Rail Professional OCTOBER 2023 296

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DIGITAL RAILWAY A Tractive Force IN CONVERSATION Interviews with business leaders from across the industry GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING Extending Reach Capabilities www.railpro.co.uk THE BUSINESS RESOURCE FOR RAIL OCTOBER 2023 | ISSUE 296 | £7.95 Reliability and Flexibility Power supply for decentralised electrical and electronic systems located trackside

The week before we went to print, Rishi Sunak confirmed the planned ban on petrol and diesel cars will now be pushed back five years to 2035. The whole conversation is around the affordability of electric vehicles –which we in rail know is not the panacea it purports to be. Put simply, more cars will equate to more congestion and put more pressure on the power grid – and generating that electricity will cancel out any carbon savings we make from banning petrol and diesel cars. Do these electric vehicles also have electric tyres? I imagine the tyres are the same as they’ve always been, the same goes for every other element of the car. The only thing changing is the engine, which isn’t enough.

Two years ago the journal Nature Communications reported that 200,000 tonnes of tiny plastic particles are blown from roads into the oceans every year, that includes tyres but also brake dust. The day I’m writing this is World Car Free Day – the press material seems to be more focussed on making communities more walkable and transforming your life to go ‘car-free’ which I think will capture the nation’s imagination more so than Net Zero targets as it is becoming more widely known that EVs alone won’t answer the climate question.

I believe the people who have some of the answers can be found within these pages! And this month we have a lot of great interviews and features on the digital railway and geotechnical engineering as well as our usual collection of opinion pieces from Connor Gore Rodney, lead VR developer at MTR UK, Liam Johnston, Executive Director at Railway Mission, Ellis Shelton, Policy Advisor at Logistics UK and many more.

3 railprofessional @railpromag PUBLISHER RAIL PROFESSIONAL LTD Hallmark House, Downham Road, Ramsden Heath, Essex CM11 1PU Telephone: +44 (0) 1268 711 811 EDITORIAL EDITOR
Sherwood-Hale editor@railpro.co.uk
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ADVERTISING recruitment@railpro.co.uk SUBSCRIPTIONS subscriptions@railpro.co.uk ADMINISTRATION Cherie Nugent info@railpro.co.uk Lisa Etherington admin@railpro.co.uk DESIGN & PRODUCTION Jasmine Szaniszlo Lukasz Saczek production@railpro.co.uk COVER PULS UK Ltd Rail Professional welcomes contributions in the form of articles, photographs or letters, preferably by email. Original photographs may be submitted, but, while every care will be exercised, neither the editor nor the publisher take responsibility for loss of, or damage to, material sent. Submission of material to Rail Professional will be taken as permission for it to be published in the magazine and online. ISSN 1476-2196 © All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the copyright owners. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher, nor does it accept liability for any printing errors or otherwise which may occur. EDITOR’S NOTE DIGITAL RAILWAY A Tractive Force IN CONVERSATION Interviews with business leaders from across the industry GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING Extending Reach Capabilities www.railpro.co.uk THE BUSINESS RESOURCE FOR RAIL Reliability and Flexibility Power supply for decentralised electrical and electronic systems located trackside Quality products for modern overhead contact lines Arthur Flury (UK) Ltd │ Milton Keynes, MK14 6GD │ +44 1908 686766 │ www.aflury.co.uk │ info@aflury.co.uk Quality products for modern overhead contact lines Arthur Flury (UK) Ltd | Milton Keynes, MK14 6GD | +44 1908 686766 | www.aflury.co.uk | info@aflury.co.uk

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Our mission statement always remains at the core of our training beliefs. We want to ensure your experience is one you’ll remember. Our aim is to become the supplier of choice when it comes to signalling engineering training. You can find all our course information online or give us a call if you have any enquiries.


In this issue



Grace Lawrence, Hubken Client Relations and Marketing Director at Hubken Group

39 Fostering Inclusion and Safety in the Railway Industry


Next-generation Survey System


Anchored Embankment Stabilisation


In Conversation with David Frost, Operations Director at Geoaccess


Outside The Box Thinking





In Conversation with Milda Gircyte Head Of Product at Crosstech


In Conversation with Mike Brookes Market Manager

Transportation at Harting UK

59 SPOTLIGHT Transport Focus

61 DIGITAL RAILWAY A Tractive Force


Accelerating Digital Signalling Innovation


Driving Diversity with Apprenticeships


Tom Kirk, Managing Director at Francis Kirk

73 SPOTLIGHT Transport for Greater Manchester INTERVIEW
Martin Hawley, Director at SPL Powerlines
explains how adopting new technology can enhance training delivery 25 THE CHEEK OF IT No time for optimism 29 ELECTRIFICATION Waterproof, Reliable and Flexible Power Supply 31 DELIVERING THE GOODS Unlocking Northern Ireland’s Potential Through Rail 33 WOMEN IN RAIL Leading Figures from Scottish Rail Industry Attend Women in Rail Event
Arriva Business Applications Team Lead At Arriva Group
All the latest from Network Rail, HS2, Avanti West Coast and more 21 Connor Gore Rodney, lead VR developer
Robert Waggot,
6 0115 922 5218 www.lineside.co.uk info@lineside.co.uk Vegetation Crossings Railway Civil Engineers Tunnels Viaducts / Bridges Stone / Brickwork Fencing Brickwork and Vegetation Management Management

Angie Doll, David Hughes, Debbie Francis, Laura McWilliams, Mike Halliday, Rachel Jones, Ryan Anderson, Bryony Goldsmith, Chris Jackson, Alex Robertson

7 74 IN CONVERSATION Billy Jones, Managing Director at Millcroft Services 76 IN CONVERSATION David Clements, Chief Executive at Future Designs 79 SPOTLIGHT Transport for Wales 80 IN CONVERSATION Nick Rowe, Co-Founder & Director, Rail At Carrington West 84 IN CONVERSATION Rebecca Jones, Managing Director at Direct Corporate Clothing 88 IN CONVERSATION Tom Vincent, Director of Crouch Waterfall 91 SPOTLIGHT Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) 92 IN CONVERSATION Luke Allen, Managing Director of eviFILE 95 SPOTLIGHT London TravelWatch 96 IN CONVERSATION Andrew Henry, Contracts Director at Graham Group 100 IN CONVERSATION Reece Burley, Sales & Marketing Manager at Heamar Company 103 SPOTLIGHT Transport Scotland (Còmhdhail Alba) 104 IN CONVERSATION Hugh Langley, Managing Director at Siderise Special Products 107 SPOTLIGHT West Midlands Combined Authority 108 IN CONVERSATION Mike Booth, Sales to Rail Industry at Indestructible Paint Ltd
of Green Biofuels
Becker of IPPT and Martin Mullins of Connect Mobile Radio 114 IN CONVERSATION Kate Louise Cole, Managing Director at Havi Technologies 117 SPOTLIGHT Midland Metro Alliance
IN CONVERSATION Jeff Lippiett, Operations Director at Kaymac
IN CONVERSATION In conversation with Daniel Barney, Managing Director Of Greenfix Soil Stabilisation & Erosion Control Ltd 123 BUSINESS PROFILE City&Guilds 124 IN CONVERSATION
M Group Services 127 SPOTLIGHT MTR Corporation 129 SPOTLIGHT Serco BUSINESS PROFILES 131 Zonegreen, Maccaferri, 3Squared, Forbo Flooring, Greenbank, Prolectric
, Managing Director – Rail & Aviation at
All the latest from the industry supply chain 150

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:

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•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.

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pmcsharry@kilbornconsulting.co.uk Phone: 01933 279909

Ride the Route Returns!

Ride the Route is an annual charity bike ride, set up to follow the route of the ECM and to raise money for the Railway Children Charity. This year’s ride took place on 7-9 September and went from Edinburgh to York, following a different section of the East Coast Mainline (ECM) route, with the aim to complete the whole route on 2024’s ride. Volunteers from several organisations on the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) came together to take on the challenge, collaborate and support each other in the spirit of the greater good to help ensure no child is left to the streets.

Our industry as a collective supports the Railway Children in many ways. Inspired by the fantastic support the rail industry gives through the annual Three Peaks by Rail, as well as hosting the Railway Ball (the sector’s biggest fundraiser), the organisations involved set out to create a new annual endurance event to epitomise the industry’s collaboration and tenacity.

2022 saw the successful completion of the first ride – from York to London and total funds raised for Railway Children from the 2022 ride and 2023 gala dinner were over £90,000!

Avanti West Coast Team up with Charity to Roll Out Bleed Kits at Stations

Avanti West Coast has partnered with The Daniel Baird Foundation to provide additional protection for its customers and colleagues, over and above the existing first aid provision which already includes defibrillators on each of its trains and at its 16 stations. The foundation was set up by Lynne Baird in 2017 with the mission of promoting greater access to bleed kits in the West Midlands following the tragic death of her son Daniel.

In the intervening years, Lynne’s passion and energy, for which she received an MBE in the 2022 New Year’s Honours list, has seen over 10,000 kits introduced in public places across the UK and as far afield as the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The bleed kits will sit alongside the existing first aid provision at stations and be accessible for employees to use in the event of an emergency.


Metro Flow Named Best New Rail Engineering Project in Britain

Nexus’s Metro Flow project to upgrade the Tyne and Wear Metro route to South Shields has been named the best new rail engineering project in Britain. The £104 million project which improves reliability and paves the way for a more frequent service right across Metro was named Major Project of the Year at the National Rail Awards last night.

The award comes days after the Metro Flow works proved their worth at the Great North Run, allowing a fast recovery from flash floods which briefly left thousands of runners stranded.

Metro’s Customer Service and Operations Teams were also recognised at the National Rail Awards for their part in staging the 2022 Great North Run, while Metro Flow was also Highly Commended for Infrastructure Achievement.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee and leader of Gateshead Council, said: ‘To see Metro Flow named the best new rail engineering project in Britain is no less than it deserves. Our £104 million project is the key to a better, more frequent and more reliable Metro in the years ahead.

‘It is also fantastic to see Metro’s Customer Service and Operations teams recognised for the amazing job they do every year at the Great North Run, so soon after they overcame the floods at this year’s event to get everybody safely home.’

Cathy Massarella, Interim Managing Director of Nexus, said: ‘Metro Flow and the new Metro Fleet between them represent an investment of almost £500 million to

build a better Metro for our customers. I know people want a more frequent and reliable service and projects like Metro Flow represent just one part of the hard work our whole team is doing to get there.’

Rob Harwood, Construction Director at Kier (formerly Buckingham Group Contracting), which was principal contractor on Metro Flow and shared the award with Nexus, said: ‘This project achieved something that had never been done before – the conversion of an existing freight line for use by Metro and freight trains –delivered against demanding timescales to reduce disruption to the customer. The team working on the project is immensely

proud of what we delivered for Nexus and its customers, so for Metro Flow to be recognised as Major Project of the Year at the National Rail Awards is the icing on the cake.’

Metro Flow is the single largest project in the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) programme and forms part of a £198 million package of investment in sustainable transport across North East of England. Projects funded through the regional TCF programme also include new bus stations in Durham and North Shields, Sunderland railway station, intelligent traffic signals in cities, bus priority measures and active travel improvements.

Merseyrail Signs up to British Transport Police App Scheme

Merseyrail have signed up to a new British Transport Police (BTP) app that aims to help passengers feel as safe as possible whilst travelling on the rail network. The Railway Guardian app is a twoway communication platform between British Transport Police and passengers, designed to encourage the reporting of a range of issues including anti-social behaviour and criminal activity on the UK rail network.

The app allows concerned passengers to make a report straight to the BTP control room. BTP officers can then deploy to the nearest, or next, station where appropriate. Not only does the app encourage reporting of unwanted behaviour, but it also includes content aimed at encouraging positive behavioural change by providing advice on what is acceptable. The geographical location option also allows

passengers to share their journey with loved ones. Passengers can report any crimes or concerns via the Railway Guardian app. Under the ‘Report’ function, incidents can be reported to British Transport Police, Merseyrail, or anonymously to StreetSafe. If passengers require emergency assistance, they should always call 999. Aside from reporting security issues, passengers can also use it to register any problems they spot whilst travelling, such as wear and tear or maintenance issues.

Any report about stations or trains will be delivered directly to Merseyrail’s customer relations team and those making reports will be kept updated about the progress in resolving the issue they have highlighted.


Port of Southampton Rail Project Awarded for Rail Freight Growth

Solent Stevedores £17.5 million rail freight growth at the Port of Southampton is now double award winning following a successful night at the RFG Awards. The cargo handler’s latest investment project, in partnership with Associated British Ports, has been officially recognised for driving rail freight growth across the country with Solent Stevedores also winning Business of the Year Award.

Judges at the awards hosted by the Rail Freight Group, the representative body for all rail freight in the UK, were impressed by the company’s long-term commitment to investments and their drive to lead a significant shift from road to rail cargo transport at the Port of Southampton. The award-winning project will complete at the end of the year creating an 18-acre site linking existing intermodal rail transport

site with laden and empty container handling, storage, maintenance, and repair within a single site boundary.

This is a first for the UK’s number one gateway for global deep-sea trade and will support the shift in multimodal transport and transferring cargo movement from road to rail improving local air quality, reducing congestion, the cost of imported goods and transportation time.

World’s Oldest Railway Viaduct Repairs

Network Rail is investing £3.8 million to overhaul Sankey viaduct in Newton-leWillows which opened in 1830. Although not as well-known, long or iconic as Ribblehead in North Yorkshire, Sankey is hugely significant as the first major railway viaduct in the world, and birthplace of the modern railway.

Also known as ‘Nine Arches’ viaduct, it was designed by railway pioneer George Stephenson to bridge the 160-metre gap over the Sankey valley and built between 1828-1830. When it opened it connected Manchester and Liverpool to form the world’s first intercity passenger route with a regular timetable as we’d recognise today. The 193-year-old landmark is now having important maintenance ahead of its 200th anniversary in 2030 to secure its future for decades to come.

Mark Evans, Network Rail Capital Delivery senior programme manager, said: ‘It’s a privilege to look after so many significant buildings and structures across the rail network, but Sankey viaduct has got to be one of the unsung heroes of Victorian civil engineering. Its huge significance in the creation of the railway as we know it today is perhaps not so well known – but we’re hoping to change that. This restoration will not only make sure it looks good to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2030, but will also secure passenger and freight trains for the future too.’

A LiDAR survey was carried out by contractor Commendium in conjunction with heritage consultancy firm Wardell Armstrong. Drone flights also took place as part of the survey taking highdefinition photographs of the Grade I listed structure. The data gathered was then used to build up the 3D computer model by Network Rail’s specialist computer aided design (CAD) team.

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RIA Annual Conference 2023

Promoting the case for rail and investment in uncertain times

1 and 2 November

2-day conference with inspiring keynotes including:

– Huw Merriman MP, Rail and HS2 Minister

– Andrew Haines, Chief Executive, Network Rail

– Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, DL, Member of the House of Lords

– And many more…

Large interactive exhibition area with spotlight pitches presenting services, products and solutions

Evening programme including networking drinks, dinner and entertainment

the QR code to register today Or visit riagb.org.uk/AC23
Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington

Work Begins in West Northants on HS2’s Longest ‘Green Tunnel’


Merseyrail has been named as the best train operator in the UK for families travelling with young children according to new research by the Campaign for Family-Friendly Trains. The research heralded the progress of the rail company, claiming they demonstrate ‘the potential for all train operating companies’. The lobby group assessed factors such as the availability of dedicated space for unfolded pushchairs, step-free access, baby changing facilities and information for families.


A team of intrepid Railway Industry Association (RIA) employees and staff from membership organisations are taking on a Tough Mudder challenge later this month to raise vital funds for Railway Mission.

The seven-strong Railway Mission Tough Mudder Team tackling the extreme endurance course comprises Isabella Lawson, Rose Garber, Grace Smithen and Robin Hay from RIA, Jonathan Howard and Melissa Warren from Dura Composites and Neil Cross of Anderton Concrete.

HS2 has begun assembling the project’s longest ‘green tunnel’ – designed to blend the high-speed railway into the rural landscape and reduce disruption for communities around Greatworth in West Northamptonshire.

Unlike a bored tunnel, the shallow oneand-a-half mile tunnel is being built using a ‘cut and cover’ process. This involves excavating a cutting, building the tunnel and then burying it, with trees, shrubs and hedgerows planted on top to blend in with the surrounding countryside. The tunnel structure will be made from more than five thousand giant concrete segments, made at a specialist pre-cast factory in Derbyshire, and assembled on site by HS2’s main works contractor, EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall.

Applying lessons from the construction of the latest French high-speed lines, EKFB opted for this modular approach – instead of a traditional process of pouring the concrete on site – to boost efficiency and cut the amount of embedded carbon in the structure. Greatworth is one of five ‘green tunnels’ that are being built on phase one of the HS2 project, which is

designed to improve links between London, Birmingham and the north, boost the economy and free up more space on the existing rail network for freight and local services.

Designed as an m-shaped double arch, the tunnel will have separate halves for southbound and northbound trains. Five different concrete precast segments will be slotted together to achieve the double arch which is the height of two double-decker buses – one central pier, two side walls and two roof slabs.

The tunnel segments are being made by Stanton Precast in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, as part of a contract which could create up to 100 local jobs. All 5,410 segments will be steel reinforced, with the largest weighing up to 43 tonnes.

Concrete and steel are some of the biggest sources of carbon emissions within the construction industry and by reducing the amount of both materials needed for the tunnel, this lighter-weight modular approach is expected to more than halve the amount of carbon embedded in the structure. It also requires less people and equipment on site, improving safety and reducing disruption for residents.

The team aims to raise £500 to support the Christian faith-based charity whose chaplains offer independent, confidential and impartial face-to-face support to the railway community and members of the public affected by rail operations.


The RIA Annual Conference is taking place on 1 and 2 November at the Millennium Conference Centre, South Kensington, London. This year’s Conference focuses on the theme of ‘Promoting the case for rail and investment in uncertain times’. Over the space of two days, the programme will combine keynote speeches, panel discussions, interview sessions, spotlight exhibitor pitches and unique networking opportunities.

Speakers include, Andrew Haines, Andy Bagnall, Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, Huw Merriman MP, John Larkinson, Beth West and many more.


GB Railfreight Opens £5.75 Million Maintenance Hub in Peterborough

GB Railfreight has opened its stateof-the-art Maintenance Hub. Located alongside the East Coast Mainline, the £5.75 million facility, represents one of the most substantial investments in the rail freight sector this year.

Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper MP, attended the opening ceremony alongside John Smith, GBRf’s Chief Executive Officer. The Hub, which is larger than six-Olympic swimming pools was completed in just ten months and brings back into use a derelict plot of land. The facility will be key to unlocking GBRf’s ambitious growth plans as it aims to run c.80 intermodal services a day by 2025. The building has strong sustainability credentials – it is fully powered by electricity and has been designed to support electric shunt engines and forklifts to reduce carbon emissions.

By analysing four wagons per shift, the Hub will be a strategic enabler that creates a step-change in maintenance for the rail freight industry. It will deliver significant

safety and reliability improvements that will allow current and future customers to move an even wider range of goods by rail. As new smart-technologies emerge, the Hub will be a testbed that will allow GBRf to identify innovative solutions that will drive continual improvement.

John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight, said: ‘Today’s announcement demonstrates our

commitment to continued investment and innovation in the rail network. The role of the private sector cannot be understated as a tool to help Britain drive jobs and growth in its regional economies and achieve its net zero targets. We are excited for the role we get to play in this important journey as we meet the demands of customers looking to decarbonise their supply chains.’

Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said: ‘This impressive new maintenance hub demonstrates the important role private sector investment plays in modernising the rail freight industry and helping grow the economy. Rail is one of the most environmentally friendly ways of moving goods across the country – this new facility will help deliver clean, safe and secure freight journeys while creating jobs in Peterborough and boosting the city’s economy.’

HS2 Ltd Chair Sir Jon Thompson Confirmed for RIA Conference

The Railway Industry Association has announced that the Chair of HS2 Ltd, Sir Jon Thompson, will address its awardwinning RIA Annual Conference & Dinner 2023, which takes place on 1-2 November at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London. He will close Day 1 of the conference.

Sir Jon was appointed Chair of HS2 Ltd in February earlier this year after standing down as CEO of the Financial Reporting Council. He has a wealth of experience in the delivery of major projects, serving as a

Permanent Secretary at both the Ministry of Defence and HM Revenue & Customs. Given the recent reporting over HS2 Phase 2 between Birmingham-Manchester, Sir Jon’s participating in the conference is clearly very timely.

This year’s Annual Conference theme focuses on ‘Promoting the case for rail and investment in uncertain times’. Over the space of two days, the programme will combine keynote speeches, panel discussions, interview sessions, spotlight

exhibitor pitches and unique networking opportunities for rail suppliers, clients, policy makers and influencers, stakeholders and media. The conference Dinner will include live music and an address by Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, DL, multi-gold medallist Paralympian, and independent crossbench member of the House of Lords, who has championed the rights of disabled people, including access to rail.

Sir John Armitt on HS2 Speculation

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission said Curtailing HS2 ‘would be a tragedy’ when speaking to R4 Today on 23rd September. He went on to say: ‘In Birmingham we have already seen the consequences with major investment, 20,000 new jobs predicted and 2,000 new homes predicted. But what we have to do is get a grip on the costs.

‘The existing West Coast is the most densely used and heavily used railway in Europe. By freeing up some capacity you’ll get more

benefits for freight, which we want to do. We want to get lorries off the roads and we want to increase rail freight.

‘There are massive benefits to the economy by continuing this. If we don’t continue what are we saying to the rest of the world? What are we saying to all those investors who we want to bring into the UK. Here is a country that sets itself ambitions and then runs away when it starts to see some challenges. We have to meet the challenges.’

Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, at GB Railfreight's Maintenance Hub opening event in Peterborough.
Martin Hawley Managing Director at SPL POWERLINES UK

SSH: How did you get started in the industry?

MH: I joined GrantRail back in 2005 as the Divisional Managing Director of their Specialist Businesses, which was a collective group of companies providing signalling, track, power, maintenance and more. I left GrantRail, which is now Volker Rail UK, in 2010 and then joined the Powerlines Group (Austria) the same year.

I have a BSc Hons – Mechanical Engineering and Business Studies Degree from Sheffield University. I am also a member of the Institute of Directors and a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Marketing.

SSH: What industry were you in before joining the rail sector?

MH: Since 1995 I have held the position of Managing Director in a number of Large European Engineering Groups with Asian and US Subsidiaries before joining GrantRail in 2005.

My background is in engineering and manufacturing. I started my career as an apprentice at the age of 16, working in heavy engineering and I then worked in several manufacturing/engineering companies. I acquired a business with two American colleagues in the late eighties – manufacturing materials handling equipment and selling the product worldwide.

SSH: When did you join SPL Powerlines UK Limited?

MH: SPL Powerlines UK Ltd was born out of a company called Border Rail Ltd, which had been bought by the Powerlines Group in 2009. I joined Powerlines Group a year later, in 2010, and joined the board of SPL Powerlines in 2012.

SPL Powerlines is a leading provider of electrical solutions for rail infrastructure (Overhead Catenary System – OCS and High Voltage Traction and Non-Traction Power Supply – HV). Our services entail design innovation, surveys, engineering, provision of plant, isolations, construction, and maintenance services for mainline and high-speed markets. We operate throughout the UK and generated a turnover ca. £140 million in 2022 in the transport sector.

We hold both a Principle Contractor’s Licence and a Plant Operator’s Licence with our headquarters based out of Coatbridge in Scotland, and we have locations throughout the UK, in Glasgow, Doncaster, Leicester and Derby.

We are the UK market leader in rail catenary/power and distribution systems.

SSH: What has changed the most in those thirteen years?

MH: The whole industry has matured over the last 13 years, and it’s now a very collaborative environment to work in.

Safety has been the key focus for all organisations and leaders alike to make what is a very dangerous environment, as safe as it can be.

Lots of innovation has been introduced across the whole sector, and digitalisation is now at the forefront and centre of everything we do. Investment in new and safer equipment has also been a key change over the last 13 years.

SSH: What projects are you working on currently?

MH: Our biggest project currently is the Midland Main Line Electrification scheme. We have delivered two of the first three phases safely, on time and to budget. We operate across three different Network Rail areas. In Scotland we are working on phase one of a rolling programme of traction power and phase one of a rolling programme of decarbonisation. In the North-West and Central Region we’re just about to start the Wigan to Bolton electrification project, which will be completed by the end of 2024. We have delivered over £600 million of new rail electrification across the UK since 2014.

SSH: How did SPL Powerlines get to its current size?

MH: Powerlines Group bought a business in 2009 that was a tier one contractor but relatively small and operating principally out of Scotland. In 2014 we entered into a 50/50 joint venture with Carillion to bid for the NEP Frameworks. We were successful in both Eastern and Scotland Regions. In January 2018 Carillion went into liquidation and we continued to deliver the £400 million pound order book as a single entity.

SSH: How did you handle that change?

MH: The Group is very agile and as a consequence we were able to onboard over two hundred and fifty staff after the collapse of Carillion. We grew our organisation and capability quickly, safety validating it as we grew.

Our biggest challenge was the cultural differences between the two organisations, how they operated, and the processes and procedures used. Within the first 12 months we were operating seamlessly across all regions of the business.

SSH: Looking to the next 10 or 20 years, what do you envision the direction for the company to be?

MH: We are part of Equans which is a Bouygues group company and the world leader in technical services. Equans designs and provides customised solutions to improve our customers’ buildings, technical equipment, systems and processes to support them in optimising their use.

Equans aims to combine its skills and knowledge to deliver the energy, industrial and digital transitions required by our customers in the forthcoming decade.

As a Group, our key focus is driving towards the decarbonisation of the sectors that we operate in. We want to enable a greener, more efficient and connected world. To this end, we are investing heavily in new technology to move towards cleaner, greener and more efficient methods of project delivery.

It’s an exciting time to work for a business which is at the heart of the green revolution in transport.

Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Martin Hawley, Managing Director at SPL POWERLINES UK, about his journey with the company, what they’ve achieved in the last five years and a rolling programme of electrification
‘Safety has been the key focus for all organisations and leaders alike to make what is a very dangerous environment, as safe as it can be.’
‘We have delivered over £600 million of new rail electrification across the UK since 2014.’
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Rail resilience

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The rail industry has seen significant change recently. It’s likely this will continue – from the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) to the increase in extreme weather events.

At RSSB Futures Lab, our horizon scanning and modelling experts identify and explore the emergent risks and potential vulnerabilities facing GB rail. Collaborating with the rail industry and learning from other sectors, we cover topics as diverse as asset integrity, complex software, and location setting without GPS.

To discover more about our rail resilience work and how to get involved, visit: rssb.co.uk/railresilience


Innovating a New Reality

Connor Gore Rodney, lead VR developer at MTR UK, explains how adopting new technology can enhance training delivery

Are you sitting at your desk reading this? Maybe you’re flicking through an online version on your phone while sat at home? Or perhaps you’ve picked up the office copy to read on your commute this evening? But what world are you reading this from? The real world? Or a virtual world?

Since I was 15 years old I’ve been recreating real world scenarios in a virtual world. I’ve trained surgeons in complex knee surgery, worked on Defence simulations and shown new train drivers how to drive a class 345. All done using the virtual world to remove barriers we face with traditional training methods.

Now, as lead VR developer at MTR UK, I’ve been leading the charge on some of the most state-of-the-art simulations in the rail sector.

When I arrived at MTR UK, a little over 18 months ago, my only experience of trains was getting the 0804 from Catford Bridge to the office. But I’d been brought in to develop MTR’s driver training programme by taking the traditional classroom methods and supplementing them with an immersive learning approach.

This type of approach recognises the benefits of an experiential learning style, as outlined by David Kolb, an American psychologist and educational theorist – learning by doing. So, whether we are learning to ride a bike or learning to walk, we achieve this by practising and refining our technique.

Learning to drive a train using a virtual reality headset is pretty innovative in an industry that is often seen as very traditional and resistant to change. And to be clear, this isn’t replacing any of the traditional teaching methods – there are still the exams and assessments to complete

– but rather supplementing the learning process with something that is inspiring and engaging.

So, we set about using the software from one of the largest global tech firms, Unity, to create an app and a simulation that could be accessed with a VR headset that is userfriendly, portable and engaging.


We developed TRACK-SIM – a VR application that can be used to build and interact with anything railwayrelated, including all elements of track, infrastructure, and signalling including European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) principles. The key function of the App is that it’s networked. By using the built-in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

networking, it allows a facilitator to deliver core operational rules and regulations for both training and assessments, whilst candidates are working remotely.

Adopting technology to enhance this type of training delivery helps to introduce a much more immersive experience of driving a train. It not only allows a user to build a railway infrastructure, it also acts as a train simulator and allows a trainee to simulate driving a train in the built environment.

Traction training

Traction training is a key competence for a train driver. Historically this type of training would be a combination of classroom and depot-specific where the candidate would learn all the types of traction they would be driving.

We developed Traction Builder, a mixed reality application that allows a candidate to access traction training without the need for a depot or a real train. The application allows the candidate to place an augmented reality train anywhere they want, whether they are sat in a classroom, or if they are based at home or elsewhere. The principle is a candidate can take the App and build a train from the ground up, either through selflearning or during a facilitated session.

The traction builder App has been designed around three key areas to ensure it meets the requirements of all competence management principles, the aim being that it delivers not just as a training tool, but also as a method of maintaining competence and aiding in the reduction of the likelihood of performance-related incidents.

Global interest

The interest in these innovations has been global. From the Innovation Expo in Hong Kong where MTR’s own internal innovation projects are linked up with external suppliers in the innovation space to UITP, the global public transit summit in

Connor Gore Rodney is lead VR developer at MTR UK. Connor’s career in VR and simulation spans a range of sectors including health, defence and now rail

Barcelona earlier this year, where hundreds of delegates got to experience life in a virtual reality cab using our VR headsets. There is an appetite within the industry for more innovation and MTR is leading the way.

Innovation is the lifeblood at MTR. In fact, the whole business thrives on creativity and an entrepreneurial approach. As well as the Innovation Expo, MTR Hong Kong also runs a Technology and Innovation Steering Committee – a Dragons’ Den style panel –that invites teams to pitch for investment into new ideas and innovations.

We are currently exploring how we can use technology and innovation more across our property and capital works businesses. This encompasses everything from using VR to model what completed property developments will look like, through to using AI to explore how we can better store and use project data.

We’ve also incorporated mixed reality into how we interact with colleagues. It’s now not unusual for team members’ avatars to hold meetings together and senior managers are hugely supportive of conducting our real-world business in a virtual world.

Looking ahead

There is certainly a bright future for simulation in the rail sector. Digital twins – software recreations of a physical asset or process – are already widely in use across

the rail sector. But introducing VR allows us to explore and interact in real time within the twin.

Imagine an identical version of your network. You can’t disrupt the real-world service to test different ‘what if?’ scenarios. But with mixed reality that is exactly what you can do. Simulation allows you to see what would happen with genuine consequences. What happens if you don’t hit the brake? Or the platforms are overcrowded? There is no comfort zone in mixed reality – just cold hard consequences that thankfully are not real. But, at least, having experienced them in a virtual world, you’ll hopefully be better prepared to deal with them in the real world.

Take incident planning for example. At the moment to do this properly is an expensive exercise involving out of service rolling stock and lost staffing hours, as well as any external costs such as hiring actors to play passengers. But in a virtual world this can be done on a more regular basis, at a fraction of the cost, with a wider range of scenarios. It also enables individuals to better empathise and collaborate in high-stakes situations if they’ve had the opportunity to experience each other’s roles in a virtual world. For example, swapping driver and control roles in a simulated environment means both understand what challenges the other faces during an incident.

Writing a crisis plan is important, but a simulated incident gives you the opportunity to discover that it actually takes longer than you might have realised for Person A to run the length of the platform. Once you know that you can build it into real life incident planning.

And with everyone connected to one server, distance is no object. You can run incident planning sessions with colleagues

from across different locations and no one has to leave their chair. You can even ‘cut a hole’ in the VR world where you can see through a portal to your real-world desk. So, any training – and it doesn’t have to be incident planning – that also requires you to be at your desk with a mouse and keyboard, can be done easily and cost effectively.

So, think again, which world are you reading this from? The real one or a virtual one? I'll let you decide.

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


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No Time for Optimism

Almost fifty-one years ago, I first joined the public transport industry, as a graduate trainee with the National Bus Company at their Midland Red subsidiary in Birmingham. In the time since, I’ve been lucky enough to work on a huge variety of projects – bus, coach, tram and rail – and enjoyed myself immensely. I have been blessed with the fact that my job is my hobby, and my hobby is my job.

It would be idle to pretend that everything has gone smoothly over the decades since – the bus industry has continued to shrink in response to the growth in car ownership and congestion; light rail projects have fallen victim to cost inflation, political infighting and Treasury parsimony; whilst the rail industry has led a troubled life – starved of investment for so many years after the Second World War, and then the subject of an unpopular and complex privatisation under John Major’s government – arguments over which have completely obscured the huge success the industry achieved in doubling its patronage in less than 20 years.

Aside from the day-to-day problems of actually running the service (formidable enough, in all honesty), the constantly shifting political landscape and the uncertainties of future funding have made the years since the economic crisis of 2008 and the election of the coalition in 2010 particularly difficult. For the disastrous effects, look no further than the saga of money-wasting mind changes on the TransPennine upgrade or HS2 or the slashing of budgets for supported service for bus networks – decisions made by local politicians who then have the brass neck to blame ‘deregulation’ for their selfadministered woes.

For me, and I suspect many colleagues, have been sustained through all those difficulties by the undoubted success of new infrastructure projects once they open – the Elizabeth Line being the latest example –and the thought that – one day – we would be needed by government and society to help cope with the behavioural changes that would be required by climate change and net zero. We were given the first hints of the scale of that change more than 25 years ago when the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (the predecessor to today’s Climate Change Committee) first highlighted the need to deliver modal shift on a huge scale. This gave rise to a period of optimism in the 1990s, when transport ministers like Steven Norris were telling us that the shift towards public transport was ‘one way and permanent’.

The optimism grew when the Blair government published its ground-breaking Transport White Paper in 1999, given effect in the Transport Act 2000 and followed up by a ten-year investment plan. Meanwhile, governments of both parties moved to use real term increases in fuel taxation as one form of demand restraint on the growth of private car use, via the fuel tax escalator, first introduced by Kenneth Clark when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer at RPI+3 per cent, later maintained and increased to five per cent and then six per cent by his successor Gordon Brown.

Then came the first rumblings at the beginning of 2000, which escalated during the year to culminate in a fuel tax rebellion in the summer and autumn. The fuel tax escalator was quickly abandoned, and adjustments amounting to a cut were made to the fuel tax regime in the autumn statement later that year. It was without doubt a seminal moment – and continues to



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A quick message to let you know that Translink, Northern Ireland’s main public transportation provider, has just announced a partnership with my client – digital identity firm – Yoti. They’ll be introducing a new, digital travel ID card for school students aged 13 to 16, giving young people an easy way to provide proof of age!

I don’t have a full press release to send you, but I can share that the Translink Travel U16 Youth ID is a safe and secure option for young people to use. It’s free to download and acts as a reputable proof of age to enable young passengers to purchase child fares at 50 per cent off standard bus and rail fares.

Young people can visit translink. yoti.com which has links to download the app and a QR code to create their account. Once they have created their digital travel ID card, a young person presents this to the driver or conductor to receive the discounted fare.

A political shift is under way which – combined with the lingering effects of Covid – make for a very troubled future for our public transport industry, says Chris Cheek




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affect fuel taxation policy today. Famously, the level has only been changed once since 2010, and that was a 5p cut after Covid.

In recent weeks, we have reached another seminal moment, with the result of the Uxbridge by-election on 20 July. Against all the odds, the Tories held on to Boris Johnson’s old seat by a whisker, with many attributing the unexpected victory to opposition to the extension of the UltraLow Emission Zone (ULEZ) planned for the end of August. In the aftermath of the result, the defeated Labour candidate Danny Beales, the leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner all called for a rethink of the policy. London Mayor Sadiq Kahn has stuck to the policy –not least because its introduction was part of the funding deal imposed up him by the then Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in the spring of 2022.

Within days, Keir Starmer was ruling out any future policies that put additional charges on motorists and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak jumped on the bandwagon within days ordering a review of all Local Traffic Neighbourhood schemes and telling The Sunday Telegraph: ‘I just want to make sure people know that I’m on their side in supporting them to use their cars to do all the things that matter to them.’ Once again, as many commentators have observed, the Government is seeking to draw a clear dividing line over net zero policies and their implementation – cheered on by the tabloid press.

Meanwhile, Sunak’s attitude to the public transport industry remains lukewarm. Buses and trains are regarded as part of the problem (cost too much public money, probably inefficient, etc etc) rather than as a potential solution to a climate change problem which does not interest him. Despite occasional warm words from transport secretary Mark Harper (usually when pressed), there are no moves to legislate on the future of the rail industry. Moves to establish ‘Great British Railways’ continue at a leisurely pace whilst the DfT

maintains (clings on to?) its role in day-today management decisions.

All of which makes me feel less optimistic about the future of our public transport operations than at any time over my career. Whoever wins the next election, it is already clear that there will be no money, whilst local government continues to endure a financial crisis. Growth forecasts over the next few years vary between low and derisory. After Uxbridge, the next government of whatever hue will be hugely reluctant to introduce any form of disincentive to private car use – and without such measures, there is every reason to suppose that road traffic and congestion will continue to grow. Given that, there will be little incentive to invest in projects such as HS2 or Crossrail 2 designed to provide capacity for modal shift.

I suppose the only slim hope on the horizon for the rail industry is the fact that the latest daily use statistics show that, at long last, rail passenger numbers are in line with, or slightly ahead of, pre-Covid levels. However, that does come with a huge caveat – as we have seen in the last two sets of quarterly stats, the recovery has been driven by the huge success of the Elizabeth Line, with its plethora of short journey hops that will bring little or no revenue benefit to the coffers of National Rail. Meanwhile, inflation continues to run rampant, with the underlying number actually rising in July. We can already see that there is no way that rail fares can rise to keep pace with that –especially not in an election year – so the industry’s finances will worsen and become even more reliant on public funding. The government’s best response so far has been to float the ludicrous suggestion that free wi-fi should be withdrawn from trains to save money.

I may be wrong in my gloomy views of the future, of course: part of me hopes that I am, that this piece may just be the wailings of an old man unable to come to terms with changing circumstances. But, as I hope this article has shown, there are solid grounds for my pessimism. I wish it were otherwise.




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Waterproof, Reliable and Flexible Power Supply

Trackside systems are typically mounted in ‘wardrobe’ like enclosures called location cabinets, which can be open at the underside making them prone to condensation on the inside. Electronics systems mounted within location cabinets must be protected from the ingress of water and dust to ensure reliable longterm operation. This includes the power supply which is frequently located in the same ruggedised enclosure as other system components. Weatherproof enclosures are bulky and expensive, each adding extra cost and complexity to the end system.

The PULS FIEPOS is a new type of power supply that was developed specifically for this kind of environment. A decentralised power supply, requiring no additional enclosure offering protection to class IP54, IP65 or IP67, is easy to install and flexible enough to meet the diverse requirements of modular systems. Removing the power supply (decentralisation) from shared enclosures saves space, reduces internal heat dissipation and allows the power supply to be conveniently located on an internal cabinet wall or DIN-Rail.

