages for their fleet. They have not looked back since! What’s next for the business? For the future Approved Hydraulics are looking at increasing our own product range to improve our profile. We are very interested in embarking on more bespoke work as we have a great advantage over many suppliers through our years of Rail Professional

knowledge and hands on engineering experience. We are always interested in customers’ input for this as this is essentially how we have evolved new items over the past few years. We also will be adding new products to our ever-expanding Hydra-Part range. This year, Intermercato are actively producing and marketing a new range of specifically designed attachments for the rail industry. With the success of their other equipment in the UK within the sector, it is sure to be very successful for all parties involved. We are always looking at new and innovative new products to add to our portfolio and to that end we have recently introduced a range of rotary manifolds from the manufacturer Bini. For a range of applications that require the transfer of fluid between a stationary and a rotating part, Bini have developed an extensive range of rotary manifolds, each unit manufactured from the highest quality components such as high-grade alloyed steels, quality pressure seals, bushes and bearings. Approved Hydraulics has recently moved to new larger premises to facilitate efficient production and provide improved service to our current and future customers. The move was also motivated by the company decision to hold more stock for faster delivery on products that would normally be shipped from our worldwide suppliers, many of which are now available overnight.

Intermercato AB (based in Sweden) Officially the sole UK agent for over ten years. Intermercato offer the largest range of log grabs in the worldwide market. They are predominantly known for their strength to weight ratio, many in the market consider them indestructible. We supply a large number of our TG 42S and TG 35S (amongst others) to the rail industry. These are typically used to maneuver rail tracks during construction. The Intermercato grabs gained their notoriety in the rail industry after customers had been using them to physically rip old rails up from the ground with no issues to their equipment. An issue they had been having with another well know brand were jaws had been bending and snapping.

Statement from Lotta Hilderbrand, MD at Intermercato Approved Hydraulics have been our partners and sole UK agents for more than 10 years now and we are more than pleased with the way they represent us and our products. They have a very dedicated sales team with high technical ability and sales back-up that can be trusted 100 per cent.


Baltrotors LV (based in Latvia) Baltrotors produce one of the most extensive ranges of rotators available on the market. These already have a great name in the rail market. Our rotators are used daily on all types of equipment including log grabs, clamshell bucket grabs, sleeper grabs, rail handling beams and universal beams to name a few. As a sign of their quality and trust all Baltrotors GR range of rotators come with a two-year warranty as standard. We carry a full range of these rotators on the shelf from 1T to 16T along with a full range of rigid rotators from 5T to 15T

Statement from Arthur Goliks, Head of International Sales at Baltrotors Approved Hydraulics have been out sole UK agents for around ten years. We’ve always had a great relationship. We are confident that Approved Hydraulics can offer you a fantastic and knowledgeable service when buying rotators

FEMAC (Based in Italy) FEMAC produce one of the most comprehensive ranges of excavator mounted flails and fixed tooth mulchers. This year they have increased the range considerably by making many of the standards or forestall flails interchangeable with a fixed tooth rotor. The range covers flails and mulchers for machines from 1T to 30T in weight. Network Rail have been taking these units for the past few years and have been very impressed with the product, ordering another unit recently.

Statement from Francesco Fratini, MD at FEMAC We have worked solely with Approved Hydraulics for over five years now and we are very happy with their sales and expertise to ensure they can offer you the best out of our range of flails and mulchers they have one of the highest technical abilities of any of our worldwide dealers.


Statement from Luca Zampieri, Head of international Sales at FEMAC It is always a pleasure to work with Approved Hydraulics, their sales team knows how to best advise the customer and find the ideal solution, for any excavators attachments need. Moreover, the after-sales service is excellent, thanks to a team of truly competent professionals.

CMB (based in Italy) CMB produce a huge range of excavator attachments covering material handling, demolition, forestry, rail, and material handling industries. All the equipment is made from high quality Hardox and stenex material meaning all the attachments are built for heavy duty use and a long life. The most popular units in the range currently for the rail market are the BBC clamshell buckets with a large user taking ten rigid rotator versions recently for their fleet. Tel: 0161 480 0869 Email: a.hindle@approvedhydraulics.co.uk Visit: www.approvedhydraulics.co.uk

WEDGE GROUP GALVANIZING Your Galvanizing Partner

RISQS approved, Wedge Group Galvanizing is the UK’s largest galvanizing organisation. With 14 plants across the UK we offer a national service, processing steel from a 1.5mm washer to 29m beam. Our plants are designed and equipped to set industry-leading standards for sustainability and low environmental impact. E: info@wggltd.co.uk T: 01902 601944 www.wedgegalv.co.uk ISO 9001

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Railway monitoring – it’s all about the data Dave Holland, Monitoring and Technical Director at Mabey Hire, explores the way we can interpret railway monitoring data


tructural monitoring solutions are a valuable tool within the rail sector, used to help make sure that our railways remain safe and open for business. Sometimes though, the emphasis should perhaps be less about the technology itself and more about the data that it can provide, with a strong need for easily accessible, easily understandable data if the sector is to truly benefit from the insight monitoring can provide. UK railways are a key part of our country’s vital infrastructure, with an impressive 1.7 billion rail passenger journeys undertaken in the period of 2019-2020 alone. Keeping the tracks safe and open for the railway’s commuters, leisure passengers and other rolling stock is understandably a major job. From managing regular maintenance and track improvement programmes, to ensuring nearby construction work does not detrimentally affect the track, to reacting to environmental conditions and the unexpected, such as landslides in poor weather – the list can be endless. As such, monitoring technology can have an important role to play. While monitoring systems can be completely bespoke and complex, in essence, it involves the placement of sensors on or around infrastructure, rail tracks, buildings and construction sites in order to provide ongoing measurement of factors affecting their performance. The continuous, realtime structural data that comes from monitoring solutions can be used to assess if structures and infrastructure are performing safely and efficiently, enabling any maintenance or remedial work to be planned appropriately. Within the rail sector, common applications for monitoring solutions can be during track renewals, improvement works, in the aftermath of bridge strikes or landslides, or installed on infrastructure close to the track itself. However, the real value of monitoring is not necessarily just the technology itself. Instead, it is the data that the technology provides, and what organisations do with this data, that is perhaps the most important. All too often, monitoring technology can be something of a wasted

