Metroisation is a term coined by Komplete, but it’s not an initiative the company can claim to own. It refers to the method of improving passenger flow through trains, which is helping to transform rail travel in megacities throughout the world.

The majority of megacities – metropolitan areas with a total population in excess of ten million people – can be found in Southeast Asia, where passenger numbers are higher than anywhere else on earth and optimising flow through train vehicles is crucial.

Key to success is the arrangement of seats longitudinally, rather than in a transverse layout. In other words, seats which face across the train vehicle, rather than those which face backwards or forwards. Longitudinal seating arrangements generally accommodate more passengers but also make it much easier for people to move through train vehicles – easing congestion amongst the world’s largest commuter populations.

Transverse seating, which goes back to the days of the horse and carriage, has run its course in many different modes of transport and is now benefitting from an evolution to more efficient layouts. Longitudinal seating has already been used within London Underground train vehicles in the UK’s own megacity. Docklands Light Railway (DLR) recently commissioned a project for the upgrading of its B2007 fleet – in which Komplete has a vital role to play.

Seat modification

Komplete, which offers bespoke solutions for clients in the rail sector, has now completed the installation package of the project for DLR (through operating partnership Keolis Amey Docklands – KAD). The modification of the seating from transverse to longitudinal, along with the associated equipment such as grab rails and handles, is what Komplete refers to as ‘metroisation’. However, it is the Group’s approach to project management – in particular, its collaborative way of working – which has distinguished its turnkey solution.

The contract was won through an open tendering process, in which Komplete developed a proposal to deliver a fully managed service for DLR, with all work being undertaken within Beckton depot – the primary railway maintenance depot for the Docklands Light Railway.

Meticulous planning has prepared the way for successful delivery of works. In addition to credentials such as RISQS codes and ISO9000, Komplete has built a reputation within the industry for its collaborative approach to working. This project has been no exception and collaborative working has created total synergy between client and contractor. Key to this process is the opening of effective channels of communication; use of specialist software has enabled those involved in the project, both within the Group and client side, to see each stage of delivery.

Part of the Komplete’s early work in the project was the creation of a physical mock-up of the new seating arrangement to improve passenger flow and experience in the B2007 fleet of train vehicles. With full client input and agreement, the project moved to the design stage, with reviews and ultimately approval to deliver works:
» Material / supply chain of train hardware
» First article inspection (with comparison to design plans)
» 360° feedback with DLR and KAD
» First in class fitment (May 2015)
» Feedback on first and all subsequent fitments » Improvements made as a result of feedback
» Completion of all 55 vehicles in the B2007 fleet (March 2016)

As in any project of this nature, there have been challenges to overcome. However, all modifications and improvements which were required as a result of the 360° feedback were made in a culture of collaboration, with Komplete working in tandem with DLR and KAD.