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OCTOBER 2021 ISSUE 276 £7.95


The evolution of training Embrace digitalisation and bring your competency management online

The Digital Railway The fine art of remote data centre management

Surveying and Geotechnical Engineering Surveying and Geotechnical Engineering

The Digital Railway Unbreaking the record for cyber-attacks

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OCTOBER 2021 ISSUE 276 £7.95


The evolution of training Embrace digitalisation and bring your competency management online

editor’s note The Digital Railway The fine art of remote data centre management

Surveying and Geotechnical Engineering Surveying and Geotechnical Engineering

The Digital Railway Unbreaking the record for cyber-attacks


Rail Professional welcomes contributions in the form of articles, photographs or letters, preferably by email. Original photographs may


his month’s issue is focussed on the Digital Railway and surveying and geotechnical engineering. My interview was with Kurt Zeidler of GALL ZEIDLER Consultants who took us on a journey through the history of tunneling and tunneling technology. Kurt is involved directly in two of the biggest infrastructure projects going on in the UK right now, Crossrail and HS2. Kurt was actually present at the first discussions around Crossrail in 1991 and there again in 2012 when construction began. With HS2 seemingly never not in the news, with more focus than is fair on the environmental impact of the project, Kurt discussed his team’s work on the Chiltern Tunnel and how much has changed in the course of his 35-year career. One of the points he touched upon that interested me the most was the lack of documentation that in once instance led to huge, forgotten cavern being discovered during a rehabilitation project. It sounds obvious, but we forget how much information has been lost to time because the only way to document anything was on paper – and that a lack of standardisation until relatively recently has made recovering reliable information on historic projects a bit of a struggle. Fortunate for us, then, that we live in an era of digital documentation and we have a plethora of stories focussing on that very topic. The Occupational Psychology Centre (OPC) share digital pre-screening techniques that save time on large volume applicant recruitment and news about the launch of their redesigned, user-friendly, online assessment platform, Michel Spruijt, Brain Corp’s European Director, explores the increasing adoption of autonomous robots across railway operations, and what it means for the sector’s future and Dr Emma Taylor CEng FIMechE FSaRS, Head of Digital Safety at RazorSecure explains how the implementation of cybersecurity in the railway has evolved considerably over the past ten years. Even one of our geotechnical features contains a digital element as Bam Ritchies tell us how they developed digital rehearsals of planned works so that they could precisely predict how the project would unfold. Our other feature on this topic comes courtesy of Andy Harrison, Director of Sales and Marketing at Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd who describes how galvanizing works and why it continues to be one of the most sustainable finishes for eco-conscious rail projects.

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8 News

27 Viewpoint

One of the world’s oldest railway tunnels gets some tender loving care, New Northern line stations open as Tube extends to Battersea Power Station, HS2 unveils the ‘beating heart of HS2 in London’ at its London logistics hub, East West Railway Company appoints Arcadis as Commercial Partner, Government accepts MPs’ recommendation that a Wales Rail Board be established to drive improvements, The Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2021 – back with beans and whistles!, Great Northern train tests successfully for first stage of East Coast Digital Programme

Rob Whitehead, Director of Strategic Projects at Centre for London looks at how we can make sustainable travel within London, and to London the norm

13 The Cheek of it Chris has been looking at the latest numbers on the effects of the Covid pandemic, now becoming a permanent part of our lives, and wonders what they portend for the future of public transport

17 Laying down the law Within the rail industry there are many contracts which deal with the construction of objects, whether that is a major piece of infrastructure, such as HS2, a fleet of new trains or something much smaller such as a set of signal equipment cabinets

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

23 Delivering the goods Mags Simpson, Head of Policy Engagement at Logistics UK looks at policies that can create the right environment for modal shift

31 Safety and Security Russell Keir, Vice Chair of the Railway Group at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Paul Leach, Human Factors Specialist & Occupational Psychologist at the RSSB explain how to develop a safe culture and how to you know if you are going in the right direction

35 The Digital Railway Matthew Hawkridge, Chief Technology Officer at Ovarro, the supplier and manufacturer of remote monitoring technologies, explains why secure RTUs can mitigate threats against critical national infrastructure

39 The Digital Railway Working smarter, not harder and ensuring track inspection workers get it right first time is the remit of a new digitisation project for Network Rail and the Central Railway Systems Alliance (CRSA) that is delivering efficiencies of up to 70 per cent and track safety improvements thanks to the adoption of digital work instruction platform WorkfloPlus from Intoware

42 The Digital Railway Dr Emma Taylor CEng FIMechE FSaRS, Head of Digital Safety at RazorSecure explains how the implementation of cybersecurity in the railway has evolved considerably over the past ten years

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45 Viewpoint In a new discussion paper, the Institution of Civil Engineers explores the impact of Covid-19 on public transport networks, and how the funding model will need to adapt to changing behaviours and demand, Jonathan Spruce, ICE Policy Fellow explains



68 Surveying and Geotechnical Engineering BAM Ritchies offers collaborative, digital, integrated, value driven ground and geotechnical engineering

48 The Digital Railway

70 Rail Professional Interview

Ten years ago, Agility3 turned a 3D vision into a digital reality

Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Kurt Zeidler, Principal at GALL ZEIDLER Consultants about his career, the history and development of tunnelling and GALL ZEIDLER’s work on HS2

51 The Digital Railway DB Systel UK, the digital partner of Deutsche Bahn and subsidiary of DB Systel GmbH, provides managed IT services across the DB Group

55 The Digital Railway As society becomes increasingly connected and digitally driven, people travelling by train expect fast connectivity at their fingertips and enough space to have a comfortable journey says Daniel Montagnese, Head Product Management Antennas at HUBER+SUHNER

59 The Digital Railway Michel Spruijt, Brain Corp’s European Director, explores the increasing adoption of autonomous robots across railway operations, and what it means for the sector’s future

62 The Digital Railway There is no better time to embrace the digitalisation of your industry and bring your business’s competency management online

65 The Digital Railway The Occupational Psychology Centre (OPC) share digital pre-screening techniques that save time on large volume applicant recruitment and news about the launch of their redesigned, user-friendly, online assessment platform

74 Surveying and Geotechnical Engineering Andy Harrison, Director of Sales and Marketing at Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd, the UK’s largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation, describes how galvanizing works, why it continues to be one of the most sustainable finishes for eco-conscious rail projects, and what advancements are being made to make the process even more green

77 The Digital Railway Matt Conner, Chief Growth Officer at Paragon DCX, explains, in the age of The Digital Railway the rail industry can no longer afford to be derailed by poor customer experience (CX) strategies

79 Event Promotion The original dedicated event for the rolling stock sector will return to Derby Arena this year on Thursday 4 November

83 Business Profile TAG Rail

86 People News Liz Emmott, Yaelle Ridley, Claire Booth, Helen Galvin

Rail Professional



News in brief Plans for £2 billion investment in tram, rail, bus and cycling set out in Government funding bid

One of the world’s oldest railway tunnels gets some tender loving care

The West Midlands Metro network will be extended in Walsall, Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton under a wide-ranging plan to revolutionise transport across the region. Further investment would see rail stations opened, new rapid bus services launched, lower fares, more zero-emission vehicles, a very light rail line in Coventry and miles of safe cycling routes created to support the region’s economic growth and its #wm2041 net-zero carbon targets. Additional services between Wrexham and Bidston from spring 2022 Additional Transport for Wales services between Wrexham and Bidston are set to be introduced from spring 2022. Transport for Wales (TfW) has been working closely with Network Rail to deliver the necessary infrastructure improvements and enhancements to the Wrexham to Bidston line, to enable the delivery of two trains per hour along this route. TfW Class 230s are planned for the line in 2022, allowing the route to be serviced by the upgraded trains. £1 million signed off to upgrade Billingham Station access Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has signed off a £1 million investment to significantly improve disability access at Billingham railway station. The scheme will see the existing pedestrian footbridge, which is approaching the end of its life, replaced by a new one served by lifts, making it step-free and suitable for wheelchair users. On top of this, a series of car park and access route improvements will take place to make the station even better to use for all passengers.

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One of the world’s oldest railway tunnels is being made more reliable for passengers this autumn. Network Rail is upgrading tracks through the 180-yearold Summit tunnel between Rochdale and Hebden Bridge. More than three kilometres of track across both railway lines will be replaced inside the 2.6-kilometre-long tunnel. It was built between 1838 and 1841 as part of the

Manchester and Leeds railway. The £2 million Great North Rail Project investment by Network Rail will take place between 23 and 31 October. Network Rail is also working in partnership with the Environment Agency which will be upgrading a culvert beneath the railway lines as part of a wider flood defence project in the area.

New Northern line stations open as Tube extends to Battersea Power Station Transport for London (TfL) has opened the doors to its two new Tube stations making up the Northern Line Extension, at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. The two step-free Zone 1 stations are set to dramatically improve the connectivity of these vibrant south London neighbourhoods and support the capital’s recovery from the pandemic at a vital time. Major construction on the three kilometres twin-tunnel railway between Kennington and Battersea Power Station, via Nine Elms, began in 2015. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the construction project stayed on track for an autumn opening. Tube services started running on the extension, which is on the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line, at 05:28 on the morning of 20 September with passengers including the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP; London’s Transport Commissioner, Andy Byford; Battersea Power Station Development Company’s CEO, Simon Murphy; Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander; Leader of Wandsworth Council, Cllr Ravi Govindia and Leader of Lambeth

Council, Cllr Claire Holland. In addition, the Battersea Power Station Community Choir sang at the new station at Battersea this morning to mark its opening day. A peak-time service of six trains per hour operates on the extension and this will increase to twelve trains per hour by mid-2022 as more people move into new housing in the area and the demand increases. There are five trains per hour during off-peak times, with this set to double to ten trains per hour next year. The Northern Line Extension is the first major Tube extension this century and is supporting around 25,000 new jobs and more than 20,000 new homes. In addition, construction of the extension boosted the UK economy and supported around 1,000 jobs, including 79 apprenticeships. TfL has delivered the Northern Line Extension £160 million under budget, bringing its estimated final total cost to £1.1 billion, despite the cost pressures brought about by the pandemic. The spending authority budget was increased to £1.26 billion in January 2016, but TfL has worked hard through strong collaboration with suppliers to ensure the project provides value for money.


News in brief New Greater Anglia trains on new routes More rail passengers in Essex are able to travel on new trains as Greater Anglia’s state-of-the-art electric commuter trains entered passenger service on two new routes. The new trains went into service on the Harwich and Walton-on-the-Naze branch lines on Monday 13 September in time for early morning commuters. On the same day, Greater Anglia started running additional services in response to more people travelling by train as commuters are encouraged to return to the office. Greater Anglia’s new commuter trains have been made in the UK by Alstom, formerly Bombardier, who are supplying 133 five-carriage trains, which can be coupled to run as ten-carriage trains. Each carriage of the new Alstom Aventra Class 720 trains is longer with more seats than carriages of Greater Anglia’s old trains.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘After years of hard work, I’m delighted that we’re able to open the Northern Line Extension today and it was great to have the chance to travel on one of the first trains between Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. This extension will hugely improve the links between these vibrant, growing south London neighbourhoods and the rest of the capital, and will also help to support thousands of new jobs and homes as we move forward with London’s recovery from the pandemic. The new stations are beautiful and I encourage Londoners and visitors to start using the Northern Line Extension to get around and help them enjoy everything the capital has to offer.’ Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: ‘London’s world-famous Tube network has two new stations from today, the first stops to be added so far this century, with names


that will soon become familiar to Londoners as they return to public transport after the pandemic. ‘Ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth line next year, these upgrades extend vital connectivity across the greatest city in the world and show the power of transport connections.’ Both new stations, which have been constructed primarily from stone, concrete, stainless steel and glass, use double-height ceilings to create large airy spaces. The new Tube station at Nine Elms has a very visible presence on Wandsworth Road, serving developments including the US Embassy and the re-developed New Covent Garden Market, as well as existing communities. The station has been designed so that 479 new much-needed rental homes, 40 per cent of which will be affordable, can be delivered above and around it.

HS2 unveils the ‘beating heart of HS2 in London’ at its London logistics hub

Step-free access comes to Hayes & Harlington station Network Rail has completed upgrades at Hayes & Harlington station today (Tuesday 14 September) ahead of the Elizabeth line opening in the first half of 2022. It is the sixth TfL Rail station to be upgraded to provide step-free access in the past seven months as part of the Crossrail project. New lifts, ticket machines and other station improvements including clearer customer information for planning onward journeys have been provided along the TfL Rail western route at Acton Main Line, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway, West Drayton and Southall since March this year.

HS2 has revealed the colossal logistics operation that is taking place at HS2’s logistics hub near Willesden Junction. The 30-acre site will be the beating heart of the logistics operation for HS2 in London, and will be where earth from the 26 miles of tunnel will be processed and critical construction materials, such as pre-cast tunnel segment rings, will be delivered. The hub has been constructed and will be operated by HS2’s Main Works Civils Contractor, Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS JV). The construction of HS2’s London tunnels will require 5.6million tonnes of earth to be excavated. After being processed at the site near Willesden Junction, it will be taken by train to three locations across the UK – Barrington in Cambridgeshire, Cliffe in Kent, and Rugby in Warwickshire – where it will put to beneficial reuse, filling voids which will then be used as a basis for redevelopment, such as house building.

The site will also receive over 100,000 pre-cast tunnel segment rings which will be used to form the walls of the London tunnels, delivered by rail from UK manufacturing sites. HS2’s contractor SCS JV has already confirmed that the first contract for pre-cast tunnel segment rings has been awarded to Pacadar UK, and will be delivered to the site from their factory in the Isle of Grain in Kent. At peak operation, eight trains per day will depart and arrive at the logistics hub, maximising the use of rail freight in the construction of HS2 in London and resulting in one million lorry movements not going on UK roads. The operation is being coordinated from a refurbished building on the site. Sheffield based SME, 3Squared, has developed a bespoke rail logistics software solution to manage and track the railway materials movements in and out. Rail Professional

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East West Railway Company appoints Arcadis as Commercial Partner The creation of a new railway connection directly linking Oxford and Cambridge has moved a step closer with the appointment of Arcadis as Commercial Partner to the East West Rail Company (EWR Co. Ltd), the body established by UK Government to plan and oversee delivery.

As Commercial Partner, Arcadis will be responsible for driving long-term value. The role will focus on developing the business case and submitting the application for a Development Consent Order to build the next stage of the rail link. This will include commercial management and cost planning,

as well as procuring and administering contracts, with an emphasis on working with local suppliers where possible. Arcadis’ supply chain partners are RLB and KPMG.

Government accepts MPs’ recommendation that a Wales Rail Board be established to drive improvements In its response to the Welsh Affairs Committee’s report, Railway Infrastructure in Wales, the UK Government has partially accepted a recommendation to create a dedicated forum to deliver improvements for rail passengers in Wales.

During the inquiry the Committee was told that a joined-up and clearer approach is needed to unlock rail investment to drive improvements. Accordingly, the Committee’s report recommended the creation of a Wales Rail Board: ‘consisting of itself, the Welsh Government, Network

Rail, the rail operators providing services in Wales, and Transport for Wales. The Board would be tasked with identifying and developing a prioritised set of proposals for rail infrastructure improvement and investment in Wales.’

Great Northern train tests successfully for first stage of East Coast Digital Programme Govia Thameslink Railway has successfully run one of its Great Northern Moorgate Class 717 trains using the digital in-cab signalling system ETCS level 2 (European Train Control System). This provided important real-world proof of the track-to-train specification required to enable a confident migration to ETCS on the Northern City Line, the first tranche of the East Coast Digital Programme. Unit 717002 ran faultlessly using an upgraded baseline of the current Class 700 Thameslink ETCS system (3.4.0 onboard over 2.3.0d trackside), through the Thameslink ‘core’, between St Pancras and Blackfriars in central London. GTR’s Class 717 Moorgate trains are already fitted with ETCS but this is the first time it had been tested on Network Rail infrastructure

across this specification. The Thameslink ‘core’ already has ETCS signalling infrastructure on which it can be tested. By continually communicating with the train, ETCS will smooth and maximise the flow of trains, to create a more dynamic, more reliable, safer and more flexible railway. Oliver Turner, who heads up GTR’s input to the industry-wide East Coast Digital Programme, said: ‘On the Northern City Line, the new signalling system being installed on our trains and tracks will save passengers thousands of hours of delay caused by the current ageing system. ‘A key milestone was to run one of our Moorgate trains in ETCS mode using the software that will be ultimately used across the East Coast Mainline. I’m pleased to report it did that with flying colours.’

The East Coast Main Line is a mixed-use railway, with trains of different sizes and speeds, passenger and freight, all using the same tracks. This radio-based signalling recognises these different trains and will allow train and track to talk to each other continuously in real-time providing a higher performing and more reliable railway. Toufic Machnouk, Director Industry Partnership Digital, Network Rail said: ‘This is the first time a train of this specification has been tested dynamically, in the real world, against the infrastructure specification. It represents a small but significant step for the East Coast Digital Programme and is a crucial point of confidence for a smooth migration to ETCS operations, delivering progressive benefits to passengers.’