opportunity on construction sites, with contractors failing to take full advantage of the valuable insight that it can provide. If you look at the data that a monitoring solution installed on a construction site or section of railway track can generate, the output can be huge, with tables upon tables of complex figures. As a result, there is the very real potential for it to become a case of information overload, with a result that can be incredibly overwhelming for those at the receiving end to understand and interpret. At Mabey Hire, we’re determined to move away from this and to instead place the emphasis on providing data that is accessible, valuable and easily useable, not just for senior engineers but also a project’s general foreman or site manager too, rather than focusing solely on the technology itself. We believe that the complexity should be in the solution itself, rather than in understanding and interpreting it. Perhaps, therefore, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves ‘what do I actually want from this data?’. Ultimately, what it often boils down to is: is the track satisfactory? Can trains run safely, or not? With the Mabey Hire InSite portal,

you are provided with instant access to the data from any environmental or structural monitoring that it is underway. Customisable and tailored to individual project requirements, we can modify the dashboard to show only the data that you need to see, including your unique specified thresholds. Displayed in a way that makes it easy to analyse, interpret and draw conclusions, it puts you in touch with truly valuable data – not just data for the sake of it. Put simply, when it comes to monitoring within the rail sector, there is a clear need to provide this user interface in a useful and meaningful way. Organisations, project teams, site managers and foremen need easy-to-understand data that can also be accurately and effectively cross-referenced. After all, the benefits of having access to live, in-the-moment structural data become void if no one can read or understand it. Whether the monitoring is installed in relation to a planned, reactive or emergency project, the ability to react fast is essential, especially considering the key role that our rail network has to play in our country’s infrastructure and our everyday lives.

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Tunnel monitoring The failing structural health of a tunnel can have a very real impact on the safety of these important structures and therefore the operation of a road or railway. Mabey Hire can design and implement monitoring schemes that can offer accurate indications of tunnel stability using instruments such as wireless crack monitors, 3D scanners and wireless tilt sensors. This can help to ensure the safety of a tunnel over its lifespan, allowing for planned maintenance and ensuring the continued operation of the road or railway running through it. Slope stability Key to ensuring the safe operation of our railways, the instability of a railway cutting can have serious consequences on the track and therefore public safety. Mabey Hire’s geotechnical monitoring solutions act as an early warning system to alert asset owners to any ground movement. Any movement will trigger specialist camera systems that record any changes visually in order that any impact can be assessed without needing access to the cutting itself. All of Mabey Hire’s structural health

Construction monitoring services In addition to its wide range of temporary works equipment and expertise, Mabey Hire can also offer a range of construction monitoring services for any project, providing customers with expert construction and engineering monitoring for the assessment of structures, environments, noises and vibrations. Used on everything from buildings and bridges to tunnels and railways, its monitoring solutions are varied and can be tailored to individual project requirements. Rail Professional

Track monitoring Working to Network Rail Standard NR/ BS/LI/045, Mabey Hire is well-versed in delivering all-inclusive track monitoring solutions, providing critical measurements and alerts in real-time for track geometry, void and critical rail temperature. Using a combination of manual and fully automated, remote monitoring systems, its solutions can reduce the number of visual inspections and track possession time, ensuring the railway remains safe and can continue its operation.

monitoring systems collect data in realtime and instantly send it through to its unique monitoring web portal, Insite. Here, customers can gain valuable insight into the health and condition of their project or structure, enabling them and their team to make subsequent action plans.

Tel: 01924 460601 Email: info@mabeyhire.co.uk Visit: www.mabeyhire.co.uk

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Power supply ensures start-up The CVS-280 dc-dc power supply series, available from Relec Electronics, is primarily designed to support battery starting applications


eeping transport systems moving is critical for commerce in cities and rural areas around the world. Delays to light rail and trams can have repercussions across the supply chain. Some factors cannot be controlled as easily as others but delays that arise from start-up difficulties do not need to be endured. The Spanish power manufacturer, Premium, has developed the CVS-280 280W DC-DC / low battery voltage starter to facilitate start-up from the beginning of the shift. It can be used for starting the vehicle when the main train battery supply has failed, but can also be used as a standard dc-dc converter where a wide, high voltage DC input is available. The CVS-280, available from Relec Electronics, is designed to operate directly from the 750V DC catenary line or line contact to start the vehicle. It can provide DC outputs from 24V to 110V at 280 Watts continuous and 400 Watts peak power. It withstands 4.5kV overvoltage peaks and it has been designed to comply with railway standards. There are four models available with different input-output combinations. All of them are designed to handle 600V or 750V and offer a variety of input-output combinations. The robust and compact design has an anodised aluminium housing and uses natural convection cooling. The operating temperature extends to +85ºC. The CVS-280 series has a wide input voltage range (400-1100V dc) and is primarily designed to support battery starting applications in the railway sector. It is designed to operate directly from the main 600/750V DC catenary line and meets a host of railway requirements. It is certified to EN50155:2017 (Electronic equipment for rolling stock applications), EN50163:2006 (Railway applications – Supply voltages of traction systems), EN50121-3-2 (Railway applications – electromagnetic compatibility) and EN45535 (Fire protection on railway vehicles). In addition to the wide continuous input range, the CVS-280 can withstand surges to 3kV DC for 20mS and 4.5kV for 1mS. The four units in the series are the

The CVS-280 operates directly from the DC catenary line or line contact to start the vehicle.

24V output CVS-280-6973, the CVS-2809974 (36Vdc output), the CVS-280-6976 (72V output) and the 110V DC output CVS-280-6977 model. All can be connected directly to battery terminals for battery charging applications. All models provide 280W of continuous power with peaks of 400W. They have high input to output isolation of 7kV rms and input to earth of 5.3kV rms. They also feature output o-ring for redundancy and output protection. The operating temperature range is from -40 to +85°C. The robust units are supplied in an anodised, alumimium housing. They are designed for the space-constrained environment of many train systems, with dimensions of 243 x 162 x 64.5mm. The CVS-280 is a standard platform with samples available from Relec on short leadtimes. Flexibility and customisation are also at the forefront of the design, and engineers and designers are encouraged to contact Relec with any specific needs for an application. In addition to battery start-up and control systems in train or tram systems, the versatile power supplies can be used in solar / photovoltaic (PV) control systems, sub-sea electronic modules or electric vehicle projects, biomass energy systems and bespoke energy storage systems. Relec and Gresham Worldwide Last year, Gresham Worldwide added Relec Electronics to its group. Relec’s premium power electronics and display technology augments Gresham Worldwide’s manufacturing base and product lines while

providing more resources for Relec to grow. The acquisition will also enhance offerings and expand access to market sectors for both companies Established in 1978, Relec provides power conversion and display technology in the industrial, rail transportation and emerging electronic market sectors to customers in the UK, Europe, Asia, and the United States. Peter Lappin, Managing Director, and his management team have built a strong business in Wareham, Dorset with two decades of measured growth and profitability. Gresham Worldwide’s UK subsidiary in Salisbury, Gresham Power Electronics Ltd, designs, manufactures, and distributes highly reliable power electronics for naval and industrial markets. ‘Bringing these operations together significantly increases the Gresham Worldwide footprint in the UK and Europe while broadening its technology portfolio with high-quality power conversion and display product offerings’ said Karen Jay, Managing Director at Gresham Power Electronics. ‘The combination of Relec with Gresham Power Electronics provides scale, technical capabilities, and technology solutions to drive growth in the UK and Europe’ she added. Gresham Power Electronics and Relec will continue operating in the UK as stand-alone businesses, but with a joint management committee comprised of representatives from both operating subsidiaries and the Gresham Worldwide executive team. The union provides Relec with additional resources to offer more value-added services Rail Professional



