Rail Professional November Issue 2023 297

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NOVEMBER 2023 | ISSUE 297 | £7.95

Striking the Balance Getting the balance right between theory and practical hands-on training

waiting for new contant


Making Training Accessible for Rail

Accelerate Your Safety Leadership


Interviews with Business Leaders from across the Industry

Discover potential. Drive performance.

Accelerate Your Safety Leadership The OPC is pleased to launch a brand new safety performance improvement workshop, created to help test, defend, and improve your safety behaviours. Designed for directors, managers and front-line employees who are responsible for safety critical work. The workshop aims to help you see your operational safety behaviours through a legal lens, which can help lead to significant safety performance improvements.

This workshop changed me and how I approach my safety critical work.

What to expect: A hands-on, interactive session, incorporating a business-specific case study and courtroom role play.

• A facilitated discussion to help identify actionable safety practice changes.

It can enable delegates to:

• Critically view their current practices from a legal perspective;

• Gain hands-on experience of what it would be like to be legally accountable;

• Experience what giving evidence at court or in an inquiry might look and feel like; and,

• Re-focus and improve their own safety critical responsibilities, leadership and behaviours.

To find out more about the workshop, email the friendly OPC team at admin@theopc.co.uk or visit www.theopc.co.uk


Delivered jointly by OPC psychologist, Dr Stephen Fletcher and Cath Brown, barrister (non-practising) from Skilful Conversation.



NOVEMBER 2023 | ISSUE 297 | £7.95

Striking the Balance Getting the balance right between theory and practical hands-on training


waiting for new contant


Making Training Accessible for Rail

Accelerate Your Safety Leadership


Interviews with Business Leaders from across the Industry

railprofessional @railpromag

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COVER National Infrastructure Solutions

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HS2 dominated the news once again over the last month. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the second stage of HS2 between Birmingham and Manchester will be scrapped and the industry responded. Over the last few years it has been increasingly hard to find the truth when my mailbox is being filled by correspondence from doomsdayers and optimists in equal measure. HS2 was at the top of the pile for speculation with ‘scaling back’ and ‘redesigning’ seemingly always on the table, I was half expecting the now common cinematic expression ‘soft reboot’ to enter the lexicon – although I am not exactly sure what a soft reboot of HS2 would look like. And whilst you’d be hard tasked to refer to whatever comes next as a soft reboot if you’ll allow me to keep this torturous metaphor going, there is actually one similarity in that so many billion dollar franchises now seem to churn out hours and hours of forgettable TV shows and given that the idea seems to be to redirect the £36 billion cost towards myriad other, more local transport projects I think the description holds true. The common refrain amongst the industry was a more pronounced disappointment, we’ve compiled some of the responses with everyone taking a different part of the Prime Minister’s announcement to task. They were all unanimous on one thing though – I’ll leave you to guess what that might be (or you can turn to page 64 and find out). In my interview this month with Lucy Prior MBE we talked about project certainty being an important part of staff training. That conversation was more focussed on SMEs as Lucy is the Chair of RIA’s SME group but I imagine that truth holds for companies of all sizes. In fact Lucy points out that there is a big gulf in size within that definition of an SME. In this issue we are looking at consulting and training with many of the training features looking at new and innovative ways to invest in your workforce. We also have a collection of Q&As with some of the leading figures in the industry discussing their individual journeys and what they hope to achieve over the coming years.

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In this issue 09 NEWS All the latest from Network Rail, HS2, Tyne and Wear Metro, GB Railfreight, TransPennine Express and more


Accelerate Your Safety Leadership


Making Training Accessible for Rail


Deliver Engaging Online Learning Experiences


TRAINING Training Days at Anchor Systems


Training versus Competence


VR Training Transforms Rail Cleaning Operations


Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Lucy Prior about her work championing SMEs and their role within the supply chain

VIEWPOINT 23 Nick Westcott, Train Service Delivery Director at MTR Elizabeth line explains how the new Crew Displacement Management Tool is changing the how the control room works

27 Railway Cybersecurity 31 LAYING DOWN THE LAW Time off for Union Work


Unblocking the Channel Tunnel Holds the Future of Rail Freight


Nominations Open for Women In Rail Awards 2024


Decarbonising Rail


TRAINING Depot Apprentice’s Awards Success


McGinley Extends NIS Partnership


Industry Responds to HS2



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In Conversation with Keith Lovelace Managing Director and Owner of Ideas Limited

CONSULTING In Conversation with Phillip Marsden Managing Director at Vextrix Management Ltd


In Conversation with Steve Derrick Managing Director at AARC Professional Services (AARCPS) Limited


In Conversation with Paul Corcoran Founder and Managing Director of Interimconsult


Cillian Brugha, Managing Director at Easystart Ltd



Robert Cook, Policy Director at Railway Industry Association

101 SPOTLIGHT Northern

SPOTLIGHT Avanti West Coast


Steve Cant, Managing Director at East Anglian Sealing Co Ltd


Great Western Railway


Paul George, Head of Power & Infrastructure Resourcing


Greater Anglia

BUSINESS PROFILES 103 Staytite 106 Urbis Schréder 109 Maccaferri 113 Hochiki 117 Step on Safety 119 Elite Precast 121 BUSINESS NEWS All the latest from the industry supply chain


Alexandra Cox, Finance and Commercial Director of Swietelsky Construction Company

122 PEOPLE Jayne Breen, Harj Singh


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Troon Station Building Work Begins Work is now underway on the new building at Troon station. Siobhian Brown, MSP for Ayr, joined Network Rail’s project manager, Louise McSmith, to mark the beginning of the work which will see the reinstatement of the fire-damaged station building. Since the completion of work to install the seven replacement canopies last month,

the site has been gearing up for the start of work on the main building – led by contactor AmcoGiffen. The canopies and platform one building were destroyed in the 2021 fire which ravaged the station and Network Rail has worked with partners, stakeholders and the community since to develop the design of the reconstructed building.

In this next phase of work the platform one building will be rebuilt to include a ticket office and waiting area, as well as a ‘changing places’ facility for people with disabilities and their carers. Network Rail is working towards completing the construction of the station building ahead of The Open golf tournament being held in Troon in July 2024.

South Devon Railway Resilience as Rockfall Shelter Completed

The completion of a new rockfall shelter marks a major milestone for Network Rail’s programme of work to protect the iconic coastal railway between Exeter and Newton Abbot from extreme weather. The 109-metre-long shelter at the northern end of Parsons Tunnel, near Holcombe, has taken two years to build and will protect the railway from falling rocks and debris from the steep cliffs. Made up of 185 pre-cast concrete units, coloured red to match the local sandstone, the striking structure is open on the seaward side so passengers can still enjoy the coastal views. The teams from contractor Morgan Sindall Infrastructure carefully manoeuvred the pieces into place using a gantry crane that runs along rails. Most of the construction was carried out at night, while trains weren’t running, to keep everyone safe. The roof of the shelter is covered with 4,100 tonnes of red sand and 5,132m³ of foam concrete was used to backfill between the shelter and the cliff. Above the structure, 7,000m² of stainless-steel netting, secured by 1,400 soil nails, has been installed to provide extra protection. The £48 million structure was funded by the Department for Transport as part of Network Rail’s South West Rail Resilience Programme, set up after the major storm of 2014 that cut off the railway to the peninsula for eight weeks.

It brings the total invested in the Programme to £165 million, including the new sea wall at Dawlish and work is currently under way to install 19,700 square metres of netting secured by 6,000 soil nails on the cliffs between Dawlish and Holcombe. Network Rail will shortly be submitting its outline business case for the final phase of the Programme between Parson’s Tunnel and Teignmouth to the Department for Transport (DfT) for consideration. The proposed work follows three years of extensive analysis of existing data, plus further ground investigations on the 1.8-kilometre stretch of railway. As outlined in a series of public events last November, engineers are working on a programme of targeted solutions for the cliffs ranging from soil nailing and netting to groundwater management. This would protect the railway without impacting the beaches between Holcombe and Teignmouth, leaving the track where it is. The Rail Minister Huw Merriman said: ‘This project marks another milestone in our commitment to improving rail infrastructure in the South West, providing vital protection from extreme weather and boosting service reliability across the network. Its completion is a prime example of this Government delivering its promises to grow the economy and improve rail connections across the UK.’ 9


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Plans for Five New Railway Stations in South East Wales Transport for Wales’ ambitious plans to improve public transport move one step closer, with public consultation on designs for five new railway stations in South East Wales and new train services launched today. Members of the public are being invited to share their views as part of a 13-week consultation which runs to 14 January. The consultation is available on: Haveyoursay. tfw.wales/sew-new-stations-and-services Transport for Wales is looking for feedback on the designs of potential stations at Cardiff East, Newport West, Somerton, Llanwern and Magor and Undy, including the types of facilities that people would like to see at each station. Members of the public are also being asked for their views on new train services between Cardiff, Bristol and Cheltenham Spa that could provide the new stations

with up to four trains per hour and increase frequencies at existing local stations on the route. If funded, the proposals will create new opportunities for direct local and crossborder travel on both sides of the Severn by public transport. The proposals are key recommendations of the South East Wales Transport Commission, delivered as part of the South Wales Mainline Programme, which aims to greatly improve how people access and travel on the railway. Geoff Ogden, Chief Transport Planning and Development Officer, said: ‘Our vision

for Wales is one in which we all have more opportunities to live healthier and happier lives. For us, unlocking the capability of the South Wales mainline is key to changing how people travel in the region. We’re proud to share our proposals for five new stations between Cardiff Central and Severn Tunnel Junction that together with the new services will offer more people the opportunity to travel on the railway. We know that these designs will improve with public feedback. That’s why we’re asking people to share their thoughts.’

HS2 Ltd’s Biggest Future Talent Cohort so far Joins the Project A record number of apprentices and graduates have joined the HS2 project in September to help construct the UK’s new high-speed rail line. This year, a total of 59 people joined HS2’s future talent programme. The new cohort have joined multiple areas across the business including teams responsible for the new stations and

rail systems, surveying, land referencing, business administration and cyber security. HS2’s future talent courses last up to two years and combine on-the-job training with portfolio-based learning. The programme is designed to grow business knowledge, strengthen soft skills and offer networking opportunities for learners- developing

the expertise that not only the business is looking for, but also the wider UK industry. Recruits also attend a series of ‘learning weeks’ throughout the programme to develop core skills and behaviours required in any business such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, innovation, resilience, presentation skills and technical skills. 11


New Tyne and Wear Metro Trains Undergo Special Crush Load Testing A series of special tests have been taking place to ensure that the Tyne and Wear Metro’s new trains perform correctly at their full customer capacity. The crush laden testing checks that the new trains work as they should do when the carriage is full. It has involved one of the new Stadler trains being loaded with 39 tonnes of ballast to simulate a maximum customer loading. Containers of sand were used to replicate the weight of a full carriage before the train was put through its paces on a series runs across the Metro network during the night. Nexus, the public body which owns manages Metro, said that the tests went well, and it

was another step towards getting the first new train into full customer service. Stadler, the Swiss train building company, is working with Nexus on this latest phase of the £362 million programme, known as testing and commissioning, which covers nearly every single component on the trains. Head of Fleet and Depot Replacement Programme at Nexus, Michael Richardson, said: ‘Crush load testing is a critical part of getting the first new Metro trains ready for our customers. The test ensures that the train can perform safely and correctly when it is full. This was replicated by loading the carriage up with almost 40 tonnes of

ballast cartons and then putting it through its paces on the system. We checked how it performed under braking and on the curves when its full capacity was replicated. I am pleased to say all the crush laden tests went well and the new train performed as exactly we expected it to. Testing the new Metro fleet is a really detailed process. We are going through around 90,000 different checks and are leaving no stone unturned as we get the first train ready to welcome customers next year. ‘The Stadler trains are going to be transformative, and we are really excited to get them into service. They have been shaped by customers, employees, trade unions and specialist user groups. We believe this to have been the most farreaching consultation yet staged into a new train design. Over 23,000 customer responses have helped to shape the design.’ Tens of thousands of detailed tests are taking place to get the new Metro train fleet ready for customer service, in what is one of the most important projects in the network’s history. A total of around 90,000 individual tests are required, with checks on everything, from seats and windscreen wipers, to more big-ticket items like brakes, CCTV, doors, wheels, and power supply. There are around 19,000 hours of training time, with the full new train fleet of 46 trains needing to complete 37,000 kilometres as part of the fault free running phase of the project. There are around 22,000 standards and clauses to comply with and 480 staff to train up. The testing process is to ensure that the new trains work safely and seamlessly with Metro’s 60 stations and 77 kilometres of track.

Charity Project to Support Vulnerable Children and Young People on Scotland’s Railway Young people leaving home to escape family conflict, abuse, mental health issues and exploitation by criminal gangs are to be helped through a new safeguarding project at Scotland’s busiest railway station. Railway Children, an international children’s charity, launched its Safeguarding on Transport programme at Glasgow Central Station on Monday, 23 October. By bringing together the rail industry and British Transport Police (BTP), the charity works to raise awareness of vulnerability on the railways and strengthen safety responses in and around major stations to protect young people from harm. 12

This is Railway Children’s first project in Scotland and will help them to reach more young people in vulnerable situations, including those who are using trains to run away from home. Glasgow Central Station is one of the top five UK stations for safeguarding incidents reported to BTP. In 2022/23, out of 962 Safeguarding and Vulnerability Reports for incidents occurring in Scotland involving children and young people, 181 (20 per cent) were for Glasgow Central.

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GB Railfreight Successfully Trials Innovative Brake Monitoring System GB Railfreight (GBRf) has announced a successful four-week test of an innovative new solution for monitoring wheel and brake issues. Developed in collaboration with Icomera, DG8 and SENSEi, this world-first system enables battery-powered sensors to remotely share status and out-of-tolerance alerts with drivers and operational control centres, whilst they perform vehicle pre-checks. This IoT (Internet of Things) technology can help to create a safer and more efficient rail network by reducing the number of incidents relating to wheel and brake faults. No known method has previously existed for delivering freight wagon brake sensor data to the driver in the locomotive wirelessly, via a closed system. When using the system, train drivers receive sensor data directly to an application on a tablet in their cabin. This allows them to take immediate action to mitigate against potential wheel or brake-related risk factors as well as respond to real-time feedback on the results of their actions. Following this successful test, the next set of solutions are currently being developed with further trials being scheduled. David Golding, Asset Director, GB Railfreight, said: ‘Working with our trusted industry partners, we have proven the concept of a firstof-its-kind application in the rail sector. GBRf is really proud to be leading the freight industry by developing these innovative solutions to reduce incidents relating to wheel and brake issues.’

Next Stop, Success! TPE Welcomes Next Generation of Railway Talent TransPennine Express (TPE) has opened its doors to its most recent cohort of apprentices, who will experience a range

of areas across the business. This cohort marks nine years of TPE welcoming young apprentices to the business to start their

railway journey in different departments including Performance, Human Resources, and Customer Experience. This is also the first year the business has welcomed an apprentice to its Sustainability team. Over the next two years, the apprentices will gain experience in their chosen area, whilst working with experts in the field. They’ll also explore other departments within TPE, gaining a wealth of experience and being able to see what it takes to keep the north and Scotland on the move. Emma Sayers-Bates, Talent and Development Manager at TPE, said: ‘It’s amazing to welcome another group of apprentices to the business, growing our teams with even more fresh talent. The apprentices will be getting stuck in during an exciting time for the business. This is a brilliant group of young apprentices, who have already shown their passion for the industry, and throughout the next two years will develop the skills they need to succeed. Within TransPennine Express we know how important it is for young talent to be introduced to rail, equipping them with the knowledge that will help them build an incredible career.’ Since 2021, almost 70 per cent of apprentices have secured permanent roles within TPE, with last year’s cohort obtaining roles in Train Planning, Revenue Protection, and Workforce Planning.



Ricardo to Advise UK Rail Research and Test Facility on Certification and Approvals Processes Ricardo has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE), under which it will provide a range of important advisory services to support the new facility planned for South Wales. Under the agreement, Ricardo will work with GCRE’s leadership team to help define what the global rail sector requires from a modern infrastructure and rolling stock test and research facility, with a particular focus on how on-site approvals and certification services can be delivered. Certification will be a critical feature of the Global Centre of Rail Excellence facility and Ricardo will provide advice and support for the development of this important service, drawing on insights from Ricardo’s client relationships around the world. GCRE will be a new global centre for research, testing and certification of rolling stock, infrastructure and cutting-edge new technologies. GCRE will feature two electrified test loops, one which will support high quality rolling stock testing, the other for infrastructure innovation. The 700-hectare site on which the facility will be located is equivalent to the size of Gibraltar and will also be home to an extensive range of research and development infrastructure that can support rail decarbonisation and the transition to net zero. Once fully operational GCRE will be the first fully integrated, single site railway testing and research centre anywhere in Europe.

‘Having such a world-class facility here on our doorstep will be a major coup for the UK rail sector’ says Claire Ruggiero, UK Operations Director for Ricardo’s rail business. ‘Its presence will forge new collaborations, both domestic and an international, and inspire a future generation of rail technicians and engineers to push ahead with ideas and products that could have a huge impact on railways all around the world. Through this agreement, Ricardo can bring valuable insight and resources from the earliest stages of the facility’s development, including an international perspective that will guide its design and service offerings to ensure it can play a truly global role over the long-term future.’ GCRE Limited Director of Strategy and Skills, Rob Forde, said: ‘It’s fantastic to agree this partnership with Ricardo, such a highprofile and respected name in the rail industry. The Global Centre of Rail Excellence that we are building in South Wales is set to become Europe’s premier site for rail research, testing and innovation, providing a fantastic platform at which we can work together. ‘This partnership signals, once again, the very strong commercial appetite that exists for the services that GCRE will provide. In areas such as infrastructure innovation and showcasing there is nothing like our facility in Europe. Everyone at GCRE is looking forward to developing this exciting and creative partnership with the talented Ricardo team.’

QTS Group Unveils New First-of-its-kind Machinery Across Rail Sector QTS Group has rolled out several unique machines across its national projects as it continues to lead the way in rail innovation. The national rail contractor, which operates the largest specialised RRV plant fleet in the UK, has unveiled some pioneering, first-oftheir-kind machines in throughout 2023. QTS Group’s new Mega Reach is the largest RRV Lorry Loader Crane in the UK and can tow up to 60 tonnes. It’s available to work both on and off track, and is also able to operate through overhead lines. The Mega Reach can be used in vegetation management to remove dying and diseased trees, which reduces the requirement of working at height. It can also be utilised for heavy lifting, including footbridge installation, overhead line stanchions, gantry removal and rock drilling. The QTS Shunter, built from a disused MEWP, is an extremely versatile machine that can be used in variety of situations throughout the railway. The Shunter has the air capacity, traction, and braking capabilities for shunting twelve rail carriages up to 1,000 tonnes controlled by a train brake control system from the Unimog cab. The rail trailer braking system is controlled through the Unimog foot brake with the machines conventional brakes and is capable of shunting ten rail trailers at 200 tonnes. The firm’s ‘Unimog with a Timber Mounted Crane’ is another business first and is soon to be trialled on the railway. This machine is built to handle timber up to one tonne and is fitted with a purpose-built crane to offer an outreach of nine metres. Alan McLeish, Managing Director of QTS Group, said: ‘At QTS, we’re proud to have a demonstrated history of spearheading innovation across the rail industry over our three decades in 16

business. This year has been no exception and we’re thrilled to officially launch our new machines and get them out on site. We have a dedicated projects team that works tirelessly to try and improve efficiencies with our plant equipment. This makes it easier for both our employees and the wider industry to deliver rail projects across the UK, while also continually improving our services for clients.’ QTS has added several other pieces of machinery to its impressive fleet in recent years, including the Mega Chipper V2, Grapple Saw, Weed Control Unit, Railboss Vactors , Forwarder MegaChipper V2, , Mega Vac, QTS Multicar Unimog Flail/Quad saw and the all new QTS tree brash Baler.


Lucy Prior

Business Growth Director at Trough-Tec Systems (TTS) and Chair of RIA’s SME group

Lucy is currently Chair of RIA’s SME group and in her previous role as Membership Development and International Trade Director at the Rail Alliance she actively worked to support and mentor SMEs. At that time she also worked closely with the Department for International Trade, supporting companies on their export journeys and as a result was awarded an MBE for services to rail exports in the 2018 Birthday Honours List.



Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Lucy Prior about her work championing SMEs and their role within the supply chain

SSH: You’ve been involved in work with SMEs for much of your career, what does your current advocacy work entail? LP: I'm living and breathing it as a director of an SME, when I talk about SMEs I tend to fixate on the ‘smaller’ end of ‘small medium sized enterprises’. If you look at the definition of an SME, the actual range of company size in that bracket is huge – at the top end you can have £250 million turnover. I’ve got a natural affinity with the companies at the smaller end of the scale and that includes TTS which is a small SME in terms turnover and the number of people we employ. My role chairing the RIA SME group puts me on the RIA board which means I get a chance to harp on about the impact of political or financial decisions made in the corridors of power on a small company to just about anyone who will listen! I did a year as Vice Chair and I’ve been Chair since March 2021, I will be in that

‘If more time was spent on the design stage, you could go to market with a better idea of what you’re going to need.’


role until next year when Paul McSharry will take over and a new Vice Chair will be voted in. I am literally the only small company representative at the table, another board member Kelly Warburton is Chief Commercial Officer at GCRE which is a micro company in terms of personnel, but they have £80 million in government funding so in commercial terms my perspective on the board is unique. SSH: What is the SME Group’s agenda? LP: We hold three to four networking events a year, they're generally themed around upcoming opportunities and how to engage with those opportunities. We have representatives from Government, Network Rail, OEMs and Tier One contractors. These events are a way for us to provide speakers who could inform the SME supply chain and have cohesive and constructive conversations with them. Something we discussed really early on in my tenure was to acknowledge that I am not fully representative of that huge SME supply chain, so we created a leadership team of about a dozen people who work in digital companies, onboard widgets, track infrastructure products, research and analysis, making sure they were geographically dispersed and that we had gender parity and at least one representative from each of the Network Rail regions. We meet on an admittedly fairly ad-hoc basis and catch up on what their successes

‘It is funny how many of these problems are shared problems – approval, forecasting, lack of pipeline visibility all come up time and again.’ and challenges are so that when I am talking to the RIA Board or running an event I am speaking from a perspective which is wider than just my own. Having had these conversations, it is funny how many of these problems are shared problems – approval, forecasting, lack of pipeline visibility all come up time and again. In a previous session, Hugh Merriman was one of the invited speakers and I was able to explain the effect at the grassroots level of delays caused by Whitehall. Take a large project, the treasury will release the funding and DfT will manage the delivery. If that gets delayed politically that will have an impact on the supply chain, including on things like job stability. If more time was spent on the design stage, you could go to market with a better idea of what you’re going to need. In practice, the project goes to market without being fully formed in terms of design, so then things get ordered which may not end up actually being used. I urge the end client and the designers to speak to individual suppliers as early as possible, this might cost more at the beginning to get the correct design but then you’ll save a lot further down the line alongside providing greater surety for the SMEs in the supply chain.



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I can give you a specific example from TTS. On a recent project, rather than go through subcontractors we dealt directly with the Alliance and we were able to speak to their designers and create a modular kit of parts. This meant we could drop a pallet to a specific location directly on the railway so they've got exactly what they need there. We’ve estimated with East West Rail just by taking that modular approach and sending kits to specific locations rather than a huge amount to one compound just on snagging time alone saves about a year and a half on labour. That’s a year and a half of someone’s time that could be used elsewhere, which makes the railway more efficient. And that’s before we try and estimate the materials costs this approach has saved, by eliminating the need for physical changes and additional products or works. If every other ancillary provider was able to contribute in a similar way, the benefits would multiply. We are told that we need to help tackle the skills gap, we’re told we need to innovate, but if we've not got project certainty, if we don't know for definite that the income is coming in from that client then we’ve not got cashflow which is crucial. The smaller the company the more crucial the cashflow, if you've got a major client who’s imposing 90-day terms on you and you trade with your suppliers on 30 day terms, you’ve got a 60 day lag in cash. If you don't have projects back-to-back you have to potentially recruit and train for your peaks and troughs in workload. A company isn’t going to recruit 20 people because they're probably going to have a contract in 18 months time, they can't afford to have 20 people sitting around doing nothing and the current instability and uncertainty makes that even more of a problem.


Another issue is that when projects are given the go ahead, the tender is out and you’ve only got a short amount of time to get your tenders in. The big Tier Ones spend millions on bidding, a company might bid on ten projects in CP7 seven if they get two of those back that’s a 20 per cent success rate. But because the tender windows are so short and this has been said to me by multiple different large organisations, they then don't have time to shop around. So, they can’t go to different small companies or different suppliers to see what else is on the market, so you can’t test the market for better pricing or alternative solutions to the norm because when you’ve got a short tender window you have to go with what you know. SSH: All the focus is on tendering to win the contract and the actual thinking ahead and knowing whether or not you can fulfil the contract is almost secondary. What is the likelihood of that being changed? LP: I would recommend that there be longer periods for tendering and more time spent on designing the right thing. Let’s take an example like rolling stock design for HS2, that would have been agreed upon about five years ago – long before it was known what would actually be possible when it came time for delivery. We could make the specifications about what is being delivered for the end customer, the passenger or the freight user, so then when we are designing and tendering for it there is more scope for the supply chain to be prepared for it. That would be harder because you’re loosening things up which would lead to more variation on what’s offered but there must be some way to find a middle ground. As part of my work with the leadership team we’re able to canvas organisations

‘A company isn’t going to recruit 20 people because they're probably going to have a contract in 18 months time, they can't afford to have 20 people sitting around doing nothing.’ across the supply chain and ask these questions. I recently spoke to the Story/VolkerRail JV about what lessons they had learned from the Hope Valley project and for them it was making sure they understood mechanisms between the individual entities within the joint venture and how stuff could be procured by one arm and used by another so it's sometimes really practical stuff that needs to be picked out and learned from, but in this example the JV uncovered a hidden blocker that they can now avoid in the future. As Network Rail and GBR becomes this slimmer, intelligent client that depends more on its Tier Ones and as OEMs depend more on systems integrators we’ve got to make sure that that body of supply chain between the end contractual clients allows for a conversation between them so that end client can inform the organisations acting on their behalf of the most appropriate solution, not decision, not who it’s going to be spent with, but just what the market has to offer and that tender specifications reflect that.

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Nick Westcott is Train Service Delivery Director at MTR Elizabeth line where he is responsible for Control, Performance, Planning and Security.

It’s all under Control Nick Westcott, Train Service Delivery Director at MTR Elizabeth line explains how the new Crew Displacement Management Tool is changing how the control room works


e all know the impact that even minor disruption can have on the UK rail network. With trains and crew out of place it can take many hours to get a service back up and running. But now, thanks to the industry-leading, and snappily-titled, Crew Displacement Management Tool (CDMT), bad days are getting better.

The introduction of the CDMT on the Elizabeth line is a first for the industry and has fundamentally changed how the control room works, from the previous use of manual updates, like managing multiple systems, and spreadsheet information, to a fully digital system. Developed in partnership with specialists, CPC Systems, and going from concept to working tool in under eight

MTR UK is a subsidiary of MTR Corporation. We demonstrate our reputation for operational excellence, exceptional customer service and innovation across our UK portfolio, bringing together railway operations, rail infrastructure and transport-focused property development. With a consistent track record of delivering through collaborative partnerships and joint ventures, we offer ground-breaking, technologyled approaches. The company's UK rail operations includes oversight of MTR Elizabeth line, the operator of the Elizabeth line (on behalf of Transport for London), covering all aspects of train and passenger service operations. MTR UK has operated South Western Railway, one of the largest UK franchises, as a joint venture with First Group since August 2017. For more information about MTR UK, please visit mtr.uk.com.



months, the fully digital system takes in real time data from trains, including unit number and location as well as the driver’s name, then maps this with the driver’s phone number, sign on and off details and break information to help controllers make informed decisions based on live data, throughout normal operations, as well as during disruptions. All locations, routes and route data is live, and this has been a real game changer for the control room. Before CDMT went live in November 2022, control room colleagues were required to use a wide range of systems, spreadsheets and paperwork to find specific pieces of information. For each query, controllers may need to use up to four different sources. For example, to find out which driver is on which train, they’d first have to locate the spreadsheet for that specific piece of information. Then there were systems for drivers, and different systems for driver diagrams, plus one for which train was allocated, and then the allocated number for the unit, and for the day. Overwhelming, huh? But that type of process is not unusual within a rail control centre environment. It is time consuming, especially for the operators of a metro-style service, and open to mistakes through human error. CDMT enables controllers, not only to create more capacity in their day-to-day roles, but also increases the accuracy of the information significantly, particularly as it is a live data feed. It’s become not just a better way of operating; it’s been transformative. As a result of this tool, we’ve seen an improvement over the last twelve months 24

in reactionary delays, and the number of trains awaiting drivers, for example. When disruptions occur, we have been able to understand when there is a crew impact and mitigate that, leaving trains standing for less time and enabling us to make judgments as to how effectively we can recover the service. The Elizabeth line, with more than 700,000 passenger journeys on some weekdays, is one of the busiest railways in the UK. This offers a clear challenge for controllers and the need to be as effective as possible when undertaking their roles. The range of information that the CDMT makes available to the control room is extensive; from driver diagrams to rosters and drivers’ break requirements (including when breaks are scheduled to start and finish), ensuring not only legal obligations are met, but also the drivers’ wellbeing is protected. The tool also monitors track circuit data, and combined with the driver data, can provide information on when each driver has last driven a route and when they will need to drive this route again in order to meet their CPD requirements or how many hours they have done so they do not go over the legal limit. It also identifies new drivers, and enables driver teams to update information such as telephone numbers, as well as identifying all delayed trains. When trains have been delayed, there is a possibility that there may need to be a different driver than scheduled, allocated to that train, as a result of the altered timings, and now it can all be seen as live data. Previously the controller may have to spend some time identifying who had

been swapped to accommodate the delay via manual processes. Now with one click, the information is there. The same applies to when drivers are sick, or otherwise unavailable at short notice; similarly, if booking sheets are altered, they will update immediately. The tool also shows us if drivers have not been allocated to a train, and so the controllers can repurpose the driver, or the train, or both! To view the range of information available to them at one or two clicks of their keyboard, our control room colleagues also have the opportunity to view the data in one of two formats – an industry-recognised tabular format, or a more progressive APP format. The ability to see the familiar (to the rail industry) tabular format on the tool has meant the team were quick to adopt this new tech. We’ve also been able to extend CDMT’s application in other areas of the business. It has now been integrated into the management of the new Class 345 train fleet, enabling the fleet team, as well as the control room, to see, for example, when any train needs to go through the train wash (required every 48 hours as part of our concession agreement with Transport for London), or when individual trains are scheduled for maintenance so that the control room can make sure these trains are in the correct location, as part of their everyday scheduling of train movements. The transformation we’ve seen over the last twelve months has been nothing short of incredible. Now all it needs to learn is how to make the tea!

