David Shirres BSc CEng MIMechE DEM

Decarbonising Scotland’s railway

Last July saw the publication of both Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS) and the Scottish Government’s Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan. Both reports concluded that rail decarbonisation requires electrification of a large part of the unelectrified network,...

Extending Edinburgh’s trams

In 2013, few in Edinburgh would have wanted an extension to the tram network. At the time, the trams were a toxic subject in the city. The tram project was causing massive disruption in the city, was three years...

Follow the Science

Use of mainline rail passenger services and cars is now respectively 18 and 85 per cent that of last year. With the Covid crisis accelerating trends of flexible and home working and encouraging travellers into the isolation of their...

Slab track for HS2

Early railway track carried trains running at 50km/h (30mph) with three-tonne axle loads. Over almost 200 years, ballasted track has been developed to the point where it can carry heavy freight trains, with axle loads of 25 tonnes or...

Re-engineering Rail Freight

Unlike most passenger train operators, rail freight must operate at a profit since it gets no government support. As it works to tight financial margins, it is difficult to justify large capital investment without a guaranteed market. In such an...

Changing Times

When China imposed a lockdown on the 11 million residents of Wuhan in January, few imagined that a London lockdown would follow two months later. However, unlike Wuhan, this did not close down public transport. Keeping trains running required the...

What is the judicious mix?

The Rail Engineer feature “Getting electrification done: the net-zero imperative” with its electrification map attracted a great deal of interest. An updated version of this feature has also been published in Modern Railways magazine. The magazine’s editor, David Shirres, also...

Unlocking innovation online

Last year’s Leeds Digital Festival saw 25,000 attendees across 240 events with 750 speakers in 96 venues. The event was to be even bigger this year. With the COVID-19 lockdown this was not to be. However, the event was...

Rail decarbonisation update

The feature in our March issue that considered the electrification required for a zero-carbon railway attracted a great deal of interest. This included a map showing that between 4,300 and 6,300 route kilometres of electrification was likely to be...

Respond, Rebuild, Revive and Renew

Andrew Haines considers a post-Covid railway Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines holds round-table briefings with the editors of the rail industry’s press, including Rail Engineer and sister publication RailStaff, every six months or so. On 8 June, thanks to the...

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