Over our many years on Heathrow Express projects, we have delivered a number of innovative solutions in a variety of areas, including passenger safety and maintenance.
Improving the platform train interface
Heathrow Express trains and platforms were designed for level access. Complying with the train and platform construction standards led to a gap large enough for a passenger to get their foot through. As a consequence, Heathrow Express experienced operational issues.
The client asked us to undertake a thorough investigation of the platform train interface from a passenger perspective. This resulted in us obtaining a complete understanding of the issues at the platform train interface. These included visibility of the gap, passenger behaviours and train characteristics. All factors were taken into consideration, as well as stakeholder engagement, in proposing a derogation to standards and the development of a solution.
We partnered with the industry supplier, infrastructure owner, station operator and train maintainer to develop a solution that significantly reduced the gap size, sign posted the residual gap, and resulted in negligible risk of platform train contact. This has resulted in Heathrow Express experiencing a major reduction in passenger accidents at the platform train interface.
Maintaining Service Provision
The route between Heathrow Airport and London Paddington is curvaceous and partly tunnelled. Negotiating this route led to severe wear on the wheels and a high risk of major service disruption. Heathrow Express needed the issues analyzed and solutions developed to prevent damage to the trains and infrastructure to minimize service disruption and reduce maintenance costs.
We instrumented the train and the infrastructure to record the performance of the track and the train at critical locations. Maintenance activities and behaviours of maintenance operatives were also investigated to understand the impact of effective track lubrication on the wheel-rail interface. We also conducted extensive testing within the tunnel to prove the application of friction modifiers had no impact on train stopping distance.
We implemented an innovative approach to remote condition monitoring of the track and lubrication equipment. This provided real-time information on the performance of the assets and the likelihood of the need for intervention. Application of friction modifiers reduced the wear at the wheel-rail interface and reduced the cost of maintenance without affecting the safe operation of the service.