Engineering Consultancy Services Ltd
Dr Dave Gent, Director of Operations UK believes that working with heritage railways is fundamental to creating the next generation of railway engineers and ensures that every member of the ECSL team, from CAD Apprentices to the Support Services Manager undertakes a minimum of 4 bridge inspections as they work towards their STE04 qualification in accordance with Network Rail structures examination standards. ECSL have three core principles: Innovation, Sustainability and Social Responsibility.
Put simply, the ECSL team love heritage railways and most of ESCL’s team just happen to be bridge engineers, so working with heritage railways gives ECSL the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with the sort of engineering that we are most passionate about.
Working with heritage railways allows the ECSL team to develop innovation for socially responsible clients, but it has also helped in developing a solution to the sustainability of resources within our industry. The UK rail and engineering industries have long faced a shortage of engineers. In response to this ECSL have worked with Network Rail to become an approved Structures Examination training organisation and have also been working with the Nene Valley Railway to develop a robust environment in which to train the next generation of bridge examiners.
Whilst typically working ‘at cost’ for our heritage railway clients ticks the latter box, it is the Innovation principle that Heritage Railways allows us to explore the most. Working in a railway environment with railway infrastructure but typically no trains gives their teams enormous opportunities to develop innovative asset management solutions. Unlike working with main line assets where engineers have to work under a possession, we can usually work mid-week in the daytime which provides examiners more time to concentrate on trialing new techniques. One of ECSL’s major wins in 2022 is combining the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capability of their Engineering Surveying team with the knowledge and experience of our Bridge Engineers to utilize drones for detailed examinations. This has led to a reduction in time required to undertake the work as well as reducing the risks associated with working at height.