Decentralisation of system components has proven to be an important factor in modern system planning as it simplifies installation, enables expansion and reformatting of systems, and simplifies maintenance. In addition, conventional control cabinets can be replaced by smaller versions or even removed completely.

Traditional rail or industrial systems designed with a central IP20 rated power supply will have long cable runs to peripheral devices in the field and will require costly large cross-section cables to minimise losses. It is also common for such a power supply to be over specified to compensate for any potential cable losses. FIEPOS is the alternative to a power supply in a centralised control cabinet. It provides an energy efficient, point of load, modular

system structure which is simple to expand and maintain.

Two versions of the high efficiency (> 95 per cent) PULS FIEPOS are available both offering either 360W or 600W power output. The output voltage and the currentlimited outputs (eFused series) can be monitored and set directly via the LED interface and the push buttons on the front of the device or remotely via IO-Link.

The high-power single 24 - 28VDC output Basic Series FIEPOS can be connected in parallel with additional units to increase total output power. FIEPOS Basic can also be connected in an N+1 redundant system using integrated high efficiency MOSFET decoupling (Oring).

The eFused series which may be specified with up to 4 current-limited DC outputs and may be configured for NEC Class 2 circuits. This power supply simplifies the implementation of selective power distribution, protection and monitoring directly in the field. The eFused series is a space-saving power supply system featuring integrated current-limited outputs and is a real alternative to a power supply unit with an external electronic protection module. Special features include staggered output activation, protection of sensitive loads through prioritised outputs and selective shutdown in the event of a fault.

PULS FIEPOS power supplies may be used for the decentralised supply of 1-phase or 3-phase systems and machines and feature a no potting Eco-friendly modular design which may be specified with IP54, IP65 or IP67 for reliable protection against ingress of dust and water.

Key features include an LED interface providing system status and immediate diagnosis in the field, output voltage and the current-limited outputs (eFused series) may be monitored and set directly via the LED interface and the push buttons on the front of the device or remotely via IO-Link. Various connector options enable the power

supply to be installed flexibly and directly on the machine. DIN-Rail, integrated keyholes or screw mounting with no additional accessories required.

FIEPOS is available with input voltage ranges 1-phase 85 - 264V, 1-phase 170264V, 3-phase 320 - 550V, output voltage from 24 - 28VDC, output power 360W or 600W, efficiency > 95 per cent, an operating temperature range from -25 °C to +55 °C without any loss of performance and has dimensions (WxHxD) of 181 x 183 x 57mm.

The potential applications of PULS FIEPOS are virtually limitless and include modular applications in the field of rail, intralogistics, industrial control, conveyor systems, storage technology, robotics and materials handling.

Marco van der Linden, UK Country Manager, for PULS commented: ‘Our FIEPOS decentralised power supply offers designers of railway systems a cost and space saving alternative to conventional power distribution requiring expensive environmental protection. FIEPOS makes it possible to save space and reduce heat in trackside cabinets simplifying system design and reducing inventory.’

For more information on PULS FIEPOS visit https://www.pulspower.com/products/ din-rail-power-supplies/ip54-ip65-ip67-powersupplies/ or get in touch via the contact information below.

Tel: 01525 841 001

Email: sales@puls.co.uk

Visit: www.pulspower.com

Address: PULS UK Ltd.

Cranfield Innovation Centre University Way, Cranfield Bedfordshire, MK43 0BT

The 500W FIEPOS power supply from PULS Power is an ideal solution for decentralised electrical and electronic systems located trackside on railway networks


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Unlocking Northern Ireland’s Potential Through Rail

Ellis Shelton, Policy Advisor, Logistics UK explains how Northern Ireland can change the way it moves its freight

The railway network is an indispensable part of Great Britain’s economy, covering just under 10,000 route miles countrywide and transporting 10.48 billion net tonne miles of rail freight in 2022 – an increase of 11.3 per cent from 2021. At present, NI only accommodates passenger services on its railways and relies on road transport to move most of its freight, therefore limiting efficiency and the potential for economic growth.

Following the launch of the All-Island Strategic Rail Review (AISRR) in 2021, the final report was released in July 2023 which highlighted key issues within Northern Ireland (NI)’s rail network. The aim of the AISRR was to focus on how the current rail network across the island can potentially contribute to the decarbonisation of its transport systems, plus improve regional accessibility and development. Within the final report, 30 recommendations have been proposed to help ensure that these goals can be achieved including new rail freight services that have the potential to be up and running within the next two years.

With NI’s first Climate Action Plan –covering 2023 to 2027 – expected to be released for public consultation imminently, it is crucial that the implementation of rail freight networks is a clear focus for action. A key issue facing NI is road congestion, especially in urban areas such as Belfast, as it relies heavily on road transport for most of its freight movements. Moving freight via rail instead of road holds numerous benefits. Emitting fewer carbon emissions than other modes such as road, its green credentials effectively align with the Assembly’s net

zero 2050 deadline. By shifting a significant amount of road freight to rail it will reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and road maintenance costs in NI. Alleviating road congestion and the strain on road infrastructure can lead to more efficient and sustainable practices when moving freight but also provide residents with cleaner air and shorter travel times.

In addition, railways are built for the movement of heavy and bulk commodities across long distances with each freight train able to carry the load of up to 76 HGVs and remove an estimated seven million HGV journeys per year, resulting in cost savings for businesses. A prime example of this is the work currently being carried out by DRS and Stobart Rail who are working to remove an additional 100,000 containers a year off the roads for Tesco, by introducing a fifth daily service from Tesco’s Daventry distribution centre to/from Doncaster and Teesport. With the capacity for 40 containers in each direction it will successfully remove another 24,960 Tesco containers from Britain’s road annually. Overall, rail freight is more environmentally friendly compared to road haulage and is a cost-effective option for reducing the region’s carbon footprint.

Due to its geographic location, NI holds untapped potential for facilitating the movement of goods between the UK and EU via rail and in turn create significant opportunities for international trade. By investing in an efficient rail freight network, it will enable NI to better connect with the rest of the UK and serve as a gateway to Europe and beyond, effectively stabilising its supply chain. Local businesses in NI will also

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

benefit from rail freight, particularly those in manufacturing and thriving agricultural sectors, as this mode of transportation can contribute to faster delivery times, reduced transit costs, and increased competitiveness. Furthermore, rail freight is vital for supporting the progression of ports and distribution centres, which can also create new employment opportunities covering not only rail operations, but construction and maintenance roles too. Implementing

‘A major challenge in advancing rail freight is the initial investment required for building and upgrading railway lines and terminals. To address this, a combination of public-private partnerships, government grants, and international funding can be explored to finance these critical infrastructure projects.’



Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Network Rail have successfully demonstrated that the recently installed digital signalling system on the Northern City Line, between Finsbury Park and Moorgate, is ready for passenger service. This is a significant milestone for the first phase of the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP).

Mirroring Great Northern’s peak timetable on the Northern City Line by running six digitally signalled trains in 30-minute periods, the testing proved that the state-of-the-art in-cab signalling system – European Train Control System (ETCS) – will support the highfrequency metro service.

A team of Train Test Officers, formed of representatives from across the ECDP’s industry partners including the freight sector, provided support on the overnight tests when stations were closed.

rail freight operations in NI will help to foster economic development, increase trade opportunities, enhance connectivity, and improve environmental sustainability.

As regional businesses benefit from reduced transportation costs, these savings can be reinvested into research, development, and innovation contributing to technological advancement. This can lead to attracting new industries, due to their improved connectivity and proximity to efficient transportation networks, and investments to the area as an outcome of introducing rail freight movements. This investment can be spread throughout NI’s regions by incentivising companies to establish or expand their operations surrounding railway hubs, fostering longterm growth in the process.

A major challenge in advancing rail freight is the initial investment required for building and upgrading railway lines and terminals. To address this, a combination of public-private partnerships, government grants, and international funding can be explored to finance these critical infrastructure projects. Ensuring seamless intermodal connectivity between rail and other transportation modes, such as road and sea, is essential for a robust logistics network. Developing intermodal

terminals and improving last-mile connectivity will be pivotal in overcoming this challenge. Alongside this, educating the public, businesses, and policymakers about the benefits of rail freight is crucial. Public awareness campaigns can dispel misconceptions, highlight the advantages of rail freight, and garner support from stakeholders.

Introducing rail freight through new infrastructure for NI holds many potential benefits that range from boosting trade and connectivity to reducing road congestion and emissions, fostering economic growth, supporting regional development and attracting both local and international investment. The expansion of rail freight services within NI is essential for providing sustainable transportation solutions to align with the NI Executive’s and UK government’s commitment to installing a net zero carbon economy, creating a greener future for all. To facilitate this transition from road to rail, it is vital that policymakers and rail freight operators alike ensure that the business proposition is as financially viable as possible to allow for the necessary investment in rail infrastructure to unlock a future of enhanced prosperity, helping Northern Ireland to become the catalyst for positive change.


Leading Figures from Scottish Rail Industry Attend Women in Rail Event

Leading figures from the Scottish rail industry last night attended a special Women in Rail event at Holyrood, sponsored by Graham Simpson MSP

Over one hundred rail industry professionals gathered to hear a special panel discussion featuring Transport Minister, Fiona Hyslop, Network Rail Capital Delivery Director, Kris Kinnear, Story Plant Managing Director, Emma Porter and NSAR Chief Executive, Neil Robertson.

During this session, the panel discussed a variety of issues facing the industry under the headline: ‘Diversity is the Key to Future Success of Rail.’ From this stemmed a lively debate around the challenges which exist in building a diverse workforce and how the industry can focus on retaining good talent and be perceived as an attractive career option for all.

Graham Simpson MSP, commented: ‘It has been a pleasure to welcome the members of Women in Rail Scotland, and their esteemed speakers, to this special parliamentary event. Rail is a prominent part of the transport infrastructure, not just in Scotland, but across the UK, so it is important that we tackle the issues around diversity and inclusion head on.

I am committed to supporting the diversity that Women in Rail champion throughout the industry and believe that in order to create a fully inclusive workforce, we need to have these discussions at this level to encourage real change.’

Lorna Gibson, Chair of Women in Rail Scotland added: ‘There are so many positive opportunities that are available within rail,

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

and it is up to us an industry to ensure that as well as appointing the right people for the job, we are ensuring that we do it in an inclusive and diverse way.

A huge thank you to our panellists for what was an entertaining and informative evening – and of course, to Graham Simpson MSP for hosting us at the parliament. It was inspiring to hear our panellists recount their experiences and hear of their visions for the future and we look forward to working together as an industry to make these positive changes.’

‘I am committed to supporting the diversity that Women in Rail champion throughout the industry.’
Graham Simpson MSP


Robert is a highly experienced IT Training Consultant with nearly two decades worth of experience. Within this timeframe, he has worked mainly within Water, Gas and Electric Utility companies, and this has been a mixture of permanent and contract roles. Working for a public transportation company and managing Business Applications, is his first time outside the Utility sector, and training background.


Arriva is a multinational public transport company, Arriva UK Trains operates multiple rail services.

When did you join the company?

I’ve been at Arriva for just over six years now, having joined from Electricity Northwest in summer 2017.

What is your role within Arriva Group?

I’m a Business Applications Team Leader based in Arriva Group’s London office. My day-to-day job involves managing a small team of Support Analysts. As a team, we provide end user support if there are any technical/general enquiries, and ensure the systems are operational and fit for purpose.

How did you start at Arriva Group?

I first joined Arriva Group as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Training Consultant. I was responsible for developing a suite of new training materials and making sure Arriva colleagues were able to benefit from our newly acquired Totara Learning Management System (LMS). Over the course of the two-year project, there was a huge uptick in the number of colleagues accessing the training hosted on the LMS, and it became my full-time job to manage this process as it grew and developed.

Tell us about your career before you joined Arriva Group?

I’ve always been interested in the power of technology, which is why I chose to study Computer Science at Leeds Met. After graduating, I did a small stint in a Call Centre. As chance would have it, they were in the process of transitioning an old, outdated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to a more modern solution. I was given the opportunity to get involved and really enjoyed the experience. I quickly realised there was a chance to carve out a career for myself in this space. I’ve not looked back since and worked in systems training roles for a variety of utilities companies before joining Arriva.

What challenges have you faced in the industry?

One of Arriva’s greatest strengths is that we operate in a number of diverse public transport markets across Mainland Europe. While this is a positive, for someone in my role it can cause challenges in terms of encouraging the various businesses

‘Businesses need to be open minded when it comes to finding new ways to encourage collaboration.’

that make up Arriva to take a consistent approach to their IT applications. Ultimately, I was able to win the debate internally and convince my colleagues of the benefits that a more collaborative approach to our LMS and training could bring, and I’m pleased to say we’re now seeing the rewards of that collaborative approach – with various fragmented legacy systems having now been decommissioned.

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

In the early days, and once the product was open to the wider business outside of the ERP Project, the initial challenge was managing workload for the ERP Project and enquiries regarding the usage of the Learning platform. I was the SME for the application and thus, had to be a salesman, system configurator, customer point of contact, troubleshooter/support and integration expert. This simply was managed by performing extra hours when necessary, and on quiet days taken it back.

During the years, when the business realized the system could be an enterprise service, and more individuals contributed to the progression of the system, workload was evenly distributed.

What do you have planned for the year ahead?

In a role like this, it’s always important to identify opportunities to innovate and introduce new features and functionality. The team and I will be working closely with

our compliance colleagues, making sure the systems and resources we develop continue to deliver the best outcomes for our people and the wider business.

What are your views on collaborative working?

Collaborative working is a crucial part of a successful business. Personally, I find that this is always easier in an office environment, but I know that everybody is different! The Post Covid era and the introduction of the Working from Home practice, which feels like second nature now, means businesses need to be open minded when it comes to finding new ways to encourage collaboration.

How does Arriva Group focus on Training and Compliance?

Arriva have their own dedicated Compliance team that always strive to ensure the learning content is interesting and interactive, and most importantly update with the regularities we must follow in today’s industry.

Describe the award-winning Compliance project that you’ve been leading at Arriva Group. What were the key challenges that the business was facing in this area, how did you overcome them and what have been the major successes?

Initially, I was approached by the Compliance team as they needed an LMS system to host their GDPR eLearning

modules. This was triggered by our parent company informing us we must use our own systems to deploy the compliance modules. This instruction coincided shortly after the introduction of the Totara LMS application due to the ERP project. The learning had to be deployed to approx. 8,000 users, this really was the first point the system was truly tested, and it succeeded with flying colors.

One of the key objectives to the deployment of the Compliance eLearning modules was to ensure the completion rate was above 95 per cent, in which we have achieved 99 per cent. This was achieved by utilizing the key features of the Learning Management system, i.e., a function that specifies a timeframe for completion, and at the appropriate period if the user hasn’t completed their task, an automated Completion reminder was sent. There are seven reminders sent in total, but emphasis must be placed on the fact that these reminders were only sent to users that hadn’t completed their learning objective.

Secondly, the completion data, was exported out of the LMS application into a visual dashboard, which displayed per business area, all the non-completes, this was achievable through an automated integration. These dashboards were monitored by ‘Compliance Champions’, and of course if the reminders hadn’t registered with the users, a physical human would.

After this point the continued success was a simple one really, the individuals involved were the subject matter experts, this and understanding the technologies, business and audience allowed us to win the Totara Awards.



Grace’s passion is for helping businesses grow and develop. After working in the Middle East, she returned to the UK to work in sales for Hubken Group. She quickly proved her worth, becoming Sales Director and a shareholder in 2020, with operational responsibility for the Sales and Marketing.


Hubken Group has been implementing dynamic learning, compliance, performance, and people management solutions since 2004.

Want to know more about Hubken Group?

Tel: 0330 660 1111

Email: grace@hubkengroup.com

Address: Hubken Group Ltd, e-Innovation Centre, Priorslee, Telford, Shropshire, TF2 9FT

When did you first start working with Hubken?

Grace started with Hubken Group nine years ago. Joining as an administrator, Grace rapidly rose through the ranks, leading the Client Relations team before becoming a company director three years ago. She now leads the Client Relations and Marketing strategies for the business.

How long has your company been in business?

Hubken Group is one of the top UK awardwinning e-learning providers and has been implementing dynamic solutions since 2004.

Tell us about Hubken.

Since 2004, Hubken has had a clear mission – to make e-learning accessible to all. We provide our clients with robust and versatile e-learning platforms alongside the support and expertise to realise the full potential of their learning and development projects. As Totara and Moodle experts, we create premium e-learning platforms that transform organisational e-learning and training programmes. Working together, we help our clients make learning easy and engaging, creating opportunities for teams and businesses to grow.


Which sectors do you work in?

Hubken has over 20 years of experience developing online learning solutions. We are trusted by many of the UK’s biggest brands and work with some of the UK’s leading companies and charities to build exciting learning solutions. With our vast experience across many different sectors, Hubken is best placed to fully utilise Totara's excellent customisable functionality.

And although we work across all sectors, we specialise in:

• Public Sector – you can find us on G-Cloud.

• NHS and Healthcare.

• Charities and other non-profit organisations.

• Education and training.

• Retail.

• And of course, Logistics and Transportation – our client Arriva Trains recently won ‘Best Compliance Experience’ Totara award.

What is your USP?

We really try to redefine what people expect from a learning platform and their e-learning partner. We believe in a collaborative working relationship and put honesty and transparency at the core of what we do. Our SaaS e-learning platforms are so robust that we have every use case covered. We understand that the learning needs of organisations change and develop. So whether it’s employee onboarding, compliance training, or customer and partner training, we have our clients covered. Arriva Group is a great example, as they came to Hubken with a particular internal training need for around 750 people and now they are using the same system to train tens of thousands of employees, including for their mandatory Europe-wide compliance training programme.

What types of products and services do you offer?

At Hubken we provide a range of learning management systems to make e-learning accessible to all. Whether it’s Totara or Moodle LMS based, all our e-learning systems deliver the power and flexibility inherent in open-source technologies to help our clients fully transform the way they develop their employees, partners and customers online.

HubkenCore is our fully managed cloud hosting package that comes with unlimited support, customised branding, and a comprehensive training video library that our customers can access at any time to reacquaint their teams on how to carry out a variety of administration tasks. We also provide full Implementation, configuration and integration of our systems to any number of our clients’ existing HR technologies.

We can also provide bespoke course development, additional training and things like Single Sign-on (SSO).

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?

While every client is unique, we tend to think of client onboarding as an opportunity to ensure that they have a clear roadmap for the work that lies ahead. Our processes ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to key project details and milestones, providing an opportunity to outline a communication plan and answer any final questions that they may have.

The start of the project, in particular, is a great opportunity to learn more about our clients, how they operate, and to clearly understand what success means to them.

We take the time to review project goals, milestones, and processes. We walk through the roles of everyone involved with the project and talk about expectations for each person. We want to be entirely transparent here so that everyone fully understands what is expected by both parties so there is no miscommunication further down the road.

It’s really important that we talk about desired outcomes and what success means to both of us for this project and how we can work together to achieve it. The early days of the project are to define the milestones and how they align with our plans for success.

Before the system is ready to go live, we ensure that we have a comprehensive training session with the new admin leads so that they are fully comfortable with how it works and any additional configuration that they will want to do once it goes live. These training sessions are all recorded so that they always have access to review them if needed.

The goal is to be able to hand over the system for them to be able to comfortably manage in a BAU context.

Our clients also know that we are always available to help them with any queries that they may have or advise on how best to solve a particular e-learning challenge that they are facing. We have a 96 per cent customer retention rate so we’re very confident in the services we provide both pre and post.

How did you come to work with Arriva and support their compliance project?

We were originally approached by Arriva when the organisation was looking to implement a Moodle e-learning platform to help support a small e-learning focused team with an internal ERP-training programme. When discussing Arriva’s requirements, it became clear that a Totara LMS would be a much better fit and would enable them to start smart and begin to scale. It was Robert Waggot and his team who recognised the flexibility of Totara Learn and how it could revitalise Arriva’s compliance training across all their European operations.

Robert saw that there was a real need

within Arriva to deliver a wide range of virtual training and information courses throughout the entire organisation, from compliance and onboarding through to health and safety programmes or distributing rapidly changing customer travel updates.

Not only were the means of delivering L&D fragmented and varied across the organisation, the manual processes of organising, delivering and monitoring them were very time-consuming and costly. We worked closely with him to help demonstrate how Totara could really revolutionise how training throughout Arriva Trains was carried out.

Today, the platform is training tens of thousands of users across Europe in multiple languages and has recently won the Totara Best Compliance Experience global award. We’re really proud to have played a part in Robert’s success.

How can you help other rail operators with their L&D challenges?

Our intuitive, comprehensive and fully hosted competence and learning management software solutions allow rail operators (and suppliers to this industry) to effectively and efficiently, plan, manage, record and monitor the competence of all staff within their organisation.

With the benefit of our online Learning and Training management platform, not only can operators provide a personalised and very much automated learning experience, but the system also records assessment progress, measures against competencies held and expiry dates for groups and individuals, which is perfect for auditing purposes.

We can also automatically produce and store certificates of competence along with a wide variety of powerful reports to enable better planning. In short, we can help to:

• Easily maintain and prove compliance with training requirements.

• Efficiently deliver remote or classroombased training.

• Instantly assess skills and sync results with integrated systems.

• Increase efficiency by eliminating data entry between systems.

• Decrease risk by eliminating lost or inaccurate data.

• Decrease IT burden by eliminating multiple training systems.

• Always have updated qualification records ready for an audit.

• Deliver remote training that can be completed on a mobile device anytime.

• Measure instructor-led training and evaluation from a mobile device out of connectivity and sync results in connectivity.

• Distribute training documents and courses to mechanics wherever needed.

• Perform evaluations on the job and immediately update for tracking and reporting.


Approved Hydraulics have been supplying some of the largest rail build and maintenance firms for over 10 years, now considered some of the best in the world!

NetworkRailApprovedGrabsandHydraulicRotators TechnicalBack-up EquipmentSpecialist Larg tions 0161CALLON 4800869 web:sales@approvedhydraulics.co.uk approvedhydraulics.co.uk IntelligentWeighingSystems

Neurodiversity: Fostering Inclusion and Safety in the Railway Industry

The railway sector, with its complex infrastructure and safety-critical operations, is no exception. A significant aspect of diversity that has gained recognition is neurodiversity – the acknowledgment that neurological differences, such as autism, ADHD, and other cognitive conditions, are natural variations of the human brain. In the context of the railway industry, implementing neurodiversity best practices is not only an ethical imperative but also a strategic move that can enhance workforce performance, foster innovation, and promote safety.

Before delving into best practices for supporting neurodiverse staff in the railway industry, it's crucial to comprehend the concept of neurodiversity itself. Neurodiversity posits that neurological differences are not disorders to be fixed, but rather unique traits that contribute to the richness of human experience. Conditions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and others offer different ways of thinking and processing information. I approach this subject from a position of lived experience, personally I am dyslexic, but within my extended family we have several neurodiverse individuals, ADHD, Autism and dyslexia being prominent. Embracing neurodiversity requires a shift from a deficitbased approach to one that emphasises strengths, talents, and accommodations.

The support of staff members in the railway industry with neurodiverse conditions by creating an inclusive work

environment is paramount. Raising awareness about neurodiversity among colleagues through training sessions, workshops, and informational materials can dispel myths, reduce stigma, and encourage empathy. It isn’t that everyone needs to know all there is about such neurological differences, but to be encouraged to be patient and sensitive.

From a management perspective, the implementation of structured routines and clear guidelines is not only helpful but crucial. Neurodiverse individuals often thrive in environments with predictable routines and well-defined expectations. However, no two people are alike, and a one size fits all approach is unhelpful as some neurodiverse individuals may have unique preferences and productivity patterns. Offering flexible work arrangements, such as adjusted work hours or remote work options, may cater to their needs.

There should be clear lines of communication for employees to express their needs and concerns; a confidential process for disclosing neurodiverse conditions to management, HR, or designated personnel.

The Railway Mission chaplaincy can play an important role in enhancing understanding and support for both companies and people with neurodiversity. By providing guidance and fostering an environment of empathy and understanding, Railway Mission can aid companies in embracing neurodiversity best practices. This support can range from

education about neurodiversity to assisting in developing customised accommodations for neurodiverse employees.

In large organisation and complexes with higher numbers of staff, it would be good to create sensory-friendly spaces within the workplace. These could be aligned to or incorporated into the existing reflective spaces such as quite rooms or multi-faith facilities. These areas should be designed to reduce sensory overload and provide a calming atmosphere.

The railway industry's unwavering commitment to safety requires careful consideration when integrating neurodiversity best practices. Balancing safety protocols with inclusivity is achievable through collaboration and innovative thinking. In the railway industry safety is paramount, accommodations and support mechanisms must be tailored to both the individual's needs and the industry's requirements. Safety critical issues cannot be compromised, but accommodations can be devised that ensure both safety and inclusion.

A good manager will redefine roles to match an individual's strengths and assign tasks that align with their skills and interests while adhering to safety protocols. Breaking down complex tasks into smaller, manageable steps can reduce the sensation of being overwhelmed and enhance task performance.

Railway businesses should incorporate training for supervisors and managers on how to support neurodiverse employees. This training should cover effective communication, recognition of strengths, and understanding of potential challenges.

Simulations and training sessions are powerful tools for fostering a comprehensive understanding of safety protocols among neurodiverse staff members. This handson approach transcends traditional training methods by providing real-world experiences that align with the neurodiverse employees' learning styles. Such sessions enable them to actively engage with safety procedures, enhancing both comprehension and compliance. Through these interactive experiences, organisations can bridge gaps in understanding and facilitate a smoother

In today's rapidly evolving world, diversity and inclusion have become central tenets of successful businesses and industries
Liam Johnston is Executive Director at Railway Mission he can be reached at liam.johnston@ railwaymission.org or on 07718 971 918.
‘A good manager will redefine roles to match an individual's strengths and assign tasks that align with their skills and interests while adhering to safety protocols.’



Long-distance train operator CrossCountry, part of the Arriva Group, has been awarded a new contract to keep operating passenger services across Great Britain.

The new contract allows CrossCountry to continue running its long-distance and inter-regional services crossing England, Scotland and Wales, providing journeys for business and leisure customers and connecting cities and towns across Great Britain.

The agreement will enable CrossCountry to introduce a range of customer improvements including a full fleet refurbishment of both the Voyager and Turbostar fleet – the first major refurbishment

integration of neurodiverse employees into safety practices.

Recognising the significance of building a supportive community, Peer Support Networks offer a valuable avenue for neurodiverse employees to connect and share their experiences, strategies, and safety-related concerns. Creating an environment where these individuals can communicate openly fosters a sense of belonging and solidarity. This network not only contributes to their overall wellbeing but also serves as a platform for mutual learning. By exchanging insights and advice, neurodiverse employees can collectively contribute to enhancing safety awareness and preparedness within the organisation.

The implementation and assessment of neurodiversity inclusion initiatives have gained prominence as organisations strive for greater inclusivity and equitable treatment of all employees. Evaluating the success of neurodiversity inclusion initiatives in the railway industry requires a multifaceted approach that considers Employee Satisfaction, Performance Metrics, and Safety Records. The amalgamation of these assessment dimensions provides a comprehensive understanding of how effectively these initiatives are fostering an inclusive, supportive, and safe working

environment for neurodiverse employees. By continuously measuring and analysing these factors, organisations can not only gauge the impact of their efforts but also adapt and refine their strategies to ensure the ongoing improvement of workplace inclusivity and wellbeing.

Incorporating neurodiversity best practices in the railway industry requires a delicate balance between fostering inclusivity and upholding safety standards. By embracing neurodiversity, railway companies can tap into a diverse pool of talents, boost innovation, and enhance overall workforce morale. Through education, accommodation, and collaboration, the railway industry can create an environment where individuals with neurodiverse conditions thrive while maintaining the highest safety standards. This journey towards inclusivity is not only a commitment to employees but also a strategic step toward a more sustainable and successful future for the railway industry.

EN 45545 Approved Cable Glands and Entries...

For over 100 years WISKA have been at the forefront of cable management design and innvoation. This level of expertise has resulted in the development of our lastest range of products, introducing The Railway Series by WISKA.

The Railway Series is a comprehensive range of industry-specific cable glands and conduit solutions in accordance with EN 45545.

Need an expert? Speak to us today. 01208 816062 / 01208 816708 / www.wiska.co.uk / info@wiska.co.uk

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Next-generation Survey System

Plowman Craven, one of the UK’s largest surveying companies, has launched Vogel Freedom, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based survey system

The UAV survey system brings a host of game-changing benefits for rail infrastructure surveying, including efficiency, safety and sustainability whilst maintaining Vogel’s class-leading Band 1 survey accuracy. An industry milestone, the launch marks the first survey-grade solution that can survey tracks without physical access. Based on Plowman Craven’s unique IP, this accelerates the process of capturing data and converting it into client deliverables such as topographical surveys and, with one hundred per cent removal of ‘boots on ballast’, offers superior flexibility for when surveying can be undertaken. Compared with traditional methods, Vogel Freedom is:

• 20 per cent faster, dramatically cutting the typical labour and time intensive track-based tasks such as the installation of ground control points. This means that mobilisation times are now faster than ever, down from weeks to days, and the programme’s speed of delivery enhances the client journey, delivering valuable data quicker.

• 30 per cent cheaper, reducing the need for extensive hours of work for safety critical staff, allowing work to take place during daylight hours (as opposed to midweek nights and weekend possessions) and reducing the overall time spent on site. This results in major savings across project lifecycles.

• 85 per cent lower carbon, due to a vastly lower number of staff needed on site. In

turn, less site time means fewer shifts required across projects and reduced travel (and associated emissions) to and from sites. This is aligned with the decarbonisation targets for the UK’s rail networks and wider net zero ambitions in the UK.

Vogel Freedom enables comprehensive surveying of even the busiest and most inaccessible areas from a working height of 35 metres, with no need for manned aircraft or on-track survey teams. Rapid aerial data capture harnesses the advancement of the latest drone, survey grade sensor and geospatial technology to maintain the high quality of data required for any project size. The system uses a state-of-the-art UAV platform and 100-megapixel camera to capture overlapping aerial images of an entire site, along with post-processed kinematic GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) observations and precise inertial measurement information. The platform can be operated off-track during traffic hours, removing the need for possessions and line blocks and drastically reducing the exposure of workers to risk. Staff who would usually be on-site have now been moved from a high-risk and time-critical environment to desktop-based activities, thereby retaining their expertise.

This innovative new product is the next generation of the company’s Vogel R3D system, building on its capabilities with additional compelling features. The

updated platform can now accurately determine its location without as many ground control points, so that ground control can be off-track or even outside Network Rail’s boundaries. Since 2019, Plowman Craven has been one of only four approved suppliers on a framework agreement with Network Rail for the provision of UAV services. Network Rail manages over 32,000 kilometres of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and many thousands of stations, signals and level crossings. By providing access to more accurate and up-to-date data, Vogel Freedom boosts the management of assets and helps to de-risk the network, as well as supporting Network Rail’s goals to lower the number of ‘boots on ballast’. The system is fully approved according to Network Rail Band 1 and 3 standards and feeds into the Department for Transport’s railway plan in England and Wales for the period to March 2029, known as Control Period 7 (CP7), which highlights the need for reform and the critical role of rail infrastructure in meeting passengers’ expectations and driving economic growth.

A government report released this month – ‘Pro-innovation Regulation of Technologies Review: Digital Technologies’ – features recommendations on improving regulation across a number of key technologies that can deliver economic benefits, which were approved in the recent Spring budget. Within that, it is estimated that the drone sector alone can contribute £45 billion to the economy (equivalent to 1.6 per cent of the GDP) and save UK businesses approximately £22 billion annually by 2030.


Anchored Embankment Stabilisation

Anchor Systems’ Vulcan Earth Anchors were used as part of slope reprofiling and stabilisation in Tamworth, Staffordshire

Anchor Systems (International) Ltd, established in 1995 and based in the UK, are a globally leading supplier of earth anchoring products and solutions. Mechanical ground anchors, such as Anchor Systems’ Vulcan range, are routinely used for slope stabilisation, either in made ground such as railway and bridge embankments as well as natural ground cuttings or in foundation excavations.

Steepness, gravitational stress, poor drainage and an absence of rooted vegetation can leave slopes vulnerable to weakness and erosion, leading to ground instability and the possibility of slippage. Anchor Systems (International) Ltd offer cost-effective, practical, designed and engineered solutions for both slope stabilisation and erosion control creating a much safer and more pristine environment in both open land and on railways. Their mechanical anchoring systems are designed for any ground, earth and soil stabilisation associated with geotechnical engineering and securing geotextile and geosynthetic materials into position until vegetation can take effect.

Previous projects for geotechnical applications and erosion control have used Vulcan Earth Anchors systems for retaining a wide variety of geotextiles and geosynthetics including meshing, geo-grids, coir matting as well as geo-membranes with a wide range of sizes and accessories.

Forterra Brickworks approached Anchor Systems with a slope reprofiling and stabilisation requirement situated at their Tamworth site, Staffordshire. This was part of a £27 million investment to modernize the facility which had been in operation for 30 years, bringing it up to current standards of efficiency and sustainability.

Part of this upgrade scheme was to have a box feeder installed adjacent to an existing bund which spanned approximately 150 metres. Historical slope instability had occurred at various locations within the eastern slope of the bund.

KEY GS were commissioned by Forterra to undertake slope stabilisation/remediation design to the eastern slope of the bund.

The global stability analysis carried out by Key GS determined either an AS-30 or AS-50 (subject to site validation test)

Vulcan Earth Anchor System installed at 1.5 metre centres across the slope face section to a four-metre minimum depth would be

suitable for stabilising the reprofiled bund. Anchors were to be installed at a 20° angle from the horizontal and achieve a minimum hold capacity of 35kN. Greenax meshing was also specified to prevent localised erosion.

Hartmann Construction carried out the reprofiling works ensuring the slope had a maximum slope height of 5.8 metres with a slope angle of 34 ° (1v:1.5h).

Railway slope stabilisation project on Butts Bridge in Alton, Hampshire.


• Promotes vegetation growth for a sustainable result.

• Wet trades such as grout are not required with the system, providing a more environmentally friendly operation.

• Reduced labour and associated cost savings compared to hard armour installation.

• Reduces heavy traffic and installation plant necessary for hard armour/concrete processes.

• Aesthetically appealing and discreet, allows vegetation to take root providing a natural finish as opposed to unattractive traditional concrete methods.

• Recessed system

• Reduces groundwork and maximises use of space.

• Resilient and durable, our anchors are made from corrosion-resistant materials and work with the majority of geofabrics available.


• Location: Tamworth, Staffordshire.

• End Client: Forterra.

• Specialist Installer: Hartmann Construction.

• Product: 330 no. Vulcan AS-50 Galvanized anchor systems fitted with 1.5 metres of 20mm Galvanized tendon, with Greenax revegetation and erosion control mesh. .

330 AS-50 Vulcan Earth Anchors were installed across the 150-metre by elevenmetre bund at 1.5-metre centres through the pre-laid Greenax meshing. All anchors were loaded and tested to confirm a 35kN hold capacity.

Reprofiling and installation works were carried out over a three-week period with a team of four operatives.

The plant required to carry out the installation works consisted of a 12T excavator with breaker attachment, T38 x 5m drive rod kit and handheld hydraulic loading equipment.

Tel: 01342 719 362

Email: info@anchorsystems.co.uk

Visit: www.anchorsystems.co.uk


Last Chance to Book Your Place

Rail Operational Planning Masterclass 2023

What will I learn?

The Operational Planning Masterclass is ideal for those who are reasonably new to the subject, as well as those who wish to further their career development and expertise in this field by setting their knowledge in a wider context. This course will introduce the specific tasks of operational planning, this course illustrates how the timetable is fundamental to a railway business, generating revenue and influencing costs.

When and where is the training?

Friday 24th Nov: 18.00 - 21.00

Saturday 25th Nov: 9.00 -17.30 (plus evening meal)

Sunday 26st Nov: 9.00-15.30

Location: Beacon Building 2nd Floor, Stafford Enterprise Park West, Weston Rd, Stafford, ST18 0BF

Refreshments and a light lunch will be provided for attendees.

What is the cost?

Members: £1200.00 inc VAT

Non Members: £1300.00 inc VAT

Book to Attend

To book your place on the Operational Planning Masterclasses or for more information about the course content, contact our learning and development team at learnserve@railwayoperators.co.uk. learnserve@railwayoperators.co.uk

Get in touch about learning today... Scan to book your place www.ciro.org learnserve@railwayoperators.co.uk


A highly skilled, hands-on Engineering Geologist with an outstanding record of achievement in major construction, site investigation, inspections and remediation projects within transportation, landfill, gas and water environments. David has overseas experience in offshore oil & gas, as well as in the Gold Mining industry.


GeoAccess are a bespoke Asset Management company specialising in Inspections and Surveys. Established in 2014 to address the need for inspections on difficult access sites in the rail sector, we work nationwide covering a broad range of industries. Utilising our highly experienced Geotechnical and Structural Engineers coupled with UAVs, ROVs, Rope Access and Confined Space Techniques, we look at every job holistically.

Want to know more about GeoAccess?

Tel: 0333 772 2315

Email: info@geoaccess.co.uk

Visit: www.geoaccess.co.uk

When did you join the company?

Although the business was set up in 2014, it wasn’t until 2019 that I joined GeoAccess fulltime to support my business partner Mark Coleman with the onset of upcoming Network Rail framework contract opportunities.

What is your role within GeoAccess?

To keep an organisational structure and to lean on my strengths, it made sense to take the role of Operations Director, therefore not too far away from the coal face, as well as being accountable for all operational business relationships. Also supporting the Managing Director on all levels my role is to also encourage and inspire leadership.

What was the inspiration behind starting GeoAccess?

GeoAccess started as an idea back in 2014 where it was recognised there was a gap in the market for technical engineers utilising roped access capabilities to carry out earthwork examinations across the country. Some changes in Network Rail Standards meant that to complete a compliant inspection, it became a requirement to traverse much steeper slopes than previous.

To access these steep slopes on the network meant more people were needed to be IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trained Association) trained and there was a lack of this resource nationwide. Today we carry out earthwork inspections directly to Network Rail following a series of successful bids a few years back, delivering upwards of 20,000 earthwork inspection reports per annum.

What challenges have you faced in the industry?

Working in the rail industry brings many challenges, but as an organisation we see these as opportunities. More recently Network Rail have quite rightly introduced some initiatives to ensure the safety of railway workers accessing, walking and working along the network.

In our sector we generally walk miles and miles along the railway corridor to access sections of railway cuttings and embankments but often encounter blockers to access such as ‘pinch points’ in the cess walkway, things like overhead line stanchions or overhead bridge abutments where the cess width has reduced to unsafe distances from the nearest running line. Where previously Line Blocks were relatively easy to obtain to allow engineers to pass the obstruction safely, the industry currently has to overcome a challenge for the amount of Line Blocks being asked for, causing Signaller overload. Recognising this early we as a company decided to look at alternative methods of accessing the areas we wanted to inspect.

Our work area is generally in the off-track environment away from the railway line, and so where we identify areas not possible to walk to along the railway cess we access via the boundary directly onto the earthwork, avoiding the need to book Line Blocks and keeping the trains running, but also keeping our operatives away from the open line.

What is your Unique Selling Point?

Our examination staff is mainly made up of qualified and experienced Geotechnical Engineers and Engineering Geologists, but what sets us aside is that on the difficult to access areas we have upskilled our workforce with the capability to use roped access techniques or even drones. This means we have the experienced technical person right at the ‘coal face’ to make assessments there and then on what data to collect or images to gather. This brings so many efficiencies for us and our clients, saving time and money. We are a company that thrives on a challenge and look at every obstacle holistically, so we find the most appropriate solution for our client that ‘gets the job done’ in the most efficient way.

