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Issue 126 February 2016

New era

dawns bidding begins for London’s deep-level trains


Complex interactions that affect rail maintenance What artificial intelligence can do for rail Drones: pros and cons for security applications


Weather takes out section of Kent’s coastal railway

PAC report criticises DfT for tardiness with HS1 evaluation

CAF wins contract to build new trains for Northern Rail

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From the Editor

Chairman Andrew Schofield Editor Gay Sutton editor@railwaystrategies.co.uk Managing Editor Libbie Hammond Art Editor Gerard Roadley-Battin Advertisement Designer David Howard Profile Editor Libbie Hammond Staff Writers Jo Cooper Ben Clark Andrew Dann Advertisement Sales Dave King Sales Director Joe Woolsgrove Operations Director Philip Monument Editorial Researchers Keith Hope Tarj Kaur-D’Silva Mark Cowles Administration Tracy Chynoweth

What a washout


t’s been a tough start to the year for many people, particularly in the North West. And the railways are no exception. Still functioning largely on Victorian foundations, they have been significantly impacted by the floods and rain induced subsidence, all of which have presented enormous challenges for engineers tasked with getting services running again safely. This month we have reported on some of the lines affected in Cumbria, North Wales and the North West, as well as damage to the coastal line in Kent. It is eerily reminiscent of the Dawlish washout a couple of years ago. All of this is a salutary reminder of the increasing impact that changes in our weather patterns are having on the infrastructure. And what have we learned? Significant work has gone into assessing the weather resilience of the railways over the past few years, and how they can be future proofed against climate change. But with these events continuing to happen, are we getting anywhere with the battle to protect the infrastructure, or will it always be a fire fighting operation? Further into the magazine we look at drones, which are becoming very popular for a variety of tasks, and examine the pros and cons for using them in rail security. In our maintenance focus we look at the complex interactions that affect the safety and efficiency of rail maintenance, and how visualising this bigger picture can raise performance levels. Still on maintenance, what can artificial intelligence do for rolling stock maintenance? Finally, we take a look at airline seating technology and see whether the gains in comfort could make rail travel more competitive. Please contact us if you would like to share your thoughts and opinions. Email: editor@railwaystrategies.co.uk

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Features  Are you sitting comfortably? 18 Is the seat technology used by the airlines transferrable to rail? We take a look at the latest innovations in hinge technology and discuss whether such innovations could help rail compete with air travel STEWART BECK UAVs: Blue-sky thinking? 20 Drones are becoming increasingly popular for accomplishing difficult tasks cost effectively and quickly in many sectors. We examine the risks of applying the technology to security on the railways, and assess the possibilities it has to offer PETER DERRY

Breaking the back of overwhelming detail 10 Gathering, collating and analysing data from across the network can reveal the complex interaction of actions and events that lie behind rail maintenance. Seeing this bigger picture can improve safety and increase productivity NEIL SINGH

ry o t s r e 5Cov

Innovation: rolling stock maintenance 14 Artificial intelligence is with us today and spreading into many industries. What can it do for rolling stock maintenance, and what are leading rail sector innovators achieving with it? BHOOPATHI RAPOLU

20 News Industry 4 Rolling stock 5 Infrastructure 6 Stations 9 Appointments 13 Conferences & exhibitions 17


Profiles Qatar Rail Qatar Rail (Green Line Elevated and at Grade) Stadler Rail Nexus Blackpool Transport Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd Mechan Express Glazing Contractors





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The concourse at London Victoria station

Passenger satisfaction highest for 2 years l The latest Transport Focus survey from the RDG reveals a significant rise in passenger satisfaction. Some 83% of passengers surveyed in autumn 2015 were satisfied with their journey overall, 2% higher than in autumn 2014 and 3% more than in spring 2015. Satisfaction improved in 20 out of 35 categories of facilities.

King’s Cross sells for £371m l The government has announced the sale of its stake in the iconic King’s Cross development to AustralianSuper, Australia’s largest pension fund, for the sum of £371m. The 67-acre site is being redeveloped with offices, residential and leisure properties. All proceeds will return to the Treasury.

Help in a crisis l National law firm Shoosmiths has launched a free crisis management tool to help businesses avoid making costly mistakes in a crisis. The tool highlights critical questions that managers should ask at the outset of any crisis and helps them to think strategically across a variety of issues. It can be downloaded from ow.ly/Xdrtp

Smart wall first at Harrogate l The UK’s first retailing smart wall has been launched at Harrogate station. Facial detection technology senses when a customer is approaching and automatically moves the ticket touchscreen to eye level. Other features include a small video screen that could be linked to a virtual call centre to help customers.

UITP forms North America ties l Urban rail operators in North America will soon be able to form closer contacts with rail industry players globally, following the formation of an urban rail platform for North America. The UITP initiative will promote the sharing of knowledge and expertise and help advance North American rail development.


Eurostar at Lyon

PAC report into the sale of Eurostar casts doubt on case for HS2 l The Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) report into the sale of the taxpayer’s stake in Eurostar, has highlighted concerns about the Department for Transport’s approach to evaluating the benefits and economic impact of transport projects that cast doubt on the case for HS2. It describes the two year delay in publishing a DfT evaluation of HS1 that showed the project was poor value for money, as being unacceptable.

Meg Hillier MP and chair of the PAC, said: “We now also know, following publication of the government’s much delayed report, that the costs of HS1 far outweigh its economic benefits. It is deeply concerning that work towards HS2 should have progressed without full and detailed consideration of HS1. The government’s evaluation of HS1, produced at the urging of this Committee, could and arguably should have been a key piece of evidence in scrutinising plans for HS2.”

Call goes out to gather evidence for an assessment of UK’s future infrastructure needs

l A nationwide consultation has been launched to gather evidence for a comprehensive independent assessment of the UK’s future infrastructure needs and how they could be met. The deadline for written submissions is 29 February 2016. The findings will then feed into the National Infrastructure Commission. The consultation is being managed by a coalition of business, industry, academic and environment leaders, chaired by NIC commissioner, Sir John Armitt. The needs assessment will be based on evidence gathered during the consultation, evidence hearings, research being undertaken by the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium, and a vast pool of data and

analysis. It will take into account factors such as climate change, population growth and technological game changers. It will also review different options for meeting the UK’s needs, considering affordability, public acceptability and environmental obligations. A report will be published in the autumn, setting out a vision for UK infrastructure up to 2050 and a series of interventions Government and industry will need to make to realise the vision. The coalition includes ICE, CBI, KPMG, Pinsent Masons, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Graham Dalton, National Grid, London First, Green Alliance, Transport for Greater Manchester, Thames Water and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

NEWS I Rolling stock Shortlist of bidders for the manufacture of Merseyrail’s new trains is published

London Underground issues invitation to tender for the design and build of a new generation of deep level trains l The lucrative order for a new generation of 250 walk-through, air-cooled trains for London’s deep-level underground lines has come a step closer. London Underground has issues an invitation to tender for the design and build of rolling stock that will operate on the Piccadilly, Waterloo & City, Bakerloo and Central, as part of an improvement scheme known as the New Tube for London. Five pre-qualified manufacturers – Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi and Siemens – are now proceeding to the next stage of the formal procurement process. The trains will come into service from the early 2020s. The rolling stock is expected to boost capacity by 60% on the Piccadilly line, by 35% on the Waterloo & City line, 25% on the Bakerloo line and by 25% on the Central line, and will be the first air-cooled trains on the

deep-level sections of the Tube. Future-proofed to include the capability for fully automatic operation, they will boast improved accessibility and safety features including walk-through carriages and wider doors. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “Over the last few years we have seen the completion of several major signalling upgrades on the Tube, as well as the delivery of 191 brand new air-conditioned walk-through trains. I am delighted that we are now able to launch the process to commission a fleet of new deep-level Tube trains that will transform journeys for the millions of passengers who use our Piccadilly, Waterloo & City, Bakerloo and Central lines.” Proposals are due to be submitted to LU this summer and the contract to build the new trains will be awarded in autumn 2017.

Spanish manufacturer CAF is to supply new rolling stock to new Northern rail franchise l Contracts have been signed between Arriva Rail North, leasing company Eversholt Rail and Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF, to supply 281 new vehicles for the next Northern rail franchise. The £490m order comprises 31 three car and 12 four car Electric Multiple Units and 25 two car and 30 three car Diesel Multiple Units, based on CAF’s Civity platform. All vehicles are scheduled to enter service by December 2018, and will run on commuter and regional services on the new Northern franchise. The contracts also include technical and logistic support services for both fleets. The new rolling stock will replace the outdated and unpopular Pacer trains. Financed by Eversholt Rail Group, this is the largest order secured by CAF in Europe to date, and is the second order for the British version of the CIVITY. The first order was trialled on the Caledonian Sleeper service between London and Scotland last year. Chris Burchell, managing director of Arriva’s UK trains division, said: “We are delighted to partner with CAF and Eversholt Rail to meet the high specification and demanding timetable for delivery of the new rolling stock.”

l Merseyrail has announced the shortlist of bidders for the next stage of the procurement process for a new fleet of trains. The five shortlisted bidders are: •B  ombardier _ with headquarters in Canada and a British base in Derby, it is currently supplying the new fleet for Crossrail •C  AF _ currently providing the new coaches for the Caledonian sleeper service •M  itsui _ teamed up with J-Trec and Alstom. UK projects include the Virgin Pendolinos •S  iemens _ currently building the new Thameslink fleet •S  tadler _ Swiss company that has provided trams for Croydon Tramlink. The current fleet is approaching 40 years old, and amongst the oldest in the UK. New trains carrying more people with shorter journey times will help meet growing demand on the network, parts of which are already close to capacity at peak times. The project is likely to cost around £400m and will include major infrastructure improvements at stations and depots, as well as major reinforcement of the power supply to the network. Bids are due back by the end of April, and a preferred bidder is expected to be identified towards the end of 2016.

c2c lengthens peak evening trains ahead of delivery of new rolling stock l Ahead of delivery of 68 new trains, which begin arriving in 2019, National Express train operator c2c, has introduced changes to peak evening journeys on its Shoeburyness to Fenchurch street services to increase capacity for commuters. Trains have been lengthened from 8 to 12 carriages on selected peak services between Shoeburyness and Fenchurch Street. Some peak time services between Fenchurch Street and Leigh-on-Sea, Fenchurch Street to Grays and Fenchurch Street to Southend Central have also been increased from 4 to 8 carriages. Meanwhile, c2c has reached agreement in principle with another train operator to lease additional carriages to provide further extra capacity at peak times. Subject to final contractual agreement and regulatory approval, these carriages are expected to be in service from late spring and will continue operating until the new trains begin arriving in 2019.



Sinkholes at Shakespeare Beach, Dover

£17m earmarked for refurbishing iconic Cheshire bridges l The Grade-II listed viaducts at Holmes Chapel and Peover, two of Cheshire’s most well-known architectural landmarks, are receiving a full makeover, including the removal of water stains on the walls, brickwork repairs and waterproofing. Lines from Crewe to Manchester and Sandbach to Northwich will be closed between 13 and 24 February while the £17m of improvement are carried out.

Delhi metro turns to Thales l Thales has been awarded the contract to upgrade the ticketing system on phases I and II of the Delhi metro. A total of 240 additional access gates will be installed, in addition to 300 ticket vending machines and 150 automatic vending machines for card top up. Work, which affects some 100 stations, will be completed by September 2016.

HS2 railway systems design gets under way l WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has been appointed to deliver railway systems design and engineering for HS2 Phase 2 in a contract worth around £15m over five years. This includes engineering design, construction planning, operations planning, expert advice, detailed modelling, systems engineering and assurance.Work has now begun on the first 50 miles of track from Birmingham to Crewe.

Weather takes out a section of Kent’s coastal railway l A historic section of railway between Dover and Folkestone has been closed since Christmas Eve after storms damaged the sea wall at Shakespeare Beach in Dover. The storms lowered the beach level at Shakespeare by almost two metres in the lead up to Christmas exposing the foot of the wall to the full force of the sea. This led to sink holes appearing in the railway above, which have continued to develop as the chalk infill has become destabilised. Network Rail and Costain have been working to protect the railway and sea wall using more than 18,000 tonnes of rock armour placed on the beach. Meanwhile, their design teams are working on developing a long-term solution to the damage. Network Rail’s route managing director,

The new Borough Viaduct is brought into operation

Edinburgh Trams exceeds expectations l New figures show that patronage on Edinburgh’s tram system, which was launched on 31 May 2014, is 12% higher than this time last year and revenue is considerable ahead of the business plan. The system recorded a 95% customer satisfaction rating last year while operating with 99% reliability. Transport for Edinburgh is looking at extending and developing the network.


Alasdair Coates, said: “This is a vulnerable stretch of railway and we have to find the right design to last many more years into the future. As soon as we have a design and a timescale we are confident in, we will let everyone know.” This section of railway dates from the 1840s, and was originally built on a wooden viaduct, which was encased in a concrete wall in 1927. The wooden viaduct remained in place surrounded by chalk recovered from the demolition of a former tunnel at Archcliffe. A task force led by Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke has been created to help with the work to rebuild the railway between Dover and Folkestone and tackle administrative or bureaucratic hurdles that might affect the work.

Work in progress on the Borough Viaduct l Nearly five years after it was installed, the new Borough Viaduct has begun carrying trains between London Bridge and Charing Cross and Waterloo East. For 10 days over the Christmas period, the line from London Bridge to Charing Cross via Waterloo East was closed while tracks on the new viaduct were connected to the existing tracks. Signalling on the lines from Charing Cross and Waterloo East into London Bridge

has been completely renewed and the control transferred from London Bridge to the Three Bridges ROC in Sussex. The new viaduct, part of the Thameslink Programme, is designed to alleviate a notorious rail bottleneck, where all Southeastern trains to and from Charing Cross had to share a single pair of tracks with the cross-London Thameslink services. Bringing the viaduct into operation is a significant milepost in the progress of Thameslink improvements. Thameslink Programme director Simon Blanchflower said: “By opening Borough Viaduct, we have been able to take two existing tracks out of use for rebuilding, which is a crucial step in the ongoing reconstruction of London Bridge Station. “Platforms alongside those new tracks are rapidly taking shape and we are looking forward to opening the new station concourse in August this year.”

