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by rail engineers for rail engineers OCTOBER 2017 - ISSUE 156

Blockade Summer 2017 update


A large section of London’s busiest station closed for 24 EARTHWORKS/

days in August for major remodelling to platforms, track DRAINAGE

layout and signalling in preparation for longer trains.

Network Rail’s Francis Paonessa comments How the busiest line in Europe collapsed
on bank holiday working, major projects, into the tunnel being dug underneath it to
safety and the Hansford Review. improve services.
railway today
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increasing network capacity, improving
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16 Feature

Alstom, Heathrow, Jurassic, Grinders.

London Bridge blockade
Clive Kessell describes the work carried out over the
August Bank Holiday.

Major closure at Waterloo: August 2017
Mark Phillips went to see what happened at Waterloo over
24 days in August.

Waterloo woes
While the project was a success overall, a couple of things
Earthworks/ didn’t go to plan.


22 44
Three projects in concrete
A dream becomes reality
This month’s Concrete Focus starts with a look at
Peter Stanton watched the Great Central Railway ‘bridge
enhancing capacity in Wessex.
the gap’ at Loughborough.

26 48
Chipping Sodbury – a saturated environment Lighter and Brighter
Collin Carr reports on work to dry out a soggy tunnel.
Stuart Marsh goes up onto the new roof at Carlisle Citadel

30 52
Best laid plans
Unlucky 13
Graeme Bickerdike explains why the bridge at Moses
Gate sprung a leak. Lydgate viaduct in the Pennines has 13 arches – and one
was giving trouble…

34 58
Low probability – high impact
It’s all down to good planning
Keith Fender investigates why Europe’s busiest
Dr Francis Paonessa, Network Rail’s Infrastructure Projects
railway collapsed at Rastatt.
head, speaks frankly.

40 64
A second bridge at Kenilworth Digital Railway Realism – it’s not just about technology
Graham Construction was tasked with building a How Thales is approaching the digital railway, in the UK
new bridge at a new station. and elsewhere.


Detecting wheel flats and more
Vortok’s new Train Fault Detector also
reveals hot wheels and bearings.

East West Rail and TroPath
Paul Darlington investigates a polymer
cable trough that’s also a safe walkway.

30 78
Innovation & light bulbs
Vislink and Panasonic have developed
data downlinks for high-speed vehicles.

And the next challenge is…
Malcolm Dobell attended Richard McClean’s
inaugural address to the IMechE.

86 82
Measuring efficiently
Leaf fall on the Underground
How Korec uses Trimble Gedo
Chris Parker explains why and how an under-
equipment to survey in 3D.
ground railway controls vegetation.

Practical innovation

Schooling local signalling skills Generac is improving lighting and
MPI and Siemens are tackling the skills gap combatting ballast dust.
at a new school in Glasgow.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

Discover Rail Media



Ra ba ude
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Tel: 01530 816 444


Learning lessons
Each year, Network Rail spends around £4 billion on enhancements We also report on three projects that illustrate the ingenuity and
and £3 billion on renewals. This is 22 per cent of Britain’s infrastructure expertise needed to restore aging railway infrastructure and improve
investment expenditure, the equivalent of building an Olympic its resilience. Stuart Marsh describes how Carlisle is the latest station to
stadium each month. Undertaking work on this scale, whilst keeping an have a lightweight ETFE roof glazing system, which replaces 114 tonnes
overcrowded railway running, will inevitably cause disruption with the of glass. Colin Carr explains why Chipping Sodbury tunnel is subject to
potential for high-profile possession overruns. frequent flooding and describes the major work underway to alleviate
Dr Francis Paonessa knows this all too well. Just after becoming this. In a geologically challenging Pennine valley, Lydgate viaduct has
Network Rail’s Infrastructure Projects managing director, he had to deal been ever-so-slowly on the move since the 1920s. Graeme Bickerdike
with the repercussions of the 2014 Christmas engineering work overruns tells the fascinating tale of this viaduct and its remediation work.
at Kings Cross and Paddington. The following year, he had to support Off, but over, the main line network, the heritage Great Central Railway
Network Rail’s chief executive, Mark Carne in his unenviable task of is reinstating a demolished bridge across the Midland main line. Peter
explaining to the public accounts committee why the delayed Great Stanton explains why this is so important for the railway and how it is
Western electrification project was costing three times its 2013 estimate realising this long-awaited goal. Another off-the-mainline feature is
of £874 million. Chris Parker’s description of the Piccadilly line’s approach to the leaf fall
Nigel Wordsworth interviewed Francis for our key feature, in which season, which highlights its integrated management of the resultant
he is open about the mistakes that have been made. He explains adhesion problem.
how lessons from problematic high-profile projects, such as Great The new chair of the IMechE’s Railway Division is Richard McClean,
Western electrification, have been learned and what has been done managing director of Grand Central. Malcolm Dobell describes his
to prevent bank holiday engineering work overruns. With only one address on the relevance of rail in which Richard highlights the need
significant possession overrun since 2014, this new approach seems to to make railway engineering an attractive career and get across the
be working. There is also evidence that Network Rail’s new project cost message that “the ability to work with detailed processes, awesome
control approach is working. This no longer commits to final investment plant and great people means you can never be bored, while putting
decisions until project development has produced a realistic cost your customer, the passenger, on the production line means that you can
estimate. never let your attention wander.”
However, the legacy of the GW electrification’s £2 billion overspend is Wandering attention can certainly result in things going wrong. The
cancellation of future electrification schemes and a marked drop-off in precise cause of the collapse of a new rail tunnel bore at Rastatt under
projected workload at the end of Control Period 5. Furthermore, the CP6 Europe’s busiest double track main line has yet to be determined.
high-level output specification is to focus on renewals with a “pipeline” However, as Keith Fender describes, whatever the resultant engineering
approach for enhancements, each of which will require a separate recommendations, there are also significant lessons to be learnt
funding package. regarding the management of the huge disruption from this failure.
As the railway supply chain faces tough times ahead, one answer The failure of a retaining wall and water main at Moses Gate during the
is for it to seek partnerships to finance and deliver enhancements in recent Bolton blockade closed the line for a further seven days. However,
accordance with the recommendations of Professor Hansford’s review. as we describe, the way design, procurement and logistical challenges
There is no doubt that Network Rail would welcome this approach. were rapidly overcome prevented the line from being closed for much
The August bank holiday saw large parts of Waterloo and London longer.
Bridge stations shut during blockade work. Mark Phillips reports on the The 24-day partial blockade at Waterloo was an almost perfect project.
major work done to reconfigure the approach to Waterloo and extend Unfortunately, as we report, disruption from extended signalling testing
Platforms 1 to 4 for 10-car trains. In another feature, he describes how made this the most significant possession overrun since Christmas
this platform extension was one of three Waterloo capacity projects 2014. Worryingly, during the blockade, a passenger train derailed due
that require 2,100 tonnes of concrete. The others were the former to misaligned points whose control system
international approach viaduct and work at Vauxhall station in 2018. had been temporarily modified. Lessons from
Clive Kessell’s report on the latest London Bridge blockade this incident need to be learnt as a matter of
explains how the layout of the station and tracks beyond it have been urgency.
progressively transformed to create extra capacity with dedicated DAVID
Thameslink platforms. This year’s Christmas blockade will complete this

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


David Shirres

Production Editor
Nigel Wordsworth

Production and design

Adam O’Connor
Matthew Stokes

Engineering writers

Jurassic back in service
A 114-year-old locomotive has returned to passenger service
after the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £43,000 to the
Asif Ahmed
Chris Davies Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway (LCLR) for her restoration.
Jolene Price
Jurassic was built in 1903 by Peckett put back in place; the injectors have
Rail Engineer and Sons in Bristol for the quarries and been repaired and refitted, as has the
Rail Media House, cement works of Kaye and Company connecting pipework for steam and water.
Samson Road, Coalville in Southam, Warwickshire. The LCLR The gauge glasses, regulator, reversing
Leicestershire, LE67 3FP, UK. bought her in 1961 to operate its lever and associated fittings have all been
Switchboard: 01530 816 444 services linking the bus terminus at refitted and tested.
Website: Humberston, near Cleethorpes, with The large cab (which can accommodate
the local beach and holiday camp. When four adults, including the driver and
Rail Engineer Videos that location closed in 1985, she was fireman) has been sand blasted to remove moved into store and then to the LCLR’s 114 years of accumulated soot, grease
new location in the Skegness Water and grime and the saddletank has been
Editorial copy to Leisure Park. repaired. The loco’s insulation, boiler
Email: The two-foot gauge (610mm) line cladding, a new whistle, brass dome cover
reopened to passengers in 2009, and work and other fittings that replace originals
Free controlled circulation to restore the classic loco commenced in stolen several years ago, have all been
Email: 2016 after the lottery award. The first task fitted as well.
was to dismantle the locomotive, so that Now, painted in Middle Brunswick
The small print the boiler and firebox could be sent to the Green and lined out in black and gold,
Rail Engineer is published by North Norfolk Railway. she’s back in service, hauling the railway’s
RailStaff Publications Limited and Once these were returned to varied rolling stock including its collection
printed by Pensord. Lincolnshire, they were reunited with of carriages and wagons from the trench
Jurassic’s frames. Her long chimney was railways of the First World War.
© All rights reserved. No part of this
magazine may be reproduced in any
form without the prior written
permission of the copyright owners.

Part of:

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


New designs, Components, Interiors, Refurbishment,
Maintenance, Lighting, Fuel, Equipment, Vehicle
Maintenance, Condition Monitoring, Lifting, Train
Washing, Inspection


for Heathrow Sustainable Programmes, Effciency, Planning, Surveys,
Wildlife, Vegitation, Waste Disposal, Carbon Emissions,
Sustainability, Green Initiatives, Seasonal Issues,
Heathrow Southern Rail is the project to link
Heathrow Airport to the South.

Plans are for a new stage which will bring further DECEMBER 2017
eight-mile rail link, running stakeholder engagement.
alongside the M25, which will AECOM chief executive David ELECTRIFICATION / POWER
connect the west end of the Barwell announced: “As a long- Transformers, Generators, OLE, Distribution Networks,
Terminal 5 station with the term partner to government, Monitoring, Earthing, Lightning Protection, Control
Windsor-Staines line. This will AECOM is delighted to bring Equipment and Systems
enable rail connections with its development, engineering
London Waterloo via Clapham and delivery capability to LIGHT RAIL / METRO
Junction. resolve current and future Vehicles, Rail, Electrication, Signalling, Tram, Tram-Train,
In addition, plans are to infrastructure needs and to Underground, Operating Systems, Platform Screen
continue the new line to bring private sector funding to Doors, Automation
Chertsey, from whence trains accelerate the delivery of critical
will be able to go on to Woking, public infrastructure”
Guildford and Basingstoke. The Heathrow Southern
The development of the Rail scheme complements JANUARY 2018
scheme has been bolstered Network Rail’s plans for a new
by an announcement that chord linking Heathrow to the STATIONS
engineering consultant AECOM westbound Great Western Rail Engineer reports on Stations, the passenger
has ‘bought into’ the scheme, main line towards Reading and experience through a station, and key
supplying funding for the next Bristol. developments below:
Accessibility, Architecture, BIM, Barriers, Buildings,
CCTV, Car Parks, Catering, Cleaning, Escalators,
Landlord Permissions, Lifts, Lighting, Maintenance,
Passenger Information Systems, Planning Issues,
Platform Screen Doors, Platforms, Records,
Refurbishment, Reporting, Retail, Security, Software,
Smart Ticketing, Wheel / Rail Interface

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


First train from Widnes

Alstom's new Widnes facility is now well-and-truly open for business as the first repainted
Pendolino train was handed back to Virgin Trains recently.

The new livery is named

‘flowing silk’, and it builds on
the Virgin brand, adding curves,
shapes and dynamism, with
the flow across the train taking
its main inspiration from the
natural world… the wind.
With over 13,000 square
metres of space, Widnes is
said to be the largest rolling
stock modernisation facility completed their level 2
in the UK, making it ideal for apprenticeships in Riverside
work on intercity trains. Its first college, they will complete their
task is a €28 million contract level 3 qualification at Widnes
to re-paint the 56-strong fleet while delivering this important
of Class 390 ‘tilting’ Pendolino project.
trains, which are used by Virgin Alstom’s UK and Ireland
on the West Coast main line. managing director Nick
The contract features include Crossfield said: “It is a proud
innovative Virtual Reality painting day for us, seeing the first
CAREER & simulators, used to train the of the iconic Pendolino fleet
EDUCATION team and to validate the work. successfully repainted and out
The repainting team is on the network again. This is the
IS YOUR COMPANY LOOKING 80-strong, with the majority first work we have completed
FROM THE RAIL TRANSPORT SECTOR? Messe Berlin GmbH · Lisa Simon coming from the local area. at our important new Widnes
Messedamm 22 · 14055 Berlin
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T +49 30 3038 2124
at InnoTrans 2018. For more information: F +49 30 3038 2190 apprentices who will work on the “We look forward to working
project, demonstrating Alstom’s with Virgin Trains to complete
Find us on Facebook: InnoTrans Career commitment to developing the painting of the rest of their
skills locally. Having successfully hard working fleet.”
Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

Rail grinders get smaller

Engineers used to seeing rail grinding trains on the main line network, and rail millers for that
matter, expect to see one or two large yellow machines coupled together, pulled by a freight
locomotive between jobs.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. unit is only 5.72 metres long, means it can services. Surface finish is < 10µm and the
Tisséo, the operator of the Toulouse tram be pulled by a Unimog, and it operates at unit has a range of around 20km.
network in France, recently awarded a three- speeds of up to 60km/h. So even though Sparks and dust are contained under the
year framework contract to Vossloh to carry it only removes 0.01mm for each pass, so machine’s cover and are sucked up by a
out preventative maintenance on its tracks. taking 10 passes to remove 0.1mm, which vacuum recovery system.
Vossloh brought along an HSG-City high- is thought of as being the best amount to Since the prototype was launched in 2014,
speed grinder to remove surface defects take to keep rails in good condition, it can the unit has been used in Germany, China,
and restore rail profile. Its small size, the be done quickly and without interrupting Denmark and now France.

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Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Blockade Summer 2017 update

ong blockades of major stations at public and bank
holiday times have become part of rail engineering
custom and always attract media attention, most of it
critical. Is this adverse press comment justified?

Rail Engineer went to see what was happening at London The blockade
Bridge during the recent blockade period, to see at first hand commenced on Saturday
what was actually involved and the steps taken to minimise 26 August and lasted
disruption to the travelling public. until Sunday 3 September.
During the first weekend, all
lines were closed except one
(which was signalled for reversible
working) to allow limited access to
some platforms on the low level (Central)
side of the station. No trains could access
the high level (South Eastern) platforms, thus
necessitating the closure of Charing Cross and
Cannon Street stations.
Fortunately for intending passengers, there were alternative
train services from most places in Kent and Sussex into Victoria
or Blackfriars. From Bank Holiday Monday, all low level lines and
platforms were re-opened as were the lines through the high-
level section of the station to Cannon Street, but trains did not
call at the associated platforms as work on these and the street
level concourse extension will not be finished until Christmas. On
Saturday 2 September, test trains were operating through the
station and onwards to Charing Cross with a limited timetable
operating on Sunday and a full service at the start of the working
week on Monday 4 September.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


London Bridge past and present

Issue 154 (August 2017) contained a
detailed article on the London Bridge
project, but it is worthwhile reiterating the
reasons behind this massive project and
the benefits that will come about.
2017AT JULY 2017
Previously, London Bridge had nine
CKFRIARS terminal
platforms on the low-level side,
broadly serving areas of the 1 old London, 1
1 1 DS DS
Brighton & South Coast Railway. These 2 2 US US
2 3 2 3
had five access lines out towards New 3 3
4 4 DF DF
Cross Gate and Denmark 4 5 Hill. 4 5
The high-level side had six platforms plus 6 6
6 7 6 7


one through line, all of which extended SLEW 7 SLEW 7



onwards through the notorious Borough




Market Junction to either Charing Cross or
10 10 DS DS
10 10
Cannon Street termini, historically being 11 11 DF DF
part of the South Eastern 11 12
and Chatham 11 12
Some cross-connections 13 14 between the 13 14 NEW CROSS NEW CROSS
two sides south of the station allowed BERMONDSEY BERMONDSEY
15 15
off-peak Caterham and Tattenham Corner
trains from Charing Cross to route towards
New Cross Gate and East Croydon. This
layout and TO
was never ideal TRACK
much slower line via Tulse HillLAYOUTTRACK
and missing LAYOUT
high level 2017
1, 2, and2017 BLOCKADE
3 broadly leading
but the operators became slick at making out the important interchange at London to Cannon Street, 4 and 5 dedicated to
the best ofTO a CANNON
bad jobHIGH
the cost and
9 serving
NEW 2017
scale of improving the throughput was 1 1 Secondly, the
1 new grade-separated route to Charing
DS Cross. At
DS the terminal
considered prohibitive.2 3 HIGH LEVEL 2
2 3
junction at New2 Cross Gate on to platforms, these have been
3 3
Two major changes to train services 1 the revamped 1 East London line to (numbers 10 to 15), the work
DS here being
4 4 DF DF
forced the situation to 4be5 resolved. Firstly, 4 5
2 3 5
Whitechapel52 and the Docklands area, and essentiallyUFcomplete. US UF
the advent of the Thameslink south- 6 the through 63services over this route now There are 11 parallel access lines to the
6 7 6 7 4 DF


to-north cross London service, initially 4 5 7 7

provided by5London Overground, has south of the station, which in future will





caused broadly allocate SLEW1 to 3 for Cannon
achieved at minimum cost 8 9 by reopening TEMP a reduced need for inner suburban


8 9




the Snow Hill link to Farringdon, routed trains to access the low-level terminal Street trains,DS 4 and 5 for DS Thameslink, 6

10 10

additional trains across the connection platforms. 11 to 8 for Charing Cross trains and 9 to 11

8 9 11 DF DF

This resulted UF and out of
for trains into UF
the terminal
from low-level to high-level 11 12 lines just11 12 10 in surplus capacity on DS
10 US US
station, thus
the low level11and a serious shortage of platforms. Some lines areDFsignalled for
creating more flat junction conflict and 11 12 capacity and throughput on the high level. reversible working,GATE thus catering for peak
further pressure on the LONDON BRIDGEused
platforms BERMONDSEY
If Thameslink was ever to achieveBERMONDSEY
the flows in opposite directions. Crossovers do
by the Charing Cross services. It was 13 14 status of a cross city RER type line, then permit trains to access different platforms
deemed impossible to path Thameslink something would have to be done. BERMONDSEY from those listed above to cater for
trains through London Bridge in the peak The ultimate result is to equip London signalling failures, maintenance work or
TO CANNON ST forcing themSTto be routed on to the
TO CANNON Bridge with nine through platforms FINAL
on the TRACKany
eventuality. 2018 JANUARY 2018
1 1
1 1 DS DS
2 3 2 3 LINES
1 3 3
1 DS
4 4 DF DF
4 5 4 5 2 US
2 3 5 5 SR SR UF UF
6 6
6 7 6 7 4 DF
4 5 7 7
8 8


10 10 DS DS


8 9 11 11 DF DF

11 12 11 12 10 DS
11 DF


Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


The Up and Down Kent Fast lines,

temporarily located where the Thameslink
lines 4 and 5 will go, have been put in
to their final position on lines 7 and 8,
leading in to Platforms 6 to 9 which, with
the opening of Platform 6, gives four
platforms for Charing Cross services, two
Up, two Down.
Line 6 has been partially brought into
use to give more flexibility on the country
end approaches to the high-level station.
Lines 7 and 8 are now diverted through
the Bermondsey dive under, thus freeing
the way for the Thameslink lines to be
constructed into platforms 4 and 5 later
on. Several new crossovers have been
required in all of this, with some earlier
ones being removed.
The revised track layout has to be
accompanied by signalling alterations,
Previous blockades and stagework The Summer 2017 blockade the area being controlled from the
The project has been ongoing since 2013 As has been said, the work has taken Three Bridges Railway Operating Centre
and, regrettably, the Thameslink trains place over a nine-day period. It has to be (ROC). This has involved changes to the
have had to use the Tulse Hill route to recognised that the entire railway between Siemens Westlock interlocking as well as
reduce the number of trains using London New Cross, on the SE routes, plus New reprogramming the Charing Cross panel
Bridge station. Since then, the low-level Cross Gate on the Sussex routes, through at that location.
station has been totally rebuilt, the high- London Bridge station and Borough Signalling testing is a vital part of this
level platforms have been demolished and Market to Metropolitan Junction and up process, and cannot be carried out until
rebuilt in altered locations, an extra two to Blackfriars, has been entirely rebuilt. It all new trackwork and signal installation
tracks have been added through Borough is, in effect, a brand new railway. This has is complete. The testing thus becomes
Market Junction round to Charing Cross meant slewing lines to different positions a critical path, with Siemens staff being
and a grade-separated junction has been whilst other lines are built or re-laid with entrusted to do this under Network
constructed at Bermondsey to allow the necessary provision of temporary Rail supervision. In all, around 200 new
Thameslink trains unfettered access crossovers and associated signalling. signalling assets were added or altered
to Platforms 4 and 5. Most of the civil The first Saturday and Sunday saw new which included 50 new signals, 23 point
construction work is now complete, except crossovers brought into use that enabled ends and 60 track circuits together with
for the final building extension in the street greater connectivity between the low TPWS units.
level concourse. and high-level lines such that, should any Connecting all of the new signalling
The first blockade in December 2014 problem arise with access lines 9 to 11, infrastructure back to Three Bridges
involving the lines into the low level the trains can be routed via line 8 into and makes use of the Network Rail Telecom
platforms was a watershed, as the planning out of the low level platforms. On Bank FTN (fixed telecoms network) fibre-
process failed on a number of counts Holiday Monday, lines 1 and 2 were re- based network and the associated
and significant disruption was caused opened to allow SE trains to operate into Thameslink Signalling Private Network
for a short period of time, giving rise and out of Cannon Street, this being an (known, unsurprisingly, as TeaSPooN) to
to very irate passengers and questions acceptable alternative to Charing Cross for give complete dedication, diversity and
asked in Parliament. Quickly sorted, it was the remainder of the week. resilience.
recognised that future blockades had to
be planned down to the minutest detail
and subsequent work has gone without
any adverse consequences.
Particularly large blockades took
place over the August and Christmas
2016 periods that permitted three new
platforms to be commissioned for the lines
to Charing Cross and the bringing into use
of the Down Sussex slow line through the
Bermondsey dive under. A full description
of these works was given in issue 142
(August 2016) and 148 (February 2017). Not
all work needs a full blockade, with many
items of lesser activity being carried out
during short possessions at weekends.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Planning the Work Site walk-throughs by the project The old London Bridge Power Box will
The meeting with Rail Engineer took leaders made sure that nothing had been remain in control of the Lewisham area
place in the site depot located at New overlooked and that the correct standards and the Hayes branch interlocking until
Cross Gate and affectionately known as of workmanship had been achieved. A the 2018 May bank holiday, when control
the War Room. To ensure commonality of 55-page booklet was prepared, covering will transfer to Three Bridges ROC.
purpose, the depot is used by staff from all the safety and security requirements as Similarly, the Angerstein interlocking
Network Rail, Balfour Beatty (for all civil well as details of the possession and work area, covering the Greenwich lines, will
work) and Siemens (for signalling). Just packages, so no-one could later claim they transfer at Easter 2019 and the Hither
being there to see the wall charts filled had not been fully briefed. Green to Grove Park area in March 2020.
with diagrams and project tasks gave Thereupon, London Bridge Power Box
reality to the scale as to what had to be The final blockade and ongoing work will close.
done. Whilst the end is now in sight, one Thameslink trains will again be routed
Every site and every work package had more big blockade is planned for through London Bridge sometime in 2018,
each individual activity listed with the time, Christmas 2017. This will bring into use whence Automatic Train Operation will
work content and progress duly logged. the Thameslink lines over the Bermondsey be introduced on the central core across
Viewing the method of measurement dive under, new Platforms 4 and 5 for London. That will bring its own challenges,
revealed that any critical items would Thameslink services, the commissioning but at least all the civil and signalling
be shown in red but a quick scan of the of the new double track Metropolitan infrastructure will be in place.
charts did not seem to have any red Junction leading up to Blackfriars,
items showing. If nothing else, it instilled the completion of the street level Thanks to Mark Somers, the Network Rail
confidence. concourse, re-opening the platforms for project director, and his team for their time
Other subcontractors engaged in the Cannon Street services together with during this busy period and to Alexandra
work are MPI for testing support, Vital Rail the associated signalling and operating Swann, communications manager -
and Pod-Track for track labour, Sonic Rail changes Thameslink for facilitating the visit.
Services for conductor rail integrity and
Cleshar for electric traction equipment.
A novel feature was a huge TV screen at
the depot linked to various pole-mounted
cameras positioned strategically at the
critical work sites. With pan, zoom and tilt
facilities, the project engineers could see
at first hand what was happening at every
location and issue instructions or guidance
The eight-day blockade utilised nine
engineering trains, three tampers, 15 road-
rail machines, two rail cranes, one road
crane and 6,000 shifts. 10km of new track
was effectively installed.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

