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News Article | December 19, 2016

A PROJECT that could lead to major cost savings for UK rail operators has earned a prestigious award for a University of Huddersfield researcher. Dr Yousif Muhamedsalih, of the University's Institute of Railway Research, has been named Best Young Researcher of 2016 by Rail Research UK Association (RRUK), in tandem with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). Judges praised him for tackling "a problem that has been of interest to mechanical engineers since the railways began". The problem is how to extend the life of railway wheelsets - how often and how much they can safely be reprofiled before they have to be scrapped and replaced. One approach is known as Economic Tyre Turning (ETT), described as "the process of turning wheels to a profile that has the same tread shape but a thinner flange, allowing less material to be removed from the wheel diameter". The use of ETT can extend wheel life, especially as modern lathes are capable of the required precision - but current GB railway standards do not permit its use. This was the background to the research conducted by Dr Yousif Muhamedsalih, Julian Stow and Dr Adam Bevan, and described by Dr Muhamedsalih in detail in a presentation for the 11th World Congress on Railway Research that took place in Milan, Italy. His research was undertaken by computer simulation and by carrying out tests on the iconic Pendolino trains run by Virgin Trains. Dr Muhamedsalih has concluded that ETT is not only safe, but it could have the ability to avoid the unnecessary costs in early replacement of wheelsets when they have significant remaining life. This could lead to changes in overhaul strategies, reducing costs to the rail industry. Computer simulations were used to predict both the magnitude of wheel wear and the worn shape of the designed and re-profiled wheels and this provided data for in-service trials carried out by Virgin Trains after it had been given the go-ahead by the Rolling Stock Standards Committee. It was in December 2015 that appraisal of ETT on a Pendolino began, when Alstom Transport had turned 20 axles on five vehicles to thin flange wheel profiles. Trials continued until March 2016, after the train had covered around 70,000 miles travelling between Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston. Dr Muhamedsalih carried out weekly assessments of the wear on the wheelsets. "The outcome supported the simulation results, which predicted that tread and flange wear rate would be the same for thin and full flange profiles. The ride quality assessments results shows that the change of flange thickness had limited overall effect on the average passenger comfort," he states. This helps to make the case for ETT - already widely employed in Europe - being allowed in Britain. The project earned Dr Muhamedsalih a nomination for the RRUK Best Young Researcher of the Year Award, and he was selected by the panel of judges. He has received his certificate and £1,000 prize at the RRUK's London AGM. Yousif Muhamedsalih was born in Britain, but his family returned to Iraq, where he obtained his first degrees. He relocated to the UK for a University of Huddersfield MSc in Control Systems, moving on to doctoral research. After being awarded his PhD in 2015, he was appointed a research fellow at the University's Institute of Railway Research, where he carries out work with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) as part of a strategic partnership.