What are some major projects you’re currently working on?

We are currently fully embedded into our Framework Contracts for Network Rail Wales, Western and Southern delivering earthworks examinations across all these three regions. On a typical earthwork season, we examine over 20,000 earthwork assets using our pool of experienced Earthwork Examiners out on site. We also carry out enabling works on these sites where vegetation levels are too high to carry out a compliant inspection, clearing strips on the earthworks to allow the examiner to safely traverse the slopes and collect the necessary data. On average we clear upwards of 1,000,000m2 of vegetation across all these regions in a normal working season. In addition to our work on these Contracts, we also support other Teir 1 suppliers to Network Rail in other routes with earthworks examinations but also delivering bespoke geotechnical appraisals on high-risk earthwork assets.

Over the last twelve months we have also carried out over one thousand Mine Entry Inspections for the Coal Authority in Scotland, again utilising our Engineering Geologists to collect the data using handheld devices and uploading to a central database.

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?

When our client comes to us with a problem, we always listen so that we can fully understand what outcomes they are trying to achieve. We then work closely


and collaboratively to identify the most efficient and cost-effective solution, and at every stage make sure we have good and clear communications. In the challenging environment we work, things do change frequently from the original plan and we pride ourselves in managing these situations professionally at all times, discussing options and solutions with our client at all levels and phases.

What are your plans going forward to ensure GeoAccess services are still around for years to come?

We have quite an audacious plan to be The Best in our area of expertise, working closely with our current clients so that together we can provide and deliver our best product. We have our sights firmly set on being successful on any future contract renewals and are working hard with our customers to ensure continual improvement on all aspects of our deliverables and client working relationships. We are extremely excited for other upcoming opportunities within other regions too and are preparing our team in readiness for this.

We believe that in this ever changing and challenging environment, being one

step ahead with innovative solutions is key. Technology will play a huge part in this and where we are faced with examining difficult to access areas, utilising our UAV capabilities to provide outputs that can be used by our examination team or our customer to still ensure a compliant end product, but probably just as important, be able to move this data around and import into the systems currently in use is so vital.

What do you have planned for the year ahead?

The next twelve-month plan for GeoAccess is quite important in our goal of being ‘the best’. We have set ourselves challenging but achievable milestones. We will continue to deliver our current framework contracts with Network Rail to maximise efficiency and give our customer the best service we can. We pride ourselves in the quality of our end product, so working collaboratively and listening to feedback will be top of our agenda.

In being our best, we also want to be the number one company to work for in our sector. We have recently undergone a huge recruitment drive for additional site examination staff but also to build our

strong internal senior management team. Being adequately resourced with the best people in the market is key to our plan for the next twelve months to springboard our successes into the future.

We also know that technology and innovation will drive efficiencies, and so we plan to build on our current capabilities in order to offer many other solutions in the near future.

What’s next for GeoAccess?

GeoAccess is going from strength to strength and has recently experienced a period of substantial growth. We plan to continue this upward trend with sights firmly set on other opportunities on the horizon, building on our successful model we intend to branch out to new clients in the industry. This is a very exciting time for me and our team.

What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces?

For us, and I expect for many others in this industry, the changing climate brings along a multitude of challenges to this sector. With the aging rail infrastructure, much of it


built back in the mid 1800s it is now coming under stress from inclement weather. Rainfall events pose a particular challenge on earthwork assets where surface water runoff from adjacent ground overwhelms the slope drainage causing flooding and worse, even failures of the actual slope.

It has become evident over recent years that with mild autumns we are seeing less, and less vegetation die back into the winter months meaning the slopes are needing more clearance works head of an inspection to allow the examiner to traverse and collect the required data for a compliant examination. With an increase in the amount of vegetation removal required this does also mean additional ecological checks around the network which is starting to highlight real constraints. To date we have relied on external consultancy for ecological support, but recently we have made the decision to procure our own Ecologist, still supported by our consultancy, and will soon be getting stuck into desk studying our next season’s task list.

How can the industry tackle its skills shortage and how do you recruit/retain/ train your staff?

With our sector being quite niche, resourcing examination staff has always been a challenge. Earth science as a discipline in the universities has seen a decline in student enrolment over the last decade which means finding qualified engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers with the pre-requisites to fulfil the Network Rail standards is becoming much harder. We do pride ourselves in having a

very strong, professional, and experienced team and with our recent recruitment drive we have been really pleased to have brought into the industry some new and enthusiastic individuals.

We have a strong mentorship pool to support the new engineers on their journey of becoming an earthwork examiner. We are extremely proud to say that when people choose to work for GeoAccess they stay with us. I believe this is because of our solid core values as an organisation, so when people join us, they join a team of likeminded individuals who are professional, hardworking, and respectable. We see training and continual professional development of our staff as a major part of our recent growth and success.

Have you changed your approach to work at all since covid?

As with many organisations, working practices look very different now since the pandemic, and for SME’s like us this has brought huge challenges. We work across the whole of the UK and our central hub is based in the Midlands, but our staff live and work from as far north as Scotland, to as far south as Devon and Brighton. Remote working is not entirely new to the workplace, but it is now more the norm than ever before. We as an organisation believe that maintaining the structure within the business is key to success when working so remotely, and this is reflected in our meeting regime of daily, weekly and monthly schedules, using video calling from our home locations. However, we do also believe that getting everyone together is hugely beneficial to a team’s

success but also for mental health reasons, so we do encourage our staff to utilise office days from time to time.

We also encourage our staff to occasionally meet the client in a more faceto-face setting, particularly at monthly progress meetings. The collaborative discussions and problem solving sat around a desk far outweighs being sat in front of a laptop screen surrounding by thumbnail images of the attendees.

However, with the obvious challenges remote working brings there are also huge benefits. One being that our staff spend less time in the cars commuting, which is better for individual fatigue but also much kinder to the environment.


Outside The Box Thinking

As suppliers to Network Rail Tier 1 & 2 contractors WM Plant Hire pride themselves on their solution focused approach, helping clients overcome challenges of access and reach and working together to innovate, making processes safer and more efficient in delivery

Spider and long reach excavators working together help BAM Nuttall achieve the re-grade on 40-metre slope

Research, development, and innovation has formed a key part of CP6 strategy and continues to influence CP7 with key aims to achieve efficiencies in delivery and value for money. Restricted access in both maintenance and emergency schemes, as well as the need to reach further on cuttings beyond capabilities of standard long reach methodologies are becoming significant challenges to efficient delivery.

Long reach and spider excavator specialists, WM Plant Hire, with more than 30 years of experience in the rail sector, have developed their expertise working on numerous high-profile contracts HS1, HS2, Hope Valley Upgrade and emergency schemes and blockades. This experience together with open communication and great working relationships has allowed them to work with contractors to not only overcome these challenges faced but also push the boundaries of innovation.

WM Plant Hire has the capability to tackle almost every eventuality:

• A wide-ranging fleet of long reach excavators 4 to 115 tonnes

• Wide track long reach reducing ground pressure by up to 50 percent

• Zero-tail swing excavators rotating within the width of the tracks

But it is with their Spider machines most recently that they have been ‘thinking outside the box’ to allow clients to reach further and assist with safe and more efficient delivery.

Extending capabilities with the Spider

Used across rail and marine sectors for many years, at up to 16 tonnes these larger Spider excavators, with the latest stage V engine technology, can work on steep slopes, in deep water and climb over obstacles such as fencing and safety barriers; completing several critical Network Rail projects, including drainage schemes and scour protection works.

Working in combination with long reach excavators, WM Plant Hire’s Spider machines nine-metre telescopic booms, provide an efficient way of extending reach capabilities. They are ideal for geotechnical re-grading schemes with longer slopes, where contractors require significant reach yet are limited by site accessibility or loading on embankments.

Fitted with a 360-degree tilt rotate unit, the Spider allows any angle to be achieved with any buckets or attachments. The individual hydraulic legs make it possible to position itself on steep slopes over 35 degrees with stability derived from the ‘spider’ legs. They also allow the machine to flatten itself to work safely in low headroom environments, under railway bridges or powerlines, where ordinary tracked machines would struggle.

The versatility of these machines is improved still further by their high power to weight ratio, with hydraulic power up to one


hundred per cent more than the equivalent tracked excavator, and capability to handle heavier attachments.

Overcoming Access Constraints on Viaduct Emergency Repair

This April the railway between Didcot and Oxford was closed for safety reasons after significant movements in the 160-year-old Nuneham viaduct were detected due to emerging structural issues with the south bank abutment. This structural failure not only blocked the well-used River Thames crossing but closed the main DCL rail line. Network rail contractors sprang into action completing what would normally be 18-month programme in 66 days to get the line re-opened.

Once new abutments were built however, the temporary piles installed to support the viaduct during the re-build needed to be cut off 1m below the water level. This required some excavation around the piles to allow divers to carry out these operations. Constraints of low head room and low water levels toward the banks meant an innovative solution was required outside the conventional barge and long reach option.

WM Plant Hire’s Spider excavator provided Teignmouth Maritime Services the perfect solution to work with their divers; able to work in the water to complete excavations but also work on a pontoon lowering its height and using its telescopic boom to overcome headroom restrictions, lifting the cut off piles out of the water.

Embankment Repairs at Sevenoaks with Spider

A bank slippage around a tunnel portal between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge recently required measures to be taken to reprofile and cut the slope back to a shallower angle. The Sevenoaks Tunnel cutting located on the Charing Cross to Dover Western Dock line (XTD) is approximately ½ mile long with a maximum height of 14m and a typical slope of between 30 to 35 degrees.

Due to the sheer size of the cutting and length of the slope even the longest of WM Plant Hire’s long reach excavators at 32m would at points be unable to reach the bottom. With conventional approaches not possible to complete works to the design intent, specialist plant was needed to

Trials with Story Geotech TEI mast on Spider excavator
‘By combining the Geotechnical Services of Story Contracting with WM Plant’s specialist Spider machinery we hope to offer a one-stop-shop service and solution to infrastructure sectors throughout the UK.’ Lee Healey, Head of Technical Services, Story Geotech

achieve the 40m reach required and optimise efficiency in these locations.

Utilising the ‘Spider’ machine allowed BAM Nuttall to minimise on-track plant requirements and thereby possession time required as it could work at the toe of the slope passing back to the 22-metre long reach machine to carry out regrading. The cutting renewal consisted of a large regrade on both the UP and DN line with approximately 15,500m3 of material removed.

As part of the full temporary works design, the in-built winch in the ‘Spider’ excavator provided BAM Nuttall with an extra level of safety whilst carrying out operations above the live railway, with the machine tethered to one of the long reach excavators as a secondary fail safe.

Exploring NEW applications of the Spider

WM Plant Hire are also excited to be exploring new applications of their Spider with Story Contracting’s geotechnical team. Recognising its hydraulic power and lifting capacity on a weir demolition scheme using rock breakers and lifting 1-1.5t bags of concrete spoil led to recent discussions with the Story Geotech team on drilling applications for the Spider and trials with a TEI mast.

Utilising machinery and drilling rigs capable of traversing slopes provides a unique opportunity to undertake Ground Investigations and in-situ testing as well as installing monitoring systems and implementation of soil reinforcement/ regrade of earthworks.

This opportunity would provide much needed access midweek to infrastructure (railway, highway, and waterways etc.) assets as well as providing access to remote and sensitive renewable power and flood defence schemes.

Alternative options of bespoke designs and temporary works platforms no longer provide efficiency, where the Spider methodology could increase utilisation of staff and reduce disruption to the public/ environment.

Providing a new approach capable of installing instruments and capture real-time data also provides much needed monitoring systems to study the resilience in our earthwork assets. Combined with weather monitoring systems the data can be used to predict similar assets in the future.

With more ‘outside the box,’ thinking WM Plant Hire is now exploring with Story the use of their rotary drill on the Spider, capable of Dynamic Sampling (soil) and Rotary Drilling / Coring (rock), to provide geotechnical solutions in all grounds.

Tel: 01746 769555

Email: info@wmplanthire.com

Visit: wmplanthire.com

Spider excavator lifting cut off piles underneath Nuneham viaduct
‘Being long reach and Spider excavator specialists means we are constantly pushing the boundaries to solve problems. Building long standing relationships with all our customers and ensuring they benefit from new innovations and investment is particularly important to us.’
Damian McGettrick BEng CEng MICE, Director of WM Plant Hire


Milda is the Head of Product at CrossTech and has been with the company since 2019. She is passionate about bringing computer vision technologies into the rail industry. Outside of all things computer vision systems, you can find Milda painting and enjoying the wonderful walks around the United Kingdom.


CrossTech develops cutting-edge automated computer vision inspection software for the railway industry. Our expertise is in AI Image Processing, Automation, Computer Vision Analytics and User-Centred software design and build. We have a dedicated and expert team of in-house PhD level computer vision, software and embedded systems engineers supported by product management excellence.

Want to know more about CrossTech?

Tel: 07376 925 596 | Email: hello@crosstech.co.uk | Visit: crosstech.co.uk

What is your role within CrossTech?

I make sure that the automated computer vision inspection products we build meet the needs of our rail infrastructure users. I also champion computer vision systems in general across rail as I am very passionate about this domain space and the advantages it can bring to rail.

Tell us about your career before you joined CrossTech.

I joined CrossTech over four years ago but originally came from consulting and private equity where I was working in the oil and gas and heavy manufacturing sectors to help them scale and gather data-based insights.

Why did you want to work in rail?

The main reason was that I wanted to work in a tangible industry where you can see the impact it has in real life. I also thought the work CrossTech was doing with computer vision was very interesting and of benefit.


Tell us about the CrossTech team?

I think we are a really interesting team (if I do say so myself) as we come from all sorts of different technology and social backgrounds with a shared passion for rail and working in technology businesses with societal impact. For example, our team spans eight nationalities and we are made up of PhD level computer vision engineers, software engineers and product experts who are very focussed on computer vision and AI software for rail.

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?

As Head of Product, you will find most of my time is spent listening to the customers. It is a really important part of the process and ensures understanding of the problems they are trying to solve. Then once you have listened, clarify the findings with the users, come back with a few prototypes and cocreate the solution around them.

Then it is all about speed of iteration, so the whole industry needs to understand that when it comes to digital technology, speed of iteration and feedback (good and bad) is how we get to user-centric outcomes. In software engineering, this is called ‘agile’, meaning that the focus is on starting with something small and simple, and then improving and iterating based on the feedback of people who will be actually using the system.

How has technology developed since you started in the industry?

Our main service to the rail industry is Hubble, which is a leading computer vision automated inspection system. In short, we work with collaborative partners to ingest video data captured from the front of trains and apply computer vision algorithms to identify exceptions to specific Network Rail standards and provide these insights to frontline teams. It gives Network Rail’s teams a much richer information set to prioritise maintenance decisions from to help improve performance and safety.

This was originally developed in 2018 with support of Network Rail, Innovate UK and the Department of Transport and we had very basic vegetation management encroachment capabilities with a pretty basic dashboard for users. Fast forward to 2023 and we are automatically detecting signal sighting and level crossing sighting non-compliance, hazardous species and biodiversity habitats – all from the same video data. Hubble is now one of the most sophisticated computer vision analytics platforms across UK PLC, not just within the rail industry, so it really has developed a lot since the early days. And there is lots more to come! Big thanks to those partners who have helped us so far.

Since I’ve started in the industry, computer vision and artificial intelligence technology in general has become more mature. At the same time, Network Rail teams have increased use of digital inspection services in their processes and are more often suggesting new areas where issues could be detected automatically, which shows the positive adoption of this domain within rail!

How does the technology differ from other systems we have seen across the industry in this space?

Great question. I see that there are four key differentiators:

1. The number and depth of inspection use cases Hubble provides analysis to front line teams.

2. Our collaborative nature – we work in a collaborative manner with other industry partners. For example, we collaborate with over 13 industry partners in terms of video data collection, where we just focus on being the best at analytics (computer vision part of Hubble).

3. We have looked to not duplicate other systems working in other automated use cases. We have stayed predominantly in where we first started (lineside and vegetation management) and just increased and developed our capabilities here.

4. Most important is the fact that Hubble uses computer vision. This means frontline teams don’t need to watch hours of video and instead the exceptions are shown to them – it saves hours of time.

How do frontline teams access the Hubble system?

It is an as-a-service product, so access is just over a web-browser, it is really intuitive to use so just type in the web address login and off you go.

What are the major technical challenges faced when implementing computer vision in the rail sector?

There are quite a lot but a few key ones are as follows:

• Diverse Environmental Conditions –rail systems traverse through varied environments, from urban settings to remote landscapes, which often affect the visibility and operation of computer vision systems.

• Scale – rail networks are vast, making it a challenge to monitor every component efficiently.

• Integration with Legacy Systems – many rail systems have been in operation for decades. Integrating new computer vision technologies into these existing systems can be complex.

• Varying Standards – different regions and countries might have varying standards

and regulations related to rail operations and safety, which can complicate universal solution deployment.

The challenges are what make it fun at least!

How have you seen the industry change over the years?

The shift towards digitalisation, sustainability, and automation has been significant for rail. The industry has become more receptive to technological innovations, and there's an increasing emphasis on safety and passenger and colleague experience.

How can the industry tackle its skills shortage and how do you recruit/retain/ train your staff?

This is a hard one. Rail needs to continue to reposition itself as a sector for professionals who are aspiring to work in fast-paced companies that work across technology, sustainability and real-world impact. Rail is all of these things, but I feel we don’t always communicate this as well as we could.

Speed is really important. Without speed and agility in the industry, young people’s careers don’t grow fast enough and they just move on. I also think a huge opportunity is recruiting younger apprentices into technology/software and data analysis roles.

Where do you think the industry will be in the next 10-15 years?

This depends on hyperloop/flying taxis/ point-to-point drones. 15 years is a very long time in technology and these are potentially huge disruptors to rail. I would say flying taxis will be here within five to seven years.

What do you have planned for the year ahead?

Well, that would be telling! In all seriousness, it is rare for tech companies to release their product roadmaps given the sensitive nature of them, but all I can say is that we have a lot of new features coming which will give the infrastructure maintenance teams another step-change in lineside inspection analysis.

What would you say is the most exciting technology in the industry?

This might be biased due to years spent working on it, but for me computer vision is certainly one of the most exciting technologies out there. It enables many robotic systems such as pilotless drones and self-driving vehicles and can make any task that requires visual inspection much faster, more accurate and easier.

Finally, tell us a fun fact about you.

I have visited over 70 countries and worked in Santiago and Manilla!



Mike Brookes is the Market Manager Transportation for HARTING UK. He’s been with HARTING for nearly 30 years and is responsible for the sales and support of HARTING connectors and HARTING cable assemblies to key accounts within the UK rail market.


HARTING Ltd has been in the UK for over 40 years and is experienced in the fields of electrical, electronic and optical connection, transmission and networking. It develops innovations which provide simple yet reliable solutions, especially as markets and industries evolve quickly.

What is your role within HARTING?

I’m the Market Manager Transportation and I’m responsible for sales and support of HARTING connectors and HARTING cable assemblies to key accounts within the UK rail market. I also work alongside the marketing and product management teams to identify new opportunities. In addition, I’m tasked with identifying and contributing to New Product Development (NPD) and added value business for HARTING UK.

How long has your company been in business?

The HARTING Technology Group was established in Germany in 1945 and is a leading global supplier of connectivity technology, recording sales of over €1 billion in 2021/22. HARTING UK was established in the UK in 1989, before we moved to our current facility in Northampton, where we manufacture cable assembles and intercar jumpers for the delivery of power, control and data.

What types of companies do you collaborate on projects with?

HARTING is a key supplier to all the OEM rolling stock companies, but we also support the rolling stock leasing (ROSCOs) and train operating companies (TOCs) with end-toend project work, right from initial design through to production. We’ve been very active recently working with consultancy companies and integrators on new business opportunities within train modification projects, alongside our new build work.

We’ve also partnered with system integrators for Wi-Fi and European Train Control System (ETCS) installs. As you can see, it’s quite a substantial list, but fortunately we have a skilled team of active sales engineers, designers, and project engineers available to support our rail customers, no matter what the project.

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’re supported in this approach by our Central Rail Technical Centre in Germany, which performs a wide range of in-house testing and analysis. Their capabilities include material analysis, climatic and environmental tests, electromagnetic compatibility, dynamic testing of cable assemblies and a whole host of mechanical, electrical, shock and vibration checks.

What are some potential solutions?

Depending on where the equipment will be located, HARTING offer a wide range of connectivity solutions for internal, external, static, or dynamic applications that require power, control and data. Whatever the environment can throw at you, HARTING have a solution. Our products meet all shock, vibration, smoke, fire and environmental standards for use on rolling stock and signalling equipment. We also offer the added advantage of manufacturing and engineering hubs for cable assemblies, including intercar jumpers. All this design and extended life testing is carried out in-house.

What would you say is the most exciting technology in the industry?

For HARTING, I would say the roll out of ETCS and digitalisation are the most exciting technologies. Then there are upcoming solutions for carbon reduction, including retractioning and conversion to cleaner fuels, including battery and hydrogen concepts.

Want to know more about HARTING?

Tel: 01604 827500

Email: salesuk@harting.com

Visit: www.harting.com/UK/

We work very closely with our rail customers during as we need to gain a deep understand their key requirements. When it comes to cable and jumper assembles, we follow a pretty standard procedure. After a feasibility check, we begin engineering a suitable solution based on the customer’s requirements. Once we’ve reached agreement on timeline and specifications, we provide a detailed project plan with milestones, including prototyping, serial implementation, testing and delivery. Once the assembly is in production, we continue to optimise right the way through the manufacturing process.

How have you seen the industry change over the years?

The most recent key change is probably digitalisation. We’ve been asked to manufacture solutions for reliable connectivity of data networks on board trains as TOCs and ROSCOs do not necessarily have the expertise in-house and are looking for more engineering and design support from their suppliers. Train builders prefer to have a modular approach to building trains, making connectivity products and preassembled cabling more important in the build process. The need for a reduction in weight and miniaturisation

‘Train builders prefer to have a modular approach to building trains, making connectivity products and preassembled cabling more important in the build process.’

High performance transformer connectors

■ Longer lifetime due to Han® HPR metal hoods and housings for harsh environments

■ Time savings due to easy installation and shielding without shrinking or taping

■ Cost savings due to minimum inventory needed based on efficient coding system

■ Secure solution according to relevant railway standards (EN 50467, EN 50124-1, EN 61373, EN 45545, EN 60137)

■ Shock- and vibration proofed system

It has to be safe the whole lifetime.
One Range. No Limits: www.HARTING.com/hptc
Han® HPR HPTC – Especially developed for railway applications.

have been met head on with lots of product development, backed by years of experience and in-house know how. Technology is evolving much quicker and suppliers must adapt to the constant demand for new innovative solutions.

Do you think the rail industry could be greener and what is your organisations green strategy?

There are currently lots of exciting green programmes within the rail industry, such as decarbonisation and the use of hydrogen. At HARTING, we’ve focused on reducing energy consumption and improving efficiency by reducing the weight of components.

For example, the Han-Eco® range is manufactured from high-performance, reinforced polyamide plastic, which offers substantial weight savings of up to 50 per cent compared to standard metal connectors.

More widely at HARTING, there is a strong focus on CO2 neutrality and renewable energy. We operate combined heat and power plants with biomethane, three of which have been upgraded to combined cooling, heat and power plants (CCHP). Our European Distribution Centre is powered by geothermal energy and a photovoltaic system on the roof.

As a result, the company has saved around 18,500 tonnes of CO2 per year since 2012 by using green energy. In the UK, the HARTING manufacturing facility holds ISO 9001 certification for Quality Management and the ISO 14001 Environmental Standard.

How does HARTING Customised Solutions support UK rail customers?

Alongside our Central Rail Technical Centre in Germany, we have a skilled team of engineers and designers at our

manufacturing facility in Northampton, where we design and build custom jumper and cable assemblies for the rail market. No matter how complex, our team can produce project-specific assemblies to suit your needs, including installing components, routing cable harnesses and fabrication. Our designers can also create a 3D CAD visualisation of your build beforehand to ensure absolute accuracy.

We’ve also recently retained our Silver Quality Performance Level award from the International Railway Industry Standard (IRIS), putting us in the top five per cent globally of all IRIS certified companies, which is a fantastic achievement for the whole team. The facility also holds ISO 9001 certification for Quality Management, the ISO 14001 Environmental Standard and UL certification for Wiring Harnesses ZPFW2 / ZPFW8.

‘There are currently lots of exciting green programmes within the rail industry, such as decarbonisation and the use of hydrogen. At HARTING, we’ve focused on reducing energy consumption and improving efficiency by reducing the weight of components.’

Transport Focus

Transport Focus is an independent watchdog tasked with getting the the best deal for passengers

With a strong emphasis on evidence-based campaigning and research, Transport Focus ensures that it knows what is happening on the ground. It uses its knowledge to influence decisions on behalf of passengers to secure improvements and make a difference.

Transport Focus is the voice of transport users. It carries out research on transport user experiences and needs for the future. This includes the large scale National Rail Passenger Survey where over 50,000 rail passengers give their views on rail journeys twice a year.

Transport Focus also carries out weekly surveys, obtaining the views of approximately 500 rail passengers each week. Passengers rate how satisfied they

were with their overall journey and a range of aspects including the punctuality of their service, the value for money of their ticket and a number of Covid-related measures.


Transport Focus is an executive nondepartmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Transport. It is run by a management team and led by a Board of non-executive directors. It has existed in one form or another since 1947. It was formed by the Transport Act as the Central Transport Consultative Committee (CTCC) plus a network of regional Transport Users’ Consultative Committees. Over the years it has changed its name as it took on responsibility for bus, coach and tram passengers, and then road users.

Transport Focus makes major decisions at Board meetings, held in public four times per year. Decisions are also made at monthly management team meetings.

Transport Focus can have up to 14 Board members. The Scottish Government, Welsh Government and the Greater London Authority each appoint a member to the Board. The remaining appointments are made by the Secretary of State for Transport. Recruitment to the Board is based on merit. Appointments are regulated by The Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.


Chair: Nigel Stevens

Chief Executive: Anthony Smith

Director: David Sidebottom


Address: Albany House

86 Petty France, London SW1H 9EA

Tel: 0300 123 0860

Email: info@transportfocus.org.uk

Visit: www.transportfocus.org.uk


A Tractive Force

The future of railways is digital, powered by 5G/FRMCS says Karsten Oberle Head of Rail for the Nokia Enterprise

A future with FRMCS

Thus, the transition from GSM-R to FRMCS is a crucial step toward a digital future. Railways are starting now, according to the IDC study. Eighty percent of executives indicated that they are piloting, planning to start implementing, or designing their plans to realize the value of FRMCS.

FRMCS isn’t just a straight-up replacement of an aging standard. Leveraging 5G and its advanced capabilities, FRMCS can revolutionize the industry. According to IDC’s findings, rail executives are investing in FRMCS because they expect substantial positive impacts in four clear areas: improved operational efficiency, increased capacity utilization, enhanced safety, and revenue growth.

The context for change

When it comes to digital transformation, railways have long been stymied by the weight of their legacy systems. Yet, with market support for GSM-R technology set to end around 2030, new insights from an IDC survey show there is an appetite for change. And the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) –powered by a next-generation 5G-enabled connectivity infrastructure – is at the heart of that change.

A history with GSM

GSM-R technology has been deployed since the early 1990s. But after three dynamic decades, business requirements and railway technologies have evolved. Indeed, rail executives interviewed by IDC view the current GSM-R-centric infrastructure as costly to maintain, not interoperable, and not sufficiently future proof.

At the same time, railways are under pressure to increase revenues, meet more stringent environmental targets, and improve operational efficiency – even as they face a skills shortage, complex budget processes, and interoperability concerns.

These factors are behind a growing recognition that digital transformation is critical to the industry’s survival, which puts next generation wireless communications technology in the spotlight.

There are other factors compelling railways to accelerate this modernization of critical communications.

For starters, worldwide, governments are seeking new ways to meet climate targets and rail can be a part of the solution. Rail accounts for eight percent of global passenger travel and about nine percent of freight activity, yet that translates to only three percent of transport energy use. The reality that rail travel is 15 to 20 times safer than travelling by car adds another checkmark in its plus column.

At the same time, governments are seeking new paths to prosperity, and railways have a role to play here as well. Last year, the UK government committed £1 billion to upgrade Victorian era infrastructure, alongside similar commitments from the European Union, United States, and Australia as part of economic recovery plans.

In addition, after dropping 46.3 per cent in 2020, traffic is recovering – doubling between September 2021 and September 2022 in the UK, with Deutsche Bahn recording a 110 per cent increase in its traffic during the first six months of 2022.

Still, there must be even greater growth to sustain a long-term healthy business. And laying down kilometers of rail tracks or shifting every kilometer of existing networks to high-speed rail is not always affordable.

A future that contains what railways need – revenue growth, operational efficiency,

safety, sustainability, and security, along with an appealing passenger experience –requires digital transformation. Only 5G/ FRMCS delivers the ubiquitous, low latency, reliable and interoperable connectivity that will help railways achieve these strategic goals.

Planning today for FRMCS deployment

As expected, railway executives are pragmatic in how they are implementing FRMCS. IDC research shows a proactive, phased approach is favored over a ‘big bang’ switchover since there are technical and organizational challenges to tackle.

They are executing their modernization road map across the layers of the communication architecture, exploring what’s possible with this advanced technology. In addition, areas such as GSM-R core virtualization and transport network modernization towards IP/MPLS are steps that can be taken well before full FRMCS deployment.

A thoughtful approach allows for strategic road maps to be put into place, identifying priority railway lines and testing use cases to maximize return on investment. Early use case favourites are appearing. Voice and group voice, ECTS, and virtual coupling for critical communications. CCTV, predictive maintenance, and telemetry for performance communications. And ticketing, public information/address, and onboard infotainment lead in business communications innovation.

A path forward

To reap the benefits of modernization, railways need to start their investments sooner rather than later. Of the railways responding to the IDC study, more than 60 percent are already investing in the equipment, capabilities and competencies required to implement FRMCS.

A significant and intense period of transformation lies ahead. What is critical for railways is that they find a technology partner who understands their industry as well as the technical and business evolution from GSM-R to FRMCS. One with a portfolio of reliable, interoperable, and secure solutions and the skillset to provide advisory services that maximize the railway’s investment in FRMCS and accelerate the transition to digital.


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Accelerating Digital Signalling Innovation

Digital signalling deployment in the UK is advancing. The East Coast Digital programme is blazing the trail with passenger trains currently preparing to operate under digital signalling on the Northern City Line

Yet the ongoing delivery of the UK National ETCS Masterplan will demand greater supply capacity and harnessing new approaches to deliver the required efficiency. For the next step of the journey, our industry needs to be smarter, more collaborative, and more innovative –otherwise, we will struggle to achieve the targeted cost efficiencies. If we are to deploy digital signalling nationally, at the volumes and velocity required, the rail sector needs more proven technology, railway integration experience and delivery capacity.

That’s why AtkinsRéalis and CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles) have partnered to bring their leading edge ETCS technology into UK operation. Our integrated team will work together to adapt the technology for UK operation, leveraging AtkinsRéalis’ experience as the UK’s Signalling System Integrator, with a proven track record for bringing new technology safely into service and integrating solutions with existing infrastructure, processes, technology and operational scenarios.

As an experienced ETCS signalling and rolling stock manufacturer, and innovator of turnkey solutions, CAF brings experience of delivering to challenging cost targets like Network Rail's T190. CAF's latest generation

of ETCS trackside equipment AURIGA has been certified by the European Rail Agency at Baseline 3 Release 2 – and a UK approved onboard ETCS solution is currently being deployed on the Cambrian fleet. CAF also bring a proven ETCS interfaced, computerbased interlocking called Quasar. The AURIGA and QUASAR ETCS solution is proven in operational use internationally including in Spain, Bulgaria and Turkey, with multiple international deployments in delivery outside of Europe, including a 276-kilometre line in Uruguay connecting the Port of Montevideo to the centre of the country.

The AtkinsRéalis CAF joint venture is seeking to work with Network Rail to adapt the latest proven technology to UK requirements, and to collaborate with all industry stakeholders and technology partners in achieving successful deployment of this solution into operational service.

Stronger together

CAF has a proven standard approach for delivering in collaborative partnerships with national systems integrators like AtkinsRéalis, with examples in Slovenia, Mexico and Morocco. This delivers the customer’s benefits earlier and at lower risk by introducing their technology to service

safely and efficiently. In this respect, both AtkinsRéalis and CAF are true pioneers of innovation. As an early ATO developer and pioneer of new technology, CAF have a track record of implementing novel solutions across different European markets. Through participation in various European R&D programs, such as former Shift2Rail, EURail or System Pillar, CAF have evidenced they can innovate while also supporting standardisation and the development of open interfaces to improve competitiveness in the market.

While innovation credentials and proven equipment are vital, so too is a track record of successfully adapting to, and collaborating with, local markets. Each country has its own signalling principles and ways of working. Every infrastructure owner has its own specific needs, challenges, and regulatory requirements, with differing levels of maturity, unique legacy technology, and specialist expertise. This is where AtkinsRéalis’ innovation and technology navigation in the UK complements CAF’s innovation perfectly.

Our team shares aligned cultures, values and approaches to solving our customers’ challenges. AtkinsRéalis’ deep experience of UK signalling integration is crucial for industry integration, with established

Sunningdale level crossing – commissioned by AtkinsRéalis AtkinsRéalis image of testing technology at our ETCS Test Laboratory in Egham


AtkinsRéalis is a world-leading design, engineering and project management organisation. We connect people, data and technology to transform the world's infrastructure and energy systems.

Together, with our industry partners and clients, and our global team of consultants, designers, engineers and project managers, we can change the world.

Our new unified and enhanced capabilities enable us to reimagine the way people are housed, connected, powered and protected. AtkinsRéalis combines the

expertise of the SNC-Lavalin, Atkins and Faithful+Gould legacy brands to deliver for our clients. It’s now easier than ever to tap into our full expertise to create real progress, no matter our clients’ challenge or ambition. We can handle the whole project lifecycle or jump in at any stage of a project.

AtkinsRéalis’ rail business has extensive expertise and experience providing innovative solutions that span every discipline in both the mass transit and heavy rail markets. Clients can tailor services according to need, handpicking consultancy and operational services from pure signalling design to the programme

management of multidisciplinary projects. We strive to work collaboratively, demonstrating our commitment to helping the industry to modernise itself.

Our global team of 36,000+ consultants, designers, engineers and project managers can solve the world’s most challenging infrastructure projects.

Tel: 01372 726 140

Email: info@atkinsrealis.com

Visit: www.atkinsrealis.com


CAF offers comprehensive global rail solutions which, in addition to the supply of trains, includes viability studies, civil work, electrification, signalling, maintenance and system operation in some cases. Thanks to these integrated projects based on concession or turnkey models, customers are offered a single, global, specific solution, a solution that guarantees the integration and compatibility of all the systems.

CAF’s products can be tailored to suit the specific requirements of each customer, providing safety, comfort and satisfaction to millions of users throughout the world. CAF SIGNALLING is a system and service provider in the fields of railway signalling systems fully owned by CAF S.A group.

Tel: +34 91 789 27 50

Visit: www.cafsignalling.com/en/

relationships and understanding of all stakeholder needs in the ETCS landscape.

CAF’s focus on delivering client benefit means that they are driven to solve the difficult integration challenges that obstruct optimal outcomes – and their flexible technology approach enables the adaptability necessary to overcoming complexity. Together, we will bring the collaborative behaviours that will be essential over the coming decades of the ETCS transformation.

But it’s not just collaboration and innovation that’s needed for successful and efficient delivery. From our experience of supporting ETCS deployment in the UK, efficiency requires standardised and robust processes, effective competency management, changes to standards to reflect digital signalling technology, and clear operating models. AtkinsRéalis CAF bring the UK signalling delivery experience, ETCS processes, industry integration and business change, together with the proven technology innovation, presenting a dependable partner to support the ETCS migration over the coming control periods.

Scott Kelley, Signalling Managing Director at AtkinsRéalis said: ‘We are

excited to continue to work at the forefront of technology innovation, bringing our signalling delivery expertise together with the latest digital signalling technology from our partners at CAF Signalling. We hope to have the opportunity to work together with Network Rail in bringing this capability into service, enabling more choice and capacity as the ETCS transformation accelerates in CP7 & CP8.’

Jon Alzate, General Manager at CAF Signalling states: ‘We are delighted to be working with AtkinsRéalis, the perfect Systems Integration partner to enable effective delivery and support of CAF Signalling solutions in the UK and beyond.’

Ultimately, digital signalling is a major undertaking, necessitating the collaborative integration of a variety of specialists. AtkinsRéalis and CAF have formed an ideal partnership for delivering new technology and capacity for digital signalling in the UK – and, by collaborating to accelerate the adoption of innovative open architecture solutions, the partnership can help to boost the whole sector and achieve the aims of Target 190 cost efficiency required to deliver the National ETCS Masterplan.

CAF image of their signalling lab for digital solutions
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Driving Diversity with Apprenticeships

The OPC and Bus Éireann share news about a new apprenticeship recruitment programme aiming to identify quality apprentices and enhance diversity and inclusivity

Bus Éireann, is Ireland’s national bus company. They seek to build a company that’s rich in diversity and representative of their customer base, with a particular focus on increasing the number of female applicants into traditionally male careers. They also have a keen desire to support disadvantaged young people, developing positive partnerships with local schools and colleges.

With the apprentice application numbers declining, Bus Éireann (BE) wanted to examine the selection criteria and recruitment process for Apprentice Heavy Vehicle Mechanics (AHVM) for themselves and Dublin Bus (DB), who they partner with for apprenticeship recruitment. So, they approached the OPC for support in this project with the following key aims:

• Addressing the underrepresentation of women in particular roles.

• Improving diversity across the workforce.

• Attracting more women into careers at Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus.

• Attracting more apprentices from underrepresented groups.

In addition to a redesigned selection process from the OPC, Connelly Partners advertising agency, developed a new attraction campaign – ‘A career built around you’ proposition with the candidate at the centre. It presents a universal, gender-neutral message with a strong female presence. Using the well-known Air-fix model as its core visual, it clearly communicates the candidate’s importance, and that this apprenticeship opportunity comes with no set experiences or educational background requirements. The ‘tools of the job’ will be provided. The attraction campaign was widely promoted across social media platforms – TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram using both static and video displays, as well as on the radio and of course buses! It did a great visibility job for women in apprenticeship and STEM roles.

Removing educational barriers in the selection process

A key factor in the development of a new apprentice selection process is the reduction of entry-level educational requirements. Traditionally, academic qualifications

have been and are included in many apprenticeships’ programmes e.g., Leaving or Junior Certificates in Ireland or other certifications. In line with BE’s local schools and colleges work and their goal to recruit more apprentices from underrepresented groups, a decision was made to accept SOLAS equivalent further education and training certificates. This certification removal meant access to new career opportunities for both young and more mature individuals who may not have previously been able to apply.

and Dublin Bus: ‘We were losing out on talent by alienating an important cohort of applicants who may not have completed school, meaning

‘It gave me great insight into what apprentices are like and what I might be one day’

they were immediately disadvantaged. By accepting the SOLAS equivalence of Leaving or Junior certificates it allowed some underrepresented young people access to apply for the Heavy Vehicle Mechanic (HVM) apprenticeships schemes.’


new selection process

BE was looking to completely overhaul the existing apprentice selection process. Working alongside job experts from the garages and existing apprentices from diverse backgrounds OPC Psychologists developed a new apprentice role profile. This profile helped to develop a new, more inclusive, and accessible selection process with online assessment tools to identify the best talent for the new role. Included with more traditional elements, the redesigned process had some key new steps added:

• A new online application form for the apprentice scheme was available on the BE careers website, with a direct link from the advertising.

