Infrastructure and support services provider Carillion has opened a pioneering training centre, for rail engineers across the industry, to develop skills needed to help deliver a £2 billion electrification expansion programme by Network Rail.
With one of the lowest percentages of electrified rail lines in Europe the UK is investing heavily in new infrastructure over the next five years.
Carillion Rail, which is part of a framework panel with Network Rail and involved in the electrification programme, has now constructed a purpose-built indoor Overhead Line (OHL) training span at its projects and training yard in Crewe.
The centre can provide both practical and theory learning and has just been chosen by the industry body Overhead Line Equipment Competency (OLEC) to pilot the first rail electrification course of its type.
Engineers from Carillion and external companies can now receive full training and qualifications to the OLEC Industry Standards 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Les Roberts, Carillion Rail Training (CRT) operations manager, said: “We were delighted to be selected by the OLEC committee to pilot the first course like this in the industry. This new suite of training will complement our existing catalogue of track engineering, safety critical, signaling, Plant and welding.”
As part of a framework panel working with Network Rail on the electrification expansion, Carillion has already secured enabling work on the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).
To extend its capabilities it has also entered a joint working agreement with Austrian-based SPL Powerlines – one of Europe’s leading specialists in electrically powered transport systems.
Mark Davies, managing director of Carillion Rail, said: “Indoor facilities with year round training capabilities just aren’t readily available, but with a clear need across the sector for more skilled linesman it made complete sense for us to construct the training span. It means we can now provide a trained, competent and safe workforce for our electrification and OHL contracts – and we can do the same for those organizations that use our training services here.”
Mike McCann, general manager for Carillion Rail Training, added: “We see this as an excellent and common sense opportunity to provide a much needed service. Following our success here we are planning a similar span at our training centre in the Midlands, and then in Scotland and wherever there is a need and a sound business case.”
Andrew Bold, Training Delivery Specialist (E&P) Network Rail, attended an initial OLEC 3 Familiarisation event in Crewe, which was given to OHL instructors from eight different training providers.
He said: “I found it particularly interesting to observe the trainers practicing the delivery of the practical elements of the course and it was apparent that Carillion has invested significantly in the facilities – demonstrating a commitment to raising the level of competence in OHL infrastructure.”
Gil Howarth, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARA), added: “NSARE welcomes the development of new training facilities to support the forthcoming programme of electrification.”
Courtesy of Carillion.