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The Cheek of it Chris Cheek

Season of Mists and Mellow Covidness? Chris has been looking at the latest numbers on the effects of the Covid pandemic, now becoming a permanent part of our lives, and wonders what they portend for the future of public transport


uddenly, it’s the autumn. In this quite extraordinary year, spring and summer seem to have slipped by almost unnoticed, and as I write, it’s eight weeks since the lifting of restrictions on social distancing, which happened in the third week of July. The Department for Transport (DfT) is still publishing its weekly statistics on transport use during the pandemic, and pretty grim reading they make – especially for those of us who believe in public transport and in the need for modal shift away from private vehicles. In summary, the figures for motor vehicles hit a weekly average of 90 per cent of 2019 levels within days of the first lifting of restrictions after lockdown three in April. The numbers hit 100 per cent by the spring bank holiday weekend at the end of May and have broadly stayed there. By contrast, public transport use has lagged well behind. On the national rail network, demand increased from the mid-teens in February to the mid-twenties in March. On the first round of restriction lifting in April, numbers rose to around 40 per cent, hitting 50 per cent at the end of May. Since the lifting of restrictions in mid-July, numbers have hit the high fifties, before topping 60 per cent in mid-August. The most recent figures are provisional, though, and may go higher. London Underground followed a broadly similar pattern, but then it flatlined in July in the mid-forties, only topping 50

per cent in the last three weeks of August. Bus networks, meanwhile, have been slightly ahead – topping the 60 per cent mark in May both in London and in the regional networks. However, they flatlined in the mid-sixties throughout June and July. This continued into August in the regions, but London has moved ahead, and bus demand reached 71 per cent in the last week of August, the highest figure since all this began back in March 2020. In many ways, this has to be expected. The highly contagious Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus continues to cause upwards of 30,000 new cases a day. Whilst vaccination means immunity for most and a mild infection for much of the remainder, people are still being admitted to hospital in numbers and some are dying – including a disturbingly high proportion of fully vaccinated people. This virus has not done with us yet – and, not surprisingly, people are still nervous of catching an unpleasant and unpredictable disease. Whilst official advice against public transport use has been lifted in England, the information that has replaced it is still draconian, with continued mask-wearing, cautions against waiting indoors and to travel outside peak hours if possible. Hardly a ringing endorsement, but hardly surprising in the circumstances. Meanwhile, instructions to work from home if possible have also been lifted, and the government has indicated that it wishes to see a gradual return to work.

The response to this has varied, with some employers happy to maintain a significant level of home-working, whilst others remain opposed. Amongst workers themselves, the same is true: some long to be back in the office, others hate the idea – especially whilst infection levels remain as high as they are. It is well known that this is the rail industry’s big problem – prior to the pandemic, 47 per cent of passenger journeys were generated by commuters. Looking at the ONS breakdown of the workforce by occupation, it looks to me as if we’re likely to end up with around one third of the workforce working on a hybrid basis in future. This would result in falls of 13 per cent from 2019 commuting volume at risk, rising to 14.6 per cent in London – taking passenger volumes from commuting back to 2015 levels. People need to get back into the office if our big city economies are to return to anything like pre-pandemic levels of activity, especially in the hard-hit retail sector. Here, latest footfall statistics show that, whilst the number of shoppers is up from last year, they are still between 20 and 25 per cent short of 2019 levels. Meanwhile, latest stats from the Office for National Statistics show that the proportion of retail sales undertaken on the web has settled back at 26 per cent over the last few weeks (the same level as last autumn). If this does turn out to be the new norm, then online has seen a six per cent gain in market share since the end of 2019. Rail Professional



So can we expect a return to the rail industry of the early 1970s – starved of investment, with ‘make do and mend’ maintenance policies and constant shaving of service provision? Certainly, on financial grounds, the Treasury could put up a clear argument that the country cannot sustain the levels of service and investment that were bring provided pre-Covid. Both have been adjusted downwards over the last year or so, and this is probably a process that will continue – accompanied by a few hefty fares increases. All of which, to be honest, leaves the public transport industry in a bit of a hole – reliant on government financial support provided by an increasingly unhappy Treasury, itself beset from all sides by demands for funding – most pressing of all is helping the NHS to cope with the ongoing demands of the pandemic, and to reduce the waiting lists that have grown huge during the crisis; not forgetting policies to fix the growing problems of providing sufficient social care resources for a rapidly ageing population; and all the other many and varied demands on the public purse.

So can we expect a return to the rail industry of the early 1970s – starved of investment, with ‘make do and mend’ maintenance policies and constant shaving of service provision? Certainly, on financial grounds, the Treasury could put up a clear argument that the country cannot sustain the levels of service and investment that were bring provided preCovid. Both have been adjusted downwards over the last year or so, and this is probably a process that will continue – accompanied by a few hefty fares increases. But… And it’s a big ‘but’. It’s called Decarbonisation of Transport – an essential

component of the Net Zero 2050 target. Most of you will be familiar with what that means: modal shift away from private car use to more sustainable modes such as walking, cycling and public transport together with reduction in the need to travel at all; a target recommended by the Climate Change Committee (and accepted by Government) of five per cent reduction in car kilometres by 2030, nine per cent by 2035 and 17 per cent by 2050. Frankly, it is going to be difficult enough to persuade people out of their cars on the scale needed (remembering that one per cent of car passenger kilometres switched to rail represents an eleven per cent increase in passenger kilometres travelled by train). It is going to be impossible if the rail network slows down to save money, is poorly maintained or has insufficient capacity. All of this comes as a vivid reminder of the downsides of working in an industry that relies on derived demand. If people have stopped commuting to and from work, going shopping or travelling to business meetings and conferences, there’s not a huge amount that public transport management teams can do about it. Lots of destination marketing and reminders of the exciting things that can be accessed by using transport – and that’s about it. Such campaigns are essential, and there are already some very good examples out there of how to do it – but, in truth, even the best of such marketing is only ever going to nibble away at the edges of the problem. As I write, the political world is abuzz with reshuffle rumours – and after more than two years in office, our current Transport Secretary may be expected to move on. Any volunteers for the job?



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Laying down the law Martin Fleetwood

Knowing of an employee’s disability We have recently seen the amazing feats of the athletes at the Paralympics and how their disabilities have not been a barrier to performing at the highest level of their chosen sport


n the majority of cases the disabilities are relatively easy to see, but not all are, particularly if they are hidden disabilities, including those to do with mental health. Within the UK, disability impacts around 19 per cent of the working-age adult population and recent focus on disability inclusion and equality of opportunities for all, means that a significant number of employers, including those in the rail industry, are likely to have at least one staff member with a level of disability. Supporting these employees and ensuring that employment practices do not lead to discrimination is an important activity for management, senior staff and the HR team.

‘Knowns’ and ‘Unknowns’ In many cases, employees will make their employer aware of their disability. This will allow the employer to make relevant adaptions within the workplace so that they do not directly or indirectly discriminate against such an employee. However, it is clear that not all employers are aware of the disabilities affecting their staff, either through actual or constructive knowledge. This may be because: • The disability was not declared by the staff member when they joined the company. • The disability has occurred since the employee joined the company, is long lasting, but has not been reported by that employee. • The disability is recent or has not lasted long enough to acquire “disability” status under the Equalities Act 2010. If an employee chooses not to inform his or her employer of their disability, it follows that the employee should be limited in whether they can make a discrimination claim against their employer based on their disability. However, the employer cannot escape their obligations when it is

reasonably clear to that employer that there is a disability present. Recently there have been some court judgements which have provided some helpful guidance for employers and employees alike in clarifying issues regarding obtaining “disability” status and the knowledge of the employer. Gaining knowledge of a disability status Under section 6 of the Equality Act 2010, a person is deemed to have a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment and this has a substantial effect on their day to day activities which has lasted, or is likely to last, twelve months or more. However, for there to be discrimination allowing a claim under section 15(2) of the Equality Act 2010, the employer must have known or should reasonably have been expected to have known that the employee had a disability. In the case of All Answers Ltd v W and another, two claimants alleged they had suffered disability discrimination on 21 and 22 August 2018. The parties disputed when the twelve-month period to show a disability had to run for (and whether the impairment would continue for twelve months in any event), given that at the time of the alleged discrimination twelve months had not fully elapsed. The Court of Appeal decided that the relevant time to consider the impairment was at the time of the alleged discriminatory acts. If the twelve-month requirement had not been met at that time, there was no disability status and therefore no discrimination on the grounds of disability. With the principles of the case set out, the determination of facts was returned to the Employment Tribunal for resolution. When should an employer know about a disability? In Seccombe v Reed In Partnership Limited, the claimant, Mr Seccombe,had suffered a

traumatic event which led to a breakdown and a period of absence for anxiety and depression. The employer, Reed in Partnership Limited (Reed) had been aware of the event but, following Mr Seccombe’s return, assumed that the issue was resolved. Later Reed dismissed Mr Seccombe on grounds of poor performance but Mr Seccombe claimed that the dismissal constituted disability discrimination and/ or that Reed had failed to make adjustment for his disability. Mr Seccombe had had two periods of absence related to anxiety and depression prior to joining Reed but Reed were not aware of this. The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the original decision that Mr Seccombe was not a disabled person and, even if he had been, Reed did not have actual or constructive knowledge of this. Importantly, they found that when Mr Seccombe joined Reed he had completed an equal opportunities questionnaire in which he indicated that he did not have any healthrelated issues or impairment for which Reed might need to make reasonable adjustments. The fact that Reed had made efforts to find out about any disabilities and had a negative Rail Professional



response was a key point in the Tribunal deciding that Reed was not at fault. Check and communicate The outcome of All Answers is a useful clarification that when assessing whether an impairment is long lasting so as to acquire ‘disability’ status under the Equality Act 2010, the adverse effects must be considered with reference to the facts and circumstances prevailing at the date the discrimination took place. This allows an employer to deal with the facts that exist

at the time it makes a decision, rather than trying to predict what could be an outcome at a later date. Importantly, the decision in Seccombe should help to reduce employers being caught unawares regarding a disability. However, while an employee might not expressly disclose a health condition, an employer might nonetheless be found to know about the disability depending on the circumstances of the case. Employers should also avoid dismissing employees for performance reasons or otherwise under

Where employees are absent due to mental health reasons, it is good practice for the employer to communicate with that individual to determine the extent of the issues and whether there are any steps which can be taken to assist following the return to work

false pretences i.e. where the real reason for dismissal is the employee’s disability. Finally, where employees are absent due to mental health reasons, it is good practice for the employer to communicate with that individual to determine the extent of the issues and whether there are any steps which can be taken to assist following the return to work. This helps to reduce the possibility that a court will decide that an employer should have known more than it did. From the employee’s standpoint, telling their employer about a potential impairment will reduce the possibility of the employer looking to avoid a potential discrimination claim due to lack of knowledge. 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


Samyutha Bala & Ruth Busby

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


he pandemic has had a huge impact on our lives, one that will be felt long after the life returns to whatever new normal we settle in. Many of the changes have hit women particularly hard. Whilst there remain many challenges, opportunities have also arisen, including changes in the way we do things. When we took over as co-chairs of WR South in late 2020 we reflected on what value we could add, during the seemingly interminable series of lockdowns and home schooling, where the burden has fallen disproportionately on women, but also on the road to recovery. As we build back better, we must identify the opportunities to build back a more equitable world – generation defining events only come along every so often. With that in mind, we set about defining our strategy and areas of focus. We aim to improve the gender diversity in rail with four key areas of focus. Firstly, to broaden the appeal of rail to young people from all backgrounds, especially young girls, and women. Rail can seem like an intimidating and impenetrable industry if you don’t know someone already working in it. School and university visits, virtual career fairs, work experience, and working with local authorities are all ways we can let young people know about our amazing industry and the incredible variety of roles we have to offer. To help make the industry more accessible and easier to discover we’ve launched an Instagram page –@womeninrailsouth – and plan to launch a podcast featuring a wide variety of women in rail.

Secondly, we need to support women already in the industry to help them to grow and develop and to retain their talents within rail. Our events on personal and professional development, providing opportunities to network and build skills aim to support this. Our monthly book club is one of the enjoyable networking opportunities we’ve introduced, and all are welcome to join us in our April when we are reading ‘We Have Always Been Here’ by Samra Habib. Thirdly, there are many internal staff networks working within companies across rail that are doing a fantastic job in promoting gender diversity. We see our role as bringing them together and sharing and learning from each other. And finally, we want to provide support for health, wellbeing, and resilience. After the year we’ve had, there is nothing that is more important than our mental and physical health. From Pamper sessions to workshops on wellbeing and resilience as we come out of the pandemic, we have events to support this. Rail has a huge part to play in levelling up, not only the economy, but in providing opportunities and careers for people and we need to show how inclusive and open we are to everyone from all walks of life. We’ve felt embraced and included in the big rail family in our own careers and hope to play our part in opening that up to more people. Here’s to a more equal, equitable and exciting industry!

Samyutha Bala

To find out about Women in Rail and Women in Rail South Group, contact and South@ Ruth Busby Rail Professional

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Delivering the goods Mags Simpson

A green recovery for UK logistics Mags Simpson, Head of Policy Engagement at Logistics UK looks at policies that can create the right environment for modal shift


he UK stands at the cusp of an environmental transformation, with the need to decarbonise all facets of the economy an urgent priority for government and business alike. As the nation rebuilds from the COVID-19 lockdowns and focus is placed on long-term economic recovery, green policies must be at the heart of this restart. And rail, as a lower polluting form of freight transport and one that has a clear path to decarbonisation, has a role to play (with the support of government) in leading the environmental charge for logistics. In July 2021, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) published its report, Rail Freight: Building a stronger, greener future for Britain, setting out a clear and bold vision on the policies that government should adopt if it wants to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while supporting the ‘levelling up’ agenda as well as reducing congestion in towns and cities. In last month’s column, we focused on the means to decarbonisation for rail – electrification and, to a lesser extent, use of hydrogen and battery trains – and this column will focus on other necessary policies as our members see it: primarily, incentivising and creating the right environment for modal shift. As argued in RDG’s report, to maximise the benefits offered by using rail, government and railway should incentivise businesses to switch their goods from road to rail. To make this possible, rail freight transport must be fit for purpose: this means user charges must be fair, affordable, and provide operators with long-term certainty; railways must be well-connected with hubs and terminals in the right places to support supply chain needs; and there must be adequate capacity to meet demand for services. Without government action to make these changes (measures Logistics UK has been campaigning for over many years), the UK risks falling back into a road-based recovery, when modal shift is vital to support the nation’s net zero ambitions. Creating the right environment for rail growth also supports the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda – its plan to improve livelihoods and opportunities in all parts of the UK – with 90 per cent of the benefits brought by rail freight supporting communities outside of London and the South East. And with a single rail freight path generating up to £1.5 million each year of economic value, space made for more freight trains on the existing network will deliver immediate economic benefits with little investment required, as outlined by RDG in its report. In its white paper, Great British Railways: The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, the government made clear its commitment to grow rail freight and overcome common grievances such as a lack of capacity for freight on the network, predominantly through the creation of a

national freight coordination team as part of a new public body, the Great British Railways (GBR). The team has been assigned to ‘help embed freight firmly into strategic decision making’, with changes expected to ensure freight operators have ‘fair access to the network.’ A promising development for rail freight, although it remains to be seen how GBR, and the national freight coordination team, will work in practice. Technology holds the key to enabling freight trains to run more efficiently; it is vital that Britain’s railways maximise the Rail Professional



operating in the logistics sector, it must compete price wise with other modes. While the tangible decarbonisation of the railways, through electrification, alternative traction power, and use of renewable energy, is vital, without the necessary supporting framework in place, freight customers will not make the transition to rail in the numbers required to help reach net zero.

Creating the right environment for rail growth also supports the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda – its plan to improve livelihoods and opportunities in all parts of the UK – with 90 per cent of the benefits brought by rail freight supporting communities outside of London and the South East. opportunities these advanced technologies afford. There are many exciting developments happening in this space, for example, the University of Hull developed NR+ recently, the UK’s first digital rail infrastructure platform for optimised freight planning. The platform enables Network Rail, rail operating companies or current and potential rail users to understand and analyse routing options on the complex UK rail network quickly and accurately. This

can lead to major efficiency gains, not only in the resource time used to find the best routes, but also in faster decision making that provides an advantage in the highly competitive freight transportation market. As outlined by RDG, freight customers are looking increasingly towards rail freight as a sustainable solution within their supply chains, but there must be capacity on the rail network to accommodate this demand and, given the low margins of businesses

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Tackling emissions through sustainable travel Rob Whitehead, Director of Strategic Projects at Centre for London looks at how we can make sustainable travel within London, and to London the norm


nyone unconvinced of the climate emergency must have been unsettled by recent flooding in Germany and wildfires in Greece and Algeria. Any remaining doubts that our emissions are causing global temperatures to rise, and more frequent extreme weather events were felled by the latest IPCC report. Climate action has swiftly made its way to the top of many politicians’ agendas with global leaders getting more serious about setting targets. Our Prime Minister has committed the UK to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while the Mayor of London has set a target for our capital to reach net zero by 2030. We urgently need to scale up our activity if we’re going to meet either of these targets, particularly when it comes to transport, which contributes a quarter of London’s CO2 emissions. Back in 2019 around a third of trips in London were made by car, another third by public transport and a quarter by walking or cycling. The pandemic has seen a dramatic shift away from public to private transport, and, to a certain extent walking and cycling. It has rebounded somewhat, but in June, passenger numbers across the Transport for London (TfL) network were still at just under 60 per cent of normal levels.

