Author: Neil Walker

3Squared ‘Meet the Team’ – Jason Durk, Principal Consultant

3Squared Office Screen Shots

In the latest instalment of our ‘Meet the team’ feature, we sat down with Jason Durk, Principal Consultant at 3Squared, to hear more about his role at 3Squared, his fascinating experience within the rail industry and the exciting opportunities for the freight sector:


Can you give us an insight into your role at 3Squared?

I spend a lot of my time trying to understand the complexities which lead to the issues that occur on the railway and pick at them until I uncover what sits behind them. That provides me with the insight I need to help try and fix it.

With that in mind, if I were to sum my role up in one sentence, I would say it is to help deliver solutions to problems.


What drew you to the role and working for 3Squared?

3Squared has a very good reputation in rail and, being a relatively small company, is flexible and dynamic enough to move quickly to the challenging demands of the rail industry and the changing needs of its customers.

3Squared also has an advanced suite of software solutions, RailSmart, which have been designed to solve real problems and help railway staff fulfil their duties, which can be difficult in a heavily regulated industry.

The people are also great and it’s a very relaxed company to work for.


What excites you about working in the rail industry?

I have worked in the industry for almost three decades, starting at South West Trains in 1994 and have worked in many roles. I’ve also trained as a Guard, an On-Board Supervisor, and a Dispatcher.

I spent 13 years at the Rail Delivery Group (formerly the Association of Train Operating Companies) which afforded me the opportunity to understand the complexities of the railway, specifically around planning and operations, the interfaces between them and how they provide daily challenges in running a railway: every day is different and provides different challenges.

I have witnessed a lot of change in the last 28 years. I have seen the railway embrace technology and adopt smarter ways of working, I have seen the railway family pull together in times of adversity and I have seen colleagues go out of their way to help customers – and I mean “really” go out of their way. Once a colleague of mine took an old lady’s cat halfway across the country by train because she was too frail to take it herself; that’s true dedication and proper customer service!

The railway is many things to many people, but to me it is a diverse and dynamic beast that motivates its custodians to deliver the best possible service against a backdrop of change. That’s what excites me.


What are you looking forward to working on in the coming year?

The pandemic has altered the way we go about our everyday lives. Whilst teams are returning to the office, there are still more people working from home more frequently, which means they travel less. Whilst that’s positive for passengers as crowding is reduced, the railway is less commercially viable.

On the flipside, more people are buying more goods online which means more items need transporting. And this means there is the potential to run more freight trains and promote modal shift – i.e., get more containers onto trains. This benefits the UK by removing heavy goods vehicles off our already congested road network, reducing the carbon impact of transporting container freight by road, and increasing the profitability of the railway.

3Squared has developed a tool called PathPlanner that helps operators find freight paths in the timetable so that they can run additional trains. However, because of the complexities around freight timetabling, a high percentage of freight paths that exist in the timetable are not used, and this presents a bloated network. Therefore, finding space to add a new path is difficult, and work is required to overcome this. We will be working on in the next 12 months.


Can you tell us a bit more about your plans for PathPlanner?

3Squared will be enhancing PathPlanner over the next year, which will see us develop Machine Learning algorithms that will predict the paths that will not be used and highlight them. This will enable them to be removed from the timetable and unlock available capacity.

In 2021, Network Rail delivered a £17m upgrade project to strengthen the line at Southampton to take longer freight trains. Solent Stevedores, who operate out of Southampton Western Docks, are currently upgrading the track, dockside, to take in longer and more trains; and that work concludes in Spring 2023.

The project will see us working collaboratively with both Network Rail and Solent Stevedores (with crucial input from Logistics UK, Stobart, DP World and GB Rail freight) to help them realise the benefits of their investment by finding available paths to run more frequent and longer trains to and from Southampton.

Having worked in the passenger arena for so long, I find rail freight’s potential for growth extremely exciting, and am looking forward to working on this project to help our partners on this project deliver tangible benefits.


How integral is innovation to the rail industry?