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Whilst this approach would have only

necessitated the closure of two, or

Major closure
perhaps four, platforms each weekend,
the overall disruption to the station
would have continued for many months.

at Waterloo:
The introduction of so many temporary
working arrangements would have been
complicated for the train planners. In

August 2017
addition, the setting up and dismantling
of the work sites so many times would
have been less economic for the engineers
and the testing and commissioning of the
temporary signalling arrangements would
have introduced additional risks.
Therefore, a much bolder approach was
adopted, which was to take the whole

he fabled lost island city of Atlantis has featured in literature, films and of the affected part of the station out
art, but where and what was it really? Who were its inhabitants and of use for a 24-day period. During this
what endeavours were they pursuing? Amongst academia, there are major possession it would be possible
many postulated theories, but no agreement. to reconstruct and extend platforms and
complete the necessary associated track,
Venture, however, no further than One possible approach to achieve signalling and electrification works in one
Waterloo station, in central London, this reconfiguration would be to plan a fell swoop.
and you will find a purpose-built Atlantis series of stageworks over many weekend The upgrade project is the responsibility
populated by engineers, designers and possessions. Work in each possession of the Wessex Capacity Alliance, a
planners focussed on a specific major would have been a small element in the partnership of Network Rail, AECOM, Mott
endeavour. alteration of the track layout, signalling MacDonald, Skanska and Colas Rail. Whilst
The Waterloo and Southwest Upgrade and third rail arrangements towards the each of these partners has a clear lead role
project is an £800 million investment by eventual final layout. Each stagework - Network Rail as client, AECOM and Mott
Network Rail and the Department for would no doubt have entailed the MacDonald as designers and Skanska and
Transport to increase significantly the temporary loss of some flexibility for train Colas Rail as contractors - it is apparent
capacity for trains and passengers on that movements and this pattern would have that it is a well-integrated partnership, with
part of the railway network. This article continued until all the stageworks were each and every participant sharing equally
reports on a major component of this complete. in planning and decision-making.
upgrade, which is to extend platforms at
Waterloo so that they can accommodate
10-car trains. Monday 7 Auguat - two days in.
At present, 113,000 passengers arrive at
Waterloo during the three-hour morning
rush hour, which is the equivalent of one
double-decker bus every eight seconds.
The upgrade will increase this capacity
to 158,000 passengers (one bus every six

Alternative approaches
Extending Platforms 1 to 4 so they can
accomodate 10-car trains takes them out
into an area of conflict with existing switch
and crossing work. The track layout on the
approach to these platforms had therefore
to be remodelled and redesigned with
the flexibility for trains to arrive and depart
from various platforms preserved.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Platform work
A general view of the site from Atlantis. Platforms 1/2 and 3/4 were demolished
and rebuilt with an extension of 40
metres. Platforms 5/6 were demolished
and rebuilt at their existing length.
Platform 7 was provided with a new
wall face to effect a track realignment
and Platform 8 was subject to a
For all the rebuilt and extended
platforms a new form of construction
has been adopted. This uses a modular
form of precast platform wall unit, known
as the ‘C Section’ unit. For simplicity of
planning and construction, the platforms
were designed to use identical C Section
units throughout.
The platform units have a centre of
gravity such that they are temporarily
The period from the early hours of could be readily identified by all stable when placed on their foundation
Saturday 5 August right through to participants and not misunderstood. whilst still free-standing and also,
Tuesday 29 August was selected as Secondly, a comprehensive timeline of course, permanently stable once
the optimum time to take possession activity programme, showing every incorporated into the completed form
of Platforms 1 to 10, with the closure single activity throughout the 24 days, of platform construction. They are
being extended further to also include was produced. For certain activities, designed to carry the cable management
Platforms 11 to 14 for the final long particularly the more major ones, and systems, rail systems services on one
weekend Friday 25 to Tuesday 29 August. where perhaps the time needed for side and building systems services such
Network Rail deemed that, being during completion was difficult to estimate as lighting, public address, and power
the summer holidays, fewer commuters precisely, an appropriate contingency supplies, on the other.
overall would be inconvenienced by this was allowed for and built in. A feature of the wall units is that each
closure than at other times. Additionally, Also, those activities which were found incorporates a small square cutout in the
the major closure had been very well to be not on the critical path were vertical face. This helps with ventilation
publicised for nearly a year previously, carefully appraised for their ability to be under the new platforms and also
enabling regular travellers to plan carried out at any times when planned provides an entry/exit point for cabling as
accordingly. resources were, for some unforeseen necessary.
Earlier in 2017, some major trackworks reason, held up on their scheduled Before the new platform wall units
and installation of a signal gantry over task and could be quickly and usefully could be installed, the foundation
Platforms 1 to 8 had already taken place diverted on to the non-critical path area had to be thoroughly prepared.
outside the station approach in order, as activity. This involved demolishing the old
much as possible, to reduce the volume
of work to be accomplished within the
August closure. 10 August and the new platforms are going in.

Preparation and planning

Chris Kitching, contracts engineering
manager and multi-disciplinary leader for
the Wessex Capacity Alliance, told Rail
Engineer that the August closure itself
had been years in the planning. It was
found that 24 days were needed overall
and, to guarantee success, two significant
aspects were addressed in the detail of
the planning.
Firstly, every single component of the
new installation, be it a major element
such as a precast platform unit, a track
sleeper or even something seemingly as
minor as a cable clamp, was individually
numbered and referenced. This was so
that each component’s place in the plan
with its date and time for installation

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017













platforms and bases right down to the protected those working on the track directly onto permanent sacrificial steel
extrados of the masonry underground from concrete placement activity taking shuttering spanning, without propping,
arches, used for London Underground place at the higher level. between the wall units. The concrete for
access, beneath the main line station. The new platform edge coping stones this and the foundations was delivered by
The condition of these arches had are provided with Halfen inserts, making pumping from the road access adjacent
previously been assessed from below the fixing of the Combisafe uprights to the east side of the site near to
but, during the present work, as each straightforward. Platform 1.
area was exposed, the condition of the All the precast units were brought to From Platforms1/2 and 3/4, new
waterproofing was checked, engineer’s site on engineering trains, then offloaded stairways have been constructed
inspections made and any structural or and set in their final position using to give direct access to the London
waterproofing repairs carried out before road-rail vehicles. With the precast wall Underground passageways below. The
commencing on the foundation for the units in place, the platform deck could location of these stairways towards the
new platform wall units. be progressively constructed. This is ‘country’ end of the platforms is beyond
The strip foundations were made formed of a reinforced concrete slab cast where the main arches exist and lies in an
with rapid setting, rapid strength-gain
concrete, having the ability to take the
loading from the platform units only
three hours after pouring.
The need for the rapid availability of
the foundation was an essential part of
the overall plan, providing, as it did, a
sequential progression of all work from
one platform end to the other, with each
activity following in close succession
- cast foundation, lay units, construct
platform deck, excavate, reballast and
relay track.
Also, to assist with the various activities
following hard on each other’s heels,
Combisafe barriers, sheeted with heavy
duty polythene, were erected along the
platform edges as work progressed. This

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Another view of the platform extensions under construction. was to ensure that, throughout the entire
programme, there would be available,
on every shift, engineers with the correct
experience and the appropriate level of
delegated authority that would enable
them to make decisions there and then
on the issues likely to arise.
Twenty-four engineering trains were
used to deliver new components and
remove old materials.

Where and what is Atlantis?

So, finally, we come to the mystery of
The Alliance identified the benefit
there would be in having a well-sited and
area where the substructure consists of Resources equipped project site office specifically
an arrangement of jack arches. However, At no time throughout the whole for the August closure. From concept to
a neat modification to the structural work 24-day works was the site unstaffed. delivery, such a facility was completed in
was designed which accommodated the It was decided to standardise with a just twelve weeks. It is a multi-storey site
stairway boxes. pattern of three nine-hour shifts for all office block mounted on a substantial
To complement the new platform contractors, so that every 24-hour period steel framework and includes a viewing
lengths, the track layout and pointework was consistently covered with a one hour gallery.
was changed as can be seen in the overlap. This pattern also included the The block acquired the nickname
accompanying diagram. provision of the COSS (Control of Site ‘Atlantis’ and is, in fact, an island just on
Safety) resource, for simplicity of briefings the eastward edge of Waterloo station
Signalling testing and communication. looking out over the works. Not only
The final weekend of the closure Typically on a shift, the staffing overall did it provide a major resource for all
was largely devoted to testing and would be 20 engineers, half and half those involved in the actual work, but
commissioning of all the signalling for for construction and for track work, 10 the gallery meant that the many visitors
the new layout. This required the closure supervisory staff with 100 operatives, to the site could be shown the work in
of Platforms 11 to 14 in addition to those again half and half, 20 COSS for the progress clearly, without the need to
already closed. various work groups throughout and two enter the site itself with the attendant
The original plan had been to take or three Network Rail quality managers. need for PPE and site safety briefings.
this additional closure from Friday 25 to Also, a design team was always available Atlantis will be dismantled and its
Monday 28 August. The derailment of a during normal daytime office hours. location will be handed back as part of
passenger train departing from Platform Evaluation of the works programme the access route to the station, but all
12 midway through the main works led in detail included an assessment of any those who knew it will recollect the name
to the need to take the extra platforms’ issues that might arise on any module. with pride in connection with their role
closure 24 hours earlier. Chris Kitching emphasised that a key in an intensive and successful part of the
The derailment, now subject to a Rail element of the planning of staff resources upgrade project.
Accident Investigation Branch inquiry,
caused a complication in some of the
ongoing signalling testing. Testers had Waterloo sunset.
been available throughout the works and
had been working to a programme of
testing according to which equipment
was progressively available. It had always
been the case that complete access to
the relevant relay rooms and control
rooms could only be gained by complete
closure of Platforms 1-14 as the final
stage of the overall work.
Unfortunately, the derailment caused
a hiatus in the original testing regime
and ultimately led to the need for the
additional day’s closure of Platforms 11
to 14. This, though, was apparently the
only significant change to the whole
schedule of work throughout three and a
half weeks.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Waterloo woes? NIGEL


s Mark Phillips describes in his article, London Waterloo station Worryingly, this was a failure of the
was recently the subject of a 24-day partial blockade as significant signal interlocking’s detection system
upgrades were made to the station. Platform extensions, trackwork as the initial RAIB release states that
modifications and signalling upgrades were all undertaken as the train driver and signaller received
London’s busiest station underwent its first major upgrade since the arrival of indications that the points were correctly
Eurostar in 1994. aligned, and thus locked.
The RAIB will conduct a full
Scheduled to last from Saturday 5 Use of the term ‘misalignment’ investigation to identify the
August to Tuesday 29 August - Monday indicates that the points were not set for circumstances leading to installation
was a bank holiday - this was a major a particular route. Furthermore, for the of the temporary control system
piece of work. The five organisations that train to take the wrong route, the gap modification, the safety measures
make up the Wessex Capacity Alliance between the wrong route’s stock rail and provided while the temporary
are well integrated and the planning point blade must have been sufficient for modification was in place, the checking
and preparations had been meticulous. the wheel flange. This implies that the and testing procedures applicable
Nothing was left to chance. points were around mid-position as the to the modification and any relevant
As a result, nothing should have gone train left the platform. underlying management factors.
wrong. Yet it did. The full reasons won’t The question then arises why should Although it will take several months to
be known until at least two enquiries the points be in such an abnormal publish the formal report, the serious
are completed, but here are some early position. Two possibilities are that the nature of this incident is such that the
indications. trailing points were incorrectly set for lessons from this incident for ongoing
the incoming empty stock move into signalling project work need to be
Slow-speed crash platform 11 which then burst them, understood as a matter of urgency.
The first sign of trouble came early in leaving them in mid position, or that, One key issue is the safety measures
the morning of Tuesday 15 August, ten for some unusual set of circumstances, that were in place. Had the points been
days after work commenced. The 05:40 the points moved mid-position after the clipped and secured, the accident
to Guildford, 10-car train made up of a empty stock train arrived in platform 11. would not have happened. However, the
combination of Class 455 and 456 units,

pulled out of Platform 11 on time.

Two minutes later, having reached a Network Rail CEO Mark Carne visits the scene.
speed of 11mph, it veered to the left,
struck a train of empty Network Rail
wagons, and came to an immediate halt.
Of the 23 passengers and two employees
of South West Trains that were on the
train, only three were treated at the
scene by paramedics and none required
hospital treatment.
An early investigation by the Rail
Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB)
revealed that the points were misaligned
and had directed the passenger train
away from its intended route. The
misalignment was a consequence of a
temporary modification to the points’
control system.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017



Rule Book does not require this as the blame although the problem could have trains. The day before, a points failure at
Person in Charge of the Possession only been the delay caused by the accident Kew Bridge and another at Portsmouth
has to confirm with the signaller which knocking-on through the project Harbour caused problems and, to cap
routes are to be kept closed. It will be timeline. it all, a broken-down train between
interesting to see how the RAIB views this Signal testing is performed to make Leatherhead and Effingham Junction
requirement. sure that there are no remaining faults closed all lines while a failed freight train
Those who planned the Waterloo works before a line is returned to service. If between Eastleigh and Southampton
clearly considered that some form of a fault is found, that’s a good thing as Central did the same. So the Waterloo
physical protection was necessary. Hence it can be corrected and the travelling problem could have been mere
wagons were deliberately placed to public isn’t put at risk. But that happenstance.
protect the workforce behind them from correction takes time, and that’s a bad It could also have been another example
the live railway. It was a step well taken thing, although it’s far better to wait and of new work disturbing old installations
- without them the diverted train could only return a line to service when it is and revealing or causing faults.
have ploughed into people working on 100 per cent safe to do so. Only a full investigation will give all
the station improvements. However, had And the track circuit failure the the answers, and Network Rail and RAIB
the points been clipped there would not following day? Unfortunately, signalling are undertaking theirs as this is written.
have been a derailment. faults do occur. On the 30th there However, the barrier train did its job, no
was also a signalling fault between one was hurt, and a massive amount of
Testing overrun Farnborough Main and Basingstoke, work was achieved over the course of 24
Having recovered from the delays which delayed Southampton-bound days.
caused by the accident, news then

broke, early in the morning of Tuesday 29

August, that the engineering works had
overrun. All lines were open by 07:20,
but the ensuing disruption lasted all day.
Word was that this overrun was due to
extended signalling testing.
There were more delays, albeit short
lived, on the morning of Wednesday 30
August after a track circuit failure closed
Platforms 1-3. Once again, there was
some residual disruption even though
the fault was cleared by 07:38.
Were these faults connected to the
accident two weeks earlier? In a way
that’s possible - having experienced
such a serious fault, the signal checkers
were no doubt particularly diligent and
they had also been delayed starting
their job. Being the last step in the
process, it’s the testers that get the

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Partially complete platforms.

Three projects
in concrete
he Wessex Capacity Alliance (WCA) is responsible for an £800 million The existing viaduct arrangement
investment to provide extra capacity on services to and from London consisted of three separate parallel
Waterloo. Most of the work is centred around Waterloo itself, with decks with gaps between them. The
additional work at key outlying stations. original proposal was to construct two
further, structurally independent, decks
Three aspects of the upgrade project, on the approach viaduct which was to infill the gaps and provide continuity
which make a significant use of concrete, installed for the introduction of the for carrying the new track layout. These
are described in outline here. When international services. It is a very carefully additional decks would have required a
complete, they will have used nearly considered series of structures, which further 65 piles to carry them, the piling
2,100 tonnes of in-situ concrete and threaded the new international tracks itself being an immensely complex part
570 tonnes of pre-cast concrete units to above busy streets, over the existing of the whole work, having to take place
create the new facilities that will provide Waterloo masonry arches and with with only five metres of headroom under
the additional passenger capacity. It is piled foundations avoiding London the existing viaduct, needing to avoid
worth noting that, had it not been for Underground infrastructure and many many services and requiring disruptive
an imaginative approach to the design utility services. road closures.
on one of these projects, the quantity of Mott MacDonald, one of the design Some thorough value engineering
concrete required would have been even consultants for the structural aspects generated an ingenious alternative
greater. of the work at Waterloo, had been the proposal. Could infill decking be
independent checker of the original designed such that it would act
Approach viaduct terminal in 1992. This was to prove very integrally with the existing decking? If
A crucial stage in the redevelopment useful in developing the alterations it could be shown that this was feasible
of Waterloo station to provide the extra needed to the approach viaduct. structurally, then there would be no
capacity needed was the refurbishment
of Platforms 20 to 24, the former
International Terminal, which had been Placing C-section units.
largely out of use since November 2007.
Convertion of this part of the station for
use by domestic services would need an
operationally more flexible track layout
on the approach to the platforms to
permit up to 18 trains per hour in and
out of these five platforms, compared to
the six per hour capacity in the days of
It gets more complicated. The
optimal track layout for this new service
capacity and flexibility would not ‘fit’

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


The connection between the new and

Steel fixing deck. the existing decking, by reinforcement
bar lapping, was designed to minimise
the amount of edge demolition required.
The design for the new decking infills
and for the bearings both required
complex finite element analyses. These
had to consider many different loading
situations, according to the position
of the live train loads, for which four
different situations were analysed with
associated vertical and horizontal loads
(traction, braking, centrifugal and nosing)
in addition to all the usual structural load
parameters to be considered.
Two hydro robots were used for
exposing the reinforcement in the areas
where the lapping was to be carried
need for the new piles, which would was also established. Soil investigation out. 1,050 tonnes of C40/50 concrete
generate a significant saving in time, and pile loading test results from the was used for the infill slabs, with a CIIIA
construction risk and cost. original work in the early 1990s were mix with shrinkage reducing admixture,
Some further slight modifications were invaluable in completing an assessment to reduce the risk of cracks in the dry
made to the proposed track layout in of the substructure’s capacity. Even joints.
order to minimise the longitudinal extent with that information, it was essential The collaborative approach to this work
of deck infills needed. Many different to carry out accurate modelling of the between the Wessex Capacity Alliance
loading combinations were analysed to soil-structure interaction to confirm that partners produced a very effective
confirm the design. It was found that, the reuse of the existing substructure was solution to the modification of the
under certain combinations, the existing feasible with the new loading conditions. approach viaduct with estimated savings
bearings would be overstressed, or Having confirmed that this was possible, of 17 weeks in the construction period,
unsuitable in other ways, for their new the design for the new arrangement 1,480 tonnes of CO2 and £5 million in
loading conditions, so would have to be consisted of the partial demolition of the cost. This work was completed during
replaced. edges of the existing viaduct slabs, the 2016 in preparation for the temporary use
Confirmation that the existing modification of the structural articulation, of Platforms 20 to 24 during the major
substructure of piles, pile caps and leaf and the casting of new in-situ concrete closure of the other side of the station in
piers could take the new loading patterns infill slabs to join the existing decks. August 2017.

