Carbon Success for Colas Rail

With a million more trains on the railways today than a decade ago, Colas Rail, AECOM and Network Rail are working together as part of the S&C South Alliance to deliver crucial switches and crossings renewals in the South of the UK.

In addition to track works the Alliance also undertakes all aspects associated with multi-disciplinary renewal and is the ‘go to’ mechanism for Network Rail to deliver complete enhancement works.

We have been sole supplier for plant and equipment to Colas Rail and the S&C Alliance South since 2013. The team supply vital communications, safety equipment, rail portable plant, accommodation and traffic management for both their plain line and S&C contracts.

Customer Name
Colas Rail
Project and Location
South UK

The Challenge

As with all rail maintenance, work can be noisy, which is a nuisance to commuters and those living near to the railway line. It can also be quite carbon intensive due to the types of equipment and machinery required.

The S&C Alliance was keen to reduce its fuel consumption on-site, whilst limiting the amount of noise and pollution emitted when completing essential work to extend the life of the track.

As a large portion of its carbon footprint during work comes from the equipment used, we worked with the Alliance to source and supply the most sustainable solutions possible.

The Solution

When completing S&C renewals a lot of lighting is required. This ranges from lighting up the entire working area, through to ensuring the communal areas are lit for those on-site during their personal down time.

We are at the forefront of sustainable lighting technology and worked with Colas Rail and the S&C Alliance to put the latest cutting-edge products on-site. As a result, the team regularly installs:

  • Multiple hybrid lighting systems, which are a combination of battery and solar power
  • Hybrid link lighting
  • Solar powered tower lights
  • Solar generated compound lighting
  • Solatainers for powering cabins and food vans.

The team also sourced the latest battery powered tools for the engineers to use, such as Cembre battery drills., rather than the traditional fuel powered alternatives.

A large piece of equipment we changed over to battery power was the diesel-powered dust suppressors. This equipment helps to remove dust raised by digging and side tippers. Traditionally they guzzle through lots of fuel and are very noisy to run. The battery powered alternatives are emission and noise free, without losing any working ability.

The Results 

The lighting equipment we recommended and supplied enabled the S&C Alliance to operate largely diesel free, sustainable sites where the equipment emits zero emissions and uses no fuel.

An added value to using these lighting systems is it also reduces noise pollution - they make no noise and are maintenance free so contribute significantly to site efficiency.

As well as the carbon emission benefits gained from the battery powered tools, they also reduce the need for operatives to carry fuel on site. Therefore, this improves safety by eliminating a potential hazard completely.

The effect has been significant. At just one of the sites using the innovative environmentally products we supplied, the S&C Alliance has saved £3,329 on diesel costs, up to 11,151 kg on carbon emissions and 4,161 litres of fuel use (Gloucester station).

The noise reduction has also limited the impact of work on line-side neighbours and passengers at stations where work is taking lace.

Overall, our Rail team has helped the Alliance significantly reduce its carbon footprint and noise pollution, through their product knowledge and our focus on sustainability.

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