It’s a well-known fact that Britain’s Railway Network faces some sizable challenges within its capacity, reliability and efficiency. Billions of pounds are invested to each CPD spend for Rolling Stock and Infrastructure projects across the network to combat these issues. With rising ticket prices and the current economy budgets have never been under such heavy scrutiny and it is now vital that all projects ensure solutions are implemented not just for now but for the future growth with a measurable impact on efficiency.
Throughout the UK rail passengers and the general public are, unlike the station upgrades, unaware of the huge investments that are being made to upgrading our depots across the country that house and maintain the smooth running of the new and improved rolling stock.
Safety, as always, is at the forefront of all of our asset upgrades and innovation is key to achieving the high safety and engineering standards the UK is known for across the world.
Traditional Materials/Composite within Rail:
Traditional materials are becoming, in many instances, a thing of the past due to emerging composite materials now being widely available and accepted across the network, providing a host of benefits that outweigh the use of traditional materials such as timber, Steel and Concrete.
“A composite material is a product that consists of two or more constituent materials which holds significantly differential characteristics to those of an individual component”.
Glass Reinforced Plastics, commonly known as GRP or FRP is one such composite material that, over the last decade, has become established and evident in projects across the UK. From end of platform steps to complete station platform refurbishments and huge multi story maintenance depot walkways, GRP is on track as the ideal choice in many of our environments providing savings throughout the supply chain along with solutions to the problems associated with traditional materials.
A few of GRP’s key benefits include its light weight, high strength, non-corrosive, non-conductive, easy to cut nature. With careful planning, good design and installation costly heavy lifting equipment can be eliminated and installation time can be reduced considerably. Ongoing maintenance plans can also be minimal subsequently saving money and time which makes for a more effective processes reducing the risk of disruptions to the rolling stock.
Selhurst Train Care Depot is one of many depots across the UK that previously decided to opt for the Step On Safety’s Composite GRP Materials over traditional steel and Aluminium when looking for access solutions for their 377-Type Carriages.
In both the Inspection and Cleaning Sheds maintenance teams carry out continuous works to the rolling stocks HVAC (Heating, ventilations and air conditioning), pantograph units located on the roof top alongside the door controls.
Further to these works, Step On Safety’s Single and Multi-Story Permanent Access solutions have been spread across depots all across the country with the Managing Director Mike Warren announcing:
“The Rail Industry is extremely important part of what we do and an integral part of future growth strategy, which is why we apportion a high percentage of our R&D resource to it”.
Mike further describes the company’s success in various Depot Platform Projects that they have delivered as a key part of their rail sector business. They have currently been awarded works at Stewarts Lane TCD where their composite expertise will again provide another turn-key solution for 230m of duel 3.5m height GRP Permanent Access Platforms with multiple emergency access points at set intervals. The bespoke design and install will again be completed by Mike and his team with little disruptions to the live depot.
A warm invitation is due to be sent out to companies and experts across the rail industry to attend a CPD presentation on GRP Access Platforms in Depots at Step On Safety’s head office in Brantham, Suffolk. A full scale demonstration unit will be built for attendees to get a good understanding of what can be achieved in composite materials.