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PERMANENT WAY SOLUTIONS


Green said: “It’s really successful; the worst locations are picked up on the network, and Network Rail can go and target that location, look for the defect and repair it. From their perspective it allows them to target locations where we can clearly demonstrate there’s a problem with the interface.”


The scheme could change the way Network Rail does its maintenance, and should, Grant told us, “give a pretty good indication of the condition and state of the conductor rail – to the point where you can think about targeting your maintenance interventions much more smartly, rather than sending people to go and look at a perfectly good conductor rail”.


The new Alliance between Network Rail (Sussex) and Southern, launched in June, has helped to facilitate the development of the project through joint funding, and collaborative working. Although the alliance with Southern doesn’t go as far as Network Rail’s ‘deep alliance’ deal with South West Trains – whose managing director Tim Shoveller has, since April, been responsible for both track and train on the route as the head of a joint Network Rail/ SWT management team – it still involves signifi cant amount of collaboration and shared decision-making.


Green said: “The Alliance has clearly driven the work forward and will continue to do so because there is a mutual shared interest.


“By doing this together, we get the net benefi t and we can demonstrate that both parties are working together for the benefi t of our customers.”


From prototype to production


As the project is still in its early stages, prototyping has led to certain issues around implementation – but its potential has already been enough to see it shortlisted in the Engineering Innovation of the Year category in the National Rail Awards. Green described minor amendments and changes to install the


3


Top: Equipment installed on the bogie. Above left: Laser control electronics. Above right: Recording equipment in the body end cupboard.


equipment effectively.


He said: “We had a reasonable idea of what it would look like. Having said that, getting it integrated and onto a train is not necessarily that straightforward.”


Future develop- ment of the prod- uct would turn the prototype into a version that can be produced on a slightly larger scale, he added.


“We’d like a few trains


running


around with this sort of kit, but not necessarily in the


form it currently is: it’s the nature of prototype.


“We’ve now demonstrated that it works, we need to take it forward with more trains measuring more of the time to get more data.”


Maintenance of the system was also an issue to consider, as there is no precedent demonstrating how long TRIME can continue to perform.


“These things have never actually run for any signifi cant time,”


Green said, and suggested that some further design modifi cations may be necessary in the future.


Simon Green


FOR MORE INFORMATION Visit www.southernrailway.com


rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 12 | 51


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