• A new Assessment tool matrix, specifically using the OPC Assessment’s six Core Skills Series – a range of tools that measure key abilities essential in key technical and apprentice roles. E.g., mechanical (CoreM), abstract (CoreA), diagrammatic (CoreD), and spatial (CoreS) reasoning as well as numerical (CoreN) and verbal (CoreV) ability.

• New practice materials allowing candidates upfront time and space to acquaint themselves with the chosen assessments and practice them. This would help candidates who are less familiar with testing to do their best.

• A bespoke Situational Judgement Test (SJT) was specifically designed for the role. This explores if a candidate’s key characteristics, attitudes, and behaviours match those of an outstanding BE apprentice.

• A new practical exercise giving candidates a hands-on opportunity to demonstrate practical skills through some job-relevant scenarios.

• A candidate interview preparation form helped applicants to think ahead and compose answers to give ‘the best of themselves’ confidently on the day.

• OPC analysis and research on the selection process. The OPC managed the digital selection stages up to the F2F elements. This enabled a review and analysis of candidate compliance and completion of online tests, drop-off rates, follow-on attendance at interviews, and correlation to success through the process.

• Candidate feedback on the selection process. Finally, the OPC undertook some candidate experience research for BE on their new process.

Completion of assessment tools and onward success

The attraction advertising campaign for apprentice recruitment was extremely successful. Compared to applications continuing to decline, BE received 240 per cent more applications than the previous year with more than seven per cent of them female, that resulted in 16 per cent female hires in the final line up for BE. Bus Éireann’s apprentice recruitment campaign was also awarded the Outstanding Diversity Initiative from the Irish Centre for Diversity.

Online tests act as an indicator of drop-off rates

Candidates who’d completed application forms were invited to the next stage of online testing – sitting the six online Core Series tests first. Just over 50 per cent of candidates completed the tests. Those who completed all of these tools were more likely to go on to complete the rest

of the assessment tools – the SJT and the Interview Preparation Form.

Conversely, candidates who didn’t complete some or all of the initial six Core tests were much less likely to commit to completing the other online tools. This group of candidates had between a 7085 per cent drop-off rate at each of the subsequent stages. The OPC highlighted that the online assessment tools were acting as a self-screening instrument, helping identify candidates who were much more committed and motivated to the selection process and, potentially, who may be more committed to a four-year apprenticeship scheme.

Online tests predicted interview performance

OPC psychologists analysed the candidates’ assessment tool scores and linked them to interview performance scores. In both instances, those candidates who scored better in the six, online Core tests and the SJT were much more likely to succeed at interview stage and gain a ‘highlycommended’ pass mark. Follow-up offers were made to candidates who’d met the required standards for entry to the AHVM programme

‘Testing is part of a screening process…
A mechanic has to be a problem solver and mechanically minded to do the job so testing these skills is essential.’

Inclusive practical assessments

Practical assessments were another way to make the selection process more inclusive and accessible. Applicants were given two specific tests:

1. As this is a safety-critical role, candidates were set a hazard spotting task where they were scored on how many risks they could identify on a bus and the nearby garage area e.g., faulty brake lights, a broken wing mirror, or a slip-risk from oil on the floor.

2. An electrical fault test, where it was key for individuals to follow written instructions and a diagrammatic scheme to solve and repair an electrical problem.

David Poynton Rowley said: ‘The practical assessments showed a different way of testing people for aptitude and talent. Some young people who may not have had the best start in life, or performed in the upper percentile for other assessment tools or interviews turned their hand to these tests straight away and just ‘knocked it out of the park!’

Candidates feedback on the selection process

The OPC also devised an online feedback questionnaire which was sent to all applicants. They received over one hundred responses, with some very positive results as follows:

The six Core Series ability tests

89 per cent of candidates affirmed that the practice materials were helpful in completing the tests beforehand, and 91 per

cent agreed that they understood what they needed to do. Nearly three-quarters of the respondents found the Core Series online tests challenging. However, approximately 70 per cent felt that the Core series tests were relevant to the apprentice role.

Of the candidates who didn’t complete these tests, but who also gave feedback, the key barrier provided for non-compliance was ‘available time’. A lack of understanding; the challenging nature of the tests or a lack of interest in the apprentice role were not key issues. These results may indicate a lack of commitment to the process and the role.

The Situational Judgment Test (SJT)

86 per cent of candidates found that the practice materials helped them prepare for the SJT. 95 per cent of candidates said they had a clear understanding of what was required. The majority of the candidates answered that the test wasn’t too challenging (66 per cent) and that it didn’t take too long to complete (68 per cent). 85 per cent agreed that this test was very relevant to the apprentice role.

The interview preparation form and interviews

This had a strong agreement across the board from the candidates regarding its usefulness. 87 per cent of candidates cited the interview preparation form as useful, they clearly understood it, with 94 per cent agreement; and 91 per cent felt it was very relevant to the role. One candidate commented: ‘I really loved this section. It gave me great insight into what apprentices are like and what I could be one day.’

Key candidate feedback on the actual interview experience showed the benefits of the interview preparation form. 90 per cent said they understood what they needed to do at interview; 84 per cent cited they were able to give relevant examples, and nearly 90 per cent felt that even though some of the questions were probing, they ‘gave their best’ on the day.

David Poynton Rowley said: ‘Although our new apprentices have only recently started their four-year training, we’re extremely impressed by the quality and

calibre of individuals – they’ve really thrown themselves into the programme, demonstrating excellent application of practical skills, and being very hands-on.’

Dr Steve Fletcher, from the OPC said ‘Candidate feedback on the apprentice selection process was excellent. Overall, 64 per cent of the candidates who provided feedback said the BE process was better than experiences they’d had elsewhere. The new practical test element and interview preparation form really helped to meet the drive for inclusivity and diversity as well as equip candidates to show the best of themselves on the day. We’re delighted to hear that the newly selected apprentices are already fitting right in!’

Linda Allen, Senior Manager, Talent and Diversity at Bus Éireann concluded: ‘Attracting the best apprentices is a key factor for the talent pipeline of mechanics and some engineering roles at Bus Éireann. It was strategically very important for us to re-examine our recruitment process to address the under representation of women, a gender pay gap, and improve apprentice applications, ensuring enough AHVMs to meet future growth. The redesigned process is good progress towards these goals. We aim to serve local and rural communities with a quality, reliable, and sustainable public transport bus service. Great mechanics are essential to keeping these services on the road.’

Tel: 01923 234646

Email: admin@theopc.co.uk

Visit: www.theopc.co.uk

‘They weren’t too hard and they weren’t easy. They helped me understand a lot more about the apprenticeship than before I took them.’
‘It was a great experience.’


Tom Kirk is a fifth-generation owner who came into the business in 2001 where he has diversified the Francis Kirk Groups product range. Strengthening supply chain links, the company has been able to further improve availability of clothing, PPE and fasteners, to become the single source “one-stop-shop” giving the Francis Kirk Group the stellar reputation it has today.


Francis Kirk (Socket Screws) Limited originated in 1868. The founder Francis Kirk launched the business as a tool shop 150 years ago with the simple aim to manufacture a quality tool for workmen to use.

Want to know more about Francis Kirk

Tel: 0161 336 2631

Email: sales@franciskirk.com

Website: www.franciskirk.com

How did you start at Francis Kirk?

Being the fifth generation of a family business is a huge honour and something that many businesses would dream to achieve, so I feel it is more a term of was I born into the business or did I choose to move into it. Technically I started working within the business at 18 years old but all holidays growing up I can remember wanting to go to work with my father and enjoyed the days in the warehouse or out delivering to customers.

After my A levels, Francis persuaded me to go to university whilst still working at the business. On completion of my degree, he let me apply for roles around the country until I was offered one. At that point he asked me to come into the business full time and work through the warehouse into the office making sure to cover every role within the business across a four or five year period.

What challenges have you faced in the industry and what success have you experienced in the last twelve months? How do you measure success?

Over the 20 years I have been in the business many challenges have come and gone on both a daily and an annually basis. But none as big as the last three years. I feel the new norm is what we are now witnessing, since Brexit, then Covid, steel prices and transport costs, followed by the war in Ukraine and the cost of living rises it could be the absolute opposite to a perfect storm. But what it has allowed us to do is step back, analyse our business, and make the changes that have been necessary to make sure that we can ride the challenges and where possible turn them in our favour. Increase the number of customers we are dealing with, steady growth as a business and exploring and growing success in new markets and industries have all come as a direct result of the three years and the analysis and surroundings that we have had to put ourselves in.

Success to me is steady growth, happy staff, because without our staff the bigger picture isn’t possible, on boarding new customers and growing existing ones whilst still having the family touch and the personal relationship. This in turn has allowed us to develop a full e-commerce site to streamline productivity not just for us as a business but also our customers to make ordering, specifying and reordering much simpler for them in these tubular markets.

Which sector do you work in?

Across our business we are lucky to not be pigeonholed into just one sector. We work across rail, aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, military, defence, offshore to name but a few, in turn we are very lucky to have staff on board who can specialise in these industries with specific product knowledge and solution-based supply chain


management to allow for improvements with a new or existing customer. With a vast array of products (over 250,000 in stock) there are many ways to help across all sectors from bespoke jobs for the railways through to a general building contractor. Each customer is dealt with on a personal level and treated with the respect and service that they seek.

What is your Unique Selling Point?

Our biggest USP I would say is the range of products that we can offer as a business and the flexibility of how we can deliver those products and service our customers. We will always aim to make sure that we deliver our solutions to how our customers would like rather than our customers having to change processes to fit in with how we work.

Being able to offer the market high end brands at competitive prices across fasteners, fixings, tools PPE and workwear to name just a few product ranges from under one roof. This is a huge positive for the business but also, we have the ability to offer imported products and own brand products if the customer is focused more on price but yet still wants the high quality.

What types of products and services do you offer?

As a fifth generation family business, we aim to offer our customers a single source supply chain solution. The core business is involved around fasteners, fixings, tools and PPE. However, we then have the flexibility and ability to offer any other products that our customers are trying to source. When we bought Philidas, all metal self-locking nut, brand this opened a huge new opportunity for us to be able to offer specials and products to drawings as well. So, we have the ability to manufacturer from as small as batches of one all the way through to multiple of ‘millions’.

Stocking and distributing Unbrako, Holokrome, Philidas and Nord-Lock as the key main fastener brands allows customers to know they get full manufacturing support and traceability across the technical products as well. Alongside the named brands, we stock around 250,000 different product Metric and Imperial with the occasional British Standard thrown in for good measure. As previously mentioned we aim for a product range for the entire supply chain, encompassing; fasteners, fixings, tooling, adhesives, tooling, workwear and even office wear.

What are your plans going forward to ensure Francis Kirk services are still around for years to come?

As a business who was established in 1868, we are constantly finding we are having to evolve, rebrand and modernise. In any industry you can’t be seen to stand still otherwise it is too late to change, and the

biggest thing is you shouldn’t fear change. For the last two years we have invested heavily into our IT systems as this seems to be the way the world is moving now. We have created a full Ecommerce system which is customisable for customers, so they see the relevant information and the products that they are buying on a regular basis. Along with the IT side we are constantly recruiting staff members so we can keep developing skill sets and knowledge basis. This is allowing us to achieve that steady growth and to enter new markets as well as expand product ranges with current customer base. As a business we aim to make simplify the supply chain for our customer base and as long as we keep doing this by improving delivery methods, introduction of new systems, supporting our customer base across multiple product ranges then the business will carry on for years to come.

What do you have planned for the year ahead?

The year ahead as ever is exciting with many trade shows and new markets to be targeted. We have taken on a new sales manager who has vast knowledge within the industries we work in, our business development team are constantly out looking at new and existing opportunities. The coming months are taking us to a large military event, a global rail show in USA, the main fastener show in Las Vegas, an automotive show in Belgium and those are all in the space of four weeks so as a business we are really focusing on export markets and developing our brand names outside of the UK along with supporting our customer base in the UK as well when they need us.

These shows and events will give us a strong platform to build on for months to come and allow for the targeted growth that we are looking to achieve in USA, Europe, Middle East, and Australia. On top of this the sales team are constantly bringing in new and existing opportunities in the UK market to make sure our presence in our own market is still as high as ever and we are not allowing our standards to slip.

Our main aim is to achieve strategic distribution partners across multiple regions to be able to support the end users and manufacturers, with the products and services they require. This model has worked well for us ever since we bought the Philidas brand, and we are constantly looking for distributors who are keen to support the brand in this growth as well.

How do you work with the supply chain within this sector?

The rail sector equates to about 35 per cent of our overall business, specifically when it comes to the Philidas brand. The Philidas nut has been specified in the Rail industry as the premium all metal self-locking nut since the Potter Bar rail crash and was the ‘specified’ nut that was to be used to

prevent accidents in the future. Where we aim to work with the supply chain in the rail industry is to work with engineers, specifiers, and procurement teams to make sure the correct products are being used in the correct application.

Once we have helped specify these products and applications then we try and work out what the best delivery route would be and what cost savings are available for the end user or customer. We have many partners who we work with as to streamline supply chains and always offer the full supply chain support whether we are directly supplying or indirectly supplying. The main aim for Francis Kirk is to be talking to the right people at the right time, to allow for the best product to be used in the right application as to prevent any accidents. Specifying if certain key areas are critical so critical fasteners should be being used in these applications. Once again, these conversations take place daily with our quality and sales team working globally and helping rail business as close as Manchester but as far away as Japan, Australia and USA to make sure that there are no problems with the products being procured.

What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces and what are some potential solutions?

The biggest challenge we constantly see if about speaking to the right people and about the right things. Many times, we as a manufacturer are pulled in at the end by which point something has gone wrong rather than starting at the beginning and specifying some options to begin with. One way we have helped try and fix this is building up a contact list of the key decision makers and trying to keep them updated with product developments and new information. Another constant problem we come across is that product usage isn’t always available so many customers are urgent for goods, we aim to hold six months of stock at any one time across our ranges, and from this stock we are able to allocate specific stock to customers so that we reduce any down time or line stoppage but also take out the normal four to six week lead times that the industry has been used to seeing for many years.

What do you think is the biggest challenge currently facing the rail industry?

I think the biggest challenge for the rail industry is at the forefront of the industry and that is getting people back on to trains. Making them more affordable and encouraging people to use them again. Since Covid it has been very easy to not use the train for many reason whether it be price, availability, or many cancellations. I think as an industry we must get to a point where we are one hundred per cent reliable and affordable and that a trip from Manchester


to London isn’t costing £160 and only one train an hour, we should be like Europe where there are three or four trains an hour and they are affordable at €30/40. In turn, over a long period this will then allow for more development into the rail industry and keep ‘modernising’ the rail infrastructure in years to come.

How do you make your business a good place to work?

Being a family business, I always explain to people that this means two things: one, we are one hundred per cent family owned but two, and most importantly, those who work for us become part of the family. We all work together and enjoy the projects or the roles that are entailed. For a long time in your life, you are working so it is important that you enjoy where you work and what you do. Micromanagement takes the enjoyment out of this, so we are great believers in it being a relaxed working attitude until the time comes when everyone must roll their sleeves up and do a little more. We find this way works well because again when people are asked to do things, they don’t mind doing it as the flexibility is there. Covid taught us that actually the workplace can be an escape

for many people, so we have put in a ‘games room’ for the staff to use ranging from darts, snooker, table tennis to a golf simulator which also works as a great ice breaker for customer and supplier visits.

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?

We have come across this challenge when steel prices increase, and transport costs increase and again one of the reasons we created the Ecommerce site that we have spent a lot of time developing. This allows us to take orders 24/7 from anywhere in the globe without people being sat at a desk. It also helps sales team when they are visiting new and existing customers because it shows how many ranges and the vast products that we can supply from our Manchester facility. By using social media, target marketing, email campaigns all help the increase in the profits and sales but also

allows us to innovate by offering new and different products in areas where customers may not be using them or haven’t thought about using them. Even though we are over 160 years old as a business we like to think we are constantly evolving with the current market demands and we stay up to date with what is best for our customers and suppliers and like to push new solutions out to the marketplace so that customers can benefit from this as well.

‘We aim for a product range for the entire supply chain, encompassing; fasteners, fixings, tooling, adhesives, tooling, workwear and even office wear.’

Transport for Greater Manchester

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is a not-for-profit local Government body responsible for delivering the transport strategy set by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)

More than 5.6 million journeys are made across Greater Manchester’s transport network each day. TfGM coordinates transport networks across the region, decides where to invest transport funding, and owns and runs the Metrolink tram service. It builds and manages bus stations and transport interchanges, provides travel planning and timetable information to passengers, and promotes walking and cycling as safe and healthy choices. The Greater Manchester rail network is now used by around forty million passengers a year. This is an increase of thirty per cent over the past decade and TfGM has an influential voice in developing the best possible rail services in Greater Manchester.

TfGM assets include 99 Metrolink stops across the light rail network, 120 tram vehicles, 15 Park & Ride sites, 20 Free Buses, over 15 transport interchanges and many other properties.

In 2021, TfGM marked ten years since its inception after a reform of local government in Greater Manchester granted the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) more powers and led to a rebranding.

Since the rebranding, TfGM has delivered many high profile and successful projects and schemes, including:

• The £1.5 billion ‘Phase Three’ Metrolink expansion between 2010 and 2015, which saw new lines through dozens of local communities, with extensions to Rochdale via Oldham, Ashton-underLyne, East Didsbury and Manchester Airport.

• The £350 million Trafford Park line in March 2020, adding a further 5.5km of track and six new stops to serve one of the region’s major employment, leisure and retail destinations.

• New transport interchanges in Rochdale, Ashton, Altrincham, Wythenshawe and Bolton, while Radcliffe and Wigan now enjoy new, state-of-the-art bus stations.

• The award-winning £122 million Leigh to Ellenbrook Guided Busway in April 2016 which, prior to the pandemic, required extra services to help cope with demand.

• The delivery of the first 55 miles of safe cycling and walking routes by the end of 2021, with plenty more schemes in the pipeline for delivery as part of the Bee Network, a plan for the UK’s largest cycling and walking network.

• The TravelSafe Partnership – a multiagency body led by TfGM and Greater Manchester Police, that takes an intelligence-lead, problem-solving approach to tackling crime and ASB on public transport.


Chief Operating Officer: Bob Morris

Finance and Corporate Services Director: Steve Warrener

Head of Rail Programme: Simon Elliott

Communications Officer: David Stevenson


Address: 2 Piccadilly Place, Manchester M1 3BG Tel: 0161 224 41000



Billy Jones is the Managing Director of Millcroft Services, a premium scaffolding company based in Greenwich, London, which has been in business for 50 years.


Millcroft Services delivers scaffolding and access solutions to clients ranging from privately managed businesses to major national PLCs and international corporations. They are proud to have established long-term relationships with a number of clients in sectors that include rail, utilities, demolition, commercial and heritage.

How did you get started in the industry?

I started working for the business at the age of 14, labouring in the Millcroft yard during the school holidays. By the time I finished my A-Levels at 18, I was keen to start work properly for the business.

I trained as a scaffolder and completed my advanced scaffolding course; I also obtained a Gold CISRS Scaffolding Supervisor card. I knew I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work for a successful family company, so I felt I almost had more to prove. Scaffolding is hard work and you have to pull your weight; it’s not easy. But it’s hugely rewarding, especially when you can see the success of a project thanks to your skill and craftsmanship.

I worked hard on site and enjoyed the variety of projects in different locations across London. I think I’ve visited every café within the M25! One of my very first jobs was working on Shakespeare’s Globe, which is one I will always remember.

When did you join the company and what is your role within Millcroft?

I’ve worked in the business for 27 years now, since 1996. I’m now Managing Director of the Scaffolding Division of Millcroft Services (we also have a construction arm to the business).

What challenges have you faced in the industry?

As many will testify in the construction sector, it can be difficult to find good staff. So, we really look after our own. We help nurture and grow their skills and provide

career progression opportunities to ensure we maintain a solid and motivated workforce. We have a very low staff turnover because we invest in our people, which complements our own service and delivery to customers.

Developing people’s skills is an important part of our craft – especially as we’re experiencing an industry-wide labour shortage. We have our own Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)-approved training centre on site, which is a huge asset and separates us from the competition. We receive lots of positive feedback from those who have undertaken courses there – clients as well as our own team.

Health and Safety regulations have evolved hugely over the years. The challenge for us has been about educating our people, particularly the more experienced operatives, and getting them to understand the need to do things differently and meet new regulations and protocols, for the right reasons

The pandemic was difficult of course but we were able to get back up and running very quickly. Timber and steel prices spiked drastically for a while during this time but have stabilised now.

Tell us about Millcroft.

When we started out, we did a lot of work as emergency response with our longestterm client, Costain. This included providing support to the armed forces during the Iranian Embassy siege in the 1980s. We were involved in the emergency response following the St Mary Axe and Bishopsgate bombings in the early 1990s, and in the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks in 2005, we were responsible

Want to know more about Millcroft Services?

Tel: 020 8305 1988

Email: sales@millcroft.co.uk

Visit: millcroft.co.uk


for providing the access infrastructure that allowed the pathology teams to recover evidence and investigate the scene.

Today we work across multiple sectors and particularly excel in challenging environments with rigorous standards.

Our headquarters and scaffolding yard are located in Greenwich, within easy reach of Central London and the M25.

Since its inception, Millcroft has received numerous awards for excellence and safety, achieved by a combination of effective leadership, careful planning and selecting the right people for the right job.

Which sectors do you work in?

We have niched into the rail sector and have worked for more than 40 years with TfL, as well as Network Rail, Crossrail and HS2. We have a passion for heritage projects, such as the stunning Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College round the corner from our HQ and yard in Greenwich, which we were involved in restoring a few years back.

We have the ability to operate in all sectors, including for example, utilities and

commercial alongside the above, and it is good to be operating at the pinnacle of the industry in terms of the disciplines we offer and health and safety protocol.

How have the products and services you offer developed over the years?

The scaffolding products themselves haven’t changed that much, as the intricacies of historical architecture in London lend themselves to the adaptability of traditional tube and clip scaffolding. We have diversified into system scaffolding of various types which serve a purpose very well, where appropriate.

Our design team uses both 3D modelling and visualisations at the tender stage which enables us to demonstrate to our clients how the scaffold will be built in real time.

What are some major projects you’re currently working on?

HS2 in Acton, TfL works at Whitechapel and Liverpool Street Arcade. We’re also working at Euston station which is on hold as a

project but Millcroft is still working there. Our non rail projects include Frameworks for Thames Water and Tideway East and restoration and redevelopment of a grade 2 listed Brutalist building on a confined site in Holborn called Space House.

What are some standout projects you’ve been involved in over the years?

Elizabeth Paddington as part of the Crossrail schemes – we worked on lots of sites across East London, the West End and Central London for Crossrail. We’ve also been involved in Euston phases 1 and 2 and Supreme Courts of Justice, the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich (and some of the most iconic buildings in London).

What are your plans going forward to ensure Millcroft’s services are still around for years to come?

We strive to continue to improve our service. We always want to be the best – not the biggest but the best. We seek organic growth. We focus on quality and always have done.

What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces? Recruitment. Getting the right people for the right job in place.

What are some potential solutions?

To the recruitment and retention challenge: keep encouraging young talent. Providing people with the best environment –including fleet and tools – to help them go about their daily routine in the best possible way. For huge projects like HS2 – they should be under constant review, scrutinising the performance of contractors to ensure they are adding value. The right people will deliver in the best fashion both economically and environmentally.

How have you seen the industry change over the years?

It has become far more stringent. There have always been higher level disciplines required in the rail sector. The industry been through the revolution that the rest of the construction industry has been through, but sits in a higher bracket, with the exception of nuclear. It’s become far more processdriven (particularly HS2). For contractors, it’s about finding ways of delivering in the most efficient ways possible.

‘We celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2022.’

Lighting the unexpected

FUTURE Designs played a critical part in the innovative approach to the lighting experience throughout the Elizabeth Line, creating two bespoke luminaires for the scheme from concept through development and manufacture.

FUTURE Designs developed and created IKON a 50,000 lumen uplight system which is integral to the wayfinding experience and followed the distinct requirements of the architectural demands. In addition we designed and manufactured PLINTH, the luminaire which is located within the deck area between individual escalators. This had to meet the demands of flicker free illuminance via three differing layers of optic and louvre. futuredesigns.co.uk



David Clements established FUTURE Designs in 1991in the midst of the worst recession we have encountered. Renowned as a leading British designer and manufacturer of high-quality lighting solutions. He has steered the company through global financial downturns and world events and throughout all of this he has continued to guide FUTURE Designs to be ahead of the game in terms of product innovation and best practice.

FUTURE Designs

FUTURE Designs manufactures highquality lighting for workplace, education and rail and infrastructure sectors.

Want to know more about FUTURE Designs?

Tel: 01732 867420

Email: light@futuredesigns.co.uk

Visit: www.futuredesigns.co.uk

How did you get started in the industry?

Having had experience in the field of emergency lighting, I founded FUTURE Designs in 1991 in one of the worst recessions of the twentieth century. Thirty years later, we continue to operate successfully with the mantra of doing everything exceptionally well and employing the VERY best people.

What challenges have you faced in the industry?

Over the last 32 years, there have been numerous global challenges which have affected companies like ours from downturns in business in the wake of 9/11 to the financial crisis of 2008 to more recently managing to successfully trade throughout the Covid pandemic. Specific to our industry there is the threat of cheaper imitations that do not match up in terms of quality and compliance as well as staying ahead of the game in terms of product innovations – we are nimble and adapt to the desires of the professions and our clients to be ahead of the game.


What success have you experienced in the last twelve months and how do you measure success?

We are incredibly proud to have been part of Europe’s largest infrastructure project, The Elizabeth Line. We developed from the architect concepts, and created three bespoke lighting solutions: IKON uplighter, IKON EMERGENCY luminaire and PLINTH the escalator the escalator luminaire. These key elements harness the power of LED technology to deliver quality light within this vast subterranean infrastructure. The lighting significantly contributes to the design concept of fast spaces and slow spaces. On the escalators’ the idea is to get people moving as quickly as possible whereas in the ticket halls and on the platforms, lighting is warmer and more indirect. Our products combine aesthetics, functionality as well as reducing energy and ultimately cost for the client, just some of the ways we measure success.

What does sustainability mean to you?

It means making a meaningful contribution to tackling how we reduce using our precious planets raw materials. As part of leading innovation within the lighting sector, we have been at the forefront of successfully adapting fluorescent luminaires to LEDs for over thirteen years. This is part of our carbon careful™ initiative. We’ve reused the carcasses previously housing fluorescent lamp components in over 3,000,000 sq. ft of office space.

How has technology developed since you started in the industry?

The shift to LED some thirteen years ago has undoubtedly been the biggest development in the industry in recent years. LEDs have a lifespan of up to 60, 000 hours far outweighing that of fluorescent lighting. LEDs can also claim superiority in terms of the maintenance required and the lower voltage. Less energy also goes into making LEDs in the first place and they have a cooler running temperature. There’s still a learning curve for those involved in designing, manufacturing, and specifying lighting. It’s essential to understand various parameters, including heat testing, dissipation, realising correct illuminance and controlling glare to ensure optimal lighting design.

What was the inspiration behind starting FUTURE Designs?

The initial objective was to develop FUTURE Designs to become ‘best in class’ within its sectors, we have without doubt, achieved and sustained that.

In recent years, FUTURE Designs made the decision to become employee owned as part of the succession planning of the business, securing the stability and future of the organisation.

Tell us about FUTURE Designs.

FUTURE Designs leads the way in the design and manufacture of high-quality lighting for workplace, education and rail and infrastructure sectors. Clients regularly have exacting demands and there are strict building regulations regarding lighting levels and our products must adhere to these. They are set by Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers and The British. Council for Offices. We design, engineer and manufacture all products in the UK and where possible only use UK sourced raw materials. We also have a bespoke lighting division where we design and manufacture to the exact requirements of the client or professions. This division has expanded significantly and currently represents circa 25 per cent of our sales.

What are your plans going forward to ensure FUTURE Designs services are still around for years to come?

Again, I think it’s crucial to highlight what we’re doing with our carbon careful™ initiative. We have clearly demonstrated the ability to breathe new life into redundant fluorescent lights by not only reusing the carcasses but also integrating original components with LED technology. Our aim is to enlighten building owners, tenants, consulting engineers and other stakeholders in commercial design and infrastructure about replacing older fluorescent lighting with LEDs whilst reusing the original steel carcass and in doing this we reduce the raw material we extract from our planet. This is a game changer in terms of extending the life of older lighting products that would otherwise be disposed of ensuring they are still around for many years in the future.

Do you think the rail industry could be greener and what is your organisations green strategy?

What we have demonstrated with The Elizabeth Line project is the capacity to specify greener product solutions, in this case through the use of LEDs. The decision to use this type of lighting reduces not only energy consumption but also maintenance requirements. This will ultimately lead to a reduction in whole-life cost for the project. And in terms of FUTURE Designs green strategy with carbon careful™, not only do LEDs generally reduce carbon usage by 50 per cent on average but repurposing fluorescent carcasses also helps avoid the extraction of hundreds of tons of iron ore, thus making a significant contribution to tackling climate change.


FUTURE Designs has pioneered the refurbishment and upgrading of existing luminaires and carcasses for over twelve years. Taking existing FUTURE Designs products and those of competitors, FUTURE Designs has renewed the luminaires with latest LED technology transforming them into highly efficient and carbon saving solutions, extending the lifespan and drastically reducing carbon usage and overall costs.

David Clements, FUTURE Designs

Chief Executive explains: ‘The carbon careful™ initiative could be described as our “best kept secret”, as a hugely efficient design and manufacturing business we have always endeavoured to keep waste to a minimum, and now as the world is faced with a growing necessity to Refurbish, Reuse and Restore wherever feasible, we are sharing our story and expertise to encourage more organisations to follow suit.’

The carbon careful™ book showcases a range of examples from leading blue-chip organisations, highlighting FUTURE Designs proficiency, capability and commitment to the refurbishment of existing luminaire carcasses to increase the sustainability of commercial premises.

LED has been the lighting medium of choice for over ten years now but there are still millions of old fluorescent fittings being used to illuminate space. By switching to LED, energy and carbon usage can be reduced by circa 50 per cent, coupled with the reuse of mild steel and aluminium, the savings are significant.

LED has a far greater lifespan, and its ‘solid state’ makes it easier to dispose of, without the risk of harmful gases such as mercury found in fluorescent lamps making it better for the environment.

FUTURE Designs is always at the forefront of any technological breakthrough, renowned for our expertise in this area of lighting science and have proven to be the experts in adapting old fluorescent lighting to state-of-the art lighting, ensuring that the benefits from the reduced impact on the environment are fully realised. The full book can be viewed here: https://www.futuredesigns.co.uk/ carbon-careful/


Transport for Wales

Transport for Wales (TfW) was set up by Welsh Government in 2016 to oversee public transport in Wales

Transport for Wales (TfW) is a not-for-profit organisation wholly owned by the Welsh Government which exists to drive forward the Welsh Government’s vision of a high quality, safe, integrated, affordable and accessible transport network that the people of Wales are proud of.

The Transport for Wales Board is made up of the Chair, Chief Executive, four independent non-executives and two executive members. Its role is to provide effective leadership for TfW, monitor performance and promote high standards of public finance, all whilst meeting the requirements of its remit as set by the Welsh Government.

From 2023, an £800 million investment will ensure that 95 per cent of journeys are on new trains. More than half the trains will be assembled in Wales. By December of that year, an extra 285 (29 per cent) more services will run every weekday, including improvements on the Ebbw Vale, Cambrian and Heart of Wales lines and the North Wales Metro (Wrexham Bidston). A new service will link Cardiff and Liverpool via Wrexham.

This will create more than six hundred new jobs, including two hundred new ontrain customer service staff, and add thirty apprenticeships per year. A £15 million fund will make stations more accessible. Accessibility issues are addressed by the TfW accessibility panel made up of members who are disabled and older people with a varying range of experience of rail travel. They meet monthly and as required throughout the year with the aim to consistently innovate accessibility policies and advise TfW how to support disabled, deaf and older customers in order for them to have a seamless travel experience. On top of that at least 1,500 new car parking spaces will be created and by 2023 the availability and quality of ticketing facilities will be transformed.

Transport for Wales focuses on planning, commissioning and managing efficient transport by creating transport networks fit for the future that will contribute to the long-term sustainability of Wales.

The intention is to create a rail service that benefits the whole of Wales, as well as

communities along the border in England and to this end Transport for Wales is:

• Working to bring the rail service into line with the regulations for persons of reduced mobility ensuring everyone can benefit from a better service.

• Committed to meeting the requirements of the Welsh Language Standards by providing better Welsh Language services.

• Improving integration with active travel routes making it easier for people to walk and cycle to and from stations.

• Working with bidders to ensure they invest in the skills of their staff and suppliers and that local people have opportunities for employment.

• Investing around three-quarters of a billion pounds to transform the valley lines to Treherbert, Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhymney and Coryton, electrifying around 107 miles of track and upgrading infrastructure to enable improved journey times and more trains every hour.

Sustainable Travel

During 2021/22 TfW worked on the development of a new marketing campaign ‘The Real Social Network’. It is Wales’ first multimodal public transport campaign and promotes walking, cycling, bus and rail use as a sustainable way to travel. This shift towards sustainable transport involves changing the way individuals travel, by improving their travelling experience, making sustainable transport more affordable, and improving integrated journey planning.

Stadler Rail

An extensive programme of testing and commissioning is being carried out on one of the two Stadler built trains, which made maiden voyages into Canton depot, Cardiff in late November 2021. There is a £800 million investment in new trains from manufacturer, Stadler in order to invite a new era of train travel for customers.

New Metros

The South Wales Metro is an integrated public transport network for the Cardiff Capital Region which will involve electrifying around 170 kilometres of track, upgrading

stations and signalling and building at least five new stations. TfW has continued its work on the Metro Central Programme to establish an integrated transport hub, and provifr better connections whilst creating more sustainable travel choices.

The Swansea Bay Metro will transform public transport in the Swansea Bay area, TfW will be introducing new trains on services through the Swansea Bay area, increasing capacity on services to West Wales and between South West Wales and Manchester. From 2024, TfW will be introducing a first-class service between Swansea and Manchester on their new trains.

TfW are continuing to invest in the transformation of public transport in Wales with a focus on creating a joined-up network where integrated ticketing and reliable services make it the easiest option for people travelling across Wales.


Chief Executive: James Price

Executive Director of Finance and Governance: Heather Clash

Communications Director: Lewis Brencher

Transport Operations Director: Alexia Course

Rail Programme Director: Karl Gilmore

Safety and Sustainability Director: Leyton Powell

Director of Planning, Development and Advisory Services: Geoff Ogden

Commercial and Customer Experience Director: David O’Leary

Development Director Mid, North and Rural Wales: Lee Robinson

Director of People and Organisational Development: Lisa Yates

IT and Digital Services Director: Dave Williams


Address: Llys Cadwyn

Pontypridd CF37 4TH

Tel: 029 2167 3434

Email: contact@tfw.wales

Visit: www.tfw.wales



Nick Rowe is co-owner and Director of Carrington West, a recruitment agency specialising in technical roles in the built environment sector. He set up a dedicated rail team in 2017, providing skilled staff in a range of roles including rail design and consultancy, project delivery and blue collar. Nick is a Fellow of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), and has industry awards to his name including ‘Temp Consultant of the Year’ as recognised by REC and Global Recruiter Magazine.


Carrington West is an award winning recruitment company providing technical talent to the UK highways, transport and infrastructure, town planning, property, water and environmental, utilities, power and telecoms, building and construction and rail industries. We recruit interim, temporary and permanent professionals from entry to board level across multiple disciplines for private and public sector organisations.

Want to know more about Carrington West?

Tel: 023 9387 6000

Email: info@carringtonwest.com

Visit: www.carringtonwest.com


You founded Carrington West in 2011 –what was the inspiration behind starting the company?

Recruitment is a hard industry with a lot of pressure to perform all the time. I had worked with my co-founders in other companies, and we all had the feeling that we could create our own company that did things better than a lot of the recruiters in our market. That sounds a bit vague, we wanted to be better at client and candidate services, but also create a better place to work. In a high pressure environment, you need a good support network around you, and you need to enjoy work, otherwise what is the point?

As we grew we could see the link between happy and engaged employees and performance, and the rest is history. By creating the best possible working environment and team culture, we can attract the best people, who will in turn do the best job. A happy by-product of this approach has meant we have been able to not only be experts in our vertical markets, but also experts in building fantastic teams which benefits our clients and candidates. Fast forward twelve years and we have achieved a lot. We work to the Investors in People frameworks, and having achieved platinum status in 2021, we were awarded UK Employer of the Year in 2022. We have recently been featured in The Sunday Times Best Places to Work as a top ten medium sized business, which we are all really proud of and serves as a reminder to stay true to our vision.

What are some major projects that you’re currently working on?

The rail sector is very exciting at the moment, with so many opportunities to be involved in transformative infrastructure projects. We supply workers to most of the major projects either directly or through partners including HS2, Midlands Metro Alliance, Core Valley Lines, Translink and Transport for London frameworks. In 2023 we became an approved supplier on the Network Rail Frontline Labour contract, which extends to 2029. Working on major projects affords us the opportunity to make a real difference with some of our clients, especially those that are quickly expanding to meet demanding deadlines. Whether it is parachuting in whole teams quickly to work trackside at short notice, or on the design and consultancy side, we have made a number of high-profile senior placements. These appointments really do shape the progress of projects and it is immensely satisfying to be part of the process.

How well do you know the rail recruitment market?

We started the rail team in 2017, having established the business with a pedigree in utilities and highways engineering

recruitment. There are now eleven consultants just working on rail. It is obviously a huge sector, so we specialise in three distinct areas: project delivery, consultancy/design and blue-collar workers. This allows us to build up an indepth knowledge of the people, skills, and organisations that operate in that niche. We have found by having a narrow focus; we call it ‘inch wide, mile deep’, we are able to quickly move people into the right roles.

You are expert rail recruiters. What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces?

Probably one of the biggest challenges is still candidate shortages across all roles and skills levels. Getting staff through the recruitment process and through the door quickly enough to meet demands. Many consultancy firms are finding that their own clients such as Transport for London, Network Rail, Transport for Wales, are taking longer to make hiring decisions than they were last year. The knock-on effect is that candidates are not waiting around, accepting offers elsewhere, so then the consultancy companies do not have the resources in place to deliver projects as quickly as they’d like.

This is compounded by internal mobility also slowing. With some projects closing out and companies awaiting tender results as a part of CP7, so there are fewer options for people to move internally, leading to slower perceived progression. Employee retention has become a priority and we have seen a rise in counter offers. Employers are looking for ways to keep their employees when push comes to shove which naturally has a domino effect throughout the market.

When a client comes to you looking to fill a particular position within the rail industry, what’s your process for finding the right candidate and how closely do you work with both clients and candidates throughout that process?