NEWS I Infrastructure

Further damage plagues repair work on the Lamington Viaduct

Lamington Viaduct recovery works l The Lamington Viaduct, which has been closed since it was severely damaged by Storm Frank, has suffered further damage and will not reopen until the first week of March, 2016. The train service between Carlisle and Glasgow on the West Coast Mainline will continue to operate via a diversion to Dumfries, until the viaduct reopens. The viaduct’s second pier had been on the brink of collapse after floodwaters scoured out much of its foundations on New Year’s Eve. Engineers diverted the Clyde by damming part of the river with over 1,500 tons of stone. They then successfully stabilised the damaged pier by pumping over 300 cubic meters of fastsetting concrete into the void. However structural checks carried out on sections of the viaduct that had previously been too unsafe to inspect, revealed that continued bad weather and high water levels had caused structural damage to another of the piers. Three steel bearings, which support the bridge deck and track had been damaged, and the damage to the foundations was worse than previously thought, requiring more

time and significantly more work to properly stabilise the structure. Over the weeks to March, engineers will install additional concrete supports on either side of the second pier to strengthen the structure, before installing additional eightmetres-long rock anchors/mini piles through the pier’s foundations to support the structure from a much wider and lower base. Structural repairs to the third pier will also be completed and the course of the river widened to reduce future water pressure on the structure. The steel bearings will then be replaced, the viaduct bridge-deck realigned and the track re-laid. Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance said: “The damage from the floodwaters is significant. We have had to use hundreds of tons of rock to divert and reduce the flow rates at the piers and an extraordinary amount of concrete just to stabilise the second pier. Unfortunately the scale of the damage and the complex nature of the engineering challenges means that the repair is going to take longer than we initially thought.”

Major engineering works planned for Glasgow’s Queen Street tunnel l Glasgow’s Queen Street tunnel is set to close for 20 weeks from 20 March to 8 August while a £60m project gets under way to renew nearly 2km of ageing slab-track. The lines had been damaged by a combination of the high number of trains using the infrastructure and by water infiltration. The tunnel is the only route through which trains can approach Queen Street high level platforms. During the closure trains that would normally run in and out of Queen Street High Level will be diverted to either Queen Street Low Level or Glasgow Central. Engineers plan to renew the two lines of track through the 918m long tunnel by removing 10,000 tonnes of concrete slab-

track, installing 1,800m of new slab-track and 4,000m of rails. They will also take this opportunity to install equipment to carry the overhead power lines needed for the electrification of the railway as part of the Scottish Government’s £742m Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme. Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: “This is a once in a generation project and one of the most ambitious ever planned on the EdinburghGlasgow route. The works will support the introduction of a new generation of faster, quieter and greener electric trains on routes across the Central Belt next year.”

New advanced engineering techniques improve delivery of Christmas engineering programme l New advanced engineering techniques brought into use on Network Rail’s £150m Christmas engineering programme have enabled trains to resume running at high speeds as soon as work had finished. These technologies included 3D and 2D dozing and excavation to get the bottom stone right first time to absolute design co-ordinates - saving the tamper from undertaking large alignment lifts which undo the consolidation of the bottom ballast. Consolidation of the ballast was improved using Dynamic Track Stabilisation (DTS), while the Variomatic Bomag roller delivered measured, uniform consolidation. Track panels were placed to their absolute design position using total station or GPS, rather than placing them using a tape measure and expecting the tamper to make large alignment slues. The constructed track position was also measured accurately using total station or GPS so that accurate off set files against the actual design can be generated for the tamper.

200 tonnes of trees,soil and debris damage line at Barnehurst l The Southeastern line between Dartford and Lewisham via Bexleyheath was closed for three days in January while engineers worked to clear a landslip at Barnehurst, South London. More than 200 tonnes of trees, soil and debris slid onto the railway tracks near the station. Nobody was hurt and trains were stopped after a Southeastern train driver alerted staff. Network Rail’s route managing director Alasdair Coates said: “This shows the challenges we face in operating a railway that was designed and built by Victorians, while we are dealing with more rain, more often than ever before.” Engineers from Network Rail and Costain worked day and night to clear the debris and repair the damaged tracks. The landslip also dislodged signalling equipment, which had to be repaired before trains could resume running.



NEWS I Stations

Glasgow Queen Street station rebuild goes out to tender

Queen Street station as it will look by 2019

l Tenders have been invited for the £112m reconstruction of Glasgow Queen Street station, the third busiest station in Scotland. Queen Street currently handles 20m passengers a year but this is projected to increase to 28m passengers a year by 2030. The rebuild will deliver a larger, purpose-built facility capable of handling this increase in capacity while retaining the best of the station’s Victorian character. Due for completion in 2019, the redevelopment will reflects Queen Street’s role as a gateway to the city and as an important departure point for visitors heading north and east. At part of the rebuild, the platforms and concourse are to be extended to accommodate the faster, longer, trains that have been ordered as part of the £742m Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme. The project will include: • Demolition of the Millennium Hotel’s 1970s extension above the station • Demolition of Consort House • Removal of the canopy over the footway in Dundas Street •Redevelopment of the station concourse, south and west façades, including reconstruction and extension of station buildings • Improved station entrances at Dundas Street and George Square • New lighting and public address systems • New ticket office and staff accommodation block, and • Construction of extended platforms to accommodate eight-car trains. Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: “We are confirming that one of our busiest and most important stations will be transformed, making it larger and with much better facilities for our growing number of customers.”

Major upgrade of Bank Tube station given the green light l The Department for Transport has granted a Transport and Works Act Order for a large programme of work to upgrade Bank station. London Underground is now progressing the plans, with construction likely to begin in April or May and completion scheduled for 2021. Bank is the third busiest station on the Tube network. Used by over 52m passengers a year, it has already seen demand rise by 50% over the last 10 years, and with London’s population set to grow from 8.6m today to around 10m by 2030 demand is likely to Axonometric diagram of Bank station upgrade continue growing. The £563m upgrade includes reconfiguring the station to reduce conflict between different flows of customers, to reduce the need to go up and down stairs, and to provide 40% more capacity. The work will include a new railway tunnel and platform for the Northern line. Step-free access is to be provided to the Northern line and DLR platforms, with more direct routes and two new moving walkways. There will be 3 new lifts and 12 new escalators, and a new station entrance in Cannon Street. The majority of construction is to take place behind the scenes while the station remains open to customers. Efforts are also being made to minimise the impact on the historically significant site, which is bordered by 31 listed buildings.

IN BRIEF New Coventry and Nuneaton stations open l As part of a £13.6m investment to improve rail services between Coventry and Nuneaton, two new stations have been opened at Bermuda Park in Nuneaton and at Coventry Arena. Further improvements are planned for the Coventry to Leamington Spa line, including a new platform at Coventry and a new station at Kenilworth.

Customer information upgrade completed across Greater Anglia l The project to upgrade customer information screens on platforms across the Abellio Greater Anglia region has been completed. 144 older-style screens have been replaced with new ones featuring the latest LED technology to display train running information in a clear, easy to read format and to reduce energy consumption.

Waterloo leads as Europe’s busiest station l According to analysis by The Independent, London Waterloo is Europe’s busiest station, and is likely to be the first to reach a combined total of 200m passengers a year. The number of Tube users are likely to exceed 100m by the end of 2015 with rail passengers approaching the same level. Gare du Nord in Paris is second with 180m, third is London Victoria and King’s Cross/St Pancras is fourth.

Leeds station southern entrance completed l The new £20m southern entrance to Leeds railway station has opened to the public, improving access to the developing South Bank area. Leeds is one of the busiest rail stations outside of London, catering for 100,000 travellers a day. The scheme is expected to benefit some 20,000 users each day, reducing commuting times by five minutes a journey.



Breaking the back of overwhelming detail Neil Singh explains how developing a clear view of the big-picture can help improve the safety-productivity dynamic in rail maintenance


Below Neil Singh, Petrotechnics

ehind the operation of any rail network are two essential, but often contradictory priorities: productivity and safety. Ensuring one, without compromising the other, is a constant challenge, particularly in an organisation as complex as a rail network. Most rail networks represent huge national investments of time, money and effort. They appear straight-forward to commuters waiting for the 8:15 to Paddington, but are in fact highly complex. They are not just a collection of track, signaling, trains, power and people. Trains get from A to B thanks to the daily interactions between them all. It is these interactions that dictate how the network runs. They also make the rail network an extremely dynamic operation, with an almost infinite number of variables – all of which have the potential to affect safety and productivity.

Safety v productivity - finding the balance The point at which the tension between productivity and safety is most keenly felt is maintenance. Given the demands on the rail network, and the growing volume of passenger and freight activity that it must support, the pressure of finding the balance is increasing. On the one hand, there is pressure to complete more and more


rail maintenance work within very tight timeframes with limited resources. On the other, the task, location and infrastructure must be properly assessed to ensure that these maintenance jobs themselves does not cause harm to people, the environment or the infrastructure. There are any number of ways in which a seemingly insignificant error, like a piece of equipment left track-side, or an unexpected event such as a hidden wasps’ nest in an overhanging tree, can escalate into a major problem. Seemingly inconsequential operational events, activities and decisions have an immediate impact on maintenance schedules but can also roll up into something substantially larger. Like the hurricane caused by a butterfly flapping its wings, some of the biggest headaches on the railways can have some of the simplest and unexpected causes. Equally, commercial reality puts significant pressure to get more work completed in a shorter time frame. Rail infrastructure companies are observing more ‘at risk’ behaviour, where workers are taking chances and exposing themselves to high levels of risk in order to get more done. When times are tight, and the pressure is on, safety becomes a compliance issue rather than a lifesaving issue. The difference is a subtle but important one.

The problem with visibility Of course, the complex interactions involved in scheduling and carrying out maintenance are largely invisible to passengers. Rail travel is one of those things that people only talk about when it goes wrong. And so despite attention from media, politicians and public alike, when bank holidays are disrupted, most people do not see the lengthy decision chains and variable work schemes behind a late train. The problem is that many of these interactions are also invisible to managers and decision-makers. Although there are rules in place to govern and manage maintenance scheduling and work execution, there is only a limited amount of data available to support informed decision-making and few controls in place to make sure rules are being followed. Line managers are left to make decisions based on their experience and instinct. Often there is no global view of where the work is happening or who is doing it – let alone that it will be done safely.

Where the bigger picture comes in To maintain the most effective balance between safety and productivity, rail infrastructure operators must find

a way to simplify that complexity. They need to see the big picture and still find the relevant detail so that every decision enables safe delivery of work. However, if we go back to our definition of the railway as a series of interactions, it soon becomes clear that the ‘bigger picture’ is not a static portrait. Nor is it a twodimensional one. Therefore, successful rail maintenance scheduling should not be a question of running a straight up-anddown to-do list and ticking things off as they are finished. Priorities can change in a very short amount of time, and the order of work gets shuffled around. There are consequences to each of those moves: a change in people, equipment, location, or time required will cause additional changes to other areas of the maintenance schedule. This changing environment is the bigger picture, and rail operators need to understand those consequences and make allowances for them in the planning process in order to run a safe and productive rail network. They need a far more dynamic way of managing maintenance scheduling that takes into account all the factors that affect job scheduling and the way that they interact with each other.



Painting a picture in relevant detail To do this, they need a view of all operational activity that takes into account the three key dimensions of each job: time, location and risk. Risk is the important factor here. It is often last-minute or unexpected risk that prevents scheduled maintenance from going ahead. And of course, when risks are ignored, safety is compromised. The compliance approach often relegates risk to just one of a number of factors to be considered. But by choosing risk as the prism through which all work is defined, planned and executed, it becomes much easier to schedule rail maintenance effectively – and so keep to productivity targets. For many organisations this will require a change in culture and its associated processes and procedures. There is no silver bullet or simple switch that can be flicked to transform a complex operation like a rail network. But if a technological solution cannot do all the heavy lifting, it can certainly play a key role in enabling a new risk-centric approach.

Help with data analysis The right systems can make information transparent to all levels of the organisation at any time. They can provide that essential three-dimensional view: not just what is happening now, but what happened before and what happens next. It can make clear the inter-dependencies and relationships between individual jobs, disciplines,


equipment and schedules. It does this by acting as a central repository for all data inputs, and then converting this data into useful decisionmaking information through visualisation techniques or reporting capability. One of the challenges that rail managers face when trying to get the bigger picture is not necessarily the shortage of data. It’s more often about hardto-find or hard-to-use data, which is then trumped by the need for quick decisions with the best information available.

Conclusion Visualising and understanding the bigger picture in this way helps reduce the number of coordination issues that arise when planners are unable to see what other works are scheduled at their worksites. It reduces the number of re-planned jobs caused by unknowns on the railway. It enables better use of ‘possessions’ (maintenance periods when all train movement operations are stopped), because all teams can see what work they have on their radars for a given location, and what is planned in that possession. Crucially it also provides all necessary information about jobs up front. During planning, risk assessments and controls can be incorporated in a timely fashion to ensure a coordinated and safe execution of work. Decision-makers have the information necessary to plan work effectively around safety requirements. In this way it supports a better safety-productivity dynamic – with no compromises.

NEWS I Appointments ORR appoints interim CEO l Joanna Whittington has been appointed interim chief executive of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), taking up the post on 16 January 2016. She has been with ORR as a board member and director of railway markets and economics since March 2014. In this role, she was responsible for economic regulatory affairs, including leading planning for the next rail funding period between 2019 and 2024. Joanna comes from an economic consultation background, specialising in transport, and has been active in with the rail industry for many years. Between 1995 and 1999 she worked for ORR in various capacities before moving to the Ofgem. Joanna said: “It’s a huge privilege to be appointed to this position at such a critical time in the development of Britain’s road and rail industries.” A permanent chief executive is likely to be appointed for 1 January 2017.

Alex Hayes to stay with the Northern franchise under Arriva

Leo Goodwin to be MD of new TransPennine Express franchise

l Arriva Rail North Ltd has announced that it has appointed Alex Hynes to continue as managing director Northern rail when Arriva takes over the franchise. Alex, who has been managing director of Northern since August 2013 is an experienced transport professional, who has held a variety of senior roles within the rail industry. He joined Go-Ahead in 2005 before becoming commercial director at their London Midland franchise and then managing director – rail development on Go Ahead’s executive committee. He will take up his role on 1 April when Arriva begins operating the nine-year contract it was awarded in December. He is tasked with transforming rail travel for customers across the North of England – with an extensive investment programme including new and refurbished trains, extra services, increased capacity and a variety of station and ticketing improvements.

l FirstGroup has announced that the TransPennine Express is to be headed up by Leo Goodwin as managing director when the franchise is renewed on 1 April. Leo has held several previous roles within FirstGroup. Having joined First in 1998, he held various management positions at First Great Western before moving to First TransPennine Express in 2003 when the group took over the franchise. Initially he was part of the management team and later became commercial director. During this period the franchise experienced industry leading levels of passenger growth and a significant expansion of services. In 2013 Leo become commercial development director at the First Rail division. Commenting, Leo Goodwin said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to build on the successes that First TransPennine Express achieved over the last 11 years, in which we have more than doubled passenger journeys on the network.”