Tie-in steel.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Works to Platforms 7 and 8 necessitated

breaking out a three-metre-wide section
of arch to allow for the construction of
the new lift shaft, which would affect
the existing thrust flow. As the removed
section would be small when considering
the overall width of the viaduct, it is
possible that the thrust would have
However, arches are complex and
difficult to analyse and the WCA designed
structural elements to provide a defined
and alternative thrust path to ensure
that the stability of the arches was not
compromised. These elements are the
new in-situ reinforced concrete walls of the
Concrete pumping from the access road. lift shaft and a transfer beam keyed into
Atlantis is visible in the rear. the pier. Strain gauges installed on the
new concrete elements confirmed that the
thrust was now taken through them.
Platform rebuilding and extension Kingspan sacrificial shuttering units The in-situ part of the lift shaft is
Rebuilding and extension works were used to form the new platform constructed up to the level of the arch
to provide capacity for 10-car trains decking and, all the in-situ concrete, intrados. Once the three-metre length of
on Platforms 1 to 8 at Waterloo was another 750 tonnes of C32/40 the arch had been demolished to make
completed this August. This work specification, was again pumped to way for the lift shaft, four pre-cast units
had to be achieved in a very intensive create the mesh-reinforced slabs. were installed above the in situ work to
construction period during the recent 24 complete the shaft. The in-situ part of the
day closure of the whole east side of the New lift shaft at Vauxhall station new shaft did all the arch propping and
station. Vauxhall station is the first station after so no temporary works were needed for
There were six key elements for the leaving Waterloo and has four island overall stability. The pre-cast units were
success of this whirlwind installation: platforms built atop a long masonry arch made by Shay Murtagh and the work will
»» The use of pre-cast concrete units to the viaduct. be completed in 2018.
fullest extent possible; Congestion relief on Platforms 7 and 8 Generating extra capacity from
»» Specification of rapid hardening is needed and the WCA is constructing Waterloo station is an enormously
concrete for the platform wall an additional set of stairs at the country complex programme involving all
foundations; end of these platforms. To accommodate engineering disciplines, of which concrete
»» In-situ concrete placement by pumping; these stairs it is necessary to relocate the engineering is perhaps the least well-
»» Delivery of pre-cast units by rail; lift shaft. known but vital part of this work. 2,700
»» Placement of platform units by Road- The existing station viaduct structure tonnes of new concrete used in the
Rail Vehicles (RRVs); relies on continuity and buttressing for Waterloo completed approach viaduct
»» The use of sacrificial shuttering for structural stability. The horizontal thrust at and platform works, with more required
the platform reinforced concrete slab the spring line from one arch is balanced for forthcoming Vauxhall lift shaft works,
decking. by forces from the adjacent arches. demonstrate this in no small measure.
A total of 161 pre-cast ‘C’ section
platform wall units, manufactured from
C45/55 concrete and each 2.5 metres Casting platform strip foundations.
in length, weighing 2.2 tonnes and with
an associated over-sail unit weighing
1.1 tonnes, were delivered to the site
by engineering train and unloaded and
positioned using RRVs.
To permit the various stages of the
work to follow one another as closely
as possible, a rapid hardening C32/40
concrete specification was used for the
wall foundations, with a required strength
of 20MPa gained in only two hours. The
140 tonnes of in-situ concrete for the
foundations was all placed by pumping,
up to 75 metres distance, from a delivery
point just outside the station.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


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Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

Chipping Sodbury Tunnel

A saturated environment

hipping Sodbury
tunnel is situated to
the east of Bristol
Parkway station on
the Paddington to Cardiff Great
Western main line (GWML).
The 2.5-mile long tunnel was
opened in 1902, ensuring that
the main line to South Wales
would run under, and not impact
on, the picturesque Badminton
estate that is located above. The
only evidence of the tunnel’s
existence at ground level is a
row of six elegant Grade 2-listed
ventilation shafts which have
been tastefully designed to add
character to the surrounding

The tunnel was one of the last major The dilemma for the engineer who Electrification
railway tunnels to be built in the UK on is trying to resolve this problem is that Mott MacDonald was invited by Network
the classic mainline network. It has also pumping water out into local streams and Rail to analyse and prioritise these flooding
acquired an unenviable reputation for rivers usually means that the water goes hotspots and develop outline schemes
frequent flooding, causing passenger and on a short trip through the local strata for improvement. Chipping Sodbury
freight trains to be cancelled or diverted and then re-emerges in the tunnel or the was identified as the second highest
on a regular basis. approaching cuttings. It is like an aqua/ priority closely behind Cowley Bridge in
The reason this flooding has become such water roundabout. It is exasperating for Exeter (issue113, March 2014 and issue
a regular occurrence is due to the fact that train operators and a daunting challenge 100, February 2013), where currently two
the tunnel was constructed through an area for engineers responsible for keeping the schemes are being developed.
known as an aquifer and, as a consequence, tunnel open. Many local initiatives and schemes
it has been a nightmare for railway have been tried out in the past, but with
maintenance engineers over the decades. Impact on the environment only marginal success. However, with the
Given the significant volumes of water imminent introduction of the electrification
Water-bearing permeable rock involved, Network Rail continues to work of the main line from Paddington to
An aquifer, as readers may well be aware, very closely with the Environment Agency Cardiff it has been decided that it is time
is an underground layer of water-bearing in designing a scheme for the tunnel and to challenge nature and sort this perennial
permeable rock. While aquifers can occur its surroundings. problem out once and for all.
at varying depths below the surface, those Also, the Chipping Sodbury project
closer to the surface are not only more is one of a number of schemes under Dissipating water
likely to be used for water supply and the Department for Transport’s Flood Phil Morton, Network Rail’s project
irrigation but are also topped up whenever Resilience Programme. This £26.5 manager for the tunnel’s flood alleviation
there is local rainfall. million programme was established after scheme, explained the details of the work
In the case of Chipping Sodbury tunnel, extreme weather in 2012 and 2014 caused now being carried out. He emphasised
whenever there is rainfall, huge amounts extensive disruption to the rail network. that the focus was on finding a more
of water gravitate toward the tunnel area. The aim of the programme is to reduce effective way of dissipating the water and,
If the rainfall is significant, springs can the risk of flooding at key locations in therefore, dramatically reducing the need
emerge through the track ballast and both the Thames Valley and the South to close the tunnel.
the brick lining within the tunnel. On one West and to ensure that, when flooding The original plan was to carry out part of
occasion, the volume of water entering the does occur, train services can be resumed the work during two weekend blockades
tunnel was measured at 2.5 cubic metres at a quicker rate, reducing disruption for but, as the GWML Electrification project
per second. passengers. emerged, opportunity was taken to

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


piggyback on a 28-day blockade that

started on 19 August and lasted until 15
September. The work already planned
included extension to platforms at
Bristol Parkway, installing electrification
equipment in Chipping Sodbury and
Alderton tunnels as well as piling for
electrification masts throughout the route.
In November 2016, AMCO was awarded
a £2.5 million contract to carry out certain
elements of the proposed scheme and
Arup was also invited to develop detailed
design work to support the scheme. As
Philip explained, the first phase of work
carried out in this blockade was completed
successfully and it entailed installing
a 22-metre long cross drain, using
1.2-metre outside-diameter high-density
polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipe, 3.5
metres below sleeper bottom at the west
end of the tunnel. The pipe has a capacity alongside short sections of the main line. This old brick culvert has a flat, 700mm-
of 866 litres per second. The path of this cross drain is designed to wide base with a 900mm span to the crown
intercept the Up and Down cess drains. of the culvert arch. Significant volumes of
Old brick culvert This wasn’t such a problem, but there is water are carried out of the tunnel by this
Before the pipe could be installed, also an old brick culvert that runs through structure to the local Kingrove River, so any
two sidings had to be removed. Also, the tunnel along the six-foot, at a shallower interference with this structure could pose
temporary bridging structures were depth than that proposed for the cross a significant risk.
installed to support cables and services drain.
Resin and hot water
The culvert needed to be removed
to enable the new cross drain to be
installed. First, CCTV cameras were used
to determine the state of the culvert and
resin saturated lining tubes were installed
into the piping. The resin was then cured
using hot water, thus securing both ends of
a three-metre section.
Water flowing down the culvert was
pumped into a lagoon located in the
Up cess from a manhole adjacent to
the three-metre section that was to be
removed. The section was then taken out
and the formation was excavated down
to 4.5 metres, requiring the removal of
approximately 2,000 tonnes of material.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


The plastic pipe for the new cross drain

was then positioned on carefully prepared
and consolidated ground.
A new three-metre precast concrete
trough and arched lid was installed to
replace the brick culvert. It was sealed and
waterproofed before backfilling with pea
shingle, 6F5 aggregate and ballast, and
then reinstating the track.

Volume increase by eight

All this was completed successfully, ready
for the next stages of the work. As already
stated, the new cross drain, which now
receives water from the Up and Down
cess drains, flows into a lagoon situated
in the Up cess. The volume of this lagoon
is going to be increased eight times, so
that it will be able to store 11 million litres
of water, the equivalent of four and a half
times an Olympic swimming pool.
To create this significantly enlarged
sump, a large amount of spoil will have
to be removed which will involve 26 spoil
trains, the equivalent of more than 1,000
lorry movements. The work is planned to
start in November this year and, weather
permitting, will be completed by February The water running through the brick clear expectation that the result will be
2018. culvert in the six-foot will continue to do a considerable amount of additional
In addition, two new canister pumping so and it will discharge straight into the resilience built into the infrastructure.
stations will be constructed, each with an Kingrove stream. This will reduce the However, given the effects of climate
inlet diameter of around 7.5 metres and an amount of times the pumps cut in and out, change and the ever-changing state of
outlet of four metres. One will be situated therefore saving on energy, efficiency and the countryside, work like this is essential
at the outlet of the new cross drain and maintenance. However, there is a feedback just to maintain current levels of flooding
will have the capacity to suck 1,000 litres from the culvert into the new cross drain occurrences.
of water per second. The second pump, that can be used to prevent water backing Having said that, it does feel that Philip
which will have a lower capacity, will be at up back into the tunnel when weather and his team are going to make significant
the outlet of the lagoon into the Kingrove conditions are extreme. improvements to a location that has been
stream and will be used to pump water the bane of many a railway engineer’s
into the river system only when the local A headache for previous engineers life over past generations. It is also an
terrain is able to cope with the capacity. All of this work will not guarantee that essential improvement that will help to
It is expected that this work will be the route will never be closed in future keep train services running from London to
completed by May 2018. because of flooding, but there is a Cardiff through Bristol Parkway.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


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Best laid plans

idden by the big-bang schemes that commanded Until recently, the wedge of land on its south (Down) side
everyone’s attention through August was a routine track between the road and the railway had been retained by a wall 18
realignment at Moses Gate, a district to the south-east metres long. Beyond this, a similar length of slope was battered
of Bolton. The job, which added another piece to the back and soil-nailed in 2015. Since around that time, water had
sprawling jigsaw of the Great North Rail Project, involved clearing been recorded coming through both the wall and adjacent
a short section of the Manchester-Preston route for electrification bridge abutment, causing track maintenance issues. United
and 100mph running. Utilities conducted tests to determine the source; these proved
inconclusive, but it was reported that no leaks could be found from
The work had been planned as part of a blockade which shut the water main that crosses the bridge under the pavement on the
the southern end of the line from Saturday 12 August to Monday east side.
28 August (a bank holiday), the sharpest focus being on platform,
track, signalling and overhead line works at Bolton station.

Don’t hold back

From Farnworth, three-quarters of a mile to the southeast, the
railway passes through a cutting on its approach to Moses Gate
station. Immediately before the platforms is an overbridge -
replaced in 1968 - carrying the main A6053 Bolton Road and part
of its junction with the A575. The structure is skewed by 55 degrees
and, as a result, extends for some 35 metres.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


A trestle was erected to temporarily prop the bridge deck.

The retaining wall after demolition.


Nevertheless, this had become enough
of a problem for a remediation scheme
to be pushed forward as part of the
enabling works for electrification. Network
Rail contracted the Buckingham Group
to deliver it, the firm having previously
delivered platform works at Moses Gate.
The intention was to remove the Down
line, install new drainage and dig out
the wet bed associated with the water
ingress. Both tracks would be slewed, the
Up by 100mm and the Down by 150mm its removal to prevent any risk of it falling By this stage, it was already clear that the
to resolve a gauging issue caused by the onto those below. But at eight o’clock retaining wall would have to be removed
retaining wall which, to assist further, would that evening, the decision was taken to so the process of designing a solution
have its brickwork scabbled back over withdraw the workforce on safety grounds. got underway immediately. Plans started
a distance of about five metres. At the Whilst this was the only tenable option, it to emerge during Monday 14th August,
station, the platform copings also had to came with the potential for repercussions led by consultants Tony Gee and Partners
be reset to follow the new track alignment. at other sites along the line. from their offices in Manchester and Hong
During the following Monday night, the Kong, an approach that ensured continuity
Critical path blockade plan required six engineering of effort around the clock.
To ensure the stability of the retaining trains to pass through Moses Gate on On the morning of Thursday 17th, the
wall was not affected by the drainage the Down line to service Amey Sersa site team emailed United Utilities to
works, excavations were limited to S&C renewals in Bolton. Fortunately, no express concern at the volume of water
300mm below sleeper level. In addition, more movement of the retaining wall was coming from the abutment. An initial
arrangements were put in place to monitor recorded in the 24 hours after work was requirement was to excavate material from
the wall every two hours. On the first suspended; this allowed ballast to be behind its southeast corner; as part of
Saturday afternoon - with good progress tipped at the toe - thus resisting any further this process, the buried services crossing
being made - signs of movement were movement - whilst some of the brickwork the bridge had to be exposed. With the
recorded. This became significant over defects were stitched and grouted. tarmac removed, progress was made using
a six-hour period, with the wall being Thereafter, the Down line was relaid and a Vac-Ex suction system. At around 16:45,
pushed towards the track by 140mm. slewed into the six-foot by 160mm in order a water main - passing a couple of metres
The southernmost section of bridge to maintain the correct gauge. The trains from where the work was taking place -
parapet cracked and slipped, prompting passed through safely at 5mph. burst suddenly.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


(Above) The first concrete arrives.

(Left) Formwork is assembled for the abutment repair.

Now what?
The dismantling of the retaining wall continued in tandem with
the excavation at the southeast corner of the bridge abutment.
The team’s expectation - based on the construction drawings - was
that concrete fill had been poured behind the abutment wall - a
four-feet thick masonry structure - to help support the deck slab.
However, it became increasingly apparent that there was no
concrete: the load was largely being carried by the stonework.
Although investigations revealed the abutment’s condition
elsewhere to be generally good, this discovery added a substantial
new element to the design and site works - the requirement to
stabilise that corner of the bridge. In all likelihood, it was this
that pushed the programme beyond the blockade’s end-date of
Full flow Monday 28 August, partly resulting from the need to erect a trestle
Within half-an-hour, 140 metres of railway looked more like a - blocking the Down line - to temporarily prop the deck. Recovery
canal. The influx of water from the lower part of the abutment was from the burst water main was well in hand and could probably
now considerable, whilst significant quantities were also being have been finished on time.
discharged from weep holes cored by the team through the
retaining wall to relieve the pressure. As new paths were created, Moving forward
longitudinal fractures opened in the brick and stonework; a Whilst the rest of us were enjoying an uncharacteristically
movement of 240mm was recorded and a large bulge developed. pleasant August Bank Holiday Monday, staff from Network
Mud was deposited on the track, washed out from behind the wall Rail and Buckingham were getting to grips with the abutment
where a void was created. reconstruction. Having dismantled a section of the masonry wall
The main road had to be closed and local residents were left approximately four metres in length, formwork was assembled in
without water until the early hours of the following morning. advance of the following day’s first concrete delivery from Hanson.
Although the supply to the main was quickly turned off, difficulties Once poured and cured, the process was repeated, building up in
with a valve meant the flow did not fully stop until Saturday three lifts of 1.5 metres to meet the bridge deck. By the end of the
afternoon - to address this, pumping equipment had to be week, this task was complete.
brought in. To replace the retaining wall, five precast concrete cylinders, 2.5
Despite the depth of the inundation, the water had gone from metres in diameter, were assembled in an excavation at the toe of
the railway within 24 hours - testament to the efficacy of the new the cutting slope and filled with concrete. A sixth may be installed
drainage. However it had caused the tracks to lift, meaning they as part of the permanent design, which is still being developed.
would have to be re-laid before a 100mph train service could be The railway was then cleared, allowing Buckingham to restore and
introduced. tamp the tracks on the new 100mph alignment.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Services between Manchester and Bolton All together now the main road was regularly travelled.
resumed on Wednesday 6 September, Work continues on site, but the Ongoing dialogue with the Council
albeit with a 20mph speed restriction immediate priority - getting passengers on ensures all parties share a common
imposed through the site. This was soon the move again - has been accomplished. purpose; there is a clear intent to get the
raised to 50mph, first on the Up line - on The water main is being diverted to job done as quickly as possible.
7 September - and on the Down the the other side of the bridge, but this is But this is the nature of unpredictable
following day. The tracks will need to be complicated by the shallow depth of events - they pose challenges that
renewed before 100mph running can cover available. Partly as a result, it cannot are rarely quick to resolve: design,
be introduced. Trains started serving yet be confirmed when the highway will procurement, logistics, manpower. All
Moses Gate station again on Monday 11 be reopened for vehicular use. Provision these have tested the team from Network
September after Story Contracting had for pedestrian access has been in place Rail and Buckingham as an everyday task
attended to reinstate the copings and throughout. Obviously, the disruption escalated first into a local difficulty, then
platform surfaces. impacts both on locals and those for whom an emergency situation. They were helped
out by the staff from Story, who would
otherwise have been dealing with the
platform copings, and a UPAC piling team,
redeployed from a site near Farnworth
Tunnel. More hands make lighter work.
As is so often the case, the railway really
comes together when it’s up against it.

Thanks to Olivia Boland, Network Rail’s

scheme project manager, for her help with
this article.

Editor’s comment
This article by Graeme Bickerdike
brings back memories.
When I started work with British
Rail in 1968 as a booking clerk at
Pendleton Broad St, my home town
of Bolton was beyond the 8 miles

39 chains limit for a residential free

pass. I therefore had to get a pass to
Moses Gate, which was only 8 miles
24 chains, and then walk home. 
Happy days!
David Shirres

The precast concrete cylinders installed.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017




Partly constructed tunnel collapse paralyses European rail freight network

PHOTO: KEITH FENDER SBB Cargo Class 482 TRAXX locos haul a freight train over the route in September 2016.

round lunchtime on Saturday 12 August, groundwater broke into one of eastern bore of the new tunnels under
two new high-speed rail tunnels under construction for German Railways Rastatt that suffered the collapse in mid-
(DB) just south of the German town of Rastatt, situated on the very busy August 2017.
Karlsruhe to Basel main line used by up to 200 freight and another 150+
passenger services daily - the busiest double track main line anywhere in Europe. Project and financing
The new 16km long Rastatt avoiding
By sheer bad luck, the tunnel collapse Reconstruction of the 182km section line, designed for 250km/h operation,
happened at the only point the new of main line from Karlsruhe to Basel on is under construction from just north of
4.27km long tunnels cross under the the eastern side of the Rhine in Germany Durmersheim Nord on one of two existing
existing line and significant earth into a four track railway, with 250km/h fast lines from Karlsruhe to Rastatt with two
movement on the surface resulted. The passenger lines and two more tracks for new high speed tracks built to the east
existing line suffered deformation for freight (and regional passenger trains), of the existing line parallel with the new
around 150 metres and had to be closed had been an objective for German B36 road (which was built in 2007). The
immediately. DB’s network planners had Railways since the 1980s. However, northern ground alignment for the new
never expected such an event and, as a despite the 1996 agreement with railway was prepared at the same time as
result, all the other routes from Germany Switzerland, no new funding was provided the new road was built.
to Switzerland were closed due to by the German Government until 2003. The new line will then pass beneath the
engineering and electrification work. So The Rotterdam to Genoa corridor – of town of Rastatt in a new 4.27km twin-bore
the only diversionary routes for up to 200 which the line forms a major part, was tunnel, which has been under construction
freight trains a day involved neighbouring identified as a priority by the EU in the using TBMs since May 2016 when work on
France or a much longer route via Austria! 1980s. By 2017, several sections have the east (now damaged) bore began; work
been completed, others had construction on the west bore began in September
Background agreed or underway, although the middle 2016.
In September 1996, the Swiss and part of the route is still being hotly The tunnels start just north of the town
German governments signed an debated! ending at Rastatt Süd (Rastatt South),
agreement in Locarno. Germany At the northern end of the Karlsruhe around 5km north of the city of Baden
committed to providing more and better to Basel route, a new 16km two-track Baden, where the new line will join the
capacity for freight traffic destined for the 250km/h line is being built to avoid the rebuilt four-track line to Offenburg, which
then planned, now built, Lötschberg and town of Rastatt, where the existing line has been in operation since 2004. Planning
Gotthard base tunnels under the Alps in has permanent speed restrictions caused permission for the Rastatt avoiding line
Switzerland, which had been approved in by curves and junctions with multiple was granted in 1998 but the €693 million
1992. other lines at Rastatt station. It was the financing package was only agreed in

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017



DB ICE3 Approaching Rastatt station.

Tunnel technicalities
»» TBMs - Herrenknecht Mixed Shield
machines S-953 “Wilhelmine” and
S-954 “Sibylla-Augusta”;
»» Power rating - TBM 4,500kW, cutter
head 1,920kW;
»» Weight - 2,300 tonnes;
»» Length - 93 metres;
»» Cost - €36 million (two TBMs);
»» Outer diameter - cutter head 10.94
»» Inner diameter (completed tunnel) -
9.6 metres;
»» Concrete segments - Seven two-metre-
Siemens Vectron locomotives are not approved to run in France. long concrete segments per ring of
tunnel lining; 30,000 in total (both
2012. The Rastatt avoiding line section was The Rhine is around seven kilometres »» Tunnel length - 4.27km;
planned to open in 2022 although, with the west from Rastatt and underground rivers »» Tunnel depth below ground - max 20
delay caused by the tunnel collapse, this is flowing into the Rhine are a feature of the metres, min 4 metres;
now in doubt. local geology, as is the presence of ground »» Two bores - connected by eight
water, especially in the sandy sediments emergency cross passages every 500
Tunnelling where it is found up to 10 metres below metres;
The tunnels are being constructed at a ground. »» Material to be excavated and processed
cost of €312 million by special purpose DB and its engineers are very - 710,000 cubic metres;
organisation Arbeitsgemeinschaft (ARGE) experienced in tunnel construction in »» Tunnel construction railway - 900mm
TunnelRastatt comprising technical sandy areas where there is a high water gauge with seven works locos (Schöma
tunnelling specialism provided by table - much of the work undertaken since CFL180DCL/ CFL200DCL) and one
Stuttgart-based Ed.Züblin AG (owned German re-unification in Berlin (including Schöma CEL60 battery loco for rescue
by Austrian civil engineering group Berlin Hauptbahnhof) has been in similar train.
Strabag) and overall project management conditions. Sources Herrenknecht / DB AG
provided by German civil engineering firm
Hochtief AG. Herrenknecht supplied the Tunnelling approach
two TBMs to ARGE TunnelRastatt for the Due to the local geology and
project. German national rail infrastructure the presence of groundwater and
manager DB Netze is the customer. underground rivers, the tunnel’s builders
had opted for TBMs rather than other
Geology methods. To enable the TBM to operate
The tunnels are being built in sedimentary in the area, and in locations where it
rock that is geologically ‘recent’. The would be running close to the surface,
strata consists of Tertiary and more recent the ground to be tunnelled through was
Quaternary sediments and alluvial deposits being stabilised in advance of the TBM by
(sand, silt and gravel based) - the top layers being frozen, using either brine or liquid
of which were left as the glaciers retreated nitrogen, and injected with cement-based
at the end of the most recent Ice Age grouting prior to tunnelling.
which, along with the river itself, created the The TBMs utilise a mixed shield - part
flat, wide Rhine valley between the Black of which is pressurised and which can
Forest on the German side and the Vosges withstand groundwater in the rock being
mountains in France. excavated to a pressure of 15 Bar. Ground

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


The damage to the track can be clearly seen as concrete is pumped into the tunnel below. PHOTO: DB

freezing and sprayed shotcrete concrete is The collapse and aftermath The section which failed was only around
being used to excavate the cross passages The new tunnel section that collapsed five metres deep at the point of collapse,
between the two tunnel tubes. was around 50 metres long and the leading to major earth movement on
Watertight concrete troughs, built in collapse occurred after water entered the the surface which, in turn, lead to serious
2014/2015, form cuttings 800 and 895 eastern bore just behind the TBM shield / deformation of a 150-metre long section
metres long at either end of the tunnel cutter head and caused a section of the of the main line railway directly above the
being built by the TBMs; the work at newly constructed but not yet fully lined void where the tunnel had been.
both ends involved open excavation and tunnel to fail. Nobody was injured and
construction, some of it underwater due remote sensors above ground detected Immediate response
to ground water levels. The concrete the collapse which led to signals being From 12 August onwards, DB Netze with
troughs /cuttings are designed to prevent set to danger on the railway line above its contractors undertook work to stabilise
groundwater flooding into the completed - by good fortune no train was passing the underground construction site.
tunnel at either portal - from their mass as the hole opened up under the track! The void under the track was filled with
and length they are designed to exert The front of the TBM itself was actually concrete to plug the tunnel and protect
enough pressure on any water present to approximately 50 metres beyond the the nearly four kilometres of completed
retain it in surrounding soil and rock rather location of the main damage above- tunnel to the north. To minimise risk to
than entering the tunnels. ground. local inhabitants, some were initially

Filling the tunnel bore.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Removing the damaged railway. PHOTO: DB

required to leave their homes near the Preparing for reinstatement so stabilising the site and allowing the
tunnel construction site. A 160-metre long Once the site was stabilised, DB Netze reopening of the railway above despite the
section from the plug to the TBM was had to quickly plan and organise how to damaged tunnel remaining underneath.
then filled with 10,500 cubic metres of reopen the railway and enable the tunnel This required 1,100 cubic metres of
concrete; an operation that took 150 hours construction to be completed. A section concrete delivered in 130 truckloads to the
of continuous concrete pouring and was of the existing main line was removed site.
completed on 25 August. - around 2,500 tonnes of ballast and Despite the precise cause of the August
Initial assessment of the damage earth plus all rails, 400 sleepers and OLE failure not yet being established, DB has
suggested that the ground-freezing equipment. decided to take no chances with a repeat
system failed for the section under the DB then constructed a 120-metre long, of the August incident and a second,
existing railway. What caused this has yet 15-metre wide, one-metre deep concrete similar slab will be built 150 metres north
to be confirmed, although hot summer slab on which to place the existing ground to cover the area where the western bore
weather, coupled with heavy rain, has been level railway. This will act, effectively, as a will pass under the railway. Having been
suggested as the likely cause. bridge over the eastern bore tunnel route, paused after the 12 August incident,

