MECX UAS Support Bat Conservation At Chester Zoo

MECX UAS Specialist Projects Team were called upon by Chester Zoo to help them with a bat research and conservation program.  Indeed MECX Group is an avid Corporate Sponsor of Chester Zoo and love to support ecological & environmental projects such as this.  Our projects team were also asked to provide their expertise in vegetation management, tree risk surveys, & putting up 130 bat boxes into various trees across Chester Zoo’s 125 acre estate.

The Zoo is a biodiversity hotspot and a haven for wildlife and studies have never officially been undertaken into the zoo’s current bat population.  Working closely with UK Wildlife and the Zoo’s conservation team the MECX UAS Arborist teams put up numerous bat boxes across the Zoo’s estate into trees which had been identified as potential bat breeding spots.  The bat boxes used were purchased from a specialist supplier in Germany and weighed anything from 5kg to 22.5kg, being made out of concrete and wood which was not treated with any preservatives.  Our teams placed up to 3 boxes into each tree ensuring that there was a clear flight path & all the boxes were facing in different directions – such as south-east, south-west and north.  This would then give any maternity roosting bats the best chance of success.

Bats are the least understood mammal in the UK when it comes to data- the 2018 mammal review says “population status unknown, range status unknown and habitat status unknown” for many bat species. What we do know however, is that their habitat is in decline especially for those which rely on ancient woodland and pasture grassland. It is anticipated bat numbers of some species are declining along with their habitat.  This is Why MECX UAS are proud to sponsor and assist in this vital Wild Life Research Program. 

 

Mecx rail contractors

Cardiff Central Station to Benefit from £58m Upgrade

Deborah Lillis

It has now been confirmed that Cardiff Central Station will benefit from £58m funding. This is subject to the necessary assurances that the scheme will provide value for money. However, the upgrades, once completed will help to reduce crowding and congestions during peak periods. This will also help to enhance regeneration and make it possible for longer trains that offer more seats to arrive and depart from this popular train station.

Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport has said that those who use the station in Cardiff have the right to a modern station that is both accessible and supports the city. Therefore, the funding has the ability to offer this while also ensuring passengers can take advantage of a more reliable and comfortable experience as well as faster journeys to and from the capital.

As a result and in order for the funding to work, the two governments in Wales will have to work together. This will help to enhance the union and so, the proposals for this impressive business case will be sent to the Secretary of State. Alun Cairns, the Secretary of State for Wales has also made it clear that Wales is fully committed to improve the entire experience as well as standards for passengers throughout Wales. Therefore, this funding will make Cardiff an appealing destination for tourists and commuters at a time when the city is going through regeneration.

There are also plans in place to create a West Wales Parkway station whereby passengers will benefit from faster times when travelling from Pembrokeshire to Cardiff. This will also help to improve connectivity around Swansea, giving businesses and the people of Swansea the chance to take advantage of opportunities.

This investment forms part of the £5bn that the UK government is investing in the experience for passengers when they make a journey by train using the Great Western Mainline between South Wales and London. Therefore, there will be more seats, more reliability and faster services.

The plans are adventurous but come at a time when South Wales is moving into an exciting period especially with the installation of the Metro.

 

 

 

Mecx rail contractors

£100m South Wales Metro -TfW Begins Work

Deborah Lillis

Work on the new £100m depot for the South Wales Metro has begun and from here, support will be provided to all vehicles on the system.

Transport for Wales (TfW) has started the work with the depot, which is located in Taff’s Well, with the aim for it to be up and running by 2022. This forms part of a wider £5bn investment as part of the project where the transport infrastructure in Wales will be transformed.

The depot will provide maintenance on trams as well as stabling services for vehicles while there will be a control centre located here to oversee the running of the network.

Simon Rhoden, the Director of rail services infrastructure at TfW, has said that they are working with the Welsh Government to deliver a transport network that provides a huge number of benefits to the people of Wales. The demolition works at the site creates the start of the project and the journey that will result in South Wales benefiting from a fully-integrated metro system.

This is the first step in a significant investment, where the entire transport network in South Wales will become one that is fit for purpose in the world that we live in. The entire area will benefit socially, economically and environmentally.

This new metro network has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund via the Welsh Government. Last month TfW awarded the first early contractor involvement contracts to begin creating the Metro’s control systems, stations and maintenance depots.

Ken Skates, the Economy and Transport Minister has said that the project is a clear indication of the commitments that are being made in improving the rail services in Wales. The new network will create vital transport links for communities while also becoming one of the most modern systems in the UK.

Therefore, the depot in Taff’s Well will play a pivotal role and so, the work is underway, allowing the project to gather momentum.

The CEO of TfW has said that it is crucial that the work has started and that this depot will become a central facility for Transport for Wales and so, this is a key milestone in the entire journey, eventually ending with a Metro network that serves the people of South Wales.

MECX Group News

British Steel Provided a Lifeline after Bid From Network Rail

Deborah Lillis

Network Rail has submitted an indicative bid in an attempt to take over certain aspects of British Steel in an attempt to turn around the poor performing business, which has a future that is looking bleak.

If British Steel was to collapse and close, then it would have a significant impact on the rail network, and that is why Network Rail wants to save the business.

If no other buyers can be found, then Network Rail will continue with the bid. They would look to take control of how welding, finishing and storing rails are managed, in line with the requirements or the rail network in the UK.