South West Trains MD to become Stagecoach Group boss

Susan Cooklin to head up Network Rail’s route services

l Tim Shoveller, who has been managing director of South West Trains for the past four years, is moving to the position of managing director of Stagecoach Group’s UK Rail division. He takes up the post on 1 February. Reporting directly to Stagecoach group chief executive Martin Griffiths, he will be responsible for the management of the Group’s existing rail businesses and new business development opportunities. Tim brings with him nearly 25 years’ experience in the rail industry. He joined Stagecoach Group in 2007 as managing director at East Midlands Trains, having come from Virgin Trains where he was business development director and previously operations director. Before that, he was operations director at Midland Mainline and has also held a senior position at Eurostar. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Railway Operators.

l Susan Cooklin has been appointed to the newly created position of route services director at network Rail. She heads up the route services directorate which will supply services to each of Network Rail’s eight routes. The aim is optimise resources on a national basis and deliver economies of scale. The directorate will initially include group business services, the national supply chain, and Network Rail Consulting. She moves from the position of group chief information officer and director shared services, where she led the company’s 900-strong IT and shared services unit. Susan has held senior and executive roles in both IT and business operations within FTSE top 20 companies in the UK. Before joining Network Rail she spent seven years at Barclays Banking Group in a variety of executive roles in technology, change and operations. In September 2014, she was asked to join the board of Leeds Building Society as a nonexecutive director.

RDG confirms Elizabeth de Jong as director of policy l Elizabeth de Jong, who has been acting director of policy at the Rail Delivery Group since Nick Ellins stepped down in mid-October last year, has been officially appointed to the post. She will continue to be responsible for rail industry reform, the planning of tomorrow’s railway, disability and inclusion, integrated transport and business analysis. An economist by background, Elizabeth began her career with transport consultancies MVA and Steer Davies Gleave before undertaking a range of senior roles for Stagecoach Group businesses. She then joined the Department for Transport where she worked in franchise management and franchise procurement, including letting the East Coast franchise in 2014. RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: “Elizabeth has made a huge contribution to the RDG and the organisation as a whole already, and I am delighted to confirm her new role.”



Innovation: rolling stock maintenance

Artificial intelligence is with us today, and spreading into many industries. Bhoopathi Rapolu sets out how it can revolutionise rolling stock maintenance


Bhoopathi Rapolu is head of analytics, EMEA, at Cyient


ithin the rail industry, anything which helps keep trains moving, avoids operational delays and improves customer experience, is worth pursuing. Many OEMs are now investing significant resources into one of the most valuable and potentially rewarding currencies in business: Big Data. In rail, and specifically when it comes to rolling stock maintenance, big data is synonymous with condition based maintenance (CBM) and predictive maintenance (PM). Thanks to the rapidly expanding scale of manufacturing and asset maintenance industries, they are now adapting to the wider applications of advanced algorithms on consumer generated big data. Though CBM and PM are commonly adopted practices in rail industry, the scope of CBM is far wider than that of PM. CBM usually constitutes the direct application of diagnostic monitoring in real-time, making sense for assets and sub-systems that give us enough time to act after reading their condition. It also makes perfect sense for most of the diagnostic monitoring scenarios such as monitoring wheels, axles, high level

network issues etc. However, CBM fails to address those systems which don’t give enough time to act upon or systems that directly influence customer experience. For example, if you identify a malfunction in the doors using a diagnostic monitoring system, there is rarely time to fix them without impacting delay and customer comfort. Ideally, OEMs want to be aware of any potential failures well before they happen, and act upon them so that they don’t happen during production/operation. A PM solution helps to manage these assets so that OEMs will not end up in such a failure scenario. Similarly, with mission-critical safety-related systems like bridges, some of the signalling assets that simply cannot be allowed to fail are good candidates for the implementation of PM solutions. For all other assets, CBM is sufficient and PM may not be required, because there is enough time to take action. However, the application of big data is not limited to CBM and PM. As the industry produces more data from its assets and from a variety of maintenance management systems, proven big data applications from other industries (such as in e-commerce, social

media, online search etc) become increasingly relevant to the rail industry. One of these applications is in artificial intelligence (AI), which is already being applied within rail in a variety of ways:

Situational intelligence Usually, situational intelligence means having complete knowledge of the operations and greater control over bringing things into order, if required. Train operations companies (TOCs) can achieve situational intelligence by collecting real-time data from their trains as they are in operation and analysing it in three different dimensions: spatial, temporal and nodal. Firstly, the spatial component gives the real-time location of trains and their respective systems and subsystems in each train. With this, you can understand where things are and how they are performing through geospatial orientation. The temporal view can then be added to provide insight into the performance of assets according to a time scale – spanning from how they are performing in the real-time to the last minute, hour, day, and week and beyond. The final element of situational intelligence is nodal, which is the inter-relationship and hierarchy of various sub-systems across the entire fleet. Analysing data along nodal dimensions gives us the ability to view the interdependencies of various systems, and exposes root causes for failures and system behaviours. Figure 1: Spatial-temporal-nodal model of AI engine

Analysing Big Data in these three dimensions in real-time works like a ‘collective mind’ that can expose both opportunities and threats in train operations. Its combination with recent advancements in computational efficiency now allows for massive scale searches for anomalous patterns, which produces results in minutes. As a result, comprehensive surveillance becomes possible and critical clues for impending failures

become much harder to miss. Some of the advanced statistical analysis models available today can produce ranked lists of findings, so that investigative resources can focus on those which are the most significant and alarming. Once the most frequent and common issues are identified, routine analysis can be automated and run regularly, leading to more effective resource allocation. Certain industries like utilities are already using such systems today for network monitoring and asset maintenance.

Operational intelligence Operational intelligence meanwhile uses the power of data and its capability to extract the right information at the right time to improve the effectiveness of rolling stock maintenance. For an example of how this might work, think of the product recommendation engine on Amazon.com. Or friend suggestions on Facebook or contextual ads on Google search: welcome to the world of Artificial Intelligence. With the growing volume of sensor and maintenance data beginning to reach the scale of consumergenerated data on the internet, the rail industry is now ready to exploit the capabilities of AI. Challenges such as identifying a root cause to a problem and finding the most suitable repair action are very similar to those already solved in the consumer space, where AI is already widely used. Today cutting-edge algorithms can mine tons of operational data for TOCs and provide them with recommended actions for most unscheduled maintenance issues. In terms of operational intelligence, some of the relevant AI techniques to address problems like fleet monitoring and asset maintenance in the rail industry include knowledge based systems, case based reasoning, genetic algorithms, neural networks and fuzzy logic etc. They eliminate the need for lengthy root cause identification and arrive at the required repair action more quickly, leading to faster repair, reduced maintenance cost and increased fleet availability and customer satisfaction. Train operations and maintenance data can be used to build maintenance knowledge-based systems similar to the IBM Watson super computer. Such AI systems can then perform simple tasks such as scheduling engineering works in the most optimised fashion, providing lists of tools and inventory required for a given job, and presenting the possible impact of the issue on fleet availability just in case the maintenance engineer wants to ignore some of the jobs.



Figure 2: Knowledge based systems The key promise of an AI engine is that it can capture and encode valuable domain and expert knowledge of engineering works, as well as safety requirements and guidelines, to automatically optimise how track possessions, engineering trains and personnel resources are assigned to various engineering works. MTR Corporation of Hong Kong, for example, uses AI to streamline and automate their quarterly planning and weekly scheduling of all engineering works. The solution helps them to maximise their resource utilisation while adhering to all the maintenance rules, regulations and guidelines. As a result, MTR has realised an improvement of more than 50 per cent in overall maintenance efficiency in addition to significant savings in cost and time. Looking further forward, the benefits of an AI engine will be multiplied when suppliers providing engineering works are integrated into the process. With the AI engine, feedback (eg request feasibility, resource availability, safety and potential conflicts with other requests) can be given within seconds instead of weeks. This allows hundreds of planners to immediately refine or change their plans if necessary, instead of having to wait several days or even a week.

Asset intelligence When it comes to asset intelligence, the continuous data streams produced from various sub-systems in trains help OEMs build digital twins that represent physical systems in real-time. By running the train’s digital twins to establish their performance patterns, it is possible not just to predict the failures of systems, but to monitor and assess long term performance asset metrics such as reliability and availability, and come up with suggested areas of improvements in product design. When continuous improvements are applied to their product design, OEMs can achieve a significant competitive advantage. The practice of building digital twins of critical assets is currently being applied in industries such as aerospace and heavy engineering for instance to effectively monitor and control them remotely in real-time Overall, the underlying motive for applying AI is the ability


to identify ‘failure signatures’ and immediately take corrective action once they are detected. Analytics techniques such as the recurrent event models produced by AI are very useful in determining expected field failures, while advanced data mining techniques such as association and sequence analysis can be used to identify failures which coincide, as well as failure patterns where one failure is followed by other, while decision trees and neural networks are employed for building predictive models. Establishing root-causes to events and failures is central to building knowledge based systems, and alongside the aforementioned numerical data analysis, a number of other techniques are also being used to support the practice of predictive maintenance. Text mining, for example, is increasingly being leveraged to gain insights into this space. Advanced failure models are also available today to come up with residual useful life (RUL) in components, sub-systems and systems. In addition, there are parametric as well as non-parametric methods which are being used to analyse recurrent failure events within repairable systems: Wayne Nelson’s mean cumulative function (MCF) is a popular nonparametric method, while the two most commonly used parametric methods are the homogeneous poisson process (HPP) and non-homogeneous poisson process (NHPP). The CROW – AMSAA model is one example of an implementation of the NHPP which allows an analyst to model deteriorating systems. Given all that has been discussed above, it’s clear that the application of artificial intelligence is not a quick-fix, or an off-the-shelf solution which can be quickly implemented and used to support predictive and condition-based maintenance. The correct analysis of big data to create situational intelligence, operational intelligence and asset intelligence though has the potential to be revolutionary, transforming the way OEMs across the rail industry approach rolling stock maintenance. These three areas, if applied correctly, demonstrate that the rail industry is not only ready to use artificial intelligence solutions, but that it can take on and build upon the learnings it has taken from the consumer internet to make AI an application for the present, not just the future.

NEWS I Conferences & Exhibitions Forthcoming Conferences and Exhibitions This listing represents a selection of the events about which we have been notified. It is strongly recommended that direct contact should be made with the individual organiser responsible for each event before booking places or making travel and accommodation reservations. Cancellations and other last-minute alterations are liable to occur. The editor and publishers of RAILWAY STRATEGIES are not responsible for any loss or inconvenience suffered by readers in connection with this guide to events. 9 March Transport-Led Development in the North of England Where: DLA Piper, Manchester Organiser: Waterfront Tel: 02070 671 597 Email: simoneturner@thewaterfront.co.uk Web: www.waterfrontconferencecompany.com/ conferences/planning/events/transport-leddevelopment-north-england 1-3 March IT-TRANS: IT Solutions for Public Transport Where: Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre, Germany Organiser: UITP and KMK Email: jochen.georg@messe-karlsruhe.de Web: www.it-trans.org/ 8-9 March Middle East Rail Where: Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre Organiser: Terrapinn Tel: +971 4440 2501 Email: jamie.hosie@terrapinn.com Web: www.terrapinn.com/merail 22-23 March Asia Pacific Rail Where: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong Organiser: Terrapinn Tel: +65 6322 2702 Email: kym.chua@terrapinn.com Web: www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/asia-pacific-rail

22-23 March ERTMS and ETCS: The Future of Railway Signalling in the UK Implementing the digital railway and the transition to ETCS Where: Stephenson Harwood, London Organiser: Waterfront Tel: 0207 067 1597 Email: conference@thewaterfront.co.uk Web: www.waterfrontconferencecompany.com/ conferences/rail/events/ertms-etcs-future-railwaysignalling-uk Date: 5-7 April Expo Ferroviaria Italy’s showcase for railway technology, products and systems Where: Lingotto Fiere, Turin, Italy Organiser: Mack Brooks Exhibitions Tel: 01727 814 400 Email: expoferroviaria@mackbrooks.com Web: www.expoferroviaria.com/eng 12-14 April Infrarail 2016 Where: ExCeL, London Organiser: Mack Brooks Exhibitions Tel: 01727 814 400 Email: kirsten.whitehouse@mackbrooks.co.uk Web: www.infrarail.com

Date: 12-13 May IET International Railway Engineering Conference Where: Brussels, Belgium Organiser: The Institution of Engineering and Technology Tel: 01438 767 687 Email: dmckenzie@theiet.org Web: www.theiet.org/events/2016/225180.cfm Date: 18 May Scottish Transport Applications and Research (STAR) Conference Where: University Of Strathclyde, Glasgow Organiser: Transport Scotland & partners Email: enquiries@starconference.org.uk Web: www.starconference.org.uk 26-27 May World Metrorail Congress, Light Rail, Rail Tel and Rail Power Where: Business Design Centre, London Organiser: Terrapinn Tel: 02070 921 125 Email: philip.kwok@terrapinn.com Web: www.terrapinn.com/conference/metrorail 28-29 June AfricaRail 2016 Where: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa Organiser: Terrapinn Tel: +2711 516 4044 Email: tarryn.theunissen@terrapinn.com Web: www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/africa-rail

Institute of Mechanical Engineers Training Courses Technical training for the railway industry A listing of courses currently available from the IMechE (Unless stated otherwise, all courses are in London) 15 March Introduction to rolling stock Provides a basic understanding of the role of traction and rolling stock within the context of railway systems as a whole. 16 March Traction and braking Principles of traction and braking for railway engineers 17 March Fleet Maintenance - introduction Improve your processes and fleet maintenance processes 22 March Vehicle dynamics and vehicle track interaction Understand the dynamics of railway vehicles to improve safety, comfort and asset life 23March Vehicle acceptance and approvals Introduction to acceptance procedures which apply across the rail network

5 April Fleet maintenance - advanced Understand the issues affecting rail vehicle performance and cost of maintenance

5 July Introduction to rolling stock Provides a basic understanding of the role of traction and rolling stock within the context of railway systems as a whole.