TfL finances also fell off a cliff during the pandemic. The government refused London the generosity it found for rail companies, so TfL continues to face a long-term funding crisis. The network’s overexposure to a fall in fare revenue led the authority to make emergency deals with the government to keep it afloat. Earlier this summer TfL revealed it faces a £500 million funding gap for this financial year as negotiations with the government for a long-term, sustainable funding deal roll on. Without securing such a deal, there’s only so much TfL can do both to encourage people back onto public transport and to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport in London. But tackling the emissions that our cars, vans, lorries, buses, and trains pump out each day will take more than this. That’s why the Transport Decarbonisation Plan published by the government earlier in the summer is so important. It sets out the direction of travel for the coming years but also the areas that government feels it can make the most gains. One way to tackle carbon emissions is accelerating the move towards electric vehicles. So, the government’s new proposals to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles, much like cars and vans, is the right thing to do. These policies are vital

signals to the market, but when someone can buy and use a new petrol car or lorry in the capital for years to come, or a secondhand conventional car for years beyond that, these targets feel unambitious given the scale, and urgency, of the challenge. Elsewhere other measures are being put in place to help people switch to greener travel options including the government’s focus on increasing electric charging point numbers, and parking policies that push hard against conventional car use. These interventions do help, but nothing in the plan looks likely to trigger the scale and speed of the transition that is needed. The government seems hesitant to use regulation, instead betting that consumer demand and technical innovation will get us to net zero. The number of electric vehicles on our roads has increased exponentially over the last few years, but they still only make up just three per cent of cars across the country. It’s also worth acknowledging that all cars – electric or not – create congestion as well as pollution through brake and tyre wear, while manufacturing and extracting raw materials are very carbon intensive processes – so, especially for London, the government must look for other solutions. Nevertheless, London is ahead of the rest of the country on public transport in some respects. All passenger rail

services operated by TfL are now electrically powered, so the focus there is now on making sure all electric power comes from renewable energy. TfL also plans for there to be 2,000 all-electric buses in operation across the capital by 2025, though that’s still less than a quarter of the city’s fleet. Where the city is falling behind is on affordability, accessibility, and connectivity. London’s public transport is more expensive than any other city in the world, and impractical for many journeys, contributing to the case for a long-term funding deal for TfL with decarbonisation at its heart. Alongside this, it also feels like there are three other missing pieces of the government’s transport decarbonisation jigsaw. The first is dampening demand for car use through road user charging. The government’s plan mentions this briefly in relation to low emissions zones, Rail Professional



The government and TfL should go all out to encourage multi-mode travel by for example introducing e-scooter parking alongside cycle parking at train and bus stations and stops, as well as encouraging operators to increase the amount of space for these vehicles to be carried on board. but nowhere does it consider how pay-per-mile schemes could both encourage people to drive less or switch to greener travel options and raise revenue for the Treasury.

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The second is betting on smaller vehicles. The government has, to their credit, quickened the pace on e-scooters during the pandemic with trials of shared schemes, but they

could go further and look to legalise these micromobility vehicles sooner rather than later. They should also look at stimulating innovation in the market gap between tiny vehicles like scooters and the 1.5 tonne behemoths we call cars (‘heavy micromobility’ as some call them). The government and TfL should go all out to encourage multimode travel by for example introducing e-scooter parking alongside cycle parking at train and bus stations and stops, as well as encouraging operators to increase the amount of space for these vehicles to be carried on board. Thirdly, the government should claw itself out of the Brexit weeds and back highspeed international rail as a serious high volume, low carbon way of addressing the aviation and emissions conundrum, connecting us quickly to around a dozen northern European cities. Imagine boarding trains at St Pancras, or Stratford or

Ashford and alighting in Lyon, Frankfurt or Geneva. This is possible, but it will take a burst of imagination and serious longsighted political leadership to make it real. Together these initiatives could also help us get to a future where sustainable travel within London, and to London is the norm, meet the Mayor’s 2030 goal, and give us a range of enjoyable, green transport options that fit our needs, and our urge to see the world, without harming it.

Rob Whitehead is Director of Strategic Projects at Centre for London. He leads on the Centre’s London Futures work and on environment and transport. He rejoined the Centre in 2020, having helped to found it in 2011. Previously, Rob was Director of Knowledge at Future Cities Catapult and has also worked at the UN’s International Trade Centre and the London Development Agency.



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I’m ready to develop my culture. Now what? Russell Keir, Vice Chair of the Railway Group at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Paul Leach, Human Factors Specialist & Occupational Psychologist at the RSSB explain how to develop a safe culture and how to you know if you are going in the right direction


hichever approach you take to develop culture, the fundamental principles for success are likely to remain the same and are often cited in literature and good practice guides e.g. • Leadership commitment. • Buy-in. • Communication. • Feedback. • Visibility. • Being prepared to change direction. • Learning as you make your way through the change. There are also typical pitfalls. These are often the opposite of the principles describe above, such as poor communication, lack of buy-in, limited leadership support, sticking to the same plan regardless of what the feedback tells you. The mechanics of change management can also be overlooked. This covers area such as: • Resourcing the intervention. • Developing project plans. • Coordinating activity. But should also include the people side of change e.g. understanding and utilising resistance to change, helping people manage and express the positive and negative feelings associated with any type of change and eventually (hopefully!) feel some commitment to the change. Biting off more than you can chew can also be another less discussed pitfall. There can be a tendency to change everything right now – a big bang culture programme that will change everything for everyone. This type of approach can quickly become unmanageable due to size, complexity and the amount of effort and time required. A staggered and phased approach to culture development can be seen as a less attractive option, but it allows an organisation to develop, reflect, learn and apply the learning to another area of the organisation. An example could be implementing a culture

development programme within one location or department. Attention is focused on this one area with lessons and successes recorded. This is then used to build a business case for expansion to another area. This cycle can then continue throughout the organisation, helping the culture development programme improve with each iteration. What about competence? An area that sometimes gets less attention is competence. This may be the competence of those supporting the intervention (leaders), the competence of those implementing the intervention (managers) and the competence of those receiving the intervention (front line staff). Competence can sometimes be taken for granted, but how do you know your leaders have the knowledge and skills to support culture development? How do you know managers can implement the things you are asking them to implement? Are front line staff ready to change and do they have the skills and knowledge to make the desired change? And, how do you know that all these groups believe that the intervention is really the right thing to do and will benefit them and the organisation? Developing culture should include identifying what competencies and level of competence is required to make it happen. Some of these can be done before you start, other aspects can be done during the journey. I’m developing my culture – but how do I know I’m going in the right direction? It is often cited that developing culture is continuous and something that never ends. It instead continually evolves and should always be a focus of attention. It is not surprising that measuring success can be difficult. The safety vision is a good place to start, as measurement is ultimately about determining the extent to which you have achieved the vision e.g. can I see people demonstrating the behaviours we desire? Are the systems in place and helping people

Russell Keir

Paul Leach

demonstrate the desired behaviours? and, is all of this having a positive impact on the management of risk? Measurement should not only be about understanding success but also maintaining momentum. A focus on the bottom line (e.g. safety performance) is understandable but is a long-term pursuit. It can take a while before changes in attitudes and behaviours Rail Professional



Developing culture should include identifying what competencies and level of competence is required to make it happen. translate into improved safety performance. Moreover, the management of safety is multi-causal. This means that many different factors affect safety performance. Safety culture is likely to be one of many factors that affect safety. Using activity-based measures (e.g. leading indicators) can help maintain momentum during a culture programme and allows you to see if you are heading in the right direction to eventually achieve your end goal. These measures can give a better indication of how the programme is progressing and allows

reflection on progress and identification of changes needed to keep progressing in the right direction. My culture development programme is a success! But how do I keep it that way? Another part of the jigsaw is embedding changes so that success continues and becomes business as usual. This can be difficult as once the business spotlight is shone elsewhere; people can start to think that as the development in culture has happened and was a success nothing else is needed. Over time though people can fall back into old habits. Identifying and developing competencies as part of culture development can help, as the behaviours and actions fostered become part of peoples on-going development and competence management activity. On-going measurement and the development of KPIs related to the development of culture can keep the change on the radar and allows on-going monitoring to take place. As part of this, new milestones and activities can be identified so that the development in culture never truly finishes but evolves into something that maintains a continued focus on people, systems and performance. To have continued success, a culture

development programme should utilise peer pressure and peer learning, tapping into and influencing the informal ways that people learn in an organisation. Although there are many ‘formal’ ways to learning e.g. training, briefings, rules and procedures etc, informal learning through peers can be as, if not more, powerful. Influencing this process, through empowerment, involvement, change champions etc, can mean that staff learn the desired behaviours and actions through their peers as well as through more formal means. Also, those who return to the ‘old ways’ of working become the minority. They will stand out and either may bow to peer pressure, or are likely to be challenged by their own peers. Either way, the desired state of any culture development programme is where peers become the custodians of the safety culture and are invested in maintaining positive behaviours, actions, and attitudes because they believe it is the right thing to do. And finally, if you can get to this point, then you know you have been successful. 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

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Unbreaking the record for cyber-attacks Matthew Hawkridge, Chief Technology Officer at Ovarro, the supplier and manufacturer of remote monitoring technologies, explains why secure RTUs can mitigate threats against critical national infrastructure.


ccording to Forbes, 2020 broke all records for data lost in breaches and sheer numbers of cyber-attacks on companies, individuals and governments. These threats are also becoming more sophisticated with emerging technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence and 5G. Fortunately, remote telemetry units (RTUs) allow for better control and visibility when accompanied by advanced development and deployment techniques. But why the rise in incidents? One explanation is that the increased move towards digitalisation and Industry 4.0 has raised cyber-security risks. Cyber-attacks can also affect critical network infrastructure (CNI) like energy, water or oil and gas networks – the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Council (NCSC) is always concerned about the prospect of Russia or China hacking into Britain’s water supply chain. Cyberthreats to CNIs include espionage, targeted attacks from malicious actors, such as hostile states and criminals, and accidental data loss. All have the potential to disrupt our lives and damage the economy. But how can CNI operators embrace digital transformation and all its benefits without inviting cybersecurity risks? The answer lies in RTUs and deployment with the latest NCSC Cyber Assessment Framework (CAF). Secure ease-of-access For decades, telemetry unit systems have been used for remote monitoring of power consumption and battery backup in networks for energy, water and telecommunications by gathering information about critical assets. They work on the simple premise that, if the condition of an asset is understood, then it can be managed efficiently and respond quickly to change. There is immense value in being able to optimise operations and to detect and respond faster to impending issues. These systems are also equipped for WiFi and the advent of 5G – for example, for

process plants with servers in the cloud or in a nearby, air-conditioned control room, the RTU gathers information about critical assets. RTUs are emerging as one of the drivers for the IoT because they can gather and manage large volumes of data for analysis. Also, they are secure against cyber-attacks. Ovarro’s TBox RTU is equipped with a Firewall with four levels of authority, HTTP session authentication and SSL/TLS & X.509 certificates. It also meets the IEEE802.1X standard for devices that connect with other devices on local area networks (LANs). Ovarro also works with highly qualified ‘CHECK’ approved third party penetration testers, cybersecurity experts that help us investigate and discover potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses in our products’ defences. We also publish security advisories on new discoveries upon patching for complete transparency. Going forward, Ovarro is committed to meeting the IEC-62443 standard to secure industrial automation and control

technology systems. But how are these efforts applied in a real-world setting, and where do RTUs fit in? Better Industry 4.0 PetroChina Southwest Oil and Gas Field Company approached Ovarro to support with a digital upgrade project at its Chongqing Gas Mine. The mine is located in the jurisdiction of 277 industrial gas wells with a daily production capacity of 20 million cubic meters. Specifically, the customer wanted to improve remote monitoring of all its key gas wells with a better use of data. A key feature of this digital transformation would be the installation of an internet protocol (IP) camera at each site, giving regular images of the well head. But how could this be achieved securely? Ovarro’s solution was to install a total of 70 solar-powered TBox RTUs within a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The RTUs have the responsibility of capturing and transmitting Rail Professional



an image snapshot each hour, or upon an alarm. In the case of a communications outage, the historian capabilities of the RTU can store months-worth of historical data on pressure, process shut-off valve position and more. This can be backed-up and transmitted to the central control station later, helping protect against data loss. PetroChina has praised the TBox’s builtin cyber security suite with authentication

and encryption technology, which provides state-of-the-art protection of the customer’s assets and data. This example shows that CNI managers can embrace the advantages of Industry 4.0 without compromising cybersecurity. With the right technology like RTUs in place, let’s hope that 2020’s cyberattack records remain unbroken in the future.

About Ovarro Ovarro is the new name for Servelec Technologies and Primayer. Ovarro’s technology is used throughout the world to monitor, control and manage critical and national infrastructure. Our connected technology is always there, always on. Secure, proven, trusted; integrating seamlessly with our clients’ assets. Collecting and communicating data from some of the most remote locations and harshest environments on the planet. Enabling businesses to work smarter and more effectively. Ovarro works with customers across water, oil & gas, broadcast and transportation to help monitor, control and manage their assets. Tel: +44 (0) 1246 437580 Email: Visit: Twitter: LinkedIn:

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Smarter working improves safety and productivity for Network Rail Working smarter, not harder and ensuring track inspection workers get it right first time is the remit of a new digitisation project for Network Rail and the Central Railway Systems Alliance (CRSA), that is delivering efficiencies of up to 70 per cent and track safety improvements thanks to the adoption of digital work instruction platform WorkfloPlus from Intoware


ast year Network Rail and the CRSA approached digital workflow specialists Intoware as data on its track renewals was not being fully captured and utilised efficiently across the business. They aimed to digitise critical data and processes of Network Rail’s frontline teams to help deliver quality data, improvements in track safety and reduce costs. A digital ‘connected worker’ solution was required to help mitigate a series of ongoing challenges for Network Rail’s track renewal operations that included: time lags in receiving documentation and data; sometimes incomplete asset intelligence and a reliance on paper-based processes. It was agreed that an Accelerated Innovation R&D project technology trial, to be delivered from June 2021 would bring together existing innovative solutions to help standardise data collection and reporting for safety critical renewals from legacy paper-based processes into one, easyto-use and adaptable solution to be trialled at Network Rail’s Aston Depot.

With Intoware’s support, Network Rail started to digitise a series of legacy paperbased renewal activities. This meant working with the Aston depot teams on the ground to fully understand their current activities, assess issues and challenges and then design, digitise and standardise the workflows to meet existing requirements and make time, safety and sustainability benefits. Network Rail’s processes are currently focussed on regularly occurring and timeconsuming operations. These processes represent a suite of track assessments and

Hannah Bailey, Business Development Director

The solution Digital work instruction platform WorkfloPlus was chosen as it easily integrates with RealWear HMT-1 (head mounted tablet) assisted reality headsets, tablets or smart phones for collaborative working. Intoware helped Network Rail to create a solution that would allow its workers to easily create, edit and adapt digital workflows using an easy-touse interface. Rail Professional



authorisation activities that are undertaken daily in the lead up to renewals activities to assess the site and ensure the team are prepared for the works to be carried and enable authorisation to progress. These paper-based processes are now standardised to enable a consistent approach across its teams based on best practice. WorkfloPlus has also been integrated with the ‘Track Locator’ app, which means that all data that is collected is automatically tagged with GPS locations, meaning that the location of additional works or hazards can be accessed in real time, providing more robust and accurate information for the business. This technology trial has demonstrated in a short time, that frontline workforce is able to do things quicker, better and smarter to deliver a 70 per cent time saving, thanks to greater accuracy, efficiency and visibility of a ‘connection solution’ for critical track renewal processes. Intoware’s business development director, Hannah Bailey, comments: “We’re really pleased to be partnering with Network Rail, the challenge for this project was to reduce print costs and avoid lengthy delays incurred by paper processes for rail track renewals. But most importantly, improvements in data quality were critical, as incomplete intelligence would necessitate further inspections to recapture missing information to ensure track safety and compliance. ‘WorkfloPlus improves the quality of data captured as it auto generates data reports in ‘real-time’ from inspections that are instantly shared with colleagues and supervisors to deliver significant performance improvements. While ‘handsfree working’ also means better situational awareness so it’s easier for the workforce to pick up on any potential hazards.’ As a result of this technology trial, Network Rail and the CRSA have facilitated a best practice consistent approach for teams to follow across track renewals. WorkfloPlus provides a central repository of data that is automatically updated and

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can be accessed live by a wide range of stakeholders, each with their own relevant dashboard. This additional intelligence, including the identification of trends, risks and opportunities, ensures that Central Rail Systems Alliance is focussed on continuous improvement. The benefits of WorkfloPlus combined with HMT-I’s and other devices are wide ranging: • Reduced time to conduct data collection and reporting • Improved quality and consistency of data, first time • Improved access to data and reporting, gaining faster insights improve decision making • Improved collation and storage of data • Improved worker safety by freeing up workers hands • Reduced paper, printing and photocopying Reduced time to conduct data collection and reporting The connected worker solution allows Network Rail to utilise existing hardware to do things better, faster. Staff are also very clear on what they need to collect, which means they can do this quicker. Improved quality and consistency of data, first time Currently data is captured differently by each worker. This means there are varying quality levels of data provided and often missing, or inaccurate data which requires reassessment and reworks. Standardised and consistent workflows will mean that workers know what data needs to be collected, they will be guided through a process so that know what they need to check, what they need to take photographic evidence of and when issues need to be reported. WorkfloPlus ensures the same standard for all workers. This will mean that the data will be right first time and will significantly reduce the need to undertake re-assessments or extend assessment time due to missing, incomplete or unclear information.

