New Switch and Crossing system for London Underground

New Switch and Crossing system for London Underground
09 March 2017

Teams across Ricardo have been helping to ensure London Underground (LUL) will be ready to accept a new Switch and Crossing system into service on the Sub-Surface Lines (SSL) in 2018.

The system, manufactured by Kirow, comprises of eight switch tilting wagons and two high-capacity ‘Multi TaskerKRC250’ cranes, plus associated lifting gear. Once operational, it will significantly speed up track replacement works on the Metropolitan, Circle and District Lines.

Although switch tilting wagons have operated on the UK national network for several years, a number of design modifications are required in order to fit within the tighter confines of the SSL network.

Following our successful involvement supporting the entry into service of the original mainline equipment, Kirow approached Ricardo to provide similar expertise for the adapted model.

The project began in April 2015, with Ricardo’s teams working closely with LUL and Kirow to define the scope of the project - a key challenge being the system will need to be approved for use on both the national and London Underground networks. So the first package of work was to understand alignment between London Underground and National Rail standards.

Once the requirements were fully understood by all parties, Ricardo’s design teams began to make the specific design changes required for the underframe and spine of the switch tilting wagon.  

As these designs were produced, our experts prepared the engineering submissions that are required to demonstrate compliance with both Network Rail Plant Acceptance standards as well as with London Underground standards and their Technical Requirements Specification.

When complete, these submissions will be put forward to Ricardo Certification, an accredited independent business within the Ricardo group, who will perform a formal Independent Assessment of the evidence to allow national network acceptance.

A Joint Technical File that incorporates both the LUL and national network requirements will then be provided to the Office of Rail and Road for network rail and London Underground who retain final approval for acceptance to their own network. 

A key factor keeping the project on schedule has been the close collaboration of all parties throughout the design stage and the approvals preparation. For example, the clause by clause engineering submissions provided by Ricardo against LUL standards are aligned to National Rail standards to ensure that the evidence compiled for the national route acceptance would also be suitable for acceptance by the LUL discipline engineers.

With the standards comparison and design work completed on schedule, the new system remains set for entry into service on schedule in 2018, with Kirow currently manufacturing the machines.