6 April Train communication and auxiliary systems New and existing systems in use on today’s rolling stock flee

6 July Traction and braking Principles of traction and braking for railway engineers

12 April Structural integrity Structural integrity, fire and crashworthiness systems found on today’s rail fleets 13 April Train control and safety systems Learn of the systems used on UK fleets that provide safety and train operational control 23-27 May Introduction to railway signalling technologies An overview of railway control systems, subsystems and technologies used on UK main line and metro railways

12 July Vehicle dynamics and vehicle track interaction Understand the dynamics of railway vehicles to improve safety, comfort and asset life 13 July Vehicle acceptance and approvals Introduction to acceptance procedures which apply across the rail network For more information, please contact the Learning and Development team: Tel: 02037 331 214 Email: training@imeche.org Web: www.imeche.org/learning-and-development/ courses/railway 17


Are you sitting comfortably?

Stewart Beck of Southco explains how innovative hinge technology used in the aerospace sector could cost effectively improve seating comfort and enable the railways to compete with air travel


here is considerable discussion in European media about the intention of governments and rail partnerships to seek to compete more effectively with short-haul flights by improving the infrastructure and service of Europe’s high-speed rail network. Cost and time remain key drivers when choosing a mode of travel. However, as airlines promote optimum passenger comfort through ergonomically designed cabin layouts, expectations of a more sophisticated travel experience are equally manifesting themselves in the minds of rail passengers. So with the high-speed rail network forecast to continue growing steadily in years to come, will rail seating stand up to comparison with the aerospace industry seating benchmark? Compared with aircraft, the rail seat is typically larger and boasts more space and legroom: yet the passenger’s complete onboard comfort zone is under scrutiny when it comes to defining value for the passenger in terms of comfort and functionality.

What is the onboard comfort zone? Above Airline seat positioning technology that could enable the railways to compete for comfort Opposite The innovative hinges that form the foundations of positioning technology


The onboard comfort zone is that area of space which passengers can call their own, in return for the purchase of a travel ticket. It may have various features depending on which section the passenger is in. However, every seat, regardless of class and ticket price, will have ‘touch points’ which impact perceptions of comfort and functionality. These relate to elements like headrests, armrests, drop-down tray tables, tilting screens and tablet holders, whose functionality can be optimised

through sophisticated positioning hinge technology. Positioning hinge technology created by Southco has been proven in the aerospace and automotive industries, with developments driven by the key design consideration of providing ultimate comfort and easy operation at every possible touch point.

Improving the passenger experience So how can this hinge technology be adapted for rail to deliver that all-important first impression of customer comfort and convenience? There is an increasing expectation for infotainment screens incorporated into passenger seating. These can be adjusted to the optimum viewing angle using a simple positioning hinge with integrated friction technology. For economy seats without such screens, a tilting shelf with similar integrated positioning technology that allows the passenger to fine-tune the viewing angle of their own tablet or smartphone is an attractive option. A positioning hinge allows for infinite adjustment increments and resists movement due to vibration, train acceleration and braking or gravity. The latest technologies eliminate the variation and quality issues associated with spring washer solutions, creating maintenance-free, highly reliable and consistent screen adjustment. Most economy carriages currently have tables which fall into the space above the passenger’s lap. Adding a friction hinge provides a simple means to enhance the passenger experience by allowing the table to be positioned according to the preferences of the

passenger, but preventing the table from descending in an uncontrolled manner once it has been adjusted into place. Meanwhile, armrest joint mechanisms can also benefit from reliable constant torque technology. Asymmetric torque allows the armrest to be lifted with little effort by the passenger, but it contains enough resistance to stop it from falling or dropping unexpectedly. Headrest functionality can also be enhanced by the use of these positioning mechanisms to provide customised support, improving comfort and reducing travel fatigue. The unique advantage of asymmetric torque is that the headrest can be easily pulled towards the passenger but resists the weight of the passenger’s head leaning against it. Adjustable headrests are now considered standard issue on aircraft, in every class of seat. This is certainly not generally the case for the rail seat, where a majority of headrests have not been designed with passenger comfort in mind.

How is reliable positioning achieved? The most commonly used alternatives for providing positioning in rail interior applications include devices based around spring washers, which are clamped using a threaded tension bar or bolt. While a low-cost solution, these devices typically have the disadvantage of high variation and inconsistency, as well as a relatively low cycle life before repair or adjustment is required. This means the total cost over the life of the application could be excessive, and certainly the chances of a passenger noticing the poor quality are increased. Friction technology, however, is straightforward: finelytuned torque elements are mounted to the hinge axis to provide repeatable asymmetric torque. The design effectively removes internal clearances within the hinge so there is no play or backlash introduced into the joint. Part of the know-how involves balancing the static and dynamic frictions of the hinge joint. Too much static friction and the result is a ‘stick-slip effect’ resulting in a very unsatisfying jerky motion _ too much dynamic friction and the wear rate of the mating surfaces increases significantly. For the hinge to move smoothly, repeatedly and with constant resistance and minimum wear rate, the relationship between the surfaces must be in harmony. The asymmetric torque gives the advantage of resistance to the object when descending but less resistance to the lifting effort. This is achieved as the torque element works like a spring, opening slightly when rotation occurs in one direction to lower the torque, and clamping down tightly on the shaft when rotating in the opposite direction to maximise the resistance. This relationship is not significantly affected by changes in temperature, which can be a problem with viscous fluid dampening devices. Simply varying the quantity and orientation of these elements enables the creation of hinges and systems perfectly matched to the weight and feel for

each application, with the torque and ‘feel’ remaining consistent and smooth across an extremely high number of cycles. When the seat reaches its end of life or a predetermined refurbishment period is over, then, if necessary, the hinge can be replaced without any specialist expertise, safe in the knowledge that the joint will again outlast the next set of upholstery. This compares favourably with the more frequent overhaul typically required to refurbish seats. This technology is at the heart of a number of offthe-shelf solutions for mounting into most plastics, composites and metal structures. A range of products is now available to suit torque requirements for applications as small as a flip cover on a mobile phone sized device, right up to supporting panels or equipment weighing 15kg or more. Torques can range from fractions of Newton-centimetres to 10s of Newton metres. The upper boundary is only restricted by package constraints and by the limits on the forces customers are likely to apply. Very heavy loads can be supported using added counterbalance features that work in combination with the friction technology. This technology can be overmoulded into plastic or composite structures or integrated into custom housing designs and configurations to suit the application. It can even be combined with dampening, detent and counterbalance features to exactly match the functionality desired by the designer and the end user. These innovative technologies are now all available as standard solutions to the rail industry to allow the on board comfort zone to compete with that of airlines and other forms of transportation, and promote the highest levels of passenger comfort from economy class right up to business/ first class. Friction-based solutions can improve the feel and perception of quality for headrests, armrests, tables and infotainment devices _ in fact, every major element of the onboard comfort zone. Use of these solutions will enable rail operators to promote highly ergonomic passenger comfort zones, thereby meeting the expectations of the more sophisticated travel experience expected by the modern rail passenger.

www.southco.co.uk. 19


UAVs: Blue-sky thinking?

Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, have soared in popularity in recent years. Peter Derry, innovations director at Interserve, assesses the possibilities and contingent risks of using drones for security purposes in the rail industry, as well as their wider applicability for the sector


Peter Derry is innovations director at Interserve


he commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles has really begun to take off over the past few years. According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the number of private and public sector organisations in Britain issued with permits for flying UAVs commercially increased by 80 per cent between January and October 2014. More recently we’ve seen a number of major corporations make high profile commitments to the use of UAVs, such as Amazon’s recently unveiled plans for its Prime Air service, which will use UAVs to deliver packages to customers within 30-minutes of ordering. With up-front technology costs falling, hundreds of companies in the UK are now making forays into the

world of UAVs. Their use remains predominantly for monitoring and evaluation purposes – for example for land surveys and building inspections. But with further technological advances on the horizon, we can expect UAVs to take a more active role in proceedings in future. So what could UAVs offer the rail sector? They are already being wholeheartedly embraced by some of the industry’s leading organisations, for security as well as other surveying and maintenance purposes. Others are taking an ultra-cautious stance and implementing blanket bans on their use until further field testing has been carried out. Whatever the current approach, it’s fair to say there are very few organisations out there who don’t

believe that UAVs will play a role in the industry at some point in the future – the question is how and when, and what benefits and risks they will bring.

The flying eye in the sky We have long become accustomed to our transport networks being monitored by a plethora of cameras and CCTV devices. As well as providing evidence for criminal enquiries, they help passengers to feel safer and operate as a deterrent for those intending to commit criminal acts. The prospect of using UAVs to monitor vulnerable areas appears to be the logical progression of the eye in the sky we have come to rely upon so much. Indeed some have already made this leap; in 2013, Deutsche Bahn began trialling the use of UAVs at graffiti hotspots in Berlin, Leipzig and Cologne to deter would-be vandals and capture video evidence of any crimes committed. In the UK, problems such as the vandalism of carriages and metal theft remain a primary concern for rail operators. Between 2013 and 2014, cable theft on the UK rail network caused over 1,100 hours of delays and cost operators an estimated £2.5 million. With large depots and lengthy sections of track to monitor, UAVs could provide operators with a cost-effective way to protect against this kind of security breach. At present, the vast majority of open-air track has to be monitored by security guards and maintenance operatives, as it would be prohibitively expensive to deploy fixed cameras along many kilometres of rail line. By using UAVs to carry out the arduous work of physically checking the tracks and fencing for trespassers or security breaches, operators could improve the efficiency of their monitoring operations while freeing up staff to look after higher value, higher risk assets. By removing employees from the front line of the tracks themselves, UAVs would also provide an invaluable boon to health and safety – a key concern for any security operator whose remit includes live train tracks.

If it sounds too good to be true... There’s no doubt that, used carefully and in the correct application, UAVs could yield significant efficiencies for the industry, especially in the field of security. However, rail operators need to go into any UAV programme with their eyes wide open, as there are several inherent risks when it comes to UAVs, whether used in a security capacity or for anything else. Looking beyond the rail industry, some sectors are already utilising UAVs extensively in day-to-day operations. The construction industry, for example, has been an enthusiastic early adopter of the technology, using UAVs to survey and photograph building sites and

gather information about materials and ongoing works. Construction sites, however, are relatively easy-tocontrol areas; with a relatively small surface area, clearly demarcated boundaries, few overhead obstructions and tightly restricted access for members of the public. Deploying a UAV over a railway line is a far more dangerous business. Besides needing to be navigated over huge linear stretches of track – a challenge in itself given regulations around maintaining line-of-sight – the UAV pilot would have to contend with the ever-present risk posed by live overhead lines, overhanging vegetation, and even passing trains. Urban construction sites are relatively sheltered – how would a UAV fare in windy conditions over an open expanse of railway track? The issue of privacy and data security also presents a major challenge. With huge stretches of Britain’s railway lines passing through densely populated areas, accusations of snooping could easily be levelled at UAV operators. Moreover, the audio/visual data gathered by UAVs could, if it fell into the wrong hands, actually exacerbate security breaches rather than help to prevent them.

Regulation and enforcement A recent report by Lloyd’s of London entitled Drones Take Flight warns that one of the biggest challenges facing UAVs in a commercial environment is the patchy nature of regulation as it currently stands; although it’s clear that progress is being made in this regard. Specific permission from the CAA is now required for all UAV flights carried out for commercial purposes. Furthermore, the person in charge of a UAV must maintain direct, unaided line of sight with the device, measured as 500 metres horizontally and 122 metres vertically, at all times to help prevent collisions. As well as observing the latest legislation, it is crucial for rail operators and suppliers to put in place their own guidelines for the use of this technology. At Interserve, our in-house UAV centre of excellence has used the experiences of both our construction and facilities management teams to establish guideline protocols for the deployment of UAVs. Any team which plans to conduct aerial work has to determine advance flight paths and landing sites, thereby reducing the risk of collisions and of privacy infringements. Stakeholder liaison plans also now include advance warnings regarding the use of UAVs to help protect the privacy rights of local residents. To mitigate the risk of a UAV coming down on a section of live track, there is a middle ground that can be considered in the form of ‘tethered’ solutions, whereby the UAV is held in a certain place using a fixed cable. This cable also provides the unit with additional power, increasing the duration of each flight. A tethered UAV



Inset UAVs are currently most commonly used for monitoring and evaluation would reduce the regulatory burden on the operator and require far less investment in pilot training; however its static nature limits the effectiveness of the unit in monitoring large stretches of track. When it comes to protecting the data generated by UAVs, it is often simply a case of applying existing processes to the new technology. Companies already offer employee guidance on how to protect email and computer systems from viruses and hackers, for example by using encrypted passwords. There is no reason why the data generated by drones can’t be protected using the same systems. Operators just need to make sure that they have a robust data management process in place and that their employees fully understand the data they are dealing with and how best to protect it.


Keeping our heads Perhaps the biggest risk we face when it comes to UAVs is in getting carried away and not using our common sense. We must remind ourselves that UAVs are not a panacea; just because a UAV could be used to solve a problem, doesn’t mean it should. It would be all too tempting to excitedly wheel out a UAV to check a breach in a high perimeter wall – without realising that you could achieve the same effect with a camera on the end of a pole in half the time, for half the cost! Our ability to gather and evaluate data also needs to keep pace with this new aerial technology. Flying the UAV may be the exciting bit, but the real value lies in being able to understand the data it produces. In the future, UAVs will be able to do this themselves. Some construction

companies, for example, now have intelligent UAV systems which can survey a mound of materials and estimate how many lorries will be needed to transport it. Using these automated algorithms, drones could not only help us to monitor and maintain large railway estates but also play an active role in helping us to establish robust asset management plans. Some are also beginning to explore how UAVs can be developed to do more than just look. A number of universities, for example, are trialling the addition of cutting arms and small tools to UAVs which, in theory, could be used to carry out small-scale maintenance and repairs mid-flight. It is through this evolution of the technology, whereby drones could perform

multiple, active roles, that we will start to see real benefits for commercial operators in the rail sector and beyond. Like most nascent technologies, UAVs do not come problem-free and in order to avoid the worst dangers, careful planning is needed by both rail operators and their suppliers. This should not dissuade us from their use, but it ought to make us more wary of heralding them as a silver bullet solution. As the supportive technology continues to evolve apace, the applications for UAVs in the rail industry will undoubtedly expand. However, it is important that we consider the implications of their use now, and have the right protocols in place, in order for us to be ready to embrace them in the future.


