Glasgow Subway Project wins Safety Award

A major project undertaken on the Glasgow Subway has won the prestigious IEE Award for Advancement of Railway System Safety. This was presented by John Armitt, Chief Executive of Network Rail, when he gave the Annual Lecture to the Railway Professional Network. 

The project for the Glasgow Subway was the result of co-operation between Henry Williams Ltd, Hyder Consulting UK Ltd and Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT) and involved the replacement of a traditional Electro-Mechanical Trainstop System, which is used to stop the trains on the subway if they should try to pass a signal at danger. Whilst the exisiting trainstop system has been successfully operating for many years, it was becoming increasingly onerous to maintain and was resulting in 150 disruptions a year to the travelling public.

The new system is based on an electronic beacon mounted in the track and a sensor on each train to achieve the same protection but, as it effectively has no moving parts, the reliability and maintenance are dramatically improved. In practice, there have been zero failures and a saving of 5000 man-hours of maintenance in the first 12 months of operation.

The IEE award was won by three engineers who work for the organisations involved in the project, Ed Gerrard (Hyder Consulting UK Ltd), David Hughes (Henry Williams Ltd), and Watson Peat (SPT), and recognises the considerations given to the functionality required, the whole life costs, simplicity of approval and ease of maintenance.

A high definition photo to accompnay this release is available here

Photo Caption:
The photograph shows John Armitt presenting the award to representatives of the three participating companies:
(left to right)
Jim Douglas, General Manager Subway, Strathclyde Passenger Transport
Alan Puddick, Managing Director Electrical Projects, Henry Williams Ltd
John Armitt, Chief Executive, Network Rail
Ed Gerrard, Principal Consultant, Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd


Technical Information
The beacon mounted in the track contains two rare-earth permanent magnets and two aerials. A remote transmitter feeds a specific signal to one of the aerials when the corresponding signal is set to green. The second aerial is used to “prove” the signal is present by returning a signal back to the relay interlocking signalling system.

Each train is fitted with a sensor installed under the car, connected to a small control rack and interfaces inside the train. When the train passes over a beacon, the sensor must detect both of the magnets (which are inversely orientated) and the correct signal from the aerial in order to proceed. If all of these conditions are not met, then the system will override the train driver and automatically apply the brakes to stop the train.

Testing and automatic logging facilities were also provided to ensure that the system is operating correctly prior to, and whilst in service.

The system gained HMRI approval and was given an independent Safety Integrity Level of SIL 2.

Company Background 

Henry Williams Ltd
Henry Williams Ltd was founded in 1883 in Glasgow as a manufacturer of forged track products. It moved to its current Darlington site in 1911 where it continued to expand its railway business into fabrication and signalling. That tradition continues to the present day with HWL producing a range of fishplates and clamps, lineside enclosures as well as providing a prewiring facility for signalling schemes with a complete turnkey service for signalling schemes, level crossings for private sidings and preserved railways. HWL has also diversified and now has a strong presence in the Highways sector with fabricated enclosures, parapets and M & E maintenance of road tunnels.

Hyder Consulting Ltd
Hyder Consulting Ltd (HCL) is a world class-consulting organisation that offers their global clients an integrated approach to the provision of design and advisory services in the field of Railway engineering. Expertise is available in Heavy Rail, Metro and Light Rail Systems. Encompassing a comprehensive range of skills and experience from Signalling, Telecommunications, Permanent Way, Civil Infrastructure, HCL will take on most rail projects. HCL provides value, innovation and quality combined with specialist railway experience.

Strathclyde Passenger Transport
Strathclyde Passenger Transport Glasgow Subway provides an essential transport service for the City of Glasgow, carrying approximately 13.5million passengers per year. The railway forms a small dual tracked circle in the ‘Centre – West’ of Glasgow city centre. Fifteen stations are distributed along a route length of 10 Km in twin tunnels, allowing clockwise circulation on the ‘outer‘ circle and anti-clockwise circulation on the ‘inner’circle. Trains are formed from three car sets and each train has a seating capacity of 112 and space for 165 standing passengers. Trains are timed to take 24 minutes to complete the circular route. The limited size of the railway provides a reduced scope for full commuting journeys but modal interchange opportunities provide links to radial routes in the city and beyond.

For more information please contact:
Alan W D Puddick
Henry Williams Ltd
Dodsworth Street
Tel: 01325 462722 Ext 228

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