Improved access to data and reporting, gaining faster insights improve decision making Currently it takes several days to collect, collate and report on the data. The solution provides a live cloud based central storage for all assessments. This means that teams will be able to access assessments and refer back to images or written notes provided, all GPS stamped. This solution exports into report structures that replicate existing processes and can be amended easily to align with refinements or improvements made. Trends can be identified and there is an audit trail of data Improved collation and storage of data Currently data is written on paper and then written into Excel or Word documents, which are then circulated by email. A digitised solution will mean that the information that workers are collecting is secure in the cloud and can be accessible at a later date for finalisation and submission. Rather than the need to make written notes and then transcribe them two or three days later, the information can be inputted and submitted immediately or as soon as the worker is ready. Track locator provides GPS stamp and there is an audit trail of data. Improved worker safety by freeing up workers hands Rather than taking pens and swathes of blank paper for note taking or print outs and photocopies of designs, form templates or the need for reference materials, the solution will enable the worker to take out either their mobile phone, their iPad or a HMT1 device and they can collect everything they need. Reduced paper, printing and photocopying It is estimated that for every process completed between ten to 20 sheets of paper are needed for note taking and up to ten photocopies. The new process will remove this requirement. Chloe Denham, Programme Manager Innovation, The Central Railway Systems Alliance: ‘By working collaboratively with digital specialists Intoware we have successfully trialled WorkfloPlus, its digital work instruction platform together with RealWear’s voice-controlled headsets to successfully capture track renewal data, paving the way for the future of frontline teams. Our previous paper-based systems were replaced with a single collaborative hands-free solution that allows data to be consistently captured and shared with colleagues to satisfy regulatory compliance. Its application has been proven to deliver efficiencies of up to 70 per cent, reducing costs and improving worker safety on site. By digitising critical track renewal processes in this way as part of an NWR R&D trial, it will help to further advance innovation as the results are now being shared and adopted by the wider business.’

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Cyber vulnerabilities and safety risks across the digital railway Dr Emma Taylor CEng FIMechE FSaRS, Head of Digital Safety at RazorSecure explains how the implementation of cybersecurity in the railway has evolved considerably over the past ten years


nitially, cybersecurity focused around developing and implementing technical products and solutions, often as a quick fix in response to an identified vulnerability. More recently, cybersecurity certifications and standards have been introduced to encourage further cyber resilience. And now, we have begun to see how building the culture as the next step on cybersecurity’s evolution recognises that people make an organisation secure, not just technology. Although a cybersecurity culture started with basic awareness training, the sector is adapting as organisations understand that people can be both the best response to cyber-attacks, and the weakest link. A cybersecurity culture begins by creating a cybersecurity mind-set in all staff, including senior management, that the risk is real and their daily actions and decisions can impact that risk. Just as safety is now seen as something where everyone must play their part, so it must be with cybersecurity. When people think of a cybersecurity ‘insider threat’ they usually picture a malicious employee seeking to cause disruption. In reality, an insider threat is more than likely to be from ‘accidental security incidents’. These are incidents that can be caused by several different factors, such as poorly designed security processes, genuine mistakes, or staff unaware of the behaviours they need to follow in line with a security protocol. To get security culture right, it’s critical to foster an environment where everyone is security conscious. The modern rail network has rapidly evolved, which has led to large-scale increases in the quantity of systems on-board a modern digital train. When considering cybersecurity risk, it is important to consider the motivations of

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different people engaging with each system and the operational risk associated with changes. Only some of these systems have a high level of safety integrity, and with up to 100 systems on-board a train, it can represent a target rich environment for a determined attacker. The primary goal of railway cybersecurity is to protect the system’s essential functions which, in some cases, are required to maintain the safety and availability of the rail network. Culture, within safety and cybersecurity is essential, however technical cybersecurity measures need to be implemented to provide protection allowing the train to maintain a continuous operation. It is a balancing act which is continuously evolving. Cybersecurity – a technical challenge with a technical solution New networks on rolling-stock are more complex than conventional networks found on established rolling stock and IT infrastructure. This requires a cybersecurity programme that considers the distinctive challenges involved with a moving digital data centre. A fleet will contain train control systems, monitoring systems, passenger information systems, video surveillance cameras, HVAC, and Wi-Fi systems, amongst many others. The more ‘digital’ and connected the systems within rail networks become, the more vulnerable the critical systems are to cyber threats. The railway is in effect becoming a huge and mobile network of highly connected computers processing and analysing data. Cybersecurity begins with a fundamental challenge; if you do not know what is connected to your network then you cannot secure it; a network is only as strong as its weakest link. A rail cybersecurity strategy must be based on establishing visibility of systems, to effectively protect the infrastructure from ongoing cybersecurity threats. An understanding of your assets will discover how they are exposed, and how you can mitigate the risks. Establishing visibility of systems is referred to as ‘asset discovery’ and is the first step for ensuring operational continuity, reliability, and safety. If rail operators know the assets they have in their environment, it enables them to conduct more effective vulnerability and risk analyses. With new vulnerabilities developing daily, it is important to know your assets better than the threat actor does. If you are not able to identify weak spots, it is impossible to protect yourself from every threat. You cannot secure what you cannot see. Cyber incidents will not always be actioned by external sources, and insider attacks may allow threat actors to bypass many measures of perimeter cybersecurity. By monitoring activity within the network, rail operators can detect cyber incidents that occur beyond the secured perimeter. An example of suspicious communications

could be between the Train Control Management System (TCMS) and an internet connected, IP-enabled device in your network. If a device such as a video surveillance camera is trying to communicate with a safety critical control system – it is probably misconfigured or acting maliciously. It is recommended to use a ‘defence in depth’ approach, which is a cybersecurity principle based on ‘layers’ of protective measures, from physical to technical coding and communication protocols. Defence in depth aims to reduce the vulnerability of systems by eliminating single points of failure within the systems’ various levels of protection. Layered cybersecurity, along with network segmentation, increases the security robustness of the network as a whole. Ed Hodson, Chair of the IOSH Railway Group, noted at a recent IOSH webinar the analogy with the Swiss Cheese Model in health and safety: ‘If the layers of defence are breached, the inevitable risk will materialise. The questions to ask are; Are your digital systems adequately protected? Do you have a secure system and network design and configuration? And, finally, is there Defence in Depth secured by Secure by Design and subjected to authentication.’ The regulation of cybersecurity and safety and standards Safety regulation of the rail industry is well established in many countries worldwide with regulatory agencies such as the UK’s Office of Rail and Road (ORR) playing a key role in requiring the active use of Safety Management Systems. Co-ordination is also implemented by international organisations such as European Agency for Railways (ERA), and technical understanding is enabled through standards organisations such as ISO and CENELEC. Recent cybersecurity legislation such as the EU NIS Directive has put in place financial penalties for failure to meet requirements as well as increased the range of systems within scope. Governments have also increased focus on specific challenges associated with maintaining safe and efficient operations of an increasingly complex and digital system as part of national infrastructure. Taken overall, implementation of safety through existing legislation is now being driven into the digital domain through a combination of new legislation, standards and guidance and policy and governmental shifts. The rail industry needs to keep pace with these changes. Cybersecurity – prevention incorporating positive change While visibility and monitoring are vital components of cybersecurity, the data received from these measures should not be just a cybersecurity use case. Operators can benefit from operational efficiency. With better data, operators can make proactive decisions based on accurate feedback in real-


time. This could ensure potential failures are detected early and are dealt with before they result in significant operational disruption. Conversely, an incomplete and ongoing asset management could result in a commercial and financial performance impairment. The investigation of the Cambrian ERTMS incident by the RAIB, probed into why and how a complex software-system went wrong, can require a deep dive and forensic analysis, rightly engaging many industry resources. Effective digital risk management includes all digital parts in the supply chain. Given that this involves integration of electronic systems within the physical rolling stock infrastructure, cybersecurity must form part of product assurance and competency framework used as part of assurance of suppliers. A global supply chain increases the need for this focus on commercial and financial and the safety elements of cybersecurity. Addressing the benefits and challenges from digitalised railway systems Rail organisations are responding to regulatory changes in cybersecurity and importantly, through work with manufacturers, operators and owning companies, technical aspects of cybersecurity are beginning to be considered and implemented under the umbrella of achieving safety. Although we work with advanced technologies that are embedded in railway digital infrastructure, industry priorities should go beyond just technological solutions and work towards the development of an industry wide cybersecurity culture that understands the role cybersecurity plays when maintaining a safe railway. A new approach is taking place to meet the main goal of railway cybersecurity in parallel with a strengthened security-focused culture and understanding. An increase in cybersecurity culture will create a positive drive towards collaboration with safety, and integration of disciplines and sectors as part of a system-wide approach to management of all safety risks, including those of a digital origin. Dr Emma Taylor CEng FIMechE FSaRS is a Chartered Engineer with more than 25 years of safety, risk and design experience across space, energy and transport. As Head of Digital Safety at RazorSecure, a rail cybersecurity solutions company, Emma is leading the integration of safety and security for the railway, UK and worldwide. Ed Hodson LLM BSc(Hons) CMIOSH AIRO is the Chair of the IOSH Railway Group. A Chartered health and safety professional with experience in rail safety, audit and regulation, Ed is a Senior Consultant at Law Firm Rradar. Ed Hodson recently introduced Dr Emma Taylor to raise the awareness of cybersecurity to the Group in the webinar ‘Digital Systems in the Modern Railway – Vulnerabilities and Opportunities’. The webinar led to a great deal of interest in cybersecurity and a request for more information from Dr Taylor, whose webinar can be viewed at Rail Professional

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A different track? In a new discussion paper, the Institution of Civil Engineers explores the impact of Covid-19 on public transport networks, and how the funding model will need to adapt to changing behaviours and demand, Jonathan Spruce, ICE Policy Fellow explains


eptember traditionally sees the return of children to school and adults to work, which for many people – up until very recently – meant a return to their commute by train. The brief respite in the school holidays when peak hour services weren’t packed would be a diminishing memory and the sniffles and coughs that signal the onset of autumn would become a little more audible in carriages everywhere. But not necessarily this year, and maybe even any other year. The remaining legal Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted across the UK over the last few months and the ‘work from home’ guidance has been quietly dropped. However, the way people now view how, when and with whom they travel may well have been permanently altered. As society continues to open back up again, it’s important to look to the future and start thinking about how the pandemic has changed things in the long-term. When lockdown restrictions were put in place, the entire public transport sector effectively became unviable – it has survived in the UK through the Government offering emergency funding, to pay for services that are no longer being used to the extent they were planned for. While there will undoubtedly be a need for Government subsidies to continue on a short-term basis, a continuing operating subsidy may be an unpalatable option to taxpayers, and a route to a declining service. With restrictions easing, patterns of use on public transport may begin to change once again. However, given the shift away from a traditional 9-5 working model, revenue

models based on peak time travel will require rethinking. Fares need to strike a balance between providing revenue and re-invigorating patronage growth – just a few weeks ago, there were calls by rail groups for a freeze on rail fares, after the Office of National Statistics suggested they could rise by 4.8 per cent in January on the basis of the agreed formula for non-regulated fares, but with an anomaly in terms of inflation caused by Covid-19. With more people likely to continue working from home, it’s not surprising fares may need to rise, but is it fair and sustainable? The costs of uncertain, shortterm bailout packages without a clear transition plan could begin a spiral of decline and cuts to both public transport services and capital projects that would take years to recover from. Achieving our carbon emission reduction targets will be made so much harder by any decline in services. There is no credible route to net zero without an effective, yet financially sustainable, public transport system – simply converting to electric vehicles will not achieve the levels of carbon reduction required, so moving some journeys away from cars will still be necessary. Rail plays a role in providing an alternative for local and longer distance passenger journeys as well as freight, and whilst recent investment decisions have started to reflect this key role as well as the more simplistic approach to journey time savings that has been adopted in the past, the change in behaviour and potentially patronage will mean that the rial industry will need to advocate its clear and obvious advantages to a net zero transport system more coherently.

The need for an urgent debate around funding models for transport systems has been highlighted by the Institution of Civil Engineers on more than one occasion, but the importance of having such a debate and developing a new model has never been more critical. This shift in thinking needs to happen at just the time when we need to be promoting sustainable modes if we are to achieve net zero, as well as the time when the rail industry is moving towards a new means of securing passenger services following the publication of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail. The most straightforward long-term solution is a stable agreement between the Government and public transport operators to fund the gap, recognising the contribution that public transport makes to achieving wider societal goals. However, such an approach could be expected to meet with public and political opposition if passenger numbers do not significantly increase. Up until 2020, passenger journeys on Britain’s rail network were at an all-time high, having doubled over the past 20 years to almost 1.8 billion. While there is

uncertainty about the extent to which people will return to using public transport longterm, an immediate return to pre-Covid levels of use is unlikely. It is possible that the public will demand a different offering from public transport networks in the future. Rail may support longer, less frequent journeys for commuting, and shorter, more frequent journeys for shopping and socialising. The structure of fares and ticketing offers needs to reflect this, an area that the introduction, in late June, of flexible train passes, started, although there has been some debate on the actual value offered on some journeys. There are clear opportunities for rail to become more dominant as a transport option for leisure purposes, potentially aligned with behavioural changes driven by factors such as net zero, but this may also require a change in how rail services are marketed. Therefore, the rail industry will need to think about new funding models, including policies like road user charging and land value capture, how to fund and finance services on a systemsbasis, and more diversified revenue sources. Rail Professional



A recent ICE paper does not prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach – it needs to be done with a mind to local circumstances and in line with an increasing devolutionary approach to urban transport in the UK. The rail industry clearly has a large part to play in this – being used not just by the public for commuting or travelling purposes, but for transport of goods/services. Road user charging as a means to solely obtain more funding is a difficult and thorny issue, and one unlikely to be accepted by the wider public. However, recent polling from Ipsos MORI shows that support for road user charging in the UK has increased significantly since 2007 – then it was about 33 per cent whereas now it is approaching double that.

Support increases further if the revenues are then used to improve public transport or to tackle climate change or air pollution. This suggests that there may be scope to consider this within larger urban areas where the scope to improve local rail services may be more immediate. Land value capture is already in play as part of the

development of the business case for the re-opening of the Northumberland Line, and there have been a number of attempts to quantify the spin-off benefits to urban areas of improving key rail stations. How such benefits are realised in practice as part of any new model remain unresolved, for example, studies have found, however, that there is an estimated land value

uplift of £5.5 billion within one kilometre of a Crossrail station, with the revenue-based Community Infrastructure Levy associated with it capturing only just over ten per cent of that value. A recent ICE paper does not prescribe a one-size-fitsall approach – it needs to be done with a mind to local circumstances and in line with an increasing devolutionary approach to urban transport in the UK. The rail industry clearly has a large part to play in this – being used not just by the public for commuting or travelling purposes, but for transport of goods/services. Further, with the looming 2050 net zero target, moving more vehicles off the road is essential, and looking for more carbon-friendly travel methods, means the rail industry needs to think now about how it can respond best. How much do we value our public transport network? That is the question we all need to try and answer.

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The New and Improved IRO Mentoring Platform is Here The new IRO Mentoring online platform enable Mentors and Mentees to easily sign up and start their Mentoring Relationship on one easy to use platform. It has been developed to provide a better managed relationship between the Mentor and the Mentee to encourage knowledge sharing, best practice, improve skills and competencies.

What can the Mentoring Scheme do for my Career?

Mentoring can be extremely effective in helping individuals to improve their skill set - both for Mentors and Mentees, as both parties will experience personal development through their involvement in the mentoring relationship.

Benefits for Mentors

» Nurturing talent and growing capabilities » Gaining satisfaction from helping a colleague to develop » Unlocking potential » Be instrumental in a career transition » Contributes to CPD

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Develop themselves Meet and succeed at challenges Recognise strengths and weaknesses Learn to build on strengths Learn by example and mistakes Do things differently Gain knowledge Practice effective inter-personal skills

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The IRO Mentoring Scheme is only open to IRO members, and you will need your IRO Membership number to join. To become a Mentor, you must be at either Member or Fellow level membership. If you have forgotten your details, please contact To join IRO, please visit and register. If your organisation is a corporate member of the Institution you can join for free, simply select your organisation upon registration. For more information about the IRO Mentoring Scheme, visit Rail Professional



Seeing rail in another dimension Ten years ago, Agility3 turned a 3D vision into a digital reality


t brought the latest modelling and simulation technologies within the reach of the rail industry, enabling it to understand, embrace, and use interactive 3D, and integrate it into its business functions to drive operational benefits in a way it never previously could. Rail continues to be a key focus for Agility3, and the company has delivered a wide range of solutions for the sector, covering everything from 3D modelling that enables stakeholders to assess proposed station upgrades, to interactive applications for visualising complete rail networks, and much more. These are used not only by railway operators, infrastructure managers and research institutes, but also by railway simulation providers who are looking to enhance the capabilities of their own products, in order to create a more compelling and marketable offering. Below, we take a look at just one recent project that relied on rail solutions from Agility3, and briefly explore the benefits delivered in terms of cost savings, decisionmaking, and risk reduction – amongst others. ProRail: getting the most out of the network Increasing flexibility and capacity in daily rail operations through better decision support systems like ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) sounds good on paper – but in practice it can only

work smoothly if the impact of such systems on train drivers, controllers, and other personnel involved in the operation of the railway is fully understood. This was why Dutch rail network infrastructure manager ProRail turned to Agility3 to provide an accurate 3D driver view ‘out of the cab’ that would replicate real world signs, signals, and other features,

and demonstrate how these appear or behave differently as a result of changes to procedures and schedules driven by the ongoing introduction of ERTMS. See what the driver sees In the solution, existing track, station, and asset data is presented faithfully, but also in a way that takes into account scenario-specific effects (for example, weather, sunlight, shadow, night-driving, the presence of other trains and rolling stock) and how these might be exacerbated or mitigated by ERTMS’s effect on timings, track occupancy, and other planning and operational parameters. This integrated 3D view enables ProRail to gain a thorough insight into how ERTMS will impact the experience of a train driver, and helps it to test, improve, and validate the processes that take place between train drivers and controllers – significantly mitigating risks. Performance, punctuality, energy: the optimum balance But the benefits are not just confined to

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risk reduction. Efficiency and resource usage also improve as the solution integrates with existing traffic management systems to model multiple scenarios (advisory speeds, booking of routes, change of track allocation, etc.) to improve traffic performance and optimise punctuality and throughput against energy consumption. Better performance, less risk, greater fuel efficiency, and, ultimately, a greener economy, as rail is now poised to offer more capacity to rival travel and freight by road than it ever has before. Digital is a new dimension for rail in more ways than one.

