Flagship Rail Freight Interchange
SEGRO has signed a 25-year lease with Maritime Transport, the market leading multi-modal logistics company, who will operate the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) at SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway (SLP-EMG) and will base their Rail Headquarters at the site.

The 22.5-acre rail terminal will be capable of handling up to 16 775m-long freight trains daily and will provide storage capacity for over 5000 TEU (the measurement of capacity of container terminals).

A purpose built 20,000 sq ft office will become the Rail Headquarters under the ‘Maritime Intermodal’ division and will house operations staff, state-of-the-art training facilities and parking for a fleet of up to 100 trucks. Completion of the rail freight terminal is expected in late 2019 and the office element in Summer 2020.

This is the first rail freight interchange in the East Midlands and will connect to the Castle Donnington freight line, providing direct access to the UK’s network of Rail Freight Interchanges and all major UK Ports. The site is strategically located in the near centre of England with Nottingham 13 miles to the north-east, Leicester 20 miles to the south and Derby 14 miles to the north west.

Rail business award winner
Port of Tilbury, London’s major port, scooped the Rail Freight and Logistics Excellence industry accolade at this year’s Rail Business Awards at a ceremony on 21 February 2019 in central London. IN 154 bThe Port was shortlisted for its ‘Reinvigorated rail freight’ offering, alongside two other entries – Colas Rail & Tarmac and GB Railfreight – in the company’s inaugural entry.

Over the past two years, the Port has revived its rail freight offering by introducing regular intermodal services to The Midlands, North West and Scotland; creating a dedicated bulk rail terminal, which has subsequently been expanded to facilitate growing traffic; and establishing a rail connection to the recently consented 152-acre deep-water port terminal, known as Tilbury2.

With three rail terminals in the port and the Essex Thameside rail corridor already accounting for approximately ten per cent of the UK’s rail freight traffic, the Port is well positioned to provide sustainable and cost effective logistic solutions for customers.

“It’s great to receive this industry recognition acknowledging our success in reviving Tilbury’s rail offering,” Peter Ward, Commercial Director at the Port of Tilbury said.

He added: “Since setting our rail freight strategy two years ago and committing significant funds to support investment in new infrastructure and equipment to aid our overhaul, Tilbury has gone from strength-to-strength, securing new and growing intermodal and bulk traffic flows.”

Long distance passenger champion
Grand Central has once again come out on top for passenger satisfaction and value for money in a national survey of rail users. The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) results for Autumn IN 154 c2018 were released by Transport Focus in January. Grand Central was ranked number one for overall satisfaction in the long-distance train operator category, for the seventh time.

The NRPS revealed that 94 per cent of Grand Central passengers were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their journey, placing the train operating company second overall and top in the long-distance category, ahead of national average figures of 83 per cent for long distance train operators.

The NRPS results also place Grand Central top in the overall value for money category at 77 per cent, in comparison to the long-distance value for money average of 54 per cent.

Richard McClean, Managing Director at Grand Central, said: “To come out on top for long distance passenger satisfaction and overall value for money is testament to the vital role we play in the communities we serve.

“Throughout 2019, we’ll be continuing the roll out of our newly refurbished trains, as well as unveiling exciting upgrades to our services both on board and online, so our customers can enjoy travelling with Grand Central in greater comfort, smarter surroundings and with enhanced facilities.”

Modernising access management
Finnish locking solutions provider Abloy is expanding its international business operations, and its main focus in 2019 will be in the global railway industry, which is undergoing a rapid digital IN 154 dtransformation. Digitalisation links trains, track, yards, logistics and stations in a complex ecosystem, and provides valuable data to railway operators. The ecosystem covers assets such as locomotives and other rolling stock, signalling infrastructure, and railway stations. “The digital transformation in rail transport operations is having a substantial effect on the security, reliability, and costs of rail operations and efficiency,” confirmed Pauli Jormanainen, Regional Director, Abloy.

To facilitate growth and support its professional customers worldwide, Abloy will open new competence centres in in North America, Southern Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region this year, and these new competence centres will focus on Abloy’s PROTEC2 CLIQ™ access control technology. Over the last few years, Abloy has invested in developing its PROTEC2 CLIQ technology to deliver the best range of solutions combining digital communication and precision mechanical products.

“With modern access control systems and locks, you can manage all your staff, contractors and suppliers using one key access to all areas. For example, with our PROTEC2 CLIQ access management, you can control and schedule access remotely. You also have an audit trail of all the tracked movements for all key holders. All wireless connections are encrypted and secure,” says Pauli.

This is JAM hot
Virgin Trains has become the first travel company outside of Northern Ireland to introduce a ground-breaking initiative for people with communication barriers, and is now ‘JAM Card Friendly’. Standing for ‘Just a Minute’, anyone with a JAM card can present it to Virgin Trains staff to let them know they have a communication barrier which could be a result of number of factors including autism or a learning difficulty. During training staff have gained valuable knowledge about different types of disabilities and have learned how to engage with a customer who may need a bit of extra patience in customer service situations.

Change needed
New research published by independent watchdog Transport Focus to inform the Williams Rail Review confirms that most passengers don’t feel the railways is run for their benefit. Launching the research, Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Most of the passengers who participated in this research know they are not getting the train service they are paying for. This research underscores that passengers want a more reliable service that is better value for money and – whichever model is selected to run the system – that they want to know who is in charge of their railway.”

Combined services
The Rail Alliance and Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) have officially announced the formal integration of the two organisations, setting a powerful new approach where industry and academia work in partnership to directly address real railway challenges, providing access to leading edge R&D and innovation supported by practical knowledge and experience. Alex Burrows, Managing Director, BCRRE and Rail Alliance described the integration as ‘an extremely compelling offer that brings significant opportunities to all parts of the rail supply industry.’

Rail Matters
The Railway Industry (RIA) and ITN Productions Industry News are producing ‘Rail Matters’ a news and current affairs-style programme exploring the future of the world-class UK rail industry and the exciting opportunities for investment, innovation and industry growth that 2019 and beyond bring. The news-style piece will be anchored by national newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky to combine key interviews and reports with sponsored editorial profiles from leading organisations. The programme will premiere on 7 November at RIA’s Annual Conference in London.

In the cloud
Civica, a market leader in business-critical software applications, digital solutions and managed services, has been selected by Network Rail to implement its cloud-enabled OnDemand solution to deliver an enhanced 24/7 customer service platform. The new partnership will drive the rail operator’s digital transformation vision and further improve customer experience for all users.

The new project has seen around 40 new jobs created in Hull, with all customer queries now directed through the Kingston Centre, a customer service centre created by Civica, in partnership with Hull City Council in 2015.

RISQS certification achieved
Midlands-based PDMA Consulting Engineers has achieved Rail Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS) certification, having successfully passed an independent audit of its management systems and processes. RISQS certification identifies suppliers like PDMA, that have the systems and resources in place to deliver the services they offer, pre-qualifying to work with over 110 buying organisations across the rail industry. PDMA Director Paul Markham commented: “Throughout our team we have significant experience of schemes on or adjacent to the rail network and certification is recognition of our ability to do the job, whilst reducing the risk to the buyer of any interruption to normal operation of the rail network.”