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Eric-Vittorio Li Destri is a cybersecurity expert and Senior Manager at VIAVI Solutions France. He has over 20 years of experience in Cybersecurity, security of IT architecture and infrastructure and more. Eric was involved with various projects related to telecommunications and worked for the French Gendarmerie for many years. He is currently the Product Line Manager of EVOIA Cyber.

Railway Cybersecurity Eric-Vittorio Li Destri, Railway Cybersecurity PLM at VIAVI Solutions on the rising threat of cyberattacks on rail networks

regulatory bodies are now working on the rollout of new legislation to shore up the security of their transportation networks. In Europe, for instance, new directives mandate railway operators to comply with cybersecurity standards. The Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive and the Cybersecurity Act now apply to all railway operators, defining the criteria and requirements that IT systems must meet in order to be certified as secure and trustworthy. These regulations are not just guidelines; they are mandatory. Non-compliance can result in significant fines and penalties. The goal is to ensure that all railway operators are equipped to handle modern threats and can safeguard their networks against potential attacks. The challenge many rail operators are now facing is understanding these new regulations and what is required of them from a cybersecurity perspective.

Getting on the right track


f all the industries facing rising cybersecurity concerns, the rail industry isn’t one that readily springs to mind. In recent years, malicious actors have widened their crosshairs, focusing not only on individual businesses and sectors, but on critical infrastructure such as power grids, water supply, and transportation networks. The modernization of these infrastructures has made them more reliant on an interconnected network of devices, but what gains are made in terms of efficiency often come at the cost of security. Railway operators have been using specialized networks for communication and signaling for decades. Unlike the public networks we use daily, these are closed systems designed for safety and reliability, and they have been operational for years. However, with the modernization of services, these OT (operational technology) systems have become increasingly centralized and integrated. The primary purpose of these networks is to ensure seamless communication between trains and control centers. For instance, signaling is used to communicate speed limits and track changes, and any disruption or manipulation of such a system can have catastrophic consequences. A recent report by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) observed that cyberattacks on transportation networks in EU member states increased steadily between 2021 and 2022, with the aviation and rail sectors experiencing the greatest increase. In the railway sector, incidents almost exclusively targeted critical OT systems such as signaling and the IT systems of those responsible for managing them. Hacktivist groups have also been

conducting DDoS attacks against railway companies at an increasing rate, exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The threat of signaling hacking

Recent developments have demonstrated beyond doubt that railway signaling systems are not immune to cyberattacks. State-sponsored attacks on rail systems have been identified as a potential threat, which could lead to trains traveling at dangerous speeds, potentially leading to collisions or derailments. These threats are not theoretical; they are real and imminent. For instance, leaked files have revealed that certain entities have identified ways to infiltrate rail systems and fake signaling instructions, usually as part of a statesponsored attack. As geopolitical tensions increase and the war in Ukraine rages on, the potential for cyberattacks on railway systems has become a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’, with operators being pressured to adapt their security posture accordingly. In March 2022, Italian state railway, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, faced a ransomware attack that resulted in customers not being able to buy tickets. Danish train operator, DSB, was also subject to a DDoS attack on its IT systems which resulted in severe service disruptions, including the inaccessibility of a safetycritical IT system that handled signaling. Such incidents are likely to increase with the growing capabilities of threat actors and the rising threat of state-sponsored attacks.

All aboard: the need for better regulation It isn’t just railway operators that are showing concern. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, governments and

When addressing cybersecurity in the rail sector, it's essential to understand the risk matrix. Current regulations mandate rail operators to conduct risk analyses, pinpointing potential vulnerabilities and devising strategies to mitigate or avoid them. It’s down to rail operators themselves to find a solution that offers these capabilities. For instance, deploying a cybersecurity solution that offers full visibility into the railway's operational network will allow for the detection of unauthorized or fake systems that may be plugged into the network. Its capabilities may extend to automatically identifying a wide range of attack scenarios, ensuring that potential threats are promptly flagged. Depending on the severity and nature of the threat, rail operators will require a system that can either automatically counteract the attack or guide operators in a security operation center (SOC) with precise steps to manually block or mitigate it. The importance of network visibility cannot be overstated. Rail operators will need a solution that offers a detailed overview of their infrastructure at a granular level. This is particularly crucial given that some components in railway infrastructure can be decades old and might not be immediately recognized as potential vulnerabilities. By addressing both the modern and legacy elements of the railway network, operators can ensure a holistic protection strategy that aligns with global standards and regulatory requirements. As we move forward, the importance of railway signaling security cannot be overstated. The threats are real, and the potential consequences are devastating. However, with the right focus on technology, regulation, and visibility, operators can ensure that the railway infrastructure they oversee remains safe for the transportation of goods, materials and – most importantly – people.


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“The reason I wanted to upgrade my membership was for affirmation and confirmation of my knowledge and experience. I was especially interested in the international aspect of my learning which I do have a bit of experience from working on the French systems.”

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Get in Touch Today Our membership team are on hand to help and advise you through the membership upgrade process. Whether you need technical assistance with an application, or just some guidance before you commit, we’d love to hear from you. membership@railwayoperators.co.uk

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Brits Stick to Public Transport for Savings and Sustainability Just under one in five (19 per cent) revealed they’ve increased their use of public transport for non-work travel in the past three months


ombining anonymised and aggregated UK movement data from O2 Motion with national polling findings, the quarterly barometer reveals key behavioural trends of UK consumers and businesses. Together, the data paints a reliable picture of movement patterns and the trends behind them. In both July and August, O2 Motion data showed that commuting trips fell by six per cent. However, these trips surged by 18 per cent in September as schools reopened. Commuting numbers have been rising with well over half (56 per cent) of the public going to workplaces four days a week or more. Just under two thirds (64 per cent) of UK businesses have also seen an increase in workers returning to the office, compared to the previous quarter (55 per cent). With over half (56 per cent) of Brits now commuting four days a week or more, the latest Virgin Media O2 Business Movers Index reveals a cost-conscious approach: cutting expenses by maximising office perks, making the most of public transport. O2 Motion movement data shows people aged 65+ are most likely to travel during the day, with 26 per cent travelling between 9am and 3pm. Meanwhile, younger age groups tend to favour late afternoon into the night, with over a third (38 per cent) of 18-24 year-olds’ trips taking place between 6pm and 3am. This reflects a more budget-conscious Britain striving to keep bank accounts balanced during a tough second year coping with a cost-of-living crisis. Over two fifths (44 per cent) of individuals surveyed stated that cost savings were the biggest factor for using public transport more often, with environmental considerations (33 per cent) also a major driver in the face of growing concerns around climate change. Jo Bertram, Managing Director of Virgin Media O2 Business, said: ‘Our data shows increasing numbers of UK workers heading into the office – with free heating and the promise of stronger working relationships deemed more valuable as businesses

44 PER CENT SAID COST SAVINGS WERE THE BIGGEST FACTOR FOR USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT 26 PER CENT OF OVER 65S TRAVEL BETWEEN 9AM AND 3PM 38 PER CENT OF 1824 YEAR-OLDS TRAVEL BETWEEN 6PM AND 3AM 56 PER CENT COMMUTE FOUR DAYS A WEEK OR MORE continue to shape a balanced hybrid future of work. Brits are also increasingly looking to make the most of cheaper transport options with many turning to public transport and walking to save costs. As British firms continue to adapt to a fast-changing macro-economic climate, informed decision-making is crucial. Our O2 Motion insights have been supporting businesses for years and will continue to help them unlock the data they need to make strategic choices.’ The Virgin Media O2 Business Movers Index is a publicly available quarterly report that explores the latest UK movement insights from each quarter.

NE WS IN BRIE F GB RAILFREIGHT OPENS NEW SIDINGS FOR NEW PETERBOROUGH MAINTENANCE HUB GB Railfreight (GBRf) opened new sidings on the north side of its Peterborough yard which will connect its newly opened £5.75 million Maintenance Hub to the national railway network. The opening has been a culmination of three years of work between GBRf, Network Rail and railway contractors KGJ Price. Several new points have been installed, slewing the existing track to create five intermodal length sidings accessible from both north and south, as well as additional capacity for spare wagons.

AGREEMENT REACHED TO SAVE DAY TRAVELCARDS FOR TRAIN PASSENGERS Train companies, represented by Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and Transport for London (TfL) have reached an agreement which means Day Travelcards can continue to be bought by customers as part of their train tickets to London. This ends months of speculation about the future of this ticket, which offer rail customers freedom to use all bus, Tube and train services within the London zones. This agreement follows a long period of negotiation by RDG representing train operators, TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT) to find a solution which secures the future of the tickets while at the same time enabling TfL to meet its budget commitments.

C2C CREATES NEW SAFETY, SUSTAINABILITY AND COMPLIANCE DEPARTMENT c2c has created a new Safety, Sustainability and Compliance department, with Stuart Browning appointed to lead the new function. Formerly the firm’s Head of Safety and Environment, Stuart has stepped into the role of Safety, Sustainability and Compliance Director with immediate effect.


climate positive C R A D L E T O




LAYING DOWN THE LAW by Martin Fleetwood

Time off for Union Work Some helpful pointers to managing an employer’s obligations to Union Reps requesting paid time for Union work


ith the number of strikes still occurring within the rail sector, the relationships between employers and the union reps based at their companies are likely to become strained. Employers may resent the amount of time an employee who is a union representative spends on Union work. However, the work of union representatives is quite diverse, and legislation exists to ensure that they are provided with paid time off from work in order to carry out those tasks. Where an employer looks to prevent the union rep from taking paid time off for union work, this creates a breach of the employee's statutory rights and exposes the employer to being penalised for a breach of those rights. This can include the imposition of a fine by the Employment Tribunal. The recent case of Carberry v Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service highlights the issues for employers when an employee request paid time off for carrying out trade union duties and the employer refuses to provide the paid time off.

A disagreement over the union rep's activities

Mr Carberry was a union rep and firefighter. He asked his employer to be released from work duties to accompany one of his firefighter members whose case was being heard in an employment tribunal. The employer refused Mr Carberry's request. It took the view that as Mr Carberry was neither presenting the case himself nor required to give evidence to the employment tribunal that day, he would not be carrying out union duties so could not have paid

time off to attend. Following the rejection of paid time off, Mr Carberry instead applied for annual leave on the day of the tribunal hearing. This request was approved by his employer. The relevant law (s.168 Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992) (TULRCA) compels an employer to allow employees who are ‘officials’ of any recognised trade union to take time off for certain specific reasons. These include pay negotiations and ‘the performance on behalf of employees ...of functions related to or connected with matters falling within that provision which the employer has agreed may be so performed by the trade union’. This often includes providing support and representation for other union members at tribunals and hearings. Time off for these purposes must be paid time off, but there is no specific rule on how much paid time must be given and the employer has a very wide discretion on whether to provide such paid time off. In this case, the Tribunal decided that it was understandable that Mr Carberry should wish to attend the employment tribunal because of the facts of the particular case. The employee’s case that Mr Carberry was supporting related to how a collective agreement was interpreted. This, the Tribunal felt, was something of interest to the wider staff group at the fire and rescue service. Mr Carberry's attendance therefore came within the definition of ‘trade union duties’ and he should have been given paid leave to attend the hearing on that basis. The Tribunal also noted that in this case the employer granted the union rep's request to use his annual leave to attend the hearing

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.

A key point for employers is that if they are going to refuse a request for paid time off for union duties, they need a paper trail of why they took that decision.

and determined that, by implication, his attendance at work that day could not really have been vital. A vital need for attendance provides a ground for the employer to refuse to grant leave. Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was found to have acted unlawfully and was in breach of its duties under s168 TULRCA. As a result, it was required to reinstate the day of leave taken and to pay the employee a further £2,000 on a 'just and equitable' basis, for this one-off breach of the Act.

Understanding the employer's discretion to grant paid leave

While the amount of paid time off for union work is a common issue between union reps and their employers, all employers with 31


NE WS I N B R IEF DRIVER RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN WINS ANOTHER AWARD FOR AVANTI WEST COAST Avanti West Coast has won its third award for its campaign to recruit more women train drivers. The operator was successful in the Marketing Communications: Automative and Transport category at the PR Week Awards for its ‘Pulling in the Right Direction’ initiative. This is the third accolade that it is has won this year, after winning ‘Campaign of the Year’ at the National Transport Awards also this month and ‘Best Public Awareness Cause Campaign’ at the Purpose Awards in June. The campaign, which encouraged women to apply for train driver roles, was centred around a mural depicting Karen Harrison, one of the UK’s first female train drivers.


recognised trade unions should take account of this decision, notwithstanding that it was only a lower tribunal decision. While it does not mean that an employer must always grant requests from union reps for paid leave, it does provide some helpful pointers for those matters that an employer should take into account. Employers should consider: • What is the work that the union rep needs time off to perform? Does it fit within the provisions which the employer has agreed may be so performed by the trade union? • Is it reasonable for an employer to refuse the request? Under TULRCA the employer has a ‘reasonable response’ test when determining whether the time off is for trade union duties and the amount of time off to be taken. • Is there a need for the employee to be present in the workplace on the day of requested leave? There may be a specific operational need that has to be performed by the employee which can justify the refusal. However, if an annual leave request would have been approved for that day, attendance at work could not be argued to have been vital to the employer. • What paper trail exists for this decision

and for previous decisions? This should provide reasons behind the decisions including why, operationally, that person cannot be spared from the workplace on that day. The same rationale should be used to refuse paid annual leave to ensure consistency of decisions. • The examples set out in the ACAS Code of Practice on time off for trade union duties and activities. These provide examples of union duties for which paid time off is usually given and ‘union activities’, a lesser category, which should only attract unpaid leave. A key point for employers is that if they are going to refuse a request for paid time off for union duties, they need a paper trail of why they took that decision. In an action brought before it, the Tribunal may award a successful claimant compensation that it considers just and equitable in all the circumstances and which may be beyond any actual losses of the claimant. Being able to show that the employer's action was reasonable and consistent with previous decisions provides helpful evidence to assist the Tribunal’s decision. While keeping of records should be a relatively straightforward process it is, sadly, one of the areas most neglected in practice.


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Unblocking the Channel Tunnel Holds the Future of Rail Freight Ellis Shelton, Policy Advisor, Logistics UK explains how the Channel Tunnel has the potential to transform the rail freight industry


ince its opening in 1994, the Channel Tunnel has remained the quickest route for both passengers and freight looking to reach mainland Europe from Folkestone, Kent. The tunnel provides a significant link between Great Britain and Europe, enabling the logistics industry to transport goods and services internationally via rail. However, rail freight arriving from Europe is facing limited opportunities for onwards travel due to most of the rail network between Folkstone and London – which has not been updated since the early 1990s – being unable to accommodate for the standard European freight containers and wagons across its tunnels, bridges and station platforms. Major issues that are currently hindering rail freight levels are loading gauges, restricted access to HS1, wagon availability and terminal capacity. Network Rail has set out a proposal to overcome this barrier by adapting the line from Folkstone, via Ashford and Maidstone in Kent, to Wembley in North London. To do this, modifications need to be made to the current infrastructure including a mixture of track lowering, minor alterations to various structures and imposing speed restrictions in certain areas. Light track works will also be required to achieve the correct track gauge clearance of W9a, to enable overseas exchangeable freight containers to pass through. Once the cargo has arrived in Wembley, there is a clear

route to access the rest of the country as most of the railway network beyond London already holds sufficient clearance – modified rail lines in the UK can accommodate for shipping containers dispatched across the globe, including North America, arriving at ports such as Southampton and Felixstowe. Presently, freight trains from across Europe can only reach London via Folkstone by using High Speed 1 (HS1) – as it has the necessary gauge to accommodate them – but there are weight restrictions and extremely high transit fees involved, meaning that only one freight train a day on HS1 is used. As a result, cargo is often either transported via the Thames Estuary – at a greater cost than rail – or, offloaded from trains onto HGVS and delivered via road. This process is not only time consuming and costly due to unstable fuel rates but also impractical as a large proportion of the cargo will be bulk materials in high volumes unsuitable for both vans and HGVs. Road freight operators will need to travel through congested urban areas, and therefore missing the through tunnel rail opportunity. By modifying the current railway, including reconfiguring platforms and tunnels, it will allow for these freight containers to travel direct to its destination and encourage further modal shift to rail. Network Rail’s plan is estimated to cost £10 million but will provide countless benefits for the logistics sector. Upgrading the country’s railway network will increase rail capacity and allow for higher train

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Covid-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of Covid-19 on the whole supply

Network Rail’s plan is estimated to cost £10 million but will provide countless benefits for the logistics sector.

frequency and larger freight volumes to be transported between the UK and Europe. By supporting bigger load units on UK rail with minimal intervention, international cargo from across Europe can travel without limitations creating more trade, business, and jobs opportunities. In addition, more efficient railways provide the resources necessary to achieve economic growth by stimulating crossborder trade and industrial activity. A modernised rail network will present to logistic businesses a more affordable, environmentally friendly alternative for transporting their goods and services. Unlocking freight capacity through the channel tunnel will enable rail freight to 35


NE W S I N B R IEF RAIL STATION CAR PARKS ACROSS EAST ANGLIA TO RECEIVE UPGRADE Work is about to start to upgrade rail station car parks across East Anglia to keep them looking smart and welcoming to station users. Greater Anglia will carry out works to repair potholes, apply new markings, and repair tarmac surfaces at 19 station car parks across its network. The station car parks being upgraded are Althorne, Beccles, Billericay, Clacton-on- Sea, Colchester, Diss, Harlow Town, Herford East, Hockley, Marks Tey, North Fambridge, Rayleigh, Rochford, Sawbridgeworth, Shenfield, Shippea Hill, Southminster, Weeley and Wickford. Work will begin at the majority of these stations in November.

remain competitive and efficient, alongside providing benefits that will bring economic value for the whole UK economy. In addition to reducing costs, improved rail freight services will help to decarbonise the sector by removing 20,000 HGV journeys off the UK roads weekly as estimated by the Times in July 2023. This has the potential to draw further trade into the economy by attracting eco-conscious shippers who are looking to attain a lowcarbon footprint. Increasing congestion on the road network in and around Kent, plus the impending net zero deadline, calls for the opportunity to re-evaluate the urgent need for international rail freight as it helps to reduce pressure on short straits ports and the road network through modal shift. Switching from road to rail would reduce transit times and contribute towards business efficiency as ‘just in time’ deliveries can be maximised. The Short Straits are a vital, but fragile trade route. During peak times, a contraflow system known as ‘Operation Brock’ is implemented with the aim of reducing congestion across Kent and managing the freight flows to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel. However, this is not a practical solution and will not be a long-term answer for the logistics industry as it is estimated

to cost the economy up to £250 million a day. These figures highlight the increasing need for rail freight to be utilised between Folkstone and London, and Logistics UK is urging government to push forward with Network Rail’s proposal. The Dover to Calais sea route across the English Channel alone accounts for two thirds of trade between Britain and Europe, with several thousand lorries crossing on ferries each day. However, during the first quarter of 2022/23 international movements for rail freight accounted for just 1.6 per cent of freight moved via the Channel Tunnel. This represents a decline of 1.9 per cent when compared to the previous quarter and therefore it is vital for industry that the full potential of the Channel Tunnel is unlocked. Unblocking the Channel Tunnel has the potential to transform the rail freight industry through streamlined operations and reduced costs. Logistics UK recognises that there will be challenges facing the sector for implementing these modifications and coordination among stakeholders will be vital to improve the market for channel tunnel freight. Logistics UK will continue to communicate with its members and government to ensure all opportunities are maximised.

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Nominations Open for Women In Rail Awards 2024 Women in Rail is delighted to announce that the nominations for the Women in Rail Awards 2024 are now open


ail personnel are encouraged to put forward their nominations for the 13 categories which opened today (23 October 2023), recognising and showcasing the significant contribution of individuals and companies, large and small, to improving

gender balance, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the UK railway industry. The deadline for nominations is Friday, 26 January 2024. The 2023 event received more than 400 nominations and saw the introduction of four new categories. The Male Rising Star

For more information about WR visit https://womeninrail.org/.

of the Year and Male Apprentice of the Year recognise allyship; while two awards – the Unsung Hero Award and Lifetime Achievement Award – serve to celebrate the legacy left by the charity's Founder, Adeline Ginn MBE. Marie Daly, Chair of Women in Rail and Chief Customer & Culture Officer for Transport for Wales said: ‘Since launching in 2018, The Women in Rail Awards has become a staple in the rail events calendar. What better way is there to hear, share and recognise the inspirational people and organisations of our community who go above and beyond the call of duty to improve EDI and gender balance across the sector. ‘Together, in a venue that echoes with rail history, we will celebrate and share in the successes of our industry and acknowledge the actions being taken to move UK rail forward into a bright – and more diverse – future for generations to come.’ Initial judging will focus on the 700word nomination. Additional supporting information, limited to two pages of A4, will be used when deciding the winner from the shortlisted nominees. The winners of the Women in Rail Awards 2024 will be announced at a gala awards dinner taking place on the evening of Thursday, 16 May at the historic Roundhouse in Camden, London. The event is attended by a crosssection of the UK rail sector, including key stakeholders and decision-makers, infrastructure providers, operators, manufacturers, rolling stock companies, technical consultancy companies and suppliers. Be among the first to nominate and demonstrate the industry’s commitment to supporting the Women in Rail agenda by celebrating those companies and individuals who work hard to improve gender balance, equality, diversity and inclusion in line with the objectives of the joint WR/RIA EDI Charter. For more information on the Women in Rail Awards 2024, including how to secure your table or sponsorship opportunities, please visit the Women in Rail website: https://womeninrail.org/awards/ 39

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Matthew Flynn is a Director at management consultancy, Vendigital, and leads the firm’s Transportation and Infrastructure Group.

Decarbonising Rail Matthew Flynn of Vendigital asks what’s going on and is it enough?


hile rail is the lowest carbonemitting sector in transport, much investment and strategic planning is needed to achieve the Government’s targets to decarbonise the rail network by 2050 and eliminate the use of diesel-only trains by 2040. A report published by the Rail Industry Association (RIA) earlier this year revealed just how far the sector has fallen behind. After completing an assessment of the 45 commitments made in the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) Transport Decarbonisation Plan, published in 2021, the report concluded that significantly less progress has been made towards decarbonising the rail sector compared to other modes of transport. More recently, long-standing problems such as stop-start decisions on rolling stock orders and a lack of strategic direction over plans to upgrade or replace trains, which are or soon will be 35 years old, have reached a crisis point for some manufacturers. While this has raised questions about the industry’s future, it has also underlined the fact that a smoother ordering process, based on a clear vision for rail decarbonisation could help.

Some progress is being made

In terms of a plan for rail decarbonisation, there has been some progress, but it hasn’t gone far enough. Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS) in 2020 included a decision tree model to allocate the most suitable traction technology to each of the 15,400 unelectrified network single track kilometres (STKs) based on the distance, speed, passenger, and freight volume. Where there were multiple options for a traction type, operational and economic analysis

at a route level was applied to recommend a solution. The outcome of the study was a recommendation for 13,040 STKs of electrification, 1,300 STKs of hydrogen traction and 900 STKs of battery traction, leaving 260 STKs with no clear decision. While the strategy provides a useful starting point, the next step towards developing an actionable long-term plan must be to decide when to electrify the relevant sections of track and meet rolling stock requirements, over the next 25-30 years.

Attracting investment

There are many reasons for the slow rate of progress towards rail decarbonisation. The country’s rail network has a complex structure, which is ultimately funded by the Department for Transport who simply do not have sufficient resources to complete costly electrification programmes and update infrastructure. The fact that train travel is responsible for just 1.4% of the UK’s transport emissions, may also have contributed to a lack of urgency to allocate sufficient funding.

Building a case

The economics of upgrading infrastructure and transitioning to green rolling stock are a significant barrier for the rail industry as a whole, due to the significant amount of upfront investment required. The capital investment required to build overhead electrification lines and new rolling stock to run underneath them replacing diesel trains is hard to justify when existing assets are still delivering services. Retrofitting existing diesel engines with battery packs or hydrogen fuel cells is one option, however the technology today does not support the travel distances required, not to mention the embodied carbon impact of a potentially interim solution.

A long-term strategic plan for decarbonising the rail network is needed, which addresses the requirements for track and train and offers clarity regarding funding for the short and long term. Without such a plan, building a business case for transformation will remain challenging. There may also be opportunities to learn lessons from other sectors. The automotive industry is exploring alternative economic models with battery-as-a-service (BaaS) solutions. The up-front cost of electric vehicles is significantly reduced and the infrastructure challenges around EV charging are reduced, and customers can swap depleted batteries for fully charged ones in a matter of minutes. Additionally, the aerospace industry demonstrates how pipeline clarity can help to build confidence and facilitate long-term planning. New aircraft orders are announced regularly and a Global Market Forecast allows the supply chain to invest in R&D, people and manufacturing capacity to meet the expected demand.

Planning for the long term

To address the lack of long term focus that has been holding back decarbonising the network, the Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) launched a call for evidence in December 2021 as a follow on to the Government’s Plan for Rail. A report has since been published to support the development of a long-term strategy for rail focused on key themes including decarbonisation, customer focus, financial stability and the need for multi-modal thinking. It is vital that this report is now put to use in helping to decarbonise Britain’s rail network.

Making use of advancing technology

Digital twin technology could support the development of a much-needed industrywide plan for decarbonisation, building on the findings of Network Rail’s TDNS. A virtual model of the entire rail network could be developed, complete with all routes and services, using real world data. Using the current network infrastructure and rolling stock profile, variable factors such as phased electrification plans, replacing aged rolling stock with new, increasing passenger and freight journeys and assumptions on advances in technology could inform scenario-based strategic options. This could become a dynamic decision-making tool for policy makers and rail industry strategists; helping them to prioritise investments and deliver against decarbonisation and other strategic goals. By making the most of cross-sector learnings and advancing technologies, there is an opportunity for the UK’s rail sector to lead the way in industrial decarbonisation. Industry leadership, public and private sector investment, collaboration and a willingness to share best practice will be critical in progressing the way to net zero. 41


Accelerate Your Safety Leadership Dr. Stephen Fletcher from the OPC and Cath Brown from Skilful Conversation share news about a new safety leadership workshop designed to evaluate, test, and most importantly, help organisations improve their safety practices

‘A thought-provoking day looking at safety from a completely different angle. A scary prospect, but delivered in an interactive and enjoyable way.’ Delegate


Those working in the rail industry are potentially at risk of finding themselves as a witness in the civil or criminal courts, or at an inquest. An individual might even be a Defendant in a criminal case, for example. Employees may be required to submit evidence, be questioned, and answer for their safety policies and practices and their safety-related actions and decisions. The Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974, states that an employer has a duty to ensure 'so far as is reasonably practicable,' the health, safety, and welfare at work of all employees and others who might be impacted by their activities. The law expects us to do what is right and to be as safe as possible. There is also a duty on individual employees to take reasonable care for their own safety and that of others. It’s therefore crucial for those in positions of leadership and employees to take appropriate measures to identify and mitigate any potential risks and be

The New Accelerate Your Safety Leadership workshop

This unique, tried-and-tested workshop has been piloted with a national organisation. By the end of 2023, nearly 200 delegates will have taken part. The workshop is run and facilitated by experts. The OPC has over thirty years of experience in the rail and transport sector, worldwide. Their psychologists have extensive experience in safety culture, safety leadership and the recruitment and development of employees in safety-critical roles. They have a special interest in why rail employees make errors and are involved in safety incidents. Working alongside clients, their aim is to help organisations, and their people improve safety performance. Cath Brown of Skilful Conversation is a barrister (non-practising) with over fifteen years’ experience representing organisations in court. She has represented parties on all



hat happens in the event of a significant accident either in the workplace or as part of operational activities? When people suffer grave injuries, or worse, when they die? Although it may be an organisation that may ultimately be responsible for any harm or tragic deaths, in reality it’s an individual who can find themselves in court – whether civil, criminal or the coroner’s court. Of course, if an incident causes injury or death then that is the real tragedy, but the consequences are far-reaching, and can impact on both companies and individuals for some painful, long time. Many individuals are unaware of how adversarial the court system is or how, even in an inquisitorial forum such as the coroner’s court, the questioning can take its toll. The court processes can induce prolonged stress and uncertainty for the individuals involved, the company and its leaders.

able to account for safe working practices, behaviours, and all safety-related decisions made. So, to help organisations review, test, and generate actionable improvements to their safety leadership and safety performance in the workplace, the OPC and Skilful Conversation have launched a new workshop – Accelerate Your Safety Leadership.


