Innovation in electrification

Scotland’s Railway is leading the rest of the UK on electrification and SPL Powerlines is a key part of that work. Regional Director for Scotland LEE POUNDER tells ANDY RODEN what the company is doing to make electrification more efficient

SPL Powerlines has won deserved plaudits for its innovation on the Midland main line electrification programme, including a Highly Commended certificate at this year’s Railway Innovation Awards, but north of the border it is also making a tangible difference to the decarbonisation of rail. It is involved in a wide range of projects encompassing the full scope of electrification work from power supply to steelwork and catenary and is firmly embedded in Scotland’s plans.

Regional Director Lee Pounder tells Modern Railways that SPL is working in a ‘true partnership’ with Network Rail in integrated delivery teams. ‘This is working in true collaboration – and it is working extremely effectively’ he says.

Top of the list of SPL’s projects is its involvement in the Carstairs remodelling, track renewals and overhead line structure installation which started last summer and is ramping up significantly ahead of further engineering works expected next year. The strategy for the overall commissioning will see the newly electrified Mid-Calder lines being used for diversions – but Mr Pounder is conscious that completing work on time at this vital cross-border junction remains a challenge. He explains that in the main the only access SPL, Siemens (which is undertaking resignalling in the area) and the Rail Systems Alliance have is on Saturday nights. With 200-plus staff from the three companies and more than 20 machines sharing three access points, the work done so far is a considerable achievement given the constraints. SPL is currently working its way through the small part steelwork aspect of its programme, with high voltage connections and wiring still to complete.

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