Leicestershire, UK, 31-Oct-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — Loughborough University’s Control Systems Group has today announced that a consortium led by Ricardo Rail Ltd will develop the first installation of a radical new track switch product. Repoint is a patented ultra-high availability/maintainability track switch that could help support increased levels of day-to-day rail traffic across the network.The design introduces the concept of using several actuators to operate the same points, meaning that in the event of a single failure the remaining actuators continue to function safely. With this additional redundancy built into each machine, rail traffic can still pass and remedial maintenance can be scheduled without causing immediate disruption to services. Repoint also uses a unique ‘lift, hop and drop’ mechanism, a method that eliminates the friction experienced by the slide chairs used in traditional point machines. It is also much faster to operate:  Repoint can move a switch in under half a second, compared to four seconds for conventional designs – an improvement that can help support increased network capacity. The first full-scale Repoint will be integrated with London Underground infrastructure in early 2018. The development of Repoint originates from a request by the industry’s independent body RSSB, to explore ways to increase network capacity. Following discussions with industry stakeholders, the limitations of switch machines, and the extent of disruption caused by a single failure, was seen by the University as an area that could benefit from a fresh approach. The UK has over 20,000 switch and crossing units and, despite representing only 5% of network mileage, they account for over 15% of the track maintenance budget. Ricardo Rail have assembled a consortium including Progress Rail, DEG Signal and MPEC Technology and will now assist with the next stage of design, build and trial of a Repoint switch. The contract is the result of an invitation to provide industrial development assistance publicised for official tender (OJEU) in June 2016. ‘This is an incredibly exciting time for us. Until now, the technology has been developed solely in our laboratory with the long-term support of RSSB. Our ambition now is to have a prototype deployed in the ballast. By partnering with the right industrial expertise we can complete this step to a much higher standard. Signing this agreement with such a well-known and highly regarded organisation is a significant milestone on the road to a successful network deployment, moving us closer to the step-change in performance that the industry tasked us with in 2010.’ Ricardo Rail will also assist in Repoint’s development beyond the prototype phase. Shakeel Meharban, Senior Commercial Manager at Ricardo Rail, commented: ‘This is an important first step in helping to bring this unique technology to the global market. Ricardo prides itself in its ‘one stop shop’ capability from expert advice through to niche production, and so we felt we were the perfect partner to support Loughborough University on such an innovative project. We are extremely proud to have this opportunity and look forward to a long and successful relationship with the team. Neil Webster, RSSB Innovation Programme Director, stated: ‘Our continued support for Repoint reinforces our belief in the technology and its potential to deliver real, tangible benefits to the future of the rail industry.’

News Article | March 8, 2016

Repoint is a robust and reliable points concept which breaks with 200 years of tradition to offer a change in design that will increase reliability, reduce maintenance costs and boost capacity on the railways. It is the result of research carried out with industry experts into improved switches which eradicate known issues with existing designs. The two-and-a-half-year project, funded by the UK rail safety body RSSB (formerly known as the Rail Safety and Standards Board), will see a full scale, prototype track switch developed and deployed. Using safety concepts derived from aerospace and the nuclear industries, Repoint allows redundant, fail-safe actuation and locking of track switches for the first time. This means that a failure of a single actuator element will not cause the failure of the entire switch – allowing trains to continue until such a time as maintenance becomes feasible. With increasing traffic density throughout the network, windows for maintenance work are becoming tighter, which is why the Repoint technology - which will be developed alongside RSSB, London Underground, and its supply base - has so much potential. Repoint has been led by Professor Roger Dixon, Senior Project Engineer Sam Bemment, Professor Roger Goodall, and Dr Chris Ward. The team are part of the Control Systems Research Group in the University's Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering. Professor Dixon, Head of the Control Systems Research Group, said: "Bringing Repoint a step closer to operation is a fantastic achievement with the potential to fix a 200-year-old problem on rail networks around the world. "Great Britain's rail network, in particular, is under pressure to provide increased capacity and reliability at a reduced cost. With the support of RSSB, we can make track switch failures a thing of the past by introducing a cost-effective alternative which has not been seen before." Neil Webster, RSSB Future Railway Programme Director, commented: "Our continued support for the Repoint project reinforces our belief in the technology and the potential it has to deliver real, tangible benefits to the future of the rail industry. We look forward to seeing the design once implemented, improving reliability and increasing capacity on our ever expanding rail network." With RSSB and Loughborough University at the forefront of implementing the technology in the UK, opportunities are now being pursued with development partners to roll out the patented technology across international rail networks, with discussions so far held with companies in South Africa, Australia and China. Explore further: Rail researchers work on UK's first Tram-Train scheme