‘A brilliant and unique way to learn about our safety obligations’ Delegate

(2001) highlighted its importance in response to the Ladbroke Grove disaster. Legal experts now recognize the impact of both safety culture and safety leadership on incidents. Without exception, everyone is responsible for safety, regardless of their role, and everyone can display safety leadership qualities, contributing to an organisation's overall safety culture.

More About Safety Law

‘This workshop is a vehicle to accelerate, review and improve safety performance.’ Cath Brown, barrister (non-practising)


sides in all types of cases arising out of death and personal injury. Now turned coach and trainer, she uses her years of experience at the bar and mock cross-examination skills to enable organisations and leaders to scrutinize their safety policies and practices using ‘near-miss’ case studies. The tried-and-tested workshop enables directors, managers, and frontline employees with safety-critical work or operational responsibilities: • To critically view their current safety practices from a legal perspective. • To explore safety culture, behaviours, and leadership at work. • To experience what giving evidence in a court of law or at an inquiry might look and feel like. • To help delegates reflect, re-focus, and identify improvements in their safety critical responsibilities, leadership, and safety behaviours operationally.

of an organisation. How it involves balanced communication both cascading and upwards through an organisation. Continuous improvement is a feature of a strong safety culture. There’s an openness to safety issues, and a learning rather than blame culture. Employees are encouraged to feel in control of their own safety and that of their colleagues. A strong safety culture relies on effective safety leadership. A safe leader actively promotes safety, role models it, and motivates employees to maintain high standards. They foster accountability, encourage the reporting of safety concerns, and champion continuous safety improvements. Safety is paramount in decision-making, and a good leader stands firm against commercial or other pressures. Empirical evidence indicates that an organization's safety culture significantly impacts its performance. The Cullen report

Despite strong safety culture or great safety leadership in an organisation, unfortunately safety incidents can and do still happen, sometimes causing far-reaching consequences on individuals and companies. Regrettably, it’s easy to find examples of substantial fines levied on rail organisations and successful prosecutions of individuals for breaching health and safety legislation. Having heard a bit about safety culture and safety leadership, delegates go on to learn about the legal framework, including the different courts, their processes, and how they might find themselves involved, interviewed, or held accountable at an investigation or in a prosecution.

A Courtroom Drama!

Using a bespoke relevant case study, delegates will be immersed in a ‘mock courtroom trial’. Their safety-related policies, practices and record-keeping may be scrutinized. Personal safety leadership and operational decisions may be challenged along with testing the organisation’s safety culture based on a delegates’ understanding and application of them.

Exploring a safe culture and safety leadership

As a key foundation for exploring a ‘near-miss’ case study in the mock crossexamination role play, OPC psychologists help delegates to reflect on safety culture and what makes a safe leader, identifying what’s important for the delegates as well as sharing the OPC's knowledge and experience in this field. Key learning includes how a positive safety culture prioritizes safety at all levels 43


‘The workshop brought some sobering thoughts about how safety can affect everyone. Particularly as a safety leader.’ Delegate

Positive Feedback About the Pilot Workshops


Cath Brown, Barrister (non-practising) at Skilful Conversation said: ‘Having previously conducted mock cross-examinations on ‘near-miss’ case studies, I’ve heard concerning admissions of negligible data to show the effectiveness of safety practices; difficulty in articulating risk-mitigation procedures; little or no rationales regarding decisions that could have led to the loss of life, through to a complete lack of understanding of legal responsibility and accountability. This workshop is a vehicle to accelerate, review and improve safety performance. It’s exciting to see 'lightbulbs go on' and people really awakened to the legal implications of their safety-related decisions and actions.’ The aim of this immersive workshop is twofold: to provide leaders and frontline employees with an opportunity to identify and analyse any potential gaps or weaknesses in their safety systems, protocols, and procedures; and to develop new strategies to help improve their


safety-critical operational behaviours and leadership upon returning to work. This has the potential for a more robust and effective safety culture within the organisation over time. It raises delegate’s consciousness about the degree of scrutiny their actions and decisions could face in the event of a serious safety incident. It improves their grasp of their legal responsibility and the potential consequences of safety failures.

Outcomes from the Workshop

The OPC believes that an individual's or manager's safety leadership has a direct impact on their employees’ safety performance and can impact the overall safety culture of an organisation. The workshop provides participants with a safe environment in which they can reflect on their own safety performance practices and their safety leadership strengths or areas of development. Through facilitated open and frank discussions led by OPC psychologists, delegates have the opportunity to consolidate their learning and set action plans for their return to work. In recent pilot workshops actions have included: • Highlighting where more rigor may be required in decision-making. • Prompting the introduction of new or additional safety 'checks and balances' in everyday operational duties for themselves or others. • Leaders may want to adopt a more deliberate approach and provide more detailed justification for key decisions. • Leaders may feel an added weight of responsibility or the additional strength to be courageous in ‘doing the right thing’. • Improving safety communications— when work has been stopped or positive messaging as well as internal safety investigation outcomes. • Some delegates may decide to be more conscientious about taking notes, keeping records. • Seeking continuous learning opportunities, professional development or a review of the latest safety practices and regulations.

Email: cathbrown@skilfulconversation.com

Tel: +44 (0)1923 234646 Email: admin@theopc.co.uk Visit: www.theopc.co.uk


‘This workshop should be open to everyone, not just managers.’

So far, the workshops have been a huge success. 96 per cent of delegates rated them as 'Excellent' or 'Very good'. Nearly 80 per cent felt it would help improve workplace safety performance, and 98 per cent said it would help strengthen their personal safety leadership. When asked if it will make a difference, the overwhelming reaction has been a resounding Yes! to having a significant influence. Delegates have been leaving the workshop with a renewed commitment to safety and new ideas for improving organisational safety performance. This increased emphasis on safety has the potential to create a positive shift in safety culture, with a collective commitment to prioritise the well-being and safety of all. Dr Steve Fletcher from the OPC concluded ‘With the combined expertise of psychologists and a barrister, delegates are able to understand the psychological and legal aspects of safety in a comprehensive manner. This unique approach ensures that participants are equipped with the necessary tools to help effectively address safety concerns and create a safer work environment for themselves and their teams – thereby having an impact on the organisations’ safety culture. We believe this workshop has the potential to help leaders and operational managers as well as coalface employees to deliver a ‘step-change’ in safety performance.’

Enhanced operations Enabling data exploitation New safety capabilities Reduced accident risk Enhanced freight capabilities System resilience Technical interfaces optimisation International expertise Strategic support Academic collaboration We’re with you Research every step of the way

The journey from idea to impact RSSB’s research programme has been making the railway safer and more efficient for two decades. Ideas for research come from the rail industry and beyond. Industry representatives are involved throughout each project and then lead the way during implementation. We select and undertake research that will have practical impact: making the most of rail’s assets today and facilitating the development of the standards and safety risk analysis of tomorrow.

Research is a core part of RSSB’s role in keeping Britain moving with safer, smarter rail. Find out more at: www.rssb.co.uk/ideatoimpact


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Making Training Accessible for Rail Rob Bright, Founder of Cloud Assess, discusses the importance of providing training that is accessible to all employees, regardless of their learning styles and abilities


ith the ongoing skills crisis continuing to impact the rail sector, organisations across the UK are relying on training to help fill skills gaps more than ever before. Mention the word training and you might think of endless online tick-boxes and PowerPoint slides. We’ve all experienced it, for better or worse. Training, much like public speaking or a presentation, needs to truly engage its audience to have the greatest impact and increase learner retention. So, how do you go about this? Well, there’s no simple answer, especially for industries such as rail. The workforce has a wide range of job roles and skills and, with this, comes a huge variety of training requirements. Coupled with this, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to training, and employers face the challenge of creating content that will resonate with all abilities and learning styles. Plus, with so many rail workers based in disparate and often remote locations, this is made even harder to manage. As a result, employers need a flexible solution that allows for reasonable adjustment so that they can deliver training in an effective way to employees, no matter where they’re based or how they prefer to learn. So, where do you begin?

Catering to the deskless workforce

We know that the vast majority of rail companies strive to ensure safety through continuous training. But, for this to be as effective as possible, content must be adapted to suit individual learning styles. For example, the method of delivery for a deskless employee needs to be different to that of an office-based worker as they have vastly different skills and day-to-day routines. Deskless workers account for 80 per cent of the global workforce, and as such have a monumental impact on industries both in and outside the UK. When you consider that

the rail sector employs over 240,000 people within the UK, a significant proportion of this number will be filled by deskless workers. Ensuring the competent training of these employees plays a crucial role in upskilling and enabling the development of the sector as a whole. If conducted successfully, these benefits can have a substantial impact on employee retention. In fact, LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report cited that three out of the top five factors for employees considering a new job related to learning, consequent opportunities and career growth. The challenge is that deskless employees will have very different learning preferences from desk-based employees. With most roles being hands-on and practical in nature, the most effective training methods can often involve a similar approach. In fact, we found that 74 per cent of deskless workers prefer face-to-face training or a hybrid approach over online training in isolation. Not only this, but deskless sectors contain a large proportion of neurodivergent workers, which require specialist, tailored approaches to be best trained and upskilled. So, with all this in mind, how do rail companies ensure that training caters to its diverse workforce?

Making learning accessible

First and foremost, employers should look to deploy agile training programmes that can be tailored to each individual. Prescriptive content isn’t fun for anyone, especially when training is also scheduled in a way that disrupts the day-to-day. Instead, short, bite-sized lessons can offer rail firms a seamless and adaptable training format that fits around the busy work schedules of rail employees. This format, also known as microlearning, has proven to boost learner engagement, and can also benefit neurodiverse employees with ADHD who struggle to focus on a specific task for an extended period. This can be conducted both

face-to-face or online, but the digital route also offers the employee the chance to have on-demand training whenever suits them – provided they have access to a mobile phone, tablet or computer. Another consideration for employers is how the employee can engage with the training. One of the most common shortcomings of online training is that it often only offers text-based responses when testing competency. This, of course, does not consider those who struggle with text, like those employees with dyslexia, or even those who are just disengaged to this style of training. It’s worth considering, therefore, whether your company’s training could incorporate video submissions/practical demonstrations or audio recordings/ conversations as optional responses when conducting training of any kind, both online and during face-to-face training. With the skills shortage within the rail sector far from resolved and upskilling employees more important than ever, employers simply can’t afford to overlook the importance of establishing accessible training for employees. The modernday workforce is more diverse than it has ever been and as such, training programmes must cater to all employees and learning preferences. Those employers that successfully integrate training considerations for the diverse rail sector will not only benefit from improved efficiency, safety and consequent retention, but will develop a competitive edge in the fight for talent amidst the skills crisis. For more information on accessible employee training, visit: cloudassess.com


Improve your business outcomes today RailSmart Virtual Campus is a total learning suite that drives staff engagement and nurtures a learning culture aligned with your goals.

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Deliver Engaging Online Learning Experiences 3Squared is a Sheffield-based rail software and solutions specialist, founded in 2002 and part of the Velociti Group – a key player in driving the transport sector forward


ith over two decades of experience in the industry, 3Squared have recently launched a new version of RailSmart Virtual Campus, powered by award winning Docebo – a proven learning suite that offers more than just a learning management system (LMS).

What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

In essence, a learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of courses, programmes, materials or learning and development programme. LMS’ have faced a huge surge in usage since the shift to remote working post pandemic. LMS’ provide a wide range of benefits, from reducing unnecessary administrative burdens, to improving accessibility and adapting to the modern ways of working, which many of us are becoming accustomed to and empower businesses to provide enhanced training and development for their learners. There are two types of LMS users – administrators and learners. Administrators are responsible for managing the LMS,

which involves a range of tasks including course management, assigning specific learner groups to specific learner plans, and more. Learners are on the receiving end of learning initiatives. Learners who have access to an LMS can view their course information, complete assigned courses and evaluations and measure their own progress. The optimum LMS solution ensures that this access has a streamlined user journey, that is accessible and easy to use. An effective LMS offers a range of uses from customer training to employee onboarding and development, through to compliance training and more. This combined with an accessible, user-friendly experience, makes it a sensible decision to instil and integrate an effective learning management system within your business.

Making the switch

To capitalise on these benefits, 3Squared have recently launched a new version of RailSmart Learning Management System using SaaS (Software as a Service) Docebo’s Learn platform. There are many reasons behind the refresh, with the primary driver being the provision of a much better user experience and enhanced customisation for clients and end users. The new system is much more flexible for different learning paths based on various roles and provides mobile and offline modes, enhancing accessibility. The new RailSmart Virtual Campus LMS also provides robust and detailed management

reporting, reducing administrative burdens and onerous tasks. Unique ‘gamification’ and social learning opportunities also exist within the revamped platform. In addition, there is scope for a seamless embedded user experience available to managers with access to RailSmart Employee Development System (EDS), who will be able to directly access information from the LMS within EDS. There is also the option for users to be provided with automated assignments and send reminders to learners and through its technology, give enhanced support to EDS customers for usually laborious processes such as user provisioning. Finally, the new solution is backed by a market leading content library that allows clients to choose from a range of over 20,000 courses across a wide range of subject categories.

A customer perspective

Adam Youd, Learning and Development Manager at Merseyrail, one of the first clients to deploy the new learning suite is excited about the forthcoming change, saying: ‘Partnering with 3Squared for our competency management solution EDS, gave us every confidence in choosing their newly released RailSmart Virtual Campus as our LMS. We are looking forward to accessing the comprehensive catalogue of pre-built courses from this robust and well acknowledged platform. If you would be interested in finding out more information about how the RailSmart Virtual Campus LMS can support you, get in touch with 3Squared today via the contact information below.

Email: hello@3squared.com Visit: www.3squared.com


g n ri DeLIve C h a ngE

Whether you’re changing your career, changing your skill set or helping to change the future of the Rail Signalling Industry. Signet Solutions is here to deliver the right course for you, we welcome change and constantly work to better our teaching methods and move with the times in the digital age. Guaranteed to have a course that suits your training requirements, just go online or give us a call today for more information.

+44 (0)1332 343 585 enquiries@signet-solutions.com www.signet-solutions.com 50


Training Days at Anchor Systems Anchor Systems hands-on ground anchor installation training can be tailored to a trainees’ specific requirements, ensuring they have all the required competencies


ased in the UK and established in 1995 – Anchor Systems is a global leader in the supply of Earth Anchoring Products and Solutions to all sectors of civil engineering, horticultural and domestic markets. The Vulcan Earth Anchor range is the largest worldwide and is largely used for retaining walls, slope stabilisation and tethering down temporary structures and trees. The majority of Anchor Systems

products are required to be installed by either hand-held equipment or with the use of heavy machinery. Anchor Systems (International) Ltd offer bespoke training packages for their entire product range including the Anchor Post and Vulcan Earth Anchor and their respective applications and uses. These Training days can either be carried out at the Anchor Systems HQ in Lingfield, Surrey or on-site with PTS-trained operatives

and can be tailored to the trainees’ specific requirements. These training packages include an in-depth explanation of how equipment is set up and used safely and effectively. A training day will consist of a group of up to eight trainees gathered in a selected meeting room where a trained member of the Anchor Systems team will introduce the product and proceed to explain how the product is installed and how precautions 51



Hands-on Experience. Skill Development. Safety Awareness. Efficiency Improvement. Confidence Building. Equipment Familiarity. Collaboration. Adaptability. Certification.

workforce enhances the overall quality of the installation, contributing to the long-term stability and reliability of the ground anchors. In essence, competence in equipment operation during ground anchor installation is not just a matter of convenience; it's a fundamental requirement for the well-being of workers and the success of the project.

Advantages of Anchor Systems training packages

can be taken to ensure the solutions are installed safely. These explanations are aided with 3D modules and online presentations including videos that demonstrate various installations. This would be followed by a written theory test that each trainee must pass before the trainees would be led out to the installation demo area where the Anchor Systems team member would go through a detailed installation demonstrating how each piece of equipment is used. A practical test would then be conducted by the trainees to ensure all trainees are competent. At the end of a successful training session, each trainee will be issued an Anchor Systems training passport detailing the completed competence on the back of the passport 52

– similar to a British driving licence. The Training Passports are monitored regularly, by Anchor Systems, regarding the renewal dates for each competence. Competence helps ensure safety on the job site. Ground anchor installation often involves heavy machinery and intricate processes, and any mishandling can result in accidents or damage to property. Competent workers are not only less likely to make errors but are also better equipped to respond effectively in case of unforeseen challenges. Additionally, proficiency in equipment operation leads to increased efficiency and productivity, reducing project delays and costs. Moreover, a skilled

• Hands-on Experience – practical training offers real-world experience in installing and using ground anchoring systems. • Skill Development – participants can develop valuable skills in site preparation, equipment operation, and safety procedures. • Safety Awareness – emphasis on safety protocols ensures a safe working environment. • Efficiency Improvement – practical training helps improve the efficiency of ground anchoring installations. • Confidence Building – participants gain confidence in using anchoring systems effectively. • Equipment Familiarity – trainees become familiar with various types of ground anchoring equipment. • Collaboration – it encourages teamwork and communication among participants. • Adaptability – training prepares individuals to adapt to different project requirements. • Certification – successful completion can lead to industry-recognized certifications.

Tel: 01342 719 362 Email: info@anchorsystems.co.uk Visit: www.anchorsystems.co.uk

Elevated Elevatedthinking, thinking,underground underground

Over the past 20 years Gall Zeidler Consultants has completed 550km of tunnelling projects across the globe, establishing our position as a worldleader in tunnel design and consultancy services. Our specialists relish a challenge and always deliver – it’s why we’re a leader in innovative underground solutions, geotechnical engineering, bespoke tunnel design, tunnel rehabilitation, and project/construction management.

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Training versus Competence Many people get mixed up when we talk about ‘Training’ and ‘Competency’, but they are not the same thing


veryone in the rail industry understands the importance of training to impart skills and knowledge to staff. This is particularly important for engineers who are working on the infrastructure. We need to make sure that they have had suitable training for the work that they are undertaking. However, training shouldn’t be the end of the process, it is just the beginning. Training for Signal Engineers is our speciality, and it is important the engineers start with an understanding of how electricity works and how this relates to signalling equipment such as signals, points and warning systems. They can then build up their specific skills. Within Signal Engineering this is usually a pathway such as Installation, Testing or Maintenance. There are several courses that they can complete, but these should relate to the work that they are undertaking so that they can move onto the next stage. This is because training only imparts skills and knowledge at the time of the course. More time is needed before this becomes ingrained and moves from the short-term memory to the longterm memory. Here at PMTandA we provide 54

training for Signal Engineers across a range of skills. We can bring our mobile classrooms to local depots so that the engineers don’t have to travel for training. Mentoring is important so that when engineers return to the workplace after training, they have someone who can make sure that they can implement what they have learnt in the live working environment. The mentor is also there to help answer questions and guide the engineer in the correct way of completing their work. When we all learn a new skill, we always need someone to run things past just to make sure that we are doing things correctly. Mentors therefore play a vital role in the learning process. As the engineer becomes more confident and proficient the mentor can then take a step back and just oversee what the engineer is doing. Competence is the culmination of training and experience. It demonstrates that the engineer has the knowledge and skill in a particular area. The amount of training and experience (often under the watchful eye of a mentor) can vary depending on the complexity of the skill, and the amount of experience the engineer is able to gain. In Signal Engineering the

primary way of demonstrating competence is with the IRSE (Institution of Railway Signal Engineers) Licencing scheme. This scheme was created by British Rail and London Underground after the Clapham Rail crash in the 1980s. It allows engineers to demonstrate their level of competence in a particular type of engineering. For example a Testing Engineer may start their career with a Test Assistant licence, but over the years with training and mentoring they can work their way up to a Principles Tester and Tester in Charge IRSE Licence. The applicant must provide evidence of training and work experience as well as giving detailed examples of work they have undertaken, along with supporting evidence. This is a bit like doing an NVQ and is a way of proving competence and knowledge in a particular skill, which is a step up from just being trained. PMTandA provide IRSE assessments across the UK and abroad. Authority to Work provides the detail to the competence qualification. For example, an engineer may be deemed competent as a Points Fitter, but it doesn’t say what types of points they are competent to install. This is where the ATW comes into play, as this provides the details of what equipment


on each railway system the individual can work on. This considers the training and competence of the engineer, alongside their experience. Skills Fade happens when we don’t use our skills and knowledge regularly. Because we work in a safety critical industry, we must make sure that our competence is regularly tested to make sure that we haven’t forgotten anything. That is why many of the rail competencies are tested regularly. For example, for the IRSE scheme the licence holder must demonstrate their competence every five years. Assessors, Trainers and Mentors are key to this process of training and assessment. Therefore, we need to make sure that we have trained and qualified people undertaking these roles. The learners can only gain skills if they have knowledgeable and qualified people imparting these skills and knowledge. As well as being skilled in the technical skill they are imparting, they also need to be competent as Trainers, Assessor and Mentors. Here at PMTandA we provide training and assessment for these qualifications, which are not specific to any particular sector. Quality Assurance is key in making this all work. If we don’t have a system that checks that the training and assessment has been carried out to the correct level,

then everything will fall like a deck of cards. Each organisation needs to ensure that it has quality systems in place for their organisation to make sure their trainers and assessors are working at the correct level. If they are doing a formal qualification, then they are usually required to have the Internal Quality Assurer (IQA) qualification. A good example of this would be the IRSE Licencing scheme. We can provide these qualifications for your organisation. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Is the culmination of all this and more. It is about each individual keeping themselves up to date. Part of this is what we have described above, but it can also include informal learning opportunities such as webinars, reading books and magazines, shadowing experienced engineers etc.

What is the future of training and assessment?

This is an interesting question. We can all agree that signalling training and assessment needs to continue into the future. However, technology has moved on at such a pace so that we now have more options than ever to be creative in the way that we train and assess learners. Some of the ways in which we currently use technology to our advantage at PMTandA is online electronic portfolios, online learning,

video calls for assessment, recording of observations and questioning, online tests that mark themselves and Virtual Reality. All of these are just tools that we use and don’t replace the role of the trainer and assessor. For example, even though we may use an online test, if a learner gets a question wrong they still need time with the assessor to go through why they got it wrong and make sure they understand what was the correct answer and why. Going forward we can look towards how we can make our training and assessment better with the use of tools such as Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence. These should be used to enhance the training and assessment process so that the engineer can learn in a way that is as close to the live railway as possible.

Tel: 01874 620 704 Email: enquiries@pmtanda.co.uk Visit: www.pmtanda.co.uk LinkedIn: PMTandA

Creating a Skilled Workforce

Our Vision

www.pmtanda.co.uk 01874620704 enquiries@pmtanda.co.uk

To help create a safe railway, by giving people who work on it the skills, abilities and attitudes to maintain high standards in whatever role they have.





VR Training Transforms Rail Cleaning Operations Stuart Cooper at Churchill details how the company is investing in its workforce through an innovative VR training programme for cleaning operatives


he cleaning sector has long faced the challenge of providing effective and engaging training for its workforce. Traditional methods often involve spending hours in a classroom reading manuals and guides, and though this is effective, we knew we could find a more impactful training method. That’s why we embarked on a groundbreaking journey to revolutionise training for our cleaning operatives who work on trains. The outcome is a cutting-edge VR training programme that immerses users in the daily tasks of a train cleaning operative, offering a truly engaging and informative experience. The benefits of VR are clear. PwC's recent study on the effectiveness of VR training found that v-learners experienced a 40 per cent improvement in confidence compared to classroom learners and a 35 per cent improvement over e-learners. V-learning was also determined to be the most cost-effective and efficient way of learning, with v-learners completing training four times faster than their classroom counterparts. VR eliminates the barriers to learning that individuals may experience by reflecting on real-life experiences.

This initiative not only represents a significant technological leap but also showcases our commitment to employee satisfaction, enhanced training, and superior service delivery.

Starting the VR journey

Our journey to develop the programme began in 2022 with the ambitious goal of creating a VR-integrated training system that would set the gold standard within the transport sector. The project team adopted an agile methodology, working in collaboration with VR design partners over a 14-week period to create an immersive and effective learning experience. The programme's scope was meticulously defined

to cover essential topics relevant to train cleaning operations. In addition to the cleaning element, we also integrated security protocols, such as suspicious packages, to enhance the security awareness of our operatives to meet rail industry requirements. While we developed this for the benefit of our colleagues and clients, it does of course need to be commercially viable. We expect our investment to be returned through cost savings and enhanced business opportunities. The programme will reduce costs by reducing training time, minimising employee turnover, and easing the burden on account managers responsible for training. 57


A paradigm shift in cleaning training

The programme harnesses the power of Oculus Quest 2 headsets and handheld controllers to provide an immersive and engaging learning experience. The VR training journey starts with users inside a virtual training centre, where they receive an introduction to the programme and can get used to using the headset and controls. Once they have advanced to the end of the programme, users take part in a timed turnaround clean of a train carriage. They have to collect rubbish, check toilets, spot graffiti, and make it off the train before time elapses. Users receive a score at the end and can see which things they may have missed. The results of the training are available online to any designated person through a VR-specific backend event recording and playback system. This allows a manager to live through a trainee's journey and see the individual users' results as well as the cumulative results across the whole cohort. The system even employs technology to track users' eye movements, providing invaluable insights into their performance and learning patterns. This is the type of insight is simply not possible in a classroom and helps us truly tailor the learning experience to each individual. The nature of this training gives us the flexibility to accommodate remote training, enabling up to 30 team members to undergo training at their convenience. This flexibility is crucial in addressing the disparate nature of the workforce and mitigating the hidden costs associated with training, such as inconsistent messaging and time-consuming training methods.

Glowing feedback

Over 150 cleaning operatives have completed the VR training course thus far, with plans to scale this number significantly 58

in the future. The feedback from trainees has been overwhelmingly positive, with 100 per cent of participants reporting that they enjoyed the experience, and 95 per cent saying they would recommend it. Trainees appreciate the immersive and interactive nature of the training, which provides a realistic depiction of their job. Cleaning operatives also recognise our commitment to their development and value as team members. Feedback from trainees includes: • ‘I like the fact it was immersive and an interesting way to learn as opposed to our current way of learning.’ • ‘The environment was very realistic; the start of training was great, and we had a lot of time to complete and learn.’ • ‘If you apply for a cleaning job, I think individuals will be excited to go through this experience.’ When asked if they would recommend the programme, respondents said: • ‘I definitely would - we can develop scenarios that cause the most common problems. It definitely makes you feel you are there and in the moment.’ • ‘Yes – this brings it to life in a different way as it’s not just visual, but it hits all of your senses instead of just reading something.’ • ‘I'm really, really impressed by it. The whole process from beginning to end encompasses what we do in the role.’ Such feedback demonstrates that employees not only gain value from the training but also enjoy the experience. This is just as important as skills development, as we aim to provide career progression opportunities, job satisfaction, and a sense of value to all of our frontline staff. One of our clients, Govia Thameslink Railway, also had the opportunity to

experience the programme and responded enthusiastically. They highlighted the programme's innovative and engaging nature and were thrilled to see how we are supporting our colleagues to better support them.

Future development and expansion

The feedback and success achieved so far serve as a strong foundation for adapting and customising the programme for other sectors beyond transport, including schools, hospitals, offices, and factories, where cleaning and hygiene services are essential. Plans are underway to create modules tailored to the specific needs of different sectors. To ensure inclusivity, we’re also planning to design a more universal experience that accommodates individuals with neurodiverse conditions and to introduce more language options. The beauty of this software lies in its adaptability and scalability. As technology continues to advance, we remain committed to improving the programme and exploring new possibilities. This is just the beginning of a radical change in the cleaning and FM industry. The programme offers a realistic, handson experience that traditional training methods cannot replicate. It addresses the individual needs of employees and accommodates remote training, promoting work-life balance and reducing travel requirements. Our VR training programme represents a pioneering innovation in the FM sector. It showcases our commitment to providing original solutions that benefit both employees and clients. By investing in state-of-the-art technology and pushing the boundaries of training, we have set a new standard – and this is just the start of the journey.