Innovation has already played a key part in driving change in the rail industry and remains a key part in unlocking the efficiencies that a modern rail system requires.

There has been much talk recently of modernising the railway and bringing out-of-date working practices into the 21st century. When talking about innovation, we tend to think in terms of digital transformation and the associated benefits.

However, delivering innovation on the railway is as much about innovating around our people and processes and providing solutions that work in a very different environment, than when the railway first arrived.


What tips would you give to somebody looking to forge a career in the rail industry?

Just one – do not take “we have always done it like that” as an answer.

Thanks for sharing your interesting insights and journey, Jason! If you would be interested in learning more about how you could join the 3Squared team, visit our careers page here.

3Squared’s Monthly Media Insight, July 2022

3Squared Monthly Media Insight - Martin Gleadow, Customer Success

Welcome to the latest instalment of our monthly media insights, led by Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared, reflecting on July’s top news stories in the rail industry, from rail safety to innovative approaches.

Read Martin’s thoughts on the industry’s recent news stories, below:

“In July, extreme weather made waves in headlines of both trade publications and national news, impacting all aspects of life here in the UK, including the railways. During the heatwave, a number of areas in the UK reached 40 degrees Celsius, which can lead to steel rails hitting temperatures of up to 20 degrees above air temperature – almost 60 degrees Celsius.

“As those working in the rail industry know, this level of heat can have an intense impact on the railway creating unsafe conditions, with tracks buckling and power lines down. With these safety concerns in mind, passengers were advised not to travel, and many services were cancelled.

“In response to the heatwave, we saw Network Rail establish a taskforce aimed at developing an approach for future heatwaves. News outlets also showcased the innovative technology currently in development such as data-driven weather mapping technology which aims to predict weather patterns and indicate the impacts that extreme climates could have on the rail network.

“The extreme weather we have seen highlights another key theme: sustainability. At 3Squared, the aims to create a greener railway and combat climate change have always been part of our vision. The heatwave has highlighted just how destructive  climate change can be causing environmental damage, widespread disruption and almost bringing the UK to a standstill. It’s clear that action needs to be taken when it comes to our climate and with rail’s green credentials, our industry is key to unlocking this.

“Following on from sustainability, safety is always a theme of focus for us at 3Squared. First of all, a delightful book Arlo’s Adventures was launched in July, exploring all things rail safety for children in an engaging way. Educating the public, particularly children and young people, about rail safety is always important, especially when we see safety concerns more and more in the media. Secondly, RSSB has emphasised the need for Non-Technical Skills, such as maintaining concentration and checking, which underpin technical tasks and overall safety.

“Excitingly, this month the shortlist for the Great British Railway Headquarters was announced. After bids initially from 42 locations, only 6 have been included in the shortlist: Birmingham, Crewe, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and York.

“In a previous blog, we highlighted the benefits that making Doncaster #DestinationGBR could bring to our wider region of South Yorkshire, including increased investment and job opportunities. Transport for the North (TfN) has also shared a campaign to bring GBR HQ to the north stating that ‘Great British Railways national headquarters can be anywhere as long as it’s based in the North’, citing geographical, heritage-based and ‘levelling up’ factors.

“When it comes to our local areas here in Sheffield, we’ve also seen some interesting news in terms of the regional transport network. Following the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority’s (SYMCA) bid for the Barrow Hill line reopening as part of the Restoring Your Railways scheme, the government have approved the bid to go forward to the next stage, one of only 9 in England and Wales. This restored line will run from Chesterfield to Sheffield, via Barrow Hill.  Furthermore, this news could also strengthen the case for the revival of the Don Valley Line, from Stocksbridge to Sheffield, and the re-opening Victoria station.

“Whilst on the subject of regional transport networks, a recent study found a disparity between the North and South in terms of public transport. It observed that people living in the Midlands and North find it harder to use public transport to cut carbon emissions. Accelerating access and connectivity in these areas is therefore important when it comes to decarbonisation and creating a greener rail network in general, as well as ensuring we have a public transport system that serves everyone across the UK.

