Sustainable lighting for Network Rail

Passenger demand for train services has doubled in Britain over the last 20 years and more frequent services mean tracks need to be renewed more often. Network Rail’s High Output (HO) operations keep the railway running, carrying out 70% of Britain’s track renewal work.

Each night, HO teams replace up to a mile of ballast and renew rails and sleepers over three quarters of a mile, ensuring less disruption to train services. Around 1,200 people work in HO on the tracks, at Network Rail’s York and Birmingham offices, seven operations bases and at five delivery depots.

We have worked with Network Rail for several years supplying an extensive range of rail equipment and services for the HO contract, including:

  • Hand tools
  • Battery tools
  • Petrol and diesel tools
  • On-site lighting
  • Welfare units
  • Portable toilets
  • Traffic management
  • CCTV
  • Generators
  • Rail plant fitters and plant operators.
Customer Name
Network Rail

The Challenge

As one of Britain’s biggest landowners, Network Rail strives to be sustainable in all its operations, always seeking how to minimise the impact of its work.

The HO work is a 24-hour cycle, from getting the systems ready in the Network Rail compounds, to preparing the track by removing lineside equipment, starting up the machines and bringing back the old materials. Work is carried out all through the night, both at Network Rail compounds and on the track. This presented an opportunity for Network Rail to use more environmentally friendly lighting equipment.

The Solution

Our Rail team worked alongside Network Rail our extensive supply chain to source suitable solutions. The team identified the TL55 Solar - Britain’s first solar lighting tower. It represents an eco-breakthrough in solar powered mobile lighting.

Meeting the demand for a sustainable, environmentally friendly and low maintenance lighting solution, the TL55 offers instant light from four LED lamps. With both battery and mains supply, it provides up to 500 hours run time from the battery, or indefinite run time on solar power.

As this is an emerging technology, we arranged for the manufacturer to visit the Network Rail compound in Reading to demonstrate to the team how the solar lights worked - from setting them up to programming them.

The Results

The solar powered tower lights have been introduced to the HO sites and are now fully operational.

They provide powerful lighting to enable the teams to carry out their work safely, whilst emitting zero emissions and providing a silent operation reducing noise disturbance levels.  As they don’t use fuel, the lighting towers also bring a significant reduction in operating costs.  

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