A Brighter Future for Rail Torrent Trackside understands the need for powerful and portable lighting, which is why we have invested in a complete range of lighting products to meet the needs of the most demanding rail projects. Good quality lighting creates a safer and more productive working environment. Many of our latest lights are battery or solar powered which means they run silently and are emission free. Our range includes powerful hand carried lights to solar powered tower lights. For more information click the QR code, visit our website or contact our helpline.

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Depot Apprentice’s Awards Success In early September this year, Molly Cooke, an engineer or ‘fitter’ for Direct Rail Services (DRS), was awarded ‘runner up’ in the Young Rail Professional category at the Rail Freight Group awards


’ve always been interested in how things worked and fixing them. Luckily my dad, an RAF technician, would always show me what he was doing whenever he would repair items around the house. I’m a really ‘hands on’ person and like to be ‘doing’ above all else. This is what led me into a career as an engineer at DRS, but it wasn’t how my journey into fulltime work started. I left school and went straight to university, as was encouraged at the time, to study drama. This was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When I left uni I stayed in the theatrical industry and was fortunate enough to obtain regular employment in the field and a career with a touring theatre company where I managed one of the teams. I worked there for six great years. Although this was an amazing opportunity, I was left feeling unfulfilled. I always felt I’d be happier in a different field, luckily DRS were advertising for mechanical and electrical engineering apprenticeships. However, I was a couple of days too late with my application but was offered an opportunity to come and shadow in the Kingmoor Depot, Carlisle, which I immediately accepted. This took place over the course of ten weeks – overseeing professionals in their careers, and I only became more eager to apply. I was so

grateful to be given this insight as I knew, for sure, this is exactly where I wanted to be. In the ten weeks, I was introduced to a myriad of repair and maintenance jobs while shadowing the engineers, I found the amount of skill and knowledge required inspiring. With supervision, I was able to aid in small repairs and exams on a number of Class 68 and 88 locomotives. I was taught appropriate acronyms for jobs and their meaning, tools to use and the rigorous health and safety procedures DRS proudly adopts. I was able to gain insight into the appropriate documentation required for the next steps in my apprenticeship, should I be accepted. Thankfully, I was. Now, at the end of my apprenticeship, I look back on how much I’ve achieved over the last four years. I started with day-to-day tasks which took place in college to prepare me with foundation skills to bring to the depot. In just six short months, I was taught how to independently operate a variety of machine tools to create my own hand tools to specific specifications and tolerance. I designed and installed my own working domestic electrical installation in a booth and would use this for various methods of testing and fault finding. I was given the opportunity to repair gear boxes and pumps and offered courses in pneumatics, hydraulics, and PAT testing. This was while studying the theory and produce assessments. This type of study and independent learning is where my time in university has really aided me.

A typical working day

My working hours are shift work – 06:00 -14:00, 14:00 - 22:00 or 22:00-06:00. On any day I might work on repairing and

maintaining locomotives, the engineers must perform exams ranging from the most basic (A) to the more extensive (G) exams. These are determined by the hours and miles of any locomotive in service. With the exam work alone, my workload and learning are hugely varied. Each day is very different and can include regular maintenance such as filter changes to much more extensive repairs, a result of a completed exam. Some larger repairs require the use of cranes and jacks, whereas others can be small, intricate electrical jobs. If I am not helping complete an exam or repair, I can be found at the fuel point or the yard. Trips to the yard ensure that the sanders on the 88s are performing correctly. I enjoy getting stuck in and grubby. I love the opportunities to test my knowledge and show my mentors how much they have taught me in such a short space of time. It’s been such a short four years but I have just finished my apprenticeship and am now a fully qualified engineer. I couldn’t be happier with the career change I made and I look forward to developing my skills and knowledge even further. Telling friends and family what my role is now fills me with pride and the level of encouragement and support from DRS has been incomparable.

Molly Cooke works as an engineer or ‘fitter’ for Direct Rail Services (DRS). DRS is the rail division of Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS), the leading global provider of safe, secure and reliable nuclear transport solutions that make the world safer and more sustainable.




McGinley Extends NIS Partnership One of the UK’s leading recruitment and support services for the infrastructure markets has extended its long-term partnership with National Infrastructure Solutions (NIS)

Matt Wright (Operations Director at NIS) with four of the McGinley apprentices.

(l-r) Zahid Stevens, Julius Condison, Louie Baggott and Salihou Sillah (all apprentices at McGinley)

cGinley Support Services, which sits on three labour desks on HS2, has successfully used the Wolverhampton-based training provider to train 50 apprentices in the Midlands and is planning to double this figure over the next twelve months. The two companies have developed bespoke rail engineering operative and rail engineering technician apprenticeships that lead on to specialist training to help the individual develop and grow throughout the duration of the landmark project. Importantly, the wraparound support provided by both organisations has successfully helped attract people who traditionally do not work in the sector, with the latest intake made up of 14 per cent females (compared to three per cent nationally), 51 per cent from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds (BAME) and six per cent prison leavers. ‘We are determined to use HS2 to change lives for the better and are passionate about opening up new opportunities for individuals who may need a second chance or may never have considered a possible career in the rail and civil engineering sector’ explained Fiona Burke, HR Director at McGinley.

‘This vision is fast becoming a reality, especially in the Midlands where we are maximising the strategic relationship with National Infrastructure Solutions to successfully recruit over 50 apprentices and upskill one hundred existing workers.’ She continued: ‘They share our social values and have been instrumental in helping us deliver what we have so far. Before we engaged, we were really struggling to find a training provider that offered us the pathways to get individuals ready for the apprenticeships and, importantly, the content in the courses that would give them work-ready skills.’ NIS was already running employability courses to help people to move into rail and civil engineering when it was approached by McGinley Support Services to help it with the flexi-apprenticeship agency arm of its business. The initial focus was on getting the balance right between theory and practical hands-on training, so crucial to ensuring candidates pass their NVQ Level 2 and that they are ready to work on the project. Bespoke training pathways have been created, whilst National Infrastructure Solutions has been able to maximise its dedicated rail training centre in the Black Country.


Davie Carns, founder of NIS, added his support: ‘Our sector is at a tipping point when it comes to labour, with the workforce getting older and in urgent need of new blood. That’s why the apprenticeship scheme is so important and why we need to attract people that may never have considered working in our industry. ‘The relationship with McGinley is really starting to pay dividends and we’ve got a strong pipeline of apprentices coming through the programme and about to start. It’s especially pleasing that we have been able to use our relationships in the Midlands to get individuals from care, prison and those who have suffered mental health issues engaged and looking forward to a more positive future.’ McGinley, which has recently been named as a Top 100 Apprentice Employer, will need to recruit a further one hundred apprentices over the next twelve months in the Midlands as HS2 moves into the next phase. There is also a strong focus on developing specialist training for the apprentices once they have gained their NVQ Level 2, with NIS finalising an offer around signalling and telecoms. Fiona continued: ‘We don’t just want a training provider that delivers the same course for everyone, we want creativity and a willingness to come up with solutions. ‘That’s what NIS does in abundance, whether that is helping us complete job-ready sessions in prisons, delivering confidence building sessions to help with interviews or coming up with unique content for advanced skills. ‘HS2 in instrumental in providing jobs in the Midlands and, when it is complete, we want to look back at the role McGinley and NIS played, and say we’ve helped positively change the lives of hundreds of people through expert training and sustainable employment opportunities.’ For further information, please visit www.mcginley.co.uk or www.nisgroup.co.uk 63


Industry Responds to HS2 Early in October, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the second stage of HS2 between Birmingham and Manchester will be scrapped, with the £36 billion cost being earmarked for other transport projects around the country

‘There will be costs and lost opportunities in not proceeding with HS2 in full. There will also be significant benefits delivered by the new rail and road projects that the PM has announced. The Transport Select Committee will scrutinise in detail these announcements and, crucially, look at how the Government will assess their deliverability. This work will include the impacts that these announcements might have on the wider road and bus networks, and an examination of how they fit into the Government’s strategic policy objectives for the country’s transport services, which is at the heart of another of our current inquiries. An important role of a cross-party select committee is to take the time to dispassionately dig into and appraise the detail of changes of policy, and the strong views that there will be. I shall be discussing with my colleagues on the Committee our programme for doing this.’ Iain Stewart MP, Chair of the Transport Committee


‘High Speed 2 was part of a long term strategy with clear objectives to link up some of the country’s largest cities. It had been planned for almost 15 years and under construction since 2017. The decision to stop the legs north and east of Birmingham is deeply disappointing, leaving a major gap in the UK’s rail strategy around which a number of city regions have been basing their economic growth plans. A High Speed 2 route between Manchester and London via Birmingham, alongside Northern Powerhouse Rail, would have enabled increased capacity and better connectivity both north-south and east-west. While it is welcome that the money will be redirected into rail and other transport projects for the North and Midlands, it’s not yet clear how the collection of schemes announced today will address the gap left behind by HS2. It will be for government to show it can turn the schemes into a coherent, longterm rail strategy and deliver it in a cost effective manner, in partnership with local leaders.’ Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission

‘HS2 was never just about getting to London faster. Its aim was increasing connectivity, capacity and creating a high-speed rail spine in the UK – providing the infrastructure for routes to spur off and deliver the east-towest connectivity raised in today’s announcement. The decision to scrap the Birmingham to Manchester leg of HS2 will have consequences. Jobs could be lost and businesses impacted. Construction on this part of the network may be less advanced, but there are firms involved and working on the project. That’s even before considering the long-term effect this could have on the freight industry or the investment decisions – globally and domestically – that have been made on the basis of the route being delivered. HS2 has dominated the political, media and social discourse in recent days. It is, however, critical that all parties understand that this isn’t the only hurdle facing the rail industry. Those working in the sector and the supply chain have been provided with little clarity over the last few years – navigating almost constant changes in policy, beginning with the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands, the gradual chipping away of HS2 and the proposed shift to Great British Railways – the future of which is hanging in the balance. This lack of leadership and consistency has stymied investment into rail and efforts to upgrade the existing network, as demonstrated by procurement delays for Network Rail’s Control Period 7, a £44 billion five-year plan to improve the railway in England and Wales. What is needed now is some transparency as to when and how the proposed projects will be delivered and what is the pipeline. Without that, the UK rail industry is still in the dark.’ Michelle Craven-Faulkner, Partner and Rail Lead at Shoosmiths


‘This is a dark day for the UK economy, and for everyone who has placed trust in successive UK governments to level up the country and close the north-south divide. While the Prime Minister has promised to reinvest HS2 money in alternative schemes, we as an industry know how unlikely this will be to materialise and impact communities in anything like the game-changing way that high-speed rail would have delivered. Britain now lags far behind our competitors and will remain so due to this short-sighted decision. That the UK Government can make such a decision without a democratic mandate – after the scheme has been supported by all parties throughout successive General Elections – frankly beggars belief.’ Marie-Claude Hemming, Director of Operations for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA)

‘Ultimately, you can fix projects by rescoping and reassessing; you can’t fix them by scrapping them. There was a need for HS2, and that need remains, irrespective of the other projects mentioned in the speech.’ Andrew Baldwin, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Association for Project Management

‘We are disappointed and disheartened by the HS2 announcement. We must not start from scratch, we must work at pace to deliver HS2 Phase 1 all the way to Euston. There are also lessons to be learnt from the HS2 story so far.’ Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Connect

‘The stop/start approach the country takes to major infrastructure benefits no one. We need long-term plans, supported by evidence, long-term thinking on financing options, and robust and consistent policy to achieve desired outcomes. The Prime Minister outlined several projects and schemes in his speech. Many of these projects aren’t new, and many have been previously caught in this stop/start cycle of decision-making, which drives up costs. This is likely to happen again. Changing direction and switching projects delays businesses and communities from benefitting from infrastructure investment. These positive outcomes are how we should be measuring success, not just by lowest cost to deliver. The National Infrastructure Commission will publish its second National Infrastructure Assessment in a few weeks. Before politicians rush off to make the same mistakes again on infrastructure, they should pause, look at the Commission's advice and use this as a long-term plan to prioritise investment and rebuild credibility.’ Chris Richards, Director of Policy at the Institution of Civil Engineers.

‘The additional capacity across the rail network which it [HS2] would have released was critical to expanding rail freight opportunities and enabling a shift from road to rail to cut carbon emissions. Putting high speed trains on the existing line between Birmingham and Manchester will make today’s rail freight capacity issues even worse.’ Kate Jennings Policy Director, Logistics UK

‘Earlier this week the Prime Minster said he wanted to make decisions for the long-term benefit of the country. Cancelling HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester is, in Rail Forum's opinion, born out of short-term expediency and at odds with his previous statement. Despite the promises made yesterday about alternative investments in rail infrastructure, Rail Forum does not see how they will deliver the economic and connectivity benefits and the additional passenger and freight capacity that HS2 Phase 2 was intended to provide. Rail Forum does welcome confirmation that construction of Euston's HS2's terminus will proceed, but would welcome greater clarity on how the project's proposed ‘development company’ will work in practice.’ Rail Forum

‘The axing of the northern leg of HS2 is a devastating blow. Major Capital Projects like HS2 have an incredible economic multiplier effect which enables skills growth and worldleading innovation in technology and construction techniques. When such projects are cut, there is a ripple effect on jobs and growth through many sectors. We haven't seen the likes of anything as significant as the recent infrastructure rollback the government is leading for a long time, so will the replacement Network North deliver the growth we need? The scale of the pause or reversal on major infrastructure projects such as the northern leg of HS2 has a ripple effect on skills. Companies in the construction sector who are reliant on it will suffer as a result. The ability to bring in early career staff, be they graduates or apprentices, gets curtailed and that then has knockon effects that can roll forward for decades.’ Philippa Spence, UK Managing Director of Ramboll



‘There is an I got started in the rail industry with our assumption that the involvement in HS1. In 2008, we were approached by main contractors YJL architect or prime Infrastructure Ltd who were seeking a contractor will specialist contractor with both design expertise and manufacturing capability to encompass all of the focus on the design-for-manufacture and build of ticket offices, customer information expertise needed to points and staff accommodation for three stations for HS1 – Britain’s first highproduce facilities of speed railway. At the time it seemed like a ‘Baptism the highest standard by fire’ and our first-time venture working whereas, in reality, in the rail sector but also working with principle contractors and their appointed these practitioners architects. The central challenge was the removal operate in silos and of glass security screens between staff and customers, whilst retaining staff security may well have left and safety. Improving the customer experience and staff comfort was paramount the project before throughout the project. final installations are This project provided a great insight into the world of retail ticketing in rail. commissioned.’ Our design team sat with staff from How did you get started in the industry?

KEITH LOVELACE MANAGING DIRECTOR AND OWNER OF IDEAS LIMITED Keith was an early champion of the worldwide Inclusive Design movement to create its unique complete solution for architects, project managers, contractors and facilities owners which includes supplying readily available manufactured components from our wide range of tried and tested designs or the ability quickly to make bespoke products needing to fit into what may be the restricted and awkward space of a Victorian station.

IDEAS LIMITED Ideas Limited was established in November 2002, with a design focus founded in inclusive design for built environments – creating innovative products and interior solutions as part of an organisation’s customer experience and broader business strategies – by putting ‘people’ first. Want to know more about Ideas Limited? Tel: 07968 524 650 Email: keith.lovelace@ideas.ltd.uk


Southeastern in their existing ticket offices to experience the interaction between staff and customers. We quickly learnt that it was not just about selling tickets, but customer service and the knowledge and experience provided by staff working at these facilities. What types of products and services do you offer?

The team at Ideas Limited are widely acknowledged to be leaders of Inclusive Design, and the manufacturing and installation of products for public spaces and workplaces. Established in 2002, the philosophy developed by Ideas Limited is people-centred, designing retailing and information provision that embrace Inclusive Design and other customer touchpoints from the outset. We believe that our solutions-driven and collaborative approach can facilitate for the rail sector the highest levels of stakeholder, and customer and workforce satisfaction from planned investments in such aspects of the project as: • Travel centres. • Reception areas. • Retail areas. • Waiting areas. • Physical customer touchpoints. • Operations and control facilities. • Employee accommodation. • Training, visitor, and conference facilities. Ideas offers our clients with a broad range of products and services with the aim to provide a single point of contact and one-stop-shop from design, manufacture, installation and fit-out works including: • Diversity Impact Assessment. • Product design engineering. • Interior/workplace design.

• Interior fit-out. • Manufacture of modular rooms, retail ticketing and customer assistance facilities, reception desks, control rooms, storage wall systems, partitioning wall systems, technical furniture systems, mobile customer assistance carts. • 3D Printing (additive manufacture). • Virtual Reality (VR) presentation. What are some standout projects you’ve been involved in over the years? All of the projects that I have been involved in have been standout – not only the nature of the project and location, but also the people that we meet and collaboratively work with. Each project is different with a unique set of challenges. As a designer, I thrive on these challenges as it provides a source of innovation and a great insight into how each operator is seeking to make changes and improvements, not only for their passenger’s experience, but also for their staff. During this time, I have had a great opportunity of working alongside Scotrail in helping with retail and customer assistance counters for their Travel Centres. A great example of an innovative train operator. I have been involved in some of the UK’s largest rail projects including the Elizabeth Line formerly known as the Crossrail Programme – providing the necessary design detail and inclusive design authority for the retail ticketing facilities. Our involvement with Crossrail West and the Elizabeth Line provides a great case study into collaborative working between the client and the various professional teams: Network Rail, Crossrail, specialist security advisors, and principle contractors.


embedded in the project development cycle from the start, rather than an afterthought, or at worse considered as unnecessary. I strongly believe that if inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility and social are the bedrock of the design process (Inclusive Design) then products and built environment projects will result in true value for all stakeholders and people using products, facilities, and the communities in which they live. What is your Unique Selling Point?

This proved the importance of early-stage engagement with design and manufacturing specialists. Prior to the Elizabeth Line, and perhaps the project that put us on the map and an installation that I have great pride in being associated with, was our involvement with London Bridge Station, part of the ThamesLink Programme. Introduced by Network Rail and collaboratively working with the principle contractors and appointed architects, Grimshaw – for the detail design of the eight position ticket office and customer information points.

inclusive design underpins our product development, has provided me with the important knowledge and experience associated with ‘inclusive design.’ As part of our design services, I get involved in writing diversity impact assessments allowing me to share my ‘inclusive design’ knowledge and experience. This is now an important topic for all product and built environment projects. I see more examples where inclusive design is being considered at an early stage and

Our USP is ‘inclusive design’ (ID). The team at Ideas Limited are widely acknowledged to be leaders of Inclusive Design, manufacture, and installation of products for public spaces and workplaces. Prior to this we talked about ergonomics and human-factors. As product design engineers we are passionate about the design disciplines that underpins our products and workplace designs, manufacture, installation and interior fitout works. Although ID is becoming more accepted in the rail sector and in broader society, we have been implementing these tenets of ‘Good Design’ since setting up the company in 2002. We consider ID as part of our company’s USP because it forms the basis of design thinking by putting people at the centre around which solutions are created – linking products, people, workplaces, and spaces. We offer something quite unique in the rail sector combining design disciplines, experience and know-how, and manufacturing and installation capabilities – it is all under one roof so we can provide our EMB

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The products that we have developed over the years have evolved from a bespoke joinery and traditional approach leading to our standardised product range – applying a ‘kit-of-parts’ and circular design philosophy. This provides our customers with certainty for quality and compliance and flexible adaptability – to meet project specific requirements and without having to reinvent the wheel each time. The approach that we have now adopted to supporting our customer’s requirements has been enabled by the evolution of 3D computer aided design (CAD) modelling software, parametric design, photo realistic renders and virtual reality (VR) presentation and immersive experience leading to rapid design development, manufacture, and installation. 3D Printing (additive manufacture) has provided opportunities to print-on demand allowing us to reduce stock and to make easy adaptations to products. With a background founded in product/ industrial design, where ergonomics and




rail sector customers with a one-stop-shop seamless process. Our ID expertise also extends to undertaking Diversity Impact Assessments (DIA) to ensure that it is embedded into projects from the outset linking inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility and social. When a client comes to you with a particular problem, what’s your process for coming up with a solution, and how closely do you work with clients throughout the projects? Working closely and collaboratively with our clients and their teams is paramount to understanding their specific requirements from all business perspectives including, operational, financial, and customer. However, we always put people at the centre of the design process for problem solving and focus on how staff and passengers interact with the service, the products they use and the built environment – the spaces and places in which they visit and work. As a small business we are early adaptors of new technologies including Virtual Reality (VR) immersive experience. We advocate the inclusion of VR in the design process as early as possible for staff and the employer to have an involvement in the creation of their specific product or interior solution. Our business has created a six-step process for achieving our mission of an inclusive public transport experience for everyone: • We Listen – we pride ourselves on taking fully into account the diverse requirements and views of passengers and stakeholder representatives to make public transport accessible for everyone. • We Imagine – we apply our passion, knowledge, and skills to conceptualise inclusive customer products and facilities. • We Visualise – we collaborate with passengers, stakeholders, and customers


to visualise, test, and modify our design solutions in real world settings, using virtual and augmented reality. • We Design – we deploy the most upto-date computer aided design (CAD) technology to make our concepts into practical solutions that can be manufactured and installed, maintained, and operated. • We Manufacture – we manufacture at a number of UK sites, offering a wide range of proven products as well as bespoke solutions to meet customer’s specific requirements including 3D printing. • We Install – we achieve the highest standards of installation and interior fit-out by using our own people, taking responsibility for testing the new products and facilities and training those that will operate them. What new developments/strategies do you have? The rail sector seems to have historically adopted a ‘bespoke design and manufacture’ approach for many applications for station development projects. These are expensive and quite often full of uncertainty and potential risk for the client. Furthermore, inclusive design (ID) – inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility and social factors – need to be embedded from the start and not as an afterthought. We have been working on new developments and business strategies based on the evolution of retail ticketing facilities and customer assistance at stations – all based on the development of standardised products with a ‘kit-of-parts’ and circular design philosophy. This approach provides our clients with the certainty that products have been designed to meet all the regulatory requirements and standards - not an afterthought often associated with bespoke design and manufacture, that

quite often misses critical stages in the approvals process. Too often in the rail sector and more widely, customer touch points are left to the end of the design and procurement process. There is an assumption that the architect or prime contractor will encompass all of the expertise needed to produce facilities of the highest standard whereas, in reality, these practitioners operate in silos and may well have left the project before final installations are commissioned. Thus, vital customer interfaces can manifest as last minute, cheap and inadequate joinery projects. Ideas is frequently called in to retrofit where Inclusive Design was not properly considered from the outset. When budgets are seemingly tight, our products can allow customers to achieve the minimum viable product for immediate application and can be updated, adapted and improved in the future. What success have you experienced in the last twelve months and how do you measure success? We measure success and receive great satisfaction by providing passengers and staff with physical customer touchpoints for retail ticketing facilities and customer assistance points – all of which have been designed and manufactured to the highest standards and without compromising our ‘inclusive design’ principles. During the last twelve months we are so proud to have been recognised for our work in the transport sector having been shortlisted for two design awards. Indeed, we have recently been ‘Highly Commended’ at the National Transport Awards 2023 for ‘Best Practice in Diversity, Inclusivity and Accessibility.’ We have also been shortlisted for the third time in the FX International Interior Design Awards 2023. This year for ‘Public Space Schemes’ for Elizabeth Line Ticket Retailing Facilities.


What does sustainability mean to you? We think of sustainability in terms of environmental, economic, and social in the context of circular design and the circular economy. We are developing products considering the appropriate selection of materials that will contribute to the stages of a product's useful life expectancy and its journey from cradle-to-cradle; from manufacturing, repair, reuse, and ultimately recyclable capabilities, creating further value. Our products are designed as part of a system or ‘kit-of-parts’ whereby we can adapt, reclaim, and reuse parts for other applications within our product range. We also believe that inclusive design (ID) can also contribute to sustainability in a holistic context by focusing on the broader topics of business, operations and maintenance, services, products, and the built environment. By weaving a golden thread through the entire process from conceptualisation to strategy, to design and manufacture, to installation and commissioning, as well as the after sales process, the Ideas approach offers the very best experience for all people. This includes customers and staff with additional needs such as wheelchair users,

people of short stature, those with visual or hearing impairments, parents with pushchairs and young children, through to older people and tourists hauling luggage.

Ideas Limited is starting to assist rail sector clients through its forward-thinking, preventative and sustainability-focused outlook.




vextrix.com ◆ info@vextrix.com 70


‘It can seem cliché but Vextrix really is all about great people and doing things in the right way. We recognised this from day one.’ Tell us a little bit about yourself.

PHILLIP MARSDEN MANAGING DIRECTOR AT VEXTRIX MANAGEMENT LTD Co-founder and Managing Director of Vextrix. I focus on uniting teams to achieve excellence and hit time, cost, and quality benchmarks. I have over 20 years rail experience and I have a genuine interest in the investment in transport in the North to deliver better integration of transport systems.

VEXTRIX MANAGEMENT LTD Vextrix provides project management, quantity surveying, engineering design and health and safety consultancy, professional services to the built environment.

Want to know more about Vextrix? Tel: 0845 371 1317 Email: info@vextrix.com Visit: www.vextrix.com

I am a Chartered Surveyor and Project Manager, and co-founder and Managing Director of Vextrix. I started my career in construction and rail over 20 years ago on the East Region structures examination contract, I then worked on the Sheffield Station Masterplan Project. I have worked on projects with Train Operators all over the United Kingdon from Scotrail to London Eastern Railway (One). Since then, and most recently I have spent my time leading our business, working with Northern Trains Limited supporting their Property and Programme teams, their wider stakeholders and funders with the delivery of their investment programmes. Why do you do what you do? I’d like to think that if I asked someone this question about myself, they would say it's because I like to see people develop and I enjoy being part of creating opportunities for others, be that in the workplace, their careers or through the various projects we deliver, opening up accessibility at rail stations, providing great places to work and making the railway a more comfortable and safer place to be, the works we do to enhance the railways are meaningful for the local communities they serve and people who use the facilities day to day, and I’m very proud of that. If I'm ever faced with one of those challenging days or mornings, I tell myself this is why I do what I do. That makes me happy, makes me feel positive and reinforces what we do is all worthwhile. Tell us about Vextrix. When we started Vextrix, we wanted to create a company that we and our team would be proud to work for and clients would be proud to be associated with. This meant we would need to offer excellent services to clients, create a fantastic work environment while contributing to the wider society. It can seem cliché but Vextrix really is all about great people and doing things in the right way. We recognised this from Day one. This month sees us celebrate our 15year anniversary, and we have continued with this mindset to this day. Railway

Infrastructure and Property projects can often be complex, touching various assets, disciplines, and many stakeholders, at times it can feel quite chaotic. Vextrix bring a sense of calm and organisation with our expertise to give our clients and people we work with a Quiet Mind so they can sleep at night and enjoy the projects they are delivering. What types of companies do you collaborate on projects with? We work with a wide range of organisations from TOCs, FOCs, Owning Groups, Combined Authorities, Network Rail, Third Party Developers, Contractors, Engineers and Architects. We provide multi-disciplinary construction consultancy services so we can support across the whole spectrum of the industry. However, I feel our niche would be supporting Train Operators, Combined Authorities, Third-Party Funders and Developers to deliver their investment projects, supporting them through the governance process of the industry, be that with our Project Management, Commercial or Design Teams, safely delivering their projects. We endeavour to work with likeminded consultants, contractors and clients who share our culture and values. When a client comes to you with a particular problem, what’s your process for coming up with a solution, and how closely do you work with clients throughout the projects? Firstly, we listen to our client to understand their problem and put it into context with their general operations. We can draw on our extensive experience but we always realise that clients' problems are often unique. We then work together in the Discovery phase to explore what might work, and from there, we test the options available, work with their stakeholder groups to assess if we are getting the right benefits by adopting the solution, and then we move into developing and delivering on that solution. Problem solving is an iterative process and requires continual communication with the client. As we are delivering, we don’t move away from our clients – we communicate with them continuously through the process, measuring ourselves and the project performance weekly against key metrics to see where we can find even the smallest improvement that would benefit the project or any member of the project team. This continuous communication helps us solve issues early as they arise, we don’t hide from problems, we get the issues out on the table and work hard to fix it. What would you say is the most exciting technology in the industry and why? I think what excites me most about what is happening now is not so much the 71


technology that is being created, there are some amazing developments out there helping us deliver works more safely and efficiently, but as I am what I would call a numbers and data person, what really excites me is the vast amount of data that we are now starting to collect that can help us inform the advancement of the industry in so many ways if we use it correctly. Some of the best initiatives I’m seeing in the industry at the moment that are having an immediate impact, are the platforms that are available to help manage project data, process and records. There are some great bespoke platforms out there but I really like the PowerApps platforms that are available to everyone as part of your normal Microsoft suite of programmes, it’s at everyone’s finger tips and you can set up your own bespoke, workflows, portals etc to help manage your projects and process to meet your own needs. Outside of construction and property, I’m keeping an eye on the change and technologies that are coming to market to enhance seasonal leaf/track clearance techniques. There are some interesting technologies out there, Plasmatrack being one, I think could bring some great environmental benefits to the industry as well as solve our problems around seasonal clearance. Is the industry ready for AI innovation? We probably aren’t quite ready yet if I’m being totally honest. There are various areas where innovation, digitisation and AI benefit the industry, and naturally not all of these are in construction and property. There are many other areas of the industry that are primed for change and innovation if we can be a little more open minded to how we approach and test innovation which is of course more of a challenge in the safety critical environment we work in. The approach we are taking internally is to give AI a seat at table, see if it works and how it can help but we can’t totally rely on it just yet, you still need the human factor to be involved in the process. On the part of the construction property, I really feel we need to take a wider view in adopting digital twins and BIM as standard and become more organised on how we organise and use our asset, cost, and programme data. There are so many tools available to us that are simply not taken up in industry. Where do you think the industry adoption of AI will be in the next 10-15 years? If we haven’t adopted it, we’ve failed. I think one place we will be is that we will have better integration and analysis of data quickly allowing us to provide insights that may not be clear by current traditional methods. The Platforms and Tech that are coming out now and the bespoke platforms we are building ourselves are massively time 72

‘The approach we are taking internally is to give AI a seat at table, see if it works and how it can help but we can’t totally rely on it just yet, you still need the human factor to be involved in the process.’ saving, this will become as normal as Excel is now in the next 10 to 15 years. I think to really make the most of this we need to have a clear programme of investment in R&D, individual training and development programmes, along with greater links into the higher education establishments because a lot of the cutting-edge research and development comes from these establishments. There are also some interesting ideas and platforms coming from contractors and consultants, so more open collaboration between these organisations will help. We’ve got other great organisations like YRP whose membership includes a large proportion of the people who are now using these technologies that we can be promoting and doing more with to help us learn and engage. I do think we will adopt AI and bring greater efficiency to the industry, but I think we need to start creating the forums where we can speak about this more now. How can we make the rail industry a place people want to work in? To be honest I think we need to get the bad news out of the press and get a reliable service back across the country. Until we do this the industry will always be looked at through a negative lens unfortunately. It’s a fantastic industry to work in and I spend time going into schools and colleges talking about the opportunities available to people in the industry. Whilst we do approach this from a built environment and construction aspect, we always explain the wide range of opportunities from engineering, on train, customer experience, commercial, finance, HR, comms, marketing, management opportunities the industry can offer. If you touch on the areas we’ve briefly touched on in AI and opportunities that we have in this industry, I think it’s an exciting sector to be in at the moment and in the future, we should be out there on the road showing these opportunities, so we get the younger generations excited about what opportunities exists.

