‘Green’ UK Company Takes Top Euro Rail Innovation Award

A ground-breaking British product made from recycled plastic has taken one of the top gongs at Europe’s premier rail awards ceremony.

TDS-400 has been developed by Leeds, West Yorkshire, based Civil Water Management Ltd, and is an advanced track drainage system, key to improving workforce safety and preventing rail line flooding.

It is made from modular drainage panels and not only reduces the number of workforce shifts required to upgrade rail assets – the number of people working in live rail environments falls dramatically – but also has the potential to save rail companies millions of pounds.

Now, it has been recognised in the RailTech Europe 2021 Innovation Awards, catapulting the West Yorkshire company into the international limelight.

RailTech Europe is the biggest digital meeting place for the international rail industry in the world and, this year, its annual three-day conference attracted 8,334 professionals from 91 different countries.

During the event – held online because of Covid – its prestigious Innovation Awards were presented.

Each entry was evaluated across a total of six categories: Infrastructure; Rolling Stock; Digitalisation; Public Transport; Start-Up and Audience Choice. Civil Water Management took first place in the ‘Start-Up’ category.

The jury consisted of industry professionals and academics with expert knowledge of the rail sector. This year’s members included:

  • Matthias Landgraf, Senior Scientist at Graz University of Technology
  • Rob Goverde, Professor of Railway Traffic Management & Operations and Director of the Digital Rail Traffic Lab at Delft University of Technology
  • Erwin Abbink, Head of Innovation & Analytics at NS (Dutch Railways)
  • Karel van Gils, Director Innovation & Technological Renewal at ProRail
  • Enno Wiebe, Technical Director at CER
  • Claudia Falkinger, Innovation Strategist at Women in Mobility.

And they were collectively bowled over by Civil Water Management’s breakthrough product which has been seven years in the making and, according to some, will revolutionise the way water is managed in rail environments.

Managing Director, Carl Hopkins, who had just 90 seconds to pitch his product to the high-level panel, made them sit up when he revealed that a typical 1.3km track drainage remediation project, could be completed in 52 fewer shifts compared to current methods: a huge 300+% saving on time.

In cash terms this equates to an estimated saving of £2.5m against a traditional installation cost of £4.8m.

Environmentally, in the same works, the use of TDS-400 – an acronym for Track Drainage System – would also divert 13 tonnes of waste plastic – away from landfill.

Managing Director of Civil Water Management, Carl Hopkins, said: “We have seen off some of the biggest companies in the UK and Europe, and this award has already opened doors, with approaches from continental rail networks.

“Not only are these some of the most important rail awards in the world, but this win also cements our presence in the sector. Despite many, many challenges, over the years, our persistence has paid dividends and we are now in high-level dialogue with a range of parties across the world.”

In his acceptance speech Carl Hopkins, paid tribute to the support of Mark Howells, Senior Drainage & Lineside Engineer for Network Rail, Western Route, and Robert Smith, Track Drainage Supervisor of Tier One rail contractor, John Sisk and Son.

Featured photo: Carl Hopkins, Managing Director at Civil Water Management Ltd. Photo credit: Chris Owen

Latest Rail News

LNER puts viewers in the driver’s seat

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has shared a rare insight into the spectacular views of Teesside and the Durham...

More like this...