QTS have had an extremely successful year operating both as a sub-contractor on many large rail projects and increasingly as a Network Rail Principal Contractor.
This success is demonstrated by the award of the Network Rail BCDP (Building and Civil Delivery Partnership) for the Northern region and this week also being successful in securing the Network Rail Out of Use Assets Framework.
However, well known throughout the rail industry for their investment and innovation in rail plant and equipment, QTS continue to lead the way with some exciting new developments…
Station Innovations: QTS/Austact Tactile Indicators
Working in partnership with the Australian company Austact, QTS has been developing the use of individual tactile indicators – the raised dots on platform edges and at the top and bottom of stairs convey important information to visually impaired pedestrians about their environment, for example, hazard warning and directional guidance, that help to prevent the visually impaired from putting themselves in danger.
Traditionally, platform-edge tactile indicators come in the form of 400mm by 400mm slabs which are laid between the coping stone and platform surfacing.
This approach to platform construction is labour intensive as it requires three separate build stages, each individual stage requiring completion prior to the next commencing.
The QTS/Austact system is fitted once the surfacing is complete. Individual studs are set into holes drilled directly into the platform surface so they have operational advantages as well as being simple to install.
The studs are manufactured from a cross-linked, co-polymer material that can be produced in any colour, including fluorescent types for underground use.
A carborundum insert on the top of each stud increases slip resistance and reduces wear and the patented “tooth” form on the shaft prevents pull-out, even in asphalt.
One of the attractions of the studs to Network Rail is that they are not affected by frost heave and with Network Rail incurring significant costs every year repairing and maintaining station platforms this is a significant benefit.
The first pilot installation at Perth Station has been successfully completed as part of a major repairs project. Around 1400 metres of tactile indicators were installed, producing substantial cost and time savings.
Following the success of the Perth Station project, QTS has installed tactile indicators at Fauldhouse Station where they are the main contractor for the design and build of the new footbridge.
The tactile indicators were fitted at the bottom of both sets of stairs in place of traditional slabs.
Station Innovations: QTS Lightweight Platform Extensions
QTS are currently developing a Lightweight Platform System. With a combination of value engineering, existing methods and cutting edge innovation, QTS aim to maximise the efficiencies of the lightweight design philosophy and to provide Network Rail and industry partners with a full design and installation package.
The engineering philosophy behind the system is that the weight of the platform is equal or less than the excavated material removed, therefore no large foundations are required and by default the heavy plant element is removed.
The benefit of this is two-fold; it can be used on sites with settlement issues; time on site and foundation requirements are significantly reduced therefore saving time and cost.
As the system is weight-neutral there is no requirement for large complex foundation designs. The system reduces bearing pressures on the surface and can be used on embankments or on underbridges.
Minimal plant is required to install the system which offers significant cost and programme savings with the quick installation time and no requirement for wet trades.
Plant & Machinery Innovations: RRV High Speed Braking System
QTS have just received approval for the use of an industry first high speed braking system for high ride RRVs. TFI were sponsored to undertake the design and build of a rail wheel tread braking system to a Gallmac access platform, which is currently on permanent hire with Network Rail OHLE.
The system incorporates four brake assemblies which are bolted to an axle frame and operate on each rail wheel.
Each brake assembly has a combined spring-applied, air-release, parking and air service braking canister.
The brake application is applied to a tread brake shoe onto the rail wheel running surface. Vehicle parking and rail-wheel parking brakes are combined to operate through the same cab control switch.
Service braking is progressive. Vehicle service hydraulic braking and rail wheel, air service braking are linked to operate from the same vehicle brake pedal.
This is achieved by a hydraulic-to-air proportional control valve operating from the vehicle hydraulic brake signal.
The system is designed so that, during the initial brake pedal travel, the rail wheel brakes apply before the road wheels. The brake application ratio of rail wheel to vehicle braking is set from vehicle type brake trials.
Braking effect is relayed via a gauge to the cab. The gauge range is colour coded green and red with red indicating over-braking to show the operator he is going into a possible wheel-lock condition.
The new braking system has been applied to the Gallmac WMW115 and as a result of this it is now suitable for use on gradients greater than 1 in 75.
It is the first successful system that has been certified by the Vehicle Acceptance Body (VAB) and Network Rail to both the RIS 1530 PLT Issue 2 and the Network Rail Remit for Rail Wheel Braking.
It has been operating virtually continuously for the last three months without any issues and is currently the subject of patent applications.
Plant & Machinery Innovations: QTS/Casegrande Euro-Drill Rig
The most recent addition to the QTS plant fleet is the Euro-drill Rig supplied by Casagrande UK, well known for their first class drilling and mini piling fleet.
The unit is lighter than much of the competition and provides significant power/torque advantages – thus improving drilling time.
The unit was supplied with 2 different mast sizes, which means that for restricted sites such as tunnels/cuttings a shorter stroke can be used and on open ground the larger mast can be applied to achieve higher output.
Either way, the unit is compact and manoeuvrable, allowing works to be carried out easily in the usual ‘tricky’ railway scenario.
The unit is primarily used for the installation of soil nails on our earthworks sites, but can also drill rock anchors, mini-piles and wells if required.
The rig has successfully completed its first soil nailing project at Ellestree for BAM Nuttall, installing soil nails, and will move on to complete projects at Arkleston (Balfour Beatty) then Lochawe (Network Rail).
QTS are leading the way in providing unique and innovative cost-effective solutions to the Rail industry.