I think we also need to consider that people want certainty which currently isn't there, we don’t even know what the industry will look like in five years. What do you expect to be the biggest challenges that come from this transformation of the railway industry? The whole transformation piece is the biggest challenge as a whole, but if I can simplify this it would be how we will work and where contractual responsibilities will lie. GBRTT has some fantastic people working in the organisation working on the industry plans and will get a lot right, but we will get some things wrong as well, it’s natural when new measures and large change takes place. We can’t be scared off by that though, you’ve just got to be able to learn from it quickly, with the ability and agility to instigate a change and put things right. I do worry that the timescales for making change if we detect things are not going right may not be as quick as we need, so I guess that’s where I would see the biggest challenge. I think what we really need to help the industry is clarity, there are currently as many questions as answers. We need committed government policy, commitment to change needs to be across party lines so consecutive governments are committed to change. I think we are closer to this than we have ever been but needs a long-term commitment from all parties. At some point, every company will face the question of how to continue maximising earnings from their current business practice whilst also investing enough in innovation so they can turn a profit in the future. How can a company achieve the necessary creativity to innovate without compromising their existing business? This isn’t at ‘some point’, this is now. Different companies take different approaches to how and where they invest and of course we all keep an eye on earnings, but keeping an eye on numbers as benign as earnings is relatively easy if you have the right metrics and measure what matters. Within Vextrix we have other key metrics we measure, not just the earnings and financial matters, such as key account management, staff health and social value. These tell us the health of our business, how we are performing and how we are delivering. In a nutshell I’d say if you’re not investing in innovation you’re probably not growing and if you’re not growing, you’re going to get left behind. Creativity comes from collaboration thinking with a design mindset and giving your people the time and space to think and thrive. We should be open minded, listen to our teams’ ideas, give them some freedom to explore and create within the scope of the strategic areas in which you want your business to develop but balance that with keeping tactical time in place for your teams to deliver.


STEVE DERRICK MANAGING DIRECTOR AT AARC PROFESSIONAL SERVICES (AARCPS) LIMITED With almost 50 years experience, for railway professional Steve Derrick working in the rail industry isn’t simply a job – it’s a way of life, which has seen him involved in everything from project engineering and contract management through to senior project/programme and general management roles. Now, he's running his own consultancy!



How long have you been involved in the rail industry? I first joined British Rail in 1974 as a Junior Technical Officer in the permanent way design office in Croydon and since then have worked across a variety of disciplines, from project engineering through to senior operational and programme management roles, with highlights including: • Acting as Railtrack interface at a contract management level with the maintenance and renewals units post privatisation. • Delivering the Network Rail London North West (LNW) route’s track renewals programme via the formation of a high performing team. • Leading the West Midlands & Chilterns as Area General Manager for Network Rail before moving across to lead the West Coast South area during the route upgrade programme. • Engineering Interface Manager during the development stages of HS1. • Lead Project Engineer for Birmingham Cross-City electrification and Snow Hill – Smethwick route reinstatement. • Programme Controls Lead for the Network Rail National Operating Strategy. • Senior Programme Manager for investment projects on Network Rail’s LNW, including the Cross-Country route modernisation. What is your role within AARC Professional Services (AARCPS) Limited? As Managing Director of AARCPS, I take a ‘hands-on’ approach to all of our contract engagements, matching our areas of expertise with the skills required to meet our clients’ needs. My style is both methodical and professional, adopting an analytical approach when it comes to problem solving. I’m also more than happy to adapt my own personal advice and guidance to meet the needs of each project, either working independently or as a team player, taking a pro-active role in problem solving, whilst encouraging others to explore solutions and challenge themselves. I have a strong railway background, particularly in operations and programme management, having held senior positions in both disciplines, with almost 50 years’ experience enabling me to offer leadership and support across a wide range of roles. However, my real passion is in building and developing outstanding teams, bringing together people at all levels and across all organisations to successfully deliver common goals – something I have a successful track record of across my career. Why did you start AARCPS? The rail industry has been going through a period of significant change for the last few years and during that time, for me personally there has always been the real

danger of losing invaluable knowledge and experience when seasoned professionals leave. At AARCPS, our aim is to stem that ‘brain drain’ and redeploy those people and skills where they can make a positive and meaningful impact, delivering excellent outcomes in the process. Another key driver for me is a genuine belief in the need for a thriving and successful rail industry and a desire to give something back to a sector that has looked after me for so long – a mindset shared by all of the associates who make up AARCPS. Tell us about AARC Professional Services Limited. Our main motivation is to help clients achieve their goals through the delivery of strategic and technical expertise across a range of disciplines. We operate at all levels, from frontline through to boardroom and are equally happy working independently or as part of a team, though all of AARCPS’s associates are strong advocates of collaboration and the benefits it can bring. With a fast growing team, currently standing at 23, we provide real strength in depth, with a particular focus on rail operations, projects and engineering, safety & assurance and training. It’s also a particularly close knit organisation, with almost everyone having worked together before in a previous capacity and each associate bringing with them a particular set of skills, honed over a lifetime of service in the rail sector. We all share the common goal of providing a professional, collaborative and friendly though determined approach to all that we do, bringing about outstanding results, with our respective backgrounds also helping us to ‘hit the ground running.’ How long has AARCPS been in business? When the time came for me to officially retire from the rail industry in 2014, I decided rather than ‘hand back the keys,’ I’d start up my own business with other likeminded rail professionals who still had a real passion for rail and felt that they wanted to put something back into the industry. What initially started out as a short term project has now developed into a successful and respected business, with a growing portfolio of clients and an expanding team of associates. Which sectors do you work in? Because of our associates’ extensive experience across the rail industry, AARCPS is focused exclusively on this particular sector, collectively drawing on five decades of expertise to provide a focus on the disciplines of rail operations, projects and engineering, safety and assurance and training. This experience also means we are able to provide support at all levels, from frontline operations through to the boardroom. Though based in the Midlands,

AARCPS’s strength also lies in the depth of experience of its associates – all time served, long term railway professionals, most having worked together previously and all sharing the same passion for the industry. we also have a national reach, providing a fast, flexible and sustainable service throughout the UK, with clients in England, Scotland and Wales. What types of products and services do you offer? AARCPS specialises in the following areas: • Rail Operations – including network operations, maintenance operations and train operations. Our team of associates are able to provide support across all aspects of rail operations, covering both short-term tactical rail operational requirements, as well as more strategically focused operational rail issues. • Projects and Engineering – including bid management, change management, programme/project management and engineering management. AARCPS covers the complete project lifecycle, from pre-feasibility and bid management through to implementation and project close-out. Our rail engineering associates can also provide support in everything from asset strategy through to standards review and interface management services. • Safety and Assurance – including risk management, safety management and assurance management. All of AARCPS’s associates have worked directly in a safety conscious environment and fully understand and appreciate the importance of a strong safety culture. With extensive rail safety and assurance experience, we support our clients to meet their core safety requirements, be it undertaking a review or becoming directly involved in a rail risk, safety or assurance related project or workstream. • Rail Training – including training development and training delivery. Our associates are experienced in the design and delivery of skills/bespoke rail training, tailored to suit each client’s specific needs and can also carry out assessments and assist in the verification process where required. 75


When working with AARCPS, clients can expect us to directly interface with them across every stage of the project, helping to provide early identification and mitigation of issues, making sure outputs meet expectations and undertaking continuous quality control to deliver excellent results. What is your Unique Selling Point? AARCPS is a specialist rail consultancy, run by railway people, for railway people. We bring together like-minded rail professionals with the common aim of delivering expert support and advisory services to the rail industry, with a shared motivation to provide clients with outstanding outcomes by: • Helping clients achieve their goals. • Through strategic and technical expert advice. • Across a range of disciplines. • From the frontline through to the boardroom. AARCPS’s strength also lies in the depth of experience of its associates – all time served, long term railway professionals, most having worked together previously and all sharing the same passion for the industry. It’s this, coupled with our collective commitment to providing outstanding outcomes for our clients, that makes us ‘stand out from the crowd’ when it comes to choosing a railway consultancy. What are some stand out projects you’ve been involved in over the years? Since its formation in 2014, AARCPS has been involved in the successful delivery of a number of railway projects, including: • Network Rail, Scotland – NR’s Scotland region turned to AARCPS when developing its operations strategy for the region. Working alongside the client’s Operations and Asset Strategy functions, the team helped successfully develop an approved strategy, as well as a revised asset strategy incorporating operation elements. As a result, AARCPS has also been asked by the client’s Head of Operations for further support, including the provision of bespoke operational training modules. • G F Tomlinson – when seeking an industry intermediary to assist with a major school redevelopment bordering the railway, leading Midlands’ construction company G F Tomlinson called on AARCPS to provide a dedicated Contractor’s Engineering Manager (CEM) in support of the project. The scheme involved the demolition/redevelopment of Oscott Manor School in Erdington, West Midlands. Through its CEM, AARCPS provided the professional lead and operational interface, supporting all stages of the project lifecycle. • SPL Powerlines UK – prior to its appointment in 2018 as standalone 76

supplier for the delivery of electrification projects to Network Rail, SPL Powerlines UK turned to AARCPS when it needed help with the transition process. Working with SPL’s Transition Director, AARCPS led on the safety verification and assurance work, helping secure SPL’s position as prime supplier – one it continues to hold, delivering electrification projects for Network Rail across the country. As a result, SPL continues to turn to AARCPS for support with its assurance processes. • Network Rail, Scotland – NR Scotland’s Operations Strategy Manager engaged AARCPS to help develop training and supporting materials for bespoke signalling systems including RETB (Radio Electronic Token Block). Through the provision of signalling and training specialists, AARCPS helped identify and prioritise the practical training priorities, as well as producing a set of ‘off the shelf’ training modules and associated materials (including videos). A training and competency plan addressing the necessary approvals issues was also produced, along with supporting document control. What success have you experienced in the last twelve months and how do you measure success? I take a personal interest (and in some cases an active involvement) in all of our engagements and the feedback we receive from clients, along with the number of repeat requests for our support, is a strong endorsement and a genuine indicator that we are doing not just the right things but doing things right. Key achievements during the last twelve months have included: • Design and delivery of Signaller and Electrical Controller training courses for Amey Infrastructure Wales (AIW) – see further details below. • Operations/project interface support to AIW on its Core Valley Lines project. • Higher Speed running certification for the East Lancashire Railway (heritage line). • Thameslink maintenance readiness support to Network Rail. • Control Period 7 (CP7) track strategy development to support Network Rail’s Eastern region. What are some major projects you’re working on? There are three major projects I would like to highlight: 1. Electrical Control Operator (ECO) Training for Amey Infrastructure Wales. AARCPS has been providing operational training for AIW, which was appointed by Transport for Wales (TfW) as the managing agent for its extensive programme of electrification, signalling recontrol and upgrade, track doubling

‘There has always been the real danger of losing invaluable knowledge and experience when seasoned professionals leave. At AARCPS, our aim is to stem that ‘brain drain’.’ and station improvements. Following the successful provision of signaller training, AARCPS was also retained by AIW to conduct ECO training – directly linked to TfW’s upgrade of the Core Valley Lines’ upgrade, which includes provision of 25Kv OLE electrification and the siting of an electrical control room (ECR) at a new integrated control centre (ICC) at Taffs Well. This assignment has involved the recruitment, training and assessment of an ECO resource to manage electrical supply and emergency response for the newly installed OLE and associated infrastructure, with eight new AIW staff taking part in a bespoke training package. 2. Updates to Health and Safety Management System for Network Rail. AARCPS was commissioned to help Network Rail remodel its overarching health and safety management system into an accessible tool for continuous improvement in risk management, which is integrated with its wider management systems and operating model and which recognises the need for devolved, customer focused decision making. The remodelled system follows the RM3 Risk Management Maturity Model and has been informed by a gap analysis of current processes, identification of best practice and stakeholder engagement. It recognises Network Rail’s safety certification and authorisation commitments and other requirements of the Railways & Other Guided Transport Systems Regulations (ROGS) and Railways Interoperability Regulations, while covering all Network Rail’s business activities, not just railway operations. 3. Rail for London Infrastructure (RfLI) on the Elizabeth line. AARCPS was initially engaged by RfLI’s Head of Maintenance for the Elizabeth line (London’s East to West railway) to provide a report on each maintenance business areas’ readiness for taking over the railway at ROGS. The assignment was extended to support Crossrail’s hand-over of stations, portals and rail wide systems by assuring the necessary information


and training was sufficient to enable the maintainer to mobilise. As sponsor’s representative, the business benefits were achieved by delivering a fault reporting system link between operational control systems and Maximo (the maintenance workbank system), which enabled operators to initiate a response team directly from the control system. Since entering revenue service, AARCPS has also been working with the heads of departments to improve the concept of the RTIM (Real Time Infrastructure Manager) working 24/7 on the control floor, as well as continuing to support the Elizabeth line’s Infrastructure Manager. What are your views on collaborative working? Whilst we’re happy to work independently, we are strong advocates for collaborative working/teamwork. Where possible/ appropriate, we actively align ourselves to the clients’ respective organisation for the duration of any project, effectively becoming ‘part of the team.’ This helps to not only engender strong working relations, but gives us a much better insight into the client’s organisation and its respective needs and ultimately, leads to improved outcomes.

How do you make your business a good place to work? A key advantage of AARCPS is that most of us all know and have worked with each other previously, so there is already a common understanding, with trust and respect at the centre of that. As already mentioned, teamwork and collaboration underpin our core values. We also only take on work where we know that we have the skills and availability within the existing team to deliver high quality outcomes, which invariably results in all team members remaining highly motivated and eager to share their subject matter expertise, aware that they can also draw on a wealth of knowledge across other core areas from within the business should they need to. What’s next for AARCPS? With regards to the future development of the business, our objective is to continue to evolve at a controlled pace, continuously building our pool of expertise whilst simultaneously developing our offer, but never at the expense of the quality of service provided.

AARC PROFESSIONAL SERVICES (AARCPS) LIMITED AARC Professional Services is a railway consultancy with extensive experience in rail operations. Its consultants have a comprehensive understanding of rail network operations, projects & engineering, safety & assurance and rail training. Want to know more about AARC Professional Services? Tel: 07841 611657 Email: info@aarcps.co.uk Visit: www.aarcps.co.uk

Run by railway people, for railway people Railway Consultancy Services

AARC Professional Services Limited draws from over five decades of experience to provide expert support to the industry. We are a railway consultancy bringing together likeminded rail professionals with a common aim to deliver outstanding outcomes by.. • Helping clients achieve their goals... • Through strategic and technical expert advice... • Across a range of disciplines... • From the frontline through to the boardroom Whether you’re looking for high level advice & guidance or direct project support, we’re here to help you deliver excellent outcomes.

To get in touch, please visit www.aarcps.co.uk or contact us at: info@aarcps.co.uk



‘We define innovation as turning ideas into sustainable value so ideas, no matter how great, are not enough.’

Why do you do what you do?

PAUL CORCORAN FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERIMCONSULT Paul is the founder of Interimconsult, a management consultancy focussed on complex programme delivery, supply chain innovation, and artificial intelligence applications. He has held CEO, Managing Director and Board roles in SMEs and large organisations in different sectors. A regular speaker at events, he is a member of the Institute of Directors Expert Advisory Group on Science, Innovation and Technology.

INTERIMCONSULT Launched in 2019, Interimconsult is a purpose-led consultancy that takes on complex challenges and always seeks to make a positive difference beyond what it delivers to customers. Want to know more about Interimconsult? Tel: 07988 686471 Email: paul@interimconsult.co.uk Visit: www.interimconsult.co.uk


The industry needs to change the way it goes about getting stuff done. The UK needs an affordable, punctual, inclusive, and low-carbon rail network that meets the needs of passenger and freight customers and helps create economic growth. This will help make a difference to people’s lives. It means people can get to their place of work or study, provide care and support to those in need, all at an affordable price. The right type of investment in the railway also creates an opportunity for a green and resilient integrated transport system for generations to come. However we’re a long way from achieving that goal – but here at Interimconsult want to change the situation. It’s easy for the industry to accept the way things are done and carry on as-is, but that won’t change people’s lives for the better. The passenger and freight customer experience must improve, and industry-wide productivity must increase, or the industry will not deliver what the UK needs. Large and complex programmes must be delivered on time and within budget, and investment needs to be targeted to deliver benefits for customers and communities. With global investment and innovations in other markets already providing customers with new transport choices to match their new travel patterns, there is a significant existential threat to the affordability and ongoing viability of the railways. We’re very close to a tipping point that could lead to a slow and irreversible decline. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen. Do you think the industry can change? Yes. It’s people that get stuff done and there are a lot of great people in the industry who want the same thing – a great customer experience, safe, affordable, and inclusive travel, and a stronger and green economy. People getting stuff done makes these things happen. This isn’t blind optimism. It’s based on industry experience and an understanding of how innovation creates value, how behaviours and mindsets can change, and how tipping points can be triggered across a whole industry, leading to irreversible

and positive change that sticks. If you look outside the sector and at wider society, you can see that sometimes it’s the small things that matter. You don’t always know what might lead to a tipping point in the future, but you can get a sense as to whether you’re nudging things in the right direction and getting closer to making positive change stick. There are so many examples in rail of purpose-driven innovations in technology and processes, where everyone puts their shoulder to the wheel and pushes in the same direction to deliver exceptional results. We need to make this way of working contagious. And asking “why” we do things creates a shared purpose. People can see that their own and everyone else’s contributions matter because you’re working towards a common goal. It can deliver outstanding results on complex projects, in organisations, and across industries. I believe our real challenge is creating that sense of shared purpose across the industry. For example, if we can nudge the industry towards tipping points that transform the delivery of complex infrastructure projects, maybe we could save billions of pounds. I believe this is both possible and essential. The industry should get things done early, under budget, at the same time as delivering better outcomes. But more people need to believe it’s possible and not accept a norm of delays and cost overruns. As Henry Ford said – “If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.” Our work for the Rail Supply Group on industry costs showed supplier spend in the financial year 2021/22 was £15.8 billion. Of this, £10.5 billion was spent on enhancements and renewals. But the ‘why’ for this expenditure is not just to enhance or renew the railway for its own sake. The real ‘why’ is about providing a great customer experience and safe journeys at an affordable price for the diverse range of communities and businesses that use the railway. Thinking this way is proven to help deliver better outcomes and will also help meet the industry’s productivity challenge. Interimconsult has a clear purpose – we want to make innovation happen - because we know that innovation, the process of turning ideas into sustainable value, helps take the industry and society forward. We’re only small, but we can nudge things in the right direction and maybe, just maybe, create tipping points that change the industry for the better. Tell us about Interimconsult. We are not a typical consultancy. Our ideal scenario is stepping in to work with a client to take on a complex challenge associated with programme delivery, supply chain innovation, or deployment of AI, then stepping away knowing they are in a better place. Ideally, we like them to internalise the capability to standalone without the


‘Thinking slowly about options, plans, design, and delivery, when costs are the lowest, then acting fast to get the job done in the most efficient way, helps avoid these alltoo-common expensive failures.’

need for more of the same consultancy. This seems counter-intuitive, but we don’t want clients to become dependent on us for what we would describe as business-as-usual. That’s just body-shopping and when it comes to core business it is nearly always better value for the client to appoint a capable employee. Consultant’s insights are often limited, recommendations rarely implemented, and change rarely sticks. That’s not how we do things – we want to make a difference. We are clear that clients must get value from consultants, not just pay for their time. One of the reasons we enjoy what we do is it usually involves breaking new ground and doing novel work to change the way the industry and our clients go about their business. We’ve worked on assignments such as enabling the delivery of the industry and government commitments in the rail industry’s Rail Sector Deal, supply chain innovation, increasing work pipeline visibility, industry cost analysis, productivity improvement, introduction of new technologies into live operational environments, and the application of AI in decision support systems. This seems like a diverse range of activities, but the reality is common themes run throughout, such as understanding how the rail industry and businesses work, whole system thinking, innovation, and situation analysis. When a client comes to you with a particular problem, what’s your process for coming up with a solution, and how closely do you work with clients throughout the projects? We know from experience that unique problems demand unique solutions, but the fundamentals are often the same. So we start by actively listening to our clients to understand their situation. Once the situation and definition of client success is clear, we have the tools and frameworks

available to identify why a solution is needed, what options exist, what action needs taking, and when it should be done. This approach delivers results. Working closely with clients and taking this whole-system view means looking at the combination of people, process, technology, and culture because when it comes to complex or complicated challenges, focussing on only one or two of these factors will usually lead to failure. A whole-system approach takes context into account and has helped our clients address their most complex challenges such as reducing complex programme delivery costs and accelerating delivery, successfully introducing new products and services into operational environments in the rail market and increasing the return on investment from research and development. We look at problems from a systems perspective – you can’t solve difficult and complex problems without deep client engagement and taking a disjointed or siloed approach. Combined with our experience in the rail sector, this means we bring new insights into organisations to help them understand how to get stuff done, and the importance of why it matters when it comes to looking at their own, their customers’, or the industry’s, most difficult challenges. We build teams of people that step back and understand what matters most in any given situation. We take time to think slowly with our clients about what really matters and then, once the thinking is done, get things done fast. Thinking through plans and options in advance of action can be done at little cost yet deliver enormous savings. For example, the reality of complex infrastructure projects in the UK and around the world is they will almost certainly be very late, cost more, and fail to realise the promised benefits. Then, even when things are going wrong, opportunities and innovations that could improve an ongoing project are overlooked or ignored. Our approach of thinking slowly about options, plans, design, and delivery, when costs are the lowest, then acting fast to get the job done in the most efficient way, helps avoid these all-too-common expensive failures. Is there a problem with supply chain innovation? Unfortunately the answer is yes. Our own research into innovation by technology SMEs receiving government grants busts some myths about making innovation happen. It shows the return on investment from grants is very low. We looked at publicly available data from Companies House and innovation grant funding over a period of four years for a selection of 45 SMEs and startups that received funding in 2018/19, not just companies in rail, but other sectors. Only a handful showed any real success in terms of increasing company

value, creating jobs, and securing future investment. There was a total investment of circa £40 million across the 45 companies. Accounting for the matched funding from the SMEs, the total investment could have been as high as £60-80 million. The results showed a negative return on investment of between 0.25 and 0.35. And this does not include any measure for lost opportunity cost – this sum of money could have been spent doing different things. This suggests a systemic issue – but at the same time creates a huge opportunity for SMEs to improve their results by looking beyond the development of proof of concepts, minimum viable products, and customer pilots funded by grants. We define innovation as turning ideas into sustainable value so ideas, no matter how great, are not enough. Businesses need solutions that increase sales, profitability, employee engagement, and corporate social responsibility outcomes. One part of the solution is ensuring a core set of innovation enablers are in place to foster successful exploitation – not least those associated with marketing innovation, innovation management, supply chain collaboration, and options for commercialisation. The good news is we can help put these enablers in place and make them stick. And the cost of establishing the enablers is very low compared to research and development costs, but the enablers make a huge difference when it comes to transforming the return on investment for both SMEs and grant funding bodies. What would you say will be the most exciting technology in the industry and why? The ubiquitous availability of artificial intelligence applications is changing society, and this effect will ripple through every industry around the globe. It is inevitable and rail will be no exception. The impact of the powerful combination of increased computer processing power, learning algorithms, and huge data sets means established business models will be disrupted. In the same way online retailers have changed the make-up of the local high street, and video streaming has changed the entertainment industry, artificial intelligence has the potential to transform the customer experience, reduce industry operating costs, and supercharge productivity on high-value enhancement and renewal programmes. What are the here-and-now opportunities for AI in rail? AI is already being applied in many standalone rail systems that rely on image recognition, forecasting, classification, and prediction. But there are clear opportunities to combine data and AI algorithms to take on more complex challenges. 79


For example, AI systems are good at dealing with complex non-linear problems. So bringing together and analysing operational data about train performance, the headway time between services, and infrastructure performance, could increase service punctuality and avoid disruptive and high-cost infrastructure enhancements. To improve the customer experience, similar pattern recognition, forecasting, and adaptive AI algorithms could be extended to real-time automated replanning by traffic management systems. Target outcomes could be defined that simultaneously improve punctuality and reduce carbon emissions. Given recent advances in large language models and generative AI such as ChatGPT, I must comment on the impact of AI on consultancy. As clients’ understanding of how to use AI increases, outsourcing generic knowledge-based tasks to AI systems rather than people will disrupt the consulting industry. In the next few years, AI systems will probably be able to provide better value, higher quality, and faster services than many consultants. The consultants’ challenge will be to focus on higher value-adding activities where an understanding of specific context is needed that genuinely requires human, not artificial, intelligence. The upside is


this shift in capability could transform the industry, whether it be megaproject delivery, productivity, or service quality. Where do you think the industry, regarding the adoption of AI, will be in the next 10-15 years? When it comes to the pace of change and AI regulation, I worry the industry may be left behind. Prediction, forecasting, robotics, and pattern recognition applications generate an enormous number of usecases in the rail industry, but the pace of innovation is too slow. The industry is still struggling to deploy what are established solutions in other sectors – condition-based maintenance being a real example. Whilst some progress has been made, there are still too many people visually inspecting assets to assess what this means for maintenance by going on site at defined intervals and examining records, often not in a digital format. The track access increases worker safety risk and disrupts the customer experience and the end-to-end process costs more than it should. But this need not be the case. Condition based maintenance has long been applied for safety applications in the aerospace industry,

so it can be done. Already established AI innovations can enable and accelerate change if the industry can find a way of increasing the pace of their adoption and deployment. It should be possible to deploy and upgrade new products and solutions using proven technology in the rail industry over periods of months, not years. What can we look forward to? The resistance to change created by the mix of people, process, technology, and culture can be removed. But this involves a change in mindset across all parts of the industry. People make great things happen, whether it be commercial space travel, zero-carbon power generation, or delivering complex projects early and within budget. I am an optimist, and I believe the steps the industry will take in future really will change things for the better. The industry can develop a new mindset focussed on the customers experience, increasing affordability, communities, and reducing climate change. By focussing on what matters most, we will help change the industry to get stuff done. Improving the delivery of complex projects, supply chain innovation and the deployment of AI will help.


