P2R Safer Faster Isolations

The project introduced new motorised switches between London Paddington and Stockley Bridge to facilitate safer faster isolations of the overhead line equipment in the area. Prior to the works taking place the provision of isolations was a slow and hazardous process for the isolation team with line blocks being required to gain access to a number of the OLE switches.

On many occasions the line block may not be available for various reasons meaning isolations could not be provided and planned works cancelled. The scope was to upgrade and enhance existing switches where possible and to replace any others entirely. This upgrade would take this section of line
up to the standard of the new electrification on the Great Western beyond Milepost 12 ¼. Working closely with Balfour Beatty, Pod-Trak delivered the scope over three key phases.

Christmas Blockade 2019

All works to 13 Morris Line Switches including electrical testing and section proving from 10 MP (Hayes) to 12 MP (Stockley). The works also included the installation of a new switched overlap.

January – November 2020
Works through this period were delivered utilising weekend and midweek access to complete works to 18 Morris Line Switches including all electrical testing and section proving from 5MP (Ealing) to 10 MP (Hayes).

Christmas Blockade 2020
An extremely challenging scope to deliver works at the approach to London Paddington Station. A new switched overlap was installed along with works to 6 Morris Line Switches and 5 Driescher Switches from 0 MP (Paddington) to 2 MP (Westbourne Park). Key methodology stages included installation of
temporary jumpers to render the switch out of use, removal of existing equipment, installation of new switching including position indication switches, install MOS unit, manually test the operation, electrically test and confirm electrical operation and section prove for Entry Into Service.

Leeds Station Remodelling

The scope was part of the overall Leeds Station Improvement Scheme which included the introduction of the new Platform 0 to increase capacity at and through the station including both Rail Systems and Building Fabric.

As part of the Transpennine route upgrade at Leeds Station, a new Platform 0 was constructed along modifications to the existing OLE leading into the station area. To facilitate the upgrade, the track layout was changed and as a result significant OLE installation and modifications were required.

Pod-Trak delivered the OLE element of the overall improvements including OLE Management, Supervision, Linesmen, POS Representatives, Machine & Crane Controllers, Plant Fitters and On Track Plant. The works were delivered mainly on Saturday nights throughout the year with additional closures
at Christmas 2019, May 2020, October 2020 and Christmas 2020. The core works were all delivered through the closures where careful planning and integration was required to work around track, civils and signalling teams.

Midweek the core team completed site walkouts and material build-up in preparation for site works. Final OLE works were delivered in March 2021 associated with Platform 0. The project was successfully delivered without any incidents, accidents or late handbacks which was testament to the collaboration between Pod-Trak, CRSA and other contractors on the job.

King’s Cross Remodelling

A key element of one of the highest profile projects in a generation. Although delivered as a Tier 2 subcontractor, due to the collaborative nature of the delivery we were heavily involved in design, engineering, and delivery albeit the design was managed by our client.

Project Overview

The overall project scope simplified the layout of tracks leading to this iconic station, improving reliability by making it easier for trains to arrive and leave. The reopening of the third Gasworks Tunnel, which was closed in the 1970s, added two extra tracks on the approach to the station.
The core renewals took place over a 101 day partial closure of the station in early 2021. The first weekend saw a complete closure to split the station in two, this allowed works to commence from 0-6 while 7-11 remained operational. When all works were completed on 0-6 the closure was reversed to continue the works on 7-11 with trains using the new platforms at 0-6.

Our Role
Pod-Trak delivered two key elements of the project – the demolition and reconstruction of all platforms 0-11 to suit the new track alignment direct for Network Rail and the removal of all existing Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) and replacing with new for Morgan Sindall. Scope & Methodology The OLE works were designed and planned to suit the overall staging within the 101 day partial closure with the key constraints being the interface with other contractors and disciplines on site along with challenging site logistics. Other than Stages 1, 3 & 5 which were weekend closures of the entire station, all works during Stages 2 & 4 were delivered in a live and operational station environment under ALO and managed by Pod-Trak POS.

This approach required extremely accurate planning with all ALO, POS and Lift Plans reviewed daily alongside the construction programme and altered as required with key staff based on site. The project was heavily focused on passengers first and this was always a top priority through each of the
stages – successful on time delivery of each stage was testament to this.


Pod-Trak conducted a full construction assessment on the design issued and a design validation survey was undertaken on site to identify issues in advance and provide an opportunity for the design team to address in advance of the works. As-built records were compiled and recorded in the ITPs and complied to the Project AMP requirements to assist the Network Rail Asset Management Team to take over the maintenance following entry into service. During the assessment several items were identified that avoided construction issues during the construction stages. Due to the complexity of the design, our CRE requested that a designer be always available during the build, this proved to be a valuable exercise as unforeseen clashes could be addressed in real time to avoid delays.

