Research into rail switches at the IRR

rail switchesRail switches or ’points’ are used in the rail industry to guide trains to their correct route. They work by using a tapered set of rails (points) lying between the outer rails that can be moved to direct the train travelling across them.

They make up less than 1% of the entire length of railway routes in the UK, yet they account for 20% of the expenditure on track maintenance. With a working life of approximately 3 years, frequent maintenance and replacement of rail switches is needed to avoid disruptions in services. Continue reading

New Train Carriage Design wins a Share of Funding

railway reacksBeing involved in the rail industry, we at PRV like to keep an eye on the latest developments and innovations coming over the horizon, whether it’s to do with passenger travel, the moving of freight or the development of the trains of the future. So the recent headline about a UK company winning funding to develop a solution for passenger travel and the movement of freight for the future caught our eye.

A St Ives based company has won a share of £2.2m through the Tomorrow’s Train Design Today (TTDT) programme.

Their train carriage design, where passenger carriages can be reconfigured to carry freight or passengers at different times, is one of 3 designs that won a share of the funds to develop the rolling stock of the future. Continue reading

Siemens win contract for the Rhine-Ruhr Express

siemens desiro trainSiemens has recently landed a contract to provide and maintain trains for the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area. The Rhine-Ruhr Express (RRX) is being hailed as the project of the century for the region, whose rail connections and public transport systems have been heavily burdened for years.

The region is one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe with a population of approximately 10 million, many of which commute along the Rhine and Ruhr rivers in Germany. It is hoped that the RRX project will steadily ease the conditions for commuters from 2018 when delivery of the new trains begins by eliminating thousands of car trips, shifting traffic from the roads and on to rail. Continue reading

Battery powered trains are back

woman on railway platformAt a time when development within the rail industry is gathering pace, battery powered trains are poised to make a comeback. Battery powered trains have been used for around 100 years, but expanded use has been held back by battery technologies.

Now, the first passenger train of its kind in over 50 years has recently undergone a five-week trial in a bid to prove the viability of more eco-friendly alternatives to diesel-powered locomotives.

Back in 2013, The Independently Powered Electric Multiple Unit (IPEMU) came into force. It draws power from overhead lines and then lowers its pantograph to allow it to run on its batteries instead, so enabling it to run over non electrified lines. The challenge was in finding an effective energy storage system or battery.

2 years and much development later,  the IPEMU will now run a weekday service between Harwich International and Manningtree stations in Essex. Continue reading

UK rail industry gets huge boost

railway_stationThe United Kingdom’s rail industry can afford to smile with the news that the first completed pre-series Class 800 train is on its way.

The train, built by Hitachi in Japan, is the first of a fleet of 122 trains set for the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line, as part of the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express programme.

Even better news for the rail industry in the UK is that the bulk of the fleet will be manufactured in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. The factory is currently under construction and will employ over 700 staff.

Simon Jones, managing director of PRV Engineering said; “It’s good news all round for the rail industry and manufacturing industry in the UK.”

The current pre-series Class 800 comprises many parts and components, manufactured here in the UK. Continue reading