Avanti West Coast Avanti West Coast operates the 400-mile long west coast route that serves cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and London, as well as Scotland and North Wales


nder the West Coast Partnership, a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia which celebrated its first anniversary in December 2020, First Trenitalia is committed to delivering a range of passenger enhancements for InterCity West Coast services including new and upgraded trains, simplified fares, more destinations and improved onboard experience. The programme will transform all 56 of Avanti West Coast’s Pendolinos which have served routes between London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Edinburgh for close to 20 years, clocking up more than 270 million miles – enough to go to the moon and back more than 500 times. Rail manufacturer Alstom will oversee the refurbishment at their new depot in Widnes in the North West securing 100 skilled jobs. The first refurbished Pendolino was returned to service in April 2022, boasting as the UK’s biggest train upgrade with some of its new features including: • 25,000 new, ergonomic Standard Class seats. • Conversion of one First Class carriage on each of the 35 eleven-carriage Pendolinos to provide more than 2,000 extra Standard Class seats. • The introduction of a new onboard shop. • Improved lighting and new interior carpets. • Greater use of technology with customerfriendly passenger information screens. • Power points at every seat. • New carpets throughout using sustainable British wool. The upgrade programme will run until 2024 when the last of the 56 strong fleet is expected to leave Widnes. UK suppliers will benefit from 80 per cent of the £117 million investment, which is financed by Angel Trains, one of the UK’s leading train Asset Management companies.

High-Speed Rail

West Coast Partnership will invest £1 million plus as part of the University of Leeds’s plans for The Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration. The

research tie-in will help deliver a UK centre of excellence for rail engineering in the Leeds City Region and is intended to drive improved customer experience and operation of HS2. When fully operational, the Institute will be capable of simulating the conditions found on busy rail networks, the findings of which will play a key part in the shaping of HS2 services.

For more information on what kind of social, environmental, and economic development issues are eligible for the scheme, please visit: www.avantiwestcoast. co.uk/about-us/sustainability/ community-hub

In the community

Avanti West Coast has launched a new fund to encourage ideas to improve stations and local communities along its route. The Customer and Communities Investment Scheme (CCIS) encourages applications from projects that address regeneration challenges and tackle social needs across the regions served by Avanti West Coast. The money will be awarded to the successful bidders over a two-year period. This investment by the inter-city operator is part of its focus to support projects across the routes and regions they serve and create a difference that benefits the community. There are three phases of the CCIS, which spans five years and is set to provide a total of £5.5 million in funding.

KEY PERSONNEL Interim Managing Director: Steve Montgomery Exec Director, Finance: Craig Forster Exec Director, Commercial: Sarah Copley Operations Director: Nick Westcott Exec Director, Customer Experience: Natasha Grice Exec Director, Projects: Michael Weston Exec Director, Technology: Rob Tyler Marketing Director: Mike Greenup CONTACT INFORMATION Address: Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4DN Customer Support Phone: 0345 528 0253 Email: customer.resolutions@avantiwestcoast.co.uk Visit: www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk



STEVE CANT MANAGING DIRECTOR AT EAST ANGLIAN SEALING CO LTD Steve began his career in the Gaskets and Seals industry in the mid 70s, working in all aspects of the industry from cutting gaskets, moulding rubber parts and studying polymer engineering at Technical College. Working with many major clients over the years, such as Fords, Rolls Royce Aerospace, Bombardier, Paxman Diesels and Unipart, he has the experience that’s taken his company a long way in a short time.

THE EAST ANGLIAN SEALING CO LTD The East Anglian Sealing Co Ltd was founded in 2002 to supply Gaskets and Seals primarily to UK SMEs. Today it manufactures and supplies all types of high quality seals, gaskets, Rubber and Plastic mouldings, rubber sheet, matting and packing. Want to know more about EAS? Address: Units 3-8 Goldingham Hall, Bulmer, CO10 7ER Tel: 01787 880433 Email: sales@easeals.co.uk Visit: www.easeals.co.uk


What was the inspiration behind starting East Anglian Sealing?

What types of products and services do you offer?

East Anglian Sealing Co Ltd was set up in 2002 by Steve Cant to service mostly SMEs in all sorts of general industries across the UK. Having been in the Gaskets and Seals manufacturing industry since the mid 70s, he’d identified that as several companies in the industry grew – dealing with larger accounts, their focus changed. Smaller companies were often over-looked or given less attention. By concentrating on these smaller customers with an ethical approach – treating each customer as ‘King’, EAS quickly established a strong base which has been developed year on year. Today each customer, no matter how large or small, is handled in the same way, with one hundred per cent of our attention and commitment.

We work with service and supply companies in the Rail Industry providing spare parts for standard engineering service and refurbishment. Our products include all types of gaskets, seals, rubber mouldings, rubber extrusions, plastic mouldings, floor matting and machined rubber and plastic products. These parts are used on all types of vehicles in the industry – both diesel and electric engines, carriages, bogeys, tankers etc and range from components for seating through to engine, brake and axle parts. Being involved with servicing older products (we also supply some heritage lines) – our experience in the industry helps us in reverse engineering parts where original drawings are no longer available. We produce parts today covering over one hundred years of the UK rail industry – from boiler gaskets for Victorian steam locomotives built in 1910, through to the latest Axle-box seals and gaskets on todays rolling stock – with everything in between!

Which sectors do you work in? EAS works mostly within the Service and Maintenance sector of the Rail Industry however our experience enables us to work in most engineering sectors. Outside Rail, we are involved in almost every industry across the UK, with exports into Europe, Canada, Australia, the Middle East and the Far East. We supply goods into Pharmaceutical and Food industries through to Nuclear Power and Aerospace industries. We produce the more specialised products into high-end automotive manufacturers as third tier suppliers and produce parts for most heavy duty diesel engines used today. Our capabilities within lots of different industries have ensured constantly increasing business over the last 20 plus years and we continue to develop business by introducing new processes and new product lines.

What are your production capabilities? Using a selection of production equipment, East Anglian Sealing Co Ltd are able produce any gasket or seal, in almost any material. This includes conventional hydraulic presses, including large head machines which are used for standard cut gasket parts. 700mm square head travelling-head presses cutting at over 23 strokes per minute – (with a 20unit tool that’s up to 28,000 parts per hour!). Smaller presses are used to produce low volume requirements from just one off where tooling is available. CAD operated machinery, capable of producing parts without the need for tooling


are continually invested in and today we have laser cutting equipment, water-jet machines, CNC drag knives, CNC oscillating knives and 2D & 3D multi-axis CNC routing and milling machines. We have machines able to cut foam up to 300mm thick and metals up to 200mm thick. With extrusion equipment able to run both short and long production runs in many different materials, including lowsmoke emission and fire retardant grades important for the rail (and especially underground) industries. Our moulding facility further widens our product range, manufacturing compression, transfer and injection moulded parts in all types of rubbers and plastics in shot weights from 0.5gm to 50kgs. We also use low-cost tooling to ensure minimal outlay for customers planning new projects and again can produce from one off to multi-millions! How have the products and services you offer developed over the years? Working closely with major companies in the sector, we have expanded the range of products we supply into lots of new categories. These products include Gaskets & Seals, Hoses, Pipework, Interior Hardware, Door Equipment, Machined Plastics, Trim, Seating, Fasteners, Machined Components, Valves, Wear Plates, Wiper Equipment, Heating Parts, Filters, Ducting, Axle parts, Lighting Equipment, Draught Seals, Gangway Matting, Treadplates, Trim, Rubber / Metal bonded parts, Tank seals, Leather products, Timber products, Bogie equipment, Powertrain parts, Gangway Diaphragms etc.

What kind of challenges did you face in the early days?

What do you have planned for the year ahead?

As a new company in 2002 – although with staff having lots of experience with rail companies across the UK, it was difficult to persuade buyers to make the change. By consistent supply of quality product at competitive prices as promised, we built up our reputation to the point where buyers began to ask us ‘if we’d consider’ making different parts outside our original scope. This was exactly what we needed, and grasped the opportunity to show what we could do. We continue to supply the service and repair businesses in the UK and have recently been involved in station and trackside work which we are looking to build on over the next few years.

We’re looking to expand our customer base in the UK and to also move into more OEM work where we’ve already seen a marked increase in business during the last twelve months. Remanufacturing centres where full refurbishment of products along with general maintenance and repair require replacement seals and gaskets are already ideal customers for our services. We’re particularly interested in working with more electric powered drive systems as users move away from diesels, and will be increasing our capacity to machine specialist materials for companies in that sector. We’re already dealing with some electric vehicle charging equipment manufacturers along with switchgear and transformer businesses and hope to develop work in these areas as the companies grow. Other areas of the rail industry are also of interest – in particular trackside materials such as GRP walkway systems, erosion control matting and safety matting. EAS are also involved in specialist machined parts for various infrastructure products for stations and will be looking to increase that work in the coming years.

Has the market grown since the company was established? The overall market for service spares in the Rail industry has reduced greatly since the introduction of new rolling stock and to remain competitive in the market, we have seen products de-graded to reduce cost and increase profit by some companies. In some instances we had worked toward higher grade materials with specific fire resistance for example, only to see the products reverted to cheaper alternatives with those customers claiming ‘grand-father’ rights – that material being approved in the 1960s to 1990s before stricter regulations came in. We have refused to follow this route, putting safety above profit and ensuring products we produce as a safety critical supplier meet the standards that should be adhered to in our railways today.

What’s next for EAS? We are seeing an unprecedented increase in not only the amount of orders won, but also new customers we are attracting. In May and June 2023 alone, our sales DOUBLED and are continuing this trend. In turn, this has meant we have had to increase our capacity, with plans for two new CNC machines and new water-jet cutting equipment – ensuring



standard equipment that will benefit more suppliers, and not just those involved in the HS project. How do you make your business a good place to work?

that we always have at least 30 per cent more capacity than is needed. By using faster, new machinery; taking on extra staff; changing processes and further streamlining our operations we’ve managed to achieve this target to stay ahead of the game! What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces? For our sector of the industry it is important that we, and companies similar to us, get access to product information for new

rolling stock well before the warranty periods run out. The cost savings that companies like ourselves can offer against OEM spares for all types of engineering parts can be quite substantial and we believe we offer a level of competition in the system that ensures the overall cost performance of the industry. With the cancellation of the Birmingham to Manchester link of HS2, and the billions ‘saved’ by that decision, we are hoping that promised Government investment in other areas of the system will mean an increase in servicing of

As a small, family run business, each of our employees are treated as exactly that – ‘a member of the family’. We try to ensure everyone enjoys coming to work each day by creating a relaxed and rewarding environment, where everyone is listened too; respected and valued. We have a ‘you scratch our backs we’ll scratch yours’ motto offering our staff as much flexibility as possible to ensure everyone has a great work/life balance. Our reward for the culture that has been created here is an unrivalled work ethic by each and every individual, meaning the business can continue to grow year on year. Our staff retention levels are a sign that we must be doing something right! To reward everyone’s hard work the canteen freezer is continuously topped up with ice creams during the summer months; along with staff BBQ’s; Christmas dinners and yearly bonuses! We look forward to expanding our ‘work family’ over the next few years as the business continues to grow!

EAS, are proud suppliers into the Rail Industry!

Rubber Moudlings

Metallic Gaskets

www.easeals.co.uk 84

Machined Parts sales@easeals.co.uk

Cork Products

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Great Western Railway Great Western Railway (GWR) operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London

Replacing 40-year-old High Speed Trains, the IETs have up to 24 per cent more seats per train. Following completion of Network Rail’s electrification to Newbury new Electrostar, suburban commuter, trains have also been able to run to the town for the first time having been rolled out across London and the Thames Valley during late 2017 and 2018.

Mobile assistance

At the end of 2019 GWR launched a mobile Customer Assistance Team to help those with reduced mobility to be able to travel with confidence. GWR’s new ten-member mobile team means that a member of staff can travel with the passenger, taking care of the entire journey experience and ensuring continuity of service. Launched in December 2019 the team has now helped over 500 customers.


WR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR was recently awarded an extension to its direct award franchise (called DA3), which will run up to 31 March 2023, with an option to extend for a further year.


GWR runs trains between London and Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford, Exeter, Reading, Swindon, Plymouth and Windsor. In 2021, the Government restored the Dartmoor Line, allowing services to resume for first time in half a century on 20 November 2021. This successful reopening was awarded for ‘Outstanding Teamwork’ and ‘Outstanding Contribution to Society’ at the National Rail Awards 2022.

Rolling Stock

GWR is working on plans to reduce the carbon emissions of its train fleet, with a view to removing all diesel-only traction from the network by 2040 in line with the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan. In the Summer of 2021, GWR ran the first electric-only train to and from South Wales when it used a twelve-car Class 387 to run electric-only from Swindon to Cardiff. More than £7.5 billion has been spent on electrifying the region’s routes from London to Newbury and Cardiff and track upgrades, as well as improvements to stations, the opening of new stations and the introduction of hundreds of new trains. Before Christmas 2018 GWR took delivery of its final Class 800 Intercity Express Train (IET) from manufacturer Hitachi, with a further 127 (Class 802) carriages – 15 trains – still to be rolled out during 2019.

KEY PERSONNEL Managing Director: Mark Hopwood Engineering Director: Simon Green Customer Service and Transformation Director: Richard Rowland Director, Compliance, Sustainability & Environment: Joe Graham Finance Director: Duncan Rimmer Director of HR: Ruth Busby CONTACT INFORMATION Address: Milford House, 1 Milford Street, Swindon SN1 1HL Tel: 0345 700 0125 Email: visit website for all enquiries Visit: www.gwr.com




How did you get started in the industry? I joined British Rail in 1988 at Ditton Sleeper Depot as a shopman. My father, Ronnie, was the depot manager at the time, influencing my appointment – along with a number of local people – as the depot had a significant increase in orders and a new approach in branching out into other business opportunities. I progressed my skillsets there. Ditton Sleeper Depot closed and was shut down soon after privatisation. My career continued to progress during privatisation and has led me to my current position as Head of Power and Infrastructure Resourcing Ltd (P&I Resourcing). What is your role within Power & Infrastructure Resourcing Ltd? My responsibilities include developing, updating, and maintaining long-term business objectives. I am responsible for the day-to-day management and structure of the business and, first and foremost, ensuring the health and safety of my colleagues. My role means I work across all departments. I work closely with our operations team, driving efficiencies, delivering upskilling programmes, and training and development. In managing a £36 million annual turn-over business, I also work closely with our commercial departments and enjoy meeting our customers, understanding their requirements, and ensuring that we deliver the best possible service for them. How has technology developed since you started in the industry?

PAUL GEORGE HEAD OF POWER & INFRASTRUCTURE RESOURCING As the Head of Power and Infrastructure Resourcing, Paul is dedicated to shaping and executing the company’s long-term business vision. His primary focus is the wellbeing of colleagues and the day-today operations.

Joining British Rail at a time when technology was almost non-existent, depot technology was pretty much a typewriter and internal telephone lines. Seeing technology develop during my 35-year career has been so refreshing, not only for industry, but also for the environment. Seeing and being part of so many technological initiatives and ideas has been inspirational, and I am proud to be part of a business which continues to work paperless and uses integrated systems as often as we can. Which sectors do you work in? P&I Resourcing works in a variety of sectors, with rail being a core part of the business. Our business is developing in the facilities, construction and energy sectors allowing for a diverse range of services. Our company’s strategy is to build for the future by developing a workforce that is sustainable and multi-tasked. Rail has been integral for our company as it has allowed for our steady growth and investment, and we can now consider other sectors too. We are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead. Investing in the right people is key for us. 87


What is your Unique Selling Point? The USP for P&I Resourcing is fundamentally our workforce. By maintaining and retaining our resources allows us to invest in people further, allowing for client satisfaction and continuity in the workplace. We continually build upon current training and upskilling programmes dependant on client and internal requirements, allowing for staff development, which is planned and monitored from day one, right through deployment durations. We aim to have our workforce work locally and to mitigate travel as much as we can, not only for fatigue purposes but to maintain that work/life balance at home and be more environmentally greener as a business by minimising travel and expense. By training and developing our people in more multi-skilled areas ensures they are being recognised and invested in, which supports the workforce morale and drives a culture where retention is key, but highlights by far, our USP is our workforce. What are your plans going forward to ensure Power & Infrastructure Resourcing Ltd services are still around for years to come? Growth in other industry sectors and continued growth in current ones is key for P&I Resourcing. Investing in our people and integrated systems allows for smarter and slicker operations which in turn will allow for a great work/life balance for all. Staff retention is fundamental for our business and for our clients. The importance of repeat business is also key. Understanding our clients’ needs and maintaining a good collaborative relationship with them is imperative. What do you have planned for the year ahead? P&I Resourcing plan to invest and grow our business within other industry sectors, allowing for a more diverse approach in our services. Part of our plan is to not only grow our UK market areas but to also consider the European markets with support from our associated group partners. We intend to continue and focus on more efficiencies internally and externally by collaborating further with existing and new clients ensuring customer satisfaction is paramount by the quality of staff that we supply into various industry sectors. By doing so, we have a longer-term plan for training and development in our workforce and encouraging new recruits to sign up. We are working with numerous training providers, schools, colleges, and universities to encourage new apprenticeships and trainee programmes for younger people whilst collaborating with many job centres seeking people of all ages to get back into work. We support our 88

clients in ensuring local labour is key which in turn allows for better work/life balance and local knowledge. What would you say is the most exciting technology in the industry? The On-Trac system allows for a paperless safe system of works and task briefings to be conducted electronically, which saves vast amounts of paper and ink as historically, printing these documents could be more than over one hundred pages. The utilisation of integrated systems like Signal, which we use here at P&I Resourcing, allows our business to run more efficiently whilst maintaining stored information in one place taking away the old spreadsheet working. Integration is key and we endeavour to develop with technology within the various industry sectors we support. How have you seen the industry change over the years? I have seen a huge change in many aspects of the industry over my 35-year period. Health and Safety being a considerable focal point which has changed the industry for the better. As the industry has changed through privatisation and the workforce ever growing it has been refreshing knowing that businesses and Network Rail are working together to make sure that staff go home safe every day. By implementing the lifesaving rules gives everyone the same understandings, allowing for a safer place to work for all. Protection of the workforce has also been quite apparent over the years and the level and amount of PPE changes have been really refreshing; when I started with British Rail, I was issued a Hi-Visibility vest and that was it. One other major industry change that has been quite apparent is the use of technology which again has been a game changer in various disciplines within the industry, ensuring safer working practices, a greener environment and operational and commercial efficiencies, which could only have been a pipe dream when I started my career path back in 1988. How can we make the rail industry a place people want to work in? Driving initiatives like innovation, technology, safety improvements, workforce engagement and staff development programmes are all attractive propositions. I think the idea of more apprenticeships is key. P&I Resourcing is continually building upon its leadership team by promoting from within the business and recruiting external experts in their field to drive an innovative, forward-thinking business. We implement many initiatives right across the business, but are particularly proud that diversity, equality, inclusion, and mental health is embedded as part of the everyday culture.

A culture of trust, respect and appreciation has a direct impact on the employees, the business, partners, and stakeholders. How do you make your business a good place to work? Here at P&I Resourcing we engage with our workforce and allow all our colleagues to have their say, so they know their voices are being heard. Developing our workforce allows our people to further their careers, and in turn, ensures staff retention on a long-term basis. It is key for our colleagues to know that we are prepared to invest in them, as well as in technology and safety measures. It is imperative that we as a business give this assurance to all our colleagues, to ensure we make the environment they operate in, a great place to work and show that we care about their work/life balance.

POWER & INFRASTRUCTURE RESOURCING LTD Power & Infrastructure Resourcing is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of high calibre and experienced personnel to the infrastructure sector. The company provides contract and temporary staff at all levels, as well as services such as project management, consultancy and accredited training.

Want to know more about Power & Infrastructure Resourcing? Address: Power and Infrastructure Resourcing Limited Unit 3, Decoy Bank North Doncaster, DN4 5JR Tel: 01302 976418 Email: enquiries@pi-resourcing.com Visit: www.pi-resourcing.com


Greater Anglia Greater Anglia provides intercity, commuter and rural services throughout Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire


reater Anglia operates 1,300 train services per day across 133 stations. With the inception of the new franchise in October 2016, Abellio announced it would invest £1.4 billion in fleet replacement which resulted in 33,000 new train seats at morning and evening peak travel times. Greater Anglia is owned by Transport UK which also operates East Midlands Railway and West Midlands Trains, as well as the Merseyrail rail concession in a joint venture with Serco.

Rolling stock

As part of a £1.4 billion investment in transforming train services in East Anglia. Greater Anglia is currently in the process of replacing all trains in its fleet with brand new ones, which are all longer, with more seats, USB and plug sockets, fast free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and improved accessibility features as well as dedicated cycle spaces. Throughout 2021, Greater Anglia introduced new commuter trains to replace all the company’s old trains on Great Eastern Main Line routes between Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria, Braintree, Southminster, Stowmarket, Ipswich, Colchester, Clacton, Walton-on-the-Naze and Harwich. In March 2021, the first of 133 Aventra Class 720 trains being built by Alstom in Derby was introduced on the Clacton to London route. In September of the same year, the trains ran for the first time on the Harwich and Walton-on-theNaze branch lines. The full introduction of new trains are now in service on every single route in the Greater Anglia network, with many routes operated exclusively by new trains.

Carbon emissions

Greater Anglia’s reported carbon emissions decreased by 17 per cent between April 2022 and March 2023 – that’s over 67,000 tonnes according to a report by independent environmental consultancy, WSP. This is the third year in a row that the train operator has reduced its carbon emissions. Over the last few years, Greater Anglia has introduced new more energy-efficient trains, cut waste, increased recycling and

worked with partners and communities on projects to improve sustainability and biodiversity at stations. They have also worked to install wireless energy management systems at rail stations to ensure heating and lighting are used efficiently and taken steps to reduce water consumption.

The virtual tours help people to navigate their journey, find out where facilities are located and plan in advance. They can use the virtual tours to ‘walk through’ the train or station using the navigation tools.


In a first for the rail industry, Greater Anglia has pioneered online virtual tours for its entire new train fleet to help people travel with confidence. The virtual train tours have been designed for all of Greater Anglia's new train types to support journey planning, give customers a clearer picture of what they can expect on board and reduce anxiety about travelling. They are particularly aimed at helping disabled customers who are wanting to check how accessible their journey is. Virtual tours are available for Greater Anglia’s entire fleet of new trains and also for 15 of the train operator’s stations and are available at https://www.greateranglia. co.uk/travel-information/your-journey/virtualtours on any device.

KEY PERSONNEL Managing Director: Jamie Burles Engineering Director: Martin Beable Commercial Director: Martin Moran Asset Management Director: Simone Bailey HR Director: Katy Bucknell Finance Director: Michael Robertson Client & Program Director: Andrew Goodrum Train Service Delivery Director: Jay Thompson CONTACT INFORMATION Address: 18-20 St Andrew's Street, London, EC4A 3AG Tel: 0345 600 7245 Email: contactcentre@greateranglia.co.uk Visit: www.greateranglia.co.uk



When did you join the Company? I joined the company in 2016 having relocated to Glasgow with my husband. I had previously been in finance roles in the facilities management and construction industries and had served in the Armed Forces. I initially took on the role of Finance Manager working with both Swietelsky and in our Joint Venture with Babcock, Swieteleky Babcock Rail. What is your role within Swietelsky?

ALEXANDRA COX FINANCE AND COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR OF SWIETELSKY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY Alex Cox is the Finance and Commercial Director of Swietelsky Construction Company. She joined the company in 2016 having previously served in the Armed Forces and worked in the Facilities Management and Construction Industries. She has a degree in Accountancy and Finance from the University of Dundee and is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant.

SWIETELSKY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY Hellmuth Swietelsky founded a new construction company in Austria in 1936, he relied on his knowledge and a handful of good employees. Today, SWIETELSKY has establishments and subsidiaries across Europe and as far afield as Australia, employs several thousand skilled workers, and enjoys a good reputation as an innovative, efficient, and reliable construction company. Want to know more about Swietelsky? Visit: www.swietelsky.co.uk


I am currently the Finance and Commercial Director overseeing all the support functions within the business such as finance, commercial, procurement and HR and work closely with our operational teams providing advice and to ensure the successful delivery of our contracts. Swietelsky UK started in 2004 and formed a joint venture with First Engineering which resulted in the JV delivering track renewals for Network Rail utilising specialist renewal systems. The success of this five-year joint venture was largely due to Swietelsky’s experience in European high speed track renewal and maintenance of the plant. With five years of sustained and successful work in the UK, the JV went on to supply On Track Machines to Network Rail. In 2006 we introduced two Plasser and Theurer AFM 2000 High Output track finishing systems for ballast management. These machines became critical to Swietelsky beyond 2009 as we moved into a National Plant Contract with Babcock to deliver OTM (On Track Machine) shifts for Network Rail under the National Plant Contract. This Joint Venture is called Swietelsky Babcock Rail or SB Rail in short. Since 2010, we have continued to invest millions in plant and depots and we now employ over 110 people in the UK, with over 20 machines and four rail cranes. We are regarded as market leaders in the industry and our strategy to invest in people, depots and the latest machinery will continue. Although as a company we are not particularly well known in the UK we have invested over £50 million in new on track plant, which shows a real level of commitment and passion to keep moving the technology forward to meet the demands of a modernising railway. What does sustainability mean to you? Sustainability is multifaceted. I believe it consists of three areas social, environmental, and economic, and where all of these intersect this is true sustainability. Social sustainability is investing in people. This is done by providing employees of the company with support in their role, and through training, investing in education, providing apprenticeships and graduate training programmes to invest in future talent. We have been looking at

eco initiatives to provide benefits to our employees which align with our business needs and have an enhanced package for those switching to electric vehicles. Importantly we need to ensure that we maintain and support our existing work force. Economic sustainability is investing into the company, so we need to maintain and grow the business whilst managing the changes and social impact that this may have. We are always looking at investment in newer more efficient technologies which reduce where possible the environmental impact or disruption. We also are looking at responsible consumption of resources by the business, by being transparent about where we can improve and not just carbon offsetting. Finally, environmental sustainability is the responsible use of resources and realising what impact the industry or business has on our environment. This includes how the company consumes and manages resources, investment in circular practices and the sustainable acquisition of parts and buildings. Balancing all areas is true sustainable development which is constantly evolving. We acknowledge that more can be done and we are always looking to grow into new areas whilst realising not just the current impact but the impact on generations to come. How passionate are you about sustainability in the rail sector, and how do you go about sourcing the materials for your products? Swietelsky has recently invested, trialled, and implemented a range of innovative practices for reducing carbon emissions and waste, and opportunities for a more circular economy. We have already switched to sustainable products and have adopted many techniques for reducing waste re-using and recycling, and we continue to trial and look for further opportunities. Our policy is to consider options and establish the most cost effective and environmentally friendly means of materials procurement, operating our services and managing waste materials. We look at options in the order of most desirable method of managing, reducing and sustaining materials always using the principle of sustainability. This includes: • Avoid– check for an alternative sustainable product or method of delivery that avoids the production of waste. • Reduce– reduce waste at the source of production and during operations. • Reuse– can waste be reused on the contract or can it be used on other rail contracts. • Recovery– recycled or put to another process. • Disposal – landfill or incineration. In 2019 we switched to entirely using biodegradable hydraulic oil on the entire


‘We have encouraged work experience at our depots and are looking to formalise this to link with local schools to offer placements on an annual basis.’ OTM fleet for all our contracts, which significantly reduces airborne emissions and environmental pollution and has comparative properties to other hydraulic fuels. Bio oil can be dialysed and is more resistant to breaking down and as such has a longer lifecycle as the intervals between oil changes are significantly longer, reducing sourcing requirements and waste. We continue to seek and work with suppliers who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. This may be by trying to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, such as recycling of hardhats to promoting energy efficient transportation. We have

recently looked at the volume of supply of consumables to our depot. By forecasting the expected requirement of consumables for a month, one monthly order can be placed rather than ordering as items run out. This is a more efficient way of working and saves on transportation costs. What are some major projects you’re currently working on? The two main projects that we are currently working on in the UK are firstly the National Plant Contract which supplies, operates, and maintains On Track Machines to Network Rail to maintain plain line track and switches and crossing to the required track quality standards. The Tampers and Ballast Regulators may be used for maintenance, renewals, and enhancement purposes. We carry out this contract under the SB Rail banner and are currently in year six of a seven-year contract. Secondly, I am the Commercial Lead for Swietelsky on the East Coast Digital Project which is the upgrade of the East Coast Main Line with state of the art digital signalling. As part of this project, we are due to have five of our on track machines fitted, one 09

3X and four 09 4x4’s and will be doing two of these as First in Class. There is a small project team in place who are dedicated to this project and will continue to develop in our business as further digitisation projects are rolled out. This is an exciting time for the business being at the forefront of such a change although it will no doubt come with its challenges! What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces? In my opinion one of the biggest challenges that that the sector faces is in recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce. I believe that Covid has had a large impact on the workforce as a whole across all industries. Many of today’s workforce recognise the importance of greater work life balance and this can be particularly challenging when we work on a rostered basis including nights shifts. As a company we work our rosters so that our employees know their likely working pattern many weeks out which allows them to plan both work and their family life. The rail industry offers a breadth of career opportunities that are not well understood. However, the innovation and technology introduced to the industry over the last 10 to 15 years is such that young people should be inspired to seek out a career in rail. Swietelsky are active in this regard using engagement in the Primary and Secondary Engineer programmes to encourage school children and school leavers to take up a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) based career paths. By stimulating interest in these subjects and illustrating the prospects for a fruitful and rewarding career, we believe this will encourage interest and expand understanding in STEM subjects at school age. This is obviously beneficial to the entire engineering sector. We have encouraged work experience at our depots and are looking to formalise this to link with local schools to offer placements on an annual basis. How can the industry tackle its skills shortage and how do you recruit/retain/ train your staff? As a business we operate both Graduate and Apprentice Schemes. For Graduates this is a two-and-a-half-year programme whereby we seek to recruit candidates to rotate around various business units on a series of placements relevant to their educational background. Formal reviews and assessments are carried out with the staff throughout the programme ensuring that they are meeting the required criteria, both technically and academically. One Graduate who is currently supporting the National Plant contract has been assisting with our ongoing registration for ISO 55001 Asset Management standard; this will be a clear benefit for the business and the contract. 91


create numerous future opportunities for staff and their career development. The benefits of such schemes are that they ensure that we provide a robust level of staffing continuity, crucial for providing stability for the business and the contract. We also consider it very important to encourage retraining of mature skilled workers who have chosen to change their career path and offer new opportunities for mature members of the population. To this end one of our focal points is the Armed Forces. Swietelsky have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant and have taken many staff from the services and retrained them as drivers, technicians and operators with excellent results. These staff already come with a strong skill base and work ethic and have proved to be vital in developing our apprentices and younger trainees. How do you make your business a good place to work?