Pre works
A material build-up team were based at Murphy’s Yard to manage and build-up all free issue materials required for the works including the logistics planning of getting everything to site as required by each of the main stages.

Stage 1
The Fast lines from Kings Cross Buffer stops to Copenhagen Tunnels were decommissioned including the recovery of 10nr wire runs, modification of 3nr wire runs that were critical for the future stage works, recovery of redundant cantilevers, registration assemblies, associated SPS, removal of redundant structures and bonding disconnections. This stage also saw the fast and slow lines being electrically separated from each other.

Stage 2
Complete reconstruction of the Fast lines with the OLE constructed to align with the newly installed track layout. All main steel was installed and dressed with SPS followed by 17nr wire runs with all associated registration, panning and switching. The Fast Lines Permanent Earth Section (PES) at
Holloway was removed. Tensorex Units were installed along with 1nr AEW in the Copenhagen Tunnel and all required traction bonding. Works carried out during this stage were under ALO with trains still operational into Platforms 7-11.

Stage 3
The Fast Lines were successfully commissioned and entered service allowing Platforms 0-6 to become operational again. The Slow Lines (Platforms 7-11) were decommissioned with 6nr wire runs being recovered and shortening of 2nr wire runs. Redundant AEW, registration assemblies, SPS, structures
and switches were recovered and removed from site.

Stage 4
Complete reconstruction of the Slow lines with the OLE constructed to align with the newly installed track layout. All main steel was installed including anchor portal and dressed with SPS followed by 6nr wire runs from Kings Cross buffers to Belle Isle with all associated registration, panning and switching. 2nr wire runs were extended to form an insulated overlap and closed air gap protection. Works carried out during this stage were under ALO with trains still operational into Platforms 0-6.

Stage 5
The final stage of this complex project saw the commissioning of the Slow Lines into Platforms 7-11. Works consisted of the installation, registration & handback of 2nr wire runs in Belle Isle 019 and 1nr wire run in the throat. All section proving was successfully completed and the entire station safely reopened for full operational use.

Delivering Expertise
During the first key phase and working around the clock, Platforms 0-6 were demolished and OLE removed while working alongside many other disciplines such as track and signalling. Working in a small area with many interfaces required detailed planning and integration – all while Platforms
7-11 remained open to passenger services. The complexity of the works and sheer volume of programme interdependencies meant that every subcontractor including Pod-Trak had to achieve daily milestones and report on progress every 4 hours. Even the smallest delay to works had the potential to
disrupt numerous key activities.

An excellent standard of collaboration across the board meant that by the halfway point the new Platforms 0-6 were successfully handed over on time including all new OLE to power the East Coast Azuma Trains. While the works on 7-11 were similar in nature, they presented new logistical challenges as the access strategy was different.

A complete logistics plan was agreed between all stakeholders to ensure that works could progress while using a third-party access point at the new Google building. Regular meetings were held with Network Rail, Morgan Sindall, and all other parties to understand the complex possessions/isolations and the changing logistics especially where 3rd party access was required at the Google Building. Detailed readiness reviews were held prior to each mobilisation stage attended by all the key management, engineering, and delivery staff.

The replacement of the end of life OLE will result in a more reliable service as new and more reliable equipment will reduce defects and delays, bringing huge benefits to all those that use the station and putting the passenger first. All electrical testing, section proving, and commissioning was successfully delivered by our Engineering Team.

Over the 101 days a huge volume of work was successfully delivered on time by Pod-Trak on one of the highest profile projects delivered by Network Rail in a generation, not just within the Eastern Region but Nationally. To be involved in such a project and to self-deliver key works that will be visible at the station for years to come was a fantastic opportunity for a business that is an SME and directly employing our specialist OLE resource along with introducing apprentices into the industry.

Health, Safety & Welfare
As with all the works undertaken by Pod-Trak we undertook a meticulous readiness review with the project team involved including a peer review. We utilised our OP11 Job Delivery start up process to ensure that a RACI was completed, with all actions assigned to an owner and tracked to completion.
We scheduled and participated in regular progress meetings with Network Rail and Morgan Sindall to ensure all were kept informed of any key milestones, actions or issues arising. The Project Team ensured the following documentation was produced and kept up to date throughout the project for each

  • SPS Installation in Belle Isle Kings Cross Station Remodelling Completed
  • Rosters for all the works to manage fatigue and confirm staff competence for key stages.
  • Safety validated hour-by-hour programme.
  • Possession Contingency Plans (jointly signed off by Pod-Trak, Morgan Sindall & Network Rail.
  • Work Package Plan and Task Briefs.
  • ALO Plans, POS Packs and Lift Plans.
  • Safety briefings and Toolbox Talks.

