Two new rail services launched
Maritime Transport (Maritime) has launched two new dedicated rail services from DP World London Gateway to its rail terminals in Trafford Park and Wakefield, advancing its expansion into the intermodal market in response to rising customer demand.

Commenting on the additional services, Chief Executive Officer, Simon Smart, stated: “Maritime continue to invest and commit to our strategic and long-term plan of developing a truly flexible and competitive intermodal product to the industry. We are delighted to extend our rail services via DP World London Gateway, complementing our existing services from Felixstowe and Southampton. As our national coverage and network increases, we are able to adapt to the ever-changing situation within the container transport sector, and offer our customers a complete and cost-effective package.”

James Leeson, Head of Port Commercial at DP World London Gateway, added: “We’re extremely pleased to be maintaining our close relationship with Maritime, and being involved with the implementation of a first-class solution that delivers an exceptional service whilst offering huge economic benefits. The additional trains will provide much greater scale, scope and services for customers, particularly as we continue to see growth in our container volumes at the port.”

Speeding through Spain
IN 156 bWith the opening of the 122 km railway segment between Antequera and Granada, Spain has consolidated its position as the leading European country and the second worldwide, after China, for the number of high-speed line kilometres.

Thanks to the opening of this new line, passengers will be able to travel non-stop between Madrid and Granada in 3:05 hours for the first time. Around 3000 people per day will be able to benefit from the new high-speed train ticket offer that connects Granada to Madrid and Catalonia.

Thales was in charge of the management and completion of the project and installed the signalling and traffic management systems, security solutions and fixed telecommunications networks. Thales will also be in charge of systems maintenance for 20 years, including obsolescence management, quality and security across the entire lifecycle.

The new line involves a branch line that is already part of the South high-speed corridor, the Andalusian West-East rail line and the Transeuropa Network. The 25 kV Ac electrified track was designed according to the international gauge, and connects Granada and Andalusia to the rest of the Spanish high-speed railway network. Passengers will be able to travel at a speed of close to 300 km/hour on different line segments and could save about an hour in their Granada-Madrid journey, compared to former services.

Eye in the sky
IN 156 cPlowman Craven, one of the UK’s leading survey measurement and consultancy firms, has been awarded a coveted place on a national framework agreement with Network Rail for the provision of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV or drone) services.

Plowman Craven was one of just four companies to be awarded the contract which covers the inspection and surveying of railway infrastructure throughout the UK, as well as Overhead Line Equipment, structures, bridges and embankments. The award also includes condition inspections following adverse weather or incidents.

Plowman Craven’s award-winning Vogel R3D system has garnered a huge amount of interest across the sector, with the company’s advanced CAA-permissions, state-of-the-art equipment, highly-trained staff and survey expertise enabling the provision of survey data that meets Network Rail’s Band 1 (sub-5mm) accuracy requirements. The framework award also coincides with a major upgrade to the Vogel R3D solution, with new camera systems providing even sharper imagery and more accurate 3D data.

Malcolm Donald, a Director at Plowman Craven who heads up the company’s Rail & Infrastructure division, added: “We’re very proud of the fact that our Vogel R3D system has brought considerable programme and cost savings to our clients, as well as reducing the need for track access at some of the busiest locations on the network.”

Essential support
IN 156 dMabey Hire has been selected as one of several local suppliers to support the development of one of the biggest tram extension programmes in the UK – the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) Birmingham Westside Metro Extension.

Mabey Hire was initially contracted by the alliance to deliver 100-metres of bespoke excavation struts throughout the Pinfold Street excavation. These struts held the ground open as workers dug down and installed slabs, forming the base of the soon-to-be-installed tramline. Aside from ensuring there is no risk of soil collapse as the dig progressed, the struts also contributed to the protection of nearby historic buildings, which could be damaged by a ground collapse around the construction area.

Following the success of this system, Mabey Hire was then contacted again to provide a further 70-metres of struts for the Broad Street excavation, which is still ongoing.

Gordon MacDonald, CEO, Mabey Hire, comments: “Ambitious construction projects like this are critical in driving Birmingham’s ongoing regeneration. We are thrilled to be able to provide Midland Metro Alliance and its contractors with bespoke solutions, local support and the fundamental engineering expertise needed at this early stage of the project lifecycle.”

Russian rail investment
In the first half of 2019, Russian Railways spent 3.8 billion rubles on developing railway infrastructure on the approaches to ports of the Northwestern Basin. Since the beginning of the year, more than 15 km of station track, 26 switches, and over 130 km of traffic-control-system cable have been laid and 12 km of track has been electrified. The volume of work done on the filling of the roadbed exceeded 1.7 million m3. On the whole, about 19 billion rubles is planned to be allocated for the development of near and long-distance approaches to north western ports in 2019.

Key role secured
Construction software provider, Sypro, has been announced as a key partner in a landmark Transport for Wales infrastructure project totalling £738m. The new integrated transport project, which forms Phase 2 of the South Wales Metro, will improve bus and rail links for businesses, commuters and residents in the Cardiff region. Implementing the award-winning Contract Manager software system, Sypro and Transport for Wales will ensure contractual compliance and management efficiencies for infrastructure links including the electrification of 172km of track, plus various additional applications.

Firm foundations
Scott Parnell has launched its latest product for the rail industry. Techno-Crete is a new innovative alternative to postmix concrete used for securing fence posts, gates, elevated troughing, sign posts and marker boards. A two part, high density Hydrophobic Polyurethane foam alternative to cementitious post foundations, Techno-Crete is derived from sustainably grown and recycled vegetable oils, formulated so it can be mixed without the need for mechanical plant and equipment. It works by expanding to 20 times the size of its package volume after mixing and forms a structurally supporting foundation in approximately ten minutes of pouring.

Safer crossing
Improved signage to protect motorists and pedestrians using private level crossings could be introduced under plans announced in July. To improve safety at these crossings, the Department for Transport has worked closely with Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and Network Rail to revise and make improvements to the signage used. New designs have been tested at Cannock Chase in Staffordshire since August 2018. The government now intends to introduce legislation to the Private Crossings (Signs and Barriers) Regulations 1996 which would see these new designs brought onto the network next year.

Viaduct strengthened
As part of the Great North Rail Project, £500,000 has been invested to restore and reinforce an iconic viaduct, which carries the railway over the River Keer near Capernwray. In order for engineers to be able to safely carry out the work on the riverbed and viaduct walls, the River Keer was temporarily dammed and diverted through a pipe. During this time, Network Rail carefully relocated 157 fish upstream, including 22 salmon and 13 brown trout. Work included restoring brickwork, strengthening 11 arches with special anchors and plates, cleaning dirt from the exterior and protecting the structure’s footings in the river from erosion.

Concrete solution
CEMEX has supplied more than 550,000 metric tons of aggregates and more than 300,000 cubic metres of ready-mix concrete for the Grand Paris Express project. The future metro station for the Grand Paris Express is a state-of-the-art structure requiring a high level of technical expertise, which must have a guaranteed service life of more than 100 years. High strength concrete is essential. CEMEX’ formula and quality control staff applied their experience in materials design to provide a highly technical concrete that meets very demanding project specifications.