The 2012 Modern Railways, Railway Industry Innovation Awards 2012

This year’s Railway Industry Innovation Awards were recently held at the Paddington Hilton. Once again the quality of entry was extremely high with judging difficult.

Award categories

  • Environment
  • Engineering and safety
  • Passenger experience
  • Cross-industry partnership
  • Operations and Performance
  • Small scale project
  • Large project


Winning entry – Driver advisory system

First Great Western has developed a driver advisory system, which has been installed in its 119 high-speed train power cars to offer drivers advice on optimum driving speeds to meet timetable requirements, and improve fuel usage. The move follows extended trials with FGW’s sister company First Hull Trains. Results of trials are already very encouraging, and this innovation could enable the rail industry to reduce carbon emissions and enhance sustainability.

Highly Commended – ‘Zero waste to landfill’ aim for Tube Lines

In 2008 Tube Lines committed itself to a ‘zero waste to landfill’ future. From a baseline recycling rate of 67%, it aimed to recycle 90% of waste. Since spring 2011, it has exceeded this, recycling up to 95% of waste compared with an industry standard of 68% to 70%. Project planning sets out to design waste out before work starts, significantly reducing waste created.

Highly Commended – Boosting environmental performance

ScotRail has introduced a diverse range of innovative initiatives – from community gardening and enhanced recycling to renewable energy projects and ‘eco-driving’ training. It has achieved the best set of environmental results in the company’s history, with 7.7% reduction in electricity use at stations, 3.7% decrease in gas use at depots and stations, 2.8% less water usage at stations and depots, 5% rises in source segregation of recycling, and 3.6% improvement in traction fuel efficiency.


Winning entry – Track inspection revolution

OmniVision is a system designed to replace basic visual inspection of plain line track by a combination of image acquisition, track geometry measurement, processing and reporting technology. Developed for Network Rail by Omnicom Engineering, the system’s key benefits are a reduction in the risk to staff undertaking inspection on the live network, creation of a standardised consistent method of delivering track inspection across the network, and a reduction in the cost of track inspection activities.

Highly Commended – London Overground – a new approach to project assurance

The London Overground railway was the first new railway brought into service under the Railway and Other Guided Transport Systems Regulations 2006 (ROGS). TfL London Rail took a new risk-driven approach to assurance and inter-stakeholder co-operation, with an Assurance Board for peer review, and a new partnership with Network Rail as neighbouring infrastructure manager. Delivery was achieved to cost, quality and time, with no delays through assurance, and with an excellent construction and operational safety record.

Highly Commended – Performance renaissance at Crewe

Bombardier has brought about a renaissance in the performance of its Crewe factory over the past four years, with productivity raised by over 100%, lost-time accidents virtually eliminated, and every customer receiving their order on time. The achievement is attributed to trusting the workforce to adopt the new attitudes and processes necessary to improve performance. Over the last two to three years the facility has delivered more than 2,000 consecutive bogies on time, and over 7,500 wheelsets.


Winning entry – Barcode ticket revolution

Chiltern Railways collaborated with Masabi, Atos, and Access IS to become the first rail operator to go live with the full barcode ticket system. The Chiltern Railways mTicketing application allows commuters to securely purchase and display rail tickets on most mass-market handsets, which are then available for pick up at the station, or displayed in the app as a barcode or readable ticket which can be checked visually, with handheld scanners, or at station gates.

Highly Commended – Step free at Green Park

Green Park is the 63rd station on the London Underground to be made step free (the first within the Circle Line), and marked a milestone in preparations for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The construction of the main lift shaft had to overcome major technical challenges, and the scheme was designed to be sympathetic with its surroundings and enhance them, through providing a new canopy and other improvements, including a direct ramped entrance to the park itself.

Highly Commended – Channels for First Capital Connect information

Striving to deliver high-quality customer service and information, First Capital Connect has introduced computer terminals at all station gatelines, and provided staff with internet-enabled Blackberrys to give access to real-time travel information, including FCC’s own intranet hub and wider transport websites. Twitter is used to communicate with customers on the move. To engage customers further, FCC has set up ‘Your Ideas’, a web-based tool for customers, sharing and voting on ideas for FCC to consider and implement.