All safety submissions from the site teams including Good Calls, Close Calls, Take 5s and Site Inspections were recorded on our app and issued on a regular basis to Morgan Sindall. Regular Site visits from Directors and HSQE demonstrated our commitment to a safe and efficient project delivery.

“Great work again yesterday and last night, really well done. You all set off where you left last week. Hope everything goes well tonight with Section proving but from me I personally want to say thanks for everything so far. It is just so impressive, to me it’s a real project award winner.” Mark Bell, Programme Manager – Network Rail

Dublin LUAS – OLE Parafil Replacement

The project was for the Design, Supply, Build & Commission into service of replacement overhead line support equipment, required due to reliability issues of the existing equipment, specifically the
existing Parafil rope.

This turn-key project was conceived and delivered over an extended period of time, with initial concept discussions, assistance to TII in the development of business case, risk assessments, and ultimately the core works in the autumn of 2020.

Concept & Risk Assessments
The Dublin LUAS system was suffering Parafil failures on the red and green lines. There was significant evidence of historic failures, and Pod-Trak were contracted to undertake an analysis of failures, and risk assessments based upon failure data, equipment type, and the environment where the equipment was operating. The risk assessment concluded that there was an unacceptably high risk of failures
resulting in significant risk of public electrocution and disruption to the LUAS service. This risk assessment was used as a key piece of information to develop the business case to renew the Parafil rope assemblies.

Pod-Trak have extensive knowledge of Tramway overhead line systems, and used this knowledge to develop a design that was both reliable and aesthetically pleasing. Surveys were undertaken to assure a
high quality design, with the results of the surveys used to inform the design process. With the good quality design information, we were able to identify a significant non conformance within the existing arrangement for which we were able to design out as part of the Parafil replacement project.

A key feature of Tramway equipment is for it to be visually nonobtrusive. To achieve this Pod-Trak commissioned a new insulator design which was developed, tested and installed within the timeframe of the project.

All equipment supplied for the project was specified to minimise visual impact, whist providing a robust mechanical and electrical support for the contact system. Materials were specified and secured through our supply chain which included the development and production of the new 1.5KV insulator. The insulator development was undertaken in accelerated timescales to provide Dublin with best possible solution using available proven technology and is a key achievement in the delivery of the project.

Construction and Entry into Service

Construction was completed over short nightly possession and isolation, using 4 MEWP teams and all completed under the constraints of Covid-19 where our teams were confined to their accommodation and were not permitted to interact with the LUAS maintenance / isolation teams. Risk assessments were completed and working practices agreed between all parties that allowed the works to proceed in an efficient manner. The geographical scope of the project was between Fatima Stop and the Ashling Hotel and included pedestrian management and traffic management. All works were completed in a safe, assured manner and handed back into service on a day by day basis.

Client walkouts were completed weekly, with great feedback as to the quantity and quality of work undertaken. Following construction a full set of as-built drawings were produced for inclusion into the client H&S file.

OLE Maintenance – Luas

Transdev Ireland has been operating the LUAS since 2004 and in 2019 they took over the maintenance, including Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) maintenance from Alstom. Due to the changeover period some maintenance activities had fallen behind and Pod-Trak was asked to provide some teams to help with the backlog.

Our teams have carried out numerous projects on the LUAS system over the years and are familiar with the equipment and standards required for maintenance, especially OLE maintenance. When the initial request came through from Transdev for support we were able to mobilise at short notice providing experienced staff, plant and transport on nightly basis to carry our maintenance tasks and inspections. We have always strived to be readily available for our customers where possible – especially in situations where project works have fallen behind.

To support the works a Mewp with pantograph was provided for panning the contact wire. Due to a lot of areas being street running with nowhere to leave the Mewp between shifts it was transported nightly between the Red Cow Depot and site.

The LUAS consists of two main lines, the Green Line and Red Line which were linked in 2017. The system is similar to Manchester Metrolink and other light systems across Europe.

Maintenance Depot – Bounds Green

With the introduction of IEP trains to the East Coast Main Line, an existing rolling stock maintenance depot required a variety of modifications to allow effective maintenance of the new IEP trains.

At Bounds Green maintenance depot, this involved the installation of a crane to enable the maintenance of roof-mounted modules. To facilitate full utilisation of the crane within the depot building, the Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) system had to be modified to allow safe passage along the length of the Depot.

