News & Events-Frazer-Nash to prove safety case as part of network rail's electrification plans

Engineering consultancy Frazer-Nash has been appointed by Network Rail to develop a safety case for the trials and subsequent roll-out of the Integrated Protection and Control (IPC) project, an important part of the electrification of a number of rail routes across the country. 

The IPC project is taking a novel approach to replacing the existing control circuits on certain key routes with a modern communications network through the use of Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs).

Currently, electrified routes on the rail network have to rely on a complex range of hard-wired circuit breakers in order to provide traction energy to trains. A single IED can manage several circuit breakers, receive data from sensors and power equipment and then issue control commands. In addition, IEDs are significantly cheaper to install and maintain when compared to the old switchgear controls.

There is potential for the whole of the UK's electrified rail network to benefit from IEDs. Frazer-Nash has been appointed to develop the Generic Safety Case for the system, which comprises commercial off the shelf (COTS) equipment being used for the first time in this area of the rail industry.

Frazer-Nash was chosen for the project as the consultancy has strong safety engineering capabilities from its work across a wide range of industry sectors. The consultancy also has extensive experience within the rail sector and is continuing to work to deliver efficiency, cost saving and genuine innovation for the industry.

Commenting on the project, Richard Jones, Business Manager for Rail at Frazer-Nash said: "This is a time of huge change for the rail industry, and the electrification of major routes such as the Great Western Main Line presents a genuine opportunity to embrace new engineering solutions. IEDs represent just one example of a technology that can improve the reliability of the UK's rail industry, and at a significantly lower cost to Network Rail than before.


"We are delighted to be working with Network Rail on this project as it requires a lot of original thinking with safety experience being drawn from across a number of different sectors."