Taking rail digital: success stories and getting started ProRail is just one of many high-profile customers that Agility3 has worked with in the rail sector, which also include Transport for London (TfL), Birmingham University’s Centre for Rail Research and Education (BCRRE), Network Rail, and many others. And although specialist bespoke development is always in scope where needed, the stunning realism and modelling that delivers both the critical view from the cab and the ability to build and edit 3D environments in minutes is available in offthe-shelf products that are, of themselves,


inherently customisable – enabling 3D asset packs to be easily created for even the most specific of environments. Combined with standard, off-the-shelf hardware, and integration with existing geographical and infrastructure data and simulators, these innovations come together to deliver a powerful 3D solution for ERTMS planning, infrastructure design, training, and optimisation. Next stop: A virtual platform! Tel: 01438 488066 Email: Visit:

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The fine art of remote data centre management DB Systel UK, the digital partner of Deutsche Bahn and subsidiary of DB Systel GmbH, provides managed IT services across the DB Group


B Systel UK has to pitch on the open market for many of its contracts – even for those relating to other DB Group companies. Because of this, DB Systel UK’s services need to demonstrate value for money, strong security posture, scalability, and reliability – just like any other managed service provider. The choice of data centre provider is therefore of paramount importance. DB Systel UK approached Node4 in 2017 when the company was given twelve months to migrate from its on-premises data centre. The pressure was on because if DB Systel UK remained in the data centre with its 800+ servers, it would be hit with extremely high single occupancy service charges. At the time, DB Systel UK only provided managed services to other DB Group companies and some of these organisations saw the changes at the data centre as an

The magic of DB Systel UK: keeping trains running

opportunity to move from DB Systel UK’s private infrastructure to public cloud – using AWS and other providers. ‘We had to find a suitable colocation partner for those internal customers that wanted to carry on using our private infrastructure services, but that was only part of the story,’ comments Darren Unwin, IS Operations Director at DB Systel UK. ‘We still had to provide support for those businesses wanting to use a public cloud architecture. The DB Group is understandably very strict when it comes to security. We couldn’t just switch them to regular public cloud providers with a direct feed from the internet. The connection would still need to pass through our internal security architecture – including our firewall and various perimeter protections. This meant we needed an IT partner that could help us assemble and manage a highly complex IT infrastructure – and integrate it with our existing security protocols.’

The solution After successfully winning the contract, Node4 began the data centre migration process. Today, the company hosts eight racks of servers for DB Systel UK split between Node 4’s data centres. The data centres are linked by a 10GB highperformance DWDM fibre link and a resilient 1GB backup capability for added redundancy. DB Systel UK runs Active/Active clustering between both data centres. This prevents either location from getting overloaded and balances workloads between both sites – thereby improving throughput and response times even during peak usage. In addition, Node4 manages several direct peer-to-peer links that connect with DB Systel UK’s Doncaster HQ and additionally into AWS. The solution also includes backup and recovery services, business continuity, tape archive management and project-based consultancy – and DB Systel UK receives Rail Professional



remote support for day-to-day data centre management from Node4’s operations and network teams. ‘DB Systel UK’s IS Operations team visited several data centre providers. We had a substantial evaluation process covering the key onsite facilities, including security, fire protection, CCTV and perimeter defences. We also looked deeply into cultural alignment and concluded that Node4 had the same values and priorities as us’ Darren recalls. ‘From day one, we had an unspoken agreement. We’d always talk honestly and openly about our IT needs – and any issues on either side – to make sure there were no bottlenecks or potential issues that could be detrimental to our operations. Three years down the line, and this policy continues to work extremely well for us – I have total trust in our Node4 account manager.’ Node4 also provides DB Systel UK with

The Node4 team who make it possible

DB trains run efficiently with the managed IT services of DB Systels UK and Node4

DDoS protection to mitigate against distributed denial of service and phishing attacks – some of the biggest current cyber threats faced by the business. The service delivers additional cybersecurity support and builds on the existing firewall protection. It monitors for attacks round the clock, ensuring minimal disruption to DB Systel UK’s IT services and securing against potential data loss. Rail Professional

The results The benefits of Node4’s managed data centre solution include reduced management overheads, improved profitability and increased resiliency. It has enabled the company to successfully bid for more commercial work outside of the DB Group – generating more revenue and acting as a catalyst for growth. Darren notes that Node4 has also changed

the way that DB Systel UK manages its data centre. He explains: ‘Working with Node4 brought about a raft of positive changes, and we’ve learned a lot from the team – particularly about data centre management and customer communications. We’ve always been used to walking into our data centre and carrying out upgrades and maintenance ourselves. But with Node4, it’s all done by a team of remote hands – the company’s specially trained data centre and managed cabling experts that troubleshoot problems on our behalf and handle planned maintenance.’ He continues: ‘When Covid struck, we’d already got remote data centre management down to a fine art and were able to work seamlessly with Node4’s remote hands to keep our operations up and running. In fact, we’ve been so impressed by the way Node4 communicates with us ahead of any upgrades that we’ve actually adopted those processes and principles ourselves when talking to our customers.’ The solution also delivers on reliability. DB Systel UK’s data centres support traveller-facing technology and systems, including ticket sale machines and train service coordination – so they’re essential to revenue generation and customer experience. Outages can disrupt journeys, freight movement around the UK and mainland Europe and behind-the-scenes business processes. Darren expands: ‘Fortunately, we’ve never had a data centre outage or issue with Node4, so it’s one less worry for me to have to think about – and it’s particularly appreciated as we couldn’t always say the same thing about our previous provider.’ He concludes: ‘Node4 provides DB Systel UK with a highly stable platform – and is a very well-run organisation. This gives us great confidence on a day-to-day basis while also letting us develop a sustainable longterm IT strategy that benefits our customers and us. We’re planning to take on more services from Node4 in the future – so watch this space to see how the project develops.’

No matter the project you’re working on, we can get you up to speed with industry best practice. We’re an independent body that makes collective industry knowledge freely available to our members. Our tools, resources and engineering services allow the railway to be safer and more sustainable. We also offer consulting, training, research and events. So there’s no need to duplicate work that’s already been done. Here are three of the hundreds of resources we offer:

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Our RED Programmes are safety briefing videos that will help you raise awareness of operational safety issues to your workforce.

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SENCITY® Rail MIMO Low Profile Rooftop Antenna Utilise as much space as possible and still get great connectivity on a double decker train with the SENCITY® Rail MIMO Low Profile antenna, an omni-directional rooftop MIMO antenna that is just 40 mm in height. It covers services for 5G and Wi-Fi 6E bands and includes multiband GNSS options.

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Very low profile (40 mm) supports installation on trains with narrow gauging requirements Rugged design meets EN 50155 railway standard Fire retardant according to EN 45545-2 and NFPA-130 Works also on non-metallic surfaces

To read more about the SENCITY® Rail MIMO Low Profile Rooftop antenna, scan the QR code Rail Professional



Antennas: the key to enabling fast connectivity on trains As society becomes increasingly connected and digitally driven, people travelling by train expect fast connectivity at their fingertips and enough space to have a comfortable journey says Daniel Montagnese, Head Product Management Antennas at HUBER+SUHNER


ith the internet being such a large part of everyday life, passengers want to be able to check their emails, stream videos to stay entertained or contact friends and family while travelling. As such, the top priorities of operators are passenger capacity and comfort. This means that modern train designs need to utilise as much space as possible inside and outside the carriage, leaving little room for roof mounted equipment, such as antennas. However, with antennas playing a vital role in ensuring fast and smooth connectivity, this can leave rail operators with a significant challenge to overcome. Overcoming environmental challenges External rooftop antennas allow for plenty of space inside the carriage to keep passengers as comfortable as possible, while enabling fast connectivity to be provided. With many different rooftop antennas available to purchase, rail operators must carefully consider which one will best suit their needs and more importantly, the needs of their passengers. As they are exposed to the elements, a rooftop antenna must be hardy and resistant. It must be able to withstand tough conditions and offer longevity and reliability no matter the environment it is travelling through. Trains encounter many different types of terrains, landscapes and weather conditions, so rooftop antennas must be selected with these factors in mind. It is not unusual for operators to apply silicone to the outer edge of a rooftop antenna, in order to protect the device against wet weather conditions. However, when silicone is applied, removing or replacing the antenna becomes challenging and complex, and can

HUBER+SUHNER SENCITY® Rail Low-Profile antenna featuers own secondary seal

cost the operator valuable time, resources and money. To prevent this, operators should look at an antenna that features its own secondary seal. This provides an extra layer of protection for electrical components and no costly adaptions are needed. High voltage and current protection are also vital, for infrastructure on the outside of the train. Overhead lines can carry up to 25,000 volts, which is 100 times greater than the supply we receive to our homes. While this is necessary for the everyday running of the train, operators must be diligent when choosing external mountings and opt for those designed to redirect the dangerous energy from the catenary line away from the RF path. Operators cannot simply attach anything they like to the exterior of the train. When passing through tunnels, the train must

adhere to strict height restrictions which allow the carriage to complete its journey safely, without damaging infrastructure. Particularly in regions like Europe, where bi-level rail cars (or double decker trains) are common, there can be a miniscule amount of space between the train’s rooftop and the tunnel ceiling. To overcome this challenge, operators should implement low-profile solutions, which sit relatively flat to the train’s rooftop, and do not cause an obstruction to existing permanent infrastructure. Staying future-ready Whether passengers are completing their daily commute, or travelling cross country, modern connectivity expectations are stringent. Activities such as video streaming or online gaming require a high-speed Rail Professional



Very low profile (40mm) supports installation on trains with narrow gauging requirements.

connection to function, and without this, passengers will become frustrated. In order to stay future-ready, operators should choose antennas that are equipped for 5G, as well as the upcoming Wi-Fi 6E protocol. By doing this, they can accommodate the latest generation of internet, keeping customers satisfied and staying ahead of the competition. Another way to stay future-ready, is for operators to join the migration from legacy GPS navigation to GNSS systems like Galileo, BeiDou and GLONASS. As well as offering greater accuracy and resilience, GNSS systems utilize many more satellites,

meaning there are more available signals resulting in greater accuracy in a move towards the ultimate end goal – a better connection. Antennas which provide access to dual-band GNSS ensure greater access to the maximum number of data sources, enabling operators to provide the best possible chance of a reliable connection. An important part of staying futureready, is the realization that at some point – infrastructure will need to be upgraded. Portfolios of equipment which use the same mounting interface make this process simple and hassle-free, meaning less installation time, saving operators costs. Portfolios like the HUBER+SUHNER SENCITY® Rail portfolio not only have a common interface, but also work with the interface that the Kathrein rail antennas have been used for decades. A swift upgrade is vital for minimum interference and maintenance. Stringent regulations can stop the smoothest of plans in their tracks, especially when they differ from region to region. Many rail operators want to deploy train infrastructure across the world,

meaning they must comply with a variety of local rules. To prevent a headache, operators should implement equipment which is certified according to EN45545 and NFPA-130 regulations, so it can be deployed without hassle, wherever the business takes it. Choosing wisely When choosing connectivity solutions, factors like form height, mountings and environmental protection may seem menial to operators. However, paying close attention to these details, is how malfunctions, damages, and subsequent down-time and customer dissatisfaction are avoided. Those who opt for a low-profile, future-ready design, will be the ones who see infrastructure meet high expectations for years to come.

Email: Visit: products/radio-frequency/antennas/railway/ sencity-rail-low-profile

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Robots keeping railway passengers safe Michel Spruijt, Brain Corp’s European Director, explores the increasing adoption of autonomous robots across railway operations, and what it means for the sector’s future


he key to survival is adaptation. This truth has applied to many sectors in the wake of Covid-19, and train stations have been no exception. In their fight to keep the virus at bay and restore public confidence in rail travel, train stations have introduced a variety of workarounds and technologies. Chief among these has been autonomous cleaning machines, or robots, which have made their first tracks across European platforms. Owing to the greater transmissibility of the Delta variant of the virus, railway companies have increased their cleaning and sanitisation methods to ensure a safe environment for passengers. The obvious solution for many railway companies has been high-tech cleaning crews, sanitisation routines and touchless systems. A selection of major train stations, such as Rotterdam Central station, are testing autonomous cleaning robots to assist staff and protect passengers. How these machines work Modern cleaning robots resemble traditional devices that can be operated manually but differ from older machines in one key respect: they have an additional feature that allows them to go about their cleaning route autonomously. This function is achieved by equipping robots with sensors and an AI-powered operating system which acts as a ‘brain’ within the machine. In this setup, the cleaners still oversee the cleaning operation; they clean as they would normally clean, but now aided by a robot able to track and report surface areas that have been covered. Heat maps and other metrics reports are generated that trace each cleaning route. Cleaning of these routes can be repeated with a simple touch of a button on the user interface. The robot will then follow the track it learned from its human ‘trainer’. This ‘teach and repeat’ feature is very straightforward, which means that it is easy and intuitive for non-specialist staff to program these devices. What’s more, the data that the robot generates on the job is published on a cloud-based portal, so that managers can see what sections of a station have been cleaned, and when the cleaning took place. Managers can access the heat maps, which depict pre-programmed cleaning routes, and verify that predetermined standards have been met. How cleaning robots help cleaners and passengers In essence, automated cleaning means reliability when it is needed most. And in the context of a virulent global pandemic, keeping passengers safe by way of greater hygiene efforts has become top of mind in train station operational priorities. It was announced earlier this year that traveller numbers and rail fares have collapsed in the context of Covid-19. This problem is not without deeper precedent. A continent-wide EC survey on railway passenger satisfaction found that as early as 2011 a considerable proportion of passengers (36 per cent) were dissatisfied with the cleanliness of station facilities. Cleaning staff at train stations have faced an enormous burden These robots serve as an added asset to in-house cleaning teams,

allowing more platform space to be cleaned with the same number of staff. Robots tackle the most repetitive aspect of the cleaning beat – namely, floor scrubbing – which allows for more high-contact, infection-prone non-floor surfaces to be dealt with more assiduously by station staff. With floor cleaning staff allocated to other tasks, it becomes possible to draw more value from the team, which can in turn handle more tasks with the same amount of people as before. Moreover, as robots never call in sick or late, they offer a more secure operation. This division of cleaning labour means more safety for day-to-day passengers. The difference between manual methods and an AI-driven machine is that the latter provides greater consistency when cleaning. When a human sits on a cleaning machine, or cleans a platform manually, the consistency is commonly not to the standard of what can be achieved by a trackable automated machine. In addition, it should be noted that cleaning robots are a strong visual symbol for supercharged hygiene and general technological innovation. Autonomous cleaning robots are a visible upgrade on previous hygiene efforts. The visual effect created by such devices is unmistakable: when a passenger sees a cleaning robot in action, they recognise that the station and its management is doing its utmost to keep the space clean and virus-free. Both customers and staff alike can feel confident their safety is prioritised. Rail Professional



Certifiable clean With standards high for the post-Covid world we are now entering, safety is set to remain a key public concern, with cleanliness a top priority for railway passengers. According to a recent report from Milestone Systems, in the fallout from Covid-19, almost four in ten (39 per cent) are more reluctant than before to use public transport. To fight this fear, cleaning robots continually update with improved software via the cloud to include features that allow them to upgrade their performance. Being able to amass rich cleaning data while deployed allows users to track robots’ cleaning performance, which helps improve best practice. These machines provide verifiable snapshots of their cleaning routes, which means that managers can ensure compliance with safeguarding guidelines. Data can also be used to optimize the performance of their operations over time. With a digitised overview accessible in real time, managers can meet corporate hygiene goals with greater confidence and accuracy. Robots to the rescue Autonomous cleaning machines have entered a plethora of industrial sectors on the back of the pandemic. Sales of mobile cleaning robots have soared, with 73 per cent of supply chain managers stating that robotics will be important in the future. As potential hotspots for Covid-19 infections, train stations have their image at stake. By increasing their efforts to keep platforms clean, railway managers have taken bold strides to reassure the public that trains and stations are safe and open for business. However, the significance of robots is not limited to the context of Covid-19. An alarming report published recently found that the UK rail industry is on track to face a shortage of critical skilled workers in the near future, facing a shortfall of 120,000 people in the sector over the next five years. Innovations such as cleaning robots can help offset this shortage, allowing stations to become more self-sufficient in keeping up with steadily climbing passenger volumes.