It starts with having a comprehensive understanding of the market and the people in it. We do this by specialising in very specific job functions within the sector, so we have a handle on the operating environment, the culture of the hiring organisations, the main skills needed and most importantly, the people themselves. This depth of knowledge means that we can identify a small group of suitable candidates as soon as we are briefed on an open vacancy, because we know the hiring team and we know the candidates. To maximise the chances of finding the best person for the job, we will advertise the role across specialist rail, mainstream and diversity job boards, screening and interviewing candidates before presenting a shortlist to the hiring manager.

In terms of candidate support, this is an ongoing process rather than relating to one role. Many of our candidates are placed in contract positions with us, so our level of candidate care needs to be exemplary. It is a moral responsibility to look after them as their employer, but commercially, there are other agencies they can choose to work for, so we respect and appreciate their choice to work with us!

The rail industry is highly regulated, so once a candidate has secured a role, we need to move them quickly through our compliance process. We use a compliance platform that manages everything to ensure we are fully complaint, we issue PPE if


needed, and we help with making sure all competencies and qualifications are up to date, using RISQs certificated and audited training providers. We are RISQs accredited and audited ourselves, and use Fatigue 360 for all our planned work which provides us with real-time fatigue risk management solutions.

How can we make the rail industry a place people want to work in?

There are some exciting projects in the rail industry which means there are plenty of opportunities. An engineer could spend their entire career on something like HS2, I am not sure that is something that will happen again anytime soon. Decarbonisation is also high on the agenda, and an area that the next generation of engineers will be implementing.

Employers need to shout about what they can offer in terms of salary, benefits and culture, but also the cutting-edge nature of the work they are involved in.

What can organisations do to attract and retain employees?

Good employers, with a strong employer brand and who treat their employees well, will fare better than those that treat their workers as a commodity. Paying the market rate is a good first step. Salaries need to be continually benchmarked in the current market where inflation is high and financial pressures will be more keenly felt. Benefits are also important, wellbeing programmes, flexible working and bonuses are all high on job seeker demands at the moment. Organisations need to have a clear strategy that demonstrates long and short-term investment into training and upskilling everyone. This could include attracting the next generation through involvement in grassroots STEM schemes and apprenticeships or investing in on-thejob training for all levels. Organisations must take responsibility for developing the skills they need in the first place to ensure an adequate pipeline of appropriately skilled workers in the future.

How have job seekers demands changed over the past few years?

A lot has changed with working practices over the past three or four years, but perhaps the most noticeable demand from the job seekers we work with in the design consultancy space is the desire to work remotely full or part-time. Geography is no longer a barrier to work, professionals can more easily gain access to exciting and career progressing projects up and down the country. WFH and hybrid working has

become an expectation for these kinds of roles, and employers will struggle to recruit top talent if they do not offer it in some guise.

As well as working models, we have seen more recently salary levels being squeezed. Job seekers are often looking for upward of £5,000 per year pay rises to help meet the increased cost of living or to fund travel for return to office or site-based work.

What has been consistently stable over the past few years is job seekers appetite for career progression and learning and development programmes. Workers look to employers to provide training which in turn leads to the next step on the career ladder.

What advice would you give job seekers in the current market?

There are some huge opportunities in rail at the moment and so sky is the limit, if you are prepared to put in the work. I would strongly recommend developing soft skills because they will make you stand out especially if you are younger or at the beginning of your career and looking to progress. Teamwork, presentation and public speaking skills and people management experience are all additional strings to your bow. It is very easy for people in this sector to rely on their technical ability alone.

Along the same lines, be open, and look for ways to go above and beyond to be the expert in your field. If you are a permanent employee, you could consider contracting or interim appointments, using the opportunity to move between projects to hone your skills or specialise.

‘Organisations must take responsibility for developing the skills they need in the first place to ensure an adequate pipeline of appropriately skilled workers in the future.’
83 Fast Track Your Job Search. Visit www.carringtonwest.com/rail for nationwide contract and permanent rail jobs.


Rebecca Jones is Managing Director at Direct Corporate Clothing. She boasts an intimate knowledge of the rail industry, built through decades of experience leading global sales and operations teams for high-growth companies who supply PPE and specialist workwear contracts to household names across industrial, retail and healthcare sectors.


Direct Corporate Clothing (DCC) was established in 1999 and offers large scale, top-to-toe PPE and workwear contracts for multi-sited organisations. DCC are agile contract suppliers and specialists in large volume orders of offthe-shelf corporate clothing, technical workwear and PPE within key industries including Construction, FM, Rail, Logistics, Healthcare and Retail.

Want to know more about Direct Corporate Clothing (DCC)?

Tel: 01215 431 335

Email: marketing@ directcorporate.co.uk

Visit: www.directcorporate.co.uk

Tell us about Direct Corporate Clothing (DCC)

Direct Corporate Clothing (DCC) is a leading UK contract supplier of PPE, technical workwear and corporate clothing to large multi-sited organisations. We are experts in large-scale co-ordinated rollouts of high-volume orders, providing complete top-to-toe workwear solutions to large and diverse workforces. It's our mission to keep people as safe, compliant, and comfortable as possible at work while bringing our customers’ brand to life.

Form and function aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s our job to protect and promote our customers’ brand identity in every garment while ensuring that every single worker is equipped with the necessary workwear and equipment to do their job safely and effectively. We protect both people and brands.

DCC is part of the Workwear Uniform Group Ltd (WWUGL) – the largest independent workwear, uniform and personal protective equipment business in the UK. Each Group brand excels in a distinct phase of the workwear lifecycle, enabling DCC to offer full cradle-to-grave contract solutions to our customer base. This spans the design and sourcing of products to their manufacture, distribution and even end-of-product-life processing.

Which sectors do you work in?

We specialise in key industrial sectors such as rail, construction, aggregates, manufacturing, engineering, utilities, and facilities management. We also operate in healthcare, hospitality, and retail.

We know that every industry has its own operational demands and complexities, so over many years of experience we’ve developed deep industry-specific expertise that enables us to devise tailored solutions for every one of our customers.

Even within the same industry, we tailor every contract to meet the specific needs of each customer. While we may be a onestop shop, one size definitely does not fit all, and we take pride in the strength of our flexibility and adaptability. This ensures we can provide quality, bespoke solutions.

What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)?

We’re in the fortunate position of having many demonstrable competitive advantages that make us an especially strong choice for large PPE and workwear contracts. Our recent contract win for the provision of Network Rail’s PPE is a testament to this.

However, our main USP is our solutions coverage of the entire workwear lifecycle. DCC is part of a Group portfolio of brands who each operate as highly successful businesses in their own right. As a Group, we’re able to benefit from each other’s capabilities and utilise them as necessary to provide the most comprehensive contract

solutions in the market. These include our own international sourcing and auditing offices, in-house design, manufacturing and embroidery facilities, and even a fully automated warehouse, which no-one else in the marketplace can offer.

This gives us a unique level of supply chain control and visibility, enabling us to supply the best possible products at the best possible price, all underpinned by robust real-time reporting, online ordering portals, and dedicated points of contact who actively manage projects on our customers’ behalf.

What types of products and services do you offer?

In terms of products, if it’s related to PPE and workwear, we can supply it. We are true top-to-toe suppliers and so this includes anything from hard hats, hivis garments, protective footwear and respiratory equipment through to coveralls, chemical resistant PPE, waterproof foulweather garments, flame-retardant and arc-protection clothing – all of which can be branded and embroidered in-house as required.

Eighty per cent of the garments we supply are manufactured by us and, through vigorous auditing and vetting via our global sourcing offices, we’re able to source anything we don’t manufacture ourselves from our trusted network of third-party suppliers.

This allows us to create solutions that fulfil each and every customer’s specific workwear and PPE needs, rather than limiting their choices to a static catalogue of items. This is why we focus so much on building a deep understanding of our customers’ needs. We listen, then devise the solution in collaboration with the customer.

Inclusivity and diversity in the workforce are increasingly important to our customer base so we’re delighted to offer specialised workwear and PPE that enables anyone to work safely and comfortably, regardless of their needs.

This includes maternity wear, female fit garments, non-standard sizing conventions for gender-fluid workers, and ranges that cater to the needs of menopausal people, stoma wearers or anyone who has a medical condition which requires them to inject.

How passionate are you about sustainability in the rail sector, and how do you go about sourcing the materials for your products?

We are passionate about sustainability across every sector we work with and it’s a key consideration in every project.

DCC are working with suppliers to improve our upstream and downstream sustainability and ensure reduced carbon in our chain as well as supporting our customers in making more sustainable choices. Given the scale of the rail industry, there is huge potential for significant


reductions in emissions, even from incremental improvements.

DCC recognise the significance of the Net Zero Carbon initiative, are fully committed to Sustainable Development Goals and have agreed ambitious targets to reduce our carbon footprint and achieve our target of Net Zero by 2050. Our journey, as a company and a Group, includes a commitment to deliver:

• 50 per cent reduction in GHG Emissions across Scope 1 and 2 by 2030.

• 75 per cent reduction in single use packaging waste by 2030.

• Zero deforestation risk in our supply chain by 2030.

• Environmental Sustainability Training delivered to all employees by the end of 2023.

In terms of sourcing materials, we’re fortunate to have our own international sourcing and auditing offices that directly source any materials or products that we cannot manufacture ourselves from a global network of thoroughly audited suppliers. Such thorough auditing allows us to pass on cost savings to our customers and helps us identify the most sustainable way of sourcing any given item. When magnified across thousands of sites, even small improvements result in noticeable reductions in emissions.

Since we manufacture 80 per cent of our products ourselves, most of the time we fulfil orders through a closed loop supply chain consisting of our partner brands. This offers us a level of control and visibility into our operations that isn’t possible when relying more heavily on third parties.

What are some major projects you’re currently working on?

DCC have recently secured a major contract to provide a full range of protective workwear and footwear for Network Rail. Innovation and inclusivity are key pillars of the breakthrough four + four-year contract which was secured after an extensive tender process and wearer trials. The multi-millionpound tender win sees DCC meeting the PPE needs of all Network Rail colleagues – supplying a full range of waterproof foulweather garments, flame-retardant and arc-protection clothing, high-viz polycotton T-shirts, vests, trousers and footwear. This is an important and significant contract win, highlighting our position as a leading supplier and top-to-toe solutions provider in the market.

It was an in-depth tender process with extensive wearer trials and to secure this contract is a fantastic achievement. Throughout the onboarding process we have developed an excellent partnership with

Network Rail and look forward to working closely with them to develop and deliver key innovations around inclusivity and sustainability.

We have worked with Network Rail to create a brand-new online ordering portal providing easy to navigate product pages for more than 80 different styles and are already developing a range of inclusive PPE items which will have a positive impact on the workforce.

The portfolio currently includes a maternity range, and we are now talking to staff around comfort and wearability for those going through the menopause, stoma wearers or anyone who has a medical condition which requires them to inject. We are also working with Network Rail to trial a hijab at Birmingham New Street station.

What types of companies do you collaborate on projects with?

DCC services large, multi-sited organisation who needs to keep their workforce safe, comfortable and on-brand at work. Contracts will typically involve hundreds or thousands of items and tens of thousands of wearers.

Our main focus is meeting the needs of industrial companies and organisations –across rail, construction, engineering and manufacturing, waste management, utilities and facilities management.


But we are also ideally placed with a great track record in working with and delivering solutions for clients in healthcare, hospitality and the retail sector. It’s also key to DCC that there’s a cultural fit with the companies we work with. We are a contract business that has grown significantly through the strength of our relationships with customers – not through one-off transactions. We aim to be an extension of the businesses we work with, sensitive and responsive to their needs and aspirations.

And that also extends to the organisations that we contract with. For example, as a company we chose Dematic to help us innovate not only our storage but our picking and packing operations.

We wanted a partner who recognised our cultural imperative to combine sizable investment in new technologies and innovations to drive growth with significant capacity to reduce our carbon footprint. So, for example, our head office refurbishment and the new automated warehouses will not only make our operations more efficient but deliver an estimated 46 per cent reduction in our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

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?

Our new ERP system connects data across all departments across all of our brands. This enables our Account Managers and customers to view real-time picking and dispatch data and pre-emptively deal with potential logistical issues. Similarly, our best-in-class forecasting ensures we’re always prepared to meet customers’ demands, no matter how complex.

However, sometimes customers face unforeseeable challenges or identify new market opportunities that they need us to help them navigate or take advantage of. We

know every one of our customers’ businesses inside out, which enables us to act very quickly in creating effective solutions when time is of the essence.

And if clients come to us with requirements that lie outside the usual scope of our services, we’ll work closely with them to fully scope out the problem before delivering a solution ourselves or in conjunction with our global network of vetted suppliers with whom we’ve built strong relationships.

The most important thing to DCC is that whenever a customer needs help, we’ll do everything in our power to support them. Our first thought is how can we help, not if we can help – I think this is an important distinction.

What’s next for Direct Corporate Clothing?

It’s a transformative time for DCC, our customers and the wider Group. We’ve already experienced considerable growth over the last three years and are now starting to see the fruits of an internally financed, multi-million-pound investment programme that touches many foundational areas of the business and is designed to benefit every customer.

This programme includes a £15 million, state-of-the-art, fully automated warehousing and distribution product handling system which will transform the speed and quality of customer service while significantly reducing the carbon emissions associated with every item we dispatch.

Similarly, we have invested in a new best-in-class ERP system which is currently being rolled out. This not only connect us to our partner brands through shared processes and data, but provides customers with real-time data about their stock, SLAs, and product rollouts all within a fully configurable dashboard.

We’re also rolling out new online digital portals to our customers which will make it easier to make and monitor orders, centrally control expenditure, and enforce rules determining what can be ordered across thousands of sites.

The launch of the wider WWUGL Group heralds a new, exciting chapter in our story and will build even further upon the great reputation we have in the industry. We are committed to a progressive sustainability, innovation and inclusivity agenda and I’m genuinely excited about the range of market leading initiatives that we will be delivering for the benefit of our customers and our planet.

‘Most of the time we fulfil orders through a closed loop supply chain consisting of our partner brands. This offers us a level of control and visibility into our operations that isn’t possible when relying more heavily on third parties.’

How can the industry tackle its skills shortage and how do you recruit/retain/ train your staff?

From better communication regarding career pathways and opportunities to closer collaboration between colleges, skills organisations and the wider industry, there are many approaches to tackling the skills shortage in the rail industry.

One key area for me, and one in which DCC can play a supporting role through our workwear, is in embracing and facilitating diversity to attract talented people for whom the rail industry hasn’t felt like a viable option.

Embracing diversity is critical to our culture at DCC and it comes in many forms: ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender identity, age, disability and neurodiversity to name but a few. To exclude these groups is to forgo both a skilled future workforce and the diversity of perspectives that often leads to groundbreaking innovation.

Where DCC is playing a role for the rail industry is in the supply of specialised workwear and PPE options. From on-brand hijab and female-fit clothing to maternity wear and special garments for stoma wearers, expanding the PPE and workwear available to employees sends a clear signal

that the industry is taking serious about accommodating talent in its many forms.

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?

Intentionality is key to driving innovation without compromising other areas of business. Organisations need to actively commit to creating the culture and infrastructure that allows innovation teams to make real progress and be accountable for their work. It can’t be left to chance.

I mentioned our multi-million-pound investments in physical infrastructure, warehouse automation and software earlier. This is a good case study of what I believe an effective approach to innovation should look like.

At DCC and the wider Group, we break all of our innovation efforts into two broad groups. One is focussed on incremental improvements to our systems and processes, our customer services, our products, our

The Trusted Choice for Top-To-Toe Workwear & PPE Solutions

We’re a leading contract supplier of technical workwear and PPE to large multi-sited organisations in the rail and industrial sectors.

Over two decades of experience in large-scale co-ordinated rollouts has helped position DCC as the trusted choice for keeping people safe, comfortable and on-brand at all times.

Looking for a reliable workwear & PPE supplier?

Telephone: +44 (0)121 543 1335, email: rebecca.jones@directcorporate.co.uk or visit: www.directcorporate.co.uk

Why choose DCC?

Project Managed from Cradle-To-Grave: From designing and sourcing products, to manufacturing, distribution and recycling, we take care of everything for you.

Industry Leading Warehousing: Stateof-the-art warehouse robotics means ultra-fast picking and no downtime, so you get your garments exactly when you need them.

Dedicated Account Managers: No call centres, no surprises. Your dedicated point of contact will ensure all your specific needs are met throughout the contract, no matter how complex.

warehousing and our overall sustainability. The other is tasked with exploring the more radical, transformative solutions that although often require large investment and may be disruptive in the short term, present great upside to the customer. This approach has enabled us to explore and make radical changes to the business without compromising our ability to service large contracts on a day-to-day basis.

There’s also the matter of resource allocation, both in terms of employees’ time and company budgets. Part of our success with innovation is the result of having both budgets and time specifically allocated to innovation efforts. Explicitly separating innovation from the operational side of the business creates an environment where innovation is seen as a valuable business activity in its own right, complete with clear metrics, deliverables and expectations.

It’s difficult to be creative when competing with day-to-day operations, so we tackle this head on by decoupling them.

I think this approach is especially important in the rail industry, where any disruption to day-to-day operations can have enormous downstream effects on passengers.

Tailored Contracts: One size does not fit all. We pride ourselves on tailoring our contracts and solutions to the unique needs of every single customer.

Online Ordering Portal: Control spend and standardise workwear/PPE across your sites with our easy-to-use, multiplatform online portal.

Innovation and Sustainability: From female-fit ranges and inclusive workwear options to our new warehouse that reduces emissions per pick by 75%, our R&D keeps you at the forefront of product innovation & sustainability.

Rail Professional Advert 183 x 130.indd 1 14/09/2023 10:49


Tom Vincent is one of four Owner/ Directors of Crouch Waterfall. Alongside running the business, Tom is a Chartered Geotechnical Engineer with over 20 years industry experience. Graduating from Camborne School of Mines, Tom has worked for site investigation contractors, and as both a Geotechnical and Geo-environmental consultant in various onshore and offshore roles across the UK, Europe and Africa.


As an established firm of Civil, Structural and Geotechnical Consulting Engineers Crouch Waterfall has extensive experience in the core areas of bridges, rail infrastructure, buildings, temporary works and geotechnical services. Formed in 1981, it has enjoyed steady growth with works carried out throughout the UK from four regional offices.

Want to know more about Crouch Waterfall?

Tel: 01454 270 707

Email: bristol@crouchwaterfall.co.uk

Visit: www. crouchwaterfall.co.uk

Address: Crouch Waterfall and Partners

15 Apex Court, Bradley Stoke, Bristol, BS32 4JT

How did you get started in the industry?

I graduated from Camborne School of Mines in 2001 and immediately started work for Soil Mechanics undertaking ground investigations. Many of the projects we worked on were on the railway, and so right from the start of my career the rail industry has been an integral part of my working life. Those early schemes taught me a lot about rail infrastructure, and the challenges facing the network; not least the issues associated with access to remote stretches of track and working safely in close proximity to the operational lines. We used all manner of solutions to get GI equipment to site, on one memorable occasion we even contemplated using a hovercraft to cross a flood plain (sadly it didn’t happen).

When did you join the company?

I joined Crouch Waterfall in 2013. Prior to that I’d been working freelance for various companies in the South West. Crouch Waterfall were looking for a Geotechnical Engineer to join them permanently, and to develop that capability within the business, at home I was under pressure to find a less hand-to-mouth existence, so the opportunity suited both the business and me!

With the Bristol office of Crouch Waterfall already well engaged in the rail sector, it wasn’t difficult to leverage those clients and contracts to develop a successful geotechnical team. In fairly short order there were four of us in the Geotechnical team working on some fairly large schemes, such as CASR (Cardiff Area Signal Renewal). In hindsight it probably took a bit of a leap of faith from our clients back then, which is something I’ll always be grateful for. I like to think that we rewarded their faith in us.

What success have you experienced in the last twelve months and how do you measure success?

The most obvious success in the past twelve months was Nuneham Viaduct. We were on site working with Balfour Beatty and Network Rail when the line was closed. Due to our existing engagement in the project, we were given the opportunity to design both the temporary and permanent solutions. The project was exceptionally challenging and high pressured, with a tenweek turnaround time from closure until the proposed re-opening.

We weren’t the only designers involved (Mabey and FTE deserve a mention), but we did the bulk of the design work, and led that element of the project. Looking back, it’s still quite extraordinary that the team managed to design a method to lift the bridge deck, remove the abutment, and design the piles and superstructure for the new abutment, while also adhering to Network Rail’s design assurance process.

The turnaround was so fast that we were

issuing steelwork drawings that would be fabricated the same day by MJ Hughes, and arrive on site still hot from the galvanising process the day after that. It’s testament to what the industry can achieve when we work collaboratively. I think it’s also a great advertisement for SMEs in the industry, showcasing that you don’t need thousands of employees to deliver at the highest levels.

What are some standout projects you’ve been involved in over the years?

We were very proud to have been part of the team behind the Oceans Jubilee Canal bridge in 2021. That was put forward for, and won, an ICE award. As a business we tend to focus on solving problems and then moving onto the next one. We’ve never been very good at self-promotion, and so it was fantastic that the Crouch Waterfall project team got to celebrate a scheme that was technically challenging and also delivered tangible benefits to the wider community.

The Gipsy Patch Lane project has been tainted by the delays that occurred during construction, which is shame. Taking away that element, the project was unusual and ultimately successful. Crouch Waterfall worked in partnership with Arcadis, where we designed the foundations and temporary works, and they designed the superstructure. That’s a first in my career, and it turned out to be an enjoyable and successful experience. The design for the foundations (24no, one-metre diameter, two-metre long, steel cased piles, constructed within open sided sheet-piled boxes cut into a nine-metre high embankment), were placed so they could be constructed while the line was open. That was a massive challenge and required very highly skilled designers.

Of course there are lessons to be learned from the mistakes made on that scheme, but consigning it all to history without considering the successes would be a mistake.

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?

As the business has grown, we’ve developed a bit of a reputation for problem solving and innovation. Some of this stems from the fact that we undertake a lot of temporary works (TW) designs. I think that the design industry and can sometimes look down its nose a little at TW designers. But as someone who works in both permanent works and TW, I can honestly say that some of our most interesting challenges have been about how to build a structure efficiently and safely, as opposed to the design of that structure. This is also where designers are given a little more license for creativity.

When a client approaches us with a problem, the first question is to find out




01454 270 707



01256 479 203



01925 740 404



02920 006 818


We offer a diverse range of engineering design, assessment and project management with a pedigree of providing high quality, cost effective solutions throughout the UK for over 35 years.

Crouch Waterfall is committed to providing a positive experience to our clients, suppliers, employees and the communities we influence. Relishing challenges of any complexity and scale we are dedicated to providing the highest level of professionalism and integrity. We foster innovation and encourage new ideas from our highly motivated and integrated engineering teams across all disciplines. Our objective is to deliver timely and cost effective design solutions through close client liaison, nurturing lasting relationships and always striving to exceed expectations.

The images are courtesy of Network Rail.

what the limitations are (materials, access, time, budget etc), and to ensure that we have adequate information (surveys, drawings, loadings etc). Once that is established, it is important that whatever solutions we might have dreamed up, we communicate effectively and frequently with our clients. It’s all too easy to spend weeks working on something that is going to be rejected out of hand due to some factor out of our control. Other than that, it’s usually a case of the Crouch Waterfall project team brewing a fresh pot of coffee and letting everyone come up with any idea they can think of, no matter how off-the-wall it is. From the depths of weirdness can come greatness, so it’s important not to dismiss anyone’s input.

How can the industry tackle its skills shortage?

There’s no instant fix to the shortage of engineers in the industry, sadly we cannot suddenly create the 50,000 or so people needed with the qualifications and skills required to do those jobs. And yet this is an urgent issue, given that about 20 per cent of the current UK workforce is due to retire in the next five years.

The first most obvious immediate solution is to address the number of engineering graduates who do not go into the industry once they have qualified. In 2019 about ten per cent of graduates in engineering went into careers that were unrelated to the sector. What is it about either the course or the industry that discourages them?

The number of apprenticeships being taken up in engineering is also far lower than it could be. We are probably as guilty as the next business, but this is an area in which all businesses can really make a difference.

Diversity is the other obvious issue. STEM subjects at secondary schools and colleges have very significant gender imbalances, for example about one in ten GCSE Engineering pupils are female. Crouch Waterfall have set up our own women in engineering group to look at how we as an SME can make a valuable contribution towards improving this situation, but it’s going to require a seismic shift in thinking and attitudes. You can see this happening, and there are some truly great people involved, but it has to filter all the way through every aspect of the industry.

How do you make your business a good place to work?

This assumes that Crouch Waterfall is a good place to work!

It’s not a cliché to say that all of the value in the business lies in the people we employ. If we do not look after them, then we have nothing. It’s crucial we remember that whenever we’re making decisions about the business.

The most obvious drivers are trust, support and flexibility. We don’t scrutinise every minute that people spend working; instead we trust them to do their jobs, and to ask for help when it’s needed. We believe

that for the most part, our people know what they want, and they have a pretty good idea of how to get there. So the job of management is to encourage and enable people, and to offer guidance if it’s needed and wanted. We’re all different, and it’s our differences that make us special, so we try to avoid too many blanket rules.

The other thing to do is to listen. Anyone can come to us at any time, irrespective of the reason. I think that if you have direct access to the owners of the business, then you’re going to feel like what you have to say is important, and that you are valued.

Have you changed your approach to work at all since covid?

Covid has had a huge impact on the way that people work, and also on people’s general attitude to work. The obvious change is working from home. Prior to Covid it wasn’t really something that the business thought much about. If someone needed to work from home because they were getting a new boiler fitted, then that was fine, but it was the exception not the rule. It was all too easy to imagine that everyone working from home would be the death of productivity. But of course, we quickly realised that we were being paranoid, and now hybrid working is the norm.

That said, there are benefits to office working too. Not least the ability to work closely with other team members, and to build the essential rapport that makes a really good team tick. It’s also important that junior staff who require more mentoring and guidance have that first-hand.

Like so many things, our approach is flexible and driven by a balance between what’s best for a person, and what’s best for the business. I think this is an area which is destined to continue to change and evolve, and no doubt there will be times when we don’t get these balances absolutely right. None of the Directors of Crouch Waterfall started their careers expecting to run a company; so like everyone else in the business, we’re learning on the job too!

‘In 2019 about ten per cent of graduates in engineering went into careers that were unrelated to the sector. What is it about either the course or the industry that discourages them?’

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)

Formed on 1 April 2011, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is run jointly by the leaders of the ten councils and the Mayor of Greater Manchester

Over the last decade several devolution agreements have been signed between Government and the GMCA. These agreements brought new powers and responsibilities to the region, including transport. To deliver these devolution agreements, it was decided that Greater Manchester should have an elected Mayor to act as a directly elected point of accountability for the GMCA.

The GMCA is both a political entity and an organisation in its own right. The political part of GMCA provides direction, governance, and oversight of the work they do on behalf of the city region for our residents and businesses. GMCA as an organisation translates that political direction into action through teams of dedicated experts across a range of functions and services.

As a political entity, GMCA comprises the ten local authorities that make up the city region. The Authority is Chaired by the Mayor, Andy Burnham and is led by the Chief Executive, Eamonn Boylan. Functional executive bodies, such as Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), are responsible for the delivery of services with the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (TfGMC) and its sub committees managing the TfGM and creating the transport policy on behalf of the GMCA, however some decisions still require approval by the GMCA. TfGM delivers the GMCA’s transport policies, by coordinating transport networks across the region, deciding where to invest transport funding, and owning and running the Metrolink tram service. TfGM is a key partner in Rail North and Transport for the North.

The GMCA gives local people more control over issues that affect their area.

It means the region speaks with one voice and can make a strong case for resources and investment. There corporate objectives include:

1. Deliver core and devolved services for the public.

2. Secure, and manage, funding and investment at Greater Manchester level for agreed activity.

3. Work with the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester to drive collective activity that puts Greater Manchester at the forefront of tackling social, economic, and environmental issues.

4. Ensure Greater Manchester is speaking with one voice – developing, leading and implementing our evidence-based strategies, building our networks and partnerships and influencing policy.

GMCA coordinates transport services through the public body Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040

Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 sets out Greater Manchester’s longterm ambition for transport. The vision is for Greater Manchester to have ‘Worldclass connections that support long-term sustainable economic growth and access to opportunity for all’. It sets out a strong commitment to provide a transport system which: supports sustainable economic growth and the efficient and effective movement of people and goods; improves the quality of life for all by being integrated, affordable and reliable; protects the environment and supports our target to be net zero carbon by 2038 as well as improving air quality; and capitalises on new technology and innovation.

The Five-Year Transport Delivery Plan provides the detail of the schemes to be delivered to support progress towards the longer-term ambitions and targets. As additional funding is secured in the future, subsequent updates of the Delivery Plan will identify the schemes that provide the detail for the broad interventions identified in the 2040 Transport Strategy document.

Transport for Greater Manchester

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is the local government body responsible for delivering Greater Manchester’s transport strategy and commitments. TfGM implements the decisions made by GMCA and the Greater Manchester Transport Committee GMTC to improve transport services and facilities in Greater Manchester. TfGM owns Metrolink – the UK’s largest light rail network – and plan for its future, including the new Trafford Park line.


Mayor: Andy Burnham

Chief Executive: Eamonn Boylan

Head of Communications: Sarah Keaveny


Address: Tootal Buildings, 56 Oxford Street, Manchester M1 6EU

Tel: 0161 778 7000

Email: enquiries@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk

Visit: www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk



Luke has been developing web-based SaaS solutions for over 25 years and joined eviFile as MD from KPMG, in 2018. Luke leads the technical development of eviFile and the operations of the business. He has been heavily involved in digitising major engineering and construction programmes in the UK and internationally, leading the product and implementation teams.


eviFile stands for evidence file and is a digital assurance software solution that creates a golden thread of information across field data and project reporting to improve quality, minimise risk, and ensure compliance.

Want to know more about eviFile?

Tel: 01138 591 669

Email: info@evifile.com

Visit: www.evifile.com


eviFile LTD is an extremely agile and forward thinking Software as a Service business, focussed around enabling efficient data management on major construction projects improving efficiency and control processes across a business. eviFile is an abbreviation for evidence File, as at the core of the system is a cryptographic algorithm that ensure all photos and data collected are encrypted, geolocated (lat/long) stamped and stored to create a digital golden thread of information that tracks every aspect of a project from start to finish.

Originally developed for the Great Western Electrification project in 2017, eviFile’s focus was to enable all project data to be collected anytime, anywhere on any mobile device or web browser, to provide instant project information and automated hand back of key assurance information ahead of entry into service. The focus of this project was overhead line electrification; however, the platform was built to work across disciplines and even sectors. eviFile has subsequently been used for other purposes such as, works activity and quants tracking, possession and blockade delivery management, digital quality assurance, close calls, signalling installation and handover to test.

eviFile delivers a truly digitalised project across any device, so it has also been rolled out across major pipeline projects in rail, construction, and utilities with clients like United Utilities, Drax, and Mace. One of eviFile’s early success stories has been working alongside SPL Powerlines to digitise the Midland Mainline programme, the improvements made and savings gained for the client on this programme have been amazing. eviFile is also now the application of choice for all digital data collection on the TRU (Trans Pennine Route Upgrade) programme and is the selected field software solution for Alstom, Atkins, and SPL.

Which sectors do you work in?

We are split across 80 per cent rail, ten per cent construction and ten per cent others (including renewable power).

What is your Unique Selling Point?

Put simply, we have a completely malleable system for digital transformation, can provide fully-tracked, real-time evidence. The system can be applied to delivery, assurance, compliance and governance and we do the hard work to make it fit your needs. eviFile is a digital data collection and reporting platform that provides real-time visibility into all areas of a rail project to expedite entry into service, ensure compliance and confirm assurance. It combines a flexible control panel to enable any project to be digitised without the need for developers or highly skilled programmers. Each project can be reported

us about eviFile.
Comply. All from a single mobile application. See your project data in real-time and make informed decisions on the spot. eviFile creates a golden thread of information across all departments and provides evidence-based insights that ensure operational compliance. Learn more at evifile.com/compliance.
Capture. Control.

in real-time through PowerBI. Add this together with eviFile’s onboarding team who work hand in glove with clients to ensure every project is adopted and is a success has been a key driver of the business’s rapid growth since 2020.

What types of products and services do you offer?

eviFile provides software and licensing for its web and mobile solutions alongside customised onboarding support for setup, on-going maintenance, and management. eviFile also has an in-house data and Power BI team for support on any BI, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) requirements. Alongside this, eviFile has an account and success management team who work alongside project teams to ensure project governance is in alignment with the success metrics of the project.

What are some standout projects you’ve been involved in over the years?

eviFile were drafted into the midland mainline project in 2019 to assist in creating a much more streamlined approach to capturing and managing data for the Health & Safety file production. The original process was based on PDF and difficult to manage and measure. After working with the team to move this process into eviFile, we saved the company £1.2 million in the first year on time saved processing paper and unstructured data/forms.

eviFile worked with Innovate UK to further develop our real time and BI capability on the AEC digital control rooms project in 2020 – implementing three physical/virtual control rooms powered by eviFile’s real time data capabilities – these were also implemented for the Possessions Management team for Network Rail in Square One, Manchester.

eviFile has also been selected to the be the data and field tool of choice for the entire TRU (Trans Pennine route upgrade) programmes, spanning 8 years and many billions of pounds. eviFile has been

deployed to manage Close Calls, Possessions Management, every construction discipline as well as completions management across the entire programme.

What types of companies do you collaborate on projects with?

eviFile collaborates with asset owners and regulators such as Network Rail/Ofgem, process owners, engineers, and improvers alongside Tier 1 contractors who are on the ground delivering the work. We also work with small SMEs to deliver better processes and data management, focussing on reporting progress, issues, and even financial performance of a project.

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 pride ourselves on being the path of least resistant to delivering digital transformation. We have a team of processes mappers who love to work through a challenge and come up with a digital solution. They’ll often have to work from paper, Excel, SharePoint, etc and manipulate all of this into a digital configuration in eviFile. This is often an iterative process to get it right – however once complete it can often be used as a template for best practice on how to run your project, manage your data and deliver results that are easily measured and managed.

What’s next for eviFile?

Rail and more rail, both in the UK and overseas. We’re also very much aligned with the climate change agenda and we’re looking at ways to support the offshore wind market as well as commercial and residential solar projects. We are expanding our work with existing clients in the UK and we have projects ongoing in the USA. We’re also looking at how AI and ML can better support our projects and users. We recently released PosiTrak alongside our partners Frazer Nash which can assist the Possessions Teams to predict the successful outcome of a possession based on our predictive algorithms which improve with each possession we complete.

How do you work with the supply chain within this sector?

We are flexible in how we develop relationships to deliver what a client needs and wants. eviFile are contracted to Network Rail for our major programmes and are also members of GIRI, Rail Forum and RIA. We are focussed on working with other technology partners such as P6, 3D Repo, Signal Software and A-Site to provide a suite of interconnected tools that can provide a better solution for all rail projects.

Our mantra is to integrate, automate and continuously improve with partnerships with our tier 1 contractor clients for the greater good of the railway, rather than hide our roadmaps and put walls up around our data and solution.

What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces?

The biggest challenges we face are a reluctance to move away from standard, labour-intensive processes and ways of working that are holding back efficiency and innovation on projects. The move from GRIP to Pace was an opportunity to maintain the rigour of GRIP, but to develop new technology driven solutions, while maintaining safety and enhancing the speed with which we can deliver major projects. Adoption and a lack of opportunity to challenge the normal has also meant that many projects still use outdated Excel and paper processes that will inhibit the railway to deliver better railways, more efficiently and at a more aggressive cost profile.

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?

By nature, SaaS businesses must continually innovate to remain competitive. eviFile accomplishes this by working alongside clients, contractors, and asset owners to constantly challenge what an ideal project looks like. We will always invest more than 30 per cent of our turnover into R&D while maintaining our investment into our onboarding team, as having the people element to our business is a core strength, as we care how our tool is implemented and that it delivers value for our customers.

In terms of technology, how do you anticipate things might change in the next five to ten years?

The technology landscape will change dramatically over the next five to ten years, not only in the way we collect data (image processing/AI) but also how projects are operated and constructed (offsite manufacturing etc). I see all of these developments as a massive positive as although technology will not replace the construction/engineering professional on the ground, they will all aid in adding value to their role with better planning tools, enhanced data completion by AI and better reporting and forecasting optimisation. Software and AI is here to stay, but it will augment and improve project performance and provide additional support to those that need it, to deliver an improved and safer end product for the rail passenger.

‘Software and AI is here to stay, but it will augment and improve project performance and provide additional support to those that need it, to deliver an improved and safer end product for the rail passenger.’

London TravelWatch

London’s independent transport watchdog uses evidence to campaign to improve journeys, and advocate for all people travelling in London

Established in July 2000 and officially known as London Transport Users Committee, London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, which is part of the Greater London Authority, and is independent from the transport operators. The Assembly also appoints its board members, supported by staff who carry out the day-to-day work.

London TravelWatch is interested in the passenger experience of all the services operated and licensed by Transport for London.

The casework team, as well as dealing with appeals, also handle enquiries about Penalty Fare Notices and Penalty Charge Notices. However, the team is only able to ensure that the appeal process has been correctly followed and does not have the power to overturn a decision that has already been made.

As a statutory appeals/consumer body London TravelWatch is always keen to engage with members of the public and listen to their feedback about the transport issues they may face. To get involved, you can sign up to the digital community and receive regular news updates and helpful information on the latest things happening in transport across London.

London TravelWatch’s remit is set by Parliament and, as a result, there are some issues that it is unable to address.


London TravelWatch regularly publishes its research into matters of concern to London transport users. In 2023 it published Left behind Londoners – Digital Exclusion and Disadvantage in London transport which looked at Londoners who had been unable to travel due to a lack of access to a smartphone or digital device. The research involved conducting surveys of Londoners and conducting interviews with organisations that advocate for impacted groups.

Another report looked at Rail Reform and what Londoners chief concerns were –discovering that:

• Two thirds of Londoners told us they would be put off from using the railways if the frequency of their train was cut in future.

• Less than half of people were satisfied with current levels of crowding on trains, despite this having got much better in the last two years due to fewer people travelling.

• Only 39 per cent of people surveyed consider the railways to be good value for money.

• 38 per cent of people were dissatisfied with toilet facilities at stations, and many were also dissatisfied with the availability of bike and car parking.

• 17 per cent of disabled passengers were very dissatisfied with connections with other forms of transport and 18 per cent with step-free access in stations and boarding trains.

• 58 per cent of people said they got most of their information about changes to their train service at the station, higher than any other option – online, social media, apps or alerts.


In the summer 2023, in collaboration with Transport Focus, London TravelWatch facilitated a public consultation on proposed changes to ticket offices and received over 680,000 responses combined. In the consultation responses from the public and stakeholders, concerns were raised around accessibility, safety and security, issues with ticket machines and how stations will be staffed in future.


Chair: Arthur Leathley

Deputy Chair and Chair of the Policy Committee:

Alan Benson MBE

Chief Executive: Michael Roberts

Head of Communications: David Murdoch

Head of Casework: Susan James

Head of Campaigns and Advocacy: Alex Smith


Correspondence address: London TravelWatch

PO Box 5594 Southend on Sea SS1 9PZ

Tel: 020 3176 2999

Email: info@londontravelwatch.org.uk

Visit: www.londontravelwatch.org.uk

‘We are particularly interested in how individual stations will be staffed, how accessible they will be, options for buying tickets and whether passengers will be able to access facilities such as lifts, waiting rooms and toilets.’
Michael Roberts Chief Executive of London TravelWatch


Andrew Henry is Contracts Director in the Civil Engineering Division at GRAHAM Group. Starting out as a placement student, his journey has been one of dedication and expertise. With a keen eye for detail, Andrew is a Chartered Civil Engineer and now oversees a myriad of projects in rail, highways, and bridges infrastructure.

