Newport has rediscovered some of its lost railway heritage with the opening of Signalling Solutions’ new design office in the city.
The office, which officially opened its doors on 4 July, will initially support the delivery of a major resignalling programme for the Great Western main line on behalf of Network Rail.
Signalling Solutions (SSL) hopes to recruit 15 experienced designers at Newport by the end of the year, which would allow SSL to launch a new graduate and trainee scheme at the start of 2015, according to SSL’s head of design, Neil Warburton.
‘It’s a three-year training programme to recruit into our permanent office that will secure the future of signalling design in South Wales,’ says Neil.
‘We knew that we needed to expand and to recruit. Recruiting piecemeal into our current offices one person here, two people there didn’t cut it. We wanted to make a statement and demonstrate that we were committed to a new venture and do something that would benefit the individuals, SSL and the rail industry by deploying into a new region.’
Much of the work SSL is undertaking on the Great Western region involves decommissioning the route’s 50-year-old signalling systems and replacing them with SSL’s modern computer-based solutions. SSL is looking to recruit designers who have knowledge of the route and offer them the opportunity to train on SSL’s Smartlock 400T computer-based interlockings, modular signalling and Atlas ETCS systems which will enable them to support SSL’s wider portfolio in the future.
Says Neil, ‘Resources are constrained at the moment across the industry from a signalling design point of view and having recruited heavily into the existing design teams in Derby, Birmingham, York and Radlett, we started a search nine months ago to put a new office in place with a footprint in an area where we didn’t currently have a presence.
‘This expansion is supported by our growth from 2007, when SSL was formed, with around a £60-65 million turnover, to our current level of £160 million, nearly a three-fold increase. The plan is now to consolidate and make sure we integrate the new resources and continue to deliver our portfolio of works.’
SSL is the primary contractor in three geographical signalling frameworks for Network Rail : Great Western (inner and outer), and Central (east).
‘The one thing that the frameworks are doing at the moment is giving people security and continuity of work which enables SSL to continue its expansion plan with confidence’ says Neil.
Signalling Solutions is recruiting in Newport