“In rail investment news, at the start of July, we saw the announcement of £1 billion investment in digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line. This funding will replace ageing signalling systems with new digital upgrades. We’re pleased to have been involved in this project transforming the East Coast Main Line by developing part of the training and simulation solutions for the East Coast Digital Programme. This project is an exciting step toward creating the digital railway of the future, using digital train control technology to enable a more dynamic, reliable, and sustainable rail network.

“The TransPennine upgrade is another positive story in terms of investment and plans to bring full electrification and digital signalling to the route upgrade. This investment will also support the creation of a greener, digital railway.

“As always there has been plenty going on in the world of rail, we hope you enjoyed hearing more about our insights and we look forward to sharing our thoughts on August’s top stories.”


If you would be interested in hearing more from Martin and the team on 3Squared on how they can support you, get in touch today.



3Squared’s Monthly Media Insight, June 2022

3Squared Monthly Media Insight - Martin Gleadow, Customer Success

As many of those working in the rail industry understand, engaging with what is going on across our sector is key. That is why have introduced a new monthly insights feature, led by Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared, delving into the latest industry news stories and updates, that serve to highlight the fantastic work and innovation that is brewing across our industry. Read Martin’s thoughts on the rather busy month of June, below:  

“Having been in the rail industry for 6 years, it has been fascinating to see its evolution particularly the commitment to innovation and sustainability. This is heavily evident in the past month, from Rail Live coming back in full force to new developments being made, such as the green light for £55 million Scottish Government investment in decarbonisation, which tie in nicely into freight operations and the wider supply chain, highlighting a renewed and evolved focus post pandemic.  

“Innovation and sustainability have been key themes in the media this month. Here at 3Squared, our commitment to a greener rail network has been at our core since our inception in 2002 and it is fantastic to see so many key players from across the industry making new pledges and investments in this area. 

“This can be seen in a diverse range of projects and research, from the new digital signalling that will be used in the Northern City line, to evo-rail’s latest report revealing that to facilitate a modal shift, a key element to reaching the UK’s Net Zero goals, improved internet connectivity is needed on trains, to entice passengers to choose rail over other modes of transport. These all signal a positive and greener future for our industry, and show much more concrete plans, rather than theoretical concepts which can often take longer to implement.  

“June saw no shortage of significant updates from HS2, which 3Squared are proud to play a supporting role in. It was fascinating to learn more about the project’s first ‘Green Tunnel’, which has been designed to blend the high-speed railway into the landscape and reduce disruption for the surrounding communities. This will also assist in improving the long-term sustainability of the project, a positive step to take.   

“It was also good to find out more information about HS2’s new plans for the wetland habitats in and around Birmingham and Fazeley Canal Viaduct. All of this shows the project’s commitment to working with the natural environment to reduce the impact of both the construction and eventual operational running of the line, to work closely with the local community and safeguard its protection going forward.  

“It has been particularly encouraging to see Freight continuing to get a boost too. As part of a new plan from the government, people across the UK will be encouraged to start a new career in logistics as part of a wider strategy to bolster the supply chain and create a more resilient and greener sector. This campaign is one part of the “Future of Freight” Plan, which we discussed in a recent piece with Freight Tracks magazine that you can read here. We are proud to work closely with the freight sector and look forward to seeing these new ideas and strategies bolstering the industry forward, particularly as we move towards the creation of the Great British Railways (GBR).  

“Talking of GBR, earlier this month the call for evidence report, as part of the Whole Industry Strategic Plan from the GBR transition team, was released. The report summarises the insights and evidence of 307 responses, with key focus areas highlighted, including: decarbonisation, accessibility, the need for a strong customer service ethos and financial sustainability, along with the importance of integrating with other transport. It is positive to hear of concrete commitments being made to making a meaningful change in the way in which the railway is managed, and we look forward to seeing how the report will shape and inform the transition going forward.  

