The rail sector has seen some substantial periods of evolution over the years and has become an integral part of economic development in the UK through connectivity and job creation. A key driving force in this evolution has been the introduction of Control Periods (CPs), which are strategic planning and investment phases that help set the course for the future. Spanning five years, they cover infrastructure improvements, technology advancements and the improvement of passenger services.
As 2024 approaches, it brings the introduction of CP7. Scheduled to span 2024 to 2029, CP7 represents a new period of change, with an investment of £44bn into the UK rail industry, and Fibaform is keen to be at the forefront of this innovation. In this blog, we look at the potential impact of CP7 in the coming years and explore how Fibaform’s rail products are shaping the future…
The Importance of CP7
As a demonstration of commitment to growth and transformation across the rail sector, CP7 has introduced several ambitious goals aimed at improving the efficiency and sustainability of the industry:
- Reduce delays by 20%
- Reduce carbon emissions by 70%
- Increase capacity by 30%
As with previous control periods, it comes with significant challenges and opportunities that will shape the industry for years to come as it strives to attain these targets.
Challenges presented by CP7
The rail network is complex and will face several challenges as it rises to achieve these ambitious goals. These include, but are not limited to:
- Managing costs: The rail industry faces several financial pressures, particularly as it continues to recover from the pandemic. Rising energy costs, a risk of inflation, and the need to invest in new infrastructure in a more mobile and digital society can strain budgets. Balancing the work to achieve CP7 objectives without subsequently increasing costs for passengers will prove to be a significant challenge.
- Climate change and extreme weather: Climate change has led to more frequent and severe weather events, impacting the rail network. This has resulted in a need to ensure that infrastructure is as resilient as possible, regardless of significant rainfall, high winds and rising sea levels. Network Rail has committed £1bn to mitigate these impacts through weather resilience measures to ensure the safety of passengers and employees, providing a safe railway for both passengers and employees alike.
Opportunities of CP7
Amidst these challenges, CP7 also brings forth a range of opportunities:
- Increased efficiency – CP7’s commitment to growth and investment will help to revolutionise the sector. It will increase automation, streamline processes and improve analytics. Modernisation and upgrades across the network are also due to occur, including improved accessibility, digital signalling, and new bridges.
- Improved customer experience – Network Rail has highlighted its commitment to collaborating with communities and stakeholders to deliver projects that meet the needs of everyone involved. This transformation promises an improved customer experience, with improved reliability, punctuality, and capacity to meet rising demands.
Fibaform’s Response to the CP7 Challenge
Fibaform has extensive experience and expertise in the rail sector, with a Network Rail footprint. This means we’re uniquely positioned to provide a comprehensive range of PADS-approved Enclosures and Cabinets. We take great pride in being at the forefront of manufacturing high-quality GRP cubicles for the rail industry.
Our dedicated team works with experts in the rail sector to design and manufacture GRP enclosures tailored to withstand the most demanding rail environments. These enclosures are constructed from glass fibre encapsulated plywood with timber strengtheners, meeting the stringent standards of BS476: Part 7, Class 1, and BS6399: Part 2. BS476: Part 7, Class 1, and BS6399: Part 2 compliant. As a result, they ensure unparalleled protection for critical equipment and systems, safeguarding your telecommunications, switch controls, and PSP (Principal Supply Point) against the harshest weather conditions.
Not only are our enclosures robust and versatile, but they are also ready for seamless trackside deployment, designed for enduring outdoor installation. Take a look at some of our PADs-approved Enclosures and Cabinets below!
Benefits of Fibaform’s Rail Products in the Context of CP7
Fibaform’s wealth of experience and expertise in providing GRP solutions for the rail sector positions us as a valuable partner in addressing the demands and challenges of CP7. Our GRP cubicles are the ideal solution and present a wide array of benefits that will support the sector and play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of CP7’s goals, including:
Durability: Fibaform’s enclosures are designed with meticulous attention to detail, and their robust construction guarantees durability, making them resilient in the face of wear and tear. This aligns with CP7’s emphasis on long-term infrastructure improvements. Our products can be relied upon to stand the test of time, reducing maintenance and replacement costs while contributing to the overall sustainability of the sector.
Weatherproof: Weather conditions have a substantial impact on rail operations, and the importance of weather resilience in CP7 can’t be overstated. Our cubicles are designed to offer unparalleled waterproofing, ensuring they endure even the most challenging events brought about by climate change. Certified and built to last in all environments, they ensure critical equipment and systems remain functional and secure. The non-conductive, insulated construction brings the benefits of corrosion resistance and avoids the risk of any dangerous touch voltages in electrified areas.
Security: Safety and security are paramount, and Fibaform’s solutions offer a high level of protection for critical equipment that supports the overall security of the rail network. As the rail sector continues to rely on digital technologies, ensuring the safety of these systems remains a critical part of CP7’s objectives. Fibaform’s products offer a robust line of defence, safeguarding passengers and employees.
Looking Ahead: Fibaform’s Vision for the Future of Rail
At Fibaform, we’re dedicated to fostering innovation and keeping pace with emerging industry trends. As part of our commitment to sustainability and in alignment with CP7’s objectives, we are excited to announce that we are in the advanced stages of developing a special material that prioritises both environmental considerations and waste reduction goals.
Within the rail industry, several promising developments are on the horizon, and Fibaform eagerly anticipates engaging with these initiatives and supporting the sector. Passengers and the workforce sit at the heart of the sector and its growth plans, driving increased investment in technology and connectivity. Notably, the continued growth of freight trains, with a target of 7.5% network-wide growth throughout CP7, holds significant promise. Fibaform’s GRP enclosures are ideally suited to protect these new systems and digital technologies. We are poised to adapt to many potential future developments as they emerge, safeguarding the rail sector’s journey into a technologically advanced and sustainable future.
Get in Touch Today
If you’d like to learn more about our rail sector solutions and how we can tailor our products to CP7 to help achieve these goals, get in touch with our expert team today. Call us on 01524 60182 or fill out our simple online enquiry form, and we’ll be happy to help.