In good health
Perpetuum’s award winning remote condition monitoring solution is to be provided by Eversholt Rail to give crucial real-time information on operator Abellio ScotRail’s Class 320 fleet. This is the third ScotRail fleet to adopt Perpetuum’s condition-based monitoring solution, following the success of its roll out on the C334 and C170 fleets. More than 100 of ScotRail’s trains will now carry Perpetuum’s onboard monitoring solution, improving safety and reliability.

The 22-strong Class 320 fleet will carry 528 Wireless Sensor Nodes, plus the Bearing Health Index and Wheel Health Index analytics from Perpetuum. Monitoring the wheelset condition means it is not necessary for ScotRail to undertake a full overhaul, with the associated impact on rolling stock availability.

“Our sensors have now covered over 11 billion healthy miles and no train has ever failed while in service carrying our solution, so it makes sense for operators to utilise our onboard monitoring across as many fleets as possible,” says Justin Southcombe, Commercial Director. “Our solution is a cost efficient and extremely safe way to ensure no bearing or wheel health issues are ever missed and has the alert reliability other solutions struggle to match.”

Focus on punctuality
News 157 fTransport Secretary Grant Shapps has welcomed a new measure of train performance as ‘a step in the right direction’ to increase accountability and transparency for passengers, and called for urgent action to get trains running on time.

Published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) on Thursday 19th September, the new ‘On-Time’ statistics will establish an industry standard for measuring performance, in which train punctuality is measured to the minute, not the traditional five or ten minutes of the timetabled arrival.

Speaking ahead of the publication of the ORR statistics, Shapps said: “Commuters just want their trains to run on time and that’s my first priority. I believe this is a step in the right direction, providing more accountability and transparency to help hold operators to account, but much more needs to be done to get performance to where it should be.”

Shapps also met with the heads of rail companies and industry leaders, where he set out the pressing need for concrete action to deliver improvements in the short, medium and long term. “What was clear was the joint passion and drive of both government and rail industry to create a railway where the focus was on every minute for passengers.

“This won’t be instant but the Williams Review, published this Autumn, has the right ideas: clearer accountability, greater local control focused on passengers and performance.”

Fleet renewal
News 157 gHarsco Corporation’s Rail division has secured a major order with Europe’s largest railway infrastructure manager DB Netz AG. The agreement – the first ever between Harsco Rail and DB Netz – calls for the development of as many as 56 catenary intervention and maintenance vehicles for the German railway system. The seven-year contract has a total value of $290 million. The initial order quantity confirmed is 16 vehicles with delivery starting from 2022. It is expected that seven more machines will follow two years later.

“Harsco Rail has significantly invested in Europe to develop market-leading technologies with superior execution capability and to establish a robust supply chain to offer the most innovative Utility Track Vehicles in the market today,” said Harsco Rail President Jeswant Gill. “We appreciate Deutsche Bahn’s confidence in Harsco Rail as a trusted partner to provide state-of-the-art vehicles and are excited about the opportunity to further our growth ambitions.”

Harsco’s diesel-electric Utility Track Vehicles (UTVs) are the most innovative on the market, offering features for pure electric traction via overhead catenary, which meets a critical customer need as more track becomes electrified in DB’s served network. They can run up to two hours in work mode without any power supply using just a battery and feature a trendsetting air conditioning unit cooled by a natural refrigerant.

Get connected
Samskip has launched a new four-times weekly rail shuttle link between Duisburg, Germany and Falköping, Sweden, in a significant shift in focus for unitised services connecting Sweden’s southern industrial heartland and the rest of Europe.

“As the provider of the most extensive freight rail services connecting Sweden to Europe’s mainland, we are adjusting our network to reflect growing demand inland, at a time when new shortsea capacity concentrated at Göteborg is chasing ever scarce drivers for trailer services,” said Gert-Jan Meijer, Samskip Trade Manager Sweden. “We are enhancing reliability for inland industrial customers around Falköping and bringing loads closer to them for final delivery miles by road, also offering crossdocking services out of the terminal with immediate effect.”

Co-ordinated through Samskip’s rail centre in Genemuiden, the Netherlands and supported through local representation from its local team in Åhus, Sweden the Duisburg – Falköping shuttle becomes one of the four regular rail services operated by Samskip between its German rail hub and southern, western and midland Sweden. Between 19 and 21 trains connect the two EU nations per week.

Under the terms of a new haulage agreement with Hector Rail, the new service takes the place of direct connections between Duisburg and Göteborg although Samskip customers more local to the Swedish seaport will be supported through a dedicated link to Falköping.

Meijer also highlighted the sustainable nature of the multimodal option, which will cut CO2 emissions by a minimum of 50 per cent over its road service counterpart.

Concerns raised
The rail industry’s independent safety body RSSB has asked if enough is being done to reduce the risk of a train accident from trains passing red signals. July saw 41 trains pass red signals, the highest number in a single calendar month since October 2007.

In the last 12 months, ten trains passed red signals and reached the ‘conflict point’, the position along the track at which a collision could theoretically take place. The risk from signals passed at danger (SPADs) has not been as high since September 2014.

RSSB chief executive Mark Phillips has written to all managing directors in Network Rail and train and freight operating companies, to highlight the latest data and ask if enough is being done, or whether more effort is needed in managing SPAD risk.

Hunt for innovation
Transport for Wales (TfW) has launched ‘Lab’, a start-up accelerator programme for innovation in rail services technology. Lab will run for 12 weeks, during which a series of tech entrepreneurs and start-ups will develop a new product or service designed to solve a key challenge faced by the rail industry.

At the end of the programme, the participants will pitch their idea to key stakeholders and decision makers from across TfW Rail. The winning pitch teams will be awarded a contract to fully develop their new solution, which will then be rolled out across the Wales and Borders rail network, operated by KeolisAmey.

Alistair Gordon, CEO of Keolis UK, said: “TfW’s Lab programme will help to showcase the best of Welsh start-up talent while also finding new solutions to improve key aspects of both the physical and digital passenger experience.”

New report
A recent analysis by Frost & Sullivan predicts that digitalisation will be one of the major factors driving a 15.2 per cent increase in global passenger traffic and a 19 per cent increase in global freight traffic by 2025. The demand for digitalisation of rail systems to enhance customer convenience is rapidly increasing across both freight and passenger operations. Widespread usage of telematics, predictive analysis, sensor technology, and IoT integration has the potential to increase passenger traffic and freight movement, and lead to additional infrastructure construction and rolling stock builds. Frost & Sullivan’s latest research, Global Rail Outlook, 2019, offers comprehensive insights into the rail industry’s current trends and potential outcomes of recent developments, and provides strategic observations and region-specific growth information for stakeholders in this sector.

Supporting the plans
Five significant politicians from across Wales have joined with the rail industry in supporting plans for a new Global Centre for Rail Excellence, a new rail testing facility proposed by the Welsh Government in South Wales.

UK Welsh Affairs Select Committee Member Tonia Antoniazzi MP, Shadow Wales Secretary Christina Rees MP, Welsh Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters AM, Neath Assembly Member Jeremy Miles AM and Onllwyn Ward Councillor Dean Cawsey visited the site and heard about the proposals that could bring considerable investment, jobs and economic growth to the region.

The visit was organised by the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the national trade body for more than 290+ rail suppliers, who have been supporting the Welsh Government’s plans. The visit was part of RIA’s Rail Fellowship Programme, which sees politicians visit key rail sites to get a hands-on experience of the industry and to see first-hand its contribution to the UK economy.