Qatar Rail

I undertaking

A vast

Qatar Rail is making significant progress into developing the country’s rail network that will be critical to Qatar’s future vision of economic growth Above right Al Waab underground station of the Gold Line


n 2008, under the light of continuous and rapid economic and social development in Qatar, the country’s Emir launched the Qatar National Vision 2030, a scheme to manage and implement this development in the most productive way possible. One significant part of this development framework is the Qatar Rail Development Programme (QRDP), a vast project managed by the newly formed Qatar Rail to deliver a complete rail network to support the growing population and economic activity in and around the country’s capital, Doha. “Our vision is to create the favourite mode of transport for everybody and to provide an integrated railway together with a public network of bus systems,” begins Senior Programme Director at Qatar Rail, Dr-Ing Markus Demmler. “We want to make it attractive and sustainable, both in terms of economic and ecological impacts, and to make sure it is of the highest quality whilst remaining economically viable. Ultimately, it will run parallel to

achieving Qatar’s overall vision to reduce emissions, as most of the country is run on cars at present, to ease congestion and improve travel times both into and within the city.� An overview of the planned network for the development project serves to display the sheer scale of Qatar Rail’s undertaking. The programme is split into three separate projects, the Doha Metro, a Long Distance network and a light rail network in the up-and-coming city of Lusail. The long distance network is designed for both high-tech passenger and freight services across five lines and 486 kilometres of railway connecting population centres with major industrial hubs and forming critical connections with neighbouring countries. The lines include: a mixed passenger and freight line from Doha to Saudi Arabia; a high-speed passenger line from Doha to Bahrain, capable of speeds up to 270km/h for high speed passenger trains; a freight line from Mesaieed Port to Ras Laffan; and two mixed lines from Doha to Dukhan,

and Doha to Al Shamal. By 2021, 8000 passengers are expected to travel on the network every day, with this rising to 24,000 by 2031. To facilitate the developing city of Lusail, a light rail, tram-based network is being developed across four lines and 37 stations, two of which will link to the Doha Metro network. In a city that is predicted to house up to 450,000 residents in the near future, the Lusail network has been designed to have a capacity of 50,000 passenger trips per day by 2021 and 120,000 a decade later. With an average speed of 29km/h, the lines will take an average of one to two minutes between adjacent stations. The Doha Metro project, a strategically planned underground network to serve the expanding city of Doha, is undeniably the most complex of the three. As part of phase one, planned to be completed and operational towards the end of 2019, 37 stations will connect 85 kilometres of construction length spread across three separate lines. The Red Line, which will also


Qatar Rail

AREP Since its creation in 1997, AREP has been designing and building for the contemporary city, the nerve centre of mobility. AREP brings together 700 people and some 30 nationalities, involved in more than 800 projects both in France and abroad. Its teams combine various, complementary disciplines in a spirit of innovation and attention to human needs: architects, city planners, designers, engineers, economists, architectural programming consultants and construction operations managers. Having developed a creative approach of public space, which takes into consideration the needs of city dwellers, AREP is a laboratory for ongoing research on the fast-changing urban environment at every scale, from entire metropolitan areas to individual buildings.

Above right Al Joaan underground station of the Gold Line

be known as the Coast Line, is planned to run for a total alignment length of 42kms from Al Wakra in the south to Lusail in the north and will stop at 18 stations along its progress. In particular, the Red Line will connect Hamad

International Airport to the city centre, it is estimated that a trip from the airport to Lusail will be 36 minutes compared to current peak times of an hour and half. Other notable stops will include West Bay, Katara and Qatar University. At its deepest, the Red Line’s tunnels will be as far as 46 metres beneath Doha’s surface. Connecting Al Riffa in the East to Al Mansoura in the West and passing through the Education City, the Green Line will stop at 11 stations along its alignment length of 22 kilometres. Significant stops for the Green Line, or the Education Line as it is also known, will be the Hamad Hospital, Al Shaqab and the currently in development, Qatar National Library. Extending 15km from Ras Bu Aboud in the west and Al Aziziya in the west will be the Gold Line, or Historic Line. Stopping at 11 separate locations, the Gold Line will be a crucial link for Qatar National Museum, Souq Waqif, Al Waab and Sports City, which will be a key hub for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Due to be expanding with additional line extensions and a brand new line in phase two, according to the city’s growth, the total number of stations will be increased by over 70 across more than 200 kilometres of track. Upon completion by 2021, the entire metro system aims to take 17,000 cars off the road and have a significant impact on the city’s carbon footprint. Upon completion, all lines will intersect at the central Msheireb station, the largest in the city, which will also serve as an iconic landmark in Doha. Station design is a key factor for the entire Doha network and an architectural branding has been established to ensure


Qatar Rail

continuity of local favours and personality throughout the metro system. All stations will adhere to a contemporary ‘vaulted space’ concept, reflecting the heritage of the region’s traditional Bedouin tents. Functionality has also been designed into the aesthetic value of ornamental panels, which will form the backbone of a dynamic lighting and ventilation system. Through the use of traditional elements of Islamic and local art, each station will be a unique tribute to Qatari heritage with dhowinspired exteriors and ‘pearl-effect’ interiors. “In terms of timescales, we released the first civil design and build contracts for the Metro scheme in 2013,” explains Markus. “Work, including MEP and architectural fit out, will be completed by 2018. The railway systems


Bottom left An aerial view of the construction progress at an elevated station of the Green Line contract, which is separate, is due to finish in 2019 with the aim to be fully operational by 2020, if not the end of 2019. So far, we are 28 per cent towards overall completion and have already achieved 55 per cent of the tunnelling work, for which we have employed a recordbreaking 21 simultaneously operating TBMs. Significantly, we have only dropped behind schedule by 2.3 per cent.” As a young and burgeoning company taking on a project of such scale, Qatar Rail has faced a number of challenges, particularly in the development of the Doha Metro network, but has been able to overcome many through significant strategic decisions and management processes. “When it came to our contractor strategy we decided it would be more beneficial to allocate many of

the risks to contractors because they have the knowledge and experience,” highlights Markus. “This is what we have done through the awarding of design and build contracts, eight of which are civil with one overarching systems contract.” However, here arises the challenge of successfully managing a number of contracts in parallel to each other. As such, Qatar Rail has set up both a delivery division, to oversee the project management of all contracts with support from consultants, and a technical division, which ensured that significant design decisions regarding certain aspects that needed to be implemented across all lines, were made in harmony with one another. Due to time pressures put upon the scheme the QRDP and Qatar Rail have achieved a number of unique


Qatar Rail

Right Aerial view of the Msheireb underground station Below Al Bidda underground station of the Red Line

milestones in the way it operates in Qatar. First of all is its contract strategy, as Markus explains: “The usual way in the Middle East is to take a design-bid-build approach. However, because of the time constraints a design and build contract was decided upon to be more viable. Because of its irregularity in the region there was a certain amount of concern about this approach initially, but it has saved us a lot of time and because of its proven success in the QRDP other authorities are taking this approach as well now.” Another significant aspect of the programme, which highlights both the scale and success of Qatar Rail’s management, is its health and safety record. Markus points out that the project has a target of a 0.1 per cent AFR (accident frequency rate), but is currently operating at 0.06 per cent. “Overall, we have over 91.9 million manhours worked on the project so far, so this is outstanding,” he says. “To achieve this we are constantly running extensive training centres with our contracting partners, so that every person who comes through a contractor is fully trained in line with our zero harm policy before going onto site. This focus on wellbeing is continued in the general facilities, such as accommodation, as a lot of the labour is coming from abroad.” Successful progress defines the Qatar Rail project so far in terms of operation, management and safety, and this is set to continue through its course. “We have two major milestones to achieve next year,” explains Markus. “One is the overall tunnel completion and the other is to finalise the procurement process for MEP and architectural works to conclude all the contracts and therefore have everything awarded that is currently under development. Looking further ahead we are already

preparing for phase two of the Metro project. Although this hasn’t been confirmed as yet, we think it would be wise to continue directly on from phase one as we have all the machinery, equipment and labour on site.”

FOCUS ON: Red Line South – Elevated and at Grade project Due to be completed by 2020, ahead of the 22nd FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Doha Metro Phase One network is being achieved through eight separate projects. Three of these projects relate to 17km of elevated and at grade (EAG) routes, plus six stations, all of which will be above ground and highly visible. These are the Red Line North (RLN) – 6kms and 2 stations, to be completed by December 2018; Red Line South (RLS) – six kilometres and three stations, to be completed by autumn 2016; and Green Line (GRN) – another six kilometres and just one station to be completed by December 2018. RLS EAG will include approximately six kilometres of viaducts and extend from Al Wakra, 15km south of Doha, to the Old Airport, where it will meet with the RLS Underground project. Three elevated stations at the Economic Zone, Ras Bu Fontas and Al Wakra will be vital elements to this section of the network. This will be the first project to be finished. This will allow the track and three stations to be used as a test section up to a year in advance of other Metro lines being ready to open to the public. Consequently, it is further advanced. Being a highly visible part of the metro network, the EAG structures have been designed in accordance with the Qatar Rail Architectural Branding concept whilst also taking the surrounding environment into account.


Above The high-performing galvanized, powdercoated steel-framed formwork Framax Xlife, for long life span even on high numbers of repeat uses Top Doka’s Heavy-duty supporting system SL-1 is being used at Red Line Underground project for prompt construction progress Below (L-R) Usama Al Saleh (Doka - Sales Engineer); Fabrizio Fara (ISG - Asst. Construction Manager); Mohanraj Sadavisam (Doka-Project Technician); Andrea Bertini (ISG – Station Manager Katara); Jerico Lanto (Doka- Group Leader Engineering)

Going underground with Doka in Doha Aiding both the objectives for Qatar Vision 2030 and the FIFA World Cup 2022, Doka has been supporting Qatar Rail’s ‘Doha Metro’ project, a mass-transport system that will assist Doha’s ongoing transformation into a modern centre for trade and industry


urrently, the project is on track for a 2018 launch where this state-of-the art integrated metro line will be one of the most advanced rail transit systems in the world, covering four lines that span 300 kilometres and 100 stations. Construction of the Red Line, also known as the ‘Coastal Line’, commenced in 2014, and has a total of 14 underground and five elevated (at-grade) stations in the first phase, with a total route length of 40 kilometres. A total of nine tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have been allocated to the Red Line where to date, they’ve excavated an aggregate volume of 1.7million m3.

North underground expertise Salini-Impregilo is leading the construction of the Red Line North Underground, in a joint venture with SK Engineering Construction Company and Galfar Al Misnad Trading and Contracting. The first phase includes the construction of seven stations and 26 kilometres of tunnel. Under Doka’s remit, the formwork scope comprises of

supplying formwork for all stations, running between 20 to 35 metres below ground level. 3,700 m2 of Large-area formwork Top 50 are used for the base slabs, outer lining and staircase walls, as the shape, size, tie-hole pattern and form-facing of the elements can be adapted to suit any requirement. 560 m2 of the high-performing Framed formwork Framax Xlife were applied for the outer lining walls, while 650 m2 of Framed formwork Frami Xlife, ideal for fast and economical forming, were used for the column and inner platform walls. A volume of 3,700 m3 Load-bearing Tower Staxo 100 and Heavy-duty supporting system SL-1 were used for the decking of beam and slabs, with an additional 42,000 m3 for shoring of the beams and slabs. Doka used the Supporting Construction Frame with a 2.40-metre extension to cast the 9.20 metre high outer lining walls in one go. The task was supported by the SL-1 system that allows the passage of Tunnel Boring Machines without disrupting the casting schedule of the concourse slabs. In order to expedite the progress on site, Doka Qatar provided pre-assembly services for the Large-area formwork Top 50 base slabs, outer lining walls and staircase walls, as well as pre-assembly of the Staxo tables for the beams and slabs.

Royal visit Acknowledged as one of Qatar’s most important infrastructure projects, the Doha Metro North Underground project received a visit from Qatari Prime Minister, His Excellency Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, on 19th April 2015, who inspected the new network from the site of Al Qassar station.


Qatar Rail

Hoare Lea Hoare lea is a highly successful, international firm of mechanical, electrical and public health (MEP) consulting engineers. Its clientfocused and design-led service is underpinned by its commitment to excellence and its passion for innovative sustainable design. The company focuses on providing you with a comprehensive MEP service including a range of related specialisms, allowing it to respond to every aspect of your building design brief. Most of the viaduct spans are simply supported bridges. The viaduct substructure requires construction of in-situ foundations, sometimes on piles, supporting slender tapered box section piers, topped off with precast pier caps. The superstructure then consists of slender precast segmental post-tensioned concrete troughs with a U-section. The stations have been designed over three levels in order to cater for the needs of all travelling public and railway operations. The civils work for these is relatively simple with excavations, walls and columns, whereas the interior fit out and finish is more challenging. State-of-the-art construction methods for segmented pre-casting, span-by-span construction, and full-span precast installation have all been employed in order to complete the huge amount of work involved in the RLS EAG project in just 31 months, alongside the busy Al Wakra to Doha highway. As of September 2015, 19 months in and a year to go before completion, the RLS EAG was working at full capacity to achieve such a vast undertaking and is exemplary of the mass engineering that is going into the Qatar Rail Integrated project as a whole. The enabling batching plant and precast yard are currently fully operational with the precast yard turning out eight pier caps, 26 viaduct deck segments, and one singletrack beam every week. All foundation, pier and precast mock-ups, in order to prove the materials, methods and workmanship have been completed. In terms of construction, more than 75 per cent of all foundations, 50 per cent of all in-situ piers and 35 per cent of all 206 pier caps have been installed in preparation for the actual viaduct installation. So far, three launching gantries have been manufactured, shipped to Doha and erected, and two of these have begun the installation of viaduct spans. Three viaduct spans had been completed by September. As for the stations, mock ups for finishes and fittings are seeing good progress and construction of the three

are in various stages. The Economic Zone and Ras Bu Fontas have progressed to concourse level.