Arrangement once the track is replaced over the concrete 'bridge'.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Constructing the concrete slab ‘bridge’ on which the railway would be relaid. PHOTO: DB

tunnelling for the western bore resumed DB’s immediate options to divert freight modern Bombardier Traxx or Siemens
during the first week of September. At traffic on its own network were, in fact, Eurosprinter/Vectron locomotives. Whilst
that point, it was around 800 metres severely limited by existing pre-planned some Traxx can operate in France, many
north of the point it will cross under the closures on both of the other electrified of those in regular use between Germany
existing railway - it was expected to pass routes from Germany to Switzerland and Switzerland may not be fitted
underneath before Christmas 2017. and parts of the non electrified route via with the necessary French safety and
After the two slabs have cured, the railway Lindau - all for engineering work. signalling systems. Siemens Eurosprinter/
will be rebuilt on top of them, enabling the Some of this work was curtailed once Vectron locomotives are not approved for
line to re-open. Initially, in mid-August, DB the scale of the Rastatt problem became use in France.
had suggested the closure might be around clear; the electrified Stuttgart-Singen- SBB, working together with DB Cargo,
two weeks but, ten days after the collapse, Schaffhausen route being made available introduced a freight shuttle service
announced that the line will re-open on 2 in early September - sooner than linking the major marshalling yards
October 2017. previously planned. Initially, in mid-August, in Stuttgart and Zürich and, by mid
The eastern bore TBM is actually DB had suggested the closure might be September, announced they would
around 50 metres beyond where the around two weeks but, ten days after the operate up to 116 trains on this corridor
main damage above ground is, and it is collapse, announced that the line would daily; up from 62 a day at the beginning
planned to recover the remains of the remain shut for weeks; with 2 October 2017 of September.
TBM (entombed in concrete) by digging finally confirmed as the reopening date. Many rail freight operators and shippers
it out of the ground. How construction of Rail freight operators, trade bodies have stated their intention to seek
the final section of the eastern bore will and customers have been highly critical compensation for business lost due to
continue remains unclear. The section of both the DB response and the tardy the closure of the line from both DB and,
remaining unbuilt of the eastern tube is offers of neighbouring countries’ railways potentially, the German government.
less than 500 metres - although 160 metres to assist. The low availability of train Private rail freight operators and
of this is now filled with concrete. paths - especially in France, which also customers have also questioned why DB
has a two-track electrified main line on could not have built a temporary, single-
Impact on rail operations the other side of the Rhine - led to major track diversionary route, enabling freight
The existing main line railway above delays for many shippers. trains to pass the tunnel collapse site at
the tunnel workings was closed to all rail After several weeks, Swiss Railways slow speed; it doesn’t appear that DB
traffic on 12 August. Immediately after the (SBB) announced in early September it ever seriously considered this option.
incident, DB said it would offer alternate had agreement to use its own French- Serious questions have also been
paths and routes to the 200-or-so freight speaking drivers in France, although the raised at EU level about the lack
trains routed via Rastatt daily and would number permitted to operate there was of suitable diversionary routes and
consider the use of road transport on limited. the lack of adequate cooperation
parallel motorways or shipping some The majority of freight trains on the between neighbouring national railway
freight on the River Rhine where viable. Karlsruhe-Basel route are operated by infrastructure managers.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

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Bridging the gap

at Kenilworth

n 2016, construction work got underway at Kenilworth to create Through the eye of a needle
a new station building, platforms and a footbridge as part of an Graham Construction, a family-owned company with a proud
ambitious integrated transport system. For many years, residents heritage dating back to the eighteenth century, was appointed
in the Warwickshire town had lobbied hard for a new railway principal contractor and is currently on site. The project involves
station following the closure and demolition of the old facility in the construction of new platforms, a new station building, cycle
1965. Since then, the population of Kenilworth has increased by 50 sheds, two lift shafts and a footbridge. Additionally, a car park and
per cent and today it is home to more than 24,000 people. bus stop/turning facility will be provided.
The new facility is located on the site where the previous station
once stood. Although the original station was demolished, the
original footbridge and public right of way have remained in
place ever since. This existing footbridge will be carefully restored
and re-furbished as part of the works while an additional bridge,
this one including lifts for better accessibility, has recently been
A 500-tonne crane was used to install the footbridge, which
spans 16 metres between supports and weighs 13 tonnes, within
an eight-hour weekend possession on Saturday 8 July between
00:30 and 08:40. A further three five-hour possessions were utilised
during midweek possessions to install the precast units which form
In 2013, following intricate negotiations, Warwickshire County the two lift shafts.
Council confirmed that a new station would at last be built.
Working closely with Network Rail, it was agreed that the facility,
situated on the rail route between Leamington Spa and Coventry
and very close to Kenilworth’s town centre, would receive a new
hourly train service - enabling connections at Coventry to and from
the north of the county, Birmingham and London and connections
from Leamington Spa to London and the Thames Valley.
The local authority anticipates that the new station will boost the
local economy, providing access to jobs, education and leisure
opportunities within the town.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Although that all sounds fairly routine,

it was actually a complex operation
described by the project team as,
“threading the eye of a needle having
one eye shut and standing on one leg”.
This is because the new bridge span,
had to be manoeuvred up and over the
existing bridge, avoiding local residential
housing only metres away from one of the
In total, some five bridge segments
were installed over the course of these
possessions, as were 16 concrete lift shaft
segments, the heaviest of which weighed Recent projects undertaken by Jonathan has a design and build contract for the
in at 10.5 tonnes and was lifted at a radius and his team include the £11.2 million widening of Lea Bridge overbridge in the
of 49 metres. design, enabling works and build of a new London Borough of Walthamstow.
Outside of footbridge possession works, M32 bus only junction and bus lane for The team has also recently been
the Graham team is progressing well with South Gloucestershire Council, and civils appointed to replace the Bellenden and
the wider project. All piled foundations are works for Network Rail on the Wales Route Westdown Road bridges and complete
installed, platform beams and slabs are Plan framework which were undertaken on structural works to the existing River
in position, the station building is in the live railway infrastructure. Medway bridge on behalf of Network Rail.
process of being erected and the car park The team also completed the The installation of new vehicle protection
works are underway. £21 million A138 Chelmer viaduct barriers at Reading station have also
replacement - a project that was recently been completed.
Complex projects completed at the end of 2016, following In fact, over the last 12 months, the
Graham has a team of over 2,000 the successful delivery of the £9.5 million company has also been appointed to
talented and highly qualified individuals Tennison Road bridge (pictured above two major frameworks with Network Rail
who deliver innovative and value-adding and below) replacement scheme in Wales Route (civil engineering planned
services and projects across a wide variety Croydon on behalf of Network Rail. works framework) and a five-year London
of sectors. Graham’s rail division is currently leading Underground station works improvement
Rail contracts director Jonathan Kerr, who the design and build of a project at Marsh programme.
was appointed earlier this year, is a highly Barton where the company has been
experienced and widely respected civil commissioned to design and build a new Doing things differently
engineering professional who has worked railway station on behalf of Devon County Jonathan knows that there can be no
on a variety of complex infrastructure Council. In addition, the company is greater testament to the work delivered
projects, primarily consisting of rail, strengthening a railway embankment and than positive feedback received from
bridges, highways and marine. retaining wall at Pontypridd, in Wales and customers. A good example is a recent

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


comment from Devon County Council’s chief engineer, Keith Graham is no stranger when it comes to addressing missing
Dentith, who stated: “Graham is a fantastic business - a very links in major projects. The company’s work on the iconic Samuel
knowledgeable team and incredibly accommodating. Their pre- Beckett Bridge in Dublin was ‘Highly Commended’ at the 2011 BCI
work engagement and planning work so far on the Marsh Barton Awards while regional stakeholders and industry commentators
railway station project has been exemplary and it is clear to see described its work on the M1/M2/Westlink upgrades in Belfast as
that their wider industry experience and knowledge from other “exceptional”.
sectors adds huge value. I couldn’t be more pleased with the Although the new footbridge and station development at
company’s contribution.” Kenilworth is not the biggest and most challenging of Graham’s
“We try to think, act and behave differently,” Jonathan projects, the assignment will certainly give the company an
commented. “We believe that we need to offer support that adds opportunity to showcase its experience and expertise within the
value, coming up with new and innovative ways of doing things rail industry.
and making a profitable difference to our customers”.
“I believe that this can be achieved consistently if you work
closely with your customers and stakeholders in the planning Kenilworth station was built by the London and
phases of any project and then maintain that throughout every Birmingham Railway as part of the construction of the
stage of delivery - working together towards a common objective. Coventry to Leamington line and opened for passengers
In my experience, this will often shape and define the way in which on 9 December 1844.
projects are delivered from beginning to end.” The L&BR, which had earlier opened the 112-mile line from
Euston station to Birmingham Curzon Street, merged with the
Strong leadership Grand Junction Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham
Jonathan is now responsible for providing leadership and Railway in 1846 to create the London and North Western
direction to the company’s growing rail division. “I believe that by Railway.
selecting the right people anything is possible and here at Graham The Coventry to Leamington line was doubled over most of its
I have surrounded myself with strong teams who are hardworking length late in the nineteenth century, with only one short section
and committed to making a positive difference to the people we at Gibbet Hill, just outside Kenilworth, remaining as single track.
serve. Kenilworth station was closed in 1965 following the Beeching
“I know that by treating people in the right way we will continue report, and the line singled apart from a passing loop at
to deliver great customer experience and a sustainable service as Kenilworth and the lines leading into the two remaining stations
a consequence. My aim is to build and sustain momentum. My at Coventry and Royal Leamington Spa. Having remained open
approach, which is tried and tested over the last 15 years, is based for goods, the line close completely in 1969 but was reopened
on keeping back office costs low whilst focusing on delivering front in 1977. However, Kenilworth station remained closed and was
line services fantastically well for our growing customer base. demolished shortly afterwards.
“I believe that Graham is a business that offers something
very distinct from what already exists. Together, my team and I Kenilworth station at the end of the nineteenth century.
will approach business growth proactively and opportunistically, PHOTO: WARWICKSHIRERAILWAYS.COM
unlocking opportunities by offering a memorable, outstanding,
unique, service experience and impressing and delighting our
customers. Success in one area will lead to success in others and
this will enable us to sustain growth. I look forward to our journey
together - one which will sustain energy and focus; delivering
safely and delivering well to achieve a positive outcome.”

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

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A dream
becomes reality


n the early hours of Sunday 3 September 2017, a long-held ambition to reinstate
a demolished Great Central Railway bridge across the Midland main line at
Loughborough took a major step forward as the two main beams of a new
bridge were installed after overnight works by contractors.

There are many heritage railways in the access to that freight-only segment was
UK; some small and some with a very constructed as a chord from the Midland
strong presence. One thing they all have main line.
in common is very strong support from A group of enthusiasts was determined
volunteers, usually supported by some to keep the line alive for the running of
paid professionals. main line locomotives. The Main Line
Some of the heritage railways also offer Preservation Group was formed to begin
more than just a nostalgic or scenic trip by the mammoth task of preservation and This early development eventually led to
contributing to the general development restoration and, in 1971, the Main Line the current situation. Volunteers and staff
of railways in the UK. One such is the Great Steam Trust was formed and registered as have re-instated a double track section
Central, effectively occupying the East a charity in order to raise funds through from Loughborough Central to Rothley
Midlands’ remainder of the Great Central covenants. Following that, the Great and opened a single track to Leicester
Railway main line to London. It was closed Central Railway (1976) Ltd was formed to North, having restored the infrastructure
as a through route to London in 1966, raise funds through the sale of shares. on that section.
although the stretch between Nottingham For the northern section, the existence of
and Rugby didn’t close to passengers until freight traffic to the British Gypsum’s works
1969. helped keep the line alive and a similar
effort by the volunteers of Great Central
In two parts Railway - Nottingham (GCRN) ensured the
The Great Central main line crossed the survival of that part of the route.
Midland Railway’s main line just south The two, effectively separate, railways
of Loughborough station on a two track continued to function as heritage routes,
overbridge. On final closure of much though the southern part also began to
of the line, two bridges and a length of develop itself as a commercial test track,
embankment were removed to avoid the able to offer double track 75mph facilities
maintenance liabilities of crossing the busy with a level of access not available on the
Midland route and the two parts of the national system.
Great Central were severed, seemingly for However, the two ‘sides’ were committed
ever. to linking back up. This meant that the five
The northern part of the route survived hundred missing metres of track between
to serve the Ministry of Defence depot them needed to be rebuilt, a project that
at Ruddington and eventually a new became known as ‘Bridging the Gap’.


Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017



Planning the connection

The end result will be eighteen miles
of comparatively high-speed main-line
heritage railway. This will give heritage
locomotives a chance to ‘stretch their legs’
as well as allow suppliers to the modern
railway to test their equipment under
relevant conditions.
Despite the government announcing
work to electrify the Midland main line
north of Kettering has been currently
stopped, Network Rail is still assisting the
heritage line in building the critical new
bridge. A redundant bridge, replaced
during the remodelling of Reading
station, was donated to the cause.
Originally planned to span the Midland
main line, this will now be used as part of
the approach to provide access to local
facilities and reduce the vibration impact
on local properties. As a result, a brand
new bridge would be needed for the main
But before that could happen, much
work was needed.
The project is being managed by FJD Contractors MPB have been on site Meanwhile, Moore Steel of Peterborough
Construction of St. Paul’s Square in since February 2017, constructing the manufactured the bridge deck and
Birmingham on behalf of the Great Central abutments and preparing the site for this delivered the sections to site shortly before
Railway and work has taken place in historic event. MPB Structures, formed installation work was due to commence.
collaboration with Network Rail which has in 1987, is a privately owned company, A 1,000 tonne crane arrived on site on
supported the project and monitored the working on reinforced concrete sub- 24 August, transported in sections and
work to ensure there is no disruption to the and superstructure packages in the civil assembled on site in preparation for the
main line operation. engineering and rail sectors. bridge installation.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017




Finally, all was ready. On the night of

Saturday 2 September, in a moment many
have campaigned for decades to see,
a 1,000 tonne crane installed two steel
beams across the concrete abutments.
The operation to lower the beams started
as soon as possession of the Midland by 60,000 per year. In fact, this is the significant remodelling of the locomotive
main line was granted by Network Rail, at biggest investment in a heritage railway in maintenance area, which currently sits
approximately 23:00, and work continued the UK.” on the old main line Great Central track
throughout the night to be completed by GCR’s CEO, Richard Patching, alignment.
07:00 when the trains started operating commented: “This is an exciting night At the south end of the line, by the site of
again on the main line beneath. for the Great Central Railway. For over the old Belgrave and Birstall station, there
The project is, without doubt, one of 40 years, our supporters and friends are well-developed proposals for a heritage
the most ambitious civil engineering have dreamt of work starting on the centre that will form a heritage trail next to
projects undertaken by a heritage railway. reunification of the line. We hope to the National Space Centre and the historic
When the whole project is complete, the continue raising funds to complete the pumping station in Leicester City.
combined eighteen-mile heritage railway, project and finally join the two railways.
stretching across the East Midlands, will “We would like to thank our many Testing for today
create jobs and drive regeneration through supporters who have enabled us to get to The railway is helped in its financing by
tourism. this stage.”  the provision of test facilities to the rail
At a cost of £2.5 million, this element Phil Stanway, director of GCRN, added: industry. The available line is eight miles
of the ‘Bridging the Gap’ project is the “As this first phase of the reunification long, with shallow gradients and gentle
most complex and has taken a number of project reaches an exciting climax, what curves. It can handle the biggest loads at
years to complete. Funding was provided was once deemed nothing more than a high speed and allows testing at speeds
through a combination of donations dream moves one step closer. The bridge of up to 75mph in a realistic, safe, and
from GCR and GCRN supporters, a £1 installation is testimony to all who have confidential environment.
million grant from the Leicester and contributed so far.” The route includes double and single
Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) With the beams in position, attention will track, over- and under-bridges and a
and £250,000-worth of shares purchased move to the next phase of the gap project, viaduct, so vehicle interfaces with other
by Leicestershire County Council. Several construction of the new bridge deck and rolling stock and infrastructure can be
members of staff from Network Rail also the rail link that will also give the southern observed. Four stations, a sixty-foot
freely gave their time to the community- half of the Great Central access to the turntable, sheds and comprehensive
led scheme. national network. In turn, this will mean mechanical signalling complete the
excursion trains can access the planned picture. Clients include Network Rail and
Plaudits new Heritage Lottery funded rail museum many leading designers of rolling stock.
Nick Pulley, chair of the LLEP said: to be built in Leicester. Rail Engineer will Companies are also using the railway for
“The LLEP Growth Deal has been be keeping an eye on the project to join training. Trainees could not experience a
extremely successful for the Leicester the existing half of the line through to the better outdoor classroom, allowing a real
and Leicestershire area and we are really new bridge. operating experience while apprentices
excited by this unique project which Two rail bridge beams (ex-Reading) can get their ‘boots on ballast’ for hands-
supports the creation of an 18-mile have already been sourced and await on lessons in maintenance and design.
mainline railway. The GCR project will installation, while reinstatement of the The Great Central has much to offer,
open up significant commercial and bulldozed embankment will also need and will have a lot more once it finishes
tourism opportunities to increase visitors to be dealt with. There will need to be a ‘Bridging the Gap’.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017



Expertise in:
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• CEM / CRE Services


Expertise in:
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Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Lighter and brighterCitadel station roof is transformed


arlisle Citadel station is an architectural gem. Originally opened tie. They supported slender cantilever
in 1847 to serve both the Lancashire and Carlisle Railway and the half-truss hooped beams running parallel
Caledonian Railway, it replaced several smaller stations located around to the tracks at approximately 3.7-metre
the city. Being located close to the border of England and Scotland, centres. The entire roof was glazed using
this elegant station, even today, forms an important hub on the West Coast shingled panes.
main line.
Cut backs
The station buildings have an The 1880 extensions to Citadel station After neglect during World War II
interesting and complicated history - created an elaborate building with a 400- and afterwards, the whole roof began
one that over the years has included foot frontage. It eventually served seven to fall into dilapidation so, in 1957, a
some structural problems. Now, major different railway companies, each of decision was taken to reduce its area
refurbishment works are in progress that which had their own booking and parcels and repair what remained. The screens
will rejuvenate the station’s ailing roof offices and passenger facilities. To at each end were demolished, as was a
and, at the same time, greatly improve complement Tite’s work, engineers Blyth large area of roof on the southwestern
the platform ambience. and Cunningham of Edinburgh designed side of the station. At the same time,
Constructed in a mixture of neo-Tudor a seven-acre (2.83 hectare) iron and glass the original shingled glass panes were
and neo-Gothic styles, the station was roof with giant screens at each end that replaced by much larger ‘Patent Glazing’
rebuilt and enlarged in 1878-80 after the featured ornate wooden glazing bars in a panels. Today, the station and its roof are
Midland Railway’s network reached the Gothic style. nonetheless impressive. Grade II* listed
Border City via the Settle and Carlisle The roof structure comprised 26 deep- since 1972, the roof still sports a 50-metre
line. The architect was Sir William Tite, lattice (double Warren) trusses spanning clear span.
who designed many early railway stations the platforms and tracks at 12.2 metre By 2014, it had become clear that
in Britain and France, as well as the Royal centres. Each girder had ten panels, intervention was again required,
Exchange in London. stiffened end posts and a flat bottom with the roof failing and becoming

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


something of a liability. Investigation of

the structure indicated that the steel roof
trusses had sagged. This was blamed
on a combination of age and the radical
shortening of the existing roof span in
1957. The effects on the existing rigid
glazing system and the roof drainage were
severe, causing ponding of rainwater,
leakage and the cracking and breakage of
multiple glazing panels. Indeed, areas of
the roof had been netted following falls of
glass onto the station platforms.
Access to the roof for repairs and
cleaning had been restricted due to
Industrial Coating Services applies a 2-pack epoxy base coat.
safety concerns. As a result, the glazing
was in a filthy condition, which limited
the light levels on the platforms below. Foiled Other high profile applications within
Compounding this, the station’s lighting The chosen solution is centred upon the the UK include the Eden Project in
system was also sub-standard, resulting in use of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) Cornwall and the National Space Centre in
light levels at the platforms being in the foil sheets and aluminium framing. Leicester.
region of just 100 lux - equivalent to a very Manufactured by Vector Foiltec and A £19.5 million two-phase programme
dark overcast day. Clearly, it was time for marketed under the Texlon® brand name, of work commenced on 30 November
some serious remedial action. this fluorine-based co-polymer material 2015 to reconstruct the damaged roof and
exhibits high corrosion resistance and to rebuild the station’s eight platforms.
Sensitive strength over a wide temperature range. The first phase included repairs to the
The challenge for Network Rail’s As well as being much lighter than glass, roof trusses and replacement of the
appointed design consultant Arcadis, it offers greater light transmission and is glazing at a cost of £12.5 million. The task
with support from architect Jefferson shatterproof. undertaken by Network Rail’s appointed
Sheard, was to provide a sensitive yet Key to ETFE’s use as a roofing and main contractor Galliford Try has not been
contemporary roof replacement that glazing material, it can be stretched (by a simple one.
would preserve the original architectural up to three times) and it will remain taught
aesthetic. Vital, too, was the proviso even if some variation in size occurs, such Decked
that the repair works should cause as by thermal expansion. Being related to Network Rail and Galliford Try have
no disruption to the ongoing rail and PTFE, it also has a non-stick surface, which worked closely with Virgin Trains, which
passenger activity below. means that it is self-cleaning. manages the station, to plan the work and
Network Rail and its consultants have Although the Texlon® ETFE system minimise its impact on station users. The
worked closely with Historic England and has been available for over thirty-five improvements have been made possible
Carlisle City Council in order to plan the years, its adoption for use on Network thanks to a huge scaffolding access deck
refurbishment whilst, at the same time, Rail structures has been relatively recent. which has been installed nine metres above
protecting the station’s listed building Notable examples include Birmingham the tracks through the station. As well
status. Separate listed building consents New Street station and the Manchester as protecting the station’s platforms and
have been required for alterations to the Victoria station concourse, as well as running lines, it has provided safe access for
roof itself, for new lighting and for the smaller schemes such as the footbridge at the workforce. With the glass removed from
inclusion of holding-down anchors - of Newport and the Underground station at the roof, this waterproof deck has also kept
which more later. London Heathrow Terminal 5. the station platforms dry.
Installation of the scaffolding and deck
structures was, in itself, a significant feat of
engineering. Covering an area equivalent
to one and a half football pitches, it
was estimated to weigh some 1,400
tonnes. Spanning four tracks of the West
Coast main line and two bay platforms,
each electrified at 25kV, it presented
an installation challenge that took nine
months to complete.
De-energising the OLE to allow the
scaffolding installation work to be
undertaken was initially restricted to just
a four-hour time window each Saturday
night. Although later extended to weekly
six-hour slots, this restriction necessitated
careful planning in order to maximise

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Citadel’s new roof system is projected

to have a lifespan of at least fifty
years. It’s also reckoned to be resistant
to Carlisle’s troublesome seagulls.
Apparently, it’s not unknown for these
mischievous birds to drop stones from
great heights.