Premium’s CVS-280 power supply is available from Relec Electronics.

to its customer base while increasing sales coverage and market reach for its innovative supply chain partners. Working with other Gresham Worldwide companies will also create opportunities for Relec to increase sales of its innovative power and display technology into defence, marine, aerospace and telecommunications markets. Jonathan Read, Gresham Worldwide’s CEO, stated: ‘Acquiring Relec delivers a strategic and immediately accretive addition from a revenue and earnings basis while also positively expanding technology, engineering, product, sales and management capabilities across the Gresham Worldwide group. It supports our historical customer base, while extending Gresham Power Electronics’ reach into rail, industrial and other markets for durable power solutions and design. Peter and his team are a great addition to our already strong Gresham Power Electronics team in Salisbury. This move demonstrates our commitment to growth in the UK and European markets as part of our overall strategic growth plan which contemplate similar expansions in the US, as well as Middle East and Asian markets in the near term.’ ‘Gresham Worldwide welcomes Peter Lappin and the Relec team, who have built a very successful, well-run company around customer focus, technical expertise, quality products and outstanding service. The Relec culture and approach to business fits very Rail Professional

well with the other Gresham Worldwide companies, which focus on delivering bespoke technology solutions of the highest quality and reliability’ stated Timothy V. Long, COO of Gresham Worldwide. He pledged to: ‘Move immediately to make engineering, sales and facility resources available to enable Relec to capitalise on near term opportunities to drive business growth.’ ‘With a strong management team that has translated technical expertise and outstanding customer service into a record of consistent profitability in highly complementary markets, Relec aligns perfectly with our strategy for growing the Gresham Worldwide defence and technology business. We look forward to Gresham Worldwide capitalising on synergies among Relec and other Gresham Worldwide operating subsidiaries to accelerate growth and increased market penetration’ added Milton ‘Todd’ Ault, III, DPW’s CEO and Chairman. Gresham Worldwide provides high-quality, reliable bespoke technology for missioncritical applications in the defence, medical and telecommunications sectors. The company’s headquarters are in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, with design and operations centres in Connecticut USA, Karmiel, Israel, two in the UK in Salisbury, Wiltshire and Wareham, Dorset. Gresham Power Electronics has been designing and manufacturing a variety of power supplies in Salisbury, UK for more than 50 years, providing highly

reliable power conversion and distribution equipment for navies around the world, together with supporting defence capabilities for land and sea systems as well as offering standard, commercial-offthe-shelf and application specific power electronics solutions for a wide range of demanding applications. Relec Electronics was established with the aim of providing specialised power conversion and display products to support professionals in the electronics industry. Relec’s aerospace background means it consistently and meticulously delivers high performance and robust power and display solutions. Relec exerts its utmost effort to customise a product or a feature to achieve optimum performance and service delivery. Relec continues to be guided by this philosophy and currently operates in specific fields, specialising in AC-DC power supplies, DC-DC converters, displays and EMC filters. DPW Holdings is a diversified holding company pursuing growth by acquiring undervalued businesses and disruptive technologies with a global impact. The company provides mission-critical products that support a diverse range of industries, including defence/aerospace, industrial, telecommunications, medical, and textiles. Tel: 01929 555700 Email: sales@relec.co.uk Visit: www.relec.co.uk



Specialist train cleaning services provider Founded in 2013, Perfect Clean has grown – mostly through recommendations – from a small group to nearly 100 employees strong


nitially started to service The Royal Scotsman Train, The Edinburgh based team quickly established a reputation for affordable excellence. Providing cleaning services for a range of industries, including hospitality and universities, the core business activities of Perfect Clean are focused on the rail. Perfect Clean has expanded significantly and its reputation and operational abilities have helped to be awarded with a specialist cleaning services contract for Hitachi Rail at Edinburgh Craigentinny Train Maintenance Centre. The company covers 24 hours a day, seven days a week facility services, such as general housekeeping of the depot offices, railway staff common areas, restrooms, and shower rooms. In addition to everyday tasks, Perfect Clean also undertakes long term projects, i.e., deep clean of the cleaning shed pits. Major part of the contract with Hitachi Rail is to complete periodic heavy cleans of its trains, including fleets used by LNER, TPE, Cross Country and recently Lumo. Teams of specially trained cleaning staff ensure the standards, both internally and externally, are kept on the highest level. Reliability of the company has paid off in form of additional orders from Hitachi Rail. On top of PHC of 45 LNER Azuma trains, regular periodic heavy clean services of the fleet of 19 TransPennine Express 802 class trains have gradually returned to Edinburgh depot and are in hands of Perfect Clean experienced team. The company is proud to keep its first customer, The Royal Scotsman Train, operated by Belmond. The quality and reliability have been a key to successful cooperation for the past eight years. Seasonal services include deep clean of the interior, external wash, and general housekeeping duties in-between tours. Following the demand of the market for specialist services, the decision has been made to invest in extensive training of selected staff in trauma and biohazard cleaning organized by renowned Ultima Cleaning Academy. Achieved certificates allow to apply this knowledge in practice on occasions when the team is challenged