How did you get started in the industry?

Whilst growing up I lived and assisted on the family farm which gave me the opportunity to gain hands-on practical experience as well as instilling a greater work ethic and sense of responsibility. My father worked for the local road authority, and it seemed like a natural fit to study civil engineering and become a civil engineer.

In truth, I chose this career path without having a full appreciation of the scope and range of sectors within civil engineering. Whilst at university I did a placement year with GRAHAM, working on a variety of wastewater projects, including a small tunnelling project and upon graduating, joined GRAHAM as a graduate engineer, initial working on wastewater and then road projects.

What is your role within GRAHAM?

I am a Contracts Director within the Civil Engineering division of GRAHAM Group. During my time within the business, I have progressed via the traditional route. Since starting as a site engineer nearly 20 years ago, I have had the opportunity to develop my career and progress to my current role through a combination of hard work, an adaptive attitude and timing.

Which sectors do you work in?

I am involved in a variety of sectors which is part of the interdisciplinary nature of our industry. I oversee our rail projects in mainland UK and Ireland, many of which involve structures, station buildings and embankment works. In addition, I manage the delivery of highways and bridge schemes for local councils and private clients, taking schemes through from tender to handover. I am fortunate to have a strong team with key strengths in these areas, many of which have been part of the team for several years and have started as graduates in the business.


Graham specialises in the innovative resolution of complex engineering challenges, blending high-end aesthetics with flexible functionality and fusing a deep understanding of the Design, Build, Finance and Operation of diverse assets.

Want to know more about Graham?

Tel: 02892 689 500

Email: info@graham.co.uk

Visit: www.graham.co.uk

What are some major projects you’re currently working on?

We are currently working on several frameworks for Translink in Northern Ireland with works including York Street Station and the new Busway Bridge at Belfast Grand Central Station. Alongside these projects, we are completing a number of schemes including a programme of platform extensions for Greater Anglia and a large bridge in Chelmsford involving the launch of the 180m long bridge superstructure over road and rail during installation, plus works on Network Rail CP6. The team have just completed the new Marsh Barton Railway Station in Exeter and are also completing a tied arch footbridge for the local council in that area. I am also engaged with a number of local councils on the delivery of highways and bridge projects, at various stages.


What are some standout projects you’ve been involved in over the years?

For me, there are three projects which truly standout and are worth highlighting, the first being DBFO2 Northern Ireland. This was the largest road scheme in Northern Ireland at that time and I was working on the delivery of a number of the bridge structures over three years. It was a great project to be involved in. Whilst there

were many challenges, there was an opportunity to learn a lot, and get hands on involvement in many elements of the work. The completed project is a road that I travel on, on a weekly basis so caries a personal interest.

Crossrail West Stations involved the construction of three station buildings (two new and one major refurb) in West London. The project was awarded at a time when there was significant press

coverage on Crossrail regarding the cost and programme overruns. The project involved some complex work given the proximity of the railway, high footfall levels and then Covid-19 thrown into the mix. However ultimately, we delivered a very pleasing and successful project and forged strong relations with the client.

Finally, Carpenters Land Bridge in Stratford. Whilst this project may have been smaller in size, it was highly complex


and involved installing a 250t bridge cantilevered on an SPMT over several railway tracks. I’m pleased to say that the project was awarded Project of the Year at the CIHT Awards.

One of the most challenging projects involved two Network Rail bridge replacements undertaking a 72-hour blockade in South London. It was a very intense weekend, not helped by 30+ degree temperatures, a subsequent thunderstorm and unforeseen voids encountered in the

existing structure. Despite the challenges, we managed to compete both replacements and reopen the track on time.

What would you say is the most exciting technology in the industry?

I think the development of drone technology and the level of accuracy that can be achieved for surveys is fantastic. This offers major benefits to large scale projects particularly where earthmoving is involved. An interesting solution which seems to be getting trialled is the introduction of Augmented Reality and BIM technology to create digital shields between the rail and adjacent operational plant to facilitate ALO working beside the live rail. This has the potential to significantly reduce the extent of possession working provided sufficient safeguards are put in place.

What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces?

It’s without question that there are challenges within the industry, many of which are well documented and include skilled labour shortages, market inflation and its impact on project viability and carbon net zero. There remains a lot of

uncertainly on the level of spend available on the rail network over the next few years and certainly it’s difficult to foresee a great deal of spend of rail enhancement project beyond the marquee projects (HS2) and other well-advanced schemes.

What are some potential solutions?

We all need to continue to work smarter, increasing offsite manufacturing and modern methods of construction. I also believe that we need to promote the industry through apprenticeship schemes and other training means. Inspiring the next generation is the key to our success!

How have you seen the industry change over the years?

During my time within the industry, I’ve seen a great deal of change. A greater demand to introduce technology has resulted in a reduction of labour-intensive tasks. A greater awareness of the environment and emphasis placed on reaching net zero by 2040, has encouraged recycling and being more efficient with materials. In addition, we’ve seen a shift towards tasks being more process driven and the industry has become more risk adverse.

To learn more about our expertise, please visit graham.co.uk

‘We need to promote the industry through apprenticeship schemes and other training means. Inspiring the next generation is key to our success!’


Reece Burley explains why Heamar Company Limited can support your company regarding tooling and components.


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.

Want to know more about Heamar?

Tel: 01260 297500

Email: sales@heamar.co.uk

Visit: www.heamar.co.uk

How long has your company been in business, tell us about Heamar and what sectors do you work in?

Heamar Company, with a history spanning three decades, underwent a significant transformation roughly a decade ago through a management buyout, leading to our rebranding as Heamar Company Limited. Today, Heamar Company Ltd stands as a premier supplier of top-tier general and specialized tooling, essential components, and cutting-edge lighting solutions serving a diverse range of

industries, including Aerospace, MRO, Industrial, Rail, Defence, and Motorsport.

Boasting over 35 years of expertise in providing tooling solutions for electrical harnesses, encompassing everything from wire cutters to comprehensive DMC electrical kits, Heamar is exceptionally well-prepared to guide customers in making well-informed choices concerning technology, applications, and pertinent industry standards. Our paramount focus remains on fostering robust connections with both our valued clientele and trusted suppliers, ensuring a swift, professional, and competitive service.

Our unwavering dedication to quality and safety is vividly demonstrated by our attainment of the esteemed BSI AS/ EN 9120 REV B Certification, a standard specially tailored for distributors and suppliers collaborating with original equipment manufacturers. Within the Aviation, Space, Rail, and Defence sectors, where maintaining the highest levels of safety is of paramount importance, our possession of the BSI AS/EN 9120 REV B certification instills complete confidence among our customers when procuring tooling and components, including backshell adapters and accessories, heatshrink boots, and steel banding straps from Heamar. Our unswerving commitment remains in delivering products that not only adhere to the most stringent safety standards but also actively contribute to the triumph of our customers' projects in these critical sectors.

How have the products and services you offer developed over the years?

The development of products and services over time is influenced by various factors, such as technological advancements, customer needs and preferences, market trends, and competitive pressures. Overall, the evolution of products and services is an ongoing process driven by innovation and changing customer needs. Heamar has some great experience in adapting and embracing these changes and we thrive in a dynamic and competitive market landscape.

What would you say is the most exciting technology in the industry?

The Hyperloop system involves a pod or capsule traveling at high speeds through a near-vacuum tube, reducing air resistance and enabling super-fast transportation. Magnetic levitation (maglev) technology and linear induction motors are used to propel the pod, eliminating the need for traditional wheels and tracks.

It's important to note that Hyperloop technology is still in the developmental stage, and significant challenges remain, including safety considerations, regulatory approvals, and large-scale implementation, however I do like the thought of our industry thinking outside of the box.


What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces?

The rail industry faces several significant challenges that impact its operations, infrastructure, and overall sustainability. Some of the biggest challenges include:

• Aging Infrastructure – many rail systems around the world have aging infrastructure, which requires extensive maintenance and modernization efforts to ensure safety and efficiency. Upgrading tracks, bridges, signalling systems, and rolling stock is often a costly and timeconsuming process.

• Capacity and Congestion – urbanisation and population growth in cities have increased demand for rail services. This has led to capacity issues and congestion on rail networks, especially during peak hours, which can result in delays and reduced service reliability.

• Funding and Investment – adequate funding and investment in rail infrastructure are essential to keep the system running smoothly and to address the challenges of aging infrastructure and capacity constraints. Securing long-term financial support can be challenging for many rail operators.

• Environmental Impact – railways are considered a more sustainable mode of transportation compared to many other options, but the industry still faces challenges in reducing its environmental impact further. Measures to increase energy efficiency, minimize emissions, and adopt cleaner technologies are critical for sustainability.

• Safety and Security – rail safety remains a top priority, and preventing accidents, derailments, and incidents involving passengers and staff is crucial. Rail operators must continually enhance safety protocols and implement advanced safety technologies.

How have you seen the industry change over the years?

Over the years, the rail industry has undergone significant changes and developments. Some notable trends and changes include:

• Technological Advancements – the rail industry has embraced various technological advancements to improve efficiency, safety, and customer experience. This includes the adoption of digitalization, data analytics, automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor and manage operations more effectively.

• High-Speed Rail – the development and expansion of high-speed rail networks have transformed transportation options in many regions. High-speed trains offer faster travel times and increased connectivity between cities, contributing to economic development and reducing the reliance on short-haul flights.

• Sustainability Initiatives – with a growing focus on environmental sustainability, the rail industry has been promoting its eco-friendly advantages compared to other modes of transport. Electric and hybrid trains, as well as renewable energy sources for rail operations, have gained momentum.

• Improved Passenger Experience – rail operators have invested in improving the overall passenger experience. This includes upgrades to rolling stock, enhanced onboard amenities, Wi-Fi connectivity, and improved ticketing and reservation systems.

Overall, the rail industry has evolved to meet the demands of a changing world, and continuous innovation remains essential for its growth and relevance in modern transportation systems. The industry's future will likely be influenced by advancements in technology, environmental concerns, changing travel patterns, and the ongoing quest for sustainable and efficient mobility solutions.

How do you make your business a good place to work?

Making a business a good place to work involves fostering a culture of respect, growth, and well-being. Here are twelve key strategies:

1. Transparent Communication.

2. Supportive Leadership.

3. Work-Life Balance.

4. Recognition and Appreciation.

5. Learning and Development.

6. Employee Benefits and Perks.

7. Diversity and Inclusion.

8. Safe and Supportive Environment.

9. Empowerment and Autonomy.

10. Fun and Social Activities.

11. Health and Wellness Initiatives.

12. Purpose and Meaning.

By prioritizing the well-being, growth, and satisfaction of employees, businesses can create a positive work environment that attracts and retains talented individuals, fostering a motivated and engaged workforce.

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?

Balancing the need for maximising earnings from current business practices while investing in innovation can be challenging but essential for long-term success. To achieve the necessary creativity to innovate without compromising existing business, Heamar needs to consider the following strategies:

• Dedicated Innovation Team.

• Foster a Culture of Innovation.

• Incremental Innovation.

• External Partnerships.

• Allocate Resources Strategically.

• Customer-Centric Approach.

• Long-Term Vision.

• Create Innovation Initiatives.

• Patience and Risk Management.

• Test and Pilot.

• Separate Funding.

• Embrace Failure as Learning.

By adopting a balanced approach to innovation, Heamar can sustain their current business while fostering creativity and preparing for future growth and profitability. The key is to maintain a strategic focus on both short-term earnings and long-term innovation goals.

What types of products and services do you offer?

Heamar Company Limited is a distributor that specialises in providing a range of products and services within the industry. Some of the types of products and services we offer include:

• General Tooling – Heamar offers a selection of general tools and equipment that are commonly used. These may include hand tools, cutting tools, measuring instruments, and other tooling solutions.

• Specialist Tooling – we provided specialised and precision tools designed for specific applications in aerospace, defence and rail manufacturing and maintenance processes.

• Components – Heamar supplies a variety of components and parts, such as connectors, adapters, fasteners, and electrical components.

• Lighting Solutions – Heamar offers lighting solutions, including LED lighting products.

• Electrical Harness Tools – Heamar specialises in supplying tooling for electrical harnesses, ranging from wire cutters to full DMC electrical kits.

• Steel Banding Straps – steel banding straps are provided for securing and bundling cables and components.

• Tool Kits – Heamar offer full customised tool kits, however we can also support foaming and trollies on their own.

‘By prioritizing the well-being, growth, and satisfaction of employees, businesses can create a positive work environment’

Transport Scotland (Còmhdhail Alba)

Transport Scotland is the national transport agency for Scotland, responsible for the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchises as well as planning and delivering rail policy, strategy and development in Scotland

The Transport Scotland Rail Directorate is responsible for planning and delivering rail policy, strategy and development. It carries out appraisals of capital projects, advises on rail investment decisions and provides the specification of railway outputs that the Scottish Government will wish to buy. The Rail directorate is also responsible for managing the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchise contracts, specifying and funding Network Rail’s high-level delivery responsibilities in Scotland, and liaising with the Office of Rail and Road in specifying and funding the outputs expected from Network Rail.

Transport Scotland has invested over £9 billion in the railway since 2007, which has resulted in:

• New fleets of modern electric trains.

• New and improved services through the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchises.

• 47 miles of new railway, including the Borders Railway.

• 252 miles of electrified lines.

• 16 new stations.


ScotRail services has moved into Scottish Government ownership as the ScotRail franchise has ended. The services will be provided within the public sector, by an arm’s length company owned and controlled by the Scottish Government. This is a result of the Scottish Government’s decision to run ScotRail services through what is known as the ‘Operator of Last Resort’. ScotRail staff will transfer to the new Scottish Government owned entity, with their terms and conditions protected. Transport Minister, Jenny Gilruth, has expressed an interest in working closely with wider partners including women’s organisations and British Transport Police to improve the public transport system, make it safer and build on the work already underway.

National Transport Strategy

Transport Scotland’s vision, as set out in the National Transport Strategy (NTS2), is for Scotland to have a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system which will help to deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors. The second Delivery Plan for Scotland’s National Transport Strategy has been published, setting out the actions underway for 2022 to 2023. It recognises the key role that transport has in reducing inequalities, delivering inclusive economic growth, improving health and wellbeing, and tackling the climate emergency. At the heart of the Strategy is the recognition to deliver a step-change in behaviour and provide attractive, affordable, accessible and sustainable travel options.

Transport Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government and is accountable to Parliament and the public through Scottish Ministers. Transport Scotland also provides input from a Scottish perspective on reserved rail issues such as: European directives, cross-border rail franchises, the Equality Act and safety and standards.

Rail freight

The rail freight sector is a vital part of Scotland’s economy. The Scottish Government’s vision is for a competitive, sustainable rail freight sector that plays a significant and increasingly important role in Scotland’s economic growth and provides a safer, greener and more efficient way of transporting goods and materials.

This vision is backed by a £25 million Scottish Strategic Rail Freight Fund for the period 2019 to 2024. The fund will support the development and delivery costs of proposals for minor-medium freight interventions aimed at improving the capacity and capability of the Scottish network for rail freight.


There are currently 360 railway stations in Scotland. Network Rail manages Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley. The railway station at Prestwick Airport is owned and managed by the airport authority. The rest are leased to and operated by ScotRail. Scottish stations have improved significantly after considerable investment over the last few years. ScotRail has invested around £20 million in delivering front line improvements to passenger facilities at stations. The Scottish Government announced in 2019 a £25 million investment into rail freight over the next five years in a bid to strengthen the industry.

Transport Scotland aims to make travel as accessible and affordable as possible. To achieve this, we offer concessionary travel for young Scots, disabled travellers, over 60s and ferry passengers. They are committed to ensuring that their facilities are maintained and improved over the course of the current franchise, with further investments being made at stations to support smart ticketing and integrated travel.

Investment includes enhanced cycle facilities, upgraded ticket vending machines, multi-modal customer information screens and smart ticketing equipment.


Interim Chief Executive:

Hugh Gillies

Director of Rail: Bill Reeve

Interim Director of Transport

Strategy and Analysis:

Fiona Brown

Director of Low Carbon

Economy: Stuart Greig


Address: Buchanan House, 58 Port Dundas Road, Glasgow G4 0HF

Tel: 0141 272 7100

Email: info@transport.gov.scot

Visit: www.transport.gov.scot



A highly experienced engineer, Hugh Langley leads Siderise Special Products with precision, insight, and a passion for continuous enhancement. The division produces market leading acoustic, fire safety and thermal insulation solutions for strictly regulated environments, such as rail.


For 50 years Siderise has been providing innovative insulation solutions for fire, acoustic, and thermal applications internationally. Our market leading product ranges have become the trusted brand in high-rise buildings, construction, building services, OEM and many other industries. With our unrivalled technical expertise and unique manufacturing processes we are the manufacturer of choice for many major companies around the globe.

Want to know more about Siderise?

Tel: 01473 827695

Email: enquiries@siderise.com

Visit: www.siderise.com

What is your role within Siderise Special Products?

I was engaged to oversee the operations for Siderise Special Products as Managing Director in July 2022. My background is in the oil and gas industry, supplying equipment to offshore platforms for controlling and communicating with subsea oil and gas wells. This is a highly regulated and tightly controlled environment, which has set me in good stead for our work in sectors such as Rail.

What types of products and services do you offer?

From our two UK manufacturing facilities, we offer a wide range of products and services to many sectors. For Rail, we offer a vast range of high-performance materials for rolling stock manufacturers. In addition to providing our own range of products, which have been developed and tested over the years, we also have the capabilities to work with any client’s material specification to create bespoke solutions that meet their exacting needs. We can even look to ensure local sourcing of specialist materials where required, helping to save time and money for our customers.

But we don’t just see our role as a supplier of products. Siderise Group, as a whole, is passionate about supporting our customers – no matter the sector – with a suite of useful and accessible technical services. In fact, almost a third of our employees are in technical roles. Seven people within our team are members of the Institute of Acoustics, and the business has extensive experience and a deep knowledge of passive fire protection. We have also developed our own in-house software for acoustic predictions along with impedance tubes for acoustic absorption on small samples.

Additionally, in March this year, we opened our £1 million Innovation Centre in South Wales, which features a specialised furnace to allow us to carry out in-house fire resistance testing. This will not only help us to develop new and exciting products for all kinds of markets, but to continually improve the applications of our current ranges.

All of this is particularly beneficial in a sector such as rail, which requires strict performance criteria to be met for the safety and comfort of the public.

What types of companies do you collaborate on projects with?

We typically work with rolling stock manufacturers, directly, both in the manufacture of new vehicles as well as in the refurbishment side of the industry. We can also offer bespoke cutting services if required.

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 always strive to form long term relationships with our clients. We want them to feel like they can come to us with any challenge, and we will do our utmost to find an appropriate solution. In the UK, over the last decade there has been a huge investment in the rail industry, with new rolling stock manufacturing facilities being built across the country. This has led to a lot of people migrating into the sector from other industries, and we have frequently been asked to share our experience and knowledge to help them to understand the materials, specifications and requirements necessary to deliver all kinds of specialist projects.

We always look to visit the site if possible and work through the requirements faceto-face. This enables us to truly understand what they are trying to achieve, and why. We then try to find the most effective solution, or combination of solutions to meet their needs, highlighting where key optimisations can be made to the design or build to ensure a successful result. It is a bit of cliché to say: ‘customer first’, but as one of our five values it is such a central part of the Siderise ethos. We want to share our expertise, to enhance their expertise, and ultimately produce something which ticks every box.

Wherever the project and whatever the challenge, we will work collaboratively with rolling stock manufacturers to fulfil their needs.

What are some standout projects you’ve been involved in over the years?

A proud moment for the team was being awarded the Supply Partner of the Year Award from Hitachi on a project that we completed with them. We put a huge amount of effort into producing and supplying a quality product on time to meet the build schedule as we know how important it is that, when the kit is opened on the production line it fits first time with no issues. Having this formally recognised was a great honour.

‘Our products tend to last for the lifetime of the train, which not only help with maintenance costs but prevent significant downtime, keeping services running reliably.’

What do you think is the biggest challenge currently facing the rail industry?

There are several challenges facing the industry, from attracting more people to use it to ensuring that it is ready to stand the test of time as we look to decarbonise the country.

From a product manufacturer’s point of view, this has meant taking a close look at the sustainability of our products, both in terms of their longevity and their environmental credentials too. There is a lot of positive work happening behind the scenes around lifecycle analysis and we are always looking for new ways to better serve our customers and their needs.

How can we get more use out of the rail assets and what is your vision for rail in 10 or 20 years?

As we move to a more sustainable way of life, we are seeing more hybrid drive systems coming to the market which offer flexibility and the option to change to electric/battery or hydrogen power in urban areas. We are also seeing an increase in the number of smaller regional train and tramlines being revived as more and more cities look to encourage more people to use public transport instead of their cars.

From a product supplier perspective, this means we must firstly ensure that we have solutions for all kinds of rolling stock, and they can deliver the comfort and reliability necessary to encourage people to leave the convenience of their own car behind. We also need to be able to deliver longevity. Our products tend to last for the lifetime of the train, which not only help with maintenance

costs but prevent significant downtime, keeping services running reliably.

It is also worth noting that UK rolling stock manufacturing capability has grown massively in the last decade, which is very positive. Over the next few years, I expect to see UK-based production increasing, especially as other countries seek support from us to fulfil the build demand where their own facilities are fully booked several years ahead.

Why are acoustics an essential consideration for passenger experience?

As I have just mentioned, people want to travel in comfort, and if we are to encourage them to use more public transport, this means our rolling stock has got to deliver that. A big part of this is considering noise, both from surrounding activity and the train operation itself. Noise can be a bit like water, finding a way through the smallest of gaps and making a huge difference to the performance and noise inside the carriage.

We often work closely with design teams to look at these issues and find ways to reduce this using compliant insulation materials. Our in-house impedance tube test facility has proven particularly useful in these scenarios, allowing us to test acoustic absorption for small samples to ensure we have the correct solution in place before full size external testing is done.

What do rail carriage manufacturers need to know when specifying thermal insulation systems?

The key factors are performance, thickness and weight. However, what values to look out for very much depends on where the train will

be operating, with what type of engine, how many passengers will it serve and so forth. The insulation is not just to keep the interior at a desired temperature but it also crucial in reducing energy consumption— a key consideration especially for the new battery powered trains. We don’t want the energy necessary for getting people where they need to go to be wasted on heating or cooling the cabin space due to poor insulation!

Space is also often an important factor in cabin design. In these situations, it is important to ensure that the insulation material delivers a high enough thermal efficiency without compromising the thickness of the material and therefore negatively impacting on the available internal space for passengers.

What does Siderise Special Products bring to rolling stock manufacturers?

Siderise is led by a core value of ‘integrity in all we do’. This means that for the last 50 years, we have placed robust testing and compliance at the heart of what we do, both in the products we create and in how we create them. Whichever sector we are supplying, we always strive to ensure the best possible materials are tested and manufactured to offer performance and protection in the applications they are designed for. This is especially vital in the rail industry, that must adhere to such stringent regulations to ensure the safety of passengers and staff alike.

Our heavy focus and investment in testing have also meant that we are able to be more innovative, using our experience and data-driven knowledge in other sectors to bring different materials to the rail sector which have not been considered before.


West Midlands Combined Authority

Led by the Mayor of the West Midlands, the WMCA brings together 18 local councils and three Local Enterprise Partnerships to oversee the transfer of powers and funding from Whitehall to the West Midlands

The authority consists of 18 local authorities and four Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) working together to move powers from Whitehall to the West Midlands and its locally elected politicians. It includes the seven metropolitan West Midlands councils (constituent authorities), ten non-constituent authorities/councils and one observer council, as well as the Mayor of the West Midlands.

The transport arm of the WMCA is Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) which coordinates investment to improve the region’s transport infrastructure and create a fully integrated, safe and secure network. It is also responsible for assessing and planning for the region’s future transport needs so the network can meet the demands of businesses and a growing population. The expansion of the Midland Metro tram system is just one of the many projects that TfWM is delivering to help meet those future needs. Where they are adding:

• Up to 50 extra trams.

• New control, communications and passenger information systems.

• An upgraded depot, control room and maintenance.

Midlands Rail Hub

The Midlands Rail Hub is a £2 billion package of improvements to transform east-west rail connections. The project was awarded £20 million in the March 2020 Budget to develop the scheme to outline business case. The plans outline a programme of new and upgraded infrastructure that will be implemented in phases between now and 2033. It will strengthen rail links between Leicester, Nottingham, Coventry, Derby, Hereford and Worcester, improve services to Wales and the South West and allow more people to access HS2.

HS2 Connectivity Package investment

The WMCA has been a strong advocate for the planned HS2 line and has put in place

a £4.4 billion HS2 Growth Strategy to make the most of HS2 arriving in the West Midlands. As part of this Growth Strategy there is a Local Connectivity Package of 20 transport schemes to effectively ‘plugin’ the two new HS2 stations to local transport network.

These schemes include the transformational East-West Metro with tram extensions to Dudley/ Brierley Hill and through East Birmingham to North Solihull and the HS2 Interchange station.

West Midlands Rail Executive

The region is looking to reverse some the Beeching cuts by reopening rail lines to passenger services for the first time in decades. These include the Camp Hill line serving suburbs in South Birmingham and the line between Walsall and Wolverhampton. University station in Edgbaston, is undergoing major redevelopment with new station buildings, bridges and platforms to accommodate the 3.5 million passenger journeys it sees every year. Doubling the capacity of what is already considered one of the busiest railway stations in the country will provide huge safety benefits, improve customer experience, and enable the station to meet future demand, whilst also contributing to tackling the climate emergency.

Local rail services are co-managed by the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) – a partnership of 16 local transport authorities – and the Department for Transport under the West Midlands franchise. Services are run by West Midlands Trains (a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui) but branded West Midlands Railway.

Levelling Up Growth Prospectus

The blueprint setting out what is needed to level up the region was launched by the West Midlands Combined Authority in October 2022. The Levelling Up Growth Prospectus sets out how the West Midlands Combined Authority is working as a region to tackle

the various challenges they face, and how they aim to fire up the regional economy by driving forward a new, green industrial revolution while attracting major private sector investment.

The prospectus looks at ways to expand its existing levelling up programme with:

• More flexible funding to build affordable, zero carbon homes and unlock stalled investment through new Investment Zones.

• New ways to encourage people onto public transport through mobility credit schemes, new e-mobility powers, and a dynamic role in Great British Railways

• Powers to help key growth sectors for the region flourish and drive innovation in low carbon businesses such as electric car manufacturing; battery production; low carbon, modular homes; and utilities such as wind and solar power.

• Greater control and influence over investment into the region’s energy system so it is more resilient to price hike shocks and able to speed up the decarbonisation of infrastructure and industry.

The Levelling Up Growth Prospectus serves as long term vision for the West Midlands.


Chief Executive Officer: Laura Shoaf

Director of Programme Development: Sandeep


Director of Rail: Malcolm Holmes

Director of Policy, Strategy and Innovation: Mike Waters

Director of Communications: Siobhan Bassford

Director of Operations: Clare Boden-Hatton


Address: 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham, West Midlands B19 3SD

Tel: 0121 200 2787

Email: customer.services@tfwm.org.uk

Visit: www.wmca.org.uk



With over 45 years’ experience in the protective coatings industry and 35 years selling into the Rail Transport and Infrastructure markets, Mike joined Indestructible Paint Ltd in April 2019 to promote their Aerospace range of coatings, based on the latest proven technology into the Rail markets.


Indestructible Paint Ltd is a UK based Coatings manufacturer, with over 45 years’ experience supplying coatings to the Aerospace and Defence Industries worldwide. This technology is now available for use within the rail sectors, offering corrosion, chemical and heat protection in aggressive operating conditions, extending the operating life for customer assets.

When did you join the company?

I joined Indestructible Paint in early 2019, in the new role of Sales to the Rail Industry. At this time Indestructible Paint were supplying to major companies within the aerospace and Land defence industries, and also a wide range of products for use within the Industrial sector. The aim and purpose of the role was to modify the current Indestructible Paint range for use within the rail industry and have the relevant coatings tested to rail performance and fire performance standards.

Tell us about your career before you joined Indestructible Paint Ltd?

I have been in the coatings industry for 49 years, starting as a laboratory technician at a small family-owned paint company in England called Hughes and Bell. In the mid 1980s I worked in South Africa for four years, with Plascon Paints, were I got my first introduction to the rail industry, working on a water-based coating system for the famous Blue Train.

From the late 1980s to 2014, worked for E Wood Ltd (later taken over by 3M) where rail was the major industry for their products, replacing the old BR81 specification with epoxy and polyurethane systems in the early 90s. We were mainly working on new vehicle fleets such as the Class 165 DMU, Strathclyde Underground, Class 323 and Class 465 and 466 vehicles. By the mid-90s water-based systems were available, supplying major rail companies with water-based epoxy systems for underframe equipment such as Bombardier and Unipart Rail (Bogies), Alstom (electrical traction boxes/motors) and Lucchini Rail (Wheelsets).

In 2019 I joined Indestructible Paint Ltd who were looking to adapt their Aerospace coating technology for use within the passenger and freight rail sectors, offering excellent asset protection against corrosion, heat damage and other aggressive operating conditions.


us about Indestructible Paint Ltd.

Indestructible Paint Ltd was founded by Mr Doug Norton on 4 July, 1978, and named after a company called Indestructible Paint from the 1800s which had stopped trading. Doug was originally the chief chemist at a large Birmingham based paint manufacturer, and when they decided to close and relocate to another city, Doug took the opportunity to set up his own business dealing with more niche, specialist products.

Tel: 0121 702 2485.

Email: sales@indestructible.co.uk

Visit: www.indestructible.co.uk


Indestructible Paint Limited

19-25 Pentos Drive, Sparkhill

Birmingham, B11 3TA

The products which were being manufactured which were and still are used in the aerospace industry for very arduous environments with high temperatures and arduous chemical resistance. Some of these products have been repurposed for use in the rail and associated industries where they are performing very well.

Which sectors do you work in?

Indestructible Paint Ltd main business sectors are in aerospace and land defence and have a vast range of high performance protective wet applied coating systems, based on the latest proven technology, for supply into these industries. In 2019 the decision was made by the Directors to adopt this technology for use initially within the passenger and freight rail sectors, including underground and city tram vehicles, and move into the infrastructure side of the rail network with the aim of offering long term protection against corrosion and aggressive operating conditions, extending the operating life for its customers assets.

What is your Unique Selling Point?

Flexibility within the company, we listen to the customers’ problems/concerns and then develop/modify our coating to meet their needs and the requirements to meet the required industry standards.

What types of products and services do you offer?

High Performance liquid applied coatings/ systems for rail rolling stock, specially developed for bodyshell protection, external and internal, underframes and underframe components including bogies, wheelsets, air reservoirs etc. These are formulated for use on a range of substrates, including steel, aluminium, GRP, phenolic mouldings, and carbon fibre composites.

Included in the Indestructible Rail coatings range are:

• Epoxy/Polyurethane systems for vehicle body shells, internal and external.

• Epoxy single coat and two coat systems for vehicle underframes and underframe components.

• High temperature resistant coatings for motors, gearboxes, and exhaust components.

• Intumescent coatings for timber, composites, and metallic substrates.

• Heat absorbing coatings for ‘hot’ areas on the vehicle.

• Thermochromic coatings – temperature indicating coating and adhesive labels –reversable and non-reversable available.

Want to know more about

What are some major projects you’re currently working on?

An underframe component manufacturer was having problems removing protective oils, waxes and greases from his machined finish components prior to assembly and painting. A specially formulated solvent blend was developed for use on the components and successfully removed all traces of the protective oils, waxes

and greases from the components. The product used RWIPTHIN-1 is a mixture of pure solvents, and it can also be used as a standard degreasing agent and for cleaning out spray application equipment. Another project we are working on is the refurbishment of timber battery boxes to help a rail operating company meet stringent fire performance requirements. 95 per cent of the contract has now been completed and the end customer is very happy with the finished components. We are currently working with a rail operating company who are looking for a minor repairs procedure for their vehicle exteriors, which can be carried out within an eight hour maintenance shutdown program. With the possibility of damage to three or four colours in one area, our laboratory developed a fast cure version of the primers and finish colours, trials are currently underway and the results are very promising.

What do you have planned for the year ahead?

Our technical team and Laboratory are currently developing water based and solvent free alternative systems to our solvent based epoxy and polyurethane coatings. With REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) implications becoming more apparent on the use of hazardous materials in protective coating (H&S) alternative products are constantly being sourced and tested by our laboratory to ensure all our coatings are fully compliant with UK and EU standards.


Indestructible Paint Ltd are a UK based Coatings manufacturer, with over 45 years’ experience supplying coatings to the Aerospace and Defence Industries worldwide.

This technology is now available for use within the rail sectors, offering corrosion, chemical and heat protection in aggressive operating conditions, extending the operating life for customer assets.

After 7 days air curing or force curing for 30 minutes at 125°C, the coating will pass

• CR/PE0102

• EN45545-2 R1 / R7 / R9 Fire Testing.

• Heat resistance: 48 hours at 204°C (400°F)

• Heat resistance: 100 hours at 180°C (356°F)

• Hot oil immersion: 8 hours in ASTM Fluid 101 (ASTM D 471) at 177°C (350°F) showing no peeling or softening

• Hot lube oil immersion: 100 hours at 150°C (302°F)

• Fuel resistance: immersion in ASTM ref fuel B for 4 hours at room temperature without peeling or softening

• Fuel resistance: room temperature immersion 100 hours

• Corrosion resistance: exposure to heat (48 hours at 400°F) cross scratched X withstands 350 hours salt spray ASTM B117

• Heat Salt Fog Resistant to 10 cycles: each cycle, 4 hours at 250°C (300°F) then 20 hours salt fog

• Resistant to temperatures down to -50°C

If you do have any enquiries regarding our range of Rail products, please contact our Sales Department

RWIP120 Coating Range for Underframe Equipment.
Tel: +44(0)121 702 2485 Email: sales@indestructible.co.uk Web: www.indestructible.co.uk 16-25 Pentos Drive, Birmingham, B11 3TA, United Kingdom


William is Chairman of Green Biofuels, the UK’s leading provider of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuels and is responsible for external communications and business development. Before joining Green Biofuels in 2017, William previously spent two decades gaining business experience in senior finance roles across the UK, Ireland and UAE.

What is your role within Green Biofuels?

As Chairman of Green Biofuels, I lead on Green Biofuel’s day-to-day external communications, corporate activity, promotion and development of the business. I work very closely with Magnus Hammick as our CEO, and a long-term business partner.

I previously spent nearly two decades in the City of London, gaining practical business experience by taking on senior roles across the UK, Ireland and United Arab Emirates.

What challenges have you faced in the industry?

There are a number of both logistical and financial challenges which present a barrier the wider rollout of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuels across the UK. Despite some government subsidies through the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), HVO fuels still cost more than fossil fuels and as such, there are a lack of incentives for the rail industry to move to more sustainable fuels across the nonelectrified network.

An enhanced duty rebate to price HVO fuels as close to diesel fuels as possible would aid the transition to cleaner fuels and incentivise UK industry to accelerate their net-zero targets. We rightly need to be looking at the long-term electrification of the entire UK railway network, however in this transitionary period until the proposed target of 2040 for full electrification, operators, wider stakeholders and the Department for Transport must work together to identify immediate solutions to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality across the UK.


Green Biofuels provides HVO, a simple and clean alternative to diesel. The company has delivered more than 55 million litres of Gd+HVO to the UK over the last two years.

Want to know more about Green Biofuels?

Tel: 0207 720 116

Email: info@gbf.ltd

Visit: www.gbf.ltd

Chiltern Railways have fully adopted HVO fuels across their Class 68 locomotives, which has rapidly reduced pollution levels for those living alongside the railway lines, especially in inner-city London around Marylebone. Green Biofuels has achieved this by significantly investing in smart fuel tanks and technologies to allow improved integration into train operator assets. However, the complex nature of working with various stakeholders adds to the length of time to implement the uptake of Green Biofuel’s Gd+HVO fuel.

What success have you experienced in the last twelve months and how do you measure success?

A milestone moment for us this year was when Chiltern Railways adopted Green Biofuel’s Gd+HVO fuel for their Class 68 locomotives, as part of its effort to decarbonise their operations. However, our successes are ultimately our client’s successes. Businesses that do the right thing despite higher costs and a lack of regulatory support are the real heroes who are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and

improve air quality across the UK. They are to be commended for their ambition as we all work to reach net-zero.

Elsewhere, launching Gd+ Ireland has been a significant step for Green Biofuels. Repurposing a redundant facility and bringing it back to life to be the first and only green fuel terminal in Ireland has been a fantastic step for the business. Increasing the capacity to produce HVO fuels across the UK and Ireland further reduces the costs and carbon footprint of fuels as they have a shorter distance to travel. Domestic production is good for reducing costs – both financial and environmental.

Our values are strongly focused on reusing what we can and doing what’s right as soon as we possibly can. None of this can be achieved without the fantastic support and buy-in of our clients and stakeholders, in particular the Port of Cork and Ringaskiddy Terminal at our new Gd+ Ireland site.

Tell us about Green Biofuels

Green Biofuels is a planet-first technology company, distributing renewable fuels to bring about real change. We have created an advanced Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel (GD+ HVO). This is a more sustainable, renewable paraffinic diesel substitute, made from UK RTFO approved waste and supercharged with an engine-enhancing additive.

Gd+HVO is a key solution to dramatically reduce emissions across all sectors using diesel fuelled internal combustion engines, including the railways. We offer an immediate positive result for customers who wish to decarbonise, improve local air quality and make a difference whilst evaluating the next technologies. This ensures the customer reduces technology risk, reduces greenhouse gas emissions during transition and forces the next technologies to be even better, affordable and reliable.

Green Biofuels are the leading HVO supplier in the UK. In the last two years, we have delivered more than 600 million litres of Gd+HVO fuel to the UK and are continuing to grow at a fast pace.

Which sectors do you work in?

As well as supporting the railway industry to reduce its emissions, Green Biofuels supports a range of infrastructure on construction sites, including HS2. Elsewhere, we support industries which face some of the largest barriers to transitioning to net-zero, most notably road haulage and maritime.

Green Biofuels also support the running of infrastructure at Eurovision and Boardmasters Festival, helping worldfamous events to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet the UK’s net-zero ambitions. Elsewhere, we’re also proud to work with progress partners such as: Sky Sports; Skanska; Bentley Cars; and Aldi.


What types of products and services do you offer?

Gd+HVO requires no modification to customers’ engines or infrastructure; and in the case of road vehicles, drivers can simply fill up their engine with HVO fuel and continue their journey as normal. There is no capex investment, only a variable additional premium over diesel.

Gd+HVO also reduces NOx emissions by up 20 per cent, PM emissions by up to 80 per cent and CO2e emissions by up to 90 per cent. Very few technologies can reduce both PM and NOx simultaneously but Green Biofuels’ Gd+HVO can do this due to the differences in the chemistry of the base fuel (an absence of aromatics) and the incorporation of its engine-enhancing additive.