Forming phase two of the project,
plans to upgrade and resurface the
station platforms have been rescheduled
in order to accommodate the repainting
of the metalwork. Surprisingly, this
repaint, which so vividly enhances the
appearance of the new roof, did not
originally form part of the project.
1400 tonnes of scaffolding was erected
Network Rail has been quite right in
with and around the station roof.
including it.
Dates for phase two are yet to be
progress. For instance, cassette beams Vertical mullions, spaced along the confirmed by Network Rail, but it seems
were pre-constructed and then slid across panels, have a concave surface onto likely that this £4.5 million second
the tracks, suspended during this process which convex mullion caps are clamped, phase, which will be undertaken by Story
from tensioned steel cables. sandwiching the ETFE foil and thus Contracting, will commence in February
With the scaffolding and crash deck tensioning it. At Carlisle Citadel, the 2018.
finally in place by November 2016, work 10-metre-long panels have fifteen such As the roof works near completion, the
could begin on removal of the 1950s mullions, each of which has the effect of scaffolding has been gradually removed
Patent Glazing. North West Recycling tensioning the foil by 3mm, giving 45mm from the centre point of the station
Ltd, based at Kingmoor Park, Carlisle, has of tensioning across its span. outwards. Just as if a giant curtain were
recycled most of the 114 tonnes of glass With the Vector Foiltec ETFE system being drawn back, the clear and bright
that was recovered from the roof. It has being just one-third the weight of new roof has been slowly revealed. New
been used in the manufacture of window conventional glazing, engineering LED lighting completes the effect.
glass and beer bottles. calculations revealed that a freak gust of Chris Atkins, scheme project manager
Once the glass was out of the way, wind could possibly lift off the Citadel at Network Rail, said: “Passengers
repairs could then be undertaken on the station roof! Highly unlikely as this might are really beginning to see the
iron and steel structure of the roof. This has be, it has been necessary to mitigate the transformation of Carlisle station as
included extra bracing and the addition of risk by attaching fourteen holding-down a result of this work. The rejuvenated
4,000 metres of new steel purlins. anchors to the roof structure. roof will mean a brighter, more airy and
Repainting of the repaired roof structure Each anchor comprises a block of cleaner environment which will enhance
was sub-contracted to Industrial Coating magnetite concrete, which is around 60 the station’s beautiful features.”
Services using International Paints Interseal per cent denser than normal concrete, of This project represents a significant
670HS two-pack epoxy paint as a three up to 4.3 cubic metres (around 17 tonnes). investment into Carlisle. It has not been
layer system. The cosmetic top coat, Twelve of these anchors are buried below without its challenges, but the result will
Interthane 990 Gloss, is of a rich slate grey platform level and attached to the roof be a greatly improved station that will
colour, replacing the previous creamy by vertical steel rods. At two locations, provide a fitting gateway to the historic
yellow finish, which had not stood the test OLE foundations prevented burial, so the border city of Carlisle. But just watch out
of time very well. anchor blocks are discretely visible. for those pesky seagulls!

The single-ply ETFE foil has been
installed in the form of 10x5 metre
extruded sheets, each with a thickness of
just 250 microns. In all, some 10,512 square
metres of ETFE has been fitted by Vector
Foiltec’s own engineers.
The installation technique includes a clever
tensioning process. Each sheet is welded
around its perimeter to a strip of foil folded
over a ‘Keder’ rod. This perimeter assembly
provides the means of structural connection
between the ETFE panel and the aluminium
perimeter framing.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

galliford try Rail


Banbury flood alleviation scheme for the Environment Agency.

We bring best value and a ‘one team’ approach to our projects and frameworks.

We leave a lasting legacy beyond the design and construction phases taking into consideration our projects’
whole lives, their maintenance and decommissioning stages, community engagement and local employment.


queezed into a narrow and
typically Pennine valley to the
north of Todmorden is Lydgate
Viaduct, an attractive structure
comprising 13 spans. It forms part of
the Copy Pit route (FHR6), a product
of engineer John Hawkshaw, which
traverses a geologically challenging
landscape to reach Burnley, nine
miles away. In doing so, the railway
passes through Kitson Wood Tunnel -
immediately east of the viaduct - and
Holme Tunnel, further north, which
Amco Rail partly reconstructed on
Network Rail’s behalf in 2013-14.
That intervention was prompted by a
rotational landslip. We’ll recycle that
sentence in a moment.

Attractive or not, it’s fair to say William

Helliwell was not enamoured by Lydgate
Viaduct. Immediately behind and rather
overshadowed by it was Naylor Mill, which
he owned. As the structure was being
erected in the 1840s, Helliwell wrote to
the Manchester Courier complaining
that “various baulks, scaffolds etc etc so
obstruct the light to my mill as to render it
impossible for me to continue to run it with
advantage either to myself or those in my
employ.” Understandably exasperated, he
closed the place down.
Months earlier, Helliwell had enjoyed
temporary respite following the
spectacular collapse of ‘Railway Mania’,
an unsustainable investment frenzy which
saw 272 Parliamentary Acts for new lines
passed in 1846 alone. Many of those
schemes were fraudulent, flawed or
pointless duplications of rival routes.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017



In October 1847, activity

on the ‘Burnley branch’
was halted - along with
others being progressed
by the Lancashire &
Yorkshire Railway -
bringing immediate
redundancy for the
many dozens of masons,
carpenters and labourers
toiling on the viaduct.
Imagine the impact of
that in an era before the
welfare state. The winter
had almost passed before
the financial world had
calmed sufficiently for
work to resume, but with
the economy measure that
only one line of rails would initially
be laid. It carried the inaugural train
in November 1849.

A moving experience
We tend to forget that the environment around us is alive, even if it tends to move
imperceptibly. The steeply-sided Calder valley has been contributing to the engineers’
workload for many years, resulting in the ongoing development of schemes to address
a cracked retaining wall at Knott Road - just west of Lydgate Viaduct - and a slipping
embankment in Kitson Wood, beyond the adjacent tunnel. Bridge reconstructions are
also on the cards. But the viaduct itself exhibits the most eye-catching defects, not
least because the main road runs right past it.
Movement of the structure was recorded between 1925 and 1934, as a consequence
of which diagonal fractures developed in the western abutment’s curved wing
wall. The parapet end on the north (Down) side was pushed inwards so the track
alignment now includes a short transition length to ensure structure gauge clearance;
a 20mph speed restriction has been imposed on the Down line. And then there’s
the westernmost arch - Span 13 - which distorted significantly to its south elevation,
becoming more Norman than Roman.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


The western end of

the Down-side parapet
(near-left) has been
pushed towards the


(Inset) Concrete tell-
tales in the abutment
wall describe the
development of a crack
over many decades.

Although some ground investigation

data had been archived from previous
studies of the hillside above the
viaduct, Hyder Consulting (now Arcadis)
commissioned BAM Ritchies and Datum
Monitoring Services to conduct new
Over the years, remediation has taken on the south side, was partly infilled with investigations in 2014. These would inform
place in the form of stitching and pinning, concrete. The Yorkstone roof slabs had the design and give advance warning of
as well as the rebuilding of spandrel walls fractured, settling into the small space any ground movement.
and parapets. There are mortar ‘tell-tales’ below where they were resting on the fill The work involved the installation of an
in the wing wall, dating back to the 1930s; material. On the abutment side of Span inclinometer within a 150mm diameter
several of these are cracked. 13, the voided chambers had similar borehole sunk in rough ground on the
Investigations from 1949 concluded that characteristics but most of the roof slabs north side of Span 13. The borehole log
the failures were caused by a rotational remained intact. recorded medium/high cobble content,
landslip, with the slip circle rising to the The arch itself was found to be in poor with soft-to-firm clay overlying sand to a
surface beneath a row of cottages. These condition. Although Aerocem pressure depth of 5.5 metres. Below this, firm-to-
had been pushed closer to the road and pointing had taken place in the past - giving stiff clay was encountered, becoming stiff
suffered heaving of their floors. It was the arch face a satisfactory appearance at 16 metres and recovered as sandstone
recommended that material be removed - very little mortar was present within the gravel/cobbles from 19.5 metres to 21
from the north side of the abutment and joints behind. Moreover, the bullhead rail metres.
the toe of the slope loaded to resist further wedges were severely corroded and the Ten sensors were provided to
movement. Neither recommendation saw uppermost tie bar had broken. Very shallow continuously monitor rotational movement
action but the cottages appear to have ballast depth was recorded above the crown within the wing wall, arch barrel and
been demolished between 1956 and 1961. due to the distorted arch profile, resulting inner faces of the pier and abutment,
In the Seventies, tie bars and a steel in the Up line sitting 100mm higher than whilst two further sensors check for
frame were installed within Span 13, the Down. It was clear therefore that the crack propagation in the wing wall. All
wedged around the arch barrel with time had come for a more substantive indications suggest that the viaduct is
bullhead rail laggings and supported by intervention, progressed during the current now stable, with only cyclical and seasonal
stepped concrete foundations at the foot Control Period. movement.
of the pier and abutment. Twenty years

ago, four more tie bars were inserted The north elevation of Span 13.
above Pier 12 to restrain a large bulge in
the south-side spandrel wall.

Hide and seek

In 2005, a detailed examination of
Lydgate Viaduct found it to be in generally
fair condition, although no confined
space survey was undertaken of its
voided spandrels. This was progressed six
years later in advance of the five-month
blockade to facilitate the works at Holme
Tunnel, together with investigations
to confirm ballast depth and deck
Using a CCTV camera, it was observed
that - above Pier 12 - four voids contained
loose debris (soil and stones) whilst a fifth,

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Stones and boulders were

encountered during auger piling,
resulting in the method being
changed to an Odex system.



J Murphy &
Sons inherited the
project as part of
its Network Rail
structures framework
agreement, awarded
at the start of CP5.
The firm appointed
Tony Gee & Partners Towards its where all the key activity was focussed.
as its design eastern end, Programming, therefore, had to mostly
consultant. the viaduct follow a linear progression.
The optioneering straddles Enabling activity began on site in
process was three November 2016, with the setting-up of a
complicated roadways and compound on a narrow strip of land across
somewhat by the viaduct’s Grade II listing. a watercourse, with several buildings in the road. On site, conditions were initially
Amongst the approaches considered was close proximity. The western half crosses very wet, with water emerging from below
the infilling of Span 13 with lightweight tree-covered rough ground that rises to the displaced section of wing wall. The
concrete - creating a voided, cellular the north-west. Running on the south side situation was improved greatly by putting
structure - but this was ruled out because - just eight metres from the base of Pier stone down and creating a new drain.
of loading implications. Instead, it was 9 - is the main Todmorden-Burnley road. The immediate priority was to add weight
agreed that a sprayed concrete arch So space was at a premium and made all to the toe of the embankment, preventing
would be applied, springing off in-situ the more challenging by the six-metre further movement; this involved clearing the
concrete walls and supported by capped change in levels between the highway vegetation, allowing excavations within which
piles. and the 70m2 work area below Span 13, a gabion retaining wall was built. Thereafter,

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017




the existing slopes were benched, a berm With the concrete poured for the pile cap,
installed and the ground regraded to form attention turned to the splay walls against
a route up to where a piling mat would be the pier and abutment faces. It was originally
established. Access was also provided along anticipated that the necessary shuttering
the north side of the viaduct. would be outsourced to a specialist
With wagons bringing in several hundred contractor using an off-the-shelf system,
tonnes of material, regular contact was but this proved impractical because of its
needed with the local authority to agree cost and complexity. Instead, the design (Above) Concrete is poured for the
appropriate traffic management measures. and assembly was delivered by Murphy’s abutment wall.
in-house temporary works team. (Inset) The regulating layer of
Hit and miss Due to the shape of the splay and the sprayed concrete being applied.
The intention was to begin the main quantity of rebar, neither a conventional
strengthening phase in January 2017, after concrete pour sequence nor the use of minimum depth is 475mm, with rebar
the earthworks had consolidated, but a vibrating pokers was possible, instead added in two stages. On top of this - to
three-week delay was incurred due to local driving the choice of a self-compacting improve the finish - is a 25mm flash coat.
authority recovery works following flash concrete. On the south elevation, listed building
floods. consent required the application of stone
Van Elle was sub-contracted to fulfil Spray that again cladding to soften the concrete’s visual
both the piling design and installation, The spraycrete works to the arch - impact. However, on the north side and
which called for a 4x5 array of piles, each undertaken by Gunform - were generally inner faces, it has been left exposed to
18 metres deep and 450mm in diameter. progressed during the day, but with the allow the structure’s evolution to be seen.
On top of these, a nominal 650mm thick initial critical elements programmed for Earthworks improvement formed the
cap was to be cast, stepping up in three overnight midweek possessions. These were concluding part of the project, dismantling
sections from south to north. also utilised by Ropetech Access Solutions the upper section of gabion wall after
An auger machine was used at the for de-vegetation work, crack stitching and creating another berm in front of it. The
outset, but consistently refused at a depth repointing in hard-to-reach parts of the whole embankment was then regraded -
of 5-7 metres due to boulders being structure. rising at 27 degrees from the road - and
encountered, probably tipped there when Despite its poor condition, Network Rail new toe drainage provided.
a nearby cutting was first excavated. The was understandably reluctant to remove After nine months’ implementation, and
methodology was then changed to an any of the existing steelwork in case this many more in development, the all-in cost
Odex rotary percussive system; however caused instability. However, its surfaces were to Network Rail has been £1.2 million. That
this was limited to 232mm diameter with cleaned and prepared, and general repairs might seem a chunky sum for one concrete
a sacrificial case. To account for this, the undertaken to the surrounding masonry. arch, but there’s so much more going on
pile depth was increased to 22 metres and It was then encased in a nominal 100mm here that the casual observer simply can’t
the concrete fill around the inserted rebar regulating layer of sprayed concrete, holes see. You can bet, though, that William
cage changed to a grout. drilled to allow the fixing of starter bars and Helliwell is looking down and quietly
An additional pile had to be sunk at a waterproofing membrane applied. chuckling to himself.
the critical north-west corner due to the The main structural barrel was sprayed in
failure of No.1 pile which twisted and then layers of 75mm, allowing each one to gain Thanks to Mark Billington and Chris Atkins
refused at around 18 metres. Completion a strength of 30N/mm² before progress from Network Rail, and Murphy’s Dave
of the piling took about two months. was made with the next. The overall Copson, for their help with this article.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

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It’s all
down to

n the face of it, Network Rail didn’t have a bad
Christmas in 2014. 11,000 people were deployed
to work on 2,000 sites around the country, with 314
out of 322 projects handed back on time. That’s a
97.5 per cent success rate - better than the 95 per cent that was

So only eight projects overran.

However, and it’s a big ‘however’, two of those eight were at
King’s Cross and Paddington stations.
King’s Cross was closed for an extra day, and the contingency
plan to use Finsbury Park went wrong for several reasons (see issue
142, February 2015), resulting in overcrowding, confusion and As it turned out, Francis was both transparent and informative.
exasperated passengers. He detailed all the reasons for the overruns, explained how they
Paddington, which should have been handed back at 07:00 on happened and what mistakes had been made, and pledged to
2 January, wasn’t finished until 13:14 that day. The result? More improve things for next time.
overcrowding, confusion and exasperation. “At the end of the day, the railway is here for passengers. It’s
not here to be a railway,” Francis Paonessa affirmed. “It’s here
Political fall-out to transport people around and we must put their needs and
Questions were asked in Parliament and Network Rail chief requirements first.”
executive Mark Carne demanded a full report be on his desk on “It shouldn’t matter to the passenger how we’re making sure
Monday 12 January. Wednesday 14 January, Carne and colleague that they’re not disrupted, whether it’s through guaranteed
Robin Gisby, who had been the director on call over the holiday delivery plans or excellent service, all that matters is that the trains
period, appeared in front of the Commons Select Committee. run on time. We need to do what we say we will do which is to
Then, to cap it all, Infrastructure Projects managing director deliver an effective railway and make sure that it is there when the
Dr Francis Paonessa, the author of Mark Carne’s report, and passengers need it. That’s our mission, that’s the mission we set
who had only been with Network Rail for a few months, had Rail out to achieve. It’s one that Mark Carne has said quite clearly that
Engineer come to his office to ask what happened - the first press we’re not doing well enough.”
organisation to do so. “We need to do better and we will do better.”

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Waterloo woes? Or careful contingency?

And they have got better, despite the programme of engineering
works at each holiday period getting bigger. While some delays
have occurred, overruns have largely been on minor works and can
be measured in minutes rather than hours or days.
However, the recent August bank holiday demonstrated not
only how complex these programmes are, but how easily they can
still go wrong. Across the country, the engineering works were
the largest ever undertaken over an August bank holiday, costing
£130 million and involving 17,000 staff. It included the culmination
of three and a half weeks of work at London Waterloo, Britain’s
busiest station, where 1,000 engineers and track staff worked
24 hours a day to deliver one of the largest and most complex
upgrades at the station in a century.
Unfortunately, the work at Waterloo overran by two hours owing
to safety critical work to test the signalling taking slightly longer
than planned in the final hours of the programme (explained
elsewhere in this issue). In itself, a two-hour overrun after 180,000
manhours of work had been carried out doesn’t sound too serious,
but it affected trains and passengers throughout the day. However,
communications were better, keeping passengers informed, and
there was nothing like the disruption that occurred two years
External benchmarking indicates that this perceived progress
is not purely subjective. Aspire Europe recently completed an
independent review of 400 project companies around the world
and concluded Network Rail Infrastructure Projects is in the top 10
per cent of project delivery organisations globally and is the world
leader in the global transport sector.
The review highlighted a “stark improvement in performance” Setting the scene
today compared to the systems and processes used in 2014. The To understand the legacy of some of the issues, it is necessary
report noted that “the results have demonstrated an exceptional to go back to Christmas 2007. A blockade of the West Coast main
level of improvement for a large organisation” and that, in two line at Rugby had been planned as part of the route modernisation
measures, infrastructure projects has set the new international programme. It was originally planned that this should be handed
benchmark. back after 30 December 2007, though an extra day’s extension was
Works are also being delivered more safely, with workforce requested
injuries reduced by nearly 40 per cent in the three years to 2017. As it happened, the possession overran further, until 4 January
So what has changed? Rail Engineer retraced its steps to Dr 2008. The subsequent ORR’s report concluded: “there is still work
Paonessa’s office, now relocated to Euston from King’s Cross, to to do to put adequate plans in place to handle passengers and
ask him. freight affected by the possessions and to develop contingency
Whilst this bears striking similarity to comments made after
Christmas 2014, Network Rail had improved its procedures in the
interim. A new Delivering Work Within Possessions procedure was
put in place under which every project was assessed to make sure
there was at least a 90 per cent chance that it would be delivered
on time. Key blockades, which could badly affect the network, had
to exceed 95 per cent.
Both King’s Cross and Paddington had exceeded that 95 per
cent target for completion on schedule, but they still were not
returned on time. And the effects were damaging for Network
Rail’s reputation.
“I think we’d all agree that having a 90 per cent success rate
of our major possessions would just be completely untenable at
any bank holiday, and Christmas 2014 really underpinned that,”
Dr Paonessa commented. “At the same time, costs are obviously
really important, so we can’t guarantee hand-back 100 per cent by
being super-conservative in our delivery or we could never afford
to get anything done. It’s a fine and complex balancing act.”
Therefore, the task was to maximise the work done during a
blockade, without building in too much cushion, while still handing
back on time.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Contingency planning “It has made a huge difference,” Francis stated. “We can, at a
A railway is all about its passengers, as Francis had affirmed very early stage, get the route control managers involved in the
back in January 2015. So that was where he started: “We looked process. Frequently, they can facilitate the involvement of their
particularly at the operational contingency plan, which is very much own staff and quite often will get several operational teams to
route-led with the train operators. If we’re going to end up in an come and support hand-back activities. We’re also then fully
overrun position, what are the series of mitigations that we can put integrated - our Route Services and Supply Chain teams sit
in place for the passengers?” adjacent to each other in Milton Keynes, so any knock-ons to
The idea is to have a strong contingency plan, or plans, which can drivers, locos, tampers can all be arranged in a very timely and
be brought forward if the project gets into trouble. For example, consistent way.”
these might be to get the Fast lines back up and running, so “Importantly, my project teams aren’t making decisions on the
buying the project a bit more time to finish off the Slow lines. ground that aren’t supported by the external infrastructure and
The operational plan is then built up from the contingency plan, backed up by project contingency plans. We have also put in place
putting the interests of the passengers first rather than those of the mechanisms and people outside of the project to challenge, and
engineers. But the aim still has to be to get all the work done on hence counter, the natural optimism bias that you have when you
time. are working hard on the job.”
“If you only ask one question, which is ‘What’s the likelihood So now, if the project team is tempted to say: “Yes, we’re a bit
of getting the full scope back on time?’ you tend to be very behind but we’ll catch up,” there’s an external person who can ask
conservative in the work scope,” Dr Paonessa explained. why they think that, what plans do they have to make it happen,
“Instead, we ask ourselves two questions now. ‘What’s the and what happens if the team gets to a point of no return? Project
likelihood of getting all the work handed back?’ and ‘If we can teams are no longer able to pass a key halt point, as they did at
build in some pieces of work towards the end that we could curtail, King’s Cross and Finsbury Park, without the approval of a third
then what’s the likelihood of being able to hand all the work back?’ party.
“By taking that approach, we can accept a lower percentage for Due to the amount of work going on, one of the big problems
the ‘handing it all back’ versus the ‘guaranteeing being able to at Christmas and other key holiday periods is the scarcity of
hand it back’ by just structuring the way we do the work. Typically, resources. That doesn’t just include machinery and the workers
we lose about half a per cent of the planned work in mitigations on track, it also includes the drivers of the engineering trains that
which, considering the scale of the work that we deliver, is really keep the sites supplied.
good.” Now, spare drivers are employed, a small price to pay compared
It seems to be working. There have been no significant overruns with the cost and reputational damage caused by a major overrun.
(excepting the two hours at Waterloo) on any bank holiday for the “If you can’t move the tampers at the end of the day, if you can’t
last two and a half years. move the locos, if you start running out of drivers for resource
vehicles on a work site which is totally dependent on them, you’re
suddenly in big trouble,” Dr Paonessa stressed. “Now we’ve got
an agreement with the freight companies that any of the drivers
can drive any of the locos, so if we need to shuffle them round site,
we can do that.”

