Case Study: Hitachi Rail Intercity Express – Systems Engineering Support

Hitachi Rail Intercity Express – Systems Engineering Support

Safety Expertise for Bi-Mode Intercity Fleet

In 2012 Ricardo was appointed by Hitachi to provide specialist advisory services – including systems engineering, RAMS, human factors and EMC – during the development and delivery of the Intercity Express Train in the UK.

The Intercity Express Programme (IEP) was commissioned by the UK’s Department for Transport to provide more capacity and faster journey times on the country’s East Coast and Great Western main lines.

Based on Hitachi’s AT300 platform, the fleet offered a mix of electric vehicles, drawing power from the AC 25kV overhead wires, and diesel-electric bi-mode models for use on routes where there are sections that are yet to be electrified.

As well as being more energy efficient, the new vehicle would give greater flexibility for operators, with sets delivered in configurations of between five and ten cars. It would also provide passengers with a more modern, comfortable environment over InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 stock they were replacing, several units of which were over 40 years old.

Key Responsibilities

  • System interfaces: Our teams prepared comprehensive risk assessments of the impact the new trains would have on existing and new infrastructure to demonstrate the safety of the trains.
  • Quantitative risk assessment: We performed detailed quantitative risk assessments on key safety areas including compatibility with signalling and lineside systems as well as doors, traction, brakes and suspension systems.
  • Safety Case: We developed Safety Cases demonstrating compatibility with existing and new infrastructure during the design, testing and operation of both the electric and bi-mode vehicles.

Rail Safety Systems Expertise

Our teams provided technical support from the start of the vehicle’s production, undertaking all safety studies and developing documentation such as the safety plan, hazard record, novel technology approaches and safety cases.

During the project’s peak, we were providing a team of 12 specialist engineers across a range of disciplines, including RAMS and human factors.

Our teams also developed the Common Safety Method for Risk Assessment (CSM-RA) application – one of the first instances of applying this regulation to new rolling stock in the UK.

Following a five year process from design to manufacture and testing, the first bi-mode vehicles entered into service in autumn 2017, with other variations joining the fleet from 2018 onwards.

This article was originally published by Ricardo Rail.

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