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What this means for the future Autonomous cleaning robots are one addition among many in railway operations that are modernising constantly. Habitually, such drives look to make trains run more punctually for the sake of improving customer satisfaction. But with the instant need to reassure passengers back on board, platform hygiene quickly became a pressing concern. With Covid-19 set to linger in some form beyond the point of herd immunity, according to McKinsey’s research, longer-term planning is on the agenda for station managers looking to ensure resilience and keep platforms running at capacity. Naturally, meeting increased demands means making the most of apt innovations. In light of this, the RSSB published a report that bemoaned the absence of an innovative mindset: ‘Industry is not fully using and realising the benefits technology can bring to station operations.’ We all know the cliche that crisis is another word for opportunity, and the needs created by the virus can be seen as a chance for train stations to get cleaner and smarter, with the aim of an improved service for passengers. The past year and a half has seen a breakneck automation spurt owing to an unprecedented health crisis. Within a relatively brief period, robots have become benchmark partners in cleaning operations across high-density public spaces, such as train stations. This is a timely intervention, given that the most recent Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors report states that the importance of cleaning is tipped to grow considerably throughout next year. Within the foreseeable future, the greater usage of autonomous robotic units will become associated with safer train stations and more efficient site maintenance.

Michel Spruijt is Brain Corp’s European Director

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The evolution of training There is no better time to embrace the digitalisation of your industry and bring your business’s competency management online


he railway industry continues to take steady strides towards a more digital future and with the ‘new normal’ undoubtedly being technologydriven, digitalisation continues to be the theme of the moment. This road to digitalisation across all industries can be tracked back to the introduction of the internet in the late twentieth century. Now, there is a clear expectation that organisations keep up and digitalise their services. The rail sector has done just that with examples such as online booking services and automated operations. The industry continues to develop digitalisation plans to transform the network for passengers, business, and freight operators – by deploying modern signalling and train control technology to increase capacity, reduce delays, enhance safety and reduce costs. The developments introduced by digitalisation in the sector are recognised by many stakeholders as both an opportunity and a challenge. A more digital and efficient way of working requires a change in mindset, business models and often large financial investments. The rise of digitalisation will simultaneously require counteractive strategies to tackle cyber threats and protect their assets. Addressing these challenges will allow digitalisation to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the railway sector. With huge rail infrastructure projects, large investment in rail transport, and ever increasing workforce compliance requirements, there is no doubt that rail industry needs a smarter way of managing workforce competencies to keep them safe. Sopra Steria have used an

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in-depth knowledge of rail and their skills as a European leader in consulting, digital services and software to provide to create a solution for this: Competency Training MarketplaceTM (CTM). CTM is an easy-to-use, one-stop shop which enables organisations to book and manage workforce training and competencies. The clever combination of a training marketplace and easy-to-use management tools sets CTM apart from other competency management techniques and is a significant time saver for those responsible for keeping a workforce safe, compliant and operational. CTM’s ability to simplify also shines when project planning and bidding for work as identifying and proving who is ready-to-go is clear in just a few clicks. Organisations signed up to CTM are reaping the benefits of a more streamlined process. Joel Pennington from OMS

said: ‘CTM is a truly fantastic product for the rail and construction industry. The platform offers a solution that is different from other competency management tools with the addition of the marketplace. It’s a tool that has clearly been designed to help both training providers and customers alike by combining many important aspects of the training process on one central platform.’ CTM’s advanced analytical

tools gives all users an insight into upcoming training needs, both geographically and qualification-based. This exemplifies how the platform has been built with both employers and training providers in mind and why its’ a game-changer for keeping projects on track and allowing training providers to identify future training requirements, in line with evolving market needs. As employers grapple with a


complicated regulatory environment they need a fast, simple search making CTM ideal for training providers looking to expand their customer base. ‘CTM has the potential to deliver a step change in how training providers connect with employers. It poses to simplify and clear benefits for employers and training providers alike’ says Ian Pretty, CEO of Collab Group. The tech world is under the same pressure to progress as the railway industry and as a product, CTM has been evolving even further over 2021, constantly improving its features for industry requirements. CTM is an example of how technological growth can support the operational safety of railway workers. Both leaders and business owners have a responsibility to improve their business processes, in line with the digital transformation movement.


Sopra Steria places people at the heart of everything it does and is committed to making the most of digital technology to build a positive future for its clients and CTM has been developed to help keep the industry on the right track. If you are interested in finding out more, take a look at CTM’s website and request a free demo from the team: Follow CTM on LinkedIn for news and updates:

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Digital remedies for recruitment headaches The Occupational Psychology Centre (OPC) share digital pre-screening techniques that save time on large volume applicant recruitment and news about the launch of their redesigned, user-friendly, online assessment platform


s we emerge from the pandemic, with a return to work whether a ‘normal’ or a hybrid version of it, the Occupational Psychology Centre (OPC) clients are indicating there may be a need to ramp up recruitment drives to fill gaps in their teams. In addition, commuter return to work volumes, timing and passenger loadings still remain uncertain. It is, therefore likely that talent acquisition teams will need to adopt a responsive and speedy, but flexible approach to recruitment needs in the near future. The OPC has been working alongside UK and international rail and transport clients for nearly 30 years, supporting HR teams with specialist psychological and safety critical recruitment expertise. Having listened closely to what key contacts

are saying, there are some themes that are recurring headaches for recruiters currently. These are typically: Managing large volume candidate talent acquisition projects; overseeing online assessments, and evaluating the success of recruitment projects once completed. Supporting teams managing large volume recruitment projects The OPC has a great deal of experience in supporting, overseeing or fully-managing talent recruitment projects for a wide variety of roles in the industry. Their expertise isn’t inhibited by the size of a project, having managed very high-volume driver role recruitment projects with thousands of candidates as well as high profile director level posts with just a handful of applicants.

A particular challenge that talent managers shared is how to effectively and efficiently pre-screen applicants, especially digitally. With the pandemic there has been a significant rise in the use of digital support to help select a shortlist of candidates for onward progression. The OPC can design bespoke and tailored pre-screening questionnaires, for any role, to help select a shortlist of candidates that meet specific organisational and role requirements. Using specialist psychologist support an online pre-screening questionnaire might include some or all of the following sections: • Non-negotiable ‘Killer’ questions – These are likely to be the absolute essentials to the role and can quickly reduce candidates that just can’t fit the role profile. They Rail Professional



tend to be either single answer choices or ‘Yes/No’ answers. For example, this may include questions about work routines, such as ‘Are you able to work shifts?’ or about the functionality of the role like ‘Are you happy to wear a uniform?’. • Job preference questions – This includes questions that are about the applicants’ job preferences to see if they match the job requirements. Candidates are asked to select what type of job tasks they might like to undertake within a role. So, for example, if the project was for track worker recruitment it may be useful to explore a candidate’s preferences about rules adherence, concentration, team working or their approach to safety and risk. These preference questions will help indicate if a person is more or less likely to be suited to the role and deliver to the standards required of the organisation. These preference questions can be bespoke to the organisation’s requirements as well as different for each and every role. • Role specific questions – Another section can explore a candidate’s understanding of the role in more detail. This section is tailored to contain a list of c. 15 questions about the job. The candidate has to choose what they believe are the top three most important factors and the bottom three least important factors. So, for example taking a signaller’s role the candidate may have to choose from statements such as: ‘Working quickly’, ‘Being safe’, or ‘Following rules and procedures’ or ‘Multi-tasking’. • Mini Situational Judgement questions – Situational Judgement questions ask

candidates how they might respond in a role-specific scenario. There may be 3 or 4 questions in this section. Situational Judgement questions can be good predictors of future job performance; candidates can see them as more relevant because they are based on actual job function examples. • Knowledge of the organisation – Some clients like to test an applicants’ understanding of the organisation they are applying to; indicating how much ‘homework’ they may have done. This Rail Professional

section might include multiple choice questions about the organisation with right or wrong answers. Jo Lawrence, Business Support Manager at OPC Assessment said: ‘We are always looking for ways to support our clients, and help remove as many headaches as possible in their recruitment projects. Online prescreening questionnaires are an excellent inclusion for any talent acquisition process whether big or small – for five or thousands of applicants! They really take away the timeconsuming job of sifting through candidate applications for any HR team – saving time and money! A candidate shortlist of ‘good fit’ applicants can be arrived upon at the touch of a button. Tailoring these questionnaires to our client’s needs, we can quickly and easily set them up.’

want to understand an applicants’ level of cautiousness and conscientiousness which they could assess using a test such as the Safe Personality Questionnaire (SAFEPQ).This asks candidates to select ranked statements using an agree/disagree scale. Personality questionnaires should ideally be combined with an exploratory interview with the candidate. Interview prompt forms are available with many OPC Assessment personality questionnaires. • Thirdly, we might want to include a Situational Judgement Test such as the Railway Situational Judgement Test (RSJT) that the OPC specifically designed for the railway or the Magnificent 7 Situational Judgment test (M7SJT) that assesses seven key competencies e.g., conscientiousness, motivation, risk or responsibility, that employers may require in the very best safety-critical employees.

Online Psychological Assessment tools With a smaller pool of talent, looking to identify the best fit applicants who are more likely to perform the role successfully and at the required performance standard, can be easily undertaken using psychometric assessment tools. OPC Assessment has over 60 Assessment tools available – either digitally or in paper and pencil format. Many of the assessment tools most suitable for use when recruiting safety critical roles are rail specific and have been researched and developed over many years, with the majority available digitally. There is a wide variety of different types of assessment tools and exercises. Typically, online testing may include:

Not a trained assessor? A bureau service is available It’s necessary to be a trained assessor in order to select, administer and use psychometric tools yourself during a selection process. If, however recruiters don’t have this certification, the OPC can either provide the relevant training or there is an in-house bureau service option where an OPC team of psychologists and assessors will oversee the project on behalf of a client. They’ll agree with the client appropriate assessment tools; administer the tests; provide reports and a quality short-list of candidates for the final stage. Another remedy for stretched recruiters!

• Ability tests that assess for one or more role-specific competencies e.g., concentration, verbal ability or checking. For example, an HR manager may choose to use a Core Skills Diagrammatic Reasoning Test (CoreD) when recruiting an engineer track worker to explore their visual problem-solving ability. • Personality questionnaires can help to guide recruiters on an applicants’ personality traits, behaviours, attitudes, or emotions. For example, when selecting control room operatives, a recruiter might

New launch – a redesigned assessment platform with user-friendly features To support with online growth and success of online assessments OPC Assessment is launching a redesigned assessment platform later this year, with top-notch, user friendly features built-in to ease the headaches and demanding nature of any sized talent acquisition project. When logging in users will be greeted with an easy and functional ‘Dashboard’ home page where they can see all the crucial projects, specific to their own work of the


day. There is a handy ‘Bookmark’ feature for placing these important projects onto the dashboard – making them immediately visible for tracking and quick access. From the dashboard it’s easy to navigate into all areas of the platform, and there are clearly identifiable tabs that highlight each section e.g., ‘Projects’, ‘Talent Pool’, etc. David Holloway, System’s Development Manager at OPC Assessment, responsible for the development of the new testing platform shared ‘Clients have given us lots of valuable feedback on how we can build improvements into the redesigned system. One such area is an intuitive project set up page called the ‘Assessment Journey’, which covers steps from emailing an invitation to a candidate, individual assessment tool selection and inclusion; all the way through to final scoring and reporting for an entire project. It’s a great visual representation of the journey candidates will need to take, and a big help to recruiters too.’ Setting performance levels for individual assessment tools is essential. On the redesigned platform, there is a prompt early on in the assessment tool selection set-up, to choose a ‘norm’ group for applicant comparison against other similar candidates. For the majority of tests and exercises there are norm groups available for many key railway roles. Additionally, there is also an option to allocate a ‘cut-off’ score during set-up i.e., the pass level requirement for candidates. Another really beneficial feature is tracking the status of candidates for a project and completion of the assessment journey. The platform has a specific ‘Candidates’ tab within each project to help do this, listing all candidates and their status for each

assessment tool assigned. The status updates in real-time, helping users monitor their candidates’ progress more easily. Powerful candidate management functions can be found here too and are helpful admin tools for a project. For example, there is the ability to re-send an invitation for an assessment tool as well as the ability to change the completion date for individual candidates, should they need an extension for some reason. There are also quick to view real-time status totals for any bookmarked projects on the dashboard, such as the number of candidate completions and passes. Other noteworthy features include a ‘Notice board’ that shares news such as new assessment tool launches, so those using the platform get them first hand, as well as test or systems updates. Recruiters will also appreciate the visually more appealing and fresher look and feel to the platform with a layout and screen design more appropriate for multiple device usage – great for when catching up on a mobile or tablet. Evaluating the success of a recruitment process once completed Using digital recruitment processes including online assessment tools is hugely beneficial from a review perspective too. It provides recruiters with opportunities to analyse and interrogate information to help make future recruitment improvements or aid decision making. Reports or large volume data exports can be delivered quickly and easily at the touch of a button. Recruiters may choose to review success rates through each tool in an assessment journey and tweak or adapt it for the future. They may consider moving a ‘cut off’ score to help improve the quality of applicants


recruited. Candidate drop-out rates for a test or whole assessment journey could be evaluated. This can be really beneficial when making judgements about the number of candidates to invite to meet a recruitment requirement. Assessment tool data can be used to make comparisons too. So, for example a rail company may want to interrogate the quality of their applicants assessed vs a national sample of rail applicants. Alternatively, it can be really beneficial to review the performance of employees on a particular assessment tool with their subsequent training achievement and on the job performance. e.g., analysing their performance on the Safe Concentration and Attention Test (SCAAT) at selection may be useful to predict those employees who might have a subsequent safety incident. As a final reflection, Jo Lawrence said: ‘Investment in digital recruitment solutions pays dividends on many levels – time, efficiencies and cost, as well as evaluation. At the OPC, we aspire to innovate and continue supporting HR teams who oversee recruitment to make their jobs easier and smoother. As a smaller organisation, we ‘punch above our weight’ by responding quickly to client needs as well as matching industry technology, adding to our digital offering and launching innovative new tests using our specialist rail and safety critical expertise. We are delighted that the re-design of our testing platform will be another way we can support the rail operator talent acquisition teams.’ Tel: + 44 (0)1923 234646 Visit: Email: Rail Professional



Striking a balance at Bearsted BAM Ritchies offers collaborative, digital, integrated, value driven ground and geotechnical engineering


AM Ritchies is the ground engineering division of BAM Nuttall. We provide fully integrated services for a wide range of customers – both public and private sector, from small local projects to national infrastructure projects. Over 60 years, we’ve built a reputation as the go-to ground engineering team for complex problem solving and best-value, sustainable delivery – with no surprises. Whether we’re stabilising earthworks or drilling rock, we use industry-leading digital construction methods to build it before we build it. So, you’ll know exactly what to expect from your project, and we’ll get it right first time. Real value in earthworks solutions comes from combining cross-sector experience and inhouse geotechnical engineering expertise. This enables BAM Ritchies to challenge standard design, finding innovative solutions to address complexity and project risk presented by issues such as ground conditions, access, and land footprint. Our expertise also facilitates collaboration with designers and stakeholders to add value, for example by developing better sustainable solutions for maintenance. In the past decade, there have been several incidences of unplanned disruption for passengers as engineers have scrambled to the Bearsted cutting site for urgent fixes of weather-related movements. New Year’s Day 2021 was the most recent landslip due to heavy rain in the area. The most serious of which was when

a train hit a boulder on the track. A rockfall even took place while the work was ongoing, highlighting the importance of the project. The greatest challenge has been the logistical planning as we needed to have so much plant and equipment on track. We have needed to work to incredibly short time frames and deadlines. We developed digital rehearsals of the works so that we could precisely plan and predict how the blockade would unfold.

Normally a blockade like this would take a couple of years to plan but we only had five months, so that gives an idea of the planning and organisation undertaken to make sure that these works were completed safely and on time. The proximity of the slopes to the railway in Bearsted means that the line is extremely narrow, which meant that a full blockade possession was required to ensure the safety of all workers on the track. With Bearsted Digital rehearsal

a large amount of equipment required to carry out the work, the line closure was also required to provide enough time to complete the drilling. Closing the rail line for nine days in a row means there is less disruption than completing the work over a higher number of weekends. The closures have been carefully planned for the summer school holidays, when passenger numbers are traditionally lower. What the work involved In total, this blockade project delivered over £10 million of improvements. The railway line was closed between Maidstone East-Ashford from Saturday 7 to Sunday 15 August 2021 and the work was completed as planned. After nine days of solid work at Bearsted cutting and on other sites along the line, Network Rail handed back the railway to passenger services first thing on the morning of Monday 16 August 2021.

Bearsted Facts & Figures Rail Professional



Soil Nailing underway

Benefits of the blockade ‘• Reduced risk of landslips on the line. • Less overall disruption to passengers and the benefits delivered sooner. • Better, more reliable journeys.