We currently employ five apprentices who are engaged in a four-year programme. The apprentices work with an appointed mentor during which time they are assessed by an approved assessor on an ongoing basis. This leads to a qualification as a Maintenance Operations Engineering Technician, for example specialising in an Electro Mechanical discipline. At the end of the scheme, they are placed into permanent roles commensurate with the skills and knowledge gained during the previous years. This provides ongoing succession within the business, workforce sustainability and stability for our contracts. Succession planning is very important to us as a business. We need to protect the business against the effects of workforce ageing. Whilst we operate a comprehensive 92

training and assessment process for our trainees, we have had success in our recently developed driver and operator training programmes. These trainees are assessed on an ongoing basis and given suitable training under the direction of our Driving Standards Manager, Supervisors and Technical Trainers. To date we have put twelve staff through our driver training programme which has allowed us to relieve pressure on route availability for our expanding on track machine fleet. Our trainees are recruited from a range of recruitment and training platforms and intermediary organisations who have access to under-represented groups. Through these we open our business fully to equality of opportunity and we actively welcome diversity amongst our staff. These schemes

Swietelsky take enormous pride in its employees, every individual is seen to be an asset to the company and we strive to be an employer of choice. This starts from day one of employment where we have a dedicated induction programme where all of our new employees are able to meet leaders and colleagues from various departments. Our one team approach encourages an open and honest team culture. Our training team work with all our employees to ensure every employee has an individual training plan as well as a dedicated mentor from day one of joining our company. This not only includes our apprentices and graduates but current employees who benefit from the opportunity to further their training whether it be on new technology or through enhanced training programmes. Many of our depot staff have had the opportunity to visit our parent company depot in Fischamend, Austria to both work with and gain knowledge from their Austrian colleagues. We have recently had opportunities to assist in Australia and Hungary using our employees experience to train overseas colleagues. We have a dedicated team of Safety Representatives who work closely together and with all our operational staff and support teams, to identify risks and look at how we continue to uphold our high standards. The team is made up of representatives from different functions across the business and is focused on the safety of our employees in respect of both physical and mental everyday health. We have a dedicated HR Team who have implemented a number of wellbeing initiatives. We recognise the requirement to tailor specific programmes of wellbeing designed for our workforce. We are committed to support our employees with family friendly policies and recognise that ensuring a good work life balance promotes a healthy and engaged workforce.

SWIETELSKY Rail Australia

Specialised on-track machinery for all aspects of railway engineering works operating throughout mainland Europe, the UK and Australia.

Glasgow Manchester Reading

+44 (0)141 212 5630 +44 (0)161 694 4240 +44 (0)118 950 3380

info@swietelsky.co.uk 93

Easystart Ltd (Haze Batteries (UK) Ltd) BP


CILLIAN BRUGHA MANAGING DIRECTOR AT EASYSTART LTD Cillian Brugha has been Managing Director of Easystart for four years having taken on the family business. He holds a degree in Sales and Marketing and has worked in that sector for 15 years. Outside of work he enjoys playing golf, rugby and cycling.

EASYSTART LTD Formed in November 1996 by Trevor Horner. The business was established initially to sell automotive and other starter batteries, however the company soon evolved and diversified in to the, standby power, cyclic and electric vehicle battery markets. Want to know more about Easystart? Tel: 01536 203030 Email: sales@ easystartbatteries.co.uk Visit: www.easystartbatteries.co.uk



‘In the past, projects turned to batteries when a mains option wasn’t viable. In today’s market, the battery option is considered from the beginning which has been a huge positive for the battery industry.’

Tell us about Easystart Ltd. Easystart Ltd was established in 1996 as a wholesaler of engine starter batteries. In 2005, Easystart took on the distribution for Haze Batteries, a sealed VRLA battery manufacturer, producing standby and cyclic batteries for a wide range of applications. Haze has a passion for manufacturing high quality and high specification products. Together with the Haze brand, Easystart soon became established as a supplier into the Rail Network through multiple channels. Which sectors do you work in? Utilising the quality of Haze batteries, Easystart operates in 14 different battery markets currently. From standby UPS, to telecom, renewable energy through to access, medical, leisure and the emergency services – Easystart can deal with most applications. What is your Unique Selling Point? Easystart’s has a number of USP’s as a business; firstly, our large UK stock holding stands us above most competitors, many of whom don’t hold any UK stock. Secondly, our technical and logistics support which boasts over one hundred years’ experience within the business. In addition to the above, as the sole distributor throughout the UK and Ireland for Haze Batteries, Easystart has access to one of the highest quality and specified batteries on the market. What types of products and services do you offer? Easystart offer the following battery types. Long-Life Standby AGM for UPS, Security & Telecom applications. Deep Cycle AGM and GEL for a wide range of applications such as 96

Signalling, Gate Automation, Signage, OffGrid Renewable and finally high-powered engine starter batteries for vehicles across the range. All Easystart’s range is held in UK stock and available immediately through a UK wide delivery service. This is all supported by the sales, operations and technical team based at UK head-office, Corby – Northamptonshire. How do you make your business a good place to work? Easystart as a family run business is a very flexible place to work. Staff can benefit from profit share bonus’, increased pension contributions, financial planning support, and flexible working hours. There is regular staff training as well as opportunities to further current qualifications. You can often find pet dogs at head office which bring great joy and a relaxed atmosphere to the working environment. What types of companies do you collaborate on projects with? Easystart works closely with project designers as well as engineers and installers who are the ones handling the batteries themselves. From the very beginning of a product design, Easystart’s expertise offers a total solution when it comes to finding the correct battery for the project. The flexibility of Easystart’s business means that multiple solutions can be offered from stock, enabling the customer to get to the final solution. Through experience and logistical expertise, Easystart don’t just offer the battery solution but also the all-round logistics, working with project planners to have stock on site in time. This is all supported by the technical team at head office should any further questions arise. Has the market grown since the company was established? The battery market has changed a lot since Easystart was established in 1996. In the past five years, people have become even more conscious of the ability batteries have to power off-grid solutions. A combination of both greater environmental concerns matched with battery technology improving in quality has provided the perfect soliton. In the past, projects turned to batteries when a mains option wasn’t viable. In today’s market, the battery option is considered from the beginning which has been a huge positive for the battery industry. What are your plans going forward to ensure Easystart services are still around for years to come? Easystart is a well-established business, serving customers for 26 years, some of which have been customers since the

beginning. The majority of Easystart’s business is repeat because customers are looked after both from a knowledge and service point of view but also keeping them competitive on price. The business is looking at new battery markets all the time, new ways to expand with the existing product range but also future products that are relatable and adaptable to the existing customer base. What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces? The sector faces similar issues to many others, regardless of product type; extended delivery times, increasing costs and inflation. Easystart prides itself on keeping good stock lines, especially in the most popular types. The most effective way of dealing with these issues is to learn to adapt and not to dwell on problems but to get better and find solutions. The business’ that stayed strong during the Covid-19 pandemic are those that adapted and learnt to operate in a new environment. Today’s problems might not present in the same way they did during the pandemic, however, they still require adaptation and resolution. Do you think the rail industry could be greener and what is your organisations green strategy? The rail industry could be greener, as could many others. The road to a greener economy is about being efficient and realistic with expectations. If a business buys the same product five times a month, that incurs five lots of deliveries, be it by car, van, lorry, etc…Implementing efficiency into the supply chain and buying that item five times with one delivery has reduced the carbon footprint of that product instantly. The sea freight industry is another good example. During Covid-19 when shipping freight slowed across the world, there was noticeable regrowth in sea-based ecosystems. If businesses built in extra leadtimes and slowed down worldwide shipping containers, that would alleviate pollution in the ocean. Easystart tries to be as efficient as possible. For example, ordering as much as can possibly fit in a container from our suppliers to maximise the carbon value of each shipment. What’s next for Easystart? Easystart has grown year on year since 2019 both in the rail industry and across other markets. The service offered, matched by knowledge, good stock levels and technical support gives customers peace-of-mind that they’re dealing with a company they can trust. The focus going forward is ever improving the service levels and always having the ability to offer customers a solution.


ScotRail ScotRail is the national railway franchise of Scotland and since April 2022 has been operated by an arm’s length company owned and controlled by the Scottish Government called Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH)


ach year the London Underground carries over one billion people across the nation’s capital, the same number as the United Kingdom’s National Rail network. The network is just under 250 miles in total length, with just over one station for every mile track there are eleven lines serviced by 270 stations. Opened in 1863, the first journey was on what is today the Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines from Paddington (Bishop’s Road) to FaFor the first one hundred years the Underground, nicknamed the Tube, was funded by private companies, the current operator, London Underground, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL).

Trend setting

In the 1860s only basic signage – the station name and exit – was provided, in 1892 the first rail map was shown at stations on the District Line with the first free map being distributed to the public in 1908. That same year the world-famous roundel, the red circle logo featured at every station and all the Underground signage, first appeared. ScotRail provides over 94 million passenger journeys each year, with over 2,300 intercity, regional and suburban rail services a day, more than 340 stations, and 1,016 trains serving Scotland’s railway. Between 2014 and 2019 Scotland’s Railway electrified 325 kilometres of the country’s central railway network. This investment supported the introduction of a new £370 million fleet of 70 faster, greener, modern electric trains, the class 385 built by Hitachi, with 44 per cent more capacity for customers. More than 76 per cent of passenger and 45 per cent of freight journeys are already electrified on Scotland’s Railway, and rail is already the most sustainable mode of public transport, contributing only one per cent of Scotland’s overall transport carbon emissions. The upgraded Inter7City high speed trains initially operated on the East Coast mainline between Aberdeen and Edinburgh, but now run on the following routes serving

all seven Scottish cities. The refurbishment programme was carried out by Wabtec Doncaster (coaches) and Brush Traction Loughborough (power cars) from late 2017 through to 2021.

Four years of ScotRail and Hitachi Rail

In 2022 ScotRail and Hitachi Rail celebrated four years of Class 385 passenger service, which has delivered record reliability and shorter journey times for passengers on Scotland’s Central Belt. Upon its introduction, ScotRail’s Express train became Scotland’s fastest train and was the UK’s most reliable new fleet for twelve months. It has remained in the top three for UK train availability ever since. Over the past year, the fleet has an average of 52,212 MTIN (meaning Miles per Technical Incident), which is over three times higher than the industry average. In total, the British built train has carried approximately 34.3 million passengers to their destinations. The fleet of 70 trains has racked up 26,557,229 zero-emission miles, which is the equivalent of travelling from Earth to Venus. Being 100 per cent electric, the Class 385 is already playing a major role in decarbonising Scotland’s railways by 2035. It has reduced CO2 emissions by 72 per cent, a carbon saving of 41,432 tonnes CO2e. This is equivalent of saving the CO2 emissions from over 14,600 return flights between London and Tokyo, or the construction of over 800 homes. This milestone in passenger service is also a celebration of collaboration between ScotRail, Transport Scotland, Network Rail and Hitachi Rail – ‘Team Scotland’. The commuter fleet was built at Hitachi Rail’s UK factory in County Durham and was part of £1.3 billion investment in new trains and infrastructure funded by the Scottish Government and Network Rail.

Motherwell station redevelopment

Now entering the fifth phase of the redevelopment project, work is underway to expand the station concourse which will make way for an enhanced station forecourt and building with glazed roof, creating a

brighter, and more modern station. North Lanarkshire Council are also carrying out work to overhaul the public realm outside the station building to create a new transport hub, with support from the Glasgow City Region City Deal. This includes an expanded bus facility, new station access road, car drop-off area and blue-badge parking, as well as improved facilities for taxis and pedestrian and cycle access. Once complete, it will improve links between bus and train services as well as reducing congestion in the town centre. The £14.5 million project will deliver a host of further benefits for customers including improved ticket retailing facilities, an enhanced retail environment with food and drink offering, and refurbished waiting facilities.

KEY PERSONNEL ScotRail Alliance Managing Director: Alex Hynes ScotRail Alliance Communications Director: Sue Evans ScotRail Alliance Infrastructure Director (Scotland Route): David Dickson ScotRail Chief Operating Officer: Angus Thom ScotRail Finance Director: James Downey ScotRail HR Director: Gerry Skelton ScotRail Sustainability, Safety and Assurance Director: David Lister ScotRail Commercial Director: Lesley Kane ScotRail Operations Director: David Simpson ScotRail Engineering Director: Syeda Ghufran CONTACT INFORMATION Address: First floor, Atrium Court, 50 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6HQ Tel: 0344 811 0141 Email: customer.relations@scotrail.co.uk Visit: www.scotrail.co.uk


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When did you join the company? I landed at the Railway Industry Association (RIA) just over a year ago, last September, joining just in time for a whirlwind tour of the main party conferences and a trip to the international Innotrans exhibition, where RIA hosted the British pavilion. A total immersion in both the politics and everything the industry has to offer! What is your role within RIA? As Policy Director, I’m responsible for a very broad range of work, but the overall purpose is helping RIA members make the best case possible for the value that rail brings and the need for sensible long-term policies that benefit the industry and those it serves. The policy team interests range across national infrastructure policy, SMEs, private investment and commercial and contracting. We also provide briefings for members on what’s happening in industry and run events to help connect people, engage the decision makers and provide thought leadership on pressing issues. Tell us about your career before you joined RIA?

ROBERT COOK POLICY DIRECTOR AT RAILWAY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION Robert joined RIA in autumn 2022. He leads RIA’s policy function, which spans all areas of policy that RIA engages with governments and other key decision makers on, ranging from infrastructure to promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Prior to joining RIA, Robert was at the Office of Rail and Road where he was Head of Strategic and Policy Projects, leading a variety of projects developing ORR’s approach to rail regulation, including working on the proposals for Great British Railways. Previously, Robert led value for money studies for the National Audit Office across infrastructure, transport and finance. He began his career in international development, and worked in the Ministry of Finance Rwanda as an Overseas Development Institute Fellow and holds degrees in economics.

RAILWAY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community, helping to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products abroad. It promotes and represent its members’ interests to policy makers, clients and other stakeholders in the UK and overseas. RIA has 350+ companies in membership. Want to know more about RIA? Address: Kings Buildings, 16 Smith Square, London SW1P 3HQ Tel: 020 7201 0777 Visit: www.riagb.org.uk

In my life before RIA I had a very interesting role as Head of Strategic Projects at the Office of Rail and Road, where I worked on rail reform, among other things. And prior to ORR I had my introduction to infrastructure working at the National Audit Office, writing ‘value for money’ reports for the Public Accounts Committee. My career actually started in international development, and my most unusual job was working in the Ministry of Finance, Rwanda, where I was privileged to work on the country’s poverty reduction strategy in what has been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Tell us about RIA Unbelievably, RIA is almost 150 years old (watch out for a celebration in 2025), having started life as the Locomotive Manufacturer’s Association. Many iterations later, today RIA serves businesses right across the rail sector – from physical infrastructure to software, from track to rolling stock, freight and passenger rail suppliers. We run around one hundred high quality events a year, produce thought leadership pieces which are drawn on by the likes of the Transport Select Committee, and most importantly are a voice for the industry with decision makers – regularly engaging with Network Rail, Transport for London and governments across the UK. We are firmly member-led, and follow the priorities that we hear from our over 350 members.



What is RIA’s Unique Selling Point? I think RIA’s unique position is ability to take the concerns of businesses across the whole industry and communicate these compellingly with key decision makers. We connect the politicians and decision makers to the reality in the industry, and act as the voice of the industry, able to say things that individual companies perhaps can’t say themselves. What do you have planned for the year ahead? There’s a general election just around the corner, and all UK government decisions on rail right now have to be seen in this context. Beyond this party conference season, we will be working with our members to develop a detailed rail manifesto, setting out the industry’s priorities for the new government. It’s really important that collectively, the rail industry demonstrates it has a bright future – we all have a responsibility to help remind politicians of what rail is for, and the strong demand that exists for a good service. Watch out for RIA work about how we can plan for a decarbonised railway – this isn’t just a pipe dream – we have the technology as an industry already, and just need a clear strategy for how we’re going to meet net zero. What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces? The top issue regularly cited by our members is uncertainty – nothing is more important to businesses than certainty and transparency over the investment pipeline. At the time of writing we still have a lack of clarity about rail reform, HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and rolling stock orders. There’s still no Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline four years after government promised to publish this annually (and the reason why RIA has started publishing its own analysis of the status of projects). We need to get back to consistent long-term decisions. The industry also suffers from an overfocus on short-term costs. Rail is viewed through a narrow ‘cashflow lens’, with targets to reduce annual spend, rather than making decisions like any ordinary business – thinking about both costs and revenues over the medium term. We need to start thinking about the rail ‘balance sheet’ or risk cutting budgets only to find that we deter passengers and harm revenues. And we need to look wider still – the reason we invest in rail isn’t for the sheer joy of trains (OK it might be for some): it’s the £43 billion in value it generates for the economy, the ability to connect people to jobs and essential services, and have a clean transport system. All of this adds value to UK plc, and indeed £14 billion to the Exchequer – but this value should be the starting point for 100

making funding decisions, not an accidental by-product of the budget setting process. What are some potential solutions? We need to start by addressing some misconceptions. Rail has had a difficult time during the pandemic and with industrial action, but it does have a bright future. Too many politicians are under the false impression that rail passenger numbers have been languishing since the pandemic. As a first step we need to remind decision makers that rail use doubled in the two decades up to Covid, and since covid has bounced back to c.96 per cent of that high point, supported by the Elizabeth line, and continues to grow. If we take a longer term view – and the UK population is forecast to exceed 70 million by 2040 – we are going to need railway capacity to transport people and goods, or our economic arteries will be blocked. A clear commitment to grow rail use could be the starting point for a long term strategy that is also financially sustainable. Whether it is committing to HS2 in full or ensuring that the existing network is maintained in a reliable condition and made fully accessible to the whole population, these steps are going to be needed for future generations. Unlocking private investment could help us realise this ambition so much faster – there is a clear business case for investing in assets across electrification, signalling, depots and stations which will generate revenues and/or lower costs in the long run. But Government needs to show leadership: RIA is calling for a clear policy on private finance and funding. What are your hopes for rail reform, and Great British Railways? Getting on with rail reform – passing legislation to create a properly empowered guiding mind to make decisions across track and train – is a huge opportunity to get away from a short term cost focussed mindset and prioritise sustainable passenger and freight focused growth. The whole point about rail reform is that a guiding mind should be able to take better decisions by looking at whole railway outcomes and planning to achieve these over the longer term. What do you expect to be the biggest challenges that come from this transformation of the railway industry? To get the benefits of rail reform, we need to avoid the risk GBR is micromanaged by government: it needs to be a trusted organisation by the Department for Transport and HM Treasury. Clear outcome focused targets should be the basis for an empowered but accountable organisation. As a guiding mind, there is a huge cultural change required to the way all

those in the industry currently work – the collaboration we saw during the Covid pandemic is the sort of scale of change that we need to be thinking of. But getting there isn’t a single leap – we need to be creative about establishing lots of ways to work in a more integrated way together. Everyone from the end users to every supply chain company has to be involved in this process – and realise that it’s going to be an iterative journey. The sooner we start, the better. Do you think the rail industry could be greener and what is your organisations green strategy? Transport is the biggest contributor to UK CO2 emissions, but rail accounts for just 1.4 per cent of the sector’s emissions. A single freight train removes at least 76 lorries from the roads, resulting in 1.6 billion fewer HGV kilometres every year. But rail absolutely needs to decarbonise – with just 38 per cent of the network electrified, far lower than in Europe, we risk lagging behind. RIA has been calling for a rolling programme of electrification and we have produced the analysis to demonstrate this is going to save costs in the long run. Despite the recent shift of position by the UK government on net zero policies to slow the transition to electric vehicles and uptake of heat pumps, there remain legally binding five-year carbon budgets in the run up to 2050 which we will have to find other ways to meet. This should be our calling card as an industry – we have an answer to how we can get back on track to net zero. How can we make the rail industry a place people want to work in? There is already a lot of good work being done across the industry, with many organisations receiving awards for their workplace policies. NSAR and Routes into Rail are doing great work to promote the breadth of opportunities available for people in rail, spreading the work outside of the rail ‘echo chamber’. At RIA we have partnered with Women in Rail to run the EDI Charter for Rail, which has been running since 2020. The Charter is open to any organisation working in rail, and commits signatories to foster cultures of inclusion, offer training opportunities for staff and encourage ‘quiet’ voices – amongst other things. As long as the industry continues to push to ensure that people feel welcomed and valued for who they are, we will be well on the way.


Northern Northern covers an area taking in Newcastle and Carlisle across to Liverpool and Manchester, then to Huddersfield and Nottingham


orthern is the second largest train operator in the UK, employing more than 6,000 people and running regional and commuter services across the north of England. The operator has retired its entire Pacer fleet and has introduced 100 brand new trains, part of a £500 million investment in regional rail. It is offering customers ‘a better way to go’ with further improvements across the network including the renovation of station facilities, better lighting, upgraded car parks and enhanced CCTV coverage. Northern provides more than 2,500 local and regional train services every day across the north of England, serving a population of nearly 15 million. There are more than 100 million passenger journeys made on the network each year. Northern Trains Limited is owned by DfT OLR Holdings Limited (DOHL), which took on the operation of Northern rail services on 1 March 2020. DOHL is led by the same team that successfully managed the transfer of Virgin Trains East Coast into public ownership to become LNER in 2018. It was established by the UK Government’s Department for Transport to fulfil the Secretary of State for Transport’s requirements under Section 30 of the Railways Act 1993 – which places a duty on the Secretary of State for Transport to continue to provide rail services if a franchise is terminated.


Northern is continuing a rollout of new state-of-the-art trains with a top speed of 100mph and delivering extra capacity with a new fleet. New technology is being trialled to identify crowding pinch points to reduce overcrowding and work is underway to extend platforms at 30 stations across the network to allow for longer trains and to improve journeys.

Neville Hill engineering depot

On 17 October 2021 Northern took full control of the Neville Hill depot in Leeds. The depot, which currently employs around 550 engineers, technicians and train presentation operatives, is a critical element for rail services in the North and

had previously been jointly managed by Northern and East Midlands Railway (EMR). All former EMR employees have transferred to Northern as part of the deal and join the more than 6,000 colleagues already working for the publicly owned operator.

National Rail Awards

Northern won three awards at the 2022 National Rail Awards. The station team at Bolton won the Medium Station of the Year award and the team at Buxton won a commendation for Small Station of the Year. The awards recognise the important part Northern’s stations play in the local community and the work carried out by Northern to make the station as inviting as possible for customers. Northern is also celebrating success for Train Presentation Operative Vinnie O’Brien who won a LifeSaver Award for saving the life of the customer by administering first aid until paramedics arrived.

KEY PERSONNEL Managing Director: Nick Donovan Safety and Environment Director: Andrea Jacobs Commercial Director: Mark Powles Engineering Director: Jack Commandeur Finance Director: Teresa Broxton Regional Directors: Chris Jackson (Central & West), Tony Baxter (East), Kerry Peters (North East) CONTACT INFORMATION Address: Northern House, York YO1 6HZ Tel: 0800 200 6060 Email: enquiries@northernrailway.co.uk Visit: www.northernrailway.co.uk




Why Change to Using Hardlock Nuts? Hardlock Nuts increase personal safety, improve railway reliability, and reduce on-going maintenance costs


Hardlock nut on bolt

he Hardlock Nut was invented in Japan in the mid 70s for use in applications where a guaranteed vibration proof mechanical lock was essential. For decades it has been the locking nut of choice on the Japanese railway system. This has been in both track and overhead line systems where the vibration of trains can cause traditional prevailing torque nuts to come undone. Existing locking nuts often require power tools to install and have either limited reusability, or none at all. Hardlock Nuts work on a different mechanical principle. The result is it is easier for engineers to install, is reuseable, and offers higher resistance to loosening than currently used locking nuts.

Why were Hardlock nuts introduced to the British railway system? A common root cause of both the Potters Bar and Lambrigg train derailments was nuts becoming loose which compromised the integrity of the switches and crossings. As part of their investigations into both incidents, Network Rail and the Health and Safety Executive looked to identify a type of fastener which would not become loose due to the high levels of vibrations at switches and crossings when trains pass over them. Many different options were identified and tested. The Hardlock nut was clearly identified as the best product and they started to be fitted from 2008 onwards. Reusability and ease of installation are major benefits for Track Engineers.

Diagram of the mechanical principle between the upper and lower nut

How many Hardlock Nuts have been fitted on UK rail? Over the last 15 years over one million Hardlock nuts have been fitted on the British railway system with zero in service failures. Initially they were installed on switches and crossings and in recent years they have also been fitted on fishplates with the potential of being used on the overhead line system. We have generally followed the Japanese railway approach and in some areas, such as fishplates, we are now ahead and feeding ideas back to Japan.

Why are Network Rail using them on fishplates?

The mainline railway is nearly 200 years old. For all that time, every week, a foot patrol takes place to check that the fishplate nuts have remained tight as the vibrations caused by trains have always been known to undo the nuts. The tried and tested way of checking the nuts is to kick them and if they sound loose then they are tightened up with a threefoot long spanner. By using Hardlock Nuts, it should guarantee that the nuts won’t come undone. This then allows a risk based maintenance assessment to be undertaken to change the patrolling frequency from weekly to monthly. This will remove boots off ballast improving safety and reducing maintenance costs. Again the resulting benefits of installing Hardlock Nuts are felt by all involved in Track maintenance.

Hardlock Nuts on a point system – stretcher bar

How can you be certain that the Hardlock nuts don’t come undone?

A good question, during 2023, Staytite has introduced InterBolt ‘Intelligent Bolts’ to the railway. They are installed on three trial sites on Network Rail and on 2 trial sites in New York. The InterBolts constantly measure the clamp force within the fastener and, using a cloud-based system, they raise alerts and alarms if the clamp force goes outside of preset limits. Evidence so far shows that some traditional nuts lose their clamp force over time whilst the Hardlock nuts do exactly what they are supposed to do and retain their target clamp force. The trials are scheduled to continue until March 2024.

Are there other useful applications for InterBolts other than fishplates?

Yes, there are, InterBolts can be fitted anywhere where you want confirmation that clamp force is being retained within a target range. They are already used extensively on wind farms to confirm that turbine blades are being retained correctly. Within railways, we are now using them in Smart Clamps which are currently being tested at the three Network Rail trial sites. 103


InterBolt fitted to wind turbines

What are the benefits of the Smart Clamp?

Temporary clamps are used during railway construction and when a defect is identified in the rail. There is a long history of clamps coming loose whilst in operation. Temporary clamps are therefore inspected every day to check that they are still functioning correctly. With a Smart Clamp, the clamp is constantly confirming that it is still robust so there is no need to deploy an inspection team to inspect it every day. It is expected that daily inspections can be extended to weekly inspections when other aspects of the joint such as dips and gaps can be manually inspected.

Fishplates with InterBolts installed – Tenby

When will the Smart Clamps be available? They are available now, but it will take a few months to get the Network Rail standards updated to allow them to be used instead of manual daily inspections. It is probable that during this time, they could be utilised at additional trial sites.

Tel: 01494 462322 Email: info@staytite.com Visit: www.staytite.com


Hardlock Nuts installed on a fishplate

Codiun Clamp with InterBolts



Smart Lighting at Billingham Footbridge A town with strong rail connections to places like Newcastle, Whitby, and Hexham, sees its biggest upgrade in over 50 years


n March 2023, Billingham Station introduced an unobstructed accessible route connecting the two platforms and a step-free solution with two new lifts to support those with limited mobility, heavy luggage, bicycles, pushchairs etc. To make the station more accessible and encourage more people to travel by train, this project was delivered by AMCO GIFFEN, who designed and chose Urbis Schréder’s ALINEA LED HANDRAILS to illuminate the footbridge and serve its intended purpose.