“It was also fantastic to attend this month’s Rail Live, covered widely by the trade media. After exhibiting last year, it was great to return as a visitor and connect with our friends and colleagues from across the industry and find out about the latest infrastructure and maintenance projects that are enabling the UK rail network to run safely and efficiently. We look forward to attending in 2023! 

“As many of us working in the sector will understand, there never is a quiet month in the world of rail. We hope you have enjoyed our first monthly industry insight and we look forward to sharing our thoughts with you on the next month.” 

If you would be interested in hearing more from Martin and the team on 3Squared on how they can support you, get in touch today.  

3Squared ‘Meet the Team’ – Leon Martin, Junior Software Engineer

Leon Martin, Junior Software Engineer

When deciding on a career, there are several factors to consider. Will it be something you can see yourself doing in ten years? Does it excite you? Will there be room to learn and grow? Here at 3Squared, we are proud to support those looking to forge a career in rail and technology through our apprenticeship scheme, which Leon Martin, Junior Software Engineer, entered the company through.

To find out more about Leon’s experience of joining 3Squared, his apprenticeship and growth with the company so far, we recently sat down with him for our ‘Meet the Team’ content series, which you can read more about below:


Can you give us an overview of your role at 3Squared?

At 3Squared, I am a Junior/Apprentice Software Engineer. My role focuses on the development of our products, and I help with the development of new features. This includes writing the code that drives them as well as fixing bugs that have been raised, so that users continue to have a good experience with our applications.


What drew you to your role?

Ever since I was younger, I was fascinated by computers and technology and as I continued to grow up it only increased. Once I got my hands on experience with programming at around the age of 12-13, I was hooked. This comes from three main reasons – creativity, problem solving and results.

I enjoy having the freedom to create a solution to a problem. With programming, there are often many ways to solve an issue and being a developer it’s your responsibility to find the most efficient route to take. I enjoy experimenting with new technology as hands on experience always helps me to learn much faster.

Being able to see the finished result working and people using it confirms that all my efforts were not in vain.


What does your day-to-day look like?

I wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and sit down for my morning Scrums. Afterwards I crack on with some work up until lunch time which is usually around 1pm for me. Once I’ve had a bite to eat it’s back to work.

Depending on which week it is I may have project meetings just before and after lunch. Towards the end of the day, I’ll fill in my timesheet and tend to finish my working day around 4:30pm – 5pm.


What do you enjoy about working at 3Squared?  

The culture, people, and the work – everyone here is wonderful and I always enjoy a little chat when grabbing a coffee. The culture is extremely friendly, particularly for new starters. I always got help when I needed it, whatever questions I had were solved and even though I was shy at first, I quickly came out of my shell and fitted right in.

The work is always interesting – I’ve got my hands on different languages and technologies that I’ve never used before and managed to create production content with them. It’s been a great learning experience.


What excites you about working within the rail industry?

Feeling like I’m making a difference – the rail industry is quite literally very close to home and it makes the changes I am making feeling a lot more personal.

It’s crazy to give East Midlands Railway (EMR) a demo of some of our new features and then the next day I’m riding an EMR train. Understanding the industry itself, I had no idea how the rail industry works when I first started however after working on different applications, I now understand how much hard work goes into rail operations.


What advice would you give to somebody looking to forge a career in rail technology?

Get stuck into it as soon as possible. The rail technology industry is all about change so the more than you can learn and understand the better. Don’t be afraid of new things – with the constant rapid changing of the industry, you must be able adapt to change.


What is your favourite part about working in Sheffield?

There are many great places near the office itself, with a variety of restaurants, clothing, and book shops. It’s a great place for team lunches, socials, and AGMs with no shortage of places to go.


What drew you to the apprenticeship path and what value have you found out of this entry point into your career?

I knew I would gain extremely valuable experience from the apprenticeship, through the ability to be surrounded by computers and technology. I’ve found that I have learned so much these past two and a half years it’s unfathomable and even more than work or academic experience could provide; I have grown so much as a person.


What advice would you give for others looking to embark on an apprenticeship?

