Last week saw Rail Operations Group supporting a huge joint industry collaboration along with Network Rail, Data Acquisition & Testing Services Ltd (DATS) and Train Operators. After a period of preparation and pre-testing, the DAT's OHLE test train commenced testing of the new overhead line equipment on the Midland Main Line, with ROG operating the test services. Mechanical testing at 110mph was carried out last week with dynamic testing planned for next week.
Testing of the Midland Main Line OLE is being led by Network Rail and supported by DATS. The testing, prior to commissioning of the equipment is an important part of the approvals process. ROG have been commissioned by DATS as the operator of the test train.
ROG Managing Director Dave Burley said "Facilitating testing of a new test train on an open railway was always going to be a challenge. Only the co-operation of all parties and real industry co-operation made this happen. It really is teamwork at its best. I am immensely proud of the part that ROG is playing in this testing. Our ability to partner projects such as this and be both creative and flexible in our approach to problem solving pays testament to what we bring to the industry table. Last week's testing success demonstrates just how robust this approach is in terms of excellence in service delivery."
Rail Operations Group made history last week commencing main line testing of the bi-mode hydrogen and battery powered HydroFLEX unit. The tests were operated on behalf of Porterbrook between its base at Long Marston and Evesham. The service was accompanied by Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport and CEO of Porterbrook, Mary Grant.
Rail Operations Group Managing Director David Burley said "This is a real milestone in rail de-carbonisation, led by Porterbrook and BCCRE. ROG are proud to have supported this amazing project over the last two years. Becoming the UK's first authorised operator of vehicles using such novel fuel sources gives ROG and our wider Group a new suite of options as we seek to ensure that de-carbonisation remains at the very core of what we do as our businesses continues to grow".
Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said “Porterbrook is committed to innovation and the delivery of a carbon neutral and sustainable railway. Today’s mainline testing of HydroFLEX achieves another important milestone on this journey. I’m also delighted to be able to announce our intention to start producing HydroFLEX trains, creating the world’s first electric and hydrogen powered bi-mode rolling stock, as well as generating significant opportunities for the UK supply chain.”
Rail Operations Group has appointed Gordon Cox as Business Development Director/Deputy Managing Director. Gordon was one of the original founders of the company established in 2013. He re-joins ROG at an exciting time that has seen its revenue quadruple in the last three years. Gordon brings a wealth of experience having held senior positions in the UK rail industry over the last 30 years.
Gordon said “It is great to be back with Rail Operations Group and to guide the company through its next phase of development. When ROG started there were just 5 of us – there are now over 100 in the team. The company has established itself as the UK's leading Rolling Stock services provider to the industry with an enviable reputation of professionalism and innovation.”
Rail Operations (UK) Limited is spreading its thanks to NHS workers fighting the coronavirus by adorning two of its 95mph Class 47 express locomotives with a message.
The train operating company, that is dedicated to the rolling stock manufacturing, engineering and leasing sectors, has revealed its ‘Thank you NHS’ message.
Karl Watts, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Along with the whole of the UK, Rail Operations Group are incredibly appreciative of the sterling effort all those in the NHS are making towards fighting the coronavirus, especially those on the frontline.
“To mark our appreciation, we have adorned two of our 95mph Class 47 express locomotives with a very simple but sincere message: ‘Thank you NHS’. These locomotives will deliver this message across the whole of the UK for all to share.”
ROG are pleased to be supporting CAF with yet another project, this time testing CAF’s class 397 high speed trains destined for Trans Pennine Express. The dynamic testing involves 125mph operation on the West Coast Main Line as part of the testing and commissioning programme.
The photograph shows two of the class 397 test engineers on the left and Colin Hatton, Operations Manager (middle), Mark Keighley, Head of International Services and Surinder Kumar, Operations Manager from ROG.
Rail Operations (UK) Limited has started the campaign to drive a modal shift from road to rail for logistics type goods. Brought about by the demise of heavy industry and an upsurge in ecommerce, the transportation of light goods on UK roads has increased dramatically over recent years. Light goods are typically conveyed in pallets or roll-cages. Such commodities lend themselves to being transported by a passenger type rail vehicle (similar to the Royal Mail class 325 fleet) as opposed to freight trains.
In recognition of this change, Rail Operations (UK) Limited have ordered the first two class 769 4-car bi-mode units (BMU) to pioneer this modal shift. Provided by Porterbrook, the intention of the first two trains was simply to showcase the potential of using a very versatile, 100mph, express logistics train. However, such is the interest in the new proposal, it is very likely that further class 769 BMUs will be ordered.
The longer-term aspiration is to have a UK-wide network of logistics operations serving both logistics centres as well as major stations. Rail Operations (UK) Limited are creating a new train operating company named Orion to undertake the logistics services. The first services are expected to start in 2020.
What the media are saying:
The first Bombardier class 710 EMUs to operate on the mainline underwent testing between Gospel Oak and Barking and also on the West Coast Main Line this week. ROG are the test operator for this new, Transport for London, fleet of 45 trains. ROG also have responsibility for delivering the new trains from the manufacturer’s plant in Derby to the fleets’ new home at Willesden Traction Maintenance Depot. The picture shows 710 265 standing in Barking station in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Abellio East Anglia have appointed ROG as the test operator for their new, Stadler built, class 745 EMU and 755 BMU train fleets. Testing commences in November 2018. ROG are supplying a range of services in support of the test programme. The picture shows a newly built class 745, 4-car BMU.
ROG have been appointed as test operator for the new class 769 ‘Flex’ hybrid multiple units. Testing commences in early November on the West Coast Main Line. ROG will also be delivering the new units to various locations around the UK. The picture shows a class 769 Flex unit stabled at Loughborough.
ROG have taken delivery of two class 57 locomotives on long-term lease from DRS. The locomotives are fitted with brake translation equipment and Dellner 12 couplers similar to that fitted to ROG’s class 37 locomotives. The class 57s will support ROGs growing need for Dellner 12 fitted locomotives. The picture shows the locomotives arriving at Leicester locomotive depot after collection from DRS’s Gresty Bridge depot. The locomotives join ROGs existing class 37 and class 47 locomotives as the mainstay of ROG’s locomotive fleet provision and will remain so until the arrival of ROG’s new locomotive fleet.