Major track extension
The vital transport infrastructure needed to support the development of one of Europe’s largest brownfield sites has moved a step closer, as Transport for London (TfL) has awarded the contract to a joint venture of Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure and VolkerFitzpatrick (MSVF) to extend the London Overground to Barking Riverside, a 180-hectare site on the northern bank of the River Thames.

Under the contract, MSVF will deliver a 4.5km extension to Barking Riverside, from the Tilbury Loop Line between Barking and Dagenham Dock stations to Barking Riverside; reconfigure Network Rail’s Ripple Lane goods yard to allow the extension to connect to the Tilbury Loop, and construct a viaduct over the Ripple Lane yard. This will require the viaduct to be built over the Tilbury Loop and foundations constructed between the HS1 tunnels. The project also includes the continuation of the viaduct for a further 1.5km over Renwick Road and into the heart of Barking Riverside, and the construction of a new terminus station within the Barking Riverside town square. The station will have step-free access from street to train.

Unearthing opportunities
News 153 iA mum of two from Washwood Heath, a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome and a 58-year-old who was out of work for several years are now on the pathway to an exciting career in archaeology. Just a year ago, the trainees had no idea they could get the opportunity to become archaeologists.

Now they are playing a pivotal role in the delivery of Britain’s new high-speed railway by supporting the most extensive archaeological dig currently underway in Europe as part of HS2.

The ten trainees, aged 18 to 58, came through the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Construction Gateway programme, funded by £5m from the National Retraining Fund. Following an initial six-week training programme, delivered in conjunction with BMet College, a number of the trainees have gone on to be directly employed by archaeology and built-heritage specialists, MOLA Headland.

Working alongside HS2’s enabling works contractor LM, the trainees are learning from MOLA Headland’s archaeological experts at the site of Birmingham’s brand new high speed rail terminus station, where they are studying a 19th century burial ground.

New crane safety guidance
News 153 jThe Construction Plant-hire Association’s (CPA) Crane Interest Group has launched a new publication entitled ‘Good Practice Guide: Requirements for Mobile Cranes Alongside Railways Controlled by Network Rail’. The 29-page publication has been produced in close co-operation with Network Rail, based on the same principles as the previously published guidance on tower cranes alongside railways, and is free for anyone to download from the CPA website:

The guidance is clear in that mobile cranes and other mobile lifting equipment may present a significant risk to railway operations during activities such as rigging, use, maintenance and de-rigging and both Network Rail and crane users have a duty to ensure the safety of the railway.

The Good Practice Guide includes topics such as a hierarchy of risk elimination and reduction; detailed requirements for crane configuration and setting up; and lift planning – all with the emphasis on the additional risks of operating in close proximity to the railway. It also includes sample documents such as a foundation pre-rigging inspection report form.

Faster installation
News 153 kPandrol has secured a new contract win with Eesti Raudtee (Estonia Railways) to supply over 430,000 FASTCLIP FE fastening systems (four per sleeper) for the 65km stretch from the towns of Tapa to Narva in the north east of Estonia.

The contract is with German infrastructure partner Leonhard Weiss and follows another contract that Pandrol completed to supply fastenings for the Tapa – Tartu railway refurbishment. As part of the project, the contractor acquired a Pandrol CD400 Clip Driver, which clips and unclips Pandrol FASTCLIP FE fastening systems, as well as providing hydraulic power to raise low sleepers.

Leonhard Weiss reported that its use of Pandrol’s FASTCLIP FE clip, in combination with the CD400 Clip Driver, saved the contractor 30 per cent on installation time, compared to working with FC sleepers and with old technology.

Martin Dootsan, Export Market Manager at Pandrol, noted: “This contract is a great example of how our new FASTCLIP FE can save contractors significantly on installation time. Increasingly contractors are selecting ‘ride on’ installation equipment for fastenings, such as the CD400 Clip Driver. This is consistent with the move towards reduced manual handling when installing rail fastenings, for health and safety reasons.”

Contract win
Fugro has been awarded a five-year framework agreement by Network Rail to carry out survey data acquisition and analysis for all High Output track renewal sites across Britain. The contract is a long-term partnership between Network Rail and Fugro that sees Fugro’s train-mounted RILA™ solution removing many hours of on-site activities to deliver highly accurate rail infrastructure information; additional survey services will be provided by UK-based Severn Partnership. RILA provides rapid, route-wide acquisition of data together with value-added imagery and video as a desktop tool.

World’s first
University of Birmingham experts have worked with one of the world’s biggest railway rolling stock companies to develop the first-ever shipping container using materials that store and release cold energy. Using phase change material (PCM), Birmingham scientists and their counterparts at CRRC Shijiazhuang, in China, have developed a ‘refrigerated’ truck-to-train container that is easier and more efficient to operate than conventional equipment.

Once ‘charged’, PCM inside the container – which can be transferred from train to truck and vice versa – can keep the inside temperature between 5-12 ˚C for up to 120 hours. The technology has recently completed commercial trials across different climate zones.

Upgrades on track
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is on track to deliver a raft of upgrades across the network by March 2019 through its stations accessibility fund to improve access for all passengers. Projects on track for delivery by March include a wide aisle ticket barrier at Battersea Park, an accessible toilet at Carshalton, tactile tread added to the stairs at Dorking, automatic door entry to the ticket office at Rye and step-free access to the waiting room at Seaford. Ahead of the completion of these projects to improve station accessibility, 78% of GTR stations currently have some form of step-free access, with 58% of stations fully step-free.

Eye-catching graphics
3M has supplied non-PVC Envision Print Wrap LX480mC for the first branded Transport for Wales trains now operating the Wales and Borders network. Operated by KeolisAmey, the trains are the first to use the sustainability-focused film. 3M supported Aura Graphics, a 3M Select Platinum Partner and the main contractor for the project, in presenting the environmental benefits of the product to Transport for Wales.

The project involved stripping existing signage, full preparation of the underlying surfaces, corrosion treatment, and repainting, before applying digitally-printed Envision Print Wrap LX480mC from 3M, and finally dual-language labelling to the cars’ exterior. To maintain the best possible appearance throughout the lifetime, additional 3M Scotchgard 8993 Glossy Overlaminate and 3M Anti-Graffiti Wrap Gloss Overlaminate 8588G provide extra protection for the printed film.

Tackling low adhesion
Digital technology consultancy 3Squared has teamed up with the Met Office and Colas Rail to tackle one of the rail industry’s biggest seasonal challenges that can result in significant disruptions to passenger journeys. A major problem for the industry, it has been estimated that low adhesion costs the industry millions of pounds each year.

The solution proposed by the consortium involves the development of an Adhesion Digital Solution (ADS), the funding for which comes through the RSSB’s TOC 17 competition to identify innovative projects that will improve operational performance.

ADS will compliment a number of solutions for tackling low adhesion that exist today, including double variable rate sanders and rail head treatment programmes, by focusing on providing drivers with detailed information on the likely adhesion conditions they will experience along a route in real-time allowing them to regulate the train accordingly. ADS will also combine data from the Met Office Low Adhesion model together with ‘crowd sourced’ driver reported data to give operators detailed up to the minute route relevant adhesion forecasts.