Don’t hold back and do it – an apprenticeship is a great way to gain real world experience as well as academic experience. Combined, these can really make for a good CV. It can also help you to learn, as by working you are surrounded by what you’re learning making it a lot easier to pick up than someone who only does one or the other.


Thanks for sharing your insight into life at 3Squared, Leon! If you would be interested in learning more information about how you could join the 3Squared team, visit our careers page here.

A Look Ahead to Rail Live 2022

Rail Live 2022

Rail Live is a key event in the industry calendar, with delegates from across the UK rail sector heading to Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre in Warwickshire, for an action packed two days full of exhibitions, panels, insights, collaboration hubs and more.

The 3Squared team have always enjoyed attending Rail Live over the years and heading along this year will be Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect and Graham Cooper, Head of Product and Marketing. We recently sat down with Martin to get his thoughts on what he is looking forward to at the event next week and the benefits 3Squared are reaping from the new world of events in 2022:


What are you most excited about seeing at this year’s Rail Live? 

As well as catching up with people I’ve not seen for a while and enjoying networking events within the programme hosted by Rail Forum, I am also looking forward to seminars on productivity and sustainability as well as live demonstrations of rail, operations and the Network Rail Village showcasing a wide range of topics.

And of course, the British Transport Police (BTP) dogs will be there again – last year I met a gorgeous puppy just starting out on his training and look forward to hopefully seeing him again!


Why would you say it is a key industry event and what makes it so special? 

Rail Live is an event like no other, being held outdoors in an operational railway location. It attracts companies from across the sector, with representation from every level within an organisation from apprentice to executive.

Sometimes with conferences and exhibitions you tend to only get a specific sector or role represented, but with Rail Live everyone is there in a very informal setting. Last year I met Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s Chief Executive, over a bacon sandwich, as well as people just starting out on their rail career.


How has the event evolved since you first started attending? 

This will only be my second year at Rail Live, so it’ll be interesting to see what changes I notice from year to year. However, I understand from talking to rail industry colleagues that the event has done well at growing and evolving since it started as a rail plant show, to representing the entire supply chain.


What interesting updates from 3Squared do you anticipate delegates will be interested in hearing about at the event? 

I’m looking forward to talking about the updates we have planned for our applications, the roadmaps we are putting together, and the longer-term visions we have for how digital technology can be an enabler for innovations and improvements in the planning, operation, and management of the railway. Hopefully these updates will also interest delegates!


Why is industry networking and collaboration so important at 3Squared? 

Understanding what the wider industry is doing, the challenges people face, and what emerging trends are identified is key to understanding customers and ensuring our products meet the needs of the industry. There is no better way to do that than by talking to the people who operate the railway.

We don’t just want to react to changes though; we want to help, understand, and inform the future through collaboration across the supply chain to help rail deliver as much benefit to society as possible. Events like these are so important as they bring together a real cross section of people.


How have you found the new world of events (e.g., hybrid) since emerging from lockdown? 

It has been great to get back to in person events. Virtual events helped to bridge the gap and webinars are a very useful tool but it’s hard to overstate the importance of face-to-face contact for really building relationships and learning more.

Plenty of lessons were learned in lockdown which will be applicable even as we relax restrictions, such as better experiences for those who aren’t able to attend in person, and I hope we continue to see technology used alongside traditional events to increase accessibility and inclusion.


How important is innovation to the future of a greener, digital rail network?

Innovation is vital when it comes to addressing the challenges of running a more efficient and sustainable rail network, but we need to be careful not to assume digital solutions will solve all problems. Done right, a digital railway will help to achieve this, but innovation needs to be a solution to a problem rather than just for the sake of innovating, and it needs to include people and process as the key components with technology acting as an enabler.

We look forward to seeing our friends and colleagues from across the industry at next week’s event! If you would like to arrange a meeting with the team, get in touch with us via [email protected]

Doncaster bids to be new home of the Great British Railways

Doncaster's bid to become the new home of the Great British Railways HQ

Last year the Secretary of State for Transport shared the announcement that an exciting new competition will be held to find a location for the new Great British Rail (GBR) headquarters, outside of London.

