More for customers
Using an open application programming interface (API), Nexus Alpha, a leading provider of transport information systems, can offer push notifications to existing Train Operating Companies (TOC) Apps to provide customers with real time disruption information about their journey.

Paul Coleman, Business Development Manager, Nexus Alpha Ltd, explained: “There is so much more information available and, with almost everyone armed with a mobile phone or tablet people are used to having information at their fingertips. TOCs could add a great deal of value to their customer App by offering push alerts to notify about any changes or disruptions to routes. This will put passengers in control by keeping them fully informed and help improve their journey experience.”

He continued: “The service could also be extended to allow customers to provide direct feedback to TOCs, enabling them to respond or react in a timely manner. Enhancing the TOC App is a simple step but offers a much richer customer experience and the potential to greatly increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Information collected and shared from the API will also create a better understanding for the TOC of customer needs and travel habits.”

Quiet comfort
News 153 eAlstom and Eversholt Rail have unveiled the design of new hydrogen train for the UK market. The train, codenamed ‘Breeze’, will be a conversion of existing Class 321 trains, reengineering some of the UK’s most reliable rolling stock, to create a clean train for the modern age. These trains could run across the UK as early as 2022, emitting only water and no harmful emissions at all.

The rolling stock conversion will be carried out by Alstom, working in partnership with Eversholt Rail and building upon an established business relationship spanning over 15 years and across multiple rolling stock fleets. This proven and reliable Class 321 is an excellent fit in terms of characteristics, fleet size and availability for conversion to a Hydrogen Multiple Unit (HMU).

Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK & Ireland Managing Director, added: “The Breeze will be a clean, green new train for the UK with a stylish, modern look. The railways need to decarbonise and the Government has rightly set out a goal to eliminate diesel rolling stock by 2040. Hydrogen trains offer an ideal solution for routes which are unlikely to benefit from electrification, and our innovative engineering solution means they can now fit within the UK loading gauge and can quickly be ready to roll on Britain’s railways.

“In Germany, Alstom’s hydrogen trains are already transporting passengers in the comfort and quiet that is characteristic of these trains. The Breeze offers British rail users the opportunity to share in the pleasure that is a journey on a hydrogen train.”

Delivering depot safety
News 153 fStaff working on Qatar’s state-of-the-art driverless metro in Doha will be among the safest in the world, thanks to innovative depot protection technology from Zonegreen. The rail safety specialist has been commissioned to install its flagship Depot Personnel Protection System (DPPS) at the network’s three maintenance facilities.

DPPS’ decentralised control of safety mechanisms allows staff to isolate specific areas in which they wish to work, without disabling the entire depot. The system is also interlocked with the signalling interface, wheel lathe and bogie exchange equipment to prevent vehicle movements on roads where personnel are logged on or machinery is in use.

Zonegreen is working with turnkey solution providers, Design and Projects International, on the new build installations, having previously collaborated on the Dubai Metro.

Christian Fletcher, Zonegreen’s technical director, added: “Fully automated systems offer a plethora of advantages, but come with a whole new set of challenges, not least the hugely complex infrastructure required to retain safety levels. Our technology gives depots complete confidence that people and equipment are protected from danger at all times, whilst improving efficiency by enabling workers with higher level access to authorise vehicle movements with their datakeys, removing the need for multiple stop starts.”

Today’s great train robbery
News 153 gAnalysis of British Transport Police data by VPS Security, showed that cable theft increased sharply in 2018 with live cable thefts rising 85% in the latest 2017-2018 BTP annual summary.

Combined with non-live cable thefts, which rose by 54% over the same period, the total number of metal thefts in a year has risen from 257 to 453. That means railway cable is now stolen at more than a daily rate on UK’s network, up from five times a week the previous year.

“Metal theft, arson and vandalism are crimes that have a serious impact on freight and on passengers getting to and from work or to see family. Stealing even just a few pounds worth of cable can leave thousands of railway passengers and many tonnes of freight stranded for hours,” says Phil Bunting, a Director of VPS Security. “The Scrap Metal Dealers Act in 2013 and the police have significantly helped reduce the theft of copper and cable over that five-year period. The numbers of thefts had been dropping, until now that is, and the suspicion is, that they are increasingly the result of more organised crime. This particular rise comes at a time when copper prices have fallen, which is a worrying trend. It may mean this problem could even get worse if we don’t keep an active eye on the issue.”

Extended offering
Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) has officially announced the launch of a new rail service from the Port of Tilbury to Daventry – the only rail operation from the port for inbound traffic – with a forecast capacity of 200 containers a week. The move is part of its ongoing strategy to provide exceptional flexibility and resilience for customer supply chains.

“Rail is complementary to road, not a replacement,” says John Clark, Sector Director for ESL. “However, trains don’t get stuck in traffic jams so the service is extremely reliable. We’ve developed our rail offering to meet the modern needs of FMCG and container traffic.”

Accreditation achieved
Flexicon has extended the validity of its International Railway Industry Standard (IRIS) Certification by securing accreditation to the latest IRIS Certification rev.03 system. IRIS Certification is an efficient and transparent system for auditing suppliers for the rail industry, replacing the need for individual management system evaluations by at least four founders of the initiative (Alstom Transport, AnsaldoBreda, Siemens Transportation Systems and Bombardier Transportation). A globally-recognised rail industry quality standard, IRIS rev.03 is based on the ISO 9001:2015 structure, the world’s leading quality management system standard, and adds railway specific requirements.

Fare system
The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) in San Diego is now contracted with INIT for the delivery of an account-based, open architecture electronic fare system, including the option operation and maintenance. INIT will also provide more than 100 cash and about 70 cashless VENDstation Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) to facilitate the convenient purchase of tickets and fare media. Ticket office terminals and mobile sales units will be included in the project to allow MTS to sell fares during large events.

Additionally, INIT will deliver about PROXmobil 900 fare validators for use on MTS buses and at rail station platforms.

Cornwall commissioning complete
Atkins has recently completed the commissioning of the phase 1 signalling upgrade as part of the Cornwall Capacity Enhancement Scheme Phase 1 – West. The project will enable the main lines through Cornwall to significantly increase the existing capacity, by allowing trains to run closer together, delivering better overall line functionality.

The scheme includes 12 new signals, six MSL Crossings and an MCB-OD with a new telecommunications and power backbone infrastructure between Truro and St Erth. The combined Atkins and Network Rail team, operating from the Cardew site for the commissioning period, worked to complete the upgrade in line with the agreed schedule, enabling normal rail services to be resumed in time for the Monday morning passenger services.

Scott Kelley, Rail Market Director, Atkins said: “Delivering a signalling upgrade of this nature is a high-pressure task and requires a great deal of focus and expertise, so this is a notable achievement by the combined team.”

Award win
Crewe-based Train Bits and More (TBM) has been presented with an ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award from Siemens for refurbishment work on one of the UK’s train fleets. A lavish black-tie event staged by Siemens to recognise its railway suppliers saw TBM lift the prestigious award for work on the Class 185 fleet that operates on the TransPennine Express (TPE) routes.

TBM’s partnership with Siemens during the Class 185 project presented a number of challenges, involving grab pole recoating, installing USB power sockets, replacing ceiling and dado panels and powder-coated table legs. Work on individual units was completed within a nine-day turnaround framework to help keep vehicles available for passenger service.

Neil Smith, TBM director, was delighted to be recognised. He said: “Upgrading the Class 185 involved many disciplines, and we must acknowledge the dedication of TBM’s Martin Cowley who supported the Siemens project team every step of the way.”