Within the UK rail industry, innovation is the lifeblood of every project; every rail infrastructure company, large or small, must employ innovation to create value for its clients and the travelling public. Successful companies are recommended on their proven ability to do just that.

A good example was a recent high voltage (HV) feeder project between Stone Crossing and Ebbsfleet. This formed part of the third phase of Network Rail’s power supply enhancement programme, preparing for the new high-powered rolling stock on the North Kent lines which will serve London and form part of a wider initiative to renew many of the aging electrical assets on this part of the network.

Access issues and possession cancellations plagued the project throughout, with installation works mainly restricted to midweek night possessions. This provided a tiny working window, which required careful planning of activities in conjunction with other third parties.

It could be said that this sounds familiar. However, this HV project had one main difference – an outside party that wanted to convert a Track Parallel Hut into a new substation in between the other two substations, creating a second HV feeder location in the worksite.

As a result, it quickly became apparent that, in order to complete this asset upgrade on time, specialist turnkey power contractor RJ Power Group was faced with re-engineering its complete scope of works, taking into consideration a second feeder being introduced into a single weekend commissioning scope – a feat that had never been previously achieved.

Meticulous pre-planning allowed RJ Power Group to take the lead throughout the commissioning weekend, flexing its significant in-house resource pool to successfully hand over both feeders using only one HV outage. These were fully commissioned during a single weekend possession, minimising risk and disruption to the railway.

Power engineering solutions

With time, space and opportunities limited, and various different contractors vying to complete work on the same piece of track on the same day at the same time, and even with detailed planning of the highest order, disruption can occur which cuts short works that have been several months, if not years, in the planning.

These circumstances provide regular challenges for the networks and their contractors to collaborate and come up with unique solutions to continue to keep Britain’s railway assets in tip-top shape.

Some projects present such challenging issues and a solution is required that is truly unique – one that has perhaps been considered previously for other schemes, but never before tested. In these situations, the circumstances dictate that the risks can’t be satisfactorily managed to outweigh the benefits, even if it means delaying the completion or increasing the project cost.

This collaborative working approach and understanding of the multi-faceted nature of major rail projects also helped RJ Power Group to deliver a significantly time-challenged major rail project at Three Bridges Depot for its partner VolkerFitzpatrick. These efforts were rewarded with the announcement that the project had won the Volker Wessels Group Platinum Award for Project of the Year.

Volker Fitzpatrick’s project manager Martin Dobby, commenting on the contribution of RJ Power Group, said: “Despite some of the tough challenges brought about by late design and other disciplines, your team had a pragmatic and team spirited approach to help me hit the key milestones and commission the ETE bang on time. The most notable achievement for me was that the ETE works were defect-free at handover. That doesn’t happen very often and is a reflection of our strong relationship. Thank you for your support throughout.”

Delivering rail and power networks excellence

With over two decades of providing engineering solutions in the power sector, RJ Power Group now boasts two divisions following a recent restructure: the existing dedicated rail contracting division (covering HV electrification works, DC traction power and maintenance), alongside a new complementary power networks contracting division (covering power distribution works from 415V to 33kV) within the private networks utilities industry.

This new offering covers all manner of installation works from control cabling and relay works, through to the provision of high voltage ring main systems and private networks. With dedicated in-house engineers, the company’s high quality service covers everything from initial supply to installation, maintenance and testing, and commissioning for everything from transformers to high and low voltage switchgear, cabling and earthing.

The resulting change of name from RJ Power Ltd to RJ Power Group Ltd reflects its complete offering and a new brand that captures the company’s growth and progression as it looks to the future with great confidence.

Sales director Matt Woolley, who has managed the restructuring, said: “It is an exciting time to be part of the newly formed group, both in rail and the wider private networks. Our dedicated in-house power engineering capability provides a strong market offering, as we look to push ahead with our considerable plans for growth.”

RJ Power Group’s highly skilled staff have been delivering innovative solutions for many years, and the company has continued to complete a large number of successful projects as a power contractor. As a dynamic organisation, RJ Power Group has showcased that it is able to quickly integrate its expertise into each client’s structure, working as collaboratively or as autonomously as required with excellent results.

Business-wide sustainability

A sustainable approach is fundamental to its success and allows the business to align with the client’s requirements. That means working hard to ensure each person is equipped with the very latest skills and knowledge. This has resulted in a company with tremendous in-house engineering capabilities, representing something genuinely different in the power and rail sectors.

In addition, RJ Power Group is developing a new graduate programme as it looks to the future to secure a resource to meet the industry’s needs – providing an exciting platform for those aspiring professionals to join a business that is undoubtedly going places.

Its values of quality, respect, reliability and safety are at the core of everything in the business, characterising its behaviour and helping to shape its culture, attitudes and principles. For the company, sustainability means ensuring the future viability of the group and its business operations, as well as looking after the planet.

The company is also fully committed to meeting the requirements of its management system and its business approach embodies the core philosophies of planning, assurance and control.

Managing director Glenn Rowatt added: “This is a wonderful time for RJ Power Group. We are in the process of communicating to all our clients that we have changed our brand and logo. We have evolved and we want the industry to know we have full project turnkey capabilities in two distinct divisions: rail and power networks.

“We hope to build upon our contract successes to date and with the strength of our in-house capabilities, aim to deliver truly integrated power solutions.

“Our goal is to be the partner of choice for power engineering, achieving this through collaborative, open and honest relationships with our clients, partners and staff; providing innovative ideas that focus upon delivering efficient and effective results and offering safe, healthy and environmentally responsible working conditions for all.

“Ultimately, this means providing experienced and reliable delivery that provides a legacy for future generations.”

This article was first published in April 2016