two people testing the new wheel

Feedback from rail workers and cross-industry collaboration have led to the development of a new insulated rail measuring wheel for use in third rail areas.

Network Rail, VGC Group and Lawton Tools have worked together on the development of the bespoke insulated measuring wheel, which complies to the requirements of BS8020:2011 for tools used in  areas where conductor rails are present.

As part of VGC’s rail delivery framework for Network Rail, a VGC site supervisor must inspect each site in advance of each rail delivery, including third rail areas. VGC identified a need for an insulated measuring device to allow surveys to be undertaken in live third rail areas without the need for an isolation. The new tool will give more flexibility in planning access to the track for walkouts.

VGC Project manager William Dalton said: “We have been pleased to work with Network Rail and Lawton Tools on developing this new piece of equipment. It will allow the measurements to be undertaken in full compliance with the rule book without needing costly isolations, so it will benefit our rail delivery teams and the industry as a whole.  We expect that it will be used widely across the rail infrastructure in future.”

Tony Potts, Technical Support Manager for Lawton Tools, said: “The development of this tool has been a collaborative exercise involving VGC, Network Rail, Lawton Tools and our partners Avancer (UK) and Jafco Tools. Working together to improve safety of teams working on the railway has been very satisfying, and we are delighted with the result.”

The insulated rail measuring wheel is accepted for use on Network Rail’s infrastructure on certificate reference PA05/06192 and PADS reference 0094/007203.