A Scottish East Coast Trains depot has become one of the first in the UK to improve driver and shunter safety by investing in a Points Converter System, the latest innovation from Sheffield-based Zonegreen.
The depot safety specialist has installed its Points Converter system at Edinburgh’s Craigentinny maintenance facility, to prevent injuries occurring when operators use manual points levers.
Four Zonegreen Points Converters have been attached to the most frequently used manual hand points at the depot to automate the switches. They are operated by a computerised control system, which provides a visualisation of the routes and can be set to allow vehicles to reach their destination without any physical intervention.
Craigentinny opened in 1914 and like many traditional maintenance depots, still uses hand operated points, as installed during its construction. It now has a team of 250 employees working around the clock to maintain Virgin Trains’ fleet of Intercity 125s and Class 350s for First Transpennine Express.
Christian Fletcher, Zonegreen’s technical director, said: “In a demanding depot environment the welfare of employees is a priority. Hand points not only take a significant physical toll on users, but also expose them to the risks associated with working trackside. Zonegreen’s technology is replacing a less sophisticated manual switch system, providing much better control of vehicle activities and removing staff from dangerous situations.”
The Points Converter attaches directly to the hand point mechanism and moves the switch with a hydraulic actuator. Multiple units can be linked together and operated from a distance, enabling predefined routes to be programmed in advance.
Christian added: “We are really pleased to have undertaken this Points Converter installation at Craigentinny. The system will greatly improve driver and shunter safety, equipping the team with the technology to keep all lines operating safely and smoothly.”