Unrivalled performance, coupled with seamless aesthetics

The ALINEA LED HANDRAILS used to illuminate the Billingham Bridge and drive footfall, is a robust solution that provides a safe and pleasant experience for passengers travelling. By Illuminating bridges, pathways, and stairways you can drive footfall to new areas and therefore providing benefits to the local economy. It can also have a profound effect on its presence at night. Whether it is a 200-yearold stairway, or a new pedestrian bridge a 106

long-lasting scheme can provide benefits and recognition for decades to come. When clients are spending large sums of money on new infrastructure, it is easy to forget the lighting. However, to protect the investment made it is critical to illuminate the infrastructure properly both to highlight the development but most importantly ensure it remains, safe and usable during the darker hours.

Bespoke lighting supports decarbonisation

With energy prices relentlessly rising, there has never been a better time for local authorities to reduce overhead costs, prioritise safety and build confidence in outdoor areas. Money is often wasted on poorly designed systems which don’t benefit the comfort of the commuters/travellers or your finances, and what people don’t know is that installing the optimal lighting solution for each area of the station also offers significant financial savings too. Schréder’s EXEDRA, is a remote-control system which allows you to monitor, meter and manage in

a lighting network. It is a complete solution based on open standards and protocols. Schréder’s EXEDRA offers a unique combination of state-of-the-art technology and an easy-to-use web interface to control each luminaire, at all times, through a secure internet connection. With bi-directional communication, the operating status, energy consumption and possible failures can be monitored. As a result, this improves efficiency: accurate real-time data and energy savings of up to 85 per cent. Whether it is the station forefront, carparks, platforms, footbridges, tunnels, junctions, or maintenance pits, Schréder’s dedicated systems offer solutions to suit your space. The team’s expertise enables any environment to be transformed into a safe, sustainable, and cost-effective place where the commuters can travel with ease and no worries. Schréder’s lighting systems also require less maintenance than traditional discharge lamps, which means another reduction in costs. However, connecting your luminaires is not just about adding in a control system

to the products you are having installed, it’s much more than that. It is about control of the area you are lighting, it’s about the space the lights are in and the people who are using that space, it’s about delivering solutions beyond lighting for electric mobility, security, information, and entertainment. Is the light right for type of areas? Are you lighting an area to reduce the crime rate? What type of lighting will attract people to use that space? And do you need to dim the light during certain hours of the night but have the control to be able to make them bright again should there be an emergency? Are you wanting to look for energy efficient lighting, a more sustainable solution that reduces your costs? So, by taking all of this into consideration, the place, the space, the people, the light, the control, let’s get connected!

Schréder takes the smart LED

High quality, yet energy-efficient and lowmaintenance lighting provides a strategic asset for the development of a sustainable

and beneficial railway infrastructure. Urbis Schréder’s wide range of lighting solutions for the rail industry, combined with the company’s expertise and outstanding heritage in delivering breakthrough projects, creates the best possible experience for passengers and staff in the station environment. Critical to delivering a safe and pleasant passenger experience inside and in the vicinity of a station is appropriate lighting solutions. New technology also offers the rail industry the ability to improve station lighting and significantly reduce cost. By combining traditional street lighting, LED handrails, continuous tiled lighting, and ground level inclination lighting; it is possible to create a bright and effective environment. The improved visibility reduces the risk of crime in a station environment and increases passenger confidence. Schréder’s solutions are not just limited to rail, but also extend to interior and exterior lighting such as workspace, roads, architectural buildings, urban deco, sports,

cities/communities etc. As it has done so for many years, Schréder provides beneficial LED alternatives to luminaires with fluorescent lamps and can offer a uniform and comfortable lighting suited to any area of choice, whether that’s interior or exterior, helping enhance spaces and create places, people love to live, learn, travel, and play in. To find out how Urbis Schréder can support your vision for connected, safe and sustainable places get in touch via the contact information below.

Urbis Schréder Sapphire House Lime Tree Way, Basingstoke RG24 8GG Tel: 01256 354446 Email: sales@urbis-schreder.com Visit: schreder.com LinkedIn: Urbis Schréder


Smart integrated lighting solutions that support YOUR decarbonising transport initiatives.

Talk to us about making the right connections. 108 Get in touch at sales@urbis-schreder.com


Developments in Slope and Rockfall Protection In many locations on infrastructure networks and developments, existing slope assets that have historically been stable are now deteriorating as a function of climate change and more extreme weather events


accaferri has a selection of rockfall protection systems to mitigate the hazards from rocky slopes and cuttings using drapery and containment meshes. However, a soil nail and flexible facing system is often a suitable solution on existing vegetated soil slopes. Global stability of the slope can be checked and overcome with a soil nail or anchor solution using well-established methodologies and design software. However, the design and selection of a flexible facing to provide restraint to the surficial unstable layers is less easily defined. BS8006:2 provides good guidance for non-flexible facing systems that can transfer loads into the soil slope, preventing it from deflecting. As flexible meshes are provided on a roll, by their very nature they are unable to transfer anchor plate loads across the soil slope regardless of the anchor plate size;

MacMat® R – Green – with DT Links

any reliable pre-stressing of the slope by the mesh is therefore not achievable. The mesh will only start working once the soil it is restraining starts to deflect, at which point the mesh strains and transfers loads into the nails/anchors. It is the relationship between mesh, soil and anchors that can cause issues in design.

Soil Nail facing design

Maccaferri’s innovative Mac S-Design tool offers a hybrid approach which enables the designer to calculate the value of the stabilising action provided by the flexible mesh upon the soil. It is based upon the calibrated ‘characteristic performance’ of each Maccaferri mesh product. The resultant working rate of the mesh helps designers understand how hard the mesh is working to provide its restraint. Products include MacMat® R, SteelGrid HR and traditional meshes.

As the software designs the stabilisation of surficial layers on slopes, it, therefore, complements the designer’s global stability analysis software nicely. Mac S-Design checks the mesh performance for the given nailing layout; the relationship between nail/anchor spacing and mesh capacity can be optimised through the software. The selection of an appropriate mesh depends on the performance required, the design life required and whether or not vegetation is to be re-established. Where the slope requires vegetation reestablishment and stabilisation, MacMat® R or high-strength MacMat® HS are ideal. They feature a steel wire flexible mesh with an integral erosion control mat in a single, easy-to-install product. The 3D polymer mat supports topsoil and reinforces plant roots. These are also used extensively for antiburrowing meshes to prevent larger wildlife from damaging embankments. 109


Design Life

With the worsening climatic conditions and extremes of weather, designers should be considering the conditions that are expected at the end of the product's design life, not the conditions of today. BS EN 10223-3 Table A provides advice on design life vs exposure conditions for each mesh coating type; the UK would be classed as a C3 or C4 environment where infrastructure is involved. The steel meshes are zincaluminium alloy galvanised to Class A of BS EN 10223. Thereafter, an additional tough polymer coating is applied to protect the mesh (Optional on SteelGrid HR and MacMat® HS) to give a longer design life or for use in greater exposure. The meshes have BBA certification for a design life of up to 120 years.


At the heart of the meshes is the ‘Doubletwist’ hexagonal steel wire mesh. Tests show that the double twist which connects adjacent wires in the mesh together helps transfer loads throughout the mesh. If a wire is broken or cut, the loads can still be transferred around the break. This makes double-twist mesh-based products ideal for use on soil slopes where there have been de-vegetation works carried out leaving residual stumps or outcrops that require the mesh to be cut and re-connected around the obstruction.

DT Links

Maccaferri’s DT Links enable rapid toolfree installation of the DT mesh rockfall netting and MacMat® R meshes. They can be used in place of the traditional pneumatic ‘C-ring’ tools and still enable longitudinal butt-joint connections to minimise mesh wastage. Installed quickly, the links keep the installer agile on the slope especially if using roped access, and remove the need for a compressor and lacing tool in hard-toreach areas. They also eliminate anti-spill kits and the risk of compressor breakdown/ tool malfunction on time-critical work possessions. They can also be used for crest and tow rope connections. Wherever possible Maccaferri’s products are BBA Certified, CE Marked and have Environmental Product Declarations (www.environdec.com) to provide specific manufacturing environmental transparency. Maccaferri believes that independent certification of product performance is important to deliver greater reassurance to the industry and helps to maintain reliable supply chains that favour quality and value over ‘minimum cost’ products.

Tel: 01865 770 555 Email: info.uk@maccaferri.com


Heamar Company Ltd provides high quality general tooling, specialist tooling, components and lighting solutions to a range of markets including Aerospace, MRO, Industrial, Rail, Defence and Motorsport. KEY MANUFACTURERS



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Fire Detection with:

Easy integration Addressable sensing Reduced false alarms Protection on and off the platform

Stay on track with Hochiki.


Network Rail praised our ESP range as meeting their requirements of "quality, effiiciency, reliability and longevity"


Safeguarding the Tracks Exploring the measures, challenges, and innovations that are shaping the future of fire safety measures in the rail industry


he rail industry facilitates the movement of millions of passengers and goods across the globe daily. However, with this, comes the responsibility to ensure the safety and security of both passengers, staff and infrastructure. One of the most critical aspects of rail safety is fire prevention and false alarm management. Train fires are thankfully rare but when they do occur can involve huge numbers of civilian casualties. In 2019 a packed train in Pakistan was quickly engulfed in flames after a gas canister on board exploded, resulting in at least 70 deaths. And here in the UK, in February of this year dozens of passengers were forced to flee a burning Southeastern train at a station in Kent. After decades of research modern train carriages are purposefully made from less flammable, sturdier material, while better

train control and the reduction of flammable fuels within passenger compartments has reduced the associated risks considerably. The rail industry in the UK and Europe has made significant strides in enhancing fire safety standards, many of which are being adopted further afield to reduce such tragic incidents as the one mentioned above. Stringent regulations, advanced technologies, and comprehensive training programs have been implemented to mitigate fire risks and ensure swift response in the event of an incident. However, there are some challenges which persist. Aging infrastructure, budget constraints, and the sheer complexity of the rail networks make it an ongoing battle to maintain and improve safety measures. Regulations and standards form the foundations of fire safety in the rail industry. In the UK, organisations like the

Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) work in close collaboration with regulatory bodies to establish and enforce rigorous safety protocols. European standards, such as the EN 45545 series, provide a holistic framework for fire safety across member countries. These standards govern various aspects, including behaviour of materials, interior fittings, and fire detection and suppression systems, ensuring a unified approach to fire safety in the European rail sector. Advanced life safety systems, utilising cutting-edge sensors and artificial intelligence, can identify potential fire risks in real-time as well as guide passengers and staff to safety. These systems enable proactive measures, such as triggering automatic fire suppression mechanisms or alerting authorities for swift intervention. Moreover, the integration of IoT (Internet 113


IN REAL LIFE – CUSTOMER STORIES St Pancras Station The Hochiki Europe ESP range installed at St Pancras Railway station represents a pinnacle in fire safety technology. Renowned for its cuttingedge design and unparalleled reliability, the system ensures the safety of thousands of daily commuters and travellers. Equipped with state-of-theart sensors and advanced detection algorithms, it offers swift and precise fire detection, allowing for immediate response in case of emergencies. St Pancras Railway station, a bustling hub connecting various destinations, relies on the ESP range's superior performance to safeguard lives and property. Its seamless integration into the station's infrastructure underscores Hochiki's commitment to enhancing public safety, making it a trusted choice for critical environments like transportation hubs. Dubai Metro Renowned for its exceptional precision and rapid response capabilities, Hochiki Europe's ESP cutting-edge system ensures the safety of millions of passengers navigating the Dubai metro system daily. With advanced sensors and intelligent detection algorithms, the ESP range provides unparalleled accuracy in identifying potential fire incidents, enabling swift and effective emergency responses and reducing false alarms. Its seamless integration into the Dubai Metro's infrastructure underscores Hochiki's commitment to enhancing public safety in high-traffic environments. The ESP range not only safeguards lives and property but also exemplifies Dubai Metro's dedication to employing world-class safety measures, ensuring a secure commuting experience for all.

of Things) technology allows for remote monitoring of trains and rail infrastructure, ensuring continuous surveillance and rapid response in an emergency. One of the primary challenges is retrofitting older trains and stations with modern fire safety systems. The cost and logistical complexities associated with upgrading existing infrastructure often hinder the implementation of state-of-theart fire prevention technologies. However, innovative solutions, such as modular retrofitting devices and publicprivate partnerships, can ease the financial burden and accelerate the process of enhancing fire safety in older rail assets. Another significant challenge lies in ensuring that railway staff and emergency 114

responders are well versed and up to date in their training. Programs that simulate fire emergencies, combined with regular drills and updated procedures, are essential to equip railway personnel with the knowledge and skills necessary to handle fire incidents effectively. Moreover, collaboration between rail operators, firefighters, regulatory bodies, installation companies and life safety manufacturers can facilitate the exchange of best practices and lessons learned, fostering a culture of continuous improvement in fire safety protocols. Looking ahead, the future of fire safety in the rail industry lies in sustainability and resilience. Sustainable materials, with enhanced fire-resistant properties, are becoming pivotal in the design and construction of trains and stations. Research and development in this field are crucial to developing eco-friendly, fire-resistant materials that meet both safety and environmental standards. Additionally, the integration of renewable energy sources, in 2019 we saw the launch of the world’s first solar farm powering rail. Run as a trial the line just outside Aldershot is potentially paving the way for solar-powered trains, enabling rail operations to reduce their carbon footprint. Fire safety devices are also being designed and manufactured using recycled materials and greener processes to help the rail industry to meet government set green targets. Resilience, both in terms of infrastructure and response mechanisms, is another key focus area. Designing rail assets to withstand fire incidents, compartmentalising areas to prevent fire spread, and implementing redundant fire safety systems are essential steps toward building resilient rail networks. Furthermore, leveraging data analytics and predictive modelling can enhance risk assessment, allowing rail operators to prioritise maintenance efforts and allocate resources effectively. Fire safety in the rail industry is a multifaceted challenge that demands

a collective effort from governments, regulatory bodies, rail operators, technology providers, and the public. By adhering to stringent regulations, embracing technological innovations, overcoming challenges with creative solutions, and focusing on sustainability and resilience, the rail industry can continue to evolve into a safer mode of transportation. Ultimately, ensuring fire safety is not just a legal obligation; it is a moral imperative that underscores the industry's commitment to the well-being of passengers, personnel, and the communities it serves. Only through steadfast dedication and continuous innovation can the rail industry uphold its promise of safe and efficient transportation for all.

Company profile

For over 100 years Hochiki has led the way in the design and manufacturer of innovative life safety solutions. Its leading edge commercial and industrial fire detection and emergency lighting products have acquired global acceptance as the benchmark for highintegrity and long-term reliability. With global group sales turnover exceeding £400 million, Hochiki is a wholly independent, multinational, publicly listed company with over 2,000 employees working across six manufacturing plants, 38 sales offices and 14 subsidiaries. Its ongoing commitment to manufacturing innovation ensures customer satisfaction and its production facilities in Japan, the USA and Europe offer international continuity in quality, service and supply. To learn more about the benefits of Hochiki’s products for your transport environment, please visit: www.hochikieurope.com/transport

STAY ON TRACK BY AVOIDING CRITICAL BOLTING FAILURES Norbar is a UK manufacturer of battery, electric, pneumatic and manually operated torque multipliers, wrenches, torque measurement equipment and bespoke torque control solutions specially developed for the rail industry

Contact Norbar and speak to The Voice of Torque Control

www.norbar.com rail@ rail @norbar.com 115

Kilborn Consulting Limited is an independent railway engineering consultancy and design business, with over 21 years of railway experience. We specialise in the design of new and altered railway Signalling & Telecoms systems for the UK railway infrastructure.

Our areas of specialism are: • Signalling and Telecoms Consultancy, including technical advice & support; • Asset Condition Assessments, Correlation and Surveys; • Signalling & Level Crossing Risk Assessments; • Feasibility and Optioneering Studies; • Concept and Outline Signalling Design; • Telecoms Option Selection Reports (including AiP), Reference System Design and Detailed Design; • Detailed Signalling Design; • Competency Management & Assessments; • Signal Sighting assessments, covering the full Signal Sighting Committee process with a competent Chair. The new office which is located in the heart of Wellingborough can accommodate all staff and visitors alike and offer widespread views across Wellingborough and the surrounding green spaces. We would be delighted to welcome you to our office to discuss your requirements and how we can support you to achieve those. Kilborn Consulting Limited 6th Floor, South Suite, 12 Sheep Street Wellingborough, Northamptonshire NN8 1BL

Email: pmcsharry@kilbornconsulting.co.uk Phone: 01933 279909 116



Improving Access Points across Wales Step on Safety awarded three-year contract to upgrade rail access points across North and South Wales


tep on Safety has recently secured a three-year framework with Network Rail for the investigation, survey, design and supply of GRP modular access stairs. The framework will see improvements to over one hundred access points across Wales, replacing dilapidated timber and concrete stairways or providing new access to isolated locations. The rail industry is no stranger to challenging work environments, and ensuring the safety of maintenance engineers is crucial. SoS has been at the forefront of design and fabrication, having now supplied over 300 GRP embankment stairs to access points nationwide. Through extensive experience working with The QTS Group over the past five years, they have encountered most scenarios in some difficult terrain, making them a trusted delivery partner within the rail industry. SoS offers a comprehensive service package that includes investigation, survey, design, fabrication and delivery. By engaging with delivery partners, contractors and end users, they ensure that each delivery meets the highest standards and captures the specific requirements of each location. Through their vast experience, they have encountered and overcome every possible challenge. Their GRP Embankment Stairs are designed to NWR standards, whilst considering the reality of challenging access points. Staircases are engineered to provide optimal strength, durability and anti-slip properties, ensuring they can withstand the demanding conditions experienced in embankments. Additionally, the lightweight nature of the GRP profiles makes installation and transportation easier, minimising disruptions to rail operations. SoS' GRP Embankment Stairs boast a range of safety features that surpass traditional materials. The fiberglass reinforced plastic profiles provide excellent resistance to corrosion, chemicals and UV radiation, ensuring long-lasting durability. Moreover, the anti-slip surface texture on

the treads and landings greatly reduces the risk of accidents, even in wet or adverse weather conditions. By working with experts throughout the industry, Step on Safety is also able to offer integral lighting systems, safety gates and screw in Anchor Piles. Step on Safety understands that each railway access point is unique, and their GRP Embankment Stairs are tailored to meet specific needs. The ability to offer a range of foundation solutions, customised finishes and recommended installers ensures compatibility with any embankment while maintaining compliance with relevant safety regulations. Every embankment staircase is built at their Suffolk-based headquarters, quality checked and then broken down into manageable sections that can be carried and lifted manually into position before being bolted back together in situ. Training is provided for rail teams new to working with GRP and, when required, SoS specialists are happy to supervise. In addition to embankment staircases, the last 12 months has seen a huge increase in demand for permanent access platforms at depots across the UK with 40 Driver’s Access Platforms (DAPs) ranging from 10m to 55m long installed in Wimbledon, Guildford and Portsmouth. Made using GRP profiles, QuartzGrip® Open Mesh Grating

and SafeRail™ Handrail, the platforms provide a hi-vis, anti-slip landing point for drivers and maintenance crews to access trains safely. At the forefront of GRP innovation, Step on Safety launched LitePost™ at Rail Live earlier this year, a self-anchoring signage system that can be installed and in use within just a couple of hours, keeping service disruption to a minimum and – more importantly – reducing the time spent trackside for engineers and maintenance crews. LitePost™ is now part of an impressive portfolio of rail industry solutions, including TrackSafe™ Walkways, LOC Platforms, BOP Platforms, Pit Ladders and Mobile Access Platforms. If you’d like to know more, contact Sector Manager David Riley at driley@steponsafety. co.uk or get in touch via the contact information below.

Tel: 01206 369 446 Email: sales@steponsafety.co.uk Visit: www.steponsafety.co.uk


Get on track with Elite interlocking blocks and barriers

British made

Workforce protection barriers avoiding all line closures with adjacent line open

Rockfall prevention with our multi-purpose Jersey barriers

Hoarding stabilisation utilising Elite Duo interlocking blocks

Large ballast bays with walls constructed from our Legato interlocking blocks

Large scale embankment retention using the versatile Legato blocks

Workforce safety refuges built from Elite Duo blocks

Everywhere on rail networks Elite products are seen in use For more information phone 01952 588 885 or browse www.eliteprecast.co.uk or email sales@eliteprecast.co.uk

KM 642263 BS EN 1917 & BS 5911-3


KM 658166 BS 5911-6

Approved suppliers to Tideway, Crossrail and HS2 and verified under the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme


Service and Safety with Elite Precast Keeping workers and passengers safe throughout the rail infrastructure are key priorities throughout the rail network


lite Precast Concrete recognises this and has an extensive range of precast concrete channels, troughs, rail safety and security barriers that protect the rail workforce and commuters from travelling trains, rockfalls, electrocution and rail collisions, whilst still importantly keeping the rail network open and running to schedule. Available from stock, often within 24/48-hours, the products are RISQS approved, reducing implementation times and the need for extra paperwork.

Channels and troughs

Discreetly placed along the track, cable troughs and channels provide a protective barrier and housing for telecommunication, power and utility cables against fire, accidental damage and theft. NR approved and manufactured to BS EN 1433 (channels) and BS EN 124 (lids), they are a proven cost effective, durable solution that allows for easy access and act as clear indications of network cable installations.

Security Blocks and Protection Barriers

Legato®, Duo™ and Vee™ interlocking blocks provide protection barriers that avoid line closures, security and temporary work applications. This includes Adjacent Line Open (ALO) operations, which are becoming increasingly important for reducing disruptive access on busy areas of the rail network and avoid the need for disruptive all line blockages, by enabling adjacent lines to remain open while work is being carried out.

Jersey Barriers

As well as being the ultimate anti-vehicle perimeter protection system, the Jersey barrier is also ideal for rockfall prevention and ensuring tracks stay open where soil erosion can occur during rainfalls. Being agile allows for repositioning around your rail network and the unique interlocking system provides elevated levels of security and peace of mind.

Hoarding Blocks

The Elite Duo interlocking blocks and Kentledge blocks (Kelly blocks) are perfect for fencing, hoarding or scaffolding. The on-ground reusable surface blocks require no ground excavation, providing a popular solution for train station projects, as they can be reused after the initial project is finished, making them a sustainable solution for Network Rail.

Retaining Walls

Environmental factors are definitely having more of an impact and with a wide choice of retaining wall blocks offered, rail embankments and cuttings are being kept safe from instability along rail tracks, from soil erosion and landslips, which can result in costly delays and damage to the rail network.

Safety Refuges

For the ultimate in track safety, workforce safety refuges are built as a place of safety alongside high-speed lines, where rail employees can stand when trains are nearby or passing. Quick and easy to install using the concrete blocks, the safety refuges won’t delay construction deadlines but will keep safety at the forefront of installers minds.

Servicing the rail network

Durability, strength and availability are key features of the walling blocks and barriers, with customer service and fast deliveries at the heart of the operation, Elite Precast understands the impact product delays have on stakeholders. Elite Precast is built on experience, with over 200 years’ experience, the team believes in sharing its knowledge through training and practical involvement within the workplace. With RISQS, Achilles, JOSCAR and Constructionline approval, Elite Precast manufactures products to the relevant industry and British Standards, which enables it to confidently support you.

The delivery fleet includes vehicles with offloading options, FORS Gold, Silver and Bronze, CLOCS and Crossrail compliant. Elite Precast prides itself in delivering a supply chain with better service and quality products, to make lives easier and safer for all and to enable rail contractors to plan and deliver maintenance, build future infrastructure projects and upgrade the UK rail network.

Tel: 01952 588885 Email: sales@eliteprecast.co.uk Visit: www.eliteprecast.co.uk


& Transport Infrastructure Asia

22 - 23 November 2023 Bangkok | Thailand

Asia's #1 Rail, Metro & Transport Infrastructure Event - Connecting Asia's Rail Transport Systems to Thailand


www.RailAsiaExpo.com Staged at SRT's new Smart City Grand Cental Station, the heart of Southeast Asia's transport hub

Headline Supporters: 120

This year's event focuses on Thailand's rapid expansion in light rail, high-speed, intercity rail projects and transport infrastructure connectivity

Official Media:

Supported by the Ministry of Transport and hosted by SRT, the event will stage supporting high-level networking sessions, a free to attend conference and a gala industry reception

Conference Chair:



New ‘Sun-Safe Indicator’ from MiRiCal Boosting visibility in low-light conditions is crucial for Hi-Vis clothing wearers. Ensuring continued compliance with ISO 20471 for luminance and chromaticity standards is a challenge. When a garment is new, conformity will have been established by the manufacturer and labelling, supported by certification, will confirm it. But continued exposure to sunlight will progressively reduce the luminance and chromaticity and short of testing the garment on a regular basis, how else can you be expected to ensure that the garment remains compliant? Sun-Safe Indicator is an innovative solution for maintaining compliance with a simple visual cue. No more guesswork or expensive testing is needed! How does it work? Sun-Safe Indicator incorporates specially developed inks that fade at a rate similar to the Hi-Vis fabric, whether yellow, orange or red, indicating when it's time to replace the garment. The indicator cleverly reads ‘un-Safe’ when it's time for a new garment.

SPL Powerlines UK Receives ‘Gold Disc’ SPL Powerlines UK has been presented with a ‘gold disc’ for becoming a gold level partner of the Rail Safe Friendly programme. Rail Safe Friendly, which is run by digital education provider Learn Live, was launched in March 2023 and delivers Network Rail’s video safety content directly to schools via the Learn Live Channel. Already, over 1,400 UK schools are on board with the programme and industry partners from across the rail sector have sponsored and become partners in it. On Friday (September 15) Stuart Heaton, founder and managing director of Learn Live and Rail Safe Friendly, visited SPL Powerline’s premises in Doncaster to present the team with a ‘gold disc’ to mark the company’s support in becoming a gold level partner of the education programme. Chris Hext, UK Group Safety & Services Director of SPL Powerlines UK said: ‘A culture of safety is at the heart of everything that we do at SPL Powerlines. For this reason it was a very easy decision for us to sign up to Rail Safe Friendly and to give our support to this critically important education programme.Children are taught about road safety from a very early age and the same should be the case for teaching our younger generations about the dangers of trespassing on the railway. SPL Powerlines UK is proud to be a sponsor and partner of Rail Safe Friendly to ensure school children across the country are educated about the dangers that are present around the railway.’ Rail Safe Friendly is a new addition to the Learn Live Channel, which since 2019, has broadcast Network Rail and other safety content directly to over 20 million young people in more than 11,500 schools. This work has been undertaken in collaboration with the Trespass Improvement Team at Network Rail.

Rail Safe Friendly presents SPL Powerlines UK with a ‘gold disc’ to mark the company becoming a gold level partner of the education programme. (L-R): Toni Kirby (HR Director, SPL Powerlines), Stuart Heaton (Founder and MD Learn Live & Rail Safe Friendly), Chris Hext (UK Group Safety & Services Director, SPL Powerlines) and Scott Culyer (Head of Environment & Sustainability, SPL Powerlines).



NE WS I N B R IEF LED LIGHTING UPGRADE WORKS AT OXFORD CIRCUS STATION COMPLETED The work, which forms part of TfL's Corporate Environment Plan, has seen lighting throughout the station upgraded to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting, which uses up to 60 per cent less energy than traditional lighting. The upgraded lighting also makes the station brighter and more welcoming, providing a better customer experience to people travelling to and from the West End. WORK ON CONTACTLESS PAY AS YOU GO FOR C2C CUSTOMERS NEARS COMPLETION Rail operator c2c has confirmed that a key project to offer customers greater ticketing choice and flexibility is close to completion, with the extension of contactless pay as you go at its stations across South Essex soon to go live. As announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) in July, c2c is one of five train operators working to introduce contactless pay as you go at 53 more National Rail stations in the South East.





Northern appoints new Head of Property to oversee station estate Northern has appointed Jayne Breen as its new Head of Property. Jayne will be responsible for managing the train operator’s property and operational teams across its 500-station estate.




PARTNERSHIP TO DELIVER FOR GREATER MANCHESTER RAIL NETWORK Hot on the heels of the launch of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) has formally started work to deliver a more locally accountable and integrated rail network in Greater Manchester. The partnership supports the delivery of TfGM’s Bee Network vision for a sustainable, integrated, lowcost, high-frequency public transport system in Greater Manchester, with the ambition to integrate local rail into the Bee Network by 2030. It will also support GBRTT’s vision for a simpler, better railway by ensuring that an improved customer experience, and closer working relationship with key partners, is at the heart of the future of the railway.

CrossCountry appoints Finance Director Long-distance train operator CrossCountry has announced the appointment of Harj Singh as Finance Director. 122


Fast Track Your Job Search. Visit www.carringtonwest.com/rail for nationwide contract and permanent rail jobs.


Delivering a bright energy future for high speed rail ukpowernetworksservices.co.uk 124

Safety is our number one priority. Our industry-leading safety performance is achieved only through focus and always putting safety first in everything we do. We work with our clients to educate them about best safety practices which demonstrates our safety-first culture by applying proven strategies, systems and innovation.

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