As a result the OLE system needed to be retractable. To achieve this the OLE system along Road 11 was re-designed as a Furrer and Frey retractable overhead conductor beam system (ROCS).

The works were delivered in two key stages and had to be completed within the constraints of a four-road live operational maintenance shed for the duration. Along with the OLE scope Pod-Trak provided OTP to assist with the removal of concrete walkways, as well as the installation of an elevated walkway and access requirements for all M&E installations.

TGW Electrification

As part of the overall Great Western Electrification project from London to Cardiff, this scheme covered the area between Bristol Parkway and Cardiff at a distance of 77km.

Continuing the strong relationship with Balfour Beatty on electrification projects, Pod-Trak were engaged as a key supplier to provide skilled teams to work on SPS installation, wiring and final registration. This was backed up by the provision of Construction Management, Engineering Support, POS Planning, Lift Planning, POS and Plant.

The Pod-Trak teams moved through sections of the project to carry out final registration and ensure the new OLE was ready for entry into service. All assurance paperwork was completed and submitted to the client for each location.

Works were delivered over a series of weekend and midweek possessions with a number of key blockades where a huge amount of work was delivered. Including the along track works, Pod-Trak were also responsible for the tie-in to the Hitachi Depot at Stoke Gifford.

Having worked in the depot on numerous occasions and ongoing OLE maintenance the team were familiar with the depot procedures and this proved to be an advantage for the client. On the 6th January 2020 the first test train ran on electric power from Cardiff Central Station bringing to an end a long project to electrify the entire route from London Paddington.

Gospel Oak to Barking Electrification

Pod-Trak undertook the electrification of the Eastern half of the Gospel Oak to Barking route on behalf of Balfour Beatty. The electrification of the lines was undertaken by Network Rail as part of their London Railway Upgrade Plan which doubles the capacity on the line and improves the air quality of those who live and work near the railway.

The GOB electrification uses Series 2 and Furrer+Frey OLE equipment, however the route interfaced with UK1 and OLEMI equipment ranges. Working with a broad range of equipment requires experienced and adaptable staff, which Pod-Trak were able to provide.

The scope consisted of new OLE installation, including main steel, small part steel, wiring, switching, bonding and final registration. All works were fully assured by our construction and engineering teams backed up by signed quality check sheets and ITPs. All construction activities were completed through blockades and weekend possessions, which required careful and considered planning to ensure safe and efficient delivery. On completion of the construction and assurance activities, the route was panned with Pod-Trak’s plant as final confirmation that the OLE was fit for the passage of electric trains.

Prior to our mobilisation, the project had been running for two years and had been criticised by the media as another delayed electrification programme. Following the Balfour Beatty and Pod-Trak mobilisation in summer 2017 and an intense period of site activity the project was successfully energised during the Christmas 2017 blockade. This was shortly followed by the pantograph ready milestone achieved in early in January 2018.

Temple Mills Eurostar Depot

In May 2016 Pod-Trak was awarded the contract to supply all labour, plant, materials, supervision and management to undertake the OLE removal works (enabling works) to remove head spans in 7no locations.

The scope included the careful removal of the existing equipment and retention of the OLE wires for reuse in the new works. The scope also included the installation of new OLE equipment (Furrer & Frey), line wires and retractable motors. The works included testing and commissioning of the new infrastructure. The delivery of the project was split in to 3 key stages to facilitate the depot remaining operational throughout, and to allow the steel work subcontractor to install the new steel support structures within the maintenance shed.

The project was successfully completed and handed back in 2017, on time and without incident.

Ilford Crossrail Depot – OLE

Ilford Depot was enhanced to accommodate the servicing of new Crossrail trains and the existing Great Eastern rolling stock.

The works were implemented over five stages with the first three being enabling works for the main installation.

The first three stages made the rest of the depot an island with no rail or electrical connection, which allowed working throughout the week a safer environment for all.

The OLE scope of works included the installation of all the SPS and support components to circa 70 main steel structures and the running and terminating of various conductors to comply with the existing infrastructure. Pod-Trak also installed 8 lineside switches and 15 section insulators. The majority of the work was undertaken in a brownfield site, working in tight and complex conditions with numerous other disciplines working alongside. The Stage 4 works were the most complex, where a trolley wire system was used to fan a two line junction into twelve sidings and sheds.

There were also multiple traction return bonds, which were installed right first time by interacting with the Signalling and M&E teams. All works were carried out using Pod-Trak plant and POS without any accidents or incidents.

The project team worked very closely with the client, the designer and all other stakeholders to minimise disruption and achieve the end goal, which concluded with over 60 tests for the section proving.