A resilient electricity network is crucial to rail operations. The impact of power outages can range from the inconvenience of a minor train delay to unrecoverable commercial and reputational damage.
Resilience is the ability to anticipate, absorb and adapt to the kinds of challenges and changes that can destabilise people, organisations or communities. As new rolling stock enters service across the UK’s rail networks there is increased demand for more energy-hungry trains running at increased frequency. This demand, alongside additional customer conveniences like air conditioning, longer trains, and more frequent services, is placing pressure on existing electrical infrastructure.
A resilient electricity network is crucial to your rail operation. The UK has had its fair share of bad weather, perhaps more so in recent times due to climate change. Unpredictable weather conditions can increase the risk of power outages. Depending on the extent and severity of the power outage, its impact can range from the inconvenience of a minor train delay to unrecoverable commercial and reputational damage.
Beyond the effects of extreme weather, energy supply is also susceptible to disruptions due to network instability caused by insufficient governance and management of the risks and mitigations for the network. Power tripping disrupts continuity and negatively impacts a rail infrastructure operator’s reputation and performance. Given the dependency of rail operations on the reliability and resilience of power systems, the need to identify ways of mitigating the risks of power disruption or failure cannot be overemphasised.
Power disruptions to rail operations can lead to serious financial implications. Delays to rail services can result in fines from the Office of Rail and Road, reparations owed to train operator companies who have had to issue customer refunds, and reputational damage which can impact on future business.
Investing in innovative solutions and exploring new ways to optimise existing electrical infrastructure and assets could help safeguard rail infrastructure operators against the practical and financial risks associated with power instability. It is crucial that your strategic energy infrastructure partner adopts an innovative approach to projects in order to minimise risk, future proof solutions, and deliver a resilient system.
The challenge we set at the beginning of the High Speed 1 project was to incorporate a whole-of-life approach to the design, operation and maintenance of the power systems. This approach enabled scenarios for the power systems to be tested, allowing design reviews of the original specifications. Testing and improving the design, specification and quality led to reduced maintenance, inspections and servicing once the power systems were commissioned. This has led to a more resilient system with fewer component failures, replacements and renewals.
For High Speed 1's power assets, the result has been a considerable cost-saving whilst still providing network availability over 99.99% for 11 years continuously, and an outstanding safety performance of eight years without a Lost Time Injury. This has made a significant contribution to the success of High Speed 1’s reputation as the most reliable railway in Europe.
Stringent quality asset stewardship standards and processes are necessary to ensure the integrity, performance, reliability and management of the electricity infrastructure. As a business accredited with the global standard for asset management (ISO 55001), clients trust that we conduct this work to the highest quality in line with industry-leading practice.
Our expert high voltage engineers undertake routine and reactive maintenance of our clients’ electrical distribution networks across the UK to ensure robust resilience. We are responsible for ensuring that the networks of some of the UK’s most crucial infrastructure, such as railways, airports, defence facilities, and nuclear sites, are safely operated, maintained and fit for purpose.
Trusting an experienced industry expert to ensure the reliability your electrical rail infrastructure assets enables you to concentrate on your core business and deliver a great experience for travellers who expect their train to depart on time. Whether it’s looking after an established network or advising on a new network, our expertise will deliver crucial reliability and resilience for your electrical infrastructure.