News Article | December 15, 2015

The north-Indian state of Punjab has further strengthened its position in the nation’s solar power market, commissioning another large rooftop solar power project of 12 MW. Tata Power Solar, a leading integrated solar power solutions company, recently announced that it commissioned a 12 MW rooftop solar power project in Punjab, claiming that the project is the world’s largest rooftop solar power project to be commissioned in a single phase. The project was commissioned at RSSB Educational and Environmental Society at Amritsar. Another similar project, with 7.2 MW capacity was also commissioned at the same location in 2014, which was proclaimed the world’s largest solar power system on a single rooftop. According to Tata Power Solar, the new 12 MW rooftop solar power system is expected to generate over 15 million kWh of electricity and offset greenhouse gas emission equivalent to 19,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Last year, Tata Power Solar also commissioned a 2 MW rooftop solar power project for a textile manufacturing company in the state of Tamil Nadu. The project, which is expected to have an eventual capacity of 4 MW, is claimed to be the largest rooftop solar power project in southern India. Tata Power Solar, which emerged from the remnants of a joint venture between British Petroleum and Tata Power (Tata BP Solar), constructs solar power projects as well as manufacturing solar power modules and other related equipment. The company is among the leading names in India’s rooftop and distributed solar power market. As India plans to set up 40 GW of operational rooftop solar power capacity, as part of its larger plans to set up 100 GW solar power capacity by 2022, Tata Power Solar eyes a massive market opportunity.   Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  

News Article | September 20, 2016

PriestmanGoode says the Horizon and Island Bay seats can be installed on new or existing trains and trams and could be rolled out within a year(Credit: PriestmanGoode) Although the designs are currently conceptual, they were funded by the UK's Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) with a view, ultimately, to improving passenger experience. In addition, PriestmanGoode itself has a strong track record of transport design, including the new driverless trains for the London Underground, as well as airplane business class cabins for Swiss International Air Lines, Virgin Australia and United Airlines. The seat designs are based on the premise that many cities and their transport networks are faced with increasing levels of overcrowding. Designer and chairman at PriestmanGoode Paul Priestman points out that, while it's important for us to encourage the more sustainable use of public transport over the use of personal vehicles, such services become unpleasant to use as capacity begins to fall short of passenger numbers. "In many countries the existing public transport infrastructure cannot be improved sufficiently quickly to keep pace with these rapidly increasing passenger numbers and, in many cases, platforms cannot be extended nor the size of trains increased," says Priestman in a press release. "So, as designers, we need to innovate to help alleviate the problem and improve passenger experience." The first of PriestmanGoode's two seats, the Horizon, is designed to take up considerably less space than a typical commuter train seat, allowing for 20-30 percent more seating in a carriage. The two-seat, side-by-side unit also has a slightly staggered configuration, increasing shoulder space and personal space for each passenger. Luggage storage space and bag hooks at the Horizon seats allow passengers to keep their belongings close at hand at all times and eliminate the need for luggage racks. They are also said to provide a fully supported seating position and each seat has two footrests so as to accommodate passengers of different heights. Mobile device mounts can support tablets and smartphones at a range of viewing angles and there are USB charging points as well. The Island Bay seat, meanwhile, is designed to be a flexible solution that can provide regular seating during off-peak times and a more economic setup at busier times. To do so, its base flips up to provide a seat that is higher, is thinner and takes up less space, but that is still fully supportive, unlike perch seats commonly found on public transport. In addition to providing more standing space, this also brings into play an additional flip-up seat mounted underneath the window, which can otherwise be used as a table. Around 15-20 percent more seats can be fitted into a train carriage by way of the Island Bay seats and they are said to afford wider-than-average aisles too, which are more accessible for wheelchairs, strollers, large luggage and folding bicycles. Also built into the Island Bay seats are anti-theft/pick-pocket shields and twin USB charging ports. PriestmanGoode says the Horizon and Island Bay seats can be installed on new or existing trains and trams and could be rolled out within a year. The firm also suggests they could be used in combination with regular seats.

