Protecting our people
Fugro’s RILA® train-mounted track surveys provide valuable engineering and asset management Geo-data for Network Rail to optimise track upgrades and maintenance programmes so that trains can run safely and on time. To protect train and Fugro’s RILA® crew members undertaking survey runs during the current pandemic, Covid-19 procedures were essential.
Crew members travelled to the depot in individual cars or vans and maintained social distancing between themselves and other depot staff. During the survey runs, only one RILA® crew member travelled in the locomotive cab, instead of the usual two, and in the opposite cab to the train driver. The second RILA® crew member remained on call at the depot during the survey to provide any assistance. At locations where the engine was pathed to change direction, both the driver and the RILA®crew member wiped down and cleaned all touched surfaces before leaving the cab and swapping ends.
Survey crews were equipped with additional PPE including FFP3 face masks, latex gloves, and cleaning wipes and disinfectant. For the short duration covering the daily mounting and dismounting of the system, where 2 m social distancing was impossible, they used additional Perspex visors for enhanced protection.
Turning challenges into opportunities
Another challenge of carrying out RILA® surveys during lockdown was that many of the scheduled in-service passenger trains that would have hosted the RILA®unit were cancelled due to the sudden timetable reduction. To overcome this, Network Rail’s Western Route team switched some of the survey runs planned for in-service passenger trains to a dedicated locomotive, all while applying the new Covid-19 procedures for safe working. Thus the reduced passenger timetable, previously a problem, was now an opportunity, as the locomotive could run on the cancelled train paths.
Collaboration between Fugro, Network Rail and Freightliner was key to delivering these RILA® surveys with minimal schedule disruption and Fugro will continue to adapt as the situation unfolds to maintain Network Rail’s essential programme of works and “carry on surveying” as much as possible!