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with difficult tasks of post-accident train’s exterior decontamination and cleaning. This specialist process involves the removal and cleaning of organic human or animal material and fluids such as blood, faeces, urine, or vomit. The rapid response technicians can be deployed to attend site, clean, decontaminate and swab test the area quickly. In case of confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19, Perfect Clean can help. They have been decontaminating trains, offices, and other workplaces long before Covid-19 arrived on the scene. They have adapted their decontamination procedures to make them both Covid-secure and effective against the Covid-19 virus. they would assess the premises and advise on the optimum decontamination solution. Decontamination cleaning usually entails



manual deep cleaning using personal protective equipment, bactericidal and virucidal cleaning products. This is followed by a process whereby surfaces are coated with an ionised mist using electrostatic spraying equipment proven to be more than 99.99 per cent effective in destroying Covid-19 virus particles. The product is also highly effective against other pathogens including viruses, bacteria, and mould. Where appropriate, they would also use high temperature steam cleaning, which effectively kills bacteria and viruses on hard surfaces. The disinfected area would be ATP swab tested to confirm effective decontamination has been achieved. Perfect Clean is ISO certified. An audit carried out recently has shown full compliance with 9001:2015, 14001:2015 and 45001:2018 standards. Following strict ISO rules has helped to ensure the quality management is in place and the clients receive consistent and highest-standard service. Health and safety of the team is of paramount importance. To fulfil legal requirements in this area, the company uses Citation’s Atlas platform to provide extensive training and H&S knowledge to its employees. The company is working towards operating completely paperless by the end of 2021. Introduction of modern IT solutions will have positive impact not only on environment but also on increased efficiency, time management and improved communication within the company and with the clients.

Tel: 07403 451 742 Email: info@perfectclean.co.uk Visit: www.perfectcleanltd.co.uk Rail Professional



Supply chain has to step up to support rail expansion With the UK and many other nations accelerating their push to a zero carbon world, railways are set to play a critical role in what will be a greener and cleaner future


assenger numbers on the UK’s rail network remain below prepandemic levels but this dip will be temporary. Trains are likely to be carrying both people and goods in increasingly higher volumes over the coming decades. Pre-pandemic, the UK accounted for 20 per cent of all rail passenger journeys in Europe with demand having doubled since 1995. The network includes 23 train-operating companies (TOCs), 16,000 kilometres of track, 2,567 stations and its 20,000 services account for more than 60 billion passenger kilometres every year. The Government will be investing hundreds of billions of pounds in growing, upgrading and decarbonising the network. It has agreed to phase-out diesel trains by 2040 with more investment into battery and hydrogen technology. However, all this investment into infrastructure and technology will create huge challenges in terms of logistics, engineering and innovation in new technology and processes for the UK’s £36 billion rail sector and its extensive supply chain.

The myriad of companies in the supply chain will need to be ready for those challenges that are coming down the line. Those businesses that are adaptable and ready to meet what is ahead by offering complete solutions are more likely to prosper. Mass finishing and shot blasting One such business that is already offering comprehensive solutions for railway transformation is Rösler UK, a subsidiary of Germany company Rösler. It is a family business that traces its roots back to 1933 and today specialises in mass finishing and shot blasting technology. Mass finishing or shot blasting is an industrial process which focuses on the surface finishing of plastic or metal parts. The aim can be aesthetic, to create a clean and polished exterior, but is also often critical to the safe and efficient working of machinery and components. Rösler is gearing up to increase its footprint in the rail sector, both in the UK and overseas. It has joined Rail Forum Midlands, a national not-for-profit rail trade association. As the railways expand there

will be an ever greater focus on efficiency, saving energy, reliability and safety. The infrastructure and components used across railway networks will have to be of the highest quality. One key aspect of improving rail performance is weight. Over the next few years rail vehicles will need to be lighter to improve energy efficiency. Solutions will be needed that can be incorporated into new units and retrofitted into existing trains. This, in turn, results in longer maintenance intervals and lower running costs. Colin Spellacy, Head of Sales from Rösler said: ‘Utilising Rösler mass finishing technology and processes manufacturers can design and manufacture rail components with lower surface friction, roughness and better surface properties enabling those performance improvements to become a reality. ‘For tactile surfaces such as handrails and numerous components that are frequently touched, mass finishing will also remove sharp edges, rust, oil and grease for safer handling of contact areas.’ From rail tracks to plates and profiles, cast and forged parts, and complete rail carriages, shot blasting of metal surfaces offers multiple options for enhancing surface properties across the railway sector. Options offered by Rösler include de-burring, de-scaling and rust removal to roughening, matting, smoothing, edge rounding and shot peening. Specialised division Additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, has quickly moved in a few short years to becoming integral to a multitude of industrial processes. Daniel Tweer, Managing Director of Rösler explained: ‘We strongly believe that additive manufacturing will have a profound effect on practically every aspect of industrial manufacturing. ‘So we decided to create a brand-new division called AM Solutions, within which all the company’s activities in the field of additive manufacturing will be handled.’ AM Solutions offers equipment, process

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technologies and consumables tailored for the automated 3D post processing, be it for single piece manufacturing or volume production. This could be unpacking, removal of powder and support structures, surface homogenization and smoothing, polishing or the application of a colour dye. Colin Spellacy of Rösler says that by ‘taking advantage of our rich portfolio of professional and technical capabilities’ it can support our customers from the conceptualisation phase of the ‘Idea’ to the production process execution phases. For new trains and for refurbishment of trains, Rösler offers surface finishing solutions to help with lightweight development and energy efficiency. It can also provide wastewater treatment to remove impurities such as paint sludge from water wash spray systems during carriage refurbishment or removal of resulting waste water being reused, offering substantial savings. Other applications include removal of any suspended solids from water, oil, cutting fluids etc. to lengthen the lifespan of industrial liquids. Strong pedigree Rösler has already established a strong record of delivery working with some of the biggest names in the railway sector

Mass Finishing Efficient systems engineering and innovative technologies – powerful and economical

going back a decade. In 2011, the company began working with the French state-owned railway company SNCF on a maintenance and repair contract for the wheel axles of its trains. Rösler designed and employed a bespoke piece of shot blasting machinery exactly to the company’s specifications. It became a standard piece of kit for the rail operator to utilise across its train fleet. In 2013, Rösler was again employed by SNCF, this time to offer pressure blasting for cleaning and preparation for overall maintenance on its wheel axles. Once again Rösler’s solution was favoured because it offered precise specifications at a competitive price. Fast forward to 2015 and Rösler crosses the Channel again to undertake pressure blasting for the rail division of French industrial UNICAF – company of Bolloré Group. Similar to its work with SNCF, Rösler provided blasting for cleaning axles. And in 2020, Rösler was back working with UNICAF – company of Bolloré Group, specifically for its Sitarail division, which provides rail services in the African states of Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Cameroon. The contract saw the delivery of pressure cleaning of wheel axles prior to magnetic inspection.