Winning entry – Electronic programme machine

Mechanical programme machines, designed in the late 1950s to automate the signalling of trains, were the worst performing signalling asset on the Northern Line. Tube Lines’ Senior Technical Officer, Nick Healey, designed an electronic programme machine which can take the place of the mechanical machines in interlocking machine rooms. This has significantly improved reliability, led to better passenger services and fewer delays, and saved £58,347 in its first year, with a projected saving of £342,241 after three years.

Highly Commended – Engineering solution to support driver management

Southern and Tessella have developed a system, dubbed CHURROS, which uses on-train monitoring and recording equipment to monitor driver behaviour and identify long term adverse trends. Replacing the cumbersome analysis of information downloaded from data recorders, it provides, for the first time, a system which can effectively assess the competence of drivers, and provide effective visualisation and feedback. This leads to the opportunity to reduce costs and increase the effectiveness of a driver competency management system.

Highly Commended – ScotRail better prepared for winter

ScotRail launched a £2million project last winter to keep more trains running, improve the flow of ‘live’ travel information, and enhance station access – in direct response to lessons learned during the winter of 2010/11. The spend has led to the installation of innovative train de-icing equipment, major customer communications upgrades, and enhanced working systems to manage disruption more effectively. Improvements to the way ScotRail handles severe weather are expected to last for years to come.


Winning entry – Northern community ambassadors scheme

Northern’s community ambassadors scheme was created to promote the use of local rail services with black and minority ethnic and socially excluded groups around Blackburn, Brierfield, Rochdale and Farnworth stations. Traditional marketing activities were ineffective in reaching a number of communities not using rail services, despite being located close to stations. A full-time project manager and four part-time ambassadors have worked from within the communities to understand, and then overcome, barriers to local rail travel.

Highly Commended – Keeping tabs on escalator steps

Tube Lines must ensure that every escalator step on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly Lines is fully traceable for age, design and manufacture.

Asset Engineer Robin Gooden identified that using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags could offer a solution. The tags are metal mount tags which can be used on any metal surface and in any audit area within a station or on equipment. Cost savings of £400,000 have been recorded in the first year alone.

Highly Commended – Rolling out Paisley’s new roof

Rolling a new roof onto Paisley Gilmour Street station has been achieved by Spencer – it is believed to be an industry ‘first’. Layout and limited access called for an unconventional approach to avoid severe disruption. A ‘launch and roll out’ methodology was devised to roll roof sections into place along beams, close to overhead lines. Spencer used 3D software to map out the installation of 5,240 square metres of glass and 400 tonnes of steelwork.


Winning entry – Virtual documents streamline compliance

Early adoption of a new approach to compliance by projects like Crossrail, sharing virtual documents across many hundreds of users, is delivering significant advantage in both performance and cost savings. The introduction of new collaborative, cloud-based approaches by Comply Serve has extended well understood systems integration principles and processes into the domain of project management and delivery. Projects are benefiting from joined up project teams and unprecedented visibility of delivery compliance.

Highly Commended – Railway at the heart of local life

Route 28 is a project aimed at improving Northern’s 28 stations between Edge Hill and Glossop – demonstrating what an integrated approach between train operating companies, friends groups, Network Rail, contractors, Passenger Transport Executives and other local community representatives can achieve when working together and co-ordinating resources. Through cleaner and more welcoming station environments, security enhancements, recognising industrial heritage, and children’s artwork, the project works to put the railway at the heart of local life.


Winning entry – Reconstruction around Blackfriars’ live railways

The London Blackfriars development project team – including Network Rail, designers Jacobs and Tony Gee & Partners, principal contractor Balfour Beatty, and First Capital Connect – pioneered a number of successful innovations to minimise project risk, protect programme timing, and minimise impact on live railway operations. These included pre-cast pier extensions to widen the Thames bridge structure; slipform construction for shafts and stairs near the London Underground lines; and a track protection structure above those lines.

Highly Commended – Forth bridge: restoring an icon

After ten years of toil, the restoration of the Forth bridge was finally completed in early 2012. Corrosion of the structure has been halted, preserving strength and integrity, and the new coating is likely to last over 20 years. The restoration was completed in an extremely challenging environment, but train movements were maintained throughout. To give safe access to areas of the bridge not touched for over 30 years, new scaffolding and blasting techniques were developed on site.

In association with

Railway Industry Association
Key Publishing Ltd


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