On the move
In July, HS2 unveiled the visuals for its new people mover at the first of a series of events to share with the public the emerging designs and explain the role that the people mover will play. The people mover will provide a fast and frequent transport connection between HS2’s new Interchange Station in Solihull, through to Birmingham Airport in just six minutes. When fully operational, the people mover will carry up to 2100 passengers per hour in each direction.
HS2 has been working closely with the Urban Growth Company (UGC) in Solihull to include extra design elements which will support wider growth plans at the UK Central Hub. This includes modifying the alignment of the people mover as part of a major redevelopment at Birmingham International Station to create a new, multi-modal transport exchange.
The approximately 20m long people mover vehicles will depart from each stop approximately every three minutes. They will pick up passengers from Interchange Station, and then travel 2.3km across an elevated viaduct stopping at Birmingham International Railway Station, the National Exhibition Centre, before reaching Birmingham Airport.
HS2 is currently working to finalise the scheme design of the people mover and will hold a further series of events in partnership with the UGC for people to see the designs in Autumn 2019 before submitting an application to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council seeking approval of matters related to design of the People Mover as required within the HS2 Act.
The daily grind
Railway equipment manufacturer and track maintenance company Harsco Rail has entered into a partnership with rail equipment manufacturer Möser Maschinenbau, which includes the distribution of road/rail grinding machine Ro-V 149.
This versatile grinding machine is perfect for use in urban areas on metro, light railways and tram networks due to its low 75dB noise level. It is suitable for re-profiling, removing configuration and mill scale. The machine forms part of Harsco’s efforts to create the optimal wheel/rail contact, while prolonging the lifespan of the track.
The Ro-V 149 can also grind switches, check rail curves, grooved rail and road crossings efficiently. Due to its low width and height, it is able to operate in almost all clearance gauges. It is compact enough to allow for access in narrow passages, and has no issues working alongside traffic on rail or road.
It has high performance and low operational costs with a maximum fuel consumption of 15 litres per hour and a short set up time. The grinding machine can also be transferred to and from rails in less than two minutes. It can be operated on rail with different gauges from 1000mm to 1667mm.
Ordsall Chord in Manchester, designed by BDP, has won a RIBA National Award. The project, which was one of 54 national winners, will now be considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist.
Ordsall Chord is a series of new bridges and viaducts in one of the most important sites in the history of the railway, adjacent to Liverpool Road Station which was the first passenger railway station in the world. Central to the design is the world’s first asymmetric network arch bridge which crosses the River Irwell and sits alongside an 1830 bridge by pioneering rail engineer George Stephenson which has been painstakingly renovated.
BDP designed all the major architectural and urban realm elements of the project, including the landscaping and lighting to public spaces and heritage features beneath the bridges and viaducts.
Peter Jenkins BDP’s head of transport said: “It is hugely satisfying to receive an architectural award for a project which combines bridges, viaducts, heritage restoration, public and urban design, but which does not actually include a ‘traditional’ building. Our role as architect was to bring together all these different contributions into a holistic solution which is appropriate for a fantastically important site in the global history of the railways and the regeneration context of Manchester. Seven years of hard work by designers, consultants and contractors created a project of which we are all immensely proud.”
Landmark for Leeds
The Government has confirmed funding to create one of the most advanced conventional and high speed rail research facilities in the world, in Leeds. The University of Leeds’ Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration (IHSRSI) will revolutionise the way new railway systems are invented, developed and brought into service.
It will be located next to the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone and forms the early phase of an ambitious plan involving local authorities and businesses to position the City Region as a UK centre for rail engineering which will generate jobs and inward investment.
At the heart of the Leeds’ Institute will be the capability to investigate rail systems as an integrated whole: measuring how train, track, power systems and signals interact as a unified system.
Professor Peter Woodward, Head of the IHSRSI, said: “The Institute will revolutionise the testing, commissioning and building of new trains, rail infrastructure and systems, both in the UK and overseas.
“The test facilities will place the Leeds City Region as a global leader in high speed railway technology development, significantly enhancing the UK’s ability to develop, test and certify new railway technologies for the commercial export market.”
The Government has contributed £11 million towards the capital costs of the project. A further £40 million has come from the University and rail industry partners, adding to £13 million from the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal.
Passengers missing out
More rail passengers must claim the compensation they are entitled to and send a message to train operators that reliability must keep improving. Only 35% of passengers claimed £81 million compensation in 2017-18 meaning as much as £100 million remains unclaimed from train operators every year.
Launching Make Delay Pay, a new campaign to encourage more passengers to claim what they are entitled to Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Too many rail passengers miss out on compensation for late running trains. When things go wrong, train operators must ensure every eligible passenger knows about Delay Repay and how to claim. They must also do more to make it easy to claim and automate this process wherever possible. To make their voice heard passengers must claim every time.”
Prestigious Railway Innovation Award winner
Nexus Alpha, a market leader in intelligent transport information systems, has been presented the Cross-Industry Partnership Award at the Railway Industry Innovation Awards for its work with CrossCountry in developing an automated notification crew working interface on its ARRAKIS communication platform.
The ARRAKIS platform uses Big Data analytics and Machine Learning to get smarter over time. Its interface to the Worldline Integrale service used by CrossCountry, automatically downloads crew diagram data to create a personalised interface for each member of staff. This means they are only presented with information that is pertinent to their working day or that they have chosen to add. This targeted and even predictive information helps them to assist customers with knowledge that is accurate, consistent, timely and helpful.
People with sight loss have been working with directors and executives from train operator Greater Anglia to help provide a better service. Volunteers from Guide Dogs, a national charity which provides support for people with sight loss, helped to educate Greater Anglia and Network Rail staff at London Liverpool Street in July.
Helen Sismore, Community Engagement for East Anglia, Guide Dogs, said: “Trains and public transport are essential for people with sight loss. We are very grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively to improve rail travel for those who are blind or partially sighted. The event helped to explain the issues that people with sight loss have while using public transport.”
Top of the chart
Heathrow Express has topped customer satisfaction ratings in the latest independent National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) – for the third time running. Heathrow Express received an ‘overall satisfaction’ rating of 95 per cent – a UK high.
Les Freer, Heathrow Express director, said: “To be rated top by passengers for the third time running reflects how customers value the speed, convenience and service of Heathrow Express for connecting to and from London.
“We’re really proud the results of this independent customer survey and look forward to further improving experience for customers with a new website and app and fleet of trains coming over the next year.”
News of the results comes as Heathrow Express turns 21 this month. Les added: “We’re delighted to be celebrating 21 years of service and to have welcomed aboard more than 110 million customers during that time. Our history of innovation and industry leading customer service is a great foundation as we continue to offer the dedicated fast and frequent service our customers enjoy for the years to come.”