Siemens Rail Automation Supports Whitby Heritage Scheme

Posted by Barry Pearson on December 16, 2013  |   Comments Off on Siemens Rail Automation Supports Whitby Heritage Scheme

Following the contract award in October 2013, Siemens Rail Automation is now working in close partnership with North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) to deliver upgrades to Whitby station.Serving the north Yorkshire seaside town, the station is the terminus for the Esk Valley line which provides a link to the national rail network at Middlesbrough and sees regular services running between Pickering and Whitby.

The station’s single platform severely restricted capacity and so, having secured funding from Coastal Community and the National Lottery, together with assistance from Network Rail, NYMR developed a scheme to increase operational capacity by building a new platform and making modifications to the associated track and signalling to support a central locomotive run-round facility.

With the final scheme commissioning planned for May 2014, the scope of Siemens’ work covers all elements of design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the signalling requirements, with every element of the design work being undertaken by the company’s strategic partner, Infotech.

Commenting on this approach, Siemens’ Delivery Director, Rob Cairns said: “Although we have worked closely with Infotech for over seven years, previously we have outsourced only selected elements of design work. However given the company’s proven track record, we took the decision to place the whole of the design work to the Hyderabad-based team for this project.

“With an increasing demand for design services forecast throughout Network Rail’s Control Period 5, it is likely that this will be the first of many such schemes to be handled by Infotech, as we look to increase our total design capacity through the partnership arrangement. Outsourcing design work in this way is assured by the quality and thoroughness of the scoping work provided by our UK teams, ensuring that all design outputs are in accordance with UK standards and working practices”.

Tony Kornas, Siemens’ Regional Engineering Manager added: “As part of the agreement with NYMR, our 2013 graduates and apprentices will also spend time over the winter months working on the line’s signalling infrastructure. With over 20 miles of signalling ranging from mechanical signals to our HD-link transmission system, it is hoped that this will become a regular feature of future training programmes, providing new recruits with valuable, hands-on experience of legacy signalling equipment”.

The 24-mile NYMR line is one of the most historic in the north of England and is now the most popular heritage railway in the world. First opened in May 1836, the line operated without interruption for well over a century, during which various modifications were implemented and steam locomotives were introduced. Although the last British Rail passenger service ran in 1965 (a result of dwindling traffic in the 1950s and 60s), strong interest in a line across the moors resulted in a staged re-opening in 1973, the result of a concerted fund raising programme and support from the county council.

Philip Benham, General Manager, NYMR said: “This exciting project is vital for the future development of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. We are delighted to be working with Siemens and are pleased with the constructive and innovative approach they are bringing to the project”.