We are proud of our world-leading technology which is rapidly helping to meet the key environmental challenges of the day, through providing an immediate solution to how we can reduce the most harmful pollutants from the atmosphere across the rail industry and beyond.

How passionate are you about sustainability in the rail sector, and how do you go about sourcing the materials for your products?

The rail sector is critical to the UK, whether it’s moving freight or passengers. However, the combined challenges of needing sustained investment into infrastructure, a complex range of stakeholders, and high costs to using more sustainable fuels, means change is not quick. Utilising cleaner fuels makes an immediate and significant contribution on the journey to net-zero as we work towards electrify the whole of the UK’s rail network.

A much-used phrase is ‘it’s a no brainer’; and using clean fuels in rail really is a no brainer. There is no place for fossil diesel in rail anymore. We need commitment and action to change for a better future. Even HS2 was designed to use fossil diesel in the maintenance rolling stock – this should without a doubt run on a clean fuel.

Gd+HVO is sourced from 100 per cent waste materials. All the feedstocks are sustainably and responsibly sourced from renewable feedstocks, as classified by the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive II Legislation, and adheres to the UK’s RTFO permitted waste and residues. This includes processed wastes and residues from the vegetable oil and animal fat industries.

What are some major projects you’re currently working on?

We continually work with a range of partners across a variety of sectors to understand their challenges and help them facilitate change. The growing market realisation that fuels like GD+HVO provide an immediate positive impact means that we

work with a diverse range of both small and very large businesses.

The recent launch of Gd+ Ireland has been a major step for Green Biofuels, demonstrating our commitment to producing more sustainable fuels in the countries we directly operate in. A twopronged approach to increase the domestic production capacity of HVO in the UK and Ireland, as well as to see price parity between HVO and diesel fuels – which ultimately requires action from government – will help to further increase the availability of sustainable fuels across different sectors and for everyday consumers.

Do you think the rail industry could be greener and what is your organisations green strategy?

There is a cross-party political consensus of the need to increase domestic green energy production and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. However, the UK has not yet grappled with how to make the whole transport sector – not least haulage, unelectrified railways and maritime – part of the transition to Net Zero.

The rail industry contributes 1.4 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions each year, despite some ten per cent of all passenger journeys being made by rail. This figure can be reduced even further by increasing the uptake of HVO fuels, as we work in the long-term to electrify rail lines across the country.

The Government has a target of phasing out diesel-only trains by 2040 which certainly feels like a very distant goal. We are determined to work with Government and transport operators to do everything we can to reduce harmful emissions from the railway and to support the UK’s drive to becoming a green energy superpower.

We are already proud to be fuelling trains travelling along the coast from Southampton to Crewe with Freightliner, Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and Ocean Network Express that run entirely on our high-performance technology. As well as Chiltern Railways

using HVO to power its Class 68 locomotives as part of efforts to decarbonise its operations.

There’s clearly more to do but we’re determined to be part of this collaborative effort to green the UK rail sector.

What are your views on collaborative working?

Green Biofuels recently led an open letter, addressed to the Minister of State for Transport, Jesse Norman MP, calling for a tax cut on clean fuels, paid for by higher duty on dirty diesel, to help transition to Net Zero across road, rail and maritime. This was supported by a diverse range of over 30 business leaders and environmental campaigners.

Working in partnership across the transport industry is essential. It allows us to share best practice and promotes a quicker transition to net-zero. Without frequent dialogue with our customer base and an array of supportive voices across the industry, we simply couldn’t achieve the increasing levels of uptake of sustainable fuel alternatives we see today.

In terms of technology, how do you anticipate things might change in the next five to ten years?

We are in somewhat of a holding phase in regard to technology. Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology needs to rapidly develop as its clearly superior to trying to deliver hydrogen physically. Crucially, fuels such as HVO have a major role to play in filling the gap in existing technologies as we work to meet our Net Zero goals.

The biggest requirements for further technological development are across storage, the efficient transmission of electricity, and the reduction in carbon intensity of the National Grid. Only then will electrified routes truly be Net Zero, and in this interim period, our drop-in replacement will help us achieve a more sustainable planet.

112 Talk to us about how we can help YOU create spaces and places that protect people: sales@urbis-schreder.com integrated lighting solutions that support YOUR transport initiatives. decarbonisation SMART
Whilst prioritising safety and comfort.


Hans embarked on his career in the IT industry before transitioning to the TwoWay Radio industry more than 15 years ago. Drawing upon these experiences, iPTT was founded in 2016 with a vision to offer the future of long-range radio technology: Push to Talk Over Cellular (POC/PTToC), delivering the most superior and cost-effective nationwide two-way communication solution available.

How did you get started in the industry and what was the inspiration?

Connect Mobile Radio started in the radiocommunications industry within wide area radio paging and business two-way radio. The potential for mobile communications was significant and consisted of mobile phones, two-way radio and radio paging. Over time two-way business radio and paging continued as a mainly ‘on-site’ solution whilst mobile phones took over from paging and two-way radio as the dominant solution for wide area coverage, until the arrival of nationwide Push-To-Talk-Over Cellular (PTToC / POC).

What impact has Connect Mobile and iPTT's had on Transportation?

In the fast-paced world of rail, seamless communication is the backbone of staff/ inventory/asset safety and efficiency. Connect Mobile Radio, a dynamic reseller, collaborates with iPTT, and has been doing so for the last five years. Connect Mobile Radio works to transform the communication landscape for transportation heavyweights like the London Underground & Overground, Northern Rail, and Transport for London (TfL). Connect Mobile Radio is also a certified Digi-Rail partner, with a profound understanding of the structure and requirements of The Great British Railway.

How did Connect Mobile Radio's Partnership with IPTT come about?

Connect Mobile Radio's commitment to efficient & effective communication led us to a strategic partnership with iPTT, a trusted distributor and network provider. As a reseller of iPTT's robust communication solutions, we have unlocked a new age of connectivity and security for transportation companies. Our collaboration has proved instrumental in enhancing communication and security.

Tell us about how you’re enhancing connectivity for Northern Rail.


Martin started in the Two-Way Radio industry to provide business communications where the ability to communicate instantly and to a number of people at once is important and sometimes vital.

Northern Rail, the UK’s second largest rail operator, has also benefited from our partnership's nationwide two-way radio communication solution. By leveraging IPTT's system, Northern Rail's Train Safety Officers (TSO) can effortlessly connect and coordinate, even when covering vast areas of the country. The iPTT POC solution's real-time geolocation tracking, dynamic group formation capabilities, and alarm functions have proven invaluable for managing ongoing incidents and ensuring passenger safety.

What are some other projects you’re currently working on?

Transport for London, a sprawling network that keeps the city on the move, relies on Connect Mobile Radio, who also provides DMR for Offices and depots as does a number of other customers in the railway industry.

With IPTT's Push to Talk over Cellular (PTToC / POC) system, Northern Rail's Travel Safe Officers (TSOs) and support staff are equipped with the tools they need to cover extensive areas efficiently. The PC-based Dispatcher allows for real-time tracking of colleagues on the ground, instant alarms with location tagging, and dynamic group creation for incident management.

At Connect Mobile, we take pride in our partnership with IPTT and the transformative impact it has had on the transportation industry. Together, we are driving innovation, ensuring safety, and enhancing operational efficiency for staples in the transportation industry like the London Underground, Northern Rail, and Transport for London. Our journey continues, as we strive to provide innovative communication solutions for a world on the move.


International Push to Talk (iPTT) is a leading distributor of cutting-edge communication solutions for the rail industry. Our secure and efficient Push-to-Talk network ensures instant connectivity, enhancing safety and operational efficiency. Trusted by major UK train companies, iPTT is at the forefront of rail communication innovation.


Connect supply, hire and install Two-Way Radio, Push To Talk, Body Worn Cameras and a Patrol System using Near Field Communications.



Kate Louise joined HAVi Technologies as Managing Director in 2020. Her authentic leadership approach recognises the importance of the team in achieving company success. She is passionate about leading a purposedriven business that makes a real difference to health outcomes for clients.


HAVi Technologies is focused on providing common sense, pragmatic solution to help businesses manage HAV (Hand Arm Vibration) risk. Through advice, testing, training or by providing the tools and the software to monitor and record we are your go-to partner. We will help you #DoTheRightThing when it comes to protecting your staff from the harmful effects of vibration.

Want to know more about HAVi Technologies?

Tel: 0115 932 7002

Email: info@thehavi.com

Visit: www.thehavi.com

Which sectors do you operate in and what products and services do you offer?

We work with businesses across a number of industries, including transport, civils and infrastructure, facilities management, rail, automotive, aerospace and oil & gas. The business brings together a winning combination of technology, software and insight that helps these organisations make better HAV risk management decisions faster. It is also the only fully integrated solution certified for managing HAV risk in potentially explosive atmospheres, receiving one hundred per cent conformance in a recent EX audit. Our solution has also been

awarded Registered Safety Supplier status by the BSIF, following a rigorous auditing process across its range of hardware, software, management systems and customer service.

Working with manufacturers and partners, our solutions range from on-tool monitors, which measure trigger time, and data collecting watches, to precise digital reporting, tool testing, risk assessment audits and now e-learning. All are designed to keep workers safe, protect businesses, reduce costs, improve efficiency and help businesses demonstrate full compliance with the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 (CVWR).

HAVi Integrated Solution for HAVS www.thehavi.com HAVi is the UK's leading specialist in providing solutions to help you comply with HSE guidelines for managing Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. To keep your Operatives Safe and your  Organisation Compliant our fully connected HAVi Integrated Solution consists of: INSIGHT INFORM RECORD Call now on: 0115 932 7002 or visit: www.thehavi.com Get in touch to see how we can help your business. HAVi ACTIVIQ will help you make better HAV Management decisions faster and actively guide you towards your ALARP responsibilities. Our e-Learning course equips your operators with the knowledge to manage the risk of vibration exposure and empowers them to be advocates of best practice within your organisation.
us about HAVS e-Learning Ask us about HAVi ACTIVIQ HAV e-learning from a name you can trust.

What types of companies do you work with?

HAVi has a number of manufacturing clients and partners within the rail industry and is also a member of Rail Forum Midlands. A key partnership is with specialist calibration and measurement solution business CoMech. The combination of CoMech’s metrology and calibration services and our intelligent solutions for generating accurate vibration exposure insights makes us the only provider of a ‘whole life solution’ for hand arm vibration management available, ensuring employees are safe and businesses are compliant with the guidelines set by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

The service is a two-step process, CoMech’s HAV experts use the best-in-class devices to accurately measure the vibration output to the specified British Standard (BS EN ISO 5349-2 and BS EN ISO 8041) and analyse any powered tools employees are using. Taking the different measurements and using the HSE’s calculation guidelines to calculate the accurate vibration level of use for each tool and tagging each tool with this information.

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 create tailored solutions for our clients. Data from 2018-19 shows 91 cases of HAVs diagnosed within the rail industry, making it one of the most commonly reported diseases. Speaking to health and safety managers in the rail industry, the most common reason for poor HAVs management was the time it takes to collect, report and analyse the data, and this is echoed across many industries, which led our team to develop a new reporting platform.

In 2022, the introduction of the company’s ActivIQ reporting system was a game changer for many businesses struggling to interpret and take action with existing HAVs data collected. The new reporting solution brings together all HAVs data collected for a business into one helpful visual. It also features the unique HAVS Risk Index (HRI), which scores HAVs data outcomes and provides prompts for improvements, with Smart Recommendations for risk reduction for an individual, task, team or tool, enabling managers to improve hand health outcomes by making the correct decisions quickly and effectively.

Our approach is bespoke for each client and we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we focus on the solutions

that will make the biggest difference. For example, our team coordinated a series of tests for our client, TecForce, a specialist in weld engineering services and repair for the rail industry, to explore whether the consumables used in sheet metal grinding could reduce the harmful effects of exposure to vibration. The results showed that by simply switching to a different blade, the vibration exposure level for the operative was halved, increasing the recommended safe usage time by two hundred per cent. Productivity was increased, too, with the new grinding disk completing the task in just one third of the time taken by the original.

What’s next for HAVi Technologies?

HAVi Technologies will continue to evolve in line with our client requirements and changing legislation. We are continually developing the products and services we offer and are currently working on an exciting new experiential e-Learning platform to equip operators with the knowledge to manage the risk of vibration exposure and empower them to be advocates of best practice. Everything we do and will ever do, is rooted in our core principle of providing straight-talking, common sense solutions to managing HAV risk and steering our clients towards doing the right thing.

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a serious and disabling condition with more than two million people at risk in the UK. The condition occurs when vibration, generated by regular use of powered tools and machinery, is transmitted to the hands and arms of operatives. Symptoms can include pins and needles, numbness and reduced dexterity and grip. There is no cure for this condition.

HAVi Technologies is the UK’s leading specialist in this area working with companies to meet HSE guidelines to ensure both staff and companies are protected by doing the right thing when it comes to managing exposure to vibration within the workplace.

‘Our approach is bespoke for each client and we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we focus on the solutions that will make the biggest difference.’

Midland Metro Alliance

The West Midlands Combined Authority, the design consortium of Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann, and contractor Colas Rail (supported by their suballiance partners Colas Limited, Barhale, Bouygues UK and Auctus Management Group) came together to form the Midland Metro Alliance in July 2016

Each of the partner companies brings a complementary area of expertise to the alliance. The real focus, however, is on leaving a legacy of skills and experience for the region, even after the extensions are complete and helping the West Midlands attract regeneration and investment.

Ongoing projects

The Midland Metro Alliance is working with Transport for West Midlands on a number of projects for the West Midlands Metro network, each in differing stages of development, design or delivery.

Wolverhampton City Centre Metro extension

As part of the Wolverhampton Interchange, the West Midlands Metro extension will run from a junction with the existing West Midlands Metro system close to the current terminus at Wolverhampton St. George’s through to Wolverhampton Railway Station. West Midlands Metro will stop at the city’s Bus Station on Pipers Row, before continuing to Wolverhampton Railway Station, allowing easy interchange with other modes of transport. in an area of the region where most journeys are completed by private vehicle.

Birmingham Eastside Metro extension

The Secretary of State for Transport has announced that he has decided to make the Midland Metro (Birmingham City Eastside Extension) Order and relevant documents to this order can be found via the Statutory Information tab below.

The Birmingham Eastside Metro extension to Digbeth will serve the High Speed 2 (HS2) station at Curzon Street, separating from the existing West Midlands Metro line at Bull Street. The route is planned to consist of 1.7 kilometres of twin track running from Bull Street to a new terminus at High Street Deritend. The scheme includes four additional West Midlands Metro stops serving the east of Birmingham City Centre.

The extension will service the Eastside regeneration area offering connections with

New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill Railway Stations, in addition to the new HS2 station. The scheme also includes a new bus interchange adjacent to Clayton Hotel Birmingham to provide an efficient bus, Sprint and coach interchange with HS2.


Each project has an overarching Project Sustainability Plan, detailing how the project is to contribute to the sustainability objectives and how the project will manage any environmental impacts.

All new projects are registered with CEEQUAL and will complete a CEEQUAL Assessment to assess the sustainability of the scheme against a benchmark of industry best practice. The CEEQUAL process is externally verified giving assurance of the quality of the awards.

All new construction works will also register with the National Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS). The CCS is a voluntary code of practice that seeks to minimise any disturbance or negative impact (in terms of noise, dust and inconvenience)

sometimes caused by construction sites to the immediate neighbourhood; eradicate offensive behaviour and language from construction site; and recognise and reward the constructor’s commitment to raise standards of site management, safety and environmental awareness beyond statutory duties. As with CEEQUAL the code offers an external validation of the scheme performance against industry best practice.


Address: 4th Floor Alpha Tower, Suffolk St Queensway, Birmingham B1 1TT

Tel: 0121 643 8729

Email: communications@metroalliance.co.uk

Visit: www.metroalliance.co.uk



Jeff Lippiett is a dedicated and accomplished professional who has been an integral part of the Kaymac team for over three decades. With an impressive journey spanning nearly three decades, Jeff's unwavering commitment to excellence and his extensive experience in the industry have propelled him to the position of Operations Director at Kaymac.


Kaymac Marine & Civil Engineering Ltd is a multi-award-winning specialist Marine and Civil Engineering Contractors with an outstanding track record of excellence, innovation and safety. Kaymac is a family business that started out in Swansea solely as a diving contractor in 1976 and is now one of the largest specialists commercial Diving and Marine Civil engineering contractors in UK.

Want to know more about Kaymac?

Tel: 01792 301818

Email: enquiries@kaymacltd.co.uk

Visit: www.kaymacmarine.co.uk

How did you get started in the industry?

After completing a mechanical apprenticeship with the National Coal Board 1979 – 1983, I left the Coal Board in August 1984 to go on a ten-week commercial diver training course at the Underwater centre in Fort Willaim in Scotland.

I had always been interested in the sea and had been a sports diver (SCUBA) since the age of 14 and joined the local sub aqua club at 18. The commercial diving course gave me the opportunity to combine the mechanical skills gained during my time with the NCB and my passion for diving.

This allowed me to progress within the industry as a qualified HSE 1 commercial diver. My first job was with Land & Marine Overseas Ltd constructing an outfall in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 1984 to 1986. I moved from there to West Africa with Oceaneering International Ltd on a number of new pipeline projects.

When did you join the company?

I left Oceaneering International Ltd to join Kaymac Marine in 1992, I started as a Commercial Diver and Diving Supervisor and in 1995 I was promoted to Operations Manager before again being promoted to Operations Director in 2022.

Tell us about Kaymac.

Kaymac Marine & Civil Engineering Ltd. is a family business, that started out in Swansea solely as a diving contractor in 1976; we are now one of the largest specialists commercial Diving and Marine Civil engineering contractors in UK. We have offices in Swansea, Bristol, and Kent, with an impressive number of Public and Private sector clients Nationwide. Despite our growth over the years, we still firmly hold our family values, which is very important to us.

Kaymac offers a turnkey solution and full support through each step of project, from initial survey and inspections, planning approvals and permitting, to detailed design ideas and project delivery and aftercare. We use the latest innovative methods to help understand fluvial and coastal processes before developing solutions that resolve project-specific and catchment-wide issues.

Our talented in-house chartered civil engineers, planners, commercial divers and skilled civil operatives form a team with extensive knowledge and experience that delivers a safe, timely and professional service. We continue to source and trial new technologies and innovative methods to ensure that we have the safest, most productive and cost-effective ways of managing complex marine civil engineering projects.

How have the products and services you offer developed over the years?

The services we provide have changed over my time in the industry; the biggest change I could identify is the significant technology change I have witnessed over the last thirty-plus years. We are now able to use the latest technologies to accurately plan a project so that we can foresee any risks and opportunities at the planning stages, this allows us to offer our clients the most robust, innovative and value-engineered solutions.

What are some major projects you’re currently working on?

We are currently working on a number of exciting projects across the UK, projects of note include: two scour protection projects for the Network Rail in Scotland and the North of England: Scour protection works at Inver Viaduct and Calder Viaduct for Story Rail Scotland. We are planning for Stage 2 of the replacement of an effluent outfall at Newport Gwent for Eastman Chemical Company. We are currently working in Early Contractor involvement (ECI) for the decommissioning of the Cold Water intakes at Wylfa power Station in North Wales for Magnox Power and in ECI for the proposed scour protection works to Leven viaduct, a 49 span, 480-metre viaduct that was originally constructed in 1848 and reconstructed with wrought iron in 1880. The viaduct is a tidal structure and is included within the limits of a site of special scientific interest, a special conservation area and protected bird areas in Cumbria for our clients Story Contracting and Network Rail.

What are some standout projects you’ve been involved in over the years?

I was lucky enough to be involved in the Kaymac’s first pivotal project that was the diving contract for constructing the Second Severn Crossing, a bridge linking south Wales to the south west of England. The bridge was renamed in July 2018 and is now known as The Prince of Wales Bridge. Joint Venture Lang GTM commissioned Kaymac as the sole diving contractor for the project to assist in the caisson preparation and installation. The bridge’s foundations comprised 37, 35-metre-long precast Concrete caissons, each weighing up to 2,000 tonnes. Before these caissons were moved into their final

‘Our culture and values are clear; Kaymac is a family business with family values, the team drives accountability and shares responsibility.’

position, Fabric formwork, namely Proserve mattress units, were positioned onto the underside of the Caissons using highstrength webbing and held tight with stretch webbing so that they would be less likely to be damaged during positioning. Off the back of that, I led Kaymac involvement in the Cardiff Bay Barrage Construction.

Later in 2012, we installed the Cold Water intakes and fish deterrent system in the largest gas-fired station in Europe and picked up an award for Quality. In 2018 Kaymac delivered its first long sea outfall replacement, in Newport, Pembrokeshire which was nominated for an environmental excellence award. We have delivered many exciting projects in between Tilbury Lock gate replacement for Balfour Beatty

How have you seen the industry change over the years?

The industry itself hasn’t really changed that much, although I would say that the industry has evolved for the better over time with a greater emphasis on H&S together with environmental awareness and consideration.

How can the industry tackle its skills shortage and how do you recruit/retain/ train your staff?

The best model that we can identify within our business is the right training from the beginning, continued support and ongoing training to meet both the needs of the business and the individual. In our experience natural progression and promotion within the business ultimately lead to excellent and proven employee retention. That’s why each year we run graduate and apprenticeship schemes for a range of professions, from commercial diving apprenticeships to Graduate Engineer and Quantity Surveying Roles.

I have supported past Apprentices and Graduates, and seen individuals become senior professionals, and I will continue to support and mentor the young individuals coming through in all departments in the business.

What are your views on collaborative working?

In my experience, collaboration has many benefits for organisations and team members alike. I would say that collaboration is important because it often leads to better communication between all parties. When people work together towards a common goal, they can use their own experiences and skills to contribute to its

Where Innovation Meets Expertise

success. This can promote the development of efficient processes, which may benefit the team and the organisation. The ability to collaborate with a team is a helpful skill in the industry, and learning how to be more collaborative can help us all succeed long term.

How do you make your business a good place to work?

Our culture and values are clear; Kaymac is a family business with family values, the team drives accountability and shares responsibility. A team that encourages, leads, inspires, aspires, shares knowledge and collaborates. We aim high, are resolute on safety and quality and demonstrate best practice. We recognise that creating a good place to work is crucial for attracting and retaining talented employees, fostering a positive workplace culture, and, ultimately, achieving business success. But it is an ongoing effort, I ensure that firstly everyone is supported, and cultivate a positive work environment. Everyone at Kaymac is recognised for their hard work and achievements, and we promote autonomy and trust, we have a very low turnover in staff and I believe that everything mentioned above has a positive impact on this.

Multi-award-winning specialist Marine and Civil Engineering Contractor with a track record of excellence, innovation and safety in the utility and transport sectors. Kaymac specialises in: Engineering Innovation Above and Below the Waterline Since 1976 Innovative in-water temporary works Restoring and maintaining the nation's rivers and waterways transport assets Scour Protection Flood Protection Waste and Water Solutions


Daniel Barney is the Managing Director of Greenfix Soil Stabilisation & Erosion Control Ltd. Daniel Joined Greenfix in 2009 as National Sales Manager and subsequently became Managing Director in 2014.


Greenfix supplies soil stabilisation and erosion control systems in the UK. In association with Presto Geosystems® in the USA, Greenfix has developed a comprehensive range of products and systems to combat the complex and diverse problems associated with erosion control and soil stabilisation.

What is your role with Greenfix?

As Managing Director I am responsible for the daily operational running of Greenfix, but I also like to maintain a focus as part of the sales team. We are a fast moving business involved in many sectors so every day is different. One day I will be sitting down with the management team planning the next quarter’s targets, the next I will be on site giving a tool box talk to a contractor.

How long has your company been in business?

This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary, 15 of which I have worked at Greenfix. Over the past 25 years we have seen a huge transformation in the Geotechnics industry and watched product trends come and go. I believe that our ability to adapt to the changing market has played a big role in our continued success, along with striving to be innovative and bring the best products to the market. Over the past five years we have developed and expanded our product range to allow us to make an impact within both the rail and arboriculture industry.

Tell us about Greenfix

Greenfix is the leading supplier of Erosion Control and Soil Stabilisation products in the UK. We pride ourselves on being specialists within the industry and focus our attention on helping our customers find a solution to their requirements easily. Over the past 25 years, we have developed a comprehensive range of products to combat erosion and soil stabilisation issues.

Our customer base is wide and varied, from private individuals or local charitable organisations to market-leading civil engineering contractors on large-scale projects. Our expert team allows us to support customers from the initial design stage to product installation. With UK coverage we are available to attend sites to offer guidance or support no matter the size of the project. Greenfix is continuing to grow year on year and we are all very much looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the business.

What types of products and services do you offer?

Network Rail as the solution to improve and regulate track bed stiffness while reducing maintenance, installation time and cost.

Using Geoweb® geocell on railway track beds improves track quality performance, reduces maintenance intervention, and significantly reduces site excavation requirements where subgrade stiffness improvements are necessary.

Our pre-seeded erosion control blankets improve poor soil conditions due to the addition of organic fertilisers while providing effective erosion protection and vegetation. We also offer a FlameRetardant Erosion Control Blanket which can be supplied pre-seeded or unseeded. The blanket provides erosion and fire protection according to DIN 4102-1 and is ideal for use on rail embankments and public spaces.

Park Pave Truck has been designed for high load-bearing situations such as site compounds and HGV access roads. The system is fully compliant with current SUDS regulations and is made from one hundred percent recycled polymers.

What are some standout projects you’ve been involved in over the years?

We have worked on several fantastic projects, however I would say there have been two in recent years that have stood out. The first was the Werrington Junction Dive Under, also known as Werrington Grade Separation, which involved building a new two-track railway line that tunnels under the East Coast Mainline. We worked with Network Rail and project contractors Morgan Sindall to design and specify Geoweb® Geocell for track bed stabilisation along a 1.9-mile section of track. Along this 1.9-mile section the ground conditions were very poor, however by using the Geoweb® drainage was improved along with undertrack stiffness at a reduced excavation depth compared to traditional track installation.

Want to know more about Greenfix?

Tel: 01386 881 493

Email: info@greenfix.co.uk

Visit: www.greenfix.co.uk

Our products vary from biodegradable erosion control, sediment control fences, and turf reinforcement mats right through to more complex slope stabilisation and retaining wall structures. For rail applications, our main products include our Geoweb® Geocell used for Track Bed Stabilisation, our pre-seeded erosion control blankets and our heavy-duty Park Pave Truck porous paving system. Geoweb® has been used under the ballast layer for rail applications worldwide for more than 40 years. The system is approved by

The second project is Beaulieu Park Station which is expected to be the first new station added to the Great Eastern mainline for over one hundred years. The new station will play a critical part of in the major urban expansion of Chelmsford and will provide additional access to the railway with regular connections to the capital. As part of the project Greenfix has supplied over 12,000m2 of Geoweb® Geocell for under track stabilisation along with 4,000m2 of our Park Pave porous paver for use in the site compounds. We look forward to seeing the finished project once completed in 2026.

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?

Customers come to us at various stages of a project. Some come to us at the very early pre-tender stages where we can offer


support with product specifications. We are also able to provide site-specific design suggestions for any of our Geoweb® Cellular Confinement Systems with the support of our partners Presto Geosystems.

With UK coverage our team of experts are on hand to attend site meetings as and when required and can often visit the site the very next day if urgent support is needed. Our process of coming up with a solution focuses on understanding the requirements of the customer, identifying their desired end result and then working together to find the solution that will best suit their needs.

We often say we like to provide the customer with the right solution even if it is not what they initially asked for.

What are your plans going forward to ensure Greenfix services are still around for years to come?

Our strategy will remain the same as ever –we will keep a close eye on the industry to identify new trends and changing markets, and seek opportunities to develop the business wherever possible. We will focus on developing the team at Greenfix ensuring

that training is provided so that we are confident we have the very best people selling and marketing our products.

We also intend to improve the level of technical support we can provide our customers by expanding our team and bringing in more technical engineers. We hope to further our relationship with companies such as Network Rail to get a better insight into the industry, allowing us to provide solutions to current or future issues.

How do you work with the supply chain within this sector?

When asked we get involved in the project early with design calculations and drawings. We can offer Geoweb® suggestions based on Presto’s 40 years’ experience and assistance with best installation practices.

We were recently engaged by a tier one contractor during the design phase of a large scheme; they were under pressure to reduce carbon on the project and we were able to demonstrate a significant CO2 saving. On sites where Geoweb® geocell is used, it is possible to reduce the amount of excavated and replacement materials by 4050 per cent. This reduces the amount of CO2 produced during aggregate processing and handling, decreases haulage and machine handling costs. In addition, ease of handling and reduced installation rates will reduce man and plant hours and line closure duration. The key to the use of Geoweb® on this scheme was the early involvement with the design team.

How do you make your business a good place to work?

We focus on ensuring that the team at Greenfix always feel fully supported in their roles and try our best to create a positive work environment. We encourage the team to ask questions and discuss projects with each other. We often get the whole team involved in conversations about pricing, logistics or marketing to get a mixture of opinions and ideas which we feel helps everyone feel part of the decision-making process.

Along with supporting the team in their roles within the company we also understand how important it is to focus on individuals and how pressures outside of the work environment can impact them. One way we are supporting the team with this is by having a nominated trained Mental Health First Aider (MHFA). The MHFA encourages people to seek support if needed and can provide details on where to find that support. In addition to this we have also provided every member of the team with access to the My Health Assured App which is provided via our Health and Safety provider. The app allows individuals to privately access the support they need whether it be counselling, financial advice, health advice, and much more.


Help Shape the Future of Rail Skills

With major investment into new high-speed networks, a focus on rail modernisation, and a push towards more sustainable transport, it’s a great time to build a career in the rail industry. However, despite the opportunities rail offers, the sector – like many – is facing significant skills shortages.

As the industry moves forward, advancing technologies require new technical skills and an ageing workforce means that experts (and expertise) are leaving the industry.

This is why robust education and training are essential to ensure that the future generations of rail workers develop the technical skills the industry needs to thrive.

Critically, developing qualifications and apprenticeships that meet the skills demands of the rail industry requires the support of industry experts.

Qualifications made for employers, by employers

The technical education landscape in England is currently going through level 2 and 3 reforms that are putting employers as industry experts at the heart of qualification development. In response to persistent national skills shortages across multiple industries, the government and the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) are rolling out a variety of new technical qualifications linked to employerled apprenticeship standards. For rail, this means that employers have an essential role to play in shaping the future of the skills landscape, with the aim of creating higher standards of learning and more robust career pathways.

What is the role of employers?

Described as ‘designed with employers, for employers’, the upcoming reformed level 2 and level 3 qualifications require the direct involvement of experts from industry-leading organisations of all sizes. This involvement ensures that these qualifications produce competent, work-

ready learners who are equipped with the skills and behaviours that industries need. During the development phase, awarding organisations reach out and engage with employers to gather data to show what the future skills needs are, and to evidence that there is employer demand for the qualification.

In addition to their role in the development of technical qualifications, employers can collaborate further with awarding organisations as employer validation partners. Validation activities involve using up-to-date knowledge of trends within the industry to review the content that forms the basis of the technical qualification and assessing the real-world validity of projects and assignments to ensure that, in the ever-evolving technical landscape, the qualifications remain robust and fit-for-purpose. There are also opportunities for Independent End-Point Assessors for apprenticeship standards such as Rail Engineering Operative and Rail Engineering Technician.

The benefits of getting involved

Employers engaged in the technical education landscape play a significant role in closing skills gaps and increasing industry performance through specialist advice to awarding organisations. It gives you a voice in what skills need to be developed, and how to best do so. Importantly, employers will be the first in line to benefit from this be ensuring that the future rail workforce has the skills the industry needs.

Whether it’s writing qualification or assessment content, or reviewing on-programme qualifications for apprenticeships, by engaging with awarding organisations like City & Guilds, you can take a leap forward in contributing to the development of talent in the rail industry.

On top of all the benefits listed above, if you’re passionate about skills development, it’s an opportunity to give something back to the rail industry – and to the newcomers who are looking to embark on their promising careers.

Do you have experience in track? We need you!

City & Guilds currently has a need for contributors within track to support the development of its rail qualifications. Ideally, they would need people with over five years’ experience that have a good knowledge and understanding of track maintenance and renewal. These roles are perfect for individuals working part-time, in consultancy roles, or in search of a shortterm commitment.

If this sounds like you or your colleagues – or if you are an organisation or individual interested in exploring different ways to collaborate – City & Guilds is always interested to hear from you. It is a great opportunity to help shape skills requirements of the future and play an important role for the education and training of the next generation.

Education has always been, and remains, central to City & Guilds. That’s why it’s looking for technical experts and senior decision makers to make sure its qualifications and apprenticeships are the best they can be.

To find about how you can use your industry expertise to contribute to and support the future of the rail industry, visit the website at https://careers.cityandguilds. com/associate-vacancies/employercontributors/

Industry experts play an essential role in the development of technical qualifications – here’s why you should get involved
Tel: 01924 930 801 Email: customersupport@cityandguilds.com Visit: www.cityandguilds.com Address: City & Guilds Giltspur House 5-6 Giltspur Street London, EC1A 9DE

and Antagrade Electrical, in June. The most important part of my job is to make sure everybody gets home safe, every day. Alongside this, my role is to lead the Division to ensure we are sustainable, delivering the best service to our clients, and successfully continuing to grow.

I’ve been very impressed by the passion and family feel of the Rail & Aviation Division and the opportunities to collaborate with the wider Group, to serve our clients even more holistically. Everyone has been very welcoming and open to change. In my first few months in the business, I’ve driven some key activities, including implementing our behavioural safety programme, ‘It Starts With Me,’ and driving our new business model, ‘Safer, Greener Rail & Aviation.’ I hope this new model will help to remind our colleagues, our clients, and the industry, how we can make the work we do the most beneficial to the environment and the local communities in which we operate.


Mike joined M Group Services as Managing Director of the Transport Division – Rail & Aviation in June 2023. Having spent 30 years in construction, and as a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Mike is committed to sustainability and innovation within the industry.


M Group Services delivers specialist engineering services to the UK's transport network across aviation, rail and adjacent markets. Their Rail capabilities cover a wide range of specialist rail engineering works and projects delivering civils, track, power, electrification and station structures across all rail routes in the UK.

How did you get started in the industry?

My dad worked for British Rail in the 1980s and, as a young man, I used to go into work with him. That was my first experience within the industry and sparked my interest in rail. I then went on to do a degree in Civil Engineering, which gave me lots of opportunities, in airports across London. It just went on from there.

There’s a lot of engineering history in my family. My uncle, grandad and great grandad were all Civil Engineers. Being surrounded by engineers probably helped push me in that direction as well.

I started working on the Jubilee Line, completing building works at the tube station in North Greenwich in 1994. I realised as a Civil Engineer, you could get involved in some very exciting projects. I just loved it. I loved being outside and part of a team, building new infrastructure. It instilled a great deal of excitement within me.

Want to know more about M Group Services?

Email: communications@ mgroupservices.com

Visit: www.dyerandbutler.co.uk

What is your role within M Group Services?

I stepped into my new role at M Group Services as Managing Director of the Rail & Aviation Division, which incorporates Dyer & Butler, KH Engineering Services

We are a private sector business, so we really need to adapt and respond quickly to requirements. That’s been the impressive strength of the Division and the Group, its willingness to change and adapt as required.

How has technology developed since you started in the industry?

There has been a huge amount of change in technology since I started in the industry. When I started, we didn’t even have electricity in the cabins on site, we had gas lighting and gas heating. As an engineer, I didn’t have a laptop, I had to do everything long-hand, as drawings on paper. Looking at where we are today, there’s been a huge step-change in the way we design, plan and deliver our works. I think we are now on the cusp of changing how we work in the field, with the digitalisation of planning and commercial processes. I think the next big change is how technology will help us to deliver our works.

The thing I am most excited about at the moment is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is not something to be frightened of, it’s going to improve everything we do. There’s a quote: ‘The fastest animal in the world is a cheetah. When you put a human on a bicycle, our energy is tenfold that of a cheetah.’ That’s how I see AI. We’re just on the cusp of a massive change in how we live our lives, for the better.

What are some major projects you’re currently working on?

We are currently the framework contractor for Network Rail’s CP7 project, in the south. We’re also working on a framework with Transport for London (TfL), which is exciting. In aviation, we are working on projects at both Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport. These are our biggest projects currently, but we have many other projects for a range of clients from


Putting Health, Wellbeing & Safety of people first

Engaging and empowering everyone to deliver and grow

Our Vision

Helping deliver our clients business needs

To be the leading provider of essential infrastructure to the transport sector in the UK.

Dyer & Butler, part of M Group Services’ Transport Division, delivers specialist engineering services to the UK’s rail and aviation sectors as well as providing expertise in adjacent markets. www.dyerandbutler.co.uk

Conducting ourselves respectfully, being open, accountable & honest in all of our operations


Transport for Wales in rail to Birmingham Airport in aviation.

The drive for sustainability is huge for both our clients and us. We are looking at ways to use innovation to make our operations more sustainable, to decarbonise our processes and reach our target of net zero by 2040 on all our projects. We are incredibly proud that as a Group, we have been awarded the accolade of ‘Industry Top Rated’ for our commitment to the environment and sustainability, with a rating of 8.3 awarded by independent, global risk ratings agency, Sustainalytics.

We have been working with our client, Network Rail to deliver safer, sustainable walkways for freight operating staff, with the installation of Dura Composites’ antislip Glass reinforced Plastic (GRP) grating panels. The use of this innovative material has resulted in a 130t reduction in embodied CO2e on the project.

The safety of our people is at the heart of everything we do. With our client, Network Rail, we are conducting a Geofencing trial, to geolocate our people, so they are safer. The trial is exciting and something I am incredibly passionate about. We hope that this trial will change operatives’ perceptions of the elements in the environment in which they are working to drive better safetyconscious decision-making.

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?

The first thing we need to really understand is the exact problem. Properly understanding what our client needs is key to ensuring we are solving the right problem for them, in the right way, at the right time. Communication is key and this means collaboratively working together with our clients to come up with the best solution possible. I believe the best projects are the ones where we are working collaboratively, understanding the needs and challenges our client is facing and ensuring they also understand ours.

What’s next for M Group Services’ Rail & Aviation Division?

M Group Services’ Rail & Aviation Division is in an exciting place right now. As we look to the near future, we are working hard to secure a number of CP7 frameworks that we have been targeting. We are constantly looking at ways to grow the business over the next five years. We are always working to develop and grow the relationships we have with our clients, and we look forward to seeing how we work together with them in future. The civil aviation sector is now back on track following COVID, with passenger numbers back up to 2019 levels, which makes it an exciting time to be part of the sector.

How can the industry tackle its skills shortage and how do you recruit/retain/ train your staff?

The first step we need to focus on is the diversity of our workforce. Having a diverse workforce brings and builds a truly inclusive environment which empowers the business. We have a fantastic equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) programme, in our ENABLE Network, of which I am very proud. The formation of networks like ENABLE are helping to make the industry more welcoming to people, encouraging the recruitment and retention of staff. The workforce is out there, we just need to understand what makes people feel safe and comfortable enough to want to work within the industry.

One key part of retaining our people is to ensure they have opportunities to progress within their jobs. Creating areas where our people can learn new skills gives them an opportunity to develop, such as our recently introduced Brickwork Development Programme, an in-house course providing operatives with the basic trowel skill and knowledge to undertake brickwork repairs and demolition to masonry structures. People need to feel valued within their job, they need to feel part of the business. We must be open to people changing and challenging their roles.

