13 May 2020
The overnight Caledonian Sleeper rail service with Lowlander and Highlander routes operating from London to Scotland was recently transformed when new franchise operator, Serco, introduced a £100m fleet of 75 carriages in a phased transition.
The new rolling stock required a wide range of modifications and improvements to ensure electrical stability and Quartzelec, in partnership with SVM Glasgow - a dynamic and experienced building engineering services consultancy, were contracted by Serco Caledonian Sleeper to upgrade, redesign and commission the existing shore supply protection systems at their northern sites of Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William, in support of the project.
With SVM Glasgow completing the design requirements and producing the necessary Network Rail conformity documentation, Quartzelec then took the lead to implement the necessary modifications and undertake the commissioning with a scope which included modifying; the earthing resisters, the earth fault relay settings as well as the voltage relay settings. Track bonding was also modified at each site with all having to be completed within a two-week window ahead of the new fleet going into service.
Craig Thomas, from the solution designers SVM added: “This was an important, high profile but time critical project and the highly experienced Quartzelec team were more than up to the challenging task. Getting the new Caledonian Sleeper fleet upgrade operating on the ‘Highlander’ route meant implementing various trackside modifications, in demanding conditions and with absolutely no margin for error both in terms of timescales and engineering safety; but everything went to schedule.”
Chris Rose, Business Unit Manager at Quartzelec’s Hamilton operations concluded: “We continue to prove ourselves in the field of rail engineering services and our team of engineers are more than familiar with the necessary electrical upgrades that go hand-in-hand with the introduction of new rolling stock. The upgrade to the Caledonian Sleeper line was a significant investment for the country and we were delighted to have been involved.”