2018: the year that saw Fenix spreads its wings

2018 will go down in history as a landmark year for Fenix. Beginning the year as Fenix Signalling, the professional consultancy diversified into international markets, capitalising on the great wealth of expertise within its versatile and highly experienced team.

A worldwide presence

Fenix South East Asia was launched in April, following the acquisition by Fenix Signalling of a majority shareholding in MGB Systems Ltd. (MGBS). Led by Regional Director Peter Foxley, its client base already includes Hitachi, Ansaldo STS, George Kent (Malaysia) and Rail Systems Australia. Large parts of the rail infrastructure throughout the Asian continent are still largely undeveloped and as Mr Foxley said, “By bringing Fenix’s high-quality services and products to our existing Southeast Asia platform, we will present a powerful and compelling offering that coincides in a timely manner with vast opportunities in the region.”

A month later, in May, Fenix established itself in Australia with the opening of a new office in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Fenix Australasia is led by Group CEO Craig Purcell.

Speaking of the exciting opportunities for Fenix, Mr Purcell said, “Our offer in Australasia will enable us to have a significant impact on the huge range of rail projects that will be delivered in the coming years. We will also establish local partners for signalling and communications installation activities.”

The formation of the two international ventures led to a major reorganisation of the company. The result is Fenix Rail Systems, the overall brand within which Fenix South East Asia and Fenix Australasia are contained. The UK head office is now Fenix UK & Ireland.

Great progress in the UK

Fenix’s UK operation has itself undergone a significant expansion, with the appointment of Steve McLaren as Managing Director in March and Derrick Cooper as Financial Director. Mr McLaren, who joined Fenix as Non-Executive Director in March and was appointed Managing Director in May, provides oversight and advisory support to Fenix. He has extensive experience in the rail industry, spending more than 30 years with French transport giant Alstom, including seven years as Managing Director of Signalling Solutions Ltd, an Alstom/Balfour Beatty joint venture, which he managed from the concept in 2007 and grew to £200m per annum.

Derrick Cooper is a highly experienced Financial Director whose career has been shaped by the challenges of working across a number of industry sectors spanning the UK, EMEA and Asian markets. He has developed exceptional analytical and decision-making skills, as well as being a strong communicator and negotiator.

The Fenix team is greatly bolstered by these two appointments, and the company’s new brand and international presence have created great momentum in 2018, which shows no signs of slowing. The Central Rivers depot upgrade, for which Fenix was commissioned on 12th February 2018, was delivered in just three months. As is the case in any depot, it is essential that trains depart the facility in Burton-on-Trent on time. The project saw Fenix Rail Systems, in conjunction with its partner Pintsch Tiefenbach, provide the Tie-Fen Lock Depot Control system – an innovative solution that assists depot operators by reducing their workload and increasing their safety, allowing them to set multiple routes within the depot in just a few seconds, thereby optimising its operation.

Fenix developed a bespoke technical interface that enables the system to be integrated with all UK-based interlockings. Central Rivers is one of several depots that has benefited enormously from the innovative system.

Fenix in the press

The Tie-Fen Lock Depot Control system was featured in a three-page article in October’s Rail Engineer. The article goes into great detail about the way the system manages train movements, point control circuits, signals, train detection and axel counter detection. It ends by stating the likelihood that depots across the country will be enjoying the benefits for years to come.

At the end of September, Fenix was featured in another article in Railway Gazette, focusing on Chiltern Railways’ Banbury depot. This project saw Fenix link the Tiefenbach signalling system to the Zonegreen Depot Personnel Protection System, making it possible for trains to enter directly from the main line without needing a stop/start entrance and exit procedure.

Events and awards

In September, Fenix attended InnoTrans – the leading international trade fair for transport technology. The four-day event at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds was host to 3,062 exhibitors from 61 countries, and over 160,000 attendees. In a turbulent year for the UK rail industry, this was clear evidence that railways are booming all over the world.

Fenix was pleased to sponsor the RailStaff Awards 2018, which took place in November at the NEC Birmingham. The RailStaff Awards show appreciation for those who deliver the railway and has been recognising their achievements since 2007. As an event sponsor, Fenix took its place alongside some of the biggest organisations in the industry.

As 2018 comes to an end, Fenix can look back with pride at some truly seismic changes which have met with great success. Fenix Rail Systems now has the capability and the international reach to realise the potential that has always existed within its experienced team. Projects completed in Banbury and Burton-on-Trent show how the innovation amongst Fenix’s engineers is transforming depot operations. This will set the stage for Fenix in 2019, here in the UK – and with vast potential internationally.