Nicky Morgan MP witnessing a full scale demonstration of the Repoint track switch innovation developed at Loughborough University with help from Ramboll . Photo: Loughborough University
Nicky Morgan, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee and former Secretary of State for Education, spent Monday morning at Loughborough University learning about Repoint – innovative track switching technology developed by Loughborough University with delivery partners DEG Signal (now part of Ramboll) and Progress Rail.
Repoint is a success story fostered through collective industry and academic initiatives. Developed by Loughborough University, Repoint is a breakthrough in capacity-enhancing technology ripe for exploitation by the rail industry. The electromechanical device improves the reliability of the points in the railway network where trains transfer from one line to another and has the potential to reduce track maintenance costs and increase capacity on rail networks.
Will Palmer, Ramboll’s Design Manager for Rail Systems, was among invited guests. He said: “We believe Repoint is the future of point machines because it provides huge advantages in availability due to fault tolerant engineering principles. It has been exciting to see this new capacity-enhancing rail technology progress from lab tests to a full-scale demonstration. Ramboll produced the Signalling Design Specification, designed the location case, and supported all the design aspects of installation, testing and commissioning.”
The visit was organised by the Railway Industry Association (RIA) 2019 Rail Fellowship Programme, which gives UK parliamentarians and commentators the opportunity to gain an insight into the valuable work of the UK rail supply chain.
The UK alone has over 20,000 switch and crossing units and they account for over 15% of Network Rail's track maintenance budget. Following discussions with industry stakeholders about the limitations of conventional switch machines, and the extent of disruption caused by a single point of failure (SPOF), Loughborough University’s Control Systems Group took up the challenge as an area that could benefit from a fresh approach.
Ramboll was appointed to the Repoint project because of our reputation working with different types of interlocking (mechanical, relay-based and solid-state) in countries around the world including Australia, Portugal, Poland and South Africa.
Repoint is an electromechanical device designed to improve the reliability of the points in the railway network where trains transfer from one line to another. Based on fault tolerant engineering principles, it is an alternative to conventional track switches. It has the potential to reduce track maintenance costs and increase capacity on rail networks in the UK and around the world by reducing disruption to train traffic at signals and points. Ramboll supported the development with all aspects of signalling design, from lab-tests to full scale demonstration.