The expertise of Sheffield-based rail safety specialist, Zonegreen, is being called upon to protect increasing numbers of staff at Hull’s upgraded Botanic Gardens depot.
Zonegreen’s flagship Depot Personnel Protection System (DPPS) is being installed to improve the working environment, as part of Northern Trains’ multi-million-pound investment in the facility.
Employee numbers have increased to expand the maintenance and servicing capacity at Botanic Gardens and improve the reliability of services for passengers. Northern’s class 170 trains will be housed there, along with four engineering teams responsible for their upkeep and repair.
Working in partnership with Northern Rail Infrastructure Team and principal designer and contractor, RTS Infrastructure, Zonegreen has equipped the facility’s two-road maintenance shed, protected previously by manual derailers, with DPPS. The system uses Network Rail-approved powered derailers, combined with RFID-controlled road end panels, to create safe zones in which staff can work and manage the movement of vehicles efficiently.
Christian Fletcher, Zonegreen’s head of engineering, said: “Northern has committed to continuously improving the working environment at Botanic Gardens and DPPS will play a key role in ensuring the effectiveness of the teams working there. Our technology was installed with minimum disruption to operations and is now moving Hull’s largest and oldest surviving rail depot into a new era, eliminating the margin for human error and prioritising staff safety.”
DPPS is accompanied at Botanic Gardens by Zonegreen’s Depot Manager software. It provides a graphical illustration of the system’s status and logs all activity to offer full traceability. The firm has also installed a new warning system on the fuel road to alert staff to imminent train movements and allow them time to move to a position of safety.
James Smith, RTS’ construction director, added: “Aligning our values to manage Network Rail approvals, timely installation and the handover process ensured minimum disruption for NTL and that the excellent Zonegreen systems are up and running to protect staff.”
John Gawith, Northern Trains’ project manager, further commented: “The proactive approach from RTS, Zonegreen and the depot operational management team enabled the project to be delivered with no major disruption to depot operations in a safe and timely manner.”
DPPS is the most advanced and proven depot safety technology on the market. It is the only system to be independently tested and verified to be EMC compliant (electromagnetic compatibility) and meet the hardware and software requirements of SIL2. Modern electronics and an innovative design allow for future depot upgrades and a new diagnostics feature makes the system easier to maintain.