Qatar Rail (Green Line Elevated and at Grade)

Focus on:

PMC Project Director for Green Line and Red Line North EAG, Jean Christophe Elis talks to Railway Strategies about the Green Line’s progress and some of the challenges that it has had to overcome


ith 11 stations spread across 22 kilometres of track the Green Line (GRN), or Education Line, will be a critical link between the eastern district of Al Riffa and Al Mansoura in the west when it is completed in 2018. When opened, 3.2 kilometres of elevated and at grade (EAG) line will emerge from the underground at the Education City trough and extend westwards alongside the proposed Gharafat Al Rayyan and Dukhan highway. Of the total EAG length, 2.4 kilometres will consist of viaduct spans with the remaining length providing at-grade, tunnel and ramp sections. The project also involves the construction of Al Riffa Station. “The biggest technical challenge with the project is time in the sense that the schedule is very tight,” begins Jean Christophe Elis, PMC Project Director. “This is especially true of the intermediate milestones, which relate to the completion of main structural items for the stations and giving access to contractors who interface with the project like highway and track contractors. Bringing in all the resources in co-ordination with this becomes a big technical challenge. So whilst the overall deadline for completion is reasonable, the intermediate milestones can be very tight and demanding.”

At the time of writing the Green Line EAG project’s team is busy readying the precast elements for the individual viaduct segments and whilst work on this is on schedule, Jean Christophe highlights some of the challenges they have had to overcome when it comes to the high quality production of concrete. “It can be difficult to ensure we are receiving consistently excellent quality from the concrete manufacturers,” he explains. “You would imagine that because of the volumes required on this project as a whole the manufacturer would put in place a solid infrastructure, in terms of the quality and delivery, but a tight supervision by the Contractor still remains necessary. Training of the workers and supervisors is also a critical factor to the quality of the final product. Do it right first time is the subtitle of all the method statements here.” Across the entire Qatar Rail Integrated Project, health and safety remains the highest priority. Markus Demmler, Senior Programme Director told Railway Strategies previously that the project had an AFR (accident frequency rate) target of 0.1 per cent but was operating closer to 0.06 per cent after well over 91.1 million man-hours completed on the project. Jean Christophe



Qatar Rail (Green Line Elevated and at Grade)

goes into further detail to explain how this commitment is implemented on the ground, highlighting that its first approach is to make sure that the relationship between the contractor and the project management team is based on the mutual understanding that health and safety comes first. “We require that our contractors have a very high number of safety supervisors,” he says. “At present the requirement is one supervisor to every 50 workers and when we can have up to 3000 workers on site it is plain to see that a supervisor presence is strong. “We also carry out regular surveys across the project with monthly management visits from both ours and the contractors businesses, to ensure that this clear understanding is kept up,” he continues. “Of course, all elements of PPEs are absolutely compulsory with zero tolerance and we make sure protection systems such as railings, platforms and proper accesses are very strongly implemented.” This dedication to on-site welfare extends beyond the working zone as living conditions such as accommodation, catering facilities and shelter from the weather are all subject to regular inspection in order to meet the highest standards. Despite Qatar’s various major development programmes being the focus of such international attention over recent years, Jean Christophe commends the overarching attitude towards ensuring the highest standards of worker welfare are met and maintained. “I have been really pleased by what I have seen here,” he expresses. “The quality of work is high, the attention to the workers’ welfare is genuine and high levels of resources are put in place ensure that all of these are able to meet international standards.” With work well underway and targets being met, the next challenge for Jean Christophe and his team on the Green Line EAG project is to get sub-contractors started on the project and bring in the necessary materials

for architectural finishes. “It will be a complex process getting all architectural materials approved and delivered to the projects across the entire metro project; also the specifications are very high for this prestigious project,” he concludes. “All the metro packages will require the same materials in the same time period, so the provision of this will be the next challenge as we move forward and we are aiming to have this in place by 2017.” SMEET W.L.L. SMEET W.L.L., established by Qatari Diar, Barwa and The First Investors, is an innovative and progressive manufacturer and supplier of calibre building materials for the construction industry in Qatar. It offers a one-stop-shop solution in designing, producing and delivering premium quality of ready mix concrete, precast concrete, blocks, kerbs & pavers and reinforcement. SMEET is the preferred supplier for Doha Metro Projects and has a proven track record of more than 1,000,000m3 supply of concrete to all Metro Lines. SMEET Precast has been awarded to be an exclusive supplier of all precast tunnel segments of Qatar Rail’s Red Line North & South’s Underground projects.

Yüksel Insaat Yüksel Insaat is a privately owned, incorporated company having a capital of TL300 million. Yüksel has 52 years of experience in construction industry. For 2014, total assets and equity of Yüksel Group were recorded as US$ 1,165 million and US$ 372 million respectively. Approximately 7000 employees are working for Yüksel. As of 01 January 2015, the company had order book of US$ 4.32 billion (Yüksel share US$ 2.45 billion) and backlog of US$ 1.31 billion largely in public–sector infrastructure. Yüksel provides high–quality works and possesses ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001.


Stadler Rail

Full speed


Despite challenging European market conditions putting pressure on Stadler, an unprecedented flexibility sees the company take significant steps towards new markets and future success



ailway Strategies last featured Stadler Rail back in March 2015 celebrating the success of the company’s KISS and FLIRT models. Over the time since, the company has made significant progress in continuing the delivery of contracts, winning new orders and expanding its global footprint as it moves towards establishing new and exciting markets around the world. Firstly, significant progress has been made on the international roll out of Stadler’s FLIRT trains. An important order from Dutch State Railways (NS) for 58 trains in April 2015 brings the total order number for the model up to over 1100. Amounting to around 280 million euros, the order exemplifies a key strength of Stadler to deliver to lead times that are unrivalled in the rail industry, as it aims to deliver all 58 trains to the customer by the end of 2016. Peter Jenelten, Executive VP for Marketing and Sales explains: “Significant funding became available for the development of infrastructure in countries joining the EU over recent years. Unfortunately, this funding was sometimes distributed too late, or was entirely exhausted and projects had to be concluded under extreme time pressures.” In May, the company reached another milestone in its FLIRT programme with the first order for its bi-modal train.

The 43 million euro order for five diesel-electric trains will be delivered to Italian, Region Valle d’Aosta in 2018. Stadler will also be delivering a further 21 FLIRT EMU (electric multiple unit) trains to MÁV-START Zrt in Hungary over the next year, which will bring that customer’s FLIRT fleet up to 133. Eastern Europe has been a strong emerging market for Stadler over the last few years with 54 trains currently operating in Poland alongside a 700-employee strong assembly plant, and other trains operating throughout the region. In Hungary, the company has set up a maintenance facility, staffed by 455 people to maintain not only its own, but also third-party supplier trains. In addition to the FLIRT model, Stadler has also had a successful year with its innovative, double-decker KISS (comfortable, innovative, speedy suburban in German)

train. In November 2015, the company reached a historic moment with the delivery of the 50th KISS unit to Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). The contract for the first 50 150-metre multiple-unit trains was signed at the end of August 2008 at a value of around CHF one billion. In an unprecedented time frame Stadler was able to fully develop, manufacture and commission the trains in less than two years with the first train going into operation in June 2010. A total of 5.5 million parts go into the production of the KISS, including 8250km of cable and 125 tonnes of paint. The project for SBB has been hugely significant in


Stadler Rail

Stadler forging a position in a new market segment and in the time since that first order the company has sold over 200 trains to customers in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Russia and Azerbaijan. In addition to this, the company is participating in a number of tenders across several continents. Stadler Rail has also been awarded a major opportunity with SBB for 29 high-speed EC250 electric trains. “This project allows Stadler to break into the high-speed field,” explains Peter. “From 2019, our trains will link three countries, travelling through one of the world’s longest tunnels and there is significant potential in a range of European countries for trains capable of reaching speeds of up to 250 km/h. Entering new markets and segments is part of our new strategy and is a reaction to developments in Western Europe following the 2010 debt crisis and two subsequent currency shocks.” As part of this market expansion, in November 2015 Stadler announced the acquisition of Spanish business, Rail Vehicles, from Vossloh. The company, which has an annual turnover in excess of 200 million euros, is a specialist in diesel-electric locomotives. “With this takeover, another excellent opportunity presented itself to us,” continues Peter. “It is the chance to break into the diesel-electric locomotives market segment and to gain

a foothold in new, Spanish-speaking markets. We hope to benefit from the strong position of this new factory in Valencia in the areas of LRV and trams.” Another market has also been opened up in the United States, where a $100 million order for eight FLIRT units from Fort Worth Transportation Authority in Texas will be the first FLIRT entry in the US and may require Stadler to open up a new factory in the country in accordance with the ‘Buy America Act’. The company has also opened a new office in Australia to take advantage of the Australian government’s ambitions for infrastructure investment, and

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Stadler Rail ABB ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. ABB has a long history of providing reliable, innovative and energyefficient technologies to the rail sector, manufacturing and servicing all the systems, subsystems and components used in modern urban, intercity and high-speed rail networks for rail infrastructure and rolling stock. By providing leading-edge technologies, turnkey systems and superior services to train builders, refurbisher and network operators, ABB can help deliver energy-efficient and cost-effective railway innovations for a sustainable mobility.

to establish a footprint in the country as well as the AsiaPacific region. “Due to the company’s primary focus on continental European markets, Stadler Rail was greatly impacted by the European economic challenges. Half of the company’s 6000 employees are based in Switzerland, the export ratio is over 50 per cent and consolidation takes place in Swiss francs. All of these factors have resulted in a loss of turnover between CHF 200 million and 300 millions,” outlines Peter, explaining the company’s

renewed expansion strategy. “This strategy has quickly proven to be successful with our entry into high-speed rail, underground markets – with a contract for the Berlin Metro – and our entry into the US, Australian and UK markets. Considering these activities the company has essentially achieved its strategic repositioning goals and will be focused on consolidating and continuing this as it moves forward.”






Nexus’ modernisation programme for the UK’s most widely used and fastest growing transport network outside of London is well underway, and further integration is on the cards as it looks ahead

Below Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus



he Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive, or Nexus as it is publically known, is responsible for Britain’s most frequently used public transport system outside of London – the Tyne and Wear Metro. With a transport budget of £210 million a year, Nexus owns and manages a Metro system serving five districts within the region with 60 stations. It also operates the Cross-Tyne Shields ferry service, as well as subsidised local bus services. In an attempt to improve the passenger experience and efficiency of the network, Nexus is currently halfway through an 11-year regeneration programme worth over £350m, which is already showing significant results. Last year, the Metro transported over 39 million passengers across its network. This represented a five per cent increase on the year before, making it the fastest growing light rail system, again, outside of London. Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus, says that this is a particularly significant achievement as it has not involved

the introduction of any new lines of stations. Instead it is the result of the ‘Metro: all change’ modernisation programme, a Government-funded scheme to drive improvements throughout the network by focusing on existing infrastructure. “Our modernisation programme involves securing the long term future of Metro by replacing key pieces of infrastructure including tracks, signals and overhead lines,” he explains. “We are also improving the accessibility of our stations, and we have refurbished the interiors of our fleet of Metro trains, as well as carrying out essential work to prolong their life for up to 15 years. The investment is of paramount importance as Metro is 35 years old and the system really needs the money spent on it to ensure it continues to serve the public for many generations to come.” Due for completion in 2021 and now at its halfway point, the modernisation programme is on course, meeting all timeline and budget targets. Just over

£200 million has been spent since 2010, which has involved three major line closures to replace 25km of track, the modernisation of 25 stations plus the complete refurbishment of 86 Metrocars. “In total the Metro fleet comprises 90 Metrocars,” Tobyn says. “These trains are now into their 36th year of operation. This recent programme has extended the life of the fleet into the mid-2020s, however, we will need to have replaced this rolling stock by then. By working with the North East Combined Authority in talking to the Government, a full business case is being drawn up for submission to the DfT over the next six months. We estimate a cost of around £400 million to replace the fleet, including any associated work on the signalling equipment. So, whilst the current programme is about securing Metro’s ageing infrastructure, the next step will be about looking closely at the rolling stock.” As another significant part of this current investment programme to modernise its Metro, Nexus has introduced a smart ticketing system under its Pop brand. Further cementing its position as a transport network second only to London, the new system is the first of its kind outside the capital and, since its introduction in 2012, has already helped drive value and convenience to over 80,000 season ticket, student and Gold Card passengers. For the initial rollout, the strategy has been to bring all season ticket customers over to the smart system, as well as offering a ‘click-and-collect’ service to all Metrosaver and student passengers whereby they can order a ticket online in order to be loaded onto their cards the next day. “As of November 2015 we have extended this offering with the launch of the Pop Pay As You Go service,” said Tobyn. “We have quickly grown to more than 1,000 cardholders largely through word-of-mouth following a launch event with Transport Minister, Andrew Jones MP

in November. A full-scale marketing campaign will start in January when we really expect sales to take off.” Focused on delivering even more savings and convenience to customers, the Pay As You Go users will see the best fare for them calculated automatically at all Metro validators and gates, with an average saving of 10p and 20p per journey for standard fares and day travel passes, respectively. The system can be topped up online or at other dedicated facilities, has a guaranteed daily price cap and last journey ‘overdraft’ facility built in to it. It is also being implemented on a growing number of bus routes across the North East. Whilst ongoing improvements are being driven into Nexus’ existing light-rail network, the company is also looking towards expanding its presence across other parts of the region’s transport infrastructure. “We will be playing a greater role in the regional train services in North East England on behalf of local authorities,” says Tobyn. “The new Northern rail franchise contains not only partial devolution to Rail North but also the creation of a North East Rail Management Unit. This unit, the first of its kind in the country, will see performance, marketing and investment devolved further than ever before. “We will be working with the new Northern Rail and TransPennine franchisees to build a structure that delivers meaningful impact for passengers, in the context of what promises to be an excellent franchise deal that will transform local services. Our role straddling both light and heavy rail services in North East England is an opportunity to drive greater synergies between the two, through smart ticketing, service quality and integration of services and investment in the longer term.” Nexus will also continue looking closely at improving its local bus services with its Bus Strategy programme, which aims to reverse long-term decline in local bus ridership, maintain vital local accessibility, and deliver


Nexus TXM Rail A new relationship to assist in the Metro reinvigoration programme TXM Rail, the Contracting Division of TXM Plant, is extremely happy to be working alongside Nexus to deliver the ongoing Permanent Way Reinvigoration Programme. This will allow TXM, the market leading plant supplier, to show how its contracting business can work closely with a major client and bring innovation, both on and off site, to move track construction on the Metro to a new level. TXM Rail brings with it key sub-contractors who have the same ethos towards continuous improvement and delivery reliability in the fields of overhead line and signalling. The introduction of upgraded plant and attachments will improve the delivery aspect of the project whilst clever use of animation will be used to demonstrate to stakeholders and the travelling public how the works will be undertaken and how any disruption will be managed. TXM Rail is looking to starting work early in the New Year and thanks Nexus for the opportunity.

better value for the ÂŁ60 million of public money that is used to support the bus network each year. One possible avenue, which Nexus is currently working towards, is a bus franchising scheme, a process of devolution whereby the organisation would tender for a series of contracts for the operation of bus services. The ambition here is to increase levels of integration across the local public transport network and improve the planning and operation of bus services in the region. With challenges continually posed by increasing cost pressures, Nexus will be working hard over the coming

years to deliver its schemes for an improved network whilst at the same time ensuring it is able to reduce the associated operating and infrastructure costs. “We will continue to review all aspects of our capital programme to prioritise the most important projects and achieve this,� notes Tobyn. Ultimately however, based on its current growth successes and its unfaltering commitment to driving value throughout the network, the future for Nexus and indeed the North East of England as a whole looks positive.