It is important to take the time to recognise and value our people. Within the Rail & Aviation Division, we host the ‘In Pursuit of Excellence’ Awards annually, a chance to recognise our people that go above and beyond. Group wide, we have the Beyond Expectation Awards, an opportunity to celebrate the delivery and dedication of people who have gone the extra mile, reflecting on our four key values: People, Safety, Delivery and Integrity.

Finding, training, and retaining the right talent is a challenge we work to overcome and as part of the Group, we are extremely proud of our award-winning apprenticeship and graduate scheme. These opportunities attract and develop the next generation of highly skilled, forward-thinking, and technically competent people. This year, we are looking to supercharge this, by targeting a doubling of our usual annual cohort across the Rail & Aviation Division.

Do you think the rail industry could be greener and what is your organisations green strategy?

Rail travel continues to be the greenest mode of motorised passenger transport, but there remains a considerable opportunity to improve the environmental impacts of the construction and operation of our railways. This can only be achieved through ambitious commitments across the industry to decouple business growth from environmental pressures and embedding green thinking into everyday practices.

I am proud of our Sustainability Strategy, which works to ensure that we are leaving

a positive legacy. Net zero is an industrywide focus and we have established a carbon reduction pathway to achieve this by 2040, through electrifying our plant and fleet, using renewable energy and supporting decarbonisation in our supply chain.

In the railway environment, there’s an enormous opportunity to improve biodiversity by enhancing the diversity of lineside habitats. We are working with our clients to achieve this through enhancement planting to deliver biodiversity net gain projects. Our teams have worked collaboratively, with our client Network Rail, on its Hove Cutting project. Working to arrange the recycling of vegetation arising from our works into compost, our efforts helped towards the overall project achievement of 17 per cent net gain in the area.

The industry also has great potential to positively impact our communities. Our business model creates huge social value opportunities through local employment, and we are constantly working to increase our investment in apprenticeships and volunteering in our local communities. What are your views on collaborative working?

Collaborative working is essential to ensuring successful outcomes for our clients and customers. It’s the only way to do business going forward, because the alternative is a waste of people and their capabilities. For me, collaboration is the only way we will succeed, ensuring success on generating the desired outcomes for our clients and ensuring successful project delivery. It is essential to the business’s future.

In terms of technology, how do you anticipate things might change in the next five to 10 years?

I think there’s going to be more change in the next five to ten years than I’ve seen so far in my lifetime. I can see that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to change the way the industry’s support service functions operate and how we configure our works, optimising logistics and geography. I also see there being a significant change in the materials we use, and where we source them from. As we work to reach our net zero sustainability targets, even more technology is going to come along to enhance and optimise the materials we use. For example, low-carbon concrete, electric plant and solar powered site set ups. We will develop new technologies to support the use of materials that are less demanding of carbon.

I think the robotics industry has grown exponentially, and certainly in ten years’ time, we will start seeing robotics doing more and more in work environments. There’s so much change coming, it’s hard to quantify, but exciting to be part of.


MTR Corporation

MTR Corporation was established in 1975 with a mission to construct and operate an urban metro system for Hong Kong

In June 2000, it was re-established as MTR Corporation Limited and was listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in October 2000. In December 2007, the operations of the government-owned rail operator, the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, were merged into MTR. The merged rail network comprises nine commuter railway lines, a light rail network and a highspeed airport express link with an average weekday ridership of more than 5.6 million passengers in Hong Kong.

Globally, MTR delivers services for over 13 million people each day, more than 4.7 billion journeys every year.

Acknowledged as one of the world’s leading operators of metro, commuter and airport rail systems, MTR also has a successful international consulting business and is a recognised world leader in Rail + Property development, managing shopping malls, retail units, apartments and other major buildings along some of its lines.

Global footprint

MTR offers worldwide railway consultancy and contracting services. Clients served include metro companies, government authorities and rail system suppliers in the Mainland of China, India, Australia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

In China, MTR operates the Beijing Metro Lines 4, 14, and 16 and the Daxing Line extension, Shenzhen Metro Longhua Line and the Hangzhou Metro Line 1. Further projects and concessions in development include Hangzhou Metro Line 5, and property projects along Shenzen Metro Longhua Line and Tianjin Metro Line 6.

In Australia, MTR operates and manages the Melbourne Metro and, in September 2014, the Northwest Rapid Transit Consortium (of which MTR is a shareholder) was awarded the Operations, Trains and Systems Public-Private Partnership (PPP) contract for the Sydney Metro Northwest project in Sydney.

MTR also operates and manages Stockholm Metro, the MTR Express intercity service between Stockholm and Gothenburg and Stockholm Commuter Rail Systems in Sweden.

United Kingdom

In the UK, MTR has been connecting people and communities for almost 15 years and has an established track record of excellence. It operated the London Overground in partnership with Arriva for ten years, and currently operates TfL Rail services on behalf of Transport for London and South Western Railway in partnership with FirstGroup. Its track record on the London Overground and TfL Rail are particularly well known within the UK’s rail industry, with the company twice winning both the National Rail Awards’ Passenger of the Year Award and London Transport Awards’ Rail Operator of the Year.

Elizabeth Line

MTR Elizabeth line’s operations will eventually cover all aspects of train and passenger service operations including:

• A fleet of 70 brand new high-capacity trains, 200m long, each featuring nine walk-through carriages.

• Up to 24 trains per hours in each direction through the central tunnel section once fully integrated.

• The operation of 28 stations, serving 41 stations in total.

• Platforms with lengths of up to 250 metres – more than twice the length of current Underground platforms.


CEO UK: Steve Murphy


Address: MTR Corporation Limited, Third floor, 123 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5EA

Visit: www.mtreurope.com



Serco has global expertise in the design, setting up, operation, and maintenance of heavy rail, metro and light rail operations across the globe – from the turnkey operation of the Dubai Tram to redefining a luxury experience on the Scottish Caledonian Sleeper

Serco Rail Technical Services

SRTS is part of Serco’s Transport business, which operates various transport services around the world (primarily rail but also air, sea and road related). A specialist provider of Rolling Stock Testing & Commissioning (T&C) and technical assurance services, it is uniquely placed to provide a deep technical and practical insight into GB railway operations. Today it has over 50 years’ experience across a broad range of rolling stock and infrastructure technical services through the rolling stock development lifecycle. SRTS provides engineers at client depots and routes across the GB rail network. SRTS works closely with train manufacturers to successfully deliver extensive and complex rolling stock testing programmes at sites and other worldwide test tracks and depots.

Caledonian Sleeper

Serco began operating

Caledonian Sleeper in April 2015 after it was selected by Transport Scotland to manage the new 15- year franchise back in May 2014. Total revenue to Serco over the franchise period is estimated at up to £800 million, of which approximately £180 million will be in the form of franchise payments.

In 2019, Caledonian Sleeper’s service was transformed when it debuted 75 new carriages across its Highlander and Lowlander routes – delivering on a commitment made when the contract was won. The fleet, built at a cost of £150 million, has been part funded by capital grants from Scottish Ministers and from the UK Government.

Dubai Metro

Serco first began operating and maintaining the initial ten stations on the Red Line from the official opening of the Dubai Metro in 2009. Expansion of the Metro has seen

the Red Line grow to 29 stations, while the Green Line, opened in 2011, added an additional 20 stations. The Red Line expansion for Expo 2020 adds 15 kilometres and connects seven stations. At that point, the Dubai Metro will have a total network length of 90 kilometres and over 120 trains running at peak times. Serco’s more than 2,000 employees on the Dubai Metro continue to deliver excellent operational performance and record numbers of passenger journeys.


Merseyrail is a 50/50 JV between Serco and Abellio. Serco have redesigned the model of delivering a city region wide rail transit system through a model of operational excellence by focussing on delivering high levels of predictability, reliability, punctuality, trust, safety and customer service. All of which has led to Merseyrail consistently being at or around the top of the league on customer satisfaction and operational performance.


Chairman: John Rishton

Group Chief Executive Officer: Rupert Soames OBE

Chief Executive Officer, Serco UK and Europe: Mark Irwin

Group Chief Financial Officer: Nigel Crossley

Managing Director, Transport for the UK & Europe: John Whitehurst

Group Human Resources Director: Anthony Kirby

Group General Counsel and Company Secretary: David Eveleigh

Group Strategy and communications Director: Kate Steadman


Address: Serco House, 16 Bartley Wood Business Park, Bartley Way, Hook, Hampshire RG27 9XB

Tel: 01256 745900

Email: generalenquiries@serco.com

Visit: www.serco.com


The Smart DPPS™:
Protects staff and equipment
Ensures safe and controlled movement of rail vehicles into and out of the depot • Allows train maintenance operations to be conducted without endangering the safety of staff or damaging infrastructure
Renowned as the global market leading depot protection system, the SMART DPPS™ delivers physical protection from vehicle movements to rail depot staff whilst providing visual and audible warnings.
Fully configurable, flexible and functional
Proven in use and installed globally
Capable of interfacing with third party equipment including signalling systems.
Adaptable to the safe requirements of the depot www.zonegreen.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)114 230 0822 info@zonegreen.co.uk WHAT’S THE COST OF LIVING? zonegreen safe working solutions

Zonegreen Urges Depots Focus on Staff Safety

Depots, yards and sidings have long been considered the ‘Cinderella of the railway,’ according to the Rail Delivery Group’s Good Practice Guide

Despite being crucial to the success of the network, for decades they have languished near the bottom of the priority list when it comes to strategic investment. Unfortunately for the folk who work in these facilities, there’s no fairy godmother to come and wave her magic wand. As a result, the state of accidents and incidents has remained static. Data from the latest RSSB Health and Safety Report shows an average of one fatality in depots every two and a half years for the last ten years.

The RSSB is working hard to better understand the changing risk profile of depot workers and slowly, focus is starting to shift onto this long-forgotten corner of the industry.

One of the firms leading the call for greater investment in good working practices is depot safety specialist, Zonegreen. Its state-of-the-art technology automates safety procedures, removing the margin for human error, one of the main causes of accidents.

Tried and tested

Sheffield-based Zonegreen’s flagship Depot Personnel Protection System (DPPS) is already in use in modern maintenance facilities across the UK and worldwide. It helps reduce the risks faced by depot staff by effectively managing the movement of rail vehicles.

DPPS is one of the safest systems on the market, boasting independent certification to prove its compliance with both the hardware and software requirements of SIL 2 – a reliability assessment of the relative risk reduction provided by a safety system. It is also the most thoroughly tested and proven in use, offering a low-risk option to depots looking to improve their working environment.

DPPS provides physical protection to depot operatives through the use of powered derailers, controlled by road end panels. Staff log on using RFID tags, which record their location and activate the appropriate derailers. They remain in place until the

person has logged off and the road is opened to traffic.

Only when a road is free of personnel can the derailer be lowered and the shunt signal set to ‘proceed.’ Audible and visual warnings are then activated to highlight imminent vehicle movements.

Included in the DPPS package is Zonegreen’s advanced Depot Manager SCADA software, which offers an overview of the entire protection system and complete traceability. It displays the location of personnel and the status of plant and equipment, whilst providing key information to make operations easier and quicker to implement. For example, the technology can identify peak movement times, so additional focus can be placed on safety during these highest risk periods.

Gemma Houghton, Zonegreen’s Head of Sales, said: ‘We sell more depot safety systems than all of our competitors combined, thanks to the user-friendly functionality offered by our technology. DPPS is also designed to be easy to modify and expand, so it can cater for upgrades and the changing nature of the risks posed to workers.’

Protecting historic Hull depot

One of the latest depots to join the DPPS revolution is Hull’s Botanic Gardens, where the system was installed as part of a multimillion-pound upgrade by Northern Trains.

Employee numbers have increased by 30 to expand the depot’s maintenance and servicing capacity and improve the reliability of services for passengers. Northern’s class 170 trains are being housed there, along with four engineering teams responsible for their upkeep and repair.

Botanic Gardens remained fully functional throughout Zonegreen’s installation. Working in partnership with Northern Rail’s infrastructure team and

principal designer and contractor, RTS Infrastructure, the firm equipped the two-road maintenance shed with DPPS, which was protected previously by manual derailers.

Christian Fletcher, Zonegreen’s head of engineering, said: ‘Our technology was installed in Hull with minimum disruption to operations and is now moving the city’s largest and oldest surviving rail depot into a new era, prioritising staff safety.’

John Gawith, Northern Trains’ Project Manager, added: “The proactive approach from RTS, Zonegreen and the depot operational management team enabled the project to be delivered with no major disruption to depot operations in a safe and timely manner.’

To find out more about DPPS or Zonegreen’s suite of depot safety systems, get in touch via the contact information below.

Tel: 01142 300 822

Visit: www.zonegreen.co.uk

LinkedIn: Zonegreen Ltd

132 www.layher.co.uk VGS-L 10 07 P Z-8.22.64 and Z-8-22-64.1 FS 554413 Approved Training Provider VERSATILE

Developing the Network of the Future

The British rail sector is in the midst of a massive programme to increase capacity, relieve congestion and improve passenger and freight facilities

Across the UK Network Rail maintains around 32,000 kilometres of track, which includes roughly 19,000 kilometres in or on some 190,000 earthworks assets comprising mainly embankments, and soil or rock cuttings. Most are more than 150 years old and do not offer comparable levels of resilience and capability to modern engineered slopes. Managing and reducing the geotechnical risk on these assets requires a combination of approaches, including erosion control, protection netting and protection bunds.

The era of High-Speed Rail in the UK started with the HS1 Channel Tunnel Rail Link and continues as HS2 construction gathers pace. East West Rail and the coming Transpennine route upgrades include new builds as well as updating existing infrastructure. To ensure such schemes deliver their low carbon aspirations efficient temporary works are as important as permanent works to minimise the environmental impact of building major and mega projects.

In addition to passenger services, Rail offers a lower carbon freight service that also reduces the number of vehicles on our roads. The rise in rail freight has necessitated the creation of new Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges across the UK. The location of these sites is key to their efficiency, so may need to be built in areas with challenging ground conditions that require improvement such as basal reinforcement or piled foundations.

Maccaferri has provided earthworks expertise to support Engineers and Contractors building infrastructure since establishing our UK business in 1956. Throughout that time continuous research and product development means Maccaferri clients always benefit from the latest techniques to keep costs under control and minimise environmental impact.

Maccaferri geosynthetics can be utilized in several ways to allow faster, lower-carbon construction using innovations proven in

many markets. By adopting geosyntheticbased solutions in earthworks it is possible to reduce material import, utilize marginal fill that would otherwise be wasted, and extend the operational life of existing assets.

Worldwide Maccaferri operates from over 30 manufacturing facilities and has 70 plus subsidiaries in more than one hundred countries worldwide. This farreaching network allows us to tap into knowledge from many markets and sectors to optimize the design and implementation of innovative solutions across civil, geotechnical and environmental engineering disciplines.

The comprehensive range of Maccaferri solutions available to the UK rail infrastructure market is supported by our Engineers and Technical team, who approach design with a focus on efficient, resilient structures that allow a significantly lower carbon footprint and waste than traditional solutions. Products are supplied with Environmental Product Declarations giving you peace of mind that it’s not just the grass that is green.


• Hope Valley Rail Line

• Rail Embankment Slope Stabilisation – Netherne Surrey

• Borders Rail

• Rail Embankment Burrowing Prevention – EWRA (East West Rail Alliance)

• Reading Viaduct

Whether you are looking for a green abutment to support your bridge, basal reinforcement for your embankments and noise bunds, or remedial works to stabilise an embankment face Maccaferri offer it all and more.

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


Unlocking the Potential of Rail Freight

The proliferation of rail freight in recent years is not to be underestimated. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) estimates that rail freight contributes £2.45 billion to the economy each year

Worth $8.43 trillion in 2021, logistics is one of the largest sectors worldwide and a vital mode of transport for daily movement of commodities on behalf of practically every part of the UK economy.

Through its knowledge of the rail sector, 3Squared has long been aware of the potential benefits increased investment and resource in freight will provide. With that in mind, and following its recognition as winner in the Department for Transport and Innovate UK’s ‘First of a Kind’ (FOAK) competition for innovation in freight, 3Squared have developed PathPlanner; a solution that caters to the opportunities freight presents and resolves some of the key challenges the sector faces.

Making PathPlanner work for the freight sector

Utilising seven years of historical data and a powerful machine learning algorithm, PathPlanner seeks out unused train paths across the network, aiming to unlock capacity and generate new opportunities for the sustainable transport of goods.

The solution identifies previously validated, but unused, train paths by searching through historical timetables, then presents the results as viable options to bid to Network Rail. For freight operators, this is a valuable tool for finding grey space in the timetable. It enables users to add to schedules at short notice, therefore maximising freight movement, productivity, and asset optimisation.

For operators, PathPlanner can help manage Very Short-Term Planning (VSTP) during disruption: cancelling and adding schedules quickly, therefore increasing productivity and ensuring best use of available resources.

Enabling efficient planning

For freight to compete more directly with road transport and meet the modal shift

targets desired, it needs to be simpler for customers to deal with. It needs to be quicker at responding to demand and have the means in place to facilitate shorter planning horizons.

Better planning is necessary if freight is to improve service satisfaction and boost customers’ confidence across the industry. Today regular freight flows need to be planned as far in advance as passenger services, to reduce delays across the network. PathPlanner seeks to help with making planning more efficient and more responsive to the end customer need for flexibility.

Through in-depth analysis conducted via PathPlanner, 3Squared discovered that in some areas only 26 per cent of booked freight trains run, which hinders the release of otherwise available capacity.

3Squared’s PathPlanner is designed to help freight customers plan better and make use of ‘spare’ space. The system also identifies untapped routes, making it easier for customers to book cargo onto existing trains that are already running.

For example, if a customer is looking to transport a box of cargo to a location last minute, using historical train data and machine learning technology PathPlanner can identify and suggest paths that may have been previously hidden.

The future of freight

To showcase the increasing importance of freight and the intrinsic role that technology will inevitably play in its evolution, 3Squared

recently published its first industry led whitepaper, ‘The Future of Freight: Unlocking Potential to Transform Freight Operations’.

Featuring expert input from sector leaders, such as Maggie Simpson OBE, Director General at the Rail Freight Group (RFG) and Nick Graham, Head of External Networks at Eddie Stobart amongst others, the whitepaper aims to highlight the key role that technology will play in driving freight forward.

Jason Durk, Principal Consultant at 3Squared, has been spearheading the PathPlanner project, playing a key role in the project’s development and the whitepaper. He reflects on what PathPlanner has meant so far and what it holds for the future: ‘Speaking to industry experts has really helped to cement our learnings when developing our revolutionary PathPlanner tool. The whitepaper underscores the importance of responsive planning techniques for enhancing service and customer confidence in the freight network. We are truly excited about PathPlanner’s potential impact on the freight industry, and the wide-ranging benefits it can bring to the sector.’

Looking ahead, as with all industries, technology will continue to play a key role in enhancing efficiencies and making things ‘work’ more seamlessly and sustainably. For freight, PathPlanner presents an opportunity to enable growth and ensure that the sector gets the recognition and investment that it needs to make a meaningful change to the way in which we live and work, in 2023 and beyond.

Tel: 0333 121 3333 Email: hello@3squared.com Visit: www.3squared.com/ Social: @3Squared BUSINESS PROFILE

The sustainable flooring choice

Marmoleum is made from natural, rapidly renewable, raw materials.

Marmoleum FR 2 and Striato FR products, part of the Marmoleum product range, are climate positive (cradle to gate) without o setting. In simple terms, they absorb more carbon dioxide (CO2 ) during the growth of their plant-based ingredients such as ax, jute and resin, than is released during the manufacturing and transportation processes.

The result is a net positive impact on reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

136 Scan to view the full collection 71% natural raw materials 40% recycled
content 29% of raw
from: Web:
Email: transport@forbo.com Telephone: +4
www.forbo-f looring.com/rail
74 4121 climate positive CRADLE

Floor Coverings that Create a Positive Impact

Ever since Forbo Flooring Systems began making floor coverings, starting with linoleum more than one hundred years ago, the company has been committed to creating better environments in all the spaces in which people, work, live, travel, relax, learn and play

Today, with a vastly increased range of product choices, it remains every bit as passionate about sustainable floor coverings.

At the forefront of sustainable entrepreneurship for over three decades, Forbo was the first in using Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s). This remains a transparent way to calculate the environmental impact of its raw materials and processes, as well as the products lifecycle.

When it comes to product design and production, Forbo follows the 4R principle of `Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Renew` for all its collections. The design process is central to reducing raw material requirements, reusing factory waste, recycling old products and employing renewable raw material. Following green design principles means working with circular economy principles in mind as well. Furthermore, one hundred per cent of the electricity Forbo buys for all of its production sites, comes from renewable sources

Climate positive, cradle to gate

Marmoleum FR² and Marmoleum Striato FR are linoleum floor coverings made from natural materials. Floor coverings associated with sustainability, durability, high quality and innovative design. Created using a high percentage of natural raw materials, with renewable and recycled content, offering a sustainable solution to rail interior design.

As part of the Marmoleum product range, Marmoleum FR2 and Striato FR products are climate positive (cradle to gate) without offsetting. In simple terms, they absorb more carbon dioxide (CO2) during the growth of their plant-based ingredients such as flax, jute and resin, than is released during the manufacturing and transportation processes.

The result is a net positive impact on reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from cradle to gate.

Marmoleum FR2

Marmoleum FR² is also naturally bacteriostatic, meaning it actively prevents the growth of harmful bacteria. In fact, it has been independently proven to suppress the spread and growth of numerous infections, including MRSA, Norovirus and C Difficile. This protection is active from the point of installation and will not diminish in quality over time.

What’s more, it is a floor covering solution that is easy to clean and maintain as well as durable, safe and comfortable for both wheeled and foot traffic. Awarded the prestigious Allergy UK Seal of Approval as, with the correct cleaning and maintenance regime, it won't harbour dust mites, contributing to a better indoor environment for all.

All Marmoleum FR² floor coverings include Topshield pro, a double layer, UV cured finish that is scratch, and scuff resistant, easy to maintain and ensures longlasting appearance retention. The Topshield pro finish features a two-layer system that can be repaired or refreshed in cases of damage or after many years of use. Because the floor lasts for so long and is so easy to clean, Marmoleum FR² has a low cost of ownership.

More hygienic than other textile floor coverings

Thanks to its unique construction, Flotex FR is one of the world’s most hygienic textile floor coverings available on the market. A flocked floor covering that combines the cleaning properties and durability of a resilient with the comfort, slip resistance and acoustic properties usually associated with textiles. In addition, it is a textile floor covering that can be digitally printed, allowing for great design freedom.

Containing over 70 million upright fibres per square metre, Flotex FR is exceptional at capturing fine dust particles and allergens in the air, significantly improving the air quality within rail vehicles. Vacuuming Flotex FR removes twice as many allergens

than from conventional carpet due to its design allowing it to be cleaned down to the base of the pile. This is why Flotex is the only textile floor covering to receive the Allergy UK Seal of Approval.

Flotex FR floor coverings are waterproof and washable with many different cleaning products. Importantly, it is fast drying, maximising the efficiency of the cleaning process. When tested against six other carpet constructions, Flotex FR far outperformed its competition, having only 0.57 per cent moisture remaining two hours following cleaning.

Prolonging the lifetime of interior rail floor coverings

Stopping up to 95 per cent of walked-in dirt and moisture, effective entrance floor coverings can prolong the life of your rail vehicle interior floor coverings and finishes, as well as greatly reducing cleaning costs and the risk of slipping. With almost 50 years of experience, Coral FR offers you the best entrance flooring solutions for your entrance areas on board rail vehicles.

As an alternative to fully adhering the floor covering to the subfloor, Coral FR can

also be supplied with alternative backing types for quicker and easier installation and replacement.

Coral Brush FR, Coral Duo FR and Coral Welcome FR entrance floors all use Econyl® yarn which is made from used and abandoned fishing nets. Using Econyl® is a way to reduce existing waste, avoid additional manufacturing-related pollution, and keep the consumption of natural resources and energy to a minimum.

All the waste yarn from the Coral FR production is re-used by the yarn supplier and virtually zero landfill is achieved by the manufacturing plant.

Tel: 01773 744121

Email: transport@forbo.com

Visit: www.forbo-flooring.com/rail

Flotex FR
139 For more information phone 01952 588 885 or browse www.eliteprecast.co.uk or email sales@eliteprecast.co.uk Everywhere on rail networks Elite products are seen in use British made Suppliers to 2012 London Olympics, 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and approved suppliers to Tideway, Crossrail and HS2 (fully compliant transport) Get on track with Elite interlocking blocks and barriers BS 5911-6
all line
barriers avoiding
closures with adjacent line open Rockfall prevention with our multi-purpose Jersy barriers
Hoarding stabilisation utilising Elite Duo interlocking blocks
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the versatile
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Our Expertise for Railway and Tramway:

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Mosdorfer Rail Ltd. 2 – 4 Orgreave Place, Orgreave Sheffield S13 9LU, South Yorkshire, UK

Phone: +44 114 3878370

E-Mail: OrdersRailUK@mosdorfer.com



Diversification Delivers in Rail Supply Chain

Charles Conroy, Managing Director of the Derbyshire-based Greenbank Group, outlines the strategic decision to target the rail industry, and the success it has brought to date

Acommitment to diversification in the face of change within the industrial sectors we traditionally served is paying dividends for the Greenbank Group, and our specialist engineering company is fast making a name for itself as a valuable supplier to the rail sector supply chain.

For more than 60 years, the Greenbank name has been associated with engineering excellence across several heavy industries, particularly power generation. Our bulk materials handling equipment, pipework and chutes are found in power stations across the globe, and we continue to help generators and operators in their transition to more environmentally friendly fuel sources, such as biomass and energy from waste following the rapid phase-out of coal, particularly here in the UK.

However, it became clear that to continue to grow and evolve in the face

of unprecedented change, Greenbank needed to look at ways that its unique skills and expertise could benefit other industrial sectors.

With manufacturing facilities near Derby, a city long associated with the rail industry, it will come as no surprise that we had already forged links with other engineering firms in the area more closely associated with the supply of railway vehicles and infrastructure.

Over many years, our partners have taken advantage of our fabrication services for the manufacture of key components to the highest standards demanded by their clients.

Fabrication expertise

Recognising the potential of these relationships to provide a major boost for the business during uncertain times in our traditional markets, in 2019 we made a significant investment to obtain EN 15085

Manufacturers of Railway Vehicles and Components Certification Level 1, believing our engineering and fabrication expertise could help in meeting the stringent demands of the rail sector.

The investment paid off almost immediately, with Greenbank signing a supplier partnership with Derby-based Datum Pattern & Model Makers Limited that saw it produce 170 cab assemblies for trains destined for South Western Railway.

The first main cab structure was assembled in record time, with Greenbank finishing the work in just four weeks and four weeks ahead of schedule, and our efforts led to a further order of more than 100 cabs for trains being manufactured for an operator in the east of England.

Our commitment to the rail supply chain was further demonstrated as the country emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, when, in 2021, we offered a new lease of life to a manufacturing facility in Derby that’s long been associated with the sector.

Work ceased at the industrial unit on Northbridge Business Park in Alfreton Road with the high-profile collapse of an historic engineering firm, but Greenbank stepped in to save part of the former Garrandale factory and a significant number of jobs.

As part of a deal struck with administrators and the landlord, Greenbank acquired on-site plant and equipment and access to the large Unit 7 facility while reemploying many Garrandale employees.

Recent contracts

Since then, we’ve continued to consolidate our position and our presence within the rail supply chain. Recent contracts have included the manufacture of platforms, engine shrouds, cab assemblies and fuel tanks for prototype rail grinders being produced by a specialist rail vehicle manufacturing firm based in the UK and USA.

A further boost for the company has been contracts worth over £250,000 for the manufacture and assembly of controlled effluent tanks for mainline rolling stock in the UK.

These latest projects build on extensive work we have carried out on toilet systems installed on both mainline and heritage rail carriages, in total worth around £2 million.

These contracts included the provision of new compressor units for a rail tour operator’s Mark I and Mark II coaches and stainless-steel water tank fabrications to fit to Class 170 diesel multiple units.

Over the past couple of years, the 1,800 sq. m facility in Derby has also enabled Greenbank to fulfil orders for a gangway fitment test machine for a client in India and bespoke fixturing to enable the accurate assembly of a next-generation people mover designed for a client in Pittsburgh, USA.


for rail supply chain

Other recent commissions included modifications to a client’s 23m assembly jig to ensure it meets current Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER).

All these projects demonstrate the breadth of the support we are now able to offer our clients, whether they are directly involved in rail operations or part of the wider supply chain, and we continue to pride ourselves on working in partnership to deliver the very highest standards of engineering excellence.

Tel: 01283 817200

Email: info@greenbankgroup.com

Visit: www.greenbankgroup.com

Address: Hartshorne Road

Woodville, Derbyshire, DE11 7GT United Kingdom

142 telephone: 01283 817200 or email: info@greenbankgroup.com www.greenbankgroup.com With a global reputation for engineering excellence, we are pleased to offer our trusted services to companies operating in the UK rail sector. At manufacturing facilities in Derbyshire our multi-skilled team can provide: • Technical fabrication services • Bespoke engineering solutions • Design, manufacture and assembly capability

In addition to supplying individual components, the global companies of STAUFF and their authorised system partners use the STAUFF Line approach to support Original Equipment Manufacturers with the supply of custom-designed and ready-to-install fluid power lines from connection to connection and also provide supplemental services that create added value: · Components · Systems · Services · Contact

Sheffield Tel: 0114 251 8518

Email: sales@stauff.co.uk

Aberdeen Tel: 01224 786166

Email: sales@stauffscotland.co.uk

Ireland Tel: 02892 606900

Email: sales@stauffireland.com

Southampton Tel: 023 8069 8700

Email: sales@stauffsouthampton.co.uk


Premier global manufacturer of components and kits for railway applications The STAUFF Line process is adopted by global OEMs to successfully achieve cost savings in rolling stock manufacture.

Solar Powered Sustainability

Prolectric is the off-grid, renewable lighting and power specialist and leading manufacturer of sustainable solar lighting, solar hybrid power generators and solar CCTV systems

The company’s game-changing solar technology provides a practical way for businesses to achieve their carbon-reduction commitments, enabling them to move away from polluting fossil-fuelled or mains-powered systems. The solar tower lights, hybrid generators and CCTV provide high-performance site lighting, power and security – with minimal environmental impact and low running costs and are tried and tested and proven to work all year round, in all weather conditions.

As a specialist sustainability disruptor, Prolectric was awarded a Queen’s Award for sustainable development in 2021 and holds a Gold CSR accreditation.

Prolectric’s pioneering solar and offgrid systems are designed, built and engineered by an expert in-house Research & Development team at the company’s headquarters in Clevedon, Bristol.

The environmental and social impact of our technology

Since launching first solar lighting tower in 2017, Prolectric estimates that its clients have saved an incredible 26,177,996 kg of CO2 (Jan 2017 - Feb 2023), reduced their diesel usage by a massive 10,208,253 litres and as a result, saved over £9,364,443.

Deploying the solar technology introduces significant:

• Environmental savings – solar is clean and entirely sustainable. Customers can replace mains or diesel-powered machinery, leading to CO2 savings.

• Social savings – quiet running means minimal disturbance to people, green land and wildlife.

• Cost savings – reduced fuel costs and no mains power costs.

CASE STUDY: Network Rail and Colas Rail Ltd.’s Diesel-Free ‘Site of the Future’

In 2019, Prolectric’s solar technology was used on a major rail renewal project at Llanwern, South Wales. The ambitious

project led by Network Rail and Colas Rail Ltd used innovative solar lighting and power generation to prove the viability of a sustainable ‘Site of the Future’. The pioneering collaboration achieved a 97 per cent reduction in diesel use, saved 6,000 litres of fuel and more than 15 tonnes of CO2 during the 14-day initiative.

The results were a significant achievement marking an environmental milestone towards clean, carbon-free offgrid working, in support of Network Rail’s CP6 target to reduce non-traction energy consumption by almost 20 per cent and carbon emissions by 25 per cent.

Prolectric’s clean, silent solar lighting and power generation technologies were used across the site covering more than 21 acres. This included access roads, car parking, welfare cabin and track working area.


With more than 70 rail staff employed on site, two 25kW Solatainer solar generators replaced conventional diesel generators providing light and heat for seven welfare cabins, including site offices, a canteen, toilets and a drying room.

A total of 21 Prolectric ProLight solar tower lights illuminated the site compound, car parking and work preparation areas, as well as being deployed on the trackside, where 200 metres of ProTrack batterypowered link lighting was also used. In addition, Prolectric ProTemp column streetlights were positioned along the access road to the site.

The project was the first of its kind. Previously diesel generators were the only option to provide reliable off-grid power to support rail renewal work. The ‘Site of the Future’ project made a viable case for the use of solar technologies, which are now making a vital contribution to non-traction carbon targets, as well as reducing the noise, smell and air pollution from diesel exhausts. Staff and visitors to the Llanwern compound

remarked on how quiet the worksite was, compared to the usual continual background hum of diesel generators.

The Llanwern ‘Site of the Future’ project was the culmination of determined development work driven by Network Rail and the Colas Rail team to adapt and refine solar and renewable technologies for the rail industry, with an aspiration to achieve diesel-free operations as standard.

Pioneering Telematics

Central to the Prolectric solar power philosophy are the Prolectric Power and Lighting Portals, which offer unrivalled telematic software engineering to provide remote monitoring, control and reporting across our hybrid power and solar tower lighting range. The Prolectric Power and Lighting Portals are an industry gamechanger in remote device fleet management, enabling cutting-edge access to critical performance data of each unit, with customised real-time responsive control and alert functionality from any location.

By combining intelligent hardware, software, and GPS tracking, the Power Portal gathers over 400 pieces of telemetry data to provide a complete view of each unit’s operating condition, including fuel usage, solar generation and the battery’s state of charge.

Working in close collaboration with rail partners, Prolectric expects future advances in the design, function and versatility of solar and battery technology, with telematics driving forward the capabilities of off-grid solar light and power generation.


Email: hello@prolectric.co.uk

Visit: www.prolectric.co.uk

01275 403 170
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SNC-Lavalin Changes Name to AtkinsRéalis

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX: SNC), a fully integrated professional services and project management company is rebranding to AtkinsRéalis. Building on more than a century of accomplishments from brands such as SNC-Lavalin, Atkins, Faithful+Gould, DTS and Atkins Acuity, AtkinsRéalis brings the whole organization together under one single brand and represents a major milestone in the Company’s transformation journey. Headquartered in Montréal, Canada, AtkinsRéalis combines the expertise of its 36,000 employees across markets and regions to deliver end-to-end solutions in the built and natural environments.

Ian L. Edwards, President and CEO of AtkinsRéalis said: ‘AtkinsRéalis is a new name for a new transformed company: our ability to draw upon such breadth and depth of global capabilities

will maximize our ability to work seamlessly and provide one integrated offering for our clients and partners. Everything starts with our people; they care about each other, this Company and most importantly, they care about the work we do and believe in our purpose to engineer a better future for our planet and its people. I could not be prouder of our team’s dedication to the success of this Company.’

The name AtkinsRéalis is a coined term that combines Atkins, a legacy brand that is well-established across the Company’s international markets, and ‘Réalis,’ inspired by the city of Montréal and the Company’s French-Canadian roots. ‘Réalis’ also resembles the verb ‘to realize’ or ‘to make happen’ which emphasizes our focus on outcomes and project delivery.

Amey to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Amey has announced its appointment to both the Engineering and Construction Services, and the Programme and Project Management Services Frameworks, across Network Rail’s North West & Central regions.

A key focus for Amey will be collaborating with Network Rail to drive down CO2 emissions, enhance recycling and minimise waste. This will be supported by Amey’s decarbonisation expertise and innovations from across its rail, highways and buildings portfolio.

The initial three-year frameworks serve Network Rail’s North West & Central (NW&C) region, and the life-cycle engineering firm will provide a range of consulting services across a variety of projects, from large multidisciplinary, complex projects to single discipline asset renewals. The work will also involve work with

key stakeholders such as HS2, local authorities, train and freight operating companies.

Speaking on the announcement, Alex Gilbert, Managing Director, Amey Consulting, said: ‘We are delighted to have been appointed to both of Network Rail’s Professional Services Framework in the NW&C. The North West & Central region is of critical importance to the UK, linking major economic hubs of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. We look forward to working with Network Rail in growing and maintaining a sustainable railway, using our consulting capabilities to decarbonise our network.’

Comprising of 571 stations, the North West and Central region sees 246.5 million annual rail passenger journeys. The region accounts for 24 per cent of Britain’s railway.

Deutsche Bahn Certifies 3D Printing Platform

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has certified the use of Essentium High Speed Extrusion (HSETM) 3D Printing Platform located in Neumunster and high-performance materials for 3D printed train parts and tools. Essentium's 3D printing technology, including flame-retardant Essentium 9085 and HTN-CF25 thermoplastics, has been tested to demonstrate that it complies with the AM Standard ISO/ASTM 52920:2023 and ISO 52920. Essentium's AM solutions will allow DB to increase the availability of its fleet through fast and efficient replacement of parts and tools. By leveraging Essentium's AM technology, DB aims to overcome supply chain issues and raw materials shortages for obsolete parts. DB maintains a digital warehouse housing virtual technical drawings of spare parts. These parts can be 3D printed on demand, with around 1,000 models currently available. DB aims to raise this to 10,000 components by 2030. The Essentium HSE 3D Printing Platform in Neumunster and materials will help Deutsche Bahn enhance delivery speed and lower costs by creating low-run parts on demand rather than mass manufacturing and storing vast quantities.

Comprising of 571 stations, the North West and Central region sees 246.5 million annual rail passenger journeys. The region accounts for 24 per cent of Britain’s railway.


Ramboll adds to its Transport team Engineering, design and sustainability consultancy Ramboll has today announced the appointment of Rachel Jones as Regenerative Solutions Director to its Transport team.

TransPennine Trains Appoints new Managing Director Chris Jackson has been appointed Managing Director of TransPennine Trains.

Arup appoints new Major Programmes Director Global sustainable development consultancy Arup has announced the appointment of David Hughes as Major Programmes Director, with a focus on supporting and accelerating the firm’s delivery of significant national infrastructure and strategic change programmes.

Transport Focus appoints new Chief Executive Alex Robertson has been appointed chief executive of Transport Focus and will take up the post on 1 December 2023.

Loram UK appoints new Managing Director Debbie Francis OBE has been appointed as the new managing director of Loram UK.

RIA London & South Leadership Group announces new Chair and Vice Chair Ryan Anderson, from Ricardo Rail has been appointed as the new Chair of the RIA London & South Leadership Group. Assuming the position of Vice Chair alongside Ryan is Bryony Goldsmith from Arcadis.

New Chief Executive Officer at Govia Thameslink Railway Govia Thameslink Railway has announced that Angie Doll is to become its Chief Executive Officer at the end of November, replacing Patrick Verwer who is stepping away from day-to-day management of Britain’s largest rail network.

Spencer Group appoints Managing Director for rail Spencer Group has appointed Mike Halliday as Managing Director for its rail division.

New steering group appointment for from Women in Rail has welcomed a new member to its Scotland Steering Group. Laura McWilliams, Capital Delivery Programme Manager for Network Rail, joins the group, bringing with her over 19 years of experience.

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Delivering a bright energy future for high speed rail


We work with alliance partners in the industry to deliver for the UK’s railways. By leveraging the capabilities of our partners, we are able to deliver more cost effective and innovative solutions.

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