Comment

28.04.16

Delivering a world-class service for London

Source: RTM Apr/May 16

Mark Bullock, managing director for Balfour Beatty Rail, discusses the past and ongoing track works happening across the capital’s rail network as part of their extended Track Partnership with London Underground (LU).

Balfour Beatty Rail provides a broad range of services across the entire lifecycle of rail infrastructure. Its 1,600-strong workforce includes almost 100 apprentices, trainees and graduates who get the opportunity to work closely on a wide range of exciting projects and solutions. One example is the recently awarded £170m two-year extension to Balfour Beatty’s Track Partnership contract for LU. 

Track Partnership, an alliance between Balfour Beatty Rail and LU, is responsible for delivering essential track and drainage renewal work across the LU network. The contract scope includes the renewal of points and crossings, ballasted track and associated drainage, signalling, traction power and conductor rail works. 

Passenger benefits 

Initially appointed to the contract in 2010, Balfour Beatty has collaborated with LU to develop innovative ways of working which have resulted in better productivity and lower unit costs. As a result, the partnership has been able to constantly renew the asset whilst minimising disruption to passengers. Record volumes of work have been delivered in ever shorter timeframes. 

In Balfour Beatty Rail, technical expertise and engineering excellence are core aspects of how the business approaches problems. This is particularly so in the technology solutions division which has been growing steadily in the past few year as customers have benefited from access to Balfour Beatty’s leading edge in-house technological capability, which includes products such as asset monitoring systems. These systems assess assets and detect failures before they occur, bringing a wealth of benefits to the customer improving safety, cost and reliability. 

In the UK and abroad 

These technologies are not just used in the UK. Balfour Beatty has been exporting UK engineering expertise to overseas markets. Recent examples include work on the Singapore Metro where Balfour Beatty has installed signalling monitoring equipment that records the operating condition of points – a critical part of any network for both performance and safety. Similar technology has also been installed in Hong Kong, as well as track and overhead line measurement systems. 

Balfour Beatty engineers are also involved in the IEP with a state-of-the-art programme which is dedicated to developing a laser-based track monitoring system. This system will be fitted onto the new Hitachi supplied trains to measure the condition of the infrastructure as they travel at speed across the network.  

This technology is also being expanded for use on Crossrail where Balfour Beatty is in the design process for the new Bombardier fleet. 

DataMap 

Returning to the LU, similar systems are already in use on the Tube trains. Here, Balfour Beatty is using and supplying DataMap, a condition visualisation system that automatically manages the vast amount of data produced.

DataMap helps identify developing faults which then allows for remedial work to be planned in advance, before the fault develops and affects the passenger service. In doing this, and monitoring track more frequently, Balfour Beatty is able to obtain a better indication of the deterioration rate of the track. This all adds up to minimising disruption to passengers and giving them a more reliable service. 

DatamapTM

An example over the 2015 Christmas period saw the Track Partnership completing a 700m track renewal project at Paddington. The works were delivered safely and on time, in challenging weather conditions. Not only that, but the tracks were temporarily re-opened to allow for travel over New Year’s Eve and then finally completed and successfully reopened on 4 January. The whole package of works saw minimal disruption to the general public as a result of the DataMap visualisation system allowing for a co-ordinated and planned approach. 

The proprietary technologies developed by Balfour Beatty for rail projects allows for larger renewal works, such as the Paddington Christmas track renewal work, to be better planned and co-ordinated, allowing for any disruption to the public to be kept to a minimum while the customer benefits from reduced cost and disruption and a minimised risk – which is always a challenge for an intensively operated metro like the LU.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

The next generation of rail infrastructure

11/09/2019The next generation of rail infrastructure

How the rail industry delivers the next gener... more >
Putting passengers first

11/09/2019Putting passengers first

How does the rail industry design the railway... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Year with brand-new infrastructrure to... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Network Rail’s, Anna-Jane Hunter on HS2, NPR, and supply chain opportunities

29/08/2019Network Rail’s, Anna-Jane Hunter on HS2, NPR, and supply chain opportunities

Anna- Jane Hunter, is a ‘proud northerner’ and is passionate about continuing the investment and the success story of rail across the North.  She plays a key role in working with government and northern leaders to enable the network to carry on thriving. We caught up with Anna-Jane, for her expertise and insight into conn... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in ... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >