Need for speed to keep trains running

When rail engineering emergencies strike, it's vital to have the right tools at your disposal for quick, efficient work, says Sharon Rice, National Rail Manager at rail supplies specialist Scott Parnell.

Anyone who's ever commuted by rail will understand only too well the frustration felt when delays and cancellations are announced. Weary commuters are accustomed to such every-day announcements with reasons given ranging from engineering problems, signal failures and adverse weather conditions.

Since the 1990s, rail passenger growth has increased exponentially and the number of passenger journeys has more than doubled from 735 million in 1994-95 to 1.71 billion in 2017-18. Around 9% of freight is transported by rail and since privatisation, there has been significant investment in stations, rolling stock and track.

Need for speed to keep trains running

It's no wonder then that our railways are under ever-increasing pressure to perform well. But there's no way of telling when an emergency will suddenly strike. Equipment on the ground may suffer a catastrophic failure, sudden flooding may submerge track lines, and unexpected environmental events, such as landslips, may close rail routes indefinitely.

When these emergencies occur, engineers are scrambled to repair the damage as quickly as possible. Operations are carried out day and night until the problem is fixed and the lines return to normal use. These repairs are inevitably high-pressure situations, not least because customer satisfaction in rail travel is at an all-time low. Around 37% of us distrust the rail industry, 13 percentage points higher than three years ago - and delays in 2018 alone cost the economy four million working hours. 

Cable theft can also cause issues for busy railways. It is estimated that live railway cable theft is up 85%, resulting in more than 950 hours of delays in England, Wales and Scotland, affecting more than 7,000 journeys.

High speed solutions

New technologies mean faster and safer engineering projects are now possible. The introduction of innovative products that speed up installation, reduce manual handling and protect equipment from theft have been invaluable to keeping our railways running.

ArcoSystem – The rail system is reliant on sensitive cables that must be protected from outside elements and interference. ArcoSystem is a state-of-the-art product that completely encases cables and can be installed quickly and easily.

Approved for use by Network Rail, this lightweight elevated GRP troughing is supplied in ready-to-install lengths of six metres meaning fewer fixings are required, dramatically reducing the installation cost and time. Each length simply slides into position without the need for loose nuts and bolts, making it easy to install and light enough to be manually handled by one person.

Using the product saves both time and money by reducing the length of time operatives work in areas of heightened risk. Manufactured using corrosion-resistant glass-reinforced plastic. Bespoke sizing tailored to suit individual projects can also be supplied.

ArcoSystem's secure trough and lid also prevent easy access to unauthorised personnel meaning live cables are protected from theft.

Civil engineering specialist Scott Parnell is the sole supplier of ArcoSystem and our many clients have been impressed by the speed of installation and low associated construction and labour costs.

BaFix – The BaFix ballast retention system is approved by Network Rail and provides a secure and innovative system for track-shoulder retention, preventing loss of ballast over time and creating a long-term stable border.

BaFix can be used to maintain permanent ways, access ways running alongside tracks, access walkways, and run-on and run-off. It provides a pre-engineered foundation and is designed to resist various load configurations. It also enables key clamp barriers to be supported and installed into cess walkways.

TouchSafe palisade fencing –  Used for screening off electricity installation areas, it's essential that palisade fencing is completely secure and safe to install. Scott Parnell is the sole supplier of TouchSafe palisade fencing. Unique in its design and manufactured following years of painstaking research, it is produced using super strength, lightweight materials, which are corrosion resistant and contain no metal components. Total safety for installation teams by protecting them from any risk of electrocution is completely ensured.

The products are supplied as fully-assembled panels so they are easy and quick to install on site. Speedy installation is assured as there's no need to earth-bond the system. TouchSafe is fire retardant, weather resistant and low maintenance.

Techno-Crete –  A new innovation in postmix concrete products, Techno-Crete works like an expanding foam and is a high-density Hydrophobic Polyurethane alternative to the bulky postmix concrete products traditionally used for securing fence posts.

Derived from sustainably-grown and recycled vegetable oils, its formulation means it can be mixed without the need for mechanical plant and equipment, dramatically reducing the weight of manual handling from 60kg to 1.6kg.

It works by expanding to twenty times the size of its package volume after mixing and forms a structurally supporting foundation within 10 minutes of pouring.

Techno-Crete can be used to fix timber, steel and FRP fence posts; and gates and elevated troughing posts, including ArcoSystem and Touchsafe palisade fencing.


To contact Scott Parnell Rail, please call 020 8805 5797 or complete our contact form.


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