Reduced risk of landslips on the line In the past decade alone, engineers have visited Bearsted on numerous occasions to secure the railway and install temporary fixes to weatherrelated movement. New Year’s Day 2021 was the most recent landslip after heavy rain. This nine-day blockade in August means engineers can get in to strengthen the cutting, making it secure for a lifetime with no need to return for emergency work in future. Drainage improvements will also help reduce or prevent the risk of flooding elsewhere on the line. Less overall disruption to passengers and the benefits delivered sooner This work bank was also

considered as taking place over multiple weekends which would have meant more disruption to both passengers and local residents. By doing the work over a concentrated nine consecutive days (plus some associated weekend work), the overall disruption to passengers was significantly reduced, while fast-tracking the delivery of the reliability and safety benefits of the project. Better, more reliable journeys This essential work will help reduce the number of delays in the long term and therefore improve passenger journeys. Over 7,400 metres of soil nails and anchors were drilled into the slopes on either side of the railway line. Now that this is complete, BAM Ritchies can install steel mesh and cabling which will be connected and tensioned to hold everything in place. The intensive work over a nine-day period was the most extensive earthwork stabilisation carried out using this method in the UK. There were eight drilling rigs operating full time on the slope, seven of which were rail plant and one a long-reach excavator, drilling from the top of the

slope. Throughout the entire nine-day period there was 24/7 hour working operating in three shifts. In total this led to 20 hours of non-stop drilling every day, with 70 people working in each shift. There was a total of 17,000 working hours completed during the blockade, all accident free. The whole planning of this blockade was a great example of our collaborative approach, with our CP6 Rail South Geotech team working very closely with BAM Nuttall and Network Rail for a successful delivery. Everyone involved in the project worked together to achieve such an impressive milestone and we have really felt the support of our subcontractors and our client, Network Rail, in helping us to deliver these necessary works. We would also like to thank the residents in the vicinity for their understanding and patience during this time. Network Rail’s Route director for Kent commented: “This was a massive job for us and for our neighbours and passengers and we really appreciate their patience. The section of line between Maidstone East and Bearsted was a big worry, with two rockfalls in recent years a nd another one last week. The

work we’ve done over the past nine days has helped make it much safer. 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: Visit: Rail Professional




Kurt Zeidler, Principal at GALL ZEIDLER Consultants Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Kurt Zeidler, Principal at GALL ZEIDLER Consultants about his career, the history and development of tunnelling and GALL ZEIDLER’s work on HS2 You’ve had a career spanning 35 years, how far back does your involvement in the UK go? I would say it goes back a long time, I worked in the UK for the first time in 1991 on Crossrail, in its early days and then we founded the company in Austria in 1999 and then first opened a UK office in 2006. Of course, much of my career has been spent working all around the world but with quite a long time in the United States, that’s where I teamed up with Mr Gall and this formed the beginnings of Gall Zeidler. Then I came back to Europe in 2011, I decided it was time to put a bit more effort into the UK office, leaving Mr. Gall to run the operations in America. Of course going back further, it all started in my home country of Austria, where I worked primarily on construction sites, from 1981 to 1990, doing a little bit of design and then I started my own company in 1999. How has underground construction technology changed during that time? There have been significant changes, when I started, we used different materials and equipment. I remember my first tunnel was a TBM tunnel, it was a mainframe TBM which is for hard rock but there were no other TBMs available, and their use was very limited. Yet, over the first 20 years of my career the TBMs underwent enormous development, and now we can use them for almost any ground condition. So there has been an adequate development in this period, but it was not a quantum leap, there was a constant, steady improvement, especially in the materials that we use and in quality control, materials became much better known and more reliable which led to more repeatable results. But we haven’t really seen a quantum leap, because the industry is relatively conservative, so progress is slow. Where the codes regulations are concerned, I have seen the Euro code come into play, which didn’t exist when Rail Professional



Interview I started. The Euro codes are relatively widely implemented these days, which is an improvement from the national codes by providing a common base. There are many more specifications and standards in place for materials, there were types of concrete that we tested when I first began my career but there are no universal design standards for fibre reinforced concrete for example, even though we use it quite widely And testing standards for fibre reinforced concrete are available. In recent years, the 130-year-old Severn Tunnel was made ready for electrification of the South Wales Mainline and Farnworth Tunnel was upgraded to accommodate two electrified lines near Bolton. Gall Zeidler Consultants provided expert design review services as the Category 3 independent design-checking engineer on the Farnworth project, what goes into rehabilitating a tunnel? Unfortunately, in particular the UK but also in many other countries as well, there is not that much appetite for rehabilitating old tunnels, despite the fact that the infrastructure is aging in all developed countries, because we all started our railways at around the same time. I have had discussions with relevant bodies in the UK for over 20 years about rehabilitation, but they are constrained by operational requirements, budget and timing. But there are specific challenges when it comes to rehabilitating old tunnels and I always try to use this experience I gained with rehabilitating old tunnels in the design for new tunnels, because I realized that for all kinds of reasons, lack of knowledge or lack of adequate materials, certain things were not done the way we would do it today, to make the tunnels live longer. When you start a railway tunnel rehabilitation project, it is typically a requirement of the authority that either the downtime or the closure time has to be limited to the absolute minimum, and you might even have to reopen the track whilst the rehabilitation goes on. That’s certainly a big challenge. And because our infrastructure is so in dire need of refurbishment, because we haven’t done a lot of that work for a long time, this gets more and more pressing, and less and less feasible to have both operation and rehabilitation going on at the same time. So that that’s one of the challenges. The other challenge is the lack of documentation. Typically, where there is a lack of documentation, you can’t really rely on what information you do actually have

We can map the shape of the tunnel very accurately and see its deformation, but that alone doesn’t tell you the whole story. because there has not always been a strictly standardised system for documenting projects. For example, we worked on a project in Pittsburgh in the USA, where there was this ten-metre-high cavern above the tunnel. During the tunnel construction this area had collapsed, they cleared it out and built a brick arch in this area and then over roughly 100 years, material was falling on top of the brick arch and nobody knew that there was actually a void behind it. So when we got in there, we emptied out the refuse which was sitting atop the brick arch and all of a sudden all we saw was a big hole. And the real shocker for everybody was there was a house above us with a swimming pool. There was only a two and a half metre thick, solid sandstone slab in between us and the house – and nobody knew for decades! It’s like when you refurbish an old house, there’s always a surprise. Regardless of what you’re trying to plan, there’s always work to do afterwards that is different to what you expected. So, what we did was build a new arch and then filled the void with concrete, and that was the first time people realized that they had this huge void below them. So you have to be very creative in that moment, because it’s a problem where there’s no documentation and I imagine there’s not many instances where you’ve got this sort of issue, so it’s likely there’s no precedent to draw upon when you’re coming up with a solution? When it comes to collapses, there are often no reports on it, so you have to be prepared for all kinds of things. Typically, the condition of the lining itself, if it’s a brick lining, or stone masonry, that’s quite well known before you start. So you can determine the condition of the brickwork, but what’s behind the brickwork can still cause difficulties. There are some tools being used, like ground penetrating radar, but we still need to develop new tools to give us a more reliable picture of the conditions behind the lining. We can map the shape

of the tunnel very accurately and see its deformation, but that alone doesn’t tell you the whole story. A great example of past tunnelling is The Thames tunnel, the world’s first shieldtunnel under a river, which was a gift from Brunel who invented this rectangular shield and used bricks of extraordinary quality. It is unbelievable how hard those bricks were. But one of the other challenges facing these old tunnels is water, which is the prime cause of degradation that comes from the inflow of water inflow. Because in the good old days, we didn’t have a lot of material to act efficiently in such a way to close off the groundwater and avoid ground water intrusion into the lining of the brickwork. We were talking earlier about tunnel boring machines, TBMs, obviously today they are much more widely utilized in tunnel construction. Is that always by necessity, or is it the case that the technology has just improved so much that people are finding uses for them? I think it is always demand, unfortunately, I believe we are not tempted to invent new things for something which we don’t have a need for in that moment. The need for soft ground tunnelling machines came from the urban areas, where there is a higher demand for infrastructure, and the vast majority of big cities are built on soft ground. When you look at London, it is a historic city of tunnels and the reason for that is because of its relatively soft ground which is still well suitable for tunnelling. In your paper, ‘Modern urban tunnelling responding to social needs’, you talked about the socioeconomic reasons for major infrastructure projects, how much of that that has been the focus of your career? I asked myself very often, why do we do this? Because it’s a major effort, it’s a major investment of money, time, human resources, materials. This paper came from Rail Professional



a discussion with my partner where we discussed this very question and wanted to publish an answer – why are we so enthusiastic about HS2 for example? So, instead of being technical, we looked at the potential effect of Crossrail once it is open – things like the value of property but also the reduction in travel time for commuters, which should improve their wellbeing, for some people it cuts their travel time in half. You’ve worked on Crossrail and on HS2, the Western Rail Link to Heathrow Airport as well. What improvements in sustainability have been made in these more recent projects? We have improved the durability of the materials and we have tighter quality control, more protection measures like waterproofing so we can prevent the groundwater from flowing into the structure. Structures today probably have 50 to 100 per cent longer lifetimes than traditional structures. There’s always a discussion about the impact on the environment in any of these projects, for quite some time we ignored the environment when we built infrastructure. Anything we do has an effect on the environment and on our surroundings, but we can reduce the negative effects.

We haven’t really seen a quantum leap, because the industry is relatively conservative, so progress is slow. For a long time grouting the ground was a generic solution for almost everything, whereas today we are much more efficient with the use of grout and due to the TBM technology, we use much less grout. When I look at HS2, our involvement is as a designer for the C1 project, the Chiltern Tunnel, and nearby there is a water extraction field which has a lot of pumps extracting drinking water and there was a long discussion about avoiding polluting the groundwater, which could then affect the pump fields. In the past, it would just be accepted that we had to build it so we have to risk doing this harm, but now the mindset

has changed about the use of materials, and the use of natural resources as well, so we focus on engineering a solution. Our work in the Chilterns is focussed on designing the 38 cross passages and the portal where the TBM started where we came up with a support system in the portal area to avoid settlements. Do you think that a tunnel under the Irish Sea linking to Scotland and Northern Ireland feasible? Absolutely, yes it would be technically feasible, you would probably have to build islands in between where you can have escape shafts and ventilation shafts. Whether financially and economically, it makes sense is a different story, which to be honest, I can’t answer, if you look at the Eurotunnel, it makes much more sense to use that then flying from London to Paris, and there are plans for tunnel projects between Denmark and Sweden, I believe. For the future of tunnelling, we have to bring down the costs and the time spent on the project, and those are interconnected of course. We need to develop technologies which can increase the speed of tunnelling and reduce the costs of it. We also have to reduce the time involved with general planning, Crossrail is an example, I was personally involved in Crossrail in 1991, and I was there in 2012 when it finally started construction.

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Galvanizing: a sustainable finish for the rail sector Andy Harrison, Director of Sales and Marketing at Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd, the UK’s largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation, describes how galvanizing works, why it continues to be one of the most sustainable finishes for eco-conscious rail projects, and what advancements are being made to make the process even more green


s one of the most commonly used materials within the rail sector, steel is both durable and versatile – with applications ranging from platforms and stations to access equipment and overhead signalling systems. As the industry continues to work on reducing its carbon footprint and meet ever-growing customer expectations, protecting the steel from corrosion and ensuring it can withstand harsh weather conditions is paramount. Steel is a vital raw material used in the rail sector for a diverse range of applications, from large structural steelwork through to smaller nuts and bolts. But it’s highly prone to corrosion – it’s estimated that worldwide, one tonne of steel turns to rust every 90 seconds and that means for every two tonnes of new steel produced, one is made to simply replace rust. Many rail organisations and those within its supply chains are becoming increasingly aware of the need to improve processes and operations to meet stringent national and environmental rules and regulations, as well as meet their organisational and stakeholder goals. These include focusing on wildlife and nature, and low emission railways, but perhaps most importantly, making continued upgrades to ensure the railways are more resilient to harsh weather conditions. It’s this exposure to harsh environments which makes the steel used on rail projects more susceptible to accelerated corrosion — something which can be hugely costly not just on the purse strings, but on the environment. What is Galvanizing? Hot Dip Galvanizing is a process developed to prevent steel from corroding and sees the metal immersed in a bath of molten zinc at a temperature of around 450 °C. During the process, a metallurgical bonded coating is formed which protects the steel from rust and corrosion. Rail Professional

How does it work? Before the process can take place, the steel goes through a thorough chemical clean to remove all rust, oil and mill scale from the surface. When the cleaning process has been completed and the cleaning solution has been rinsed off, the coating process can begin. The steel is then fluxed and dipped into a bath of molten zinc that has been heated to around 450 °C (860 °F). The galvanized steel is then removed from the bath and left to cool. Why is it so sustainable? Unlike other finishes or protective coatings, the process results in minimal waste, with any zinc that doesn’t instantly form a coating on the metal remaining in the galvanizing bath before being re-used. Zinc’s non-ferrous properties enable it to be recycled again and again without any loss of its physical or chemical properties.

Where galvanizing really comes into its own as a sustainable finish is its one-off nature – the process only needs to be carried out at the beginning of any construction project, but results in corrosion protection that can last up to 60 years depending on the environment it is used, without the need for any time or resource-intensive maintenance and replacement. Not only does galvanizing lengthen the lifespan of steel by protecting it against rust and corrosion for many decades, but it’s extremely energy-efficient throughout its production and whole lifecycle. The process uses resources considerately to ensure a relatively low environmental burden, and galvanized steel can easily be recycled with steel scrap or re-galvanized, removed, and reused elsewhere. Improvements in galvanizing The industry has taken significant steps over



The 50,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank at East Anglian Galvanizing

Metro line between Wolverhampton and Birmingham, and the refurbishment of the iconic Hull and Barnsley railway bridge which saw the team galvanize over 25 tonnes of structural steel in order to strengthen the bridge and ensure the track remained operational for its capacity. The team has also worked on the grade II Listed Silver Jubilee Bridge, one of the world’s longest steel arched bridges which runs over the River Mersey, connecting Runcorn to Widnes and which sees more than 80,000 motorists a day pass over it. This diverse range of projects demonstrates the ever-growing popularity of galvanizing as a protective coating across the rail industry, and also highlights the qualities of the process – including

the past few years to refine and enhance the galvanizing process to further reduce its overall environmental impact. As a company, Wedge Group Galvanizing is leading the way by introducing a number of highly-innovative and sophisticated elements to reduce waste, promote better use of resources, and improve energy efficiency. The company has introduced bespoke rainwater collection and harvesting systems, which sees rainwater stored on-site through a series of gutters and tanks before being recycled back into the galvanizing process. Another example of how the company, and the wider industry, is cutting energy consumption is the reuse of ‘waste’ heat created from the furnaces used in the galvanizing process. All of its plants have been fitted with heat exchanger units that transfer the ‘waste’ heat generated back into the overall process for use within

both the pre-flux and de-grease tanks. To further improve both fuel efficiency and performance, all plants also use the most innovative pulse-fired high velocity systems. All 14 of its plants are also signed up to the Climate Change Levy Agreement and have committed to reduce energy use yearon-year. Recent projects Wedge Group Galvanizing has partnered with civil engineering company Lundy Projects for more than a decade – playing a key role in Network Rail initiatives including the modernisation of the Great Western Mainline. It worked on the £25 million project to transform Edinburgh’s Haymarket Station into a major transport link, with over 200 tonnes of steel galvanized for the production of canopies installed above the station’s newly extended platforms. The C503 Crossrail Contract refurbishment works at Liverpool Street Station also saw over 100 tonnes of steel protected long term with hot dip galvanizing. Other projects the Wedge Group has been involved in include the galvanizing of steelwork used to construct a multimillion pound development on the Midland

its flexibility, strength, and long-life - in addition to its inherent sustainable benefits. About Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd Proud to be the UK’s largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation, Wedge Group Galvanizing has a national network of 14 sites strategically located across the country. Privately owned and with a history dating back over 150 years, the company has built an enviable reputation for providing a leading galvanizing service and is the partner of choice for many large contractors and specifiers across the rail sector. The organisation is also proud to be an approved audited supplier for the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS), ensuring that any rail company it works with can be assured of high-quality galvanizing backed by excellent customer service. Every one of its plants operates a Class 1 Galvanizing bath which has agreed compositional limits and records of assessment retained for 10 years, as well as over 75 qualified personnel who are certified to the GA/BCSA Post-Galvanizing Inspectors Course. For further information please contact Wedge Group Galvanizing on 01902 601944 or visit Rail Professional

SMARTer Ground Engineering BAM Ritchies is the leading edge provider of ground engineering services and is fully focused on supporting the UK’s major infrastructure projects.

Using advanced ground engineering techniques, equipment and digital technology to provide optimum and best value solutions within the construction industry.

