April 2021

Rail safety specialist, Zonegreen, is expanding the services it offers to Nottingham’s Eastcroft depot, following the installation of its Points Converter technology.

The East Midlands Trains facility is the latest to benefit from the system, which automates the traditional hand points.

Zonegreen has installed Points Converter on a set of points to the head shunt at Eastcroft. The depot already benefits from the firm’s flagship Depot Personnel Protection System and this latest innovation will further enhance the safety of its staff, removing the need for the train driver to dismount the vehicle cabin and operate the points lever manually when entering or exiting the head shunt.

Points Converter is controlled by a key switch control panel, situated on a local walking route, removing handling risks and meaning staff do not have to navigate ballast to operate the point. The system is also designed to enable more converters to be added at a later date if required. Should additional converters be installed, it is possible to set routes through multiple points, using a centralised computer system.

Zonegreens Points Converter

Christian Fletcher, Zonegreen’s technical director, said: “The latest industry research shows that nearly half of all major railway injuries were attributable to slips, trips, falls or manual handling. It is, therefore, essential that we mitigate this risk wherever possible and Points Converter addresses both issues, negating strenuous activity and the need to traverse uneven terrain.”

Points Converter attaches directly to the hand point mechanism and moves the switch with a hydraulic actuator. Multiple units can be linked and operated from a distance, using a remote handset that enables predefined routes to be programmed in advance. It also includes a logging system, allowing the depot manager to track points operation and record safety events.