16th February 2021 · “From Platform Bench to Viaduct Maintenance”

Presenter: Phil Deaves

“From Platform Bench to Viaduct Maintenance” was the subject for Phil Deaves’ presentation on 16th February. Phil is a Network Planning Manager (Major Projects) working for Great Western Railway and the title describes the sort of tasks which land on his desk for action. His presentation worked through the details he has to consider when a proposal for a new station is received. From the stonework to signalling, services to safety, negotiations with local councils and Network Rail; is a full line block needed, or can they work with rail services still running; bridges, lifts, roads, car parking, timetabling, trackwork, accessibility. Through images Phil compared project planning in the past with how it is done, with considerably more attention to environmental concerns and nearby residential and business centres, nowadays. An effort is made to build new station facilities on straight and geometrically level track, but it is not always possible to achieve this. Phil described images shown of Network Rail engineers working on various projects, notably the Great Western electrification, signalling being moved to improve sighting or line speeds. As we discovered, a lot of Phil’s work is rather more involved than deciding on the position of a platform bench. He is also very much concerned with a 19th century viaduct being strong enough to take the weight of modern trains.