Rock drill and blast • Piling • Material testing • Grouting Ground investigation • Concrete repairs • Ground anchors • Soil nails

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Unlocking CX potential for The Digital Railway Matt Conner, Chief Growth Officer at Paragon DCX, explains, in the age of The Digital Railway the rail industry can no longer afford to be derailed by poor customer experience (CX) strategies organisations hope to develop mature and cohesive approaches to CX, and in turn deliver a truly connected, seamless digital experience for passengers.


he public’s slow return to UK railways has forced Train Operating Companies (TOCs) to re-think their approach to enticing commuters and passengers back on to public transport. While rail journeys to and from work were expected to increase during September 2021, train commuting is still just 33 per cent of its pre-Covid rate according to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), and the leading membership body fear it could take years to return to numbers seen in 2019. This presents a considerable challenge for an industry already facing a financial shortfall that could blow a £4 billion hole in National Rail’s annual revenue from fares. In an age where technology and connectivity have empowered consumers as never before, the impact of being slow to adopt digital innovations can be catastrophic. Despite this, for a long time the rail industry has been hampered by outdated ‘we’ve always done it this way!’ attitudes at executive level, and a lack of investment in digital technology and the infrastructure to support it. While there are signs that rail is finally embracing technology in a bid to catch up with other sectors – from Network Rail introducing new touchscreen passenger information displays to Arriva’s new multimodal travel app for EU passengers and much more – it is traditional organisation structures, and their inability to facilitate collaboration still holding TOCs back. Only by overcoming these barriers can

Getting on board with the new customer journey The data and digital revolution now means the customer journey begins long before passengers embark on the train. From travel apps that facilitate quick and easy route planning, to journey tracking in real-time, and social media updates, passengers now have a wealth of data at their fingertips before they even step onto the platform. As customer journeys become more complex, and unpredictable, train companies must focus on delivering a positive experience from the outset. This means memorable CX during initial journey planning, research and purchase. This requires not only a comprehensive understanding of each passenger, including their unique behaviours and channel preferences, but also a progressive shift in mindset that enables internal silos to be broken down and individual departmental agendas to be superseded with a customerfirst agenda. Embracing such a forward-thinking mindset allows ongoing departmental collaboration that leads to the creation of a successful cross-platform CX strategies. Perhaps most crucially, TOCs are able to stay relevant and competitive over time, adapting rapidly to constantly shifting passenger attitudes and behaviours in order to deliver the agility needed to grasp opportunities. A lack of cohesive collaboration While it has inevitably caused widespread disruption to operations, the last 18 months has also given rail organisations the opportunity to step back, take stock and reframe their approach, and for many it has presented one inevitable conclusion; the lack of maturity and joined up internal approaches to passenger engagement remained a clear impediment to CX. Indeed, a recent report, Glued Up: The shocking truth about the ‘silo problem’ impacting customer experience and how to fix it, revealed that of those enterprises

developing a new CX approach, only 24 per cent of enterprises are doing so with a collaborative, joined up operational model, compared to twelve per cent who are developing their strategy in a silo. While one in five (17 per cent) organisations have a developed approach to CX, but operate in silos. Given that the strength of CX relies heavily on internal collaboration to drive high-quality experiences for passengers, such figures paint a worrying picture for an industry once seen as the ‘worst for customer service’. A trusted partner To spread a sense of ownership, and push organisations towards a collaborative mindset, it’s often helpful to have CX guardians or customer committees that bring teams together and oversee the work that goes into creating better customer experiences. Of course, marketeers can’t do it alone, and in the future, tech and data will remain key to unlocking efficiencies that can be reinvested to drive continuous performance and innovation, and become an enabler of customer-centricity at great scale. As train companies seek to capitalise on limited opportunities in a much altered market landscape, they are increasingly recognising the value of working with a knowledgeable and experienced customer communications partner. Such a partnership can help TOCs to master their customer data and maximise its value across multiple touchpoints. Through a complete suite of advice and tools from data management to automating key parts of the customer journey, organisations can free up essential resources to work on higher value, strategic activities. To find out more, get in touch with Paragon DCX or download the full Glued Up report: https:// Matt Conner is Chief Growth Officer at Paragon DCX, a digital acceleration agency, offering rail managers and directors a versatile partner to tackle business, marketing and digital challenges. A business leader and specialist in integrated communications, with more than 20 years of industry experience, he has a proven track record of successfully producing creative work that delivers tangible returns and a strong commercial foundation. Rail Professional





• Meet specialist rolling stock suppliers. • Understand new technology, products and services. • Stay up to date with policy and best practice. • Benefit from a packed conference programme. • Connect with thousands of rail professionals. • Free access to the Modern Railways Rail in the Midlands conference – with talks from seven leading industry speakers.

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Attendance is FREE for all rail professionals and Modern Railways subscribers.

Make up for lost time through valuable face to face interaction with the whole rail community. Don’t miss out, register today and stay informed.




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Meet the rolling stock sector at Modern Railways RVE 2021 The original dedicated event for the rolling stock sector will return to Derby Arena this year on Thursday 4 November


ndividuals and companies from across the industry are invited to register now, for free, via the show website to secure a place at what is set to be a not-to-be-missed event for the sector. Organised by the market-leading Modern Railways magazine, the show combines the exhibition with a top-level rail conference and the popular supplier engagement event organised by Rail Forum Midlands, which this year takes place in a brand new format as RVE BigIdea. Delegates attending the show will also benefit from the welcome opportunity to network in person with their peers from across the industry, something which has been much missed by so many during the Covid pandemic. Explore new technology, products and services At the heart of the show is the exhibition, at which companies of all sizes will showcase their rolling stock products and services. Attendees at Modern Railways RVE can expect to see a whole host of products on display, from seats and passenger information systems to windscreen wipers, electrical components and lighting. Also present will be providers of key services to the rolling stock sector, including design agencies and consultancies. Join a packed conference programme Taking centre stage, literally, at Modern Railways RVE 2021 will be the conference. For the first time, Modern Railways’ Fourth Friday Club will host their annual Rail in the Midlands event at the show. Unusually for a Fourth Friday Club event, attendance at the conference will be free, so Modern Railways RVE visitors will have access to an industry-leading conference programme. In addition to the conference, Fourth Friday Club members will enjoy an exclusive lunch and networking opportunities. Expert speakers will highlight the latest challenges and developments. Conference attendees will be able to hear from Managing Directors at three of the region’s major rail operators, discussing future investment plans and the future of the passenger railway post-

Covid. Network Rail’s Tim Shoveller will offer an infrastructure overview, while Midlands Connect is promoting key infrastructure schemes such as the Midlands Rail Hub. Freight developments also take a prominent role within the conference; Tarmac has a number of key rail freight sites within the Midlands, while Rail Operations (UK) Ltd is launching its Orion High Speed Logistics service and procuring new Class 93 tri-mode locos from Stadler. Confirmed speakers include: • Tim Shoveller – Managing Director, North West & Central Region, Network Rail • Will Rogers – Managing Director, East Midlands Railway • Julian Edwards – Managing Director, West Midlands Trains • Tom Joyner – Managing Director, CrossCountry • Karen Heppenstall – Head of Rail, Midlands Connect • Karl Watts – Chief Executive Officer, Rail Operations (UK) Ltd • Chris Swan – Head of Rail, Tarmac Meet specialist rolling stock suppliers New this year at Modern Railways RVE is the RVE BigIdea supplier engagement programme, with Rail Forum Midlands organising this activity in a totally new format for the 2021 show.

RVE BigIdea is the next step in supply chain engagement for the rail industry, focusing on delivering real value through one-to-one meetings with rolling stock customers to introduce exciting new responses to the challenges our industry faces. A briefing on the new format earlier this summer was attended by more than 50 companies, demonstrating the strong interest in the event. Suppliers are invited to submit new ideas, products and services to support the rolling stock sector, under a selection of different themes. The themes are key to industry challenges – decarbonisation, productivity, accessibility, and asset optimisation - and allow suppliers to really showcase their new and developing offers. RFM has secured a fantastic line-up of 18 customer organisations to participate in RVE BigIdea: Alstom, Angel Trains, Arriva Train Care, CAF, DB Cargo, FirstGroup, Freightliner, Gemini Rail Group, Hitachi, Loram, Nottingham Tram, Siemens Germany, Stadler UK, TDI, Talgo, Transport for London, Unipart Rail and Wabtec. Participation for suppliers at RVE BigIdea is free to Rail Forum members and exhibitors at Modern Railways RVE. A nominal administration charge applies for non-members/non-exhibitors. Rail Professional



Reconnect with confidence While the worst of the pandemic appears to be past, the organisers of Modern Railways RVE are working closely with our venue, Derby Arena, to ensure the safety of everyone attending this year’s show. The layout of the exhibition includes wide walkways and stands are well spaced out, so there will be plenty of space within the Arena to accommodate everyone who attends. More detailed guidance about Covid protocols will be issued closer to the event, based on the latest Government advice at the time. ‘We are excited to be welcoming the rolling stock sector back to Derby on 4 November for this year’s Modern Railways RVE show’ said Philip Sherratt, Editor of Modern Railways magazine. ‘We know so many people are keen to get back to meeting in person, and Modern Railways RVE represents one of the first opportunities for the industry to do so. With the exhibition, a brand new supplier engagement activity and a fantastic Rail in the Midlands conference, it is clear Modern Railways RVE is an event not to be missed for everyone in the rolling stock sector.’ Modern Railways RVE is organised by Key Publishing, publisher of Modern Railways magazine. Established for more than 50 years, Modern Railways is the rail industry’s most respected railway journal. Providing indepth coverage of all aspects of the industry, from traction and rolling stock to signalling and infrastructure management, Modern Railways carries the latest news alongside detailed analysis, making it essential reading for industry professionals, suppliers and stakeholders alike. Join us for two prestigious awards events! In addition to Modern Railways RVE, the Modern Railways Fourth Friday Club will be hosting two major awards ceremonies this autumn. Held in London, both events will feature a sit-down lunch followed by a keynote speech from a leading industry figure and then the announcement of the

Modern Railways RVE Thursday 4 November 10.00 to 16.00 Derby Arena Register for free now at Gold Sponsor Welfare Vans 4 Less Silver Sponsors Aura Brand Solutions, FISA and Kneitz Conference Sponsors Porterbrook and Resonate

award winners. Plus, guests at both events will enjoy unrivalled opportunities to network with their peers, something which has been missed so much during the pandemic. On Friday 15 October, join us for the Railway Innovation Awards, the longeststanding awards event in the industry. Prizes for the best innovations will be handed out across eight categories, including the coveted Major Project award. Guest

speaker will be Robert Ampomah, Chief Technology Officer at Network Rail. Following that on Friday 26 November will be the Golden Spanner Awards, at which Modern Railways Industry and Technology Editor Roger Ford will hand out prizes for the most reliable fleets across the main line network. The Spanners is an all-day celebration of excellence in train maintenance, featuring a morning conference as well as a keynote speech from experienced engineer Bill Reeve, now Director of Rail at Transport Scotland.

Railway Innovation Awards Friday 15 October Hilton London Canary Wharf In partnership with RIA Sponsored by Porterbrook and Resonate

Golden Spanner Awards Friday 26 November Grand Connaught Rooms, London Headline sponsor Houghton International Sponsored by Porterbrook

How to attend To book your table contact David Lane on 07795 031051 or

Why not join the Fourth Friday Club? Enjoy attendance at six prestigious events each year for you or a colleague, including three awards events and three regional conferences, all with top level speakers and unrivalled networking opportunities! For delegate & sponsorship enquiries contact David Lane on 07795 031051 or david.lane@ For more information, please visit fourth-friday-club Rail Professional



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Latest international opportunity A specialist recruitment consultancy, TAG Rail delivers across the Blue Collar labour supply market, White Collar Operational and Commercial recruitment, and Executive Appointments internationally on a temporary or permanent basis


AG Rail & Construction is a rail and construction recruitment business with the capability to manage and supply a complete labour delivery service in civils, construction, and rail markets within the UK & Internationally. All our services are RISQS approved, and our Management Team has over 25 years’ experience of delivering innovative and pro-active solutions to the construction and national infrastructure industry. We focus on providing a pro-active and reactive, high-quality service whilst maintaining excellent levels of safety and reliability. We offer attendance at client planning meetings to review forthcoming works and the coordination of all TAG Rail teams, with daily and weekly progress reporting. Our recruitment and resourcing teams are committed to providing the finest people in the market through our specialised knowledge of working exclusively in the construction & rail sectors. We proactively engage skilled and experienced candidates in a variety of disciplines across the industry in both permanent and temporary positions. To ensure that all our candidates are of the highest calibre, they must complete our rigorous selection process and be able to provide proof of relevant qualifications and a minimum of two years’ work-related references. We continuously develop the talent pool within our network of specialist rail, construction and civils operatives, and have a proven track record of supplying candidates at all levels into recognised rail and construction projects with some of the biggest and most prestigious contractors. We focus on building strong strategic relationships with our clients and provide them with a reliable, highly experienced, and knowledgeable local workforce. We provide high quality PPE, tools and equipment and invest significantly in the multi-skilling of our workforce. Furthermore, our training partners allow us to establish career development plans where our regular pool of

Some of the commercial and operational roles we recruit for, but are not limited to, include: • Skilled Labourers • Groundworkers • Shuttering Joiners • Bricklayers • Concrete Finisher • Plant Operatives • Plant Fitters • Demolition Operatives • Piling Operatives • Joiners • Slinger/Banksman • Gangers • Crane Operators • Scaffolders • Steel Fixers

• Safety Critical Operatives • OLE Operatives • S&T Operatives • CAD Technician • Commercial Managers • Construction Managers • Contractors Engineering Managers (CEM’S) • Contractors Responsible Engineers (CRE’S) • Design Engineers • Design Managers • Estimators • HSQE Directors • HSQE Managers

specialist operatives can undertake training across a wide range of disciplines. Whether you need someone for one week, one month, or one year our recruitment team will ensure we meet all your needs first time, whether you want someone for holiday cover, or someone to fill a long-term contract or permanent position. Latest International Opportunity Operations Manager – Technical Design: Technology, Engineering & Knowledge Location: Australia (East Coast – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, or Newcastle) Salary: AUD$300,000 Key Accountabilities: • Develop, review, implement & management of the Technical Design Strategic plans in alignment with the Enterprise- wide Strategic Plan(s). • Develop, review, implement & management of the Technology, Engineering & Knowledge Business Plans. • Create, develop, implement, and review key performance indicators (KPI) for Technical Design function and direct reports.

• I.T. Professionals • P6 Planners • PC Teams • Planning Engineers • Project Engineers • Project Managers • Quantity Surveyors • Risk Managers • Sales & Marketing Professionals • Site Agents • Site Engineers • SSOW / Possession Planners • Sub Agents • Supervisor

• Promote a culture of business excellence within Technology, Engineering and Knowledge through accountability, innovation, and transparency against all performance objectives. • Overseeing Technical Design daily operations. • Develop cutting edge solutions to help win work and manage technical risk with projects in delivery. • Ensure overall delivery and quality of the Technology, Engineering & Knowledge offerings to internal direct and indirect customers. • Identification of the Technical cohort and creation and development of Technology, Engineering & Knowledge communities. • Professional development and retention of Knowledge. • Oversee Technical Design related recruitment and appointments. • Provide Technology, Engineering & Knowledge support for domestic and international projects. • Engage and influence with the broader business to achieve superior results across all Infrastructure, building and rail related projects. Rail Professional



We continuously develop the talent pool within our network of specialist rail, construction and civils operatives, and have a proven track record of supplying candidates at all levels into recognised rail and construction projects with some of the biggest and most prestigious contractors. • Contribute to assessment of project feasibilities and development of business cases for project development and investment. • Generating reports and giving presentations to senior management.

• Creating and managing annual Technical Design budgets. • Analysing accounting and financial data for Technology, Engineering & Knowledge and the project life-cycle. • Perform all duties in accordance with our clients policies, processes, systems, reporting and procedures. Requirements Qualifications – Essential: Tertiary qualifications in Architecture, Engineering, Building, Construction or equivalent. Typical – Master’s Degree in Engineering or equivalent, Diploma or Masters of Project Management in Engineering, Building, Construction or equivalent Experience • Essential - Ten+ years local and international experience specialising in design, engineering and technical management roles - Management of multidisciplinary projects and project teams - Management of technical teams in the delivery of design and engineering solutions for bids and projects - Contemporary practices in design and construction methodology

- Contractual, legal, commercial, and legislative compliance management - Advanced financial management including cost reduction and meeting budgets - Quantitative and qualitative safety, environment, and quality risk management - Demonstrated Pre-Contracts success • Typical - Excellent client relationship and stakeholder management. - Management of over AUD >$500M projects. -E  xperience in Construct Only, Design & Construct, Managing Contract, Alliance, - Joint Ventures, Alliances & PPP Contracts types. To discuss any requirements not listed, or for a confidential, obligation free discussion, please email and we will arrange suitable time to call you. Tel: 07796 000050 Email: Visit:

Because success comes from working together. STRABAG subsidiary Mobil Baustoffe specialises in the production of on-site concrete for large scale construction projects such as tunnels but also produces high precision prefabricated segments for TBM drives.

Mobil Baustoffe GmbH, Trimburgstr. 2, 81249 München, Tel. +49 89 89 54 57 4-0,

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Rail Professional



Trainline Partner Solutions hires Director of Global Distribution and Business Solutions

New appointee to 3Squared to lead on client support expansion

Trainline Partner Solutions (TPS), Trainline’s B2B arm and a leading distributor of global rail content has appointed Liz Emmott as Director of Global Distribution and Business Solutions. In this newly created role, Emmott will be responsible for leading the growth of Distribution and Business Solutions.

Leading Software Application Support Management expert Claire Booth has joined rail technology consultancy 3Squared in the role of Head of Client Support, as part of the award-winning company’s wider strategy to build on the success of its client support department and take it to the next level. With 14 years’ experience in Customer Support Management and 24 years in software support, Claire joins 3Squared from Proactis, where she was Head of Customer Support for nearly a decade. Claire is passionate about the world of technology and innovation, and the transformative power it holds to streamline operations and develop new ways of working.

We Build Bots recruits transport sector specialist as NED AI Chatbot and voice assistant firm, We Build Bots, has recruited Yaelle Ridley, a specialist in the transport sector, as an NED to strengthen the board and support the company with its business development plans.

Rail Professional

Scarborough’s cliff lift Central Tramway appoints first female general manager in its 140-year history Helen Galvin has been appointed the new General Manager at the Central Tramway Company in Scarborough’s South Bay. Helen brings many years of experience working on the national rail network at Great North Eastern Railway and London North Eastern Railway.




LIFTING JACKS & PIT EXPERTS Lifting and inspection equipment you can rely on for all maintenance of rail vehicles. With 40 years’ experience on heavy duty lifting solutions, Totalkare combines world class products with industry leading support to facilitate effective maintenance and repair.



The power to deliver operational excellence As your strategic partner, we unlock the power of your energy infrastructure and enable you to focus on your core business.

Profile for Rail Professional Magazine

Rail Professional October 2021 Issue 276  

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