A complete solution Many of the services provided by Rösler are available from other companies. Some may buy in machines in order to provide a complete solution. However, Rösler’s solution really is a complete one. It can design and manufacture surface finishing equipment and 3D additive manufacturing surface technology to precise and very high standards. Daniel Tweer added: ‘At Rösler we combine all processes, shot blasting, mass finishing and additive manufacturing and as a result of more than 80 years of experience of developing component finishing processes and solutions around the world, most importantly we understand them. ‘Our range of about 15,000 consumables, developed in test centres located all over the world, specifically serves our customers for resolving their individual finishing needs. This means whatever challenge you have with your components or materials we can help. ‘You can push the boundaries of what you currently have and together we will help you innovate and develop the best finish in your field.’ Telephone 0151 482 0444 Email: rosler-uk@rosler.com Visit: www.rosler.com

Surface Finishing is our DNA Shot Blasting Individual systems engineering and intelligent process solutions – reliable and energy efficient

AM Solutions The full solution provider for 3D post processing equipment and 3D printing services

Rösler UK Limited | 1 Unity Grove | Knowsley Business Park | Prescot | Merseyside | L34 9GT Tel: +44 (0)151 482 0444 | Fax: +44 (0)151 482 4400 | rosler-uk@rosler.com | www.rosler.com

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Stäubli Technology keeps rail sector performance on track With world-renowned expertise across mechanical, fluid, and electrical disciplines, Stäubli Group has become a trusted partner across multiple market sectors where end-to-end fluid, gas and electrical connection solutions are required


he rail sector, whether it is urban or intercity rail transport, passenger, or freight, faces significant environmental and demographic challenges in today’s fast changing world. Rail users are increasingly demanding services that offer superior comfort, safety, and speed, while operators continue to raise their demands for performance, productivity, and reliability. Rail sector technology and expertise Rail vehicles are constantly subject to different types of stress. Service availability expectations are high, with little or no tolerance for disruption. This means that quick replacement for specific types of components during preventative or remedial

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maintenance procedures is essential if the anticipated availability targets are to be met. In addition, the mechanical and electrical components used on today’s rail vehicles need to be compact and lightweight in design to meet demanding specifications without any trade-off in performance. As an industry partner and key supplier in the international rail sector for over 30 years, Stäubli has a clear insight into the sectors’ unique challenges and expectations, such as service continuity, extreme weather conditions and mechanical stresses. This close partnership with the sector during this time has been the catalyst for the development of a series of connector products which are now generally recognised by many as industry standard solutions.

Please remove the top left connector Stäubli designs and manufactures reliable, lightweight and compact quick-release couplings that are very easy to use, even in confined spaces, thereby minimising equipment maintenance processes and subsequent rolling stock downtime. The rail sector fluid and electrical applications covered by Stäubli’s connector technology include cooling of on-board electronic circuits, body-to-bogie and inter-body connections, hydraulic circuits, braking systems, battery pack connections and converters. A key element of the Stäubli product offering to the rail sector is the Modular Power Connector (MPC) range, which facilitates electric connectivity between the


various functions that are part of the electric traction chain on different types of rolling stock. The Modular Power Connector (MPC) range has the advantage of delivering a universal multi-application, compact and modular solution, through the rationalisation and the standardisation of common components. Thanks to the modular nature of the connector design, combined with a series of options, a complete customised solution can be configured for each specific application. The MPC connector solutions offer a range of benefits including the fact that all on-board power applications can be connected, the same system can be used for every power connection plus the fact that the range offers easy and fast assembly and maintenance. Stäubli connectors are certified for high voltage and high current applications and are tested to rail sector standards IEC 62847 – EN 61373 and EN 45545-2. Stäubli MPC Connectors in action The Appenzell Regional Railway offers convenient schedules and new rolling stock for efficient connections onward to longdistance transport. The new low-floor trains used on this route were produced by Stadler, the innovative Swiss train manufacturer. For the first time, these narrow-gauge

trains have been fitted with the proven MPC (modular power connector) from Stäubli Electrical Connectors to deliver an easy-tomaintain electrical connection between the vehicle and the traction unit. The low-floor design of the new trains for the Appenzell Railway ensures that all passengers have barrier-free entry and exit. In addition, the wide doors enable quick passenger changes to keep trains running to schedule. All the trains are air conditioned and offer a first-class carriage. Applying its innovation, passion, and flexibility as well as its knowledge of the respective local conditions, Stadler puts the best possible vehicle on the track for its customers, and this is where their aspirations meet those of Stäubli Electrical Connectors. The partnership began with a Stäubli solution for earthing blocks for highperformance Stadler double-decker interurban trains to meet the train builder’s safety requirements. Over the next few years this collaboration continued and grew. Stäubli Electrical Connectors was able to build trust and together with the company’s engineering team for gear, narrow-gauge and specialty vehicles, evaluated best-inclass solutions for safe, fast, and vibrationresistant power supply connectors for a variety of applications. As a result of the collaboration with Stäubli Electrical Connectors, Stadler decided to compare the existing screwed connections with the compact and space-saving MPCs between the car and the drivetrain on the bogies. In railway operations, maintenance must be completed as quickly as possible to minimise rolling stock downtime, and therefore pluggable connections are considered to be the ideal solution for efficient maintenance. Proven quality based upon tailormade tests Durability and low-loss energy transmission for high currents, maximum shock, impact and vibration resistance and high robustness – even in extreme climatic conditions – are


required for all components in railway technology. The route and elevation profile of the track in Appenzell were all considered when tests were conducted to ensure that the MPC could transmit the required power over the acceleration sections after the halts, and that the bespoke cable assemblies could withstand even tight curves and steep hills. On completion of the tests Stäubli was able to prove that the MPC range could meet the customer’s high expectations in all areas. A combination of expert advice, excellent supply availability and close collaboration during all phases of the project resulted in the installation of the new Stäubli connectors in the Appenzell trains. Pascal Duvoisin, Installation Planning Team Leader commented: ‘The electrical tests carried out specifically for the Appenzell Railway project prove the outstanding suitability under the required conditions. This ensures that we can offer our customers the safety and operational warranty they need. The MPC allows for speedy handling and contact reliability during maintenance periods, which brings the entire train back into operation and back on the rails faster.’ Company profile Stäubli is a mechatronics solutions provider with three core activities: Connectors, Robotics and Textile. It is an international group that currently operates in 29 countries, with agents in 50 countries on four continents. Stäubli’s global workforce of 5,500 shares a commitment to partnering with customers in nearly every industry to provide comprehensive solutions with long-term support. Originally founded in 1892 as a small workshop in Horgen/Zurich, today Stäubli is an international group headquartered in Pfäffikon, Switzerland, delivering innovative solutions to all industrial sectors around the world. Tel: 01952 671917, 01908 26 55 44 Email: ec.marcom@staubli.com Visit: www.staubli.com Rail Professional