The home of GBR’s HQ presents a wealth of opportunity. Not only does it have the potential to generate new opportunities across the elected region, but it will also become a key hub for the wider industry, and a foundation for new ideas and innovation to flourish.

A significant 42 towns and cities have so far responded to the call and will be evaluated against six criteria to create a shortlist, due to be released later this month. These include:

  • Alignment to ‘levelling up’ objectives
  • Connected and easy to get to
  • Opportunities for GBR
  • Railway heritage and links to the network
  • Value for money
  • Public support

Earlier this month, Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared, attended a Mayoral Breakfast organised by South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, The University of Sheffield, and the Chamber of Commerce for each of Sheffield, Barnsley, and Doncaster, to promote the city’s bid to become the new home of GBR’s HQ.

The breakfast featured a panel, comprising: Lindsey Gladsby, Senior Vice Principal for Careers, Employer Engagement, and Recruitment at Doncaster University Technical College; Lucy Prior MBE, Business Growth Director at Trough-Tec Systems Ltd and Chair of the Railway Industry Association’s SME Group; Steve Foxley, CEO at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre; and Oliver Coppard as mayor of the region.

The panel shared their insights into Doncaster’s bid to become the new home for GBR, highlighting how Doncaster measures up against the criteria and how the bid is a bid for all South Yorkshire, with the potential benefits serving the entire region.

Insights were provided by Steve on the research and innovation work being done across the region, a theme heavily emphasised in the Williams-Shapps report which conceived GBR, before Lucy shared insights into the wider rail supply chain and just how many companies there are with rail expertise and connections in South Yorkshire. The panel session concluded with Oliver sharing his ambitions for South Yorkshire and how success for Doncaster in this competition will help to promote the area and show future generations the possibilities which will be open to them.

Martin commented on what the appointment of Doncaster would mean for the local community: “Doncaster has a strong rail pedigree and a great location. Should it be successful in the bid to become the Home of Great British Railways it will be a great boost to both the city and the whole of South Yorkshire, showcasing to the country what we can do, while attracting investment and creating opportunities and jobs for the region.”

We look forward to seeing where Great British Rail’s new home will be and seeing the transformation it will bring to our sector. For more information on how 3Squared supports the UK rail industry through its award-winning technologies, visit our product page here.

3Squared ‘Meet the Team’ – Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect

Martin Gleadow, Solutions Architect

In this month’s ‘Meet the team’ series, we got the chance to sit down with Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared.

Martin is a well-known face across the rail industry and can often be found out and about at various events across the country, delving into the technologies and solutions that 3Squared are providing the rail industry with. Learn more about Martin’s role at 3Squared and what drew him to his career path, below:


When did you join 3Squared and can you give us an insight into your background before joining the company?

I joined 3Squared in January 2016 as Head of IT and Support. My background is very technical, having studied Mechanical Engineering and then Computer Science at the University of Sheffield, before developing a career in system administration on Linux and Windows servers at Technophobia back in 2005, when the internet was a much simpler place.

During my time there, I took on management responsibility for IT and grew a superb team, each of whom have gone on to do fantastic things and I am still in touch with today – I take great joy in seeing the success of others I have worked with and observing the connections I have made across so many exciting companies.

By the time I left, we were running a large multi-location virtualisation platform for a government organisation and working across multiple sectors.


Can you give us an insight into your role at 3Squared?

My role has evolved since joining six years ago, as when I first started I was looking after both IT and Customer Support. In this role, I was building upon the work people had done before me and helping the company to develop processes and practices as it grew, to ensure our applications remained available and our customers remained happy.

Last year, we reached the point where the Support Team was split out as a dedicated function, which has gone from strength to strength as detailed in last month’s ‘Meet the team’ feature. From then, my attention was refocussed on the needs of the rail industry and how we support them, alongside my responsibilities for IT.

I have been fortunate to once again develop a talented team to the point that I have been able to hand over IT to Chris Duncombe, and concentrate fully on our products, enabling me to take on the role of Solution Architect.