Pepin F.,RSSB | Vigliotti M.G.,RSSB
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2016

The three-key Triple Data Encryption Algorithm (Triple Data Encryption Algorithm is also known in the literature as Triple-Des, or Triple DEA or TDEA) (3Des) is a symmetric encryption algorithm currently used in the European Traffic Management System (ERTMS) for integrity and authentication purposes. In a recent publication [1], 3Des has been withdrawn in favour of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) [2] (The National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) standard [1] allows to both algorithms can be used for specific purposes until 2030 with the intention of gradually phasing out 3Des towards AES). In this paper, we have investigated, from a practical point of view, known attacks to 3Des and proved that, in order to carry out such attacks, a disproportionate amount of hardware and money would be necessary. In practical terms this means that these attacks do not represent a realistic risk. In our work we assume that basic security measures have been taken in the implementation such as: 3Des does not leak any information and a cryptographically secure random number generator for production of the keys is used. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.

Bonsall-Clarke K.,RSSB | Pugh S.,Northern Rail
Rail Human Factors: Supporting Reliability, Safety and Cost Reduction | Year: 2013

Analyses of incidents and accidents within the rail industry and trends within other safety critical industries consistently demonstrate the importance of non-technical skills (NTS) in helping to prevent incidents and accidents. Non-technical skills have been defined as the cognitive, social and personal resource skills that complement technical skills and contribute to safe and efficient task performance (Flin, O'Connor and Crichton, 2008). Examples of NTS are conscientiousness, communication, rule compliance and workload management. Despite this evidence, until recently there has been very little formal coverage of NTS in front-line staff competence management systems. Training programmes for operational staff within the GB rail industry have been based largely on rules and traction training, and on-going competence development has been concerned only with technical skills. In response to this growing evidence highlighting the key role of NTS in safe and effective performance, RSSB undertook a research project to identify relevant NTS and develop, pilot and evaluate NTS training courses and other reinforcement activities for front line staff and their managers. Long-term, the vision is for this suite of training materials to be widely adopted within the rail industry, and for it to be adapted as necessary for application to other safety critical roles. The evaluation of the front-line staff and manager training courses clearly demonstrated the benefit of the research in the rail context, with significant improvements in a number of NTS. The companies involved in the pilot of the course continue to monitor their incident and accident levels over time in an attempt to establish the impact of the NTS initiatives on safety. This paper reports on some initial feedback from one of the companies involved in the piloting of the RSSB NTS materials and guidance - including key successes and challenges - and outlines next steps. © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK.

Bearfield G.,RSSB
IET Seminar Digest | Year: 2014

Presents a collection of slides covering the following topics: risk evaluation; risk assessment; health and safety; and safety decisions.

Bearfield G.,RSSB
Achieving Systems Safety - Proceedings of the 20th Safety-Critical Systems Symposium, SSS 2012 | Year: 2012

The railway industry in Great Britain has accepted processes for taking decisions that impact upon safety which have been in place for a number of years. This paper provides an overview explanation of the processes. The UK railway industry now has some practical experience around the use of its agreed safety related decision making processes. This paper includes a review of some of the practical problems and difficulties that can be experienced in applying the processes. The industry's experiences have clarified that safety appraisals are more complex in nature than was perhaps appreciated when the guidelines were drafted by RSSB and the ORR. It has also highlighted the importance of intelligent interpretation of the results of the CBA. This information is being used to feed into an ongoing review and update of the guidance to support its wider use in the industry. Copyright © George Bearfield 2012.

Tucker G.J.,RSSB
IET Conference Publications | Year: 2014

There has been an increase in the use of 'train monitoring train' and 'infrastructure monitoring infrastructure' RCM systems over the last 5 years; which have demonstrated significant benefits. It can be more efficient to monitor some aspects of train condition from the line-side and to monitor some aspects of the condition of the infrastructure from passing trains. The use of these 'cross-industry' RCM systems have not shown the same wide uptake in their use. Previous RSSB research suggests that this is because of difficulties in setting up the technical and commercial arrangements for such initiatives which require collaboration between different railway partners, and for sharing the data. RSSB project T1010 has created template contracts that can be used when negotiating the commercial agreements for setting up cross-industry RCM systems, and started the development of a data-sharing architecture that can be used by those systems. This should make it easier to introduce new cross-industry RCM systems.

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