The new Coral FR collection for rail By stopping up to 95 per cent of walked in dirt and moisture, the installation of Coral FR entrance systems can prolong the lifetime of your rail vehicle interior floor coverings and finishes, as well as greatly reducing cleaning costs and the risk for slipping


hilst many of Coral FR’s benefits come from a functional perspective, we understand the importance of colour and design. Coral FR entrance matting brings the functionality and convenience necessary for rail vehicle operators along with a great visual aesthetic that works well within the overall interior design scheme. After extensive research and development, we have updated our collection, deleting some references and adding new colours resulting in a fresh and forward-looking collection. Colour is the main driver for how the product looks and as such we focus a lot of energy into the development of new colour palettes for all our Coral FR products. Traditionally grey and blue make up a high percentage of our volume but we appreciate that a wider palette is required in order to satisfy our global customers’ diverse needs. Our main aim is to design a collection that provides products which can be coordinated with any flooring following on from the entrance area whilst also giving designers and end users alike a great array of designs and colourways to choose from. The collection is made up of four ranges, Coral Classic FR, Coral Brush FR, Coral Duo FR and Coral Welcome FR, each with their own unique benefits. All Coral FR entrance floor coverings all meet the EN45545-2 rail standard which relate to fire, smoke and toxicity.

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Coral Classic FR – The ultimate moisture absorber Research shows that taking just two steps on Coral Classic FR’s moisture retaining construction is enough to absorb half of the foot-borne moisture that would otherwise be carried inside on the soles of passengers’ shoes.

Coral Brush FR – The great all-rounder Suitable for all types of entrance areas, absorbing moisture and removing dry soiling as the weather demands.


Coral Duo FR – The ultimate dirt and moisture remover The ideal solution when you need maximum dirt removal, unrivalled dirt retention and exceptional moisture absorption, all in just a couple of paces.

Coral FR and the environment From how they’re made to how they perform, Forbo Flooring Systems makes outstanding floor covering products that are truly sustainable. 100 per cent green electricity from renewable sources Of all the electricity we buy, 100 per cent comes from renewable sources. This means our Coral FR production site is part of an effective environmental management system and has achieved ISO 14001 certification.

Reuse waste All the waste yarn from the Coral FR production is reused by the yarn supplier. Our search for new ways to reduce our environmental impact has led us to work very closely with forward thinking suppliers who are able to incorporate ever higher levels of recycled content in their materials.

Coral Welcome FR – Where design meets environment With its contemporary linear design and rich, deep pile, Coral Welcome FR packs the style and aesthetic appeal of a luxury carpet and makes an unequivocal statement in any entrance area. Econyl® yarn Coral Brush FR, Coral Duo FR and Coral Welcome FR entrance floors all use Econyl® yarn which is made from used and abandoned fishing nets. Using Econyl® is a way to reduce existing waste, avoid additional manufacturing-related pollution, and keep the consumption of natural resources and energy to a minimum.

Zero landfill Virtually zero landfill is achieved by the Coral FR manufacturing plant. For more information regarding Coral FR entrance systems or any of the other floor and wall covering products from the Forbo Flooring Systems portfolio please contact us.


Quicker installation solutions As an alternative to fully adhering the floor covering to the subfloor, Coral FR can also be supplied with different backing options designed to improve efficiencies in time, cost and operation throughout the life of the rail vehicle. Hook and loop, and magnetic installation solutions for example have the advantage over traditional fully bonded adhesive systems resulting in cost savings for train operators because of: • Quicker and easier installation and replacement. • No need to wait for the adhesive to dry. • No waiting time before the carpet can be walked on. • Immediate use of the train after installation. The optional backing solutions cannot be added to latex backed material after production, so the required backing type must be clearly specified at the time of ordering. For more information regarding the innovative installation solutions available across our full rail floor and wall portfolio click here.

Services We understand that service is equally important in ensuring optimal efficiencies in time and cost management. We offer a range of services for both new build and refurbishment projects that ensure maximum efficiencies from delivery to storage, from labelling to packaging and from installation to operation. • Cut to shape. • Bespoke labelling. • Custom packaging. • Material scheduling. • Just in time logistics.

Tel: +44 1773 744121 Email: transport@forbo.com Visit: www.forbo-flooring.com/rail Rail Professional



Industry flocks to Modern Railways RVE show Hundreds of rail industry visitors headed to Derby Arena on 4 November or the Modern Railways RVE show


ozens of exhibitors across the rail vehicles and enhancements sector displayed their latest products and services at the show which included the Fourth Friday Club Rail in the Midlands conference and Rail Forum Midlands and Modern Railways’ new supplier engagement event RVE BigIdea. As the first in-person RVE Show since the start of the Covid pandemic, visitors also took advantage of the extensive networking opportunities. Exhibitors said the return of passengers to the railway and the decarbonisation agenda were boosting confidence in the supply chain, but some pointed out that the continued delays to the Integrated Rail Plan and other key Government decisions meant there was continued uncertainty which could deter investment. The need to replace the UK’s passenger rail diesel fleet by 2040, however, was felt to offer real opportunities Rail Professional

– as does technological change in the way infrastructure maintenance and monitoring takes place. The RVE BigIdea supplier engagement event was a major success, with 13 customers holding 82 meetings based on 44 applications from suppliers across the industry focused on the themes of accessibility, asset optimisation, decarbonisation and productivity. A central feature of Modern Railways RVE was the Fourth Friday Club Rail in the Midlands conference, held as part of the show for the first time. Speakers from organisations across the region discussed issues of topical importance around passenger, freight, infrastructure and policy matters. Representing the policy framework was Midlands Connect’s Head of Rail Karen Heppenstall, who outlined the subnational transport body’s vision for a fairer, greener and stronger Midlands. ‘Games, Gardens

and a Guiding Mind’ was the topic of the presentation by Malcolm Holmes, Executive Director at West Midlands Rail Executive. Mr Holmes discussed the prospects for WMRE and devolution in the world of Great British Railways, preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and highlighted some of the strong community work taking place in the region. Three passenger operators were represented. East Midlands Railway Managing Director Will Rogers reflected on the coronavirus pandemic and the actions the operator is taking following challenges with its May 2021 timetable. West Midlands Trains is already on an NRC, and Mr Rogers, standing in for WMT MD Julian Edwards, outlined that operator’s response to Covid and its investment plans. CrossCountry MD Tom Joyner emphasised the need to think differently in the light of the pandemic and the changed market