My role as Solution Architect sees me working closely with existing and prospective clients to bring together railway operations and technology solutions, in a way which solves business problems effectively. One of the key motivating factors for my job is being a part of the evolution and improvement of the rail industry to satisfy societal needs.


What drew you towards a career in rail and technology?

I have been fascinated by how things work from a very early age, from construction toys to taking things apart and trying to put them back together. For example, when a Commodore 64 turned up at my parents’ house one year I spent a lot of time programming in Basic from magazines and library books, turning that interest into computing.

Now, I have almost come full circle, as my work at 3Squared has brought me much closer to the mechanical again through exposure to the rail industry, where my fascination for how things work has been applied to the processes and operations that enable the smooth running of the railway.

I’ve long had an idle curiosity for this alongside my interest in looking “behind the curtain” to see what is usually unseen – as a rail passenger I would be interested in the infrastructure you see trackside and the various signs, signals, and noises you encounter, and it really has been great to get fully in to understanding all of this.


What does your day-to-day look like?

Each day is different which keeps me on my toes however it remains massively interesting. I particularly like getting out and meeting customers or rail industry colleagues, especially when it takes me to a live rail site, and I can see the processes we support in operation. I am a firm believer in knowing the operating context of any application and encourage everyone in 3Squared or across the wider industry, to take any opportunities they can to understand the working environment of our customers.

Industry networking events are also particularly useful, with organisations like Rail Forum, Rail Freight Group and the Railway Industry Association putting on fantastic events year-round, which really help facilitate a collaborative approach to problem solving. The friendly atmosphere within the railway family is really refreshing and invigorating to work with and helps us to understand the challenges and direction of the industry, as well as getting to know so many good people.

When I am not mobile, I will either be in the office enthusiastically discussing ideas, projects, and problems with the rest of the company, or getting my head down and getting stuck in to solving client problems. This might take the form of developing a business problem into a software need which the Service Design team can document ready for build, or collaborating with the Client Engagement team to aid our customers in getting maximum business benefit from our applications. I always try to be on hand to answer any questions that might arise about how the railway works or what terminology means, and love seeing the passion and enthusiasm which runs deep at 3Squared.


What advice would you give to somebody looking to forge a career in rail or technology?

Get stuck in! Whether rail or digital technologies – or indeed any other field – it really helps to apply yourself to finding out why these industries exist and the need for people to grow careers within them, and then look at how it is currently done.

Obviously, it is easier to just try things out with software, as the barrier to entry is very low and having been a hiring manager in a software company, I always looked for candidates with a spark of interest and curiosity and this comes across well if people have tangible projects to talk about, or if they are involved in local meetups such as Sheffield Devops or .net Sheffield.

It is never too late to change career and pick up IT experience either, as there are multiple routes in as well as the academic path. If you have an interest and an aptitude, then you can make it happen.

With rail, potential careers are so much wider than the highly visible ones such as driving, and all rail companies regularly run recruitment events where you can find out more about the options. Rail is a tight knit community, and once people work in the industry, they seem to stay in it for life while progressing their careers either in one company or moving around, alongside keeping all their professional connections.

There is a wealth of opportunities to enter at any level and opportunities to experience working in an operational railway, to bringing experience from other industries to rail. It is an exciting time to be involved with the transition from Network Rail to Great British Railways, the resurgence of rail freight to meet Net Zero targets and respond to changing needs, and investment in new routes and vehicles.


We hope you have enjoyed this insight into Martin’s fascinating role at 3Squared. If you would be interested in finding out more information about how you could join the 3Squared team, please get in touch with us here or by emailing [email protected]

An Insight into the RIA Innovation Conference 2022

RIA Innovation Conference 2022

Earlier this week, this year’s RIA Innovation Conference was held in Nottingham, with the rail industry coming out in force for the hotly anticipated event.

After two years of online and hybrid events, it was a fantastic opportunity for 3Squared to meet with friends and colleagues from across the industry. Representing 3Squared at the event was Martin Gleadow, our Solution Architect, and a well-known face across the industry.