Blackpool Transport



With visitor numbers seeing unprecedented growth levels at the world-famous resort, Blackpool Transport has implemented a successful development plan to continue driving value into the local economy


ith the oldest electric street tramway in the world, trams have been a major part of Blackpool’s transportation network since 1885. It’s an accolade that befits the international fame of Blackpool as an iconic resort with a wealth of heritage and commercial success. Despite a decline in visitors to the resort over part of the twentieth century, its recent regeneration has been key to Blackpool’s gradual return to its former glory with visitor numbers remaining higher than any other resort nationally and continuing to climb every year. Critically, underpinning Blackpool’s early popularity as well as this modern resurgence is a robust and well-managed public transport network. “Today Blackpool Transport is the main transport provider for Blackpool, Wyre and the Fylde Coast,”


explains Managing Director for the company, Jane Cole. “We run a regular tram service between Starr Gate and Fleetwood with our fleet of 16 Flexi Trams supplemented by our Balloon and Heritage Trams. We also currently run a network of 114 buses, which serve all the key destinations and local requirements for the 300,000 local residents and 20 million visitors.” With demand increasing to such high volumes over recent years it has been key for the region’s transport network to develop in order to accommodate these numbers. As such, in 2012 the Tramway upgraded from a traditional network to a modern Light Rail System (LRT). This followed an extensive four-year project, which saw 11 miles of track replaced, the creation of a new depot and the introduction of the 16 new state-of-the-art Flexi Trams. “While it is acknowledged that the modern system

was perfect for local transport needs, in tourism terms, Blackpool’s uniquely rich tramway history was such an integral part of the resort’s attractiveness, that some of the old tram’s are retained and operated entirely for tourism purposes,” Jane adds. However, the ongoing development of Blackpool’s transport system does not stop there and upon joining the company a year ago following a successful career in the UK rail industry, Jane has set out an exciting five year plan to increase the brand’s profile in the region. “This includes delivering passenger and revenue growth on the trams and buses, investing further in our assets including the introduction of a new bus fleet, developing our people to deliver amazing customer experiences and continuing to preserve our heritage fleet,” she outlines. Operating in such a popular tourist region as well as one that experiences demanding weather conditions, ensuring as effectively as possible that a reliable and well maintained service is delivered is a major challenge for Blackpool Transport. However, a long history of developing the network and understanding the local demands has been critical to the business’s ongoing success. A large network, high labour competence and robust vehicle efficiencies mean that Blackpool Transport can now offer low fares to all residents in Blackpool. A heritage of operating the network has also enabled the company to develop an unrivalled ability to co-ordinate assets and staff to meet the challenge of large visitor numbers and spikes in demand caused by events. A regular and thorough maintenance programme is also carried out to ensure salt egress from the coastline does not affect tram performance.



Blackpool Transport

These strengths have been particularly demonstrated over the past 12 months as passenger numbers continue to rise. “Over this time we have been reviewing running times on all services, paying particular attention to peak times. For us, unlike a normal town, our peaks in relation to traffic congestion are Saturdays, Sundays and evenings during the illuminations,” says Jane. “As a result, we have increased running times on these days and have seen significant improvement in both reliability and punctuality. With regards to service revisions, we had a very poorly performing service that operated all over Blackpool and into Wyre and due to the nature of the route it was difficult to operate reliably. To overcome this we have split the service and introduced a northern and southern circular line, which has really improved performance.” The success of such developments can be seen

clearly in the results from the past year. In 2015, Blackpool Transport saw a passenger and revenue growth of 30 per cent on the tramway, which significantly was accompanied by very little over crowding. The introduction of a new ten-unit fleet of Citaro Mercedes buses on route five has also resulted in passenger and revenue growth of eight per cent for the route, in line with a seven per cent increase across all other bus routes. Even more importantly, highlighting the success of the heritage offering, this division has seen a 300 per cent increase in revenue over the last 12 months. “Continuing this growth plan will be our major focus over the coming years,” concludes Jane. “In the long term, the vision is to be safe, profitable and to have a high value brand by delivering an amazing customer experience through a committed and engaged work force.”

www.blackpooltransport.com 51

Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd

Platform for


Under the experienced operation of RATP Dev, Manchester’s Metrolink tram network has undergone extensive growth over the past few years and continued focus on delivering an unrivalled service to its millions of passengers remains top priority as it moves forward


s one of the UK’s largest and most important cities, ensuring Manchester’s large population has access to reliable public transport has been critical to the city becoming the industrial and economic hub it is today. At present 2.7 million (and counting) inhabitants are spread across nearly 500 square miles of Greater Manchester, served by a network of ten local councils. Facilitating such substantial transport demands, Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) Metrolink network has grown since it was first opened in 1992 to become the UK’s largest light rail system. Having been managed by experienced international operator RATP Dev since 2011, Metrolink today covers


Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd

93 stops across 93 km of network with a total of 109 vehicles. This translates into around 33 million passenger journeys a year, or 90,000 a day. As with many of the figures that define Manchester’s size, these numbers continue to rise and a quick look back over the past five years under RATP Dev’s operation demonstrates just how rapid this rise has been. In 2010 the company’s employee level sat at 386, a number that has nearly doubled to today’s 723. A £1.5 billion investment into expansion by Greater


Manchester has seen the network treble in size, thanks in part to a new 14.5km line to Manchester Airport in 2014 – the city’s largest ever expansion project to be completed in one go. Interestingly, the Manchester Airport expansion was completed a year ahead of schedule. This period has also seen more reliable Bombardier M5000 trams replace the existing fleet of T68s and the relocation of the Network Management Centre (NMC) to its new Trafford Depot. Speaking with Railway Strategies, Managing Director

3 Way Building Services 3 Way Building Services are proud to have been associated with Manchester Metrolink since 2007. Our works have included refurbishment of offices, kitchens and toilets, works to improve stations, bridge and tunnel pointing, masonry repairs, drainage works, paving etc. We have PIC + PTS trained operatives. We trust that the experience we have gained will hold us in good stead for continuing a long-term relationship with both operators and owners of the Manchester Tram network. for RATP Dev in Manchester, Chris Coleman keenly points out that the political unity and working synergies between Greater Manchester’s local councils, TfGM and RATP Dev are vital to the network’s continually successful performance. “From an operational perspective there are several key factors that underpin the successful service we operate,” he says. “Firstly, the preventative maintenance and management of the network’s assets carried out by our teams to ensure optimum infrastructure reliability is second to none. Then there is

the maintenance of the fleet and tram reliability, which now stands at an impressive rolling average of 23,989 Mean Distance Between Service Failures (MDBSF). So we’re certainly bucking the trend for vehicle reliability. We can’t talk about our success without acknowledging the great people we have working for us in Manchester. Over the past five years they’ve experienced significant and continuous change and their flexibility, professionalism and commitment has just been incredible throughout. We simply couldn’t have done any of this without them.”



Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd

Waterman Group Waterman Group is proud to have been involved in a wide range of schemes supporting the Metrolink over the last 15 years. Its teams provide specialist civil and structural engineering services including structural examinations and assessments, scour inspections, BCI scoring and appraisal, structural strengthening and asset refurbishment. It looks forward to continuing its longstanding relationship with the Metrolink teams into the future.

With demand continuing to rise, providing greater capacity on its existing network courtesy of a new Tram Management System (TMS), which is now installed on 90 per cent of the network, is also a key strength of Metrolink. “This provides us with the flexibility to cope with increased patronage during peak times and major events by providing an optimal service without the traditional block signalling system that only allows one tram in a section at a time,” explains Chris, who goes

on to evidence the main interchange for all services at Cornbrook, where capacity has nearly doubled from 26 to 45 trams per hour in each direction since TMS was implemented. Topping these strengths off is a passionate and experienced team of people focused wholly on delivering an unrivalled customer experience. Indeed, RATP Dev’s defining vision reads: “Delivering an excellent customer experience in transport,” and Chris attributes this to its people. “There is a great spirit of teamwork here and although each department has its own remit, they will come together and work towards what we need to deliver,” he says. What results is a very respectable customer satisfaction score for Metrolink of 85 per cent (up from 83 per cent in the previous year) compared to the National Rail Passenger Survey score of 81 per cent and the Bus Passenger Survey’s 88 per cent. A number of accolades sit atop RATP Dev’s mantelpiece to support this, including Operator of the Year 2013 and Highly Commended recognition in 2014 and 2015 at the Light Rail Awards. It is also presently a finalist in the UK Rail Industry Awards for Operator of the Year. Ever committed to growing and improving its network, Metrolink is currently in the middle of the major Second City Crossing (2CC) programme, which is designed to increase capacity, flexibility and reliability with the introduction of a second line to intersect the heart


Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd

Neary Rail Neary Rail are a railway civil engineering contractor, established in 1994. We are able to undertake a wide range of light and heavy rail works supported by our UKAS accredited SQE systems and recently gained Network Rail Provisional Principal Contractor License. Our reliable, flexible and honest approach to delivering work, along with our desire to always provide safe, high quality and zero hassle solutions, makes us the first choice for many of our clients.


of Manchester. With its first stage – the opening of Exchange Square stop – already completed in December 2015, the project is well underway and Chris notes the scheme’s importance in line with political devolution and the creation of a Northern Powerhouse. “The Northern Powerhouse will enable regional leaders to ensure the right decisions on transport priorities are taken to benefit the North of England,” he highlights. “Further connectivity between Metrolink and other modes of transport, along with easier access and ticketing solutions, will enable the region to be even more successful in the future and we want to continue to support our client, TfGM, through the next stages associated with this devolution.” Other schemes of particular focus at present include looking at a new 5.5km extension to Trafford Park, which will provide a critical link for 1,300 businesses and 33,000 workers, the continued roll out of TMS onto the Bury line and supporting TfGM’s public transport smart ticketing project named ‘get me there.’ As Chair of the UKTram Executive, Chris is pleased about the UK’s current light rail development that is ongoing at Metrolink and also on the Nottingham Express Transit and Midland Metro networks. “The light rail industry has and will continue to remain extremely healthy as it brings with it a number of environmental and economic benefits over other modes of transport,” he says. “It has proved itself as an effective and efficient means of transporting high numbers of passengers directly into and around the heart of a city, serving local needs by connecting communities and supporting businesses. In Greater Manchester, for instance, Metrolink has helped to regenerate areas such as Salford Quays, which is now home to the BBC and other media outlets

and recent research has shown that living near to a Metrolink stop will add an average of £12,000 to the value of a property.” Keen to support this continued growth in the best and most effective way possible, the UKTram Executive is focused on promoting the real benefits of light rail and how it can help to regenerate the regions and communities they serve. It is also a core platform from which to mobilise collective action across the sector by sharing best practice and implementing initiatives to reduce costs and improve the service. In addition to this, in April 2015 RATP Dev, which also operates ten other tramways around the world, set up the ‘Tram Club’. “Made up of representatives from the worldwide light rail and tramway network, the club has the aim of increasing competitiveness, sharing best practice and improving the effectiveness of areas such as operations, engineering and customer experience,” Chris highlights. “Ultimately, the future is looking extremely bright for light rail and we at RATP Dev plan to be at the forefront of it.” With this in mind, Chris very much sees the future of Metrolink in the hands of its people and ensuring that confidence was maintained when RATP Dev took over the network was a key part of the transition. “Defining our progression are our three core strategic objectives: to be operationally excellent, to be customer focused and to be fit for the future,” he outlines. “As a business we’ve doubled in size organisationally and trebled in size operationally over the last few years. This has required a major reorganisation with the creation of new positions, new people, new skills and new processes in order to future proof the business through such a change so that we are equipped to deal with tomorrow’s challenges.

“Last year we launched our Leadership Academy, which saw more than 100 managers in the business go through a bespoke four-day training programme that proved to be extremely successful. The aim was to equip our leaders with the skills and knowledge to support our people through change as well as deliver the service improvements people expect from us. The loyalty and commitment of our people has ensured we’ve got to where we are today and it’s important that we continue to invest and upskill them for the future.” As far as the future is concerned for Manchester’s light rail network, RATP Dev is currently in the process of tendering for its continued operation beyond 2017. Alongside this however it is also ploughing ahead with major schemes designed to bring about even more improvements to Metrolink. “It is going to be another busy year for us for several reasons,” Chris explains. “This summer a major blockade to restore the twin-track running and redevelopment of a new stop at St Peter’s Square in the city centre will be carried out. This will involve closing this section and splitting the network over a period of eight weeks whilst the station and track layout is completed. Our top priority for this project of course

Left Chris Coleman at the opening of the airport line on 3 Nov 2014 with Peter Cushing, Metrolink director at TfGM is ensuring we continue to deliver as good a customer experience as possible throughout the transition. Alongside this more rolling stock will continue to be delivered, so our fleet team will be commissioning the new vehicles and getting them ready for service alongside the additional daily allocation of 92 trams.” In addition to capacity and reliability improvements, the Metrolink network will also experience major efforts into its customer experience with a number of projects already well underway. “We recently introduced Customer Network Managers into our NMC to provide a ‘customer conscience’, in what is traditionally a heavily operational environment,” Chris continues. “These managers oversee


Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd

and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with TfGM to deliver the aspirations of the region and for Metrolink.”

www.ratpdev.co.uk www.metrolink.co.uk our contact centre and the team who manage our Twitter account, which currently has more than 25,000 followers. We’ve also created Customer Ambassadors whose primary role is to provide customer service to our 90,000 daily customers on the front line. These have already proven themselves to be a key part of our customer service offering and feedback from passengers has been extremely positive. We will be doing more work throughout 2016 to advance both of these initiatives.” Helping to roll out TfGM’s new smart ticketing project, managing a number of major events and continuing to recruit and upskill new and existing employees will also all be key parts of 2016. “We also want to focus on upgrading our four-star EFQM business excellence rating to five stars,” Chris adds. “Overall, it looks set to be another busy year for us but we relish the challenge

Who is RATP Dev? RATP Dev is a wholly owned subsidiary of RATP Group. Under its umbrella, more than 70 subsidiaries operate tram, metro, bus and rail networks, as well as sightseeing, across Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and the USA. In 2015, RATP Dev is scheduled to generate revenue exceeding €1 billion.