for rail, a theme echoed by Network Rail’s North West & Central Region MD Tim Shoveller, who called for a focus on safety, performance and brilliant basics to deliver the best possible service for customers. There were challenges to the industry from two presenters from the freight sector too. Karl Watts, MD of Rail Operations (UK) Ltd, extolled the benefits of the Class 93 tri-mode locomotives the company has ordered from Stadler, while highlighting that intermodal trains are no faster now than they were when first introduced 56 years ago, and Mr Watts said an intermodal

vehicle is needed that can complement the performance of the Class 93. Tarmac’s Head of Rail Chris Swan outlined the company’s ambitions, summed up as more rail and better rail, including delivery of new terminals in the Midlands. Better operation of a different kind was the focus of a presentation about the Luminate Traffic Management System by Resonate’s International Business Development Director Gavin Panter. He outlined the continued development of Luminate, including a trial of Crew and Stock on Network Rail’s Western Route.


Modern Railways RVE 2022 will take place over two days at the Milton Keynes Arena on 26-27 October 2022. With more space for exhibitors and larger exhibits, a leading rail conference and an even better supplier engagement event, it is a must-attend show for companies and buyers in the rail vehicles and enhancements sector. Visit www.rve-expo.co.uk to keep informed about the latest developments. If you would like to watch the presentations from the Rail in the Midlands conference visit the website here: https://www.modernrailways. com/rail-midlands-conference




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Improving the passenger experience RASIC – the Rail And Station Innovation Company – has extended its collaboration with Network Rail on a project which could eventually revolutionise the public transport experience


ork on this exciting product didn’t go unnoticed. RASIC was also nominated for a prestigious industry award for the RDIS project. The team was delighted to attend the Railway Innovation Awards 2021, which signposted the potential of future success with an accolade as well as success with a flawless RDIS rollout itself. The Rail Demand Information System – or RDIS – focuses on accurately gauging the occupancy of trains. The deal between RASIC and Network Rail could lead to even more sophisticated information being available to subscribing passengers – for example, was the previous service delayed or cancelled; is overcrowding an issue on later trains? The

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product now accurately maps varying train usage and the system will become more and more accurate as testing and refinement progress in the coming year. RDIS uses various data sources to improve the information collected via mobile networks. Anonymised data is collected from mobile networks’ cell towers. This versatile body of data identifies station usage as well as an indication of journey times and routes chosen – with a wider interest to transport infrastructure providers. The collaboration of parties with RASIC, train operating

companies and passenger transport executives has presented some innovative solutions and insights into how people travel. For the passenger, it allows trends to be analysed which would aid service provision in the future. The coming six months will focus on making RDIS accurately mirror real life and the development team has created a sophisticated method to achieve this. Marcus Mayers, Director of RASIC says: ‘We’re delighted to be continuing our long relationship with Network Rail on the RDIS


project. We’ve brought together the best people from mobile phone data to work with the best of Network Rail to best manage the future of the railways. I can see the incredible potential of this and am excited to see the project flourish to the benefit of so many people. This new deal struck with Network Rail will make an incredible difference to the RDIS product.’ All licensed passenger operators who are members of Rail Delivery Group can access RDIS for free until 11 May 2022. Contact info@rasic.co.uk to be granted credentials. RASIC has already designed and implemented delivery strategies that offer controlled, progressive improvements to the existing rail environment. The team currently has over 15 live innovation projects in the UK and across Latin America, with more in their infancy. The firm specialises in using technology to improve the rail industry through validation-of-use cases, production of the value proposition / business cases, introductions to customers and ongoing subject matter expertise. For more comment, further detail on RASIC or RDIS or for media appearances, get in touch with Marcus Mayers, Director of RASIC via the contact information below. Tel: 07747 771 894 Email: marcus.mayers@rasic.co.uk Visit: rasic.co.uk

T: 02030 316 511 info@rcusolutions.co.uk www.rcusolutions.co.uk

A HELPING HAND TO PUT YOUR PROJECT ON THE RIGHT TRACK. We offer a fresh approach to the rail, construction and utilities sectors without compromising on quality or safety. We deliver innovative design and build projects and supplying highly-skilled labour across the UK rail network.

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Proven scaffolding andTheaccess solutions for the rail industry past, present Layher UK and future of system scaffolding

info@layher.co.uk | www.layher.co.uk

growing list of components not only reflects an ongoing belief Approved Training Providerin many FS 554413 in design but also, cases, on inspiration that has come from the marketplace. 5232 Layher 75 RailPro A4 Ad SDAW.indd 1 ‘This can be seen with the FlexBeam concept’ says Sean Pike, Layher’s UK Managing Director, ‘which has been repeatedly shown to simplify the construction of suspended and cantilevered scaffold structures.’ Layher points out that the FlexBeam provides 40 per cent higher bending load he innovation for capacity without the need for which scaffolding, compression chord bracing access and weather compared, for example, to protection specialist its well-established Lattice Layher Ltd. has a Beam 450. At the same time, leading worldwide reputation the design also enables lower is often best appreciated once construction heights to be specifically developed products achieved, enhancing the range of have proven themselves in the locations that can benefit. market. This is now clearly ‘Central to the FlexBeam is a the case with the company’s U-shaped section that allows FlexBeam design which, for the direct suspension of successfully installed in a host system decks,’ continues Sean of applications, is delivering Pike. ‘Importantly, the concept key benefits from which a large can also be connected directly number of markets – not least to the Layher Allround scaffold the rail sector – are gaining. system, enabling broader use The world’s largest of a contractor’s stock, while a manufacturer of modular or long list of additional fittings system equipment, Layher’s


such as lift-off protectors, tierod connectors and concrete anchors can be used, extending its suitability further still.’ A choice of FlexBeam lengths is also available – from four to seven metres – while a spigot design also simplifies connection between individual beam sections, each of which offers a series of fixing points positioned at 100mm centres. The FlexBeam development is readily applicable to a host of suspended designs and can be further enhanced by installations calling for a cantilevered element – up to 2.7 metres can be achieved. Layher believes that one of the key applications that the new design helps to simplify is its installation on curved structures such as bridges. A timber beam option allows greater radii to be achieved eliminating the need for extensive material usage and minimising manpower time – of clear significance to the rail industry. ‘With the full benefit of our design and operational support, this latest addition to the range is set to develop Z-8.22.64 and Z-8-22-64.1

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the creativity and capability of our contracting customers further still, and represents a clear demonstration of Layher’s ongoing commitment to product development’ concludes Sean Pike. ‘It also builds on our commitment to developing ‘strategic partnerships’ with our contracting customers in order to create scaffolding, access and weather protection solutions that meet precise application needs. The benefits enjoyed by the rail sector represent an example that is high on the list.’ Tel: 01462 475100 Email: info@layher.co.uk Visit: www.layher.co.uk Rail Professional



Norbar Torque Tools develops unique torque tool for London Underground The new tool has been developed to solve a specific engineering challenge, namely the removal and refit of the intercar coupler mounting bolts on the fleet of 47 Bombardier 09 Stock trains used on the Victoria Line in London and maintained at the Northumberland Park depot. The intercar coupler mounting bolts are accessed from the underside of the train, either from the pit road or with the train jacked up. The coupler mounting has four bolts with a significant boss in the middle that houses the Absolute Position Reader (APR).