Read more on Martin’s takeaways from the event below and the insights he gleaned about the future of the Great British Railways, below:

“The theme of the event this year was “Preparing for Great British Railways”, and it was fantastic to see some high-profile speakers at the event really backing this message. First up on Tuesday was Keith Williams, co-author of last year’s Williams-Shapps report, talking about the progress made by the Great British Railways Transition Team and how the culture of the organisation will be built to be representative of society and to embrace change. Emphasis was put on a need for openness and collaboration, with Great British Railways taking an ‘open by default’ view to data.

“Wednesday’s keynote followed this up with Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail, talking about the importance of rail to the nation and the challenges of running a highly complex and highly visible system which delivers significant economic and social value, and how success comes from remembering this is why rail exists; to meet the needs of customers. Peter also talked about his time at Transport for London and how the innovation he saw happening with the data they made available really transformed his view of open data.

“Elsewhere there were representatives from across the industry sharing their experiences and innovation journeys, as well as opportunities for the supply chain and examples of successes. Stand outs for me were Toufic Machnouk talking about the East Coast Digital Programme implementing digital signalling on a key route in the UK, and Professor Sarah Sharples sharing views on her role as Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Transport and how she came to be working in rail.

“There were also workshop sessions both days, where on Tuesday I chose to attend an RSSB session on the Rail Technical Strategy and three of their current cohort of placement students ran through research they have undertaken into battery technology, sensors, and digital twins. The next day, I joined a Train Operating Company session, learning about how LNER and Transport for Wales approach innovation and use it to change behaviours and meet customer needs and desires.

“Outside of the formal sessions there was exhibition space and networking time, allowing me to see what a range of organisations have been up to and to catch up with people I have not seen for a while. All in all, it was a great couple of days and a valuable opportunity to meet up with representatives from across the rail industry to understand trends, challenges and opportunities and I would definitely recommend getting involved next year.”

If you would like to find out more information about how 3Squared could support you with your innovation needs, get in touch with a member of the team here or by emailing [email protected]

David Brown joins the Board of EPM Transport Solutions

David Brown, EPM

20 April 2022, EPM Transport Solutions announces David Brown has joined the Board as a Non-Executive Director.

With 40 years of his career spent working in the passenger transport sector, David brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to EPM Transport Solutions.  Most recently David was CEO at The Go-Ahead Group retiring in the Autumn of 2021 after 10 years leading the business.

As Non-Executive Director, David will be supporting the strategic development of the Group.  He will be working with the Executive Team to identify opportunities for new solutions to address emerging challenges across the Transport Sector.

Ian Churchill, Chief Executive at EPM Transport Solutions, said: “I am excited that David has agreed to join the team. With his wealth of experience of the passenger transport sector, he will be invaluable in developing our portfolio of businesses to achieve our growth plans. His passion for innovation and transport is a natural fit with our organisation and I look forward to working together.”

David Brown commented: “I am delighted to have joined EPM Transport Solutions at this exciting point in the development of the business. The Group has developed an extensive portfolio of solutions which underpin the delivery of transport services on a daily basis. I am looking forward to working with Ian and the team in the development of solutions to further assist the industry in the delivery of high quality services.’

3Squared selected for Transport Research Innovation Grants Programme

3Squared TRIG funding

We are pleased to announce that 3Squared has been selected for the Department for Transport’s (DfT) 2021 Transport Research Innovation Grants Programme.

These grants are designed to support feasibility and proof of concept projects that will foster innovation within the UK transport sector, generate growth in the transport sector and build links between policy teams in DfT and innovators.

James Fox, Commercial Director and Co-Founder at 3Squared, commented: “It is a real achievement for 3Squared to be selected for the prestigious TRIG grant. We live and breathe innovation and have done since our inception back in 2002. We look forward to unlocking future innovations to support the UK rail industry and its shift to a greener, digital railway, aided by the grant.”

For more information on the programme, please visit the website here.