Electric risk
The overhead power lines on the railway between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley are now live as work continues to introduce electric trains on the route. Network Rail is electrifying the railway as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan to provide passengers with better, more reliable journeys.

Now the lines have been switched on, residents in the area are being reminded to never trespass on the tracks as the overhead power lines – which carry 25,000v of electricity – pose an even greater risk to life and limb now they are live.

Lisa Lewis, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “Safety is our priority and we’ve already delivered our presentation to more than 40,000 young people in schools and at community events. The sessions are doing a fantastic job at highlighting the very real dangers of playing and trespassing on the railway.

“The sessions focus on safety and young people learn more about the overhead line equipment which is used to power trains. Once installed, electrified wires are always switched on – even when there are no trains passing. Our message is simple – never trespass on the railway for any reason.”

Safe and sound
Inf 152 bRail depot safety specialist, Zonegreen, is using its flagship technology to help staff maintaining London’s overground fleet avoid accidents when working at height.

The Sheffield-based engineers have installed an interlocking system that prevents personnel and equipment entering dangerous areas and coming into contact with overhead lines at Bombardier’s Willesden depot in Harlesden.

“High voltage equipment and working at height make rail depots undeniably high-risk environments,” said Christian Fletcher, Zonegreen’s technical director. “We believe by using technology to remove the human element from safety procedures, we can absolutely prevent access to unprotected areas and dramatically reduce the number of avoidable accidents.”

By interfacing with the GapSafe system – inflatable bladders that close the space between the maintenance platform and train, preventing injury to workers and damage to equipment – Zonegreen enabled it to inflate automatically when the first gantry gate is unlocked. This ensures staff are in a position of safety whilst setting up a safe system of work, eliminates human error and protects personnel working at height.

When the depot’s overhead line is isolated, the gantry gates are unlocked and GapSafe is in place, green beacons illuminate above the respective road to indicate it is completely safe to enter.

Reinvigorated rail service
Inf 152 cHanson has invested £250,000 in restoring the railway siding at its plant in Ashton-in-Makerfield. It is the first-time rail freight has been run into the depot for some ten years.

Working in partnership with GB Railfreight, Hanson will run three trains a week from its quarry in Shap, Cumbria, down to its site in Ashton.

Simon Day, Hanson UK’s regional general manager for the north, said: “The investment in the site is an important part of our rail strategy. We are working to try to increase the tonnage of aggregates we transport this way across the UK. These three trains a week will take around 1500 truck journeys off the road each year and mean that we only need to put the material onto road transport for the last five to ten miles rather than the 60 to 80 miles we do now. This will reduce the distances travelled on the road by our truck fleet by around 500,000 miles per year.”



Project recognition
Inf 152 dCleveland Bridge has secured a prestigious Structural Steel Design Award for its role in the redevelopment of London Bridge Station, and also a special commendation for its contribution to the construction of the Queensferry Crossing.

The London Bridge Station project presented complex logistical challenges, to ensure the installation works could be completed successfully as part of a strict timetable. As the fourth busiest station in the city, serving almost 54 million each year, the rail-hub remained open throughout the redevelopment in the heart of London.

To deliver the steelworks to the ambitious timetable, Cleveland Bridge undertook trial erections in Darlington. This included the construction of 29 plate girder decks, consisting of six main girders braced together. The decks were subsequently successfully delivered and installed on site using a combination of cranes and, in the early stages of the project, commissioned scissor lifts alongside self-propelled modular transporters.

For the Queensferry Crossing, the Darlington-based steel company carried out work for the £1.35bn bridge, connecting Edinburgh to Fife, on behalf of Transport Scotland’s main contractor, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, working for the Scottish Government.

New brochure released
Flexicon has published a new brochure showcasing the company’s extensive selection of flexible conduit products and solutions for rail applications all over the world. Entitled ‘Cable Protection Systems for Rail,’ the brochure provides guidance for specifiers, installers and contractors involved in UK and international rail projects. The extent of Flexicon’s product testing is detailed in the brochure, and projects where Flexicon products have been used – including London’s Crossrail and the London Underground, are highlighted.

Monitor the line
ESG Rail, in collaboration with DB Systemtechnik, will provide Network Rail with Overhead Line Monitoring Technology. DB Systemtechnik (DBST) will provide the overhead line monitoring equipment, which is proven and has been used by Deutsche Bahn and other operators across the world for 20 years. The equipment is similar to that already being used by DBST and ESG Rail for the testing and commissioning of new train fleets on UK infrastructure. The system has the capability to measure a number of interface attributes, most notably contact force, as well as contact wire height and stagger (longitudinal alignment).

Keep an eye out
Network Rail is keeping a close eye on work being carried out at its Ambergate rail site with the help of the advanced technology built into the latest generation of video surveillance dome cameras. Images captured by Wisenet XNP-6040H PTZ domes manufactured by Hanwha Techwin and provided by Inside Out Group are being streamed to a Network Rail control room, enabling operators to monitor the progress of work being carried out at various locations throughout the Ambergate site in order to minimise walkouts and ensure compliance with its health & safety regulations. Inside Out Group has received positive feedback from senior staff within Network Rail in respect of the quality of the systems installed.

Shed some UV light
A pipe lining team from Lanes Group plc has rehabilitated a culvert six miles along a railway line in a remote part of Scotland in just one ten-hour track possession. AMCO, working for Network Rail Scotland, commissioned Lanes to rehabilitate a 900mm-diametre circular culvert on Rannoch Moor, north of Bridge of Orchy in Argyle and Bute, Scotland.

Lanes Pipe Rehabilitation and Lining Division Manager Simon Bull said: “Meticulous planning was key to the success of this project. We selected ultraviolet (UV) cured in place pipe (CIPP) lining as the most appropriate methodology, especially given the time constraints.

“By working in partnership with AMCO personnel, who provided transport and lighting support, we could complete the lining within the ten-hour track possession. Everything had to go right first time, and we made sure it did.”

One step closer
Travelling directly by train between London and Bordeaux became a step closer on Wednesday 10th October with the agreement between the four route Infrastructure Managers to jointly launch a feasibility study on the adaptions required for making Bordeaux Saint Jean station ready for international passengers.

This agreement is a key milestone in the innovative cooperation between SNCF-Réseau, Eurotunnel, Lisea and HS1 in their bid to create a ‘turnkey’ open access route for an operator.

The study will scope the requirements for the facilities for a new border control and security to allow passengers to travel directly from Bordeaux St Jean station to London St Pancras without the need to change trains.

The new service would take under five hours and is made possible by the recent opening of the high-speed line – South Europe Atlantic (LGV – Sud-Europe Atlantique) route between Tours and Bordeaux.