Resources and access

A perennial discussion point is whether Christmas, and the other
bank holidays, is the best time to do major work, or whether it
would be better done throughout the year. Resources would be
more available and, perhaps, the weather would be better.
“We’d like to have longer periods where things are closed down
to give us full access to the railway, but we also know that the
passenger disruption that this causes is really significant,” was
Francis Paonessa’s response. “So we entered into CP5 with an
assumption, as part of our business plan, that we would get 25 per
cent more access than we did in CP4. As it turns out, I think in Year
1 we ended up with 16 per cent less.”
“Less. In year two -14 per cent less. This year I think we have 11
per cent less access than we had in CP4. And, more importantly,
we’ve seen a 40 per cent reduction in 24-hour plus possessions
One truth and a 50 per cent increase in the number of less than eight-
There has also been improved communications. The project hour possessions. A great proportion of the access we have is
teams report to Route Control and thence senior management now made up of very short periods of time - in fact our average
and key stakeholders. From there, the communications team possession that’s less than eight hours is only 5 hours and 30
disseminates what is happening - when, where and, crucially, minutes. So, not only has the quantity of the access changed, but
why - to the press and the public. So there is consistency and the the mix of it has changed significantly.”
message is accurate and timely. This is an unfortunate by-product of having such a successful
As well as keeping passengers informed, this single message is railway. Late trains are popular, early trains are popular, so
crucial if there are problems to solve. operators are unwilling to give them up to facilitate engineering

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Major projects
While Network Rail seems to have largely fixed its problems
with Bank Holiday overruns, there are still other areas to improve.
For example, Great Western Electrification and Sheffield Tram-
Train are both running late and over budget. In contrast, projects
such as the Ordsall chord in Manchester and Norton Bridge in
Staffordshire are successfully being managed through alliance
Does this mean that alliances are the way forward? Statistics show
that, when Network Rail is working in alliance with its contractors,
costs are being held to within 1.3 per cent of budget, but Dr
Paonessa warned against jumping to conclusions.
“When you look at that, you’d say: ‘Having an alliance is a really
good way of managing cost control,’ and it is, but I think it’s the
wrong conclusion. Because, if you look at what is needed to be
able to set up an alliance, you have to have a very clearly defined
scope, you need to have worked out the options and have the
opportunity to really cost it. Only then can you set up an alliance
works, squeezing the time that Network Rail can get on track. Bank because, at that point, commercial partners will be prepared to
holidays, when on average 40 per cent fewer people travel by train, take those commercial risks.
are still the obvious solution. “So what that really says is that projects that work well are ones
“There are some jobs that can only be done in three or four day where we spend about twice as long in development as we do
blocks,” Francis added, “and they can only therefore be done in delivery. Where we’ve seen the large cost increases tends to
at Christmas and the major bank holidays. Getting a three-day be when commitments in time and cost are made against very
block of the West Coast at any other time of the year would be early estimates. It was one of the key things that came out of the
impossible.” National Audit Office report on Great Western, and very similarly
“However, it’s worth remembering that, on average, we’re on Sheffield tram-train. So, I’d say that our delivery capability is
delivering £130 million of major renewals and enhancements every excellent when the scope and access are properly pinned down.”
week. So, whilst the bank holidays and other points in time where we That’s borne out by a study the Department for Transport
tend to have the longer blocks represent a very visible peak, they are undertook with University College London (UCL) last year to look
still a relatively small proportion of our total delivery in the year.” at optimism bias in early GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment

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book your ASPECT 2017 place before



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Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Projects - an eight-stage process) phases. It concluded that cost Hansford Review

estimates made at the GRIP 1 stage (output definition) tended to Last month’s Rail Engineer (issue 155, September 2017) outlined
be 66 per cent optimistic, 40 per cent at GRIP 2 (feasibility) and the main conclusions of the Hansford Review and included
17 per cent at GRIP 3 (option selection). comments from its author, Professor Peter Hansford.
With a five-year Control Period cycle, plus two years in its Although the review focussed heavily on investment, it also set
preparation, some projects are being costed up to seven years out the benefits of private-sector competition for Network Rail.
before they are built, when they are still in the early GRIP stages In addition, the report made some practical suggestions for
and optimism is rife. Network Rail to consider. These included creating a new service
Post GRIP 4 (single option development), when the options are level agreement that establishes the terms of business between
much clearer, Network Rail is working within three per cent of Network Rail and third parties. It also said that there should be a
budget. So, it seems that the problem lies with being forced to single point of contact within Network Rail to simplify the process.
estimate costs at an early stage of a project, which is just what Asked about his view of the possibility of third party investment
happens under the current control period funding. At the start of and delivery - and, in the latter case, the competition this could
CP5, 80 per cent of the projects hadn’t been finalised, yet they bring to his organisation - Francis responded positively: “In some
were all costed. respects it’s difficult not having anyone to compete with as we have
“It is very challenging to manage within a finite cap when no benchmark to measure ourselves against and be compared
you’ve got inherent levels of uncertainty built into the work that with. The analogy I’ve typically used is of Usain Bolt running the
you’re doing,” Francis Paonessa commented. “You only need to 100 metres - how do we know how fast he is running without
reflect back on the UCL work to say that those uncertainties are having a competitor to reference his performance?”
very, very real.
“I think that the key point, and the bit we’ve been working with Safety
the Department to get built into the process, is what we call a However a project is delivered, to budget or not, on time or late,
‘final investment decision’. This means that we don’t commit everyone acknowledges that it has to be delivered safely. Francis
financially, and to delivery times, against projects until we actually was cautiously upbeat about this.
know what they are and what they’re going to cost. That’s a “The year before last, we managed a reduction of 26 per cent in
discipline which we’d really like to see built into the next control our lost time injury frequency rate, last year another 16 per cent
period. and this year we’re already on track to hit our target of 10 per cent.
“How that gets funded is a different question, but it “I personally find it very difficult to set a target that isn’t zero,
would certainly be recommended in our Enhancement and in relation to injuring people. But, at the same time, you have to
Improvement Programme that there is a final investment decision recognise where you are and where you’re moving to and to set
when we get to the end of somewhere around GRIP 3 or 4, challenging but realistic targets. And if you think that only five per
depending on what’s appropriate for the project. Then we’ll cent or so of the labour that’s in those hours is directly controlled
say, ‘Right, we’ve now got a very high level of certainty, we’re by Network Rail - the other 95 per cent is in our contracting
about to move into a delivery phase so we’ve got much greater community - I think you really have to recognise the large efforts
certainty of access as well, we know it’s going to cost this, it’s that have been made by our supply chain to deliver these figures.”
going to take this long, do you still want to buy it?” “The biggest single influence on safety is planning, and we can
In the recent High-Level Output Specification (HLOS) for see a very, very clear correlation in the data between safety and
England and Wales, the DfT has indeed noted that “the performance. So, at those times when we do our best planning,
Statement does not commit to infrastructure enhancements. which tend to be the bank holidays, we’ve seen the lowest lost-
These are expected to be dealt with separately.” It therefore time injury frequency rate, which typically can be a third to a half
looks as though major projects won’t, in future, be part of less than our moving annual average.”
the control period system but will be costed and timetabled So, as well as Christmas work now being better controlled in
individually, at the appropriate time and when all the facts are terms of time, budget and contingency, it’s also safer. And that’s a
known. Christmas present we’d all want.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

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Digital Railway Realism

It’s not just about technology


he term Digital Railway has aerospace, defence and security sectors, must embrace and sustain a collaborative,
certainly caught the rail industry’s providing the technology that enables industry-wide approach, where suppliers
imagination, yet prospective two out of three flights around the world and operators of infrastructure and train
users and suppliers still have to take off and land safely, and a founding equipment can together maximise the
diverse and widespread views as to what it member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance for benefits of digital systems to deliver
really means. building Britain’s two new ‘big ships’. a much bigger and quicker impact to
In transport, Thales employs over 8,000 the passenger journey experience, thus
Network Rail coined the term back in people globally, including 1,200 in the UK, ensuring rail can compete effectively with
2015 and produced an ambitious plan to who work to deliver solutions that transform other transport modes.
introduce digital technology in virtually Britain’s journeys - the vision of the business “Yes, technology is important in the
every one of its many activities (issue today. The Thales view of the Digital Digital Railway vision, but changing
132, October 2015). Whilst conceptually Railway is one of pragmatism, with targeted people’s attitude to establish a culture of
correct, it lacked realism as to how it could intervention into the technology, but also cross-industry teamwork and collaboration,
be delivered or financed and a more recognising the need to address the cultural is essential to achieve the potential.
pragmatic view has since emerged with and behavioural challenges necessary for “In Thales, we talk about an ‘Olympic
the appointment of David Waboso as the successful implementation and benefits mindset’. For London 2012, the transport
Digital Railway leader. He has set out three realisation. David Palmer, who heads up the industry worked, without any contractual
broadly defined objectives focussed on main line business within Transport, told Rail or commercial arrangement, to ensure the
capacity, performance and safety (issue Engineer more about it. transport network, both in London and
147, January 2017). at Olympic venues all over the country,
Having established the Network Rail Programme for change delivered success on the world stage. True
vision, one supplier’s view on achieving The rail industry is enjoying collaboration made that happen, and we
this was given by Alstom, which foresees unprecedented growth in the passenger need that spirit and commitment to the rail
a much greater involvement by the supply sector, and digital technology can industry”.
industry in the design, provision and offer much needed capacity gains and Thales would wish to promote this vision
maintenance of the resulting systems, performance improvements. David Palmer and build on examples from where it is
including provision of finance through commented: “To realise that potential, we already happening.
some kind of joint partnership (issue
150, April 2017). Although in some Lisbon Operational Control Centre, Portugal.
ways attractive, there are minefields of
commercial, operational, safety and
personnel matters to be overcome, all
of which will take time, tact and patience
to achieve a workable solution, let alone
getting the buy in of the wider supply
It seemed appropriate to get
another opinion from industry, so Rail
Engineer went to global engineering
and technology giant Thales. As well
as transport, the company serves the

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Increasing capacity Gotthard South Tunnel Control Centre (Pollegio Operation Centre).
In the Metro environment, the
introduction of the Thales Seltrac CBTC
system to the Jubilee and Northern lines
and DLR, (also the forthcoming 4LM - the
‘four lines moderniation’ of the sub surface
lines), has enabled signalling systems to
give much greater train throughput and
thus increased passenger capacity - 20 per
cent on the Northern line, over 30 per cent
on the Jubilee and expected up to 65 per
cent on parts of the 4LM.
“The key to these successful deliveries
is the collaborative, ‘one team’ approach
that we developed in partnership with
London Underground,” said David. Tube
passengers and operators are benefitting
from modern digital technology that also for ETCS’s OBU Retrofit package 1 (class Areas of concern have been the lack
yields improved safety and reliability. 43) under the ERTMS rollout programme. of source records for the signalling
Equipping ERTMS/ETCS to main line Funded by Network Rail and managed by areas, the nuances of the UK network
railways that form the core links between the National Joint ROSCO Project (NJRP), compared to how operations are run
the UK’s cities will hopefully yield the same it forms part of the UK’s Digital Railway overseas, the significant increase in
benefits and is seen by many as the principal vision that will help to deliver additional functionality (particularly around interfaces
element of the Digital Railway. It is also, route capacity in the UK. Thales is to conventional systems), and the
probably, the hardest to implement, as there mobilising to deliver the ‘first in class’ and complication of implementing TMS at the
are huge challenges with the integration into subsequent fleet fitting. same time as major re-signalling work.
existing signalling systems, with the fitting of Like many others, Thales sees merit in the Working collaboratively to address these
rolling stock being particularly challenging development of ERTMS Level 3, including challenges has been important, but extra
from a logistics perspective. Thales has the proposed ETCS Hybrid L3 where some time has been needed to plan in detail
been active in ETCS development since existing track circuits or axle counters are the migration from the current operational
its earliest days and has provided Level 2 retained to detect non L3 fitted trains processes to the new way of working.
systems in Austria, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, (issue 151, May 2017). ProRail and Network Traffic Management has to be
Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, as well as being Rail are collaborating to demonstrate the technology-based, but key to success will
a main contractor in the Danish Railways benefits of ETCS Hybrid L3 and Thales is be operator interaction with the system,
nationwide rollout. optimistic of being engaged along with human factors, appropriate training and
The position in the UK is complicated, other suppliers in order to help build stakeholder engagement, all of which
with continuing uncertainty on the this confidence. It is anticipated that a need significant attention.
routes and timescales for deployment. demonstration at the UK ENIF test site The ARAMIS TM system is a fully modular
Becoming more certain is rolling stock near Hertford will take place in 2017. solution that is designed for full integration
fitment, where Thales has an on-board with the signalling, enabling routes
unit readily available with the approval Traffic management systems to be set (or cancelled) automatically,
process well advanced. The company has Achieving capacity gains and minimising dependent on the real-time acquisition of
been selected as the preferred supplier disruption by optimised management of information from timetable, train describer,
pinch points and route conflictions through interlockings, radio block centres and
the use of traffic management techniques, other sources.
was envisaged as a quick win when three At both Romford and Cardiff, the
proprietary systems were evaluated in system is however being implemented
2014. Following this initial analysis, Thales incrementally. Thales is using lessons
was awarded contracts to equip the learned in other countries with the system
Romford and Cardiff ROCs with TMS using being initially deployed in Operational
ARAMIS (Advanced Railway Automation, Decision Support mode. This gives screen-
Management and Information System), based advice to the signallers, but entrusts
integrated to the Siemens Westcad-E them with the final route setting. Both
Signalling control system. control centres will have this operational
Whilst other traffic management by the end of 2017, the Romford one
projects have now begun in the UK, the being applied to the Upminster control
deployments in Romford and Cardiff have centre for the C2C service to Southend.
meant both the customer and supplier Full integration at Romford ROC will follow
working together, sharing the goal of in due course.
how best to introduce new technology, The benefits of TMS, however, go
including significant but valuable lessons beyond decision support to operators
Testing for 4LM.
on integrating into the UK network. in signalling centres. Integrating TM to

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


the passenger information systems such London Underground Jubilee line control centre.
as Darwin and online journey planning
systems will improve the accuracy of
the information provided, particularly
important to the traveller at times of
As David Palmer comments “TMS has
been slower to take off in the UK than
perhaps originally envisaged, but the
collaboration between the Digital Railway
team and the supply chain through the
early contractor involvement activity
makes future investment look more
“Eclipse has given Thales a platform control and informed about their journey.
Improving reliability and performance for knowledge transfer amongst its The technology associated with station
Predict and prevent asset monitoring employees,” said David Palmer. “The equipment has vastly improved over the
and analytics is now featuring in most project scope has required many skill years, but has it reached an optimum?
operator’s digital railway strategy and sets to come together. Graduates and Thales thinks not and its digital, scalable
drives significant benefit with reduced in- apprentices fresh from college or university APIS (Advanced Passenger Information
service failures, maintenance interventions know how to manipulate data to give System), with the ability to deliver audible
and costs. The ultimate goal is to eradicate usable and concise information, but have and visual content, has been developed
delays and cancellations caused by faulty limited knowledge on how it should be to provide airport style information at rail
or ageing infrastructure and to reduce meaningfully interpreted. Combining this stations. It is already deployed overseas
the need for people to repair assets on with the experience of seasoned engineers and Thales intend bringing it to the UK in
the tracks during operational hours. By brings recognition to the criticality of the due course.
foreseeing when an asset is trending equipment being assessed, thus adding to
towards failure, the workforce can repair the value of the team.” Digital transport
or replace it when the railway is paused Digital technology clearly exists and
for the night, thus benefitting safety Improving passenger experience is not the barrier to the transformation
conditions for trackside workers. Getting accurate and consistent train- opportunity the rail industry is facing.
Remote Condition Monitoring (RCM) has running and journey-planning information The imperative is working in a truly
been around for some time, with many out to both front line rail staff and the collaborative way to achieve the vision of
operators making good use of it. Thales passenger remains an ever present the Digital Railway, with passenger and
has provided Network Rail with RCM and challenge and is regularly criticised in the freight customer satisfaction being key.
Intelligent Infrastructure systems and media when things go wrong. The Darwin Thales believes that the main challenge
services since 2008 that now monitor over system has existed since 2009, with earlier the industry faces is to embrace the
43,000 assets. systems in use before that. The objective is transformational change that technology
Thales’s next generation product, to collect train-running information from a enables, and creating the right
Eclipse, is specifically developed to variety of sources and continually compare collaborative “Olympic mindset” at the
provide decision support and predictive this information to the intended timetable. core of project development and delivery.
maintenance services for rail operators Algorithms then assess the impact of out- One cannot leave a discussion with
and maintainers, building on its existing of-course running and make the results Thales on the Digital Railway without
solutions but also embracing the maturing available to station information systems mention of the cyber threat that a digital
RCM market. Leveraging EU joint funded and online travel information apps across environment brings. Thales has a strong
asset research and utilising the latest the nation. pedigree in measures to combat security
cloud based platform, Eclipse delivers an Thales has been the developer of the breaches, and investment continues to
asset condition and performance advisory Darwin project and continues to manage stay ahead of emerging threats - perhaps a
service which will enable rail infrastructure the system architecture and performance subject for another article.
managers to have an ISO 13374 compliant from its Cheadle premises, which specialises This article has concentrated on the
system for prognostic and advisory asset in delivery of advanced decision support Digital Railway but Thales sees digital
information. systems and integration. The system is systems being applicable to many other
The Thales vision for Eclipse is “to continually evolving and the company forms of transport. It has a punchline -
realise a railway where asset failures are works closely with the Rail Delivery Group “Great Journeys Start Here”’ - so transfer
not service affecting and all maintenance to improve the provision of accurate, of technology between different sectors
interventions are planned”. Being consistent and timely customer information. makes business sense.
standards-based, it is vendor asset Although online information is The Network Rail vision for the Digital
agnostic and incorporates a security increasingly important to mobile and Railway is viewed as realistic and Thales is
module that ensures asset owners retain tablet users, observing the platform part of making this vision a reality.
full control of their data to enable big-data indicator or hearing the announcement
analysis of complex data challenges that at the station is the final confirmation Thanks to David Palmer and others in
rail operators currently face. that people actually need to feel in Thales for openly sharing their views.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

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t its annual Luncheon in MALCOLM
March each year, the chair DOBELL
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of the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers announces his
or her successor, who is always a senior railway engineer. This
person presides over the Division’s events for a year.

The two key events for the chair are his or her address to the
Railway Division Centres around the UK, in Ireland and, most recently,
in India, and the speech to more than 1,000 guests at the Annual
Luncheon. Rail Engineer covered the former, given in the grand
lecture hall of the Institution’s HQ.
The chair for 2017/8 is Richard McClean, managing director of Later, Richard was depot engineer at Marylebone in the late 1980s,
Grand Central, one of the open access train operators. In his address, which was then the holder of the “misery line” tag, and there were
“Ensuring The Relevance Of Rail In A Changing Environment”, he proposals to close Marylebone station and convert the lines into a
outlined his experience, the plans for his year in the driving seat and coach way. As we all know, total route modernisation was the way
some of the challenges that the railway industry and the engineering forward and it gave Richard the chance to work with other disciplines
profession face. (track, signalling, operations) as part of an integrated project team.
He said they didn’t get it all right as his Chiltern colleagues (Grand
Richard McClean (left) with Central and Chiltern are both part of the Arriva group) often remind
2016/17 chairman Richard East. him!
Following a short spell at Wimbledon depot, Richard was seconded
to the office of the BR chairman - the second Bob Reid. (Today we
think of the chairman of Network Rail as a big job. Back then, the
chairman of BR was in charge of the former equivalents of Network
Rail, all the TOCs, all the FOCs, the ROSCOs and many of the
engineering consultancies - a really big job).
The chairman told Richard that his experience at Shell had taught
him that engineers need support in their business education. So
Richard found himself removed from oil samples and endoscopes
and was “answering phone calls from irate MPs as they travelled
on trains with no air-conditioning” and “explaining to the Secretary
of State for Transport that it isn’t possible to speak to the chairman
when he was on a train on the West Highland Line” (days of
analogue mobile phones). He also wrote the BR Board meeting
A personal reflection minutes.
Richard is a product of the 1982 intake of British Rail-sponsored Richard had a ring side seat as the structures of the privatised
engineering trainees, doing his M Eng degree whilst undertaking rail industry were developed and, as a result, decided to work in
practical training during the vacations (in days gone by we might call passenger train operations and took up a role with the London
it a “premium apprenticeship”). Tilbury and Southend railway, as c2c was then known. By this time, it
Even as an undergraduate, he got stuck into a wide range of was this route that held the “Misery Line” label. The work he did to
activities from night shifts at Bounds Green Depot to helping to specify their new trains led to the successful Electrostar series.
evaluate tenders for the Class 91 locomotives. Following graduation, A move to the north reacquainted Richard with the Class 91 fleet
he worked at Old Oak Common depot investigating problems with and with the smell of hot, dirty and burnt electronics he had first
Class 50 locomotives, trying to understand why they were suffering observed with the class 50s. He led a successful reengineering
from broken connecting rods and burnt out electronics, all of which project integrating the efforts of a “coalition of the willing”; the
were resolved by persistent investigation back to root cause and maintainers, the original designers BREL (now Bombardier) and GEC-
involved keeping the lubricating oil in good condition and avoiding Alsthom (now Alstom), and the commercial imperatives of operator
iron laden brake dust being sucked into the electronics. This was part GNER and owner Eversholt.
of his plan to gain wide experience, something Richard was keen to He also experienced how quickly success can turn into tragedy as
advocate to today’s young engineers. at Hatfield in 2000.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


“So all of that helps explain why I am a rail engineer. The ability
to work with detailed processes, awesome plant and great people
means you can never be bored, while putting your customer, the
passenger, on the production line means that you can never let your
attention wander”, he said. This is something all former Railway
Division chairs (your writer included) would support.
To conclude his career summary, Richard contributed an operator’s
perspective to parts of the original specification for the replacement
for the High Speed Trains and the Class 91 locomotive/mark IV
carriages which laid the foundations for the Inter-City Express
Programme. He then joined Deutsche Bahn where he was appointed
to his current position.

A passion for railways

Richard says he is an unashamed railway enthusiast, not in the
numbers collecting sense, but in the sense of rail’s advantages - low
wheel rail friction, high capacity. “Railways have always shaped and
enabled the society we live in”, Richard said, and he highlighted the
»» The standardisation of time across the nation;
»» The invention of the package holiday by Thomas Cook; He added: “Even today, railway developments are reshaping the
»» Delivering fresh food into cities with dedicated fish and milk trains lives of people, the communities they live in and the economies
- allowing fish and chips to become a national dish rather than just around them,” citing examples including London Overground, the
a coastal one; Jubilee line extension and the Borders railway.
»» Distribution of national newspapers;
»» The paperback book; Industry objectives
»» Over 300 railway themed pubs; He sounded a warning note, however, reminding us that the
»» Countless “Station Roads”; industry will need to adapt faster than ever to remain relevant,
»» Structural icons - what other industry can boast a designated both to respond to developments in other transport modes and to
World Heritage site like the Forth Bridge? technologies that might eliminate at least some of the need to travel.

