Category: Media Insights

3Squared’s Monthly Media Insights, November 2022

3Squared Monthly Media Insight - Martin Gleadow, Customer Success

After an eventful summer in the world of rail, Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared, reflects on the recent news stories making the headlines from across the industry:

“During the month of September, the nation lost its longest reigning monarch, HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Like many companies, we observed the mourning period by temporarily pausing all communication as a mark of respect. The loss of Queen Elizabeth II created a sombre tone across the industry and led the industry to reflect on the role of rail in the life of Queen Elizabeth II. We also look to the future and the impact that King Charles III and his environmental pedigree will have upon the industry and how the rail industry can support his aims in return.

“The modal shift has been a consistent theme over the course of the past few months, for both people and freight within the industry. For instance, The University of Birmingham and Pass Logistics, a multi-modal freight company, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to look at ways of shifting containerised goods from road to rail to support modal shift and decarbonisation; key priorities that resonate with us at 3Squared.

“Through this collaboration, they aim to help organisations better understand their carbon output, and the relative impacts and costs of alternatives. Pass Logistics estimates that a full train could replace 80 lorries and bring a 75% reduction in carbon emissions.

“The UK’s rail sector represents the most environmentally friendly option in terms of public transport, often seen as the most sustainable method for mass travel and commuting. In a further step towards creating a greener, more sustainable railway, Network Rail has revealed an agreement with EDF Renewables UK which will see railway stations, offices and depots powered through solar energy.

“There are increasingly positive stories in the rail media about the creative ways in which businesses are considering doing things to cut demand upon carbon. For instance, in a time of high temperatures and low rainfall, solar energy is making a bigger contribution than is generally realised, and rail has plenty of property where solar panels could reduce the demand on the grid.

“On the subject of greener rail, there is an interesting development on potential areas for decarbonisation. As an article in Rail Advent recently addressed, ‘[The TP-UK range of shunting locomotives] offer significant improvements over the Class 08, lower fuel consumption is an obvious benefit – for example, to move a 1,000-tonne train, the TPUK 3-63 (comparable with the TP-70 shown at Long Marston) will consume just 34 litres of diesel per hour, compared with a Class 08 which will consume 437 litres. Over a 16-hour working day (including five hours’ idle time), this could potentially save more than £4,000 compared with a Class 08.’

“It was fantastic to read about HS2’s annual Equality, Diversity and Inclusion report which found that the company continues to challenge its supply chain, and the wider rail engineering and construction sectors, to advocate for inclusivity.

“Across the supply chain, HS2’s performance continues to beat industry averages for the number of female and BAME employees working on the project, with the supply chain achieving 28% and 18% respectively. The article highlights the positive impact of rail on society, which ties into the industry working for the country.

“In September, we celebrated an East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) key milestone with the successful completion of testing with digital signalling for High Speed Train (HST) Class 43 power cars forming part of Network Rail’s New Measurement Train (NMT).

“As 3Squared have been involved in the East Coast Digital Programme project, it’s great to track the progress and see another milestone achieved. Enhancing the railway through innovative technology is key to achieving the digital railway of the future.

“The last three months has seen a great deal of political change, which can’t be ignored. Although, at the time of writing, we are still awaiting updates on what the policy direction will be for rail including HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. There has been news of potential delays to Great British Railways due to other priorities in the legislative agenda, but we are hopeful the plans will still go ahead.

“With all the uncertainty surrounding the political landscape of rail, the ECDP continues to be a positive force and something we are proud to have played a role in. Rail Technology Magazine (Rail Technology Magazine : August September 2022), highlighted how pioneering the digital upgrade of the East Coast Main Line has been, and how it has remained relatively unchanged since the Victorian times, until now.

“More positive news in October came from a report by the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) which revealed that Network Rail had been able to make efficiencies of £840 million surpassing their target by £10 million, thanks to the adoption of new technologies. It is important to be able to showcase that rail is delivering on commitments.

“Finally in October, we saw a great initiative from Northern, offering residents of North Yorkshire and Cumbria half price rail tickets throughout winter. Not only will it help people to save money on travel, but it will also reduce the amount of cars on the road, cultivating new ways for the industry to contribute to society and build relationships with local communities.”

If you would like to hear more from Martin and the 3Squared team on how they can support your business, get in touch today.

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.