Who is RATP Group? With 14 million passengers every day worldwide, RATP Group is the world’s fifth largest urban transport operator. The multimodal network operated by RATP in the Paris region is the largest of its kind in the world to be managed by a single company. RATP Group has a workforce of nearly 60,000 worldwide and generated revenue of €5.27 billion in 2014.

Solaris Technologies Solaris Technologies Ltd is a multidisciplinary engineering partner with a wealth of expertise in delivering integrated heavy and light rail signalling, power and communications system solutions to high profile, safety critical projects such as the Manchester Victoria Station and Second City Crossing Metrolink improvements. Solaris is currently in contract with RATP Dev Ltd providing electrical system upgrades so that the existing infrastructure continues to meet the requirements of EN 50122 2:2010 & EN 50122 1:2011 for the safe operation of DC electrical traction return systems. With a relationship that stretches back for many years, Solaris supports the main contractors with specialist management, engineering and installation activities such as; tram control and indication (points and signals), highways interface (road traffic junctions), traction power systems and electrical distribution installations which are fully NICEIC certified. Solaris has provided testing support to the Metrolink main contractor organisations and RATP Dev Ltd with testing of the new tramline sections and interfaces to the existing infrastructure. These activities include the initial traction energisation, traction short circuit testing and test dynamics of the first tram on the new infrastructure at line speed, allowing the interface between the fixed infrastructure systems and the rolling stock systems to be safely proved. All work carried out by the company is supported by extensively detailed, self-produced work documentation, reports and certification. This documentation supports the main contractor’s hand over to RATP Dev Ltd for driver training and entry into operational passenger service. Solaris has adopted and provides the best safe delivery systems and processes identified during the Metrolink Phase 3 extensions (60km). These extremely effective collaborative practices led to the multi-award winning Manchester Airport Line extension opening 12 months ahead of schedule. This approach allows the Metrolink stakeholders to work together flexibly and cost effectively to bring about improvements to the public network. Solaris is investing time into new and emerging technologies, which are key to the future innovation and evolution of Metrolink’s service offering to the growing demands of Greater Manchester.



Raising standards in depot


In a game of word association, if we were to say “Mechan,” you’d probably respond with “lifting jacks.” Who could blame you – drop into your local rail maintenance facility and you’re likely to see a ribbon of the firm’s flagship yellow jacks standing to attention at the side of a track.


ut the Sheffield-based manufacturer is far from a one trick pony. Its wide portfolio of heavy lifting products ranges from bogie drops and turntables to bespoke traversers, for which it holds the record for the largest ever produced in the UK. It is now in operation at the Port of Felixstowe and has a capacity of 170 tonnes. With almost half a century of engineering experience to its name, Mechan has developed a reputation worldwide for the safety and reliability of its products. It enjoys excellent links with depot operators and train builders, working regularly with the likes of Siemens, Hitachi, Network Rail, Bombardier and Alstom. Innovation is at the heart of the firm’s success, in terms of its business practises and product development. As larger under floor modules are introduced and pressure increases to achieve ever faster maintenance times, Mechan is focused on providing equipment that offers speed, strength and precision, enabling today’s longer


trains to be serviced without decoupling. Lifting jacks are vital for access to bogies, wheelsets and underfloor components and their control systems are a key area in which technological gains are driving forward innovation. Mechan is using the latest networking expertise to synchronise an unlimited number of jacks, whilst still producing a smooth and safe lift. By broadcasting the theoretical position of every jack in a chain at regular intervals, each unit can make speed adjustments so precise they are undetectable to the eye, correcting any height deviations. And as the number of operatives needed in a depot reduces, the quality of information available increases commensurately. A chain of jacks can now be operated by one person from a remote, full colour touch screen that displays useful data about maintenance and servicing. The user can monitor an entire lift or focus in on a particular jack, making it easier to diagnose faults.

Sometimes, it is necessary to commission equipment tailored specifically to the physical constraints of a location, as well as its maintenance activities. Traversers are a perfect example of largescale installations that are built to order and Mechan is making a name for itself in this field, most recently designing two for Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe facility in County Durham. Demand for these unique machines is much lower than other depot equipment and Mechan is one of the few companies in the UK able to showcase its ability to design and build cost effective bespoke products for any size or weight vehicle. Newton Aycliffe is using two 80 tonne traversers to help produce the new high speed trains for the InterCity Express Programme (IEP), moving vehicles between 33 tracks inside the facility and out to the test area. Without them, this sophisticated production line would have needed to be three times as long. Each traverser is different and the pair constructed

for Hitachi was made to a detailed specification. The internal unit has a special low profile design and fourmetre long hydraulic ramps, to allow the pit to be used as a thoroughfare when the traverser is not in use. The external installation has a more conventional construction, but was fitted with a canopy to protect new rail vehicles from the elements. This is just one of four IEP sites for which Mechan has supplied equipment. Working with main contractor, VolkerFitzpatrick, a set of 40 lifting jacks and an equipment drop with two bridges have been delivered to the North Pole depot in west London. As the equipment drop is located in the centre of the depot, its unusual two bridge configuration had to be designed to enable one of the bridges to retract into the pit, so it does not detract from other work and normal operations can continue when it is not in use. The firm has also developed a further two standard equipment drops for the new Stoke Gifford depot near Bristol. All three units use the same control philosophy to establish consistency and allow trained operatives to be moved between facilities if necessary. Finally, a three road equipment drop, 40 lifting jacks with a 15 tonne capacity and two bogie turntables are currently in production for the new train maintenance facility being constructed in Doncaster, again for Hitachi. Working on high profile UK projects such as the IEP, Thameslink and Crossrail has provided a multimillion pound boost to Mechan’s order book, securing its fortunes in the short term. Due to the long lead times and extensive planning and design processes that accompany the production of depot maintenance equipment, the challenge now is to look for future opportunities that will help the business sustain its growth and open up new markets. Through the efforts of its management team and by establishing an international network of agents, exports are playing an increasingly significant role in the firm’s success. Trade overseas accounts at present for 20 per cent of business, a figure that grows year on year and Mechan’s products are shipped across the world to key territories including South Africa, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Expansion continues as traction is gained in Europe and the Middle East, where equipment has already been supplied to high profile projects, such as the Cairo Metro Line Three. Mechan is also looking to Europe to enhance its product portfolio. It has forged links with manufacturers that demonstrate a similar commitment to quality and durability, to bring a selection of third party innovations to the UK and Irish markets that complement its in house capabilities. Laser measuring is a must for checking wheel, brake disc and rail wear and Mechan is representing two of the most advanced systems on the market. The handheld CALIPRI from NextSense uses three simple lasers to record all relevant wear parameters on wheelsets and



tracks, whilst Visiona’s fixed location wheel measuring device, Wheelpro, is ideal for predictive maintenance, enabling repairs and replacement parts to be anticipated and scheduled in advance. Improving air quality and the depot environment is growing in popularity among maintenance providers looking to make cost and efficiency savings through better recruitment and retention of staff. Again, Mechan has sourced a number of products offering clear environmental benefits, including automated sandbox filling systems that use a pneumatic pipe to eliminate dust and flexible exhaust hoods guaranteeing the removal of diesel fumes at source. A cleaner, greener alternative to traditional shunters is also available to aid the movement of vehicles around a depot. The award winning, electric road and rail shunters are emission free, relying solely on battery power to trail loads of up to 500 tonnes. In the last eight years, Mechan’s turnover and profit has doubled, due largely to streamlined processes, plus the continued investment in facilities, technology and talented staff. The firm has secured the internationally recognised quality, health, safety and environmental accreditations, ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001 and ISO 18001 and added Investors in People to its list of accolades. During a recent renewal of Mechan’s Investors in People standard, the assessor noted that the management team offered strong support for learning and development, both formally and informally, by encouraging employees to identify their needs. Engendering an open and friendly work environment has allowed the firm to promote ideas generation and a sense of responsibility among staff, which is reflected

in the high level of customer service enjoyed by clients across the globe. This ongoing focus on quality in all aspects of the business is attracting attention from the industry and earning recognition among colleagues and peers. Earlier this year, Mechan was presented with the rolling stock maintenance equipment prize at the international railway systems exhibition, Railtex and it has been shortlisted in the ‘subcontractor of the year – small’ category at the UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA) 2016. The winner will be revealed on February 11 at a special ceremony, held at Battersea Evolution in London. So what does the future hold? Increasing passenger numbers and government investment in projects such as HS2 and HS3 are creating a wealth of home grown opportunities for Mechan to continue catering for the maintenance needs of existing rail depots and new build projects. By delivering durable, cutting edge equipment and great service, the firm is positioned perfectly to attract new business on a national and global scale. The financial stability afforded by its recent success is being used to increase market share, develop new products and refine its existing range through the expansion of its design and sales teams. Apprenticeships in workshop and office roles have also been offered to a number of young people whose progress the firm sees as key to its longevity and growth. To find out more about Mechan’s lifting and handling equipment, telephone (0114) 257 0563, visit www.mechan.co.uk or follow the firm on Twitter, @mechanuk.


Express Glazing Contractors

A clear view

With unrivalled levels of service and experience behind it, Express Glazing Contractors continues to deliver to complex and demanding contracts across London and the rest of the UK


merging in the late 1970s, Express Glazing Contractors (EGC) has grown to become one of the largest and most prominent glazing contractors in the country. Over this time the company has been successful at retaining many of its management and staff. It’s a success that means that


there now exists an extensive wealth of experience and knowledge in the business – perfectly suiting it to the high demands put upon it. With many of its operations taking place within the M25, but also serving regular clients across the country, EGC has become a leading contractor, often delivering its services under the most extraordinary circumstances. “It is this continuity of staff, combined with their extensive knowledge and experience of our products and services that really sets us apart in the market,” explains Chairman, Paul Rogers. “This large pool of knowledge has been obtained over many years of trading and delivering through economic highs and lows, storms, civil disturbances, terrorist attacks, as well as providing services to blue-chip clients from the top of the highest buildings to underground facilities. This has continually allowed the team to provide a current, professional and rapid service installing glass, glazing and applied window film to such a diverse range of commercial clients.” With operatives ready to be deployed 24/7 throughout

the year, EGC is able to respond to any demand whenever required. Notably, its services were called upon during the August 2011 London riots in order to board-up glazing for protection as well as to replace glass from violence-struck areas. The company’s emergency response was carried out in parallel to normal operations, and was delivered to a range of properties from retail units to government buildings. Accompanying this flexible, ‘express’ service, EGC also has a range of competencies including associated traffic management works, the ability to work in high level, sensitive and secure locations with specialist access equipment and abseilers, and glaziers qualified to work both ‘airside’ and ‘trackside’.

Over its long history, EGC has delivered to a range of high profile clients and projects including hotels like the Savoy and Connaught, government and embassy buildings, including the Houses of Parliament, retail units, transport hubs and a full variety of commercial and industrial facilities. Recent contracts that perfectly demonstrate the depth of capabilities that exist in the business include the replacement of 2800mm by 1500mm, insulated double-glazed units as part of the atrium roof of the Department of Health building in London. Following bird damage, the company was called to make-safe, survey, manufacture, supply and reglaze the 200kg panes, 120 feet above the ground. In February this year the firm also completed an emergency job for one of its facility management clients in Hatton Garden, London, to make safe a double-glazed unit. The job required the replacement of a panel that was 2000mm by 3650mm large and weighed over 250 kg, which was made particularly challenging by difficult access. Under tight time restrictions, EGC had a new


Express Glazing Contractors

unit manufactured by its supplier Pilkington Glass, whilst it put in place out-of-hours road management systems, specialist access scaffold and lifting equipment to carry out the work successfully. As well as its commercial and industrial offerings, EGC has also amassed significant experience within the rail industry. “We have worked with this industry both on main rail and underground sites since the 1980s,” says Paul. Over recent years the company has completed high security glass installations and large-scale window replacements for clients such as A. Edmonds, Vinci, Proteq and H A Marks at a number of key mainline and underground stations around London. This year EGC responded to an emergency problem to repair and replace a large tempered unit at Waterloo International Station. Highly experienced glaziers with the correct rail certifications successfully installed the unit under complex and limited access circumstances, which measured approximately 1500mm by 3900mm. In September, the company also completed a large job to reglaze over 100 obscure glass panes at Harrow on the Hill Tube. Working in such extreme and demanding environments, it is no surprise that health and safety features heavily in EGC’s agenda. “This always has to be the highest priority for us,” Paul emphasises. “In the early days of trading there was very little safety glass, so the company had to be very conscious of the need for safety in all its handling and glazing activities. This culture has developed continuously in line with modern advancements across all areas of the business as it


interacts with clients and the wider public on a daily basis. Training, accreditation audits and trade networking at the GGF (Glass and Glazing Federation) make sure that we are continually conscious of the needs and developments in health and safety, as well as best practice.” As demand for its services grows, EGC is presently going through a programme of investment to secure its future with skilled tradesmen, despite a shortage in the industry, by actively participating with the GGF and supporting the foundation of GGF Training Ltd for flat glazing industry training. This will be accommodated by a move in 2016 to new larger and more modern premises, providing increased capacity for growth. As glass becomes increasingly technically complex and used more extensively in construction, the future for EGC, with its years of experience, will be positive. Paul notes that opportunities exist as competitors shy away from challenging inner-city logistics, and is confident that as long as its focus remains on delivering a quality service alongside superior health and safety consideration, EGC will continue to grow and develop with more new contracts and clients.


Editor Gay Sutton

editor@railwaystrategies.co.uk Sales Manager Joe Woolsgrove



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Railway Strategies Issue 126 February 2016  

The latest edition of Railway Strategies

Railway Strategies Issue 126 February 2016  

The latest edition of Railway Strategies