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Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Engineering challenges
Richard tacitly accepted that it is unlikely that routes away from the
core network would be electrified and he talked about a number of
techniques to reduce or eliminate, at point of use, harmful emissions.
For example, replacing hydraulic torque converter gearboxes on
legacy DMUs with more modern gearboxes that can yield fuel saving
of up to 20 per cent while the use of cleaner fuels using ‘gas to liquid’
fuel based on natural gas or ‘dual fuel’ using diesel and LNG mixed
can reduce particulate and NOx emissions.
Trains fitted with diesel-electric drives, possibly based on the
cleanest automotive engines, would use batteries to recover braking
energy and allow the diesel engines to be shut off while standing in
stations. Another use of high-capacity batteries could allow electric
trains to run independently of the electricity supply over a reasonable
There are also a number of trials underway using hydrogen fuel
cells (issue 145, November 2016).
Of course, all these developments need engineers. “We all know
that, without the right people, we will get nowhere. But where are
these people going to come from?” Richard mused. This is a two-
In Richard’s view, from his position leading a train operating fold challenge. Firstly, to make engineering attractive as a career
company high in the customer satisfaction ratings, the industry needs and, secondly, to encourage those who have chosen engineering to
to address: specialise in railway engineering.
»» Punctuality - depart on time and arrive on time from the
passengers’ departure points right through to their arrival points, Year of engineering
not the origin and destination of the train; This is very much the theme for Richard’s year in office, echoing
»» Capacity - a pre-requisite for punctuality, there needs to be space that of IMechE president, Carolyn Griffiths. He asked everyone
for all who want to use the railway, both passenger and freight; to contribute to the 2018 UK Year of Engineering, which will
»» Cost - it needs to be affordable; “deliver and promote direct and inspiring experiences of modern
»» Emissions - it would be naïve to assume that the underlying physics engineering”. Activities will include events across the UK that
of rail will always allow the industry to claim its “green” credentials challenge stereotypes of engineering and allow families to ‘take a
as other transport modes are rapidly improving. closer look’ at engineering.
These more or less represent the industry’s 4Cs - Customer, Institution members and others must work with influential
Cost, Capacity and Carbon, although Richard added a fifth point people who care to showcase the variety and creativity of modern
- Connectivity. Rail is usually just one part of a passenger’s journey. engineering and increase their participation in existing engineering
“Passengers want full connectivity between the places they want to programmes that have a proven track record of changing
be, not just between railway stations,” he said. perceptions amongst young people and their influencers.
Richard highlighted three of the 12 key capabilities outlined in Above all, the Institution needs to develop a brand, PR and digital
the Rail Delivery Group’s Rail Technical Strategy where innovation is content to join up all this activity and so extend the campaign and
required: increase its reach.
»» Cost effective electrification, stating that “as a matter of the utmost
urgency, we must find a way to deliver core network electrification Alstom iLint hydrogen-powered
and re-establish our credibility in this area with funders”; train is now on trial in germany.
»» Decarbonising non-electrified routes - Richard was critical of
the current situation, where diesel electric bi-mode trains are
favoured, saying that this is not sustainable as he highlighted the
inconsistency that Midland main line (MML) electrification was
cancelled in the same week that the same government minister
announced the policy to end sales of diesel and petrol cars by
2040, by when the future MML diesel electric bi-mode trains will be
only at half-life;
»» The Digital Railway which, while it has been defined in different
ways, Richard highlighted as the following:
»» ETCS implemented to allow trains to run closer together;
»» Improved performance through better whole-system train
regulation traffic management tools and driver advisory
»» Lower cost signalling renewal through elimination of lineside
»» More effective and lower cost maintenance based on
information derived from trainborne and lineside sensors and
other data sources.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Women in engineering The report ‘Engineering 2016’, by Professor John Uff, highlights
Richard reinforced the president’s message about the gender how the various institutions might work better together and is
imbalance in engineering. Just eight per cent of the general recommended further reading.
engineering profession is female and the proportion in rail is even Richard reported that the Railway Division is very active and
worse at four per cent. achieves a high degree of engagement with its 5,500 registered
He observed that, at school, “we see that girls achieve better professionals through its programmes of activities delivered in
results in GSCE science subjects than boys, but that out-performance London and in seven centres in the UK and in India. These are often
is reversed at A Level where girls achieve only 30 per cent of the reported in Rail Engineer.
number of Physics passes - mainly because they don’t continue He also highlighted his enthusiasm for more collaborative
with the subject”. Which begs the question as to why are fewer working with other professional bodies. The Railway Engineers
girls choosing physics at A Level than boys? The trend continues at Forum has been a good start and it now includes the Institution of
university, with seven times more men studying engineering than Railway Operators and the Chartered Institution of Logistics and
women. Transport. This is particularly necessary in railways which are closely
Richard proposed these actions: coupled systems, involving many engineering disciplines and other
»» In schools, work needs to be done to encourage girls to study professionals. As Richard put it, “we need to get out of our silos and
physics at A Level; integrate!”
»» More radically, universities could adjust their entry criteria to More needs to be done, he said, and the division should emulate
reduce the emphasis on maths and physics A Levels - again the success of the Institution of Railway Operators, Young Rail
evidence suggests that this reduces a barrier without diluting the Professionals and Women in Rail, all of whom have achieved
quality of the engineering education they deliver; significant recognition and success in a short time through their
»» Employers must do much more to communicate the creative and energy and use of social media.
problem-solving aspects of engineering both to school students Richard concluded with these reflections: “Rail has been pivotal
AND to those who influence their subject and career choices - in the building of today’s society, and can be central to the new and
“Why not invite science and maths teachers to your offices and emerging world. But, if we are to succeed, we need to change and
factory?” change fast, engage new generations and work across the traditional
»» Everyone must also do more to make the workplace more boundaries.
inclusive, both physically and culturally, as such a move would “This Institution and all of its members and supporters can be the
assist with attracting and retaining both sexes to the profession heart of that change and that future success”.
and in rail but, as noted earlier, the industry lags a long way behind
the expectations of the current generation. Richard McClean’s recommended reading is ‘Engineering 2016’
by Professor John Uff, available online at
Relevance in today’s world publications/other/uk-engineering-2016.
Moving from the challenges faced by the industry, Richard outlined
how the IMechE and the Railway Division should make themselves
relevant to society, stakeholders and engineers facing all these
He said that, if not addressed, the declining numbers entering the
engineering profession will widen the growing skills gap leading
to harm to our economy and society. Actions needed include
promoting and explaining the role of engineers in society through
the media and with key stakeholders and increasing cooperation
with the other professional engineering institutions to reach more
potential engineering recruits.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Detecting wheel flats

ROBERTSON and more!
eaves on the line are a common problem, especially in autumn when they can and slide conditions that cause wheels to
pose a serious challenge for rail operators, causing trains to be delayed and even lock up while the train is still moving. Flat
needing to be taken out of service temporarily. This situation is even worse in spots are more common in the autumn
countries around the globe with densely forested areas such as North America, and winter when the rails are slippery, but
Canada, parts of the UK and Europe. can also be caused by faulty brakes or
wheelset bearings.
To put the problem into context, a Wheel flats Once these flats are created, they
mature tree can lose between 10,000 and Leaves on the line make rails slippery provide the characteristic ‘thump-
50,000 leaves and, each autumn, literally and cause trains to experience reduced thump-thump’ that can be heard by
thousands of tonnes of leaves fall onto adhesion. This can lead to wheel slip rail passengers during autumn as the
railway lines across the UK alone. Network when the train is taking power, and damaged wheels impact the hard rails
Rail, the owner and operator of most of wheel slide when the train is braking. beneath them. The sound is generated
the UK’s rail infrastructure, tries to keep Although large strides have been made as the edges of the wheel flat impact
delays to a minimum by keeping trees and in the development of better Wheel Slide on the rail, but, as the sharp corners of
vegetation along the track side cut back, as Protection (WSP) systems for trains, these the flat are worn away over time, the
well as deploying ‘leaf busters’ which spray can only optimise the prevailing wheel noise reduces, making human detection
powerful jets of water directly onto the train rail adhesion. WSP systems attempt to difficult.
lines to clear leaves away. protect the wheels on the train during a If the flat spot is very small, the rail
Some rail operators even go the extreme stop, but rapid transition from slippery rail vehicle will be able to continue being
of publishing ‘leaf timetables’ in the autumn, to dry rail and back can sometimes result used. The fault is removed later in the
which give their trains longer to complete in flats being created on wheels during wheelset turning process. However,
their journeys and also to slow down at braking. because of the heat suffered while
stations, helping them to stay on time. The flat spot occurs when a rail being dragged along the rail and the
But, timetabling aside, why are leaves on vehicle’s wheelset is dragged along the impacts suffered afterward, these
the line such a problem for rail operators rail after the wheel/axle has stopped wheels are more likely to break due
and what new innovations are out there to rotating. Flat spots are usually caused to changes in the alloy structure. If
provide solutions? by use of the emergency brake, or slip the flat spot is very large, strands of
molten metal may have got stuck on
one side of the flat spot, making it
impossible for the wheel to turn due
to insufficient clearance between the
rolling surface and the brake block. In
this case, the wheelset must be replaced
immediately. In extreme cases, a wheel
with an untreated flat spot can damage
the track and cause a derailment.
Otherwise smooth but ‘out of round’
wheels generate ever more force as
the train gets faster until the forces
become very damaging to the rails. At
their extreme, these forces can be large
enough to break rails which already have
small cracks or defects in them.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Metro-North Railroad in New York

A good example of an extreme situation caused by a wheel flat is
with Metro-North Railroad in New York, where a flat generated so
much ‘out of balance’ force in its axle that the axle broke, sending
the wheel into the Hudson River. The consequence could clearly have Hot wheel and bearing detection
been considerably worse as the trains travel on a viaduct through The WheelChex system, powered by Vortok sensors, has been so
Manhattan on their way to Grand Central Terminal. The Federal reliable for Metro-North that the company, in partnership with Long-
Railroad Administration (FRA) therefore mandated that Metro-North Island Railroad, put out a Request for Proposal for the construction
should do regular visual inspections of its wheels. This is no easy task and delivery of three ‘Train Fault Detector’ (TFD) houses to build
as it represents a total of 13 miles of tread surface to be inspected for on the original implementation, adding hot wheel and bearing
defects daily! detection, along with enhanced data analysis. Vortok International
Instead of implementing the visual check approach, Metro-North won this contract and combined the existing WheelChex technology
chose a significantly more efficient, Automatic Inspection System with Progress Rail’s hot bearing and wheel detection systems to
(AIS) in the form of WheelChex®, which consists of 32 Vortok create a ‘first’ in the US rail transit industry in combining these
MultiSensors™ in each of four tracks in the Park Avenue Tunnel measurements into one location.
under Manhattan; a total of 128 sensors per installation. Unlike This innovative TFD system provides a comprehensive overview of
traditional AIS that use bonded strain gauges, which are difficult wheel and axle condition and will allow the railroads to benefit from
to install and require high maintenance, the Vortok sensors are operational information in the form of messages and alerts to tell
embedded in the rails and form an array which measures the force them if a particular vehicle is presenting a risk to the infrastructure.
profile of each wheel as it passes over the system. This force profile With new trending algorithms it will be possible to plan ahead and
is used to determine the roundness and smoothness of each wheel avoid some of the panic that happens when the leaves fall in autumn,
by monitoring the mean weight and peak force (from impacts) of the when most wheel damage occurs.
wheels. Innovation in this sector has led to solutions that not only overcome
A good measure of the wheel condition is to compute the ratio of the original, obvious problems, like wheel flats in autumn, but also
mean to peak load and express this as a simple number. Anything tackle complex issues such as hot wheel and bearing detection. With
above a ratio of two is noteworthy and is passed to train maintainers, statistical data from the TFD, the railroads will also be in a stronger
and anything above five is an emergency, which sees the train position to plan material purchases and benefit from better pricing
stopped as soon as it is safe to do so. This information, combined and lead times. It will be exciting to see where this technology goes
with analysis of the wheel data, has allowed Metro-North to instigate from here.
a wheel management system that allows wheel flats to be measured
early and then to track the condition of any wheel damage over time. Richard Robertson is managing director of Vortok International.

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Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017



and TroPath

unning alongside the railway, cable troughs
are not just a tidy and convenient receptacle
for signalling and power cables. Their lids
also often provide a walkway but, with the
strong possibility of encountering missing or broken
lids in some areas, they can be anything but a ‘safe
walkway’, especially at night.

Rail Engineer has reported on the development

and installation of cable routes made from recycled
materials a number of times. Several suppliers offer
such products, but it is believed that Trojan Services is
the only UK supplier of locally produced products using
UK-sourced raw materials and production of recycled
Now, Trojan Services has developed an enhancement
of its successful combined cable route and safe
walkway for the second phase of the East West Rail
project, which aims to establish a strategic railway
connecting East Anglia with Central, Southern and
Western England.

Range development
In 2002, Trojan began researching the use of recycled
polymers for railway cable ducting as an alternative to
traditional concrete. At that time, less than a quarter of
plastic waste produced in the UK was recycled, the bulk
of which was packaging materials. However, since then,
the raw material stream from industry and society has
been increased to include end-of-life products, as well
as domestic and industrial waste.
Trojan identified that the most suitable polymer for
rail applications was polypropylene, due to its high
strength and impact resistance. The result was the
TroTrof range, approximately five times lighter than
concrete troughs.
The range was later enhanced with a combined
cable route and safe walkway that has been used on a
number of rail enhancement schemes, and which has
contributed to safety and sustainability of the materials
used by rail. This is known as the TroTred product.
East West Rail ran a ‘troughing challenge’ to select
an innovative cable troughing system that would
meet its ‘next generation railway’ requirements
by combining the welfare of workers along with
environmental and sustainable elements. Trojan was
successful in the challenge and the result is TroPath, a
derivation of the existing TroTred product. TroPath will
offer the rail industry an even lighter-weight, durable
and long-lasting cable trough and safe walking route.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


»» Best value for money

»» Safest method or option
»» Consistent quality level
»» Most sustainable method or option
»» Reputational advantage.
The specification set qualitative target
criteria in 17 areas that covered the
It behaviours and goals of the project. These
has included: unit cost, installation cost, time
health and safety saved, work content reduction, intrinsic
as well as life cost benefits safety (Safe by Design), improvement
compared with traditional concrete in reliability, and positive reputational
products and, when the product reaches The Central impacts on the project and rail in general.
end of life, it, in turn, can be recycled. Section will extend the Western Section The specification required a walking
Currently, the Trojan project is gearing up to Cambridge. The line was closed and route compliant with standard NR/SP/
to commence production in 2018. dismantled in the 1960s. Many bridges OHS/069 issue 2 “Lineside facilities for
have either been removed or are in a poor personal safety”, along with the provision
East West Rail Route state of repair and the Bedford bypass of disconnection box stakes and handrails,
The proposed East West Rail route severs the line, so there is extensive work together with being able to safely contain
can be broken down into three sections to be done on this section. all forms of cables.
- Western, Central and Eastern. The The railway east of Cambridge, the The product design had to enable an
Western Section route is on existing lines Eastern Section, is extensively used by operative to install more than 25 troughs
between Bedford and Oxford, Milton freight as well as providing passenger per shift under Manual Handling Operations
Keynes and Aylesbury Vale. Phase 1 - services. An hourly service of passenger Regulations 1992, and include features to
Oxford to Bicester Village - has already trains between Cambridge and Norwich minimise both the risk of injuries during
been upgraded by Chiltern Railways and was introduced in September 2002, and installation and the exposure of staff
Network Rail. Phase 2 of the Western one between Ipswich and Cambridge in to hazardous substances during onsite
Section will upgrade and reconstruct December 2004. construction and maintenance. The safety
existing and mothballed (no longer in requirements included features to reduce
use) sections of line that link Bedford with Specification minor injuries during operations from slips,
Bicester, and Milton Keynes with Princes A specification for the development trips and falls, such as lid failures.
Risborough. of line side troughing for the East West The solution had to demonstrate
Once completed passengers and freight Rail Alliance was established with the consistent quality levels, high durability,
services can make the journey between objective of innovation and continuous a minimum 25-year design life, and
Bedford and Oxford without needing to improvement in troughing for both East compliance with existing troughing product
travel via London. It will also link Milton West Rail, UK Railway and beyond. The specifications. It needed to be a flexible
Keynes on the West Coast Mainline with specification, which was formulated by a product range for dealing with obstructions
London Marylebone on the Chiltern multidisciplinary team, concentrated on and grade changes by offering different
Mainline via Aylesbury. five key areas: lengths, radiuses and tees.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


The comprehensive specification wooden or plastic pallets as

included a requirement for the lowest well as removing the need
possible embodied carbon, emissions, for shrink wrapping which is
and water usage during manufacture, currently used with existing pallet
which should be undertaken by a local deliveries.
workforce using locally sourced materials.
Cable protection had to maximise rodent Ricardo Rail assessment
protection while minimising the risk of Ricardo Rail was remitted to undertake
cable theft - with more than one measure an independent Life Cycle Assessment
of security per system. (LCA) for the TroTrof and TroPath
products, and to compare TroTrof with a
The solution conventional concrete trough and TroPath
Trojan submitted initial design concepts with a concrete trough and a track-side
in accordance with the criteria laid down walkway. This included an Environmental
in the specification. These overcame Product Declaration (EPD) for each
the potential for installation problems product.
associated with the earlier TroTred The conclusion was that the Trojan across the world, we have no doubt. There
product, which had led to issues with lid products out-performed the concrete- are no similar products on the market,
alignment and stability. based alternatives for every environmental with the standard practice being the
This was achieved by eliminating the criterion studied, for all life cycle stages. installation of concrete troughing and a
multi-part base configuration of two The results took no account of product separate walkway made from wooden
sidewalls with a centre section slotted lifetimes; however, it is anticipated that batons, membrane and packed type-one
together to form the base. Instead, the the Trojan products may last for the entire aggregate”
new TroPath base was made in the form project lifetime (120 years), whereas a Trojan has always appreciated the
of two half troughs, giving the unit more concrete alternative would need two positive reaction and adoption by
stability and strength. Likely expansion replacements. Network Rail of its innovative solutions
requirements have been calculated and to cable trough/walkway management
finite element analysis conducted. Moulds Award success issues, and the acknowledgement of the
are now being produced to confirm the In June 2017, TroPath was awarded benefits delivered by awarding Trojan the
physical characteristics of TroPath, after ‘Best Recycled Product’ at the National Innovation and Environment Partnership
which the new product will be tested in Recycling Awards event. The judges Award in 2008 and 2010. The company
accordance with Network Rail standards commented: “A simply amazing product - also welcomes the new generation of
prior to full-scale trackside testing to it delivers everything you’d want in a best designers and project managers who are
ensure compliance. recycled product. Mile after mile of this embracing Trojan’s approach to product
TroPath offers a weight reduction product will be installed along railways innovation and design.
compared to TroTred due to the sidewall
reducing from 350mm to 200mm, as less
cable capacity is required for the EWR
project. This will also save a considerable
amount of raw material and illustrates
how important it is for projects to specify
requirements as accurately as possible
in order to save costs by not over-
engineering the product.
The installation time will be reduced
as there is no need for assembly of the
base unit on site, resulting in improved
productivity/installation rates, and reduced
potential for accidents associated with
manual handling.
Trojan has also evaluated and introduced
a new raw material supplier which offers
improved performance of a lower weight
per unit whilst maintaining the same
physical characteristics. Workforce training
will be reduced due to the elimination of
on-site assembly and this, together with
easier installation of TroPath, will result
in lower installation times compared to
existing products.
Delivery costs could be reduced as well.
Trojan is evaluating the elimination of

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

Trojan Services Ltd formed an alliance with
Trackwork Ltd. in June 2017 - TroTrack Composites.
TroTrack will combine the innovation of the Trojan
team with the established rail industry experience
of Trackwork to deliver existing and new recycled
polymer products in the U.K.

■ British designed and British manufactured

■ Over 1 million units supplied and installed
in the UK infrastructure
■ Manufactured using 100% recycled
polymer from end of life vehicles TM

■ Significantly lighter than the equivalent

Concrete Troughing, to comply with HSE
manual handling regulations
■ In Network Rail Ergonomics study, TroTrof
C1/9 was installed over 4 times quicker
than concrete equivalent
■ Units are designed to interface with
concrete equivalent troughing
■ Products offer excellent impact resistance,
quality and durability
■ Products are driven by innovation,
environment and sustainability



Sales/General: +44 845 074 0407 Email:



E &
dison succeeded in making his light bulb work,
eventually. It is often quoted that, on his path to
success, he discovered 10,000 ways not to make a
light bulb. Perseverance, then, won the day.

But, in the modern commercial world, constraints upon

research budgets and resources do not allow for a trial and
error approach to developing new concepts. Solutions need to
be new and innovative, whilst also thoroughly proven before
being implemented. They need to be delivered on time and
on budget.
Under similar constraints, would Edison ever have reached his
working light bulb moment?

Innovate or mitigate?
The constant drive to increase safety, improve efficiencies
and provide better services creates opposing challenges for
engineers. On the one hand, there is pressure to innovate,
to embrace new technology and methods to meet today’s
demands. On the other hand, when a new technology comes
along and it is unproven in the rail environment, the burden of
time and cost to test and qualify the product as fit for purpose,
or otherwise, may result in true progress being aborted.
Innovation can be stifled by the need to mitigate project risks.
Then there are the project risks associated with using older,
yet proven, technology. Taking the assumed ‘safe route’ will
often result in a sub-optimal solution, but is that what is really
wanted for systems that are critical to operations, security or
Avoiding the innovative solution in favour of an older,
established one could also present risks for obsolescence Many police helicopters are equipped with
management. While considering something new, assurances Vislink’s airborne data link (ADL) systems
will be needed that it will be fit for purpose, without having to to deliver high-quality real-time video to
invest excessive amounts of valuable resource into detailed officers on the ground.
Consider the case of two technology examples: Learning from elsewhere
1. Communications - Wireless methods have become essential A look at other industries with comparable
for a range of modern applications and also open up new requirements can de-risk innovation by
possibilities. But an average system, that works perfectly identifying proven technology that transcends
well in an open environment, may struggle to perform when its origins and then applying that to the rail
introduced to the physical and operational challenges of the environment.
railway environment. It’s widely accepted that the railway
2. CCTV - There are many products available that are perfectly environment poses unique challenges for
acceptable for general surveillance applications, including communications and CCTV technology.
town centre and retail environments. However, operational How many other industries can you name
and safety critical applications add an entirely different set of where systems operate indoors, outdoors,
demands which cannot be met by many off-the-peg CCTV underground and overground, across both urban
products. and rural areas?

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Add to this the demand for systems to electric racing cars will already have some images from any of four micro-sized high-
operate amongst high-voltage power lines insight into several technologies that will definition cameras along with audio and
and numerous metal structures. Equipment change transport in the future. data related to the car’s speed, position
may also be subjected to vibration, shock, So what exactly does the world of sports and other telemetry. Up to 20 cars can be
or suffer poor ventilation due to installation broadcasting have to offer rail industry ‘live’ at any one time.
in confined spaces. In vehicle-based communications and CCTV? Race speeds of 140mph, near constant
communication systems, one end of a Formula E has rapidly gained support acceleration and deceleration, fierce
wireless link may be travelling at high speed from automotive manufacturers including vibration, shock and high temperatures
relative to the other. It’s fair to say that the Jaguar, Audi, Renault and Citroen, with are just a few of the physical conditions
list of comparable industries is not long. Mercedes-Benz set to join the series in these systems must endure. Electric power
It is possible that many of the challenges 2019. It symbolises a global motorsport delivery of 200kW in close proximity to the
faced by rail engineers are also realised shift toward efficient and sustainable camera and transmitter systems also has to
by engineers from other industries. If energy solutions, developing cutting edge be taken into account.
knowledge can be shared, and lessons technology with real-world relevance. Are these challenging conditions starting
learned from others outside of the rail In addition to wireless broadcast cameras to sound familiar?
environment, then new solutions may in operation around the circuit, the cars are External factors show more challenges.
be found. But who else shares similar equipped with on-board camera systems Formula E races are mostly held on street
technical challenges? What problems have transmitting low-latency, crystal-clear circuits, adding the complexity of urban
they encountered, what are their solutions
and how can they be accessed?

Hiding in plain sight

In considering the core applications
for these two technology examples,
several solutions are hiding in plain sight.
Television broadcast offers many examples
of high-quality video combined with
wireless communications. Followers of
the FIA Formula E Championship for all-

Panasonic Jaguar Racing.