Of the four bolts, the upper two were particularly difficult to access due to them being deeper up into the train and surrounded by other hardware. The bolts are required to be tightened to a torque of 1,050 N.m. London Underground’s tool supplier, Hayley Group, contacted Norbar with the remit of providing one tool to reach all of the bolts on the coupler. The Norbar solution was to use a Pneutorque® PTS tool with a specially developed drive that is slim, long and offset from the PTS square drive, with a series of gears arranged in line and

driving each other. This enables all of the bolts on the Bombardier 09 Stock trains to be reached during maintenance. In addition, the gearbox of the tool is supplied with quick change reaction arms in order to reach all of the bolts and safely take torque reaction from the tool. The aluminium bodied gearbox can also be positioned on the bolt before the driving tool is coupled. This significantly reduces the total weight that has to be lifted and makes the location of the offset gearbox and its reaction plate much easier.

HUBER+SUHNER launches rail antenna that boosts 4G and 5G connectivity A new antenna from HUBER+SUHNER has been launched to improve rail connectivity through the use of advanced dual polarisation antenna technology. Designed to support potential 4G and 5G high data throughput over the train-toground connection, the SENCITY® Rail MIMO+ Rooftop antenna allows passengers to seamlessly carry out their digital activities onboard. This can be achieved by utilising MIMO technology, a function already supported by most modern train radios and

by the public cellular network. Powered by dual polarisation technology (patent pending), the SENCITY Rail MIMO+ Rooftop antenna can connect to the base station infrastructure while on the move with two highly decoupled signal streams, which greatly increases the probability of achieving MIMO conditions. This results in increased average data-throughput, while connected to the public cellular network, by getting the most out of the advanced MIMO algorithms present on radio chipsets. For

both passenger connectivity services, as well as signal and control services on the trains, operators will now benefit from increased connectivity speeds throughout the whole journey. A smoother digital experience on-board can be achieved without the need for costly installation of dedicated trackside infrastructure. The SENCITY Rail MIMO+ Rooftop antenna also meets high-quality fire protection and environmental standards.

Plasser American Corp. acquires the worldwide first hybrid rail milling machine Robel Bahnbaumaschinen GmbH (Robel) and their partners Schweerbau International GmbH & Co. KG (SBI) and Vogel & Plötscher GmbH & Co. KG will deliver a rail treatment system to Plasser American Corporation (PAC), headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia, in the summer of 2022. SBI specifically developed the vehicle design, drive system and milling technology

to meet the maintenance requirements of transit systems. The three-piece machine’s construction fits into the tightest tunnel clearances in North America, enabling it to also fit into the tight tunnels of the London Underground. The hybrid drive system consisting of a battery and an exhaust reduced Diesel range extender allows for truly emission free rail maintenance. Romill

CMS3e is equipped with the latest electric milling technology for the reprofiling of low quality track that cannot be treated by rail milling. The spark and dust free rotational cutting process includes byproduct collection on the train for recycling. In addition, a high performance polishing process is implemented to create a noiseoptimised surface finish.

Ricardo completes installation of pantograph monitoring technology on Scotland’s railway Ricardo has completed the roll out of PanMon, a pantograph condition monitoring system, at selected locations on Scotland’s mainline rail network. The units have been installed on some of Scotland’s busiest routes, including the East and West Coast lines, Edinburgh-Glasgow, North Clyde and Stranraer. Operating with an average accuracy in excess of 99.5% across each site, the cameras scan 50,000 pantographs each month. Collectively, they capture images at least once a day of every single pantograph travelling on the routes where PanMon is keeping watch. PanMon is a remote condition monitoring

system provided by Ricardo to protect Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) by providing real-time assessments of the pantograph units affixed to trains on the network. On average, the UK railway experiences one ‘dewirement’ a month on its OLE, with the cost of each incident estimated at around £1 million and considerably more on high frequency routes or major junctions. One of the main causes of dewirements are defective pantographs units on the network. A damaged pantograph particularly a degraded contact strip (the carbon surface that connects to the wire to draw down electric power) - can inflict

significant wear and tear on OLE apparatus. In extreme cases it can cause a tear-down of the wires, forcing entire route sections to close and await costly repair. Using the intelligence gathered by PanMon’s cameras, railway infrastructure managers can identify defective pantograph units and work with vehicle owners to prevent further damage. PanMon is part of a suite of digital analysis products provided by Ricardo and its partners. Other services include CatMon, which provides continuous monitoring of overhead line integrity, and InfraMon which monitors track conditions from in-service vehicles.

Rail Professional



DB Cargo UK appoints new Chief Operating Officer DB Cargo UK has appointed Neil Ethell as Chief Operating Officer to drive further improvements in its operational performance and customer service.

Keltbray appoints Programme Director for HS2 Portfolio Keltbray has appointed Neil Lindley as Programme Director for its HS2 portfolio of works, reporting to Managing Director of Rail, Neil Thompson.

Rail Professional

Trainline appoints Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Trainline, the leading independent rail and coach platform, has appointed Martin Sheehan, to the newly created role of Chief Corporate Affairs Officer.

EnPro Group appoints new Business Development Director EnPro Group has appointed Ciaran Ebbs as the company’s new Business Development Director (BDD). Ciaran brings a wealth of Sales and Business Development experience having held various management positions in the industry over the last 25 years.

Dormer Pramet appoint new President Eduardo Martin has been appointed President of Dormer Pramet. Eduardo will take on the role from 1 February 2022, replacing Stefan Steenstrup, who became President of Seco Tools in October.

Arcadis appoints UK Design Director With interest growing across the UK in the role stations play in our national recovery, levelling-up and build-backbetter, Arcadis has appointed Mike Gardner as its UK Station Design Director.




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