On-board images from Formula E are
broadcast live to over 190 million
viewers in more than 100 countries
around the world.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Collaborative solutions
Vislink onboard camera systems are used by Identifying valuable technology developments
MotoGP to deliver ultra-high definition (UHD) from other industries is one step toward
video plus telemetry whilst travelling at speeds improving innovation in rail. Building upon what
in excess of 200mph. PHOTOS: MOTOGP.COM has already been proven mitigates the risks
usually associated with being an early-adopter.
environments and myriad physical structures to the wireless Collaboration, though, is ultimately the key to
transmission challenge. All of this must be accomplished using successful delivery, ensuring that engineers from
standard-based technology that is interoperable with a huge each discipline are able to share core knowledge
range of other equipment and also complies with stringent and work as a single team. With this in mind,
international regulations. Vislink, the leading provider of wireless video
Beyond the obvious differences in application, it may be systems to broadcast, law enforcement and
surprising to see the number of parallels to the rail industry. public safety markets, and Panasonic System
Of course, a sceptic may say: “If motor racing fans can’t see a Solutions Europe, a world leader in intelligent
driver’s camera view, then the race still carries on, but railway and connected technology solutions, have
operation is totally dependent upon real-time video systems.” joined forces in a formal collaboration. This will
That’s true enough. However, from the broadcaster’s bring their technical and commercial teams
perspective, there are no second chances to deliver on-board closer together, drawing upon experience from a
camera footage in a live scenario. Technical failures, picture wider pool of industry applications and enabling
degradation or dropouts are considered totally unacceptable. them to work on shared projects toward
When over 190 million people in over 100 countries around common goals.
the world are watching and judging the quality of the service Carl Pocknell, general manager at Panasonic
being delivered, the commercial pressure is immense. The best System Solutions Europe, explained the
picture quality has to be delivered, faultlessly, every time. approach: “Panasonic System Solutions Europe
So whilst the world of motor sports broadcasting is ever keen is focused on solving our customer problems in
to push boundaries and adopt the latest technology, is there three key areas - critical infrastructure, connected
sufficient proof that this wireless video technology is evolved communications and automation. This often
enough to be used on railways? involves identifying technology being used in
Absolutely. Formula E has been operating these systems other industries and analysing how it can be
since the beginning of the series three years ago and variations applied to our sectors of expertise. In this case,
are also in use by MotoGP, World Rally Championship and we have combined Panasonic’s innovative CCTV
World Rallycross, plus many other sports and events globally. cameras and solution design alongside Vislink’s
MotoGP even uses gyroscopically stabilised cameras to wireless technology, allowing users to monitor
remove the ‘tilt’ as riders take corners. cameras without the delays (latency) that so
In addition, law enforcement and public safety organisations often affect images in this type of environment.”
around the world operate long-range airborne data links (ADL) As an industry striving to continually innovate,
using the same core technology for real-time surveillance. The collaborative solutions have the power to
technology is mature and proven enough to be depended accelerate innovation or open a doorway to new
upon under harsh conditions in mission critical applications, capabilities. By taking a wider view, and drawing
and brings the potential to revolutionise video communications upon developments and experience from other
in rail applications, including CCTV between trackside assets markets, that next ‘light bulb’ moment is brought
and moving trains. just a bit closer.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017

I n n o v a t i o n
R ace
Two industry innovators collaborate
to create the ultimate in rail solutions.
Panasonic have combined their innovative CCTV
cameras and solution design with Vislink’s wireless
technology to allow users to monitor cameras in motion,
in real-time. In an industry striving to continually innovate,
we’re paving the way for new possibilities.

To learn more about transport solutions of the future, visit: or
© 2017 Integrated Microwave Technology Ltd and Panasonic System Communications Company Europe. All rights reserved.

Measuring efficiently
nnovation and efficiency are intertwined, and as industry adopts the digital
principles mandated by BIM, capturing 3D digital quickly, efficiently and
accurately is more important than ever, which is why engineering survey
knowledge is so important.

Survey information comes from many

sources and with different levels of
accuracy but, as track time becomes
more limited, it is vital to capture as much
data as possible in as short a time scale
as is practical.
Laser-scanning technology is becoming
more and more accepted as it produces
very accurate data that can be used by
a variety of rail professionals, from asset
managers to designers. Because the
3D point-clouds captured by scanners
contain points in very close proximity
(sometimes just a few millimetres apart),
accurate 3D measurements can be made
on a computer wherever the engineer
needs them in the safety and comfort of
their office.
3D point-clouds also form the basis
of accurate 3D models used in the Tunnel profiles whole process, including safety briefing
BIM environment and allow intelligent A great example of this is a recent and accessing the work site, took just
software algorithms to be developed to tunnel survey undertaken with the under four hours.
speed up data extraction for objects such Trimble Gedo 2.0 Track Measuring In comparison, a traditional profiling
as overhead powerlines, vegetation and Device (TMD). The Gedo TMD is an team on the same contract needed
gantries. upgradeable system for track surveying, to return at least a further three times,
setting-out, maintenance and tamping having already had a previous visit, and
which can have additional sensors such they would only record one single cross-
as laser scanners added to it. section every five or ten metres with no
The area scanned included the tunnel detail in between.
approach as well as a short section Processing the data back at the office,
beyond and into a second tunnel. including the production of cross-
Because of the change of cross-section sections took around five hours. However,
in the tunnel, the client was keen to see a significant portion of the processing is
how the Gedo system compared to automatic, so could be performed by the
traditional techniques and how easy the PC in the background.
information was to process. The Trimble The quality of the data allows the tunnel
Gedo 2.0 scanning system was used, construction to be clearly seen (above)
in conjunction with a tripod-mounted and the cross-sections can then be
Trimble S9 Robotic Total Station, because created at critical locations as well as at
of a lack of GNSS reception in the tunnel the required regular intervals.
and the level of accuracy required. This survey was particularly interesting,
In total, the length of the survey was as not only was the change in tunnel
around 650 metres and the S9 Total profile accurately surveyed, but the
Station had to be set up five times. The ventilation shafts were precisely
trolley was pushed through at the most measured as well, one of which can be
precise measuring speed (left) and the seen on the image above right along

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


back in the office, automatic processes With the recent introduction of the
can be run within the software such as Trimble SX10 Scanning Total Station,
cross-section generation. This allows point-clouds are being democratised.
vectorised cross-sections to be created at This revolutionary instrument combines
any required single or multiple location a conventional Robotic 1-person Total
and rolling stock to be superimposed onto Station for conventional surveying and
the track to check clearance. setting-out along with a high-precision
These profiles can have dimensions 3D laser scanner and multiple metric
added and can then be exported to cameras. This means that, back in the
other third-party analysis and CAD office, measurements can be taken
software. Because the 3D data is from the images recorded by the
correctly geospatially positioned within instrument as well as the point-cloud it
with the change of tunnel bore (viewed a co-ordinated reference system, has scanned.
from “outside” the tunnel), something any proposed track realignment can Point-clouds and metric images will
conventional measuring techniques be imported into the software for not only benefit survey and design,
would not reveal. an updated clearance check without but also the planning and delivery of
the need to revisit site, further aiding projects. Because the project managers
Back in the office collaboration and improving safety. can “visit their site” on a PC, many
The blue lines shown in the images Furthermore, the data can form the basis critical measurements and decisions
above are the as-measured existing track of a highly accurate linear BIM model can be made ahead of time in the
geometry (left rail, right rail and centreline). as it can be integrated with other forms office and, with Trimble’s commitment
Because the track geometry and point- of measured 3D data such as terrestrial, to augmented reality, the benefits
cloud are measured at the same time, mobile and airborne LiDAR as well as 3D of positioning technology to the rail
on-site tasks are very efficient and, once CAD drawings and models. industry will only grow.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017



Generac Dust Suppression Unit at Kings Cross.

hoosing the right specification and equipment is vital. The rail sector Greater control
is inundated with companies claiming to offer the next innovation and Coupled with the growth in LED lamp
choosing the right product mix to support health and safety requirements head technology, developments in the
can be a complex task. control systems which manage lighting are
also gathering pace.
Every manufacturer strives for innovation, lighting can bring to site. These include Dimmer technology has been readily
but it should not come at the cost of cleaner, sharper and softer light; instant available but, combined with efficient ultra-
efficiency and practicality. More and more illumination, as the LEDs can be switched thin LED lamp heads such as the Generac
upgrades are taking place in remote on and off without any cooling time MT1 and LINK T3 UFO, site operators
locations, so this means that the plant whereas metal halide lights require a will be able to fully control and dim the
often has to be self-sufficient and efficient. longer time of cooling before the next lighting from 1-100 per cent. Dimmable
Equipment used needs to be durable hot-restart; and, of course, lower CO2 switches on mobile lighting towers allow
and robust to keep up with the rigours of emissions. users to control the amount of light they
remote onsite use. Usage is largely being driven by the need for specific tasks, reducing running
Today, new product development is significant energy cost savings and long costs while also helping to reduce light
focused on the practicality gains, including lifecycles that are increasingly attractive pollution.
how plant can be manoeuvred from A to B as rail infrastructure budgets and costings Energy savings are only the start of
and how they can be maintained including become firmly squeezed. As an example, the potential benefits as controllable
refuelling and day-to-day upkeep. 60 per cent of Generac’s lighting stock now lighting promises to create safer working
This year, there are a number of key incorporates LED lamp heads. conditions both on track, lineside and in
innovations and trends entering the rail Many lighting towers today offer variants populated areas.
sector, all of which, the manufacturers on LED lamp heads and they are available
claim, will help plan the next rail project. in a range of configurations. One of the Dust suppression
easiest ways to check the power of the Ballast dust remains a significant problem
Growth of LED and Link-Ups lamp head is to look on the lamp itself. on many routes, and this can lead to
All too often, our industry is told that In a quest to reduce operational costs severe health issues and poor visibility
“it’s just a light”, but the truth is that one further and be greener, link lighting is also when teams are undertaking rail upgrade
of the most important reasons for having an on-trend option for buyers, and LED tasks.
mobile light is for the wellbeing and safety technology has supported this practice. Research from Imperial College London
of workers. Link lighting is a popular choice for rail suggests that around 900 new cases of
Lighting has traditionally been teams as it means having the ability to lung cancer each year in Britain can be
dominated by metal halide lamp heads link several lighting towers from one attributed to past exposure to silica dust
and, in some European and over-seas generator, thus saving fuel costs and in the construction, granite and stone
markets, these are still being used for low- reducing emissions on trackside. Up to industries.
cost lighting-tower models. 12 Generac LINK T3-L light towers can be Traditional methods have involved
However, LED is experiencing explosive connected to an external power source rail teams using Respiratory Protective
growth as the rail sector realises the with a 32A option, or six to one with a 16A Equipment (RPE) along with water dousing
potential benefits that this style of option. and exposure monitoring to reduce risk.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


However, these practises are often impractical as they take place away from
the job site at local distribution centres (LDCs) and are reliant on personnel
managing the risk themselves. In addition, many areas where the dust is created MT1 UFO lighting
are rendered inaccessible for motorised plant. tower from Generac.
Dust suppression units are a practical solution for many projects, and this year has seen
a significant increase in demand. The Generac range of dust suppression units have
been used on the Waterloo rail upgrade to prevent platform contamination, improve the
passenger environment and help reduce dust pollution to nearby residences.
Unlike traditional dust-suppression systems, today’s innovative dust control units
provide operators with a range of options based on performance and the size of the
area which requires coverage.
Modern dust-suppression units use fine mists to capture and combine with dust
particles to drag them to the ground. They create nebulised water particles, which
have a diameter of 40-150 microns, so they can easily bond with dust particles which
have an average size of 80 microns in diameter.
Water particles created by a standard irrigation system have a 1,000-1,500
micron diameter and are therefore too big and just go
straight through the dust cloud without bonding with
anything. The nebulised water system is more effective
and sustainable, as the dust can be suppressed quicker,
reducing water consumption and preventing muddy work
areas created by pools of water from traditional methods.
Buyers need to consider where and when the plant
will be used trackside and look to practical
innovations in their quest to complete
projects on time in a safe and
constructive environment.

Andy Thompson is a key account

manager at Generac Mobile Products

Innovative, robust and efficient products which work through the night and every night, just like you.


Stay on Track with

DF7500 LINK-T3
Generac Mobile Products UK Ltd.
11 Garamonde Drive, Wymbush,
Milton Keynes, MK8 8DA Tel: +44 01908 571435

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017



Leaf fall on the

ondon Underground (LU). The clue is in the name -
“underground”. So how does the organisation have a leaf-
fall problem? Despite the “underground” in the name, LU
has large lengths of route that lie out in the open rather
than down in tunnels. On the Piccadilly line, there are such
lengths in the east and west of the route, particularly the latter.

As a result, over the last couple of autumns, the Piccadilly line has
had serious issues with poor wheel/rail adhesion. This problem peaked
last year when the service frequency was affected by the number of
trains that were out of commission as a result of wheel flats.

Spinning and sliding

When rails are slippery, the trains’ wheels slip when the train driver
tries to accelerate, and slide under braking. The former can lead to
‘wheel burns’, damage to the rail head caused by the heat generated
by the spinning wheels. When trains slide under braking, the wheels
are damaged, potentially leaving a flat spot, and the rail may also be
Those who drive cars will probably have experienced skids, and
possibly wheel spin, and may know that modern cars usually have
systems to prevent both phenomena. These systems are pretty
effective, so why do trains not have similar precautions built into them?
Modern rolling stock does, of course, but older trains, such as the
Piccadilly’s 1973 stock, may not, and those that do may have systems
that are not as effective as those of road vehicles. It is a lot trickier to
deal with the issue when wheel and rail are both made of steel than it
is when the tyre is rubber and has a tread pattern designed to remove
water and other contaminants from the road surface.
Wheel flats are a problem for several reasons. They are noisy and
cause vibration, and at best this is uncomfortable for passengers and
irritating for neighbours. The vibrations cause damage to the trains,
which may be significant in the case of bad flats. They also damage
the track, and in extreme cases, may cause rail breaks. For these
reasons, LU has to withdraw vehicles from service when wheel flats
become sufficiently serious.
Damaged wheelsets may be
repaired by turning them on a
wheel lathe in one of
LU’s depots,
them to

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


correct round shape. In more severe cases, The recommended strategy entailed the two maintenance train depots should
though, or if they have been turned before several strands of work. Managing lineside be enhanced to enable them to cope
and have lost too much metal to be turned vegetation to minimise the leaf-fall impact more effectively with wheelset damage
again, wheelsets may need to be replaced on the line was one. during the leaf-fall season. Additional staff
with new ones. Working with train drivers to learn were to be recruited and trained so that
There are two depots with wheel lathes which they knew to be the worst problem the depots could operate 24/7 train lifting
on the Piccadilly line. However, during locations was a second. This element also facilities during the problem period. In
the leaf-fall season in 2016, the number of needed to include work to improve drivers’ addition, more spare wheelsets were to be
vehicles requiring attention exceeded the appreciation of the problem and how to procured, so that there would be a greater
capacity of these to such a degree that it drive to minimise it. supply on hand should large numbers
became necessary, on some days, to curtail Modifying the wheel/rail interface need changing in a short period of time.
train services on the line. conditions to improve adhesion was a Dave White, LU’s programme lead for
third strand. It was decided to modify the the project, told Rail Engineer that all of
Plan for improvement timetable during the leaf-fall season to these recommendations, which were in line
Something needed to be done, and ensure a reduction in the risk of slips and with current best practice in the industry
before the next leaf-fall season in 2017. slides. (at Network Rail and on the Metropolitan
LU commissioned Xanta, a specialist rail Lastly, to reinforce the work with drivers, line for example), were accepted and have
consultancy, to examine the causes and signs were to be erected on the lineside at been implemented through a project with
recommend potential strategies to prevent poor adhesion sites. a £6.5 million budget. He described how
recurrence. Xanta’s David Crawley, who has It was also recognised that all of these this has been done in an interview with the
had many years of rail experience, carried measures could only reduce the problem, magazine.
out the necessary review and produced and would not eliminate it entirely. It was
the report. therefore recommended that resources at RATs on the line
The most obvious sign will be the two
RATs - not scary rodents, but rail adhesion
trains - that, from late September,
will be running on the Piccadilly line’s
above-ground sections. One, based at

Satiate dispenser.

RATs will operate from Northfields and Cockfosters to treat the open-
air sections of the line (highlighted). The section from Barons Court to
Acton Town, although in the open, does not give adhesion trouble.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Cockfosters, will work on the eastern

end of the line and the other, run from
Northfields, on the western. Each carries Rail adhesion unit mounted in its special train.
250 litres of adhesion modifier that is
spread on the rail head in the areas that
are at risk, working in a similar fashion to refresher training sessions. Awareness of neighbours are not forgotten, if they are of
the Sandite trains employed on the main the problem will therefore be raised, and a species and in a location that means they
line network. The quantity of material LU has also used feedback from drivers to are a potential source of problems. Every
carried is sufficient for the day’s work assist the project. effort is made to obtain the cooperation of
expected of each train. The project has installed warning signs the owners in order to ensure that they are
The RATs are based on converted three- at locations where poor adhesion is likely, managed to minimise the leaf fall on the
car 1973-stock passenger units that have a to remind drivers of the risk. The projects LU lines.
cab at each end (known as double-ended work with Piccadilly line drivers means There have been comments from
units), modified to carry the necessary that these signs will have real meaning neighbours who have seen lineside trees
equipment for the task. Dave said that the for them, rather than potentially being disappear from their locality, and clearly
trains are completed and driver training is ineffectual tokens. not everyone welcomes such work, but
being undertaken, ready for the planned The revised ‘leaf-fall’ timetable will see the project has been active in warning
implementation date at the start of train speeds reduced from early October neighbours and explaining why the
October. A further small modification is until mid December. Lower speeds action is essential. Dave was happy that
planned to make their brakes smoother reduce the risk of sliding under braking as the project team has been successful in
in operation. Currently, step one of the deceleration rates can be lower, and also managing this potentially tricky issue.
braking of these older trains is a little mean that acceleration rates need not be This is quite an achievement for what has
abrupt, but there are two unused steps so great, which reduces the risk of wheel been described as the most intensive
available in the braking system. The spin. de-vegetation campaign LU has ever
modification will bring these extra steps undertaken.
into use to “smooth” the braking curve, Vegetation control The final element in the project strategy
further reducing the risk of sliding. LU has a standard for the management is the use of weather predictions to permit
Other adhesion management is of lineside vegetation that was introduced, the anticipation of poor adhesion by
employed too. There are TGAs, fixed amongst other reasons, to control time and location. The project has been
“traction gel applicators”, in certain the risks from leaf-fall. However, Dave working to obtain the most accurate
locations where adhesion has historically suggested that tree growth appears to weather prediction information available
been a problem. Two additional TGAs have accelerated in recent years. This and a contract is now in place with the Met
have been procured and installed on the and, possibly some lack of priority from Office. It enables data to be fed directly
western end of the route, and the positions management, have left a problem needing into the automatic train operation systems
of the existing ones have been reviewed action. The project has been addressing used on some lines by LU. This will permit
and optimised. This last has been done in this seriously and is well through the task these trains to take account of weather
collaboration with the drivers, who have of removing lineside trees from places conditions appropriately. It will also enable
been able to identify which TGAs that where they should not be. a quicker response to changing leaf fall
were not best positioned and advise how Trees are now treated as assets, listed conditions on other lines and aid the
to improve matters. in an asset register and subjected to an decision on when to deploy the RATs.
Having mentioned the drivers, Dave asset management regime and a work Dave was pleased to be able to report
went on to explain how the leaf-fall/ programme. Laser scans have been used that the project is confident of meeting its
adhesion issue will be incorporated into to identify trees within the designated target schedule, and that he expects it to
the regular annual driver competency clear zone adjacent to the line. The trees of come in below budget.

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Schooling local signalling skills

taff are probably more aware now than ever before Trainees initially undertake a 12-week work experience placement
about the risk posed by excessive travel to and from before completing a 10-day signalling engineering BS1/BS2/
railway worksites, yet it continues to be an issue. Where SPWEE course. They then work as a trainee installer for six to nine
engineering skills are in short supply, staff will often need months before working through a six-day electrical installation
drafting in from far afield. Any major future infrastructure projects course.
with work sites that span large geographical areas have the Simon commented: “There has been a  recent shortage of IRSE
potential to compound the problem. licensed  installation personnel and it is fantastic that Siemens Rail
Automation in Glasgow have worked with MPI to start this scheme
MPI - an agency which specialises in rail recruitment - is working for Scotland. This is a clear demonstration that the Siemens team
to address this challenge and is seeing positive results from its in Glasgow are keen to invest in local people for current and future
partnership with industry. projects in Scotland.”
One of the new starters is 29-year-old Bryan McCarron from
Glasgow welcome Motherwell. The father of two said he was relishing the opportunity
MPI has been supplying trained personnel to the railway industry to further his career with MPI and Siemens, having spent the last
since 1989.The agency is a leader in signalling skills - although 12 years doing protection and civils work. “I think it’s a cracking
it also has expertise across rolling stock, civils and maintenance opportunity and I am loving the trainee job and I am really keen to
disciplines. progress and make Siemens and MPI proud of me,” said Bryan.
MPI has been working with Siemens Rail Automation for the Following the launch of the trainee presentation, Bryan received
past five years to fill a void in the industry for signalling installation an award from Siemens for the best close call of the month on the
technicians. Last month, the first intake of rail signalling installation PARR project.
trainees to support signalling schemes in Scotland were welcomed
at Siemens’ new Cambuslang depot just outside of Glasgow, Largest but not the first
where they will be based. Siemens, which employs around 1,650 in its Rail Automation
Eighteen MPI trainees have been selected to take part. “A lot of business in the UK, has already delivered several signalling
them are asking what’s the catch?” said Simon Henser, a director at schemes in Scotland, including the Edinburgh Waverley and
MPI. “The catch is they’ve got to be committed and got to show a Glasgow Central renewal schemes and the Airdrie to Bathgate and
great attitude towards safety.” Borders Railway enhancement programmes. Future works include
Trainees will complete Basic Signalling 1 (BS1) and BS2 courses, the Highlands and Edinburgh to Glasgow enhancement projects
which will give them the underpinning knowledge and experience and the Motherwell North and Polmadie and Rutherglen renewals
in railway signalling they need to become IRSE-licensed installers. programmes.
The programme being run in Glasgow is the largest but it is
not the first, said Simon. Smaller trainee installation schemes are
already being run with Siemens in York and Birmingham, as well as
on the Crossrail project in London. Around 50 trainees have come
through the programme to date.
Richard Cooper, Siemens operations director, East, commented:
are delighted to support this initiative. Trainees are vital
to securing future generations of skilled workers on the railway,
across all disciplines and trades, and this scheme supported by
Siemens Rail Automation in Glasgow is a great step towards
achieving this.”

Rail Engineer | Issue 156 | October 2017


Tram Technical Manager

c.£40k + Benefits
In order to support Nottingham Trams in its desire to be the number one tram Qualifications
operator in the UK, a vacancy has arisen for a Tram Technical Manager. We The successful candidate will have BEng or equivalent and CEng or working
are an ambitious company, which will provide you with the opportunity to be towards.
part of Keolis, one of the world’s leading transport operators.
Nottingham Trams Ltd is responsible for operating and maintaining the tram Knowledge and Experience
system, it has a fleet of 37 trams and employs approximately 290 staff. You will have experience in managing and delivering train/tram services

The main responsibilities include managing the daily service delivery of the within a major manufacturer, tram system or TOC and ideally
trams and tram cleaning by ensuring that technical standards, maintenance Understand electrical schematics and engineering drawings.
practices and cleaning activities are complied with and that the safety of staff

Experience of maintenance management systems (i.e. SAP, Maximo etc).
and passengers is given utmost priority by cultivating and promoting a strong Good knowledge of current rail/tram technical standards and legislation.
safety culture – both on and off track.

Experience in managing contracts with suppliers.
Provide technical leadership to our maintenance provider and to NTL through
Excellent skills in data analysis and MS Excel.
monitoring of the tram reliability and availability, liaising between operations and
our maintenance provider and identifying areas of improvement throughout. You will be a self-starter and able to work autonomously.
Lead investigations into any technical matters and review and approve
To apply write to the HR Department, explaining why you think that you have
changes to maintenance standards, processes and procedures for tram
the right attributes to be successful in this role.
vehicles based on sound engineering practices.
Nottingham Trams Limited E
You will ensure effective audit and performance management mechanisms
Armstrong Way W
are established and undertake regular audits of tram maintenance and
tram cleaning contractor’s systems, processes and service delivery to Wilkinson Street
ensure activities are safe, cost-effective and meet the obligations of NTL’s Nottingham
operating contract. NG7 7NW


Great rail jobs around the world
Rail Engineer | Issue 155 | September 2017
Launched in 2001, is
the largest dedicated rail job site in the UK.
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