However, it has been reported that as many as ten businesses could bid to take over the company. Despite this, the reluctant bid from Network Rail could disrupt the bidding process.

Network Rail have commented on the surprise bid, stating that they want to continue to support British Steel, whereby it wants to work with the liquidator and the new owner of the company. The bid has been made for some of the critical assets that the railway network relies on. However, the preference is that an alternative purchaser is found for the business. They have made it clear that their offer would undermine with the role of Network Rail being to safely run the railway for millions of people. This ensures that they can continue to rely on it every day and so, to continue that, they are exploring all option.

The government has said that it would prefer to sell the company completely to one buyer instead of breaking up the business and allowing Network Rail to manage certain areas of it.  In May, British Steel went into administration following failed talks between the owners and the government.

In April, the government loaned the business £100m in order to pay off an EU carbon bill but competition from overseas has resulted in the business struggling to compete. If British Steel closes, then it could result in 25,000 jobs being put at risk with many of those being in the supply chain.

 

 

 

 

Mecx rail contractors

First ECI Contracts Awarded for South Wales Metro

Deborah Lillis

The South Wales Metro has taken another step in the right direction. Transport for Wales has now awarded three companies and so, they can now begin the preparatory work on the South Wales Metro which has been priced at a cost of £738m.

This announcement has indicated that Balfour Beatty, Alun Griffiths and Siemens are being given the roles of building the control systems, stations and maintenance depots for the South Wales Metro. This is a serious move and highlights that the ball is rolling as the project begins to gather momentum.

The Chief Executive of Transport for Wales, James price has said that the South Wales Metro is a highly anticipated yet exciting project that has been in the pipeline for some time and that it comes with significant importance. Therefore, Transport for Wales will now be working with three highly reputable companies, as they begin work on the first stages of delivering a new kind of public transport to the area.

The entire region of South Wales will benefit from the development of the Metro and the local economy will certainly benefit. Jobs will be created directly while the local supply chain will also benefit.

Transport for Wales will form a close relationship with all three companies, ensuring that all work towards making this vision a reality. This will ensure that people in the region will benefit from a safe, affordable and integrated transport network that are also easily accessible by those who live in the region. Ultimately, the aim is to deliver a network that the people of Wales can be proud of.

So, this is the beginning of a huge investment of £5bn in the transport infrastructure throughout the whole of Wales. The manager of Balfour Beatty Rail, Nick Rayner has said that the announcement has marked a milestone in the delivery of the project and the investment made in the South Wales Metro project. Therefore, once it is completed, transport links will be improved significantly.

All three companies will work on the project, ensuring that they deliver their part of the agreement, helping the project get on its feet and underway. It seems as though this highly-anticipated scheme is now gathering momentum and that should please the people of South Wales.

 

Rail Innovation Family Created by Major Railway Suppliers

Deborah Lillis

A new ‘Rail Innovation Family’ has been formed after many of the UK’s major rail suppliers came together. The aim of the collective is to deliver a level of support that offers more and has a greater level of clarity for those suppliers who are seeking ways of introducing innovation into the rail industry.

The Digital Railway Conference, hosted by the University of Birmingham was the platform for the launch of the Rail Innovation Family. The aim is to offer a direct contribution when delivering enhanced value from the rail supply sector through new and exciting innovations.

The Managing Director of Birmingham Centre for Rail Research & Education (BCRRE) and Rail Alliance, Alex Burrows has commented that this collaboration is the next stage of the process and is a natural step for the Rail Alliance Community to take, as it forms an integral part of the Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education.

Its aim is to provide specific support and help drive focus on turning innovative research into success at a commercial level, while also helping small and medium-sized businesses to grow via their innovation-based, community-orientated B2B activity.

The organisations that will be collaborating will include the Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education (BCRRE), the Rail Alliance which is part of the BCRRE, the Rail Forum Midland (RFM) and the Railway Industry Association.

The group will work together to support the work that is done by the UK Rail Research & Innovation Networks (UKRRIN), which is a partnership between academia and the private sector that is designed to promote the introduction of innovation into the rail sector, this is a partnership worth £92 million.

The chair of UKRRIN, Jo Binstead has stated that this new collaboration has been welcomed with open arms and that the link between the key supply chain bodies, has the potential to streamline the landscape for innovators who are seeking ways to engage with academia as well as industrial partners within UKRRIN.

 

MECX Group Receive Certification from WCS

Deborah Lillis

A presentation was made today by Roger Varley – Certification Manager of World Certification Services to CEO Chris Mariner & Rob Burrus – Head of Business Systems & Scotty McConnell-Lawlor Health & Safety Manager. WCS were proud to present a number of ISO Certificates, including ISO 9001, ISO 45001 & ISO 14001.  WCS has an excellent reputation within the Certification industry operating on a world-wide basis. They are a UKAS Accredited Certification Body providing Assessment and Certification Services against many international standards, across numerous industry sectors.

Chris Mariner said “Achieving conformity to all these standards will now enable us to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all our workers and other people, whilst reducing any work-related injuries and ill-health. It will also allow us to continually improve upon our OH&S performance whilst putting safety, quality & the environment at the forefront of everything we do. Customer satisfaction, collaboration and sustained growth has always been a fundamental part of our business ensuring we identify all present customer needs and identify and assess future requirements. This is yet another milestone achievement and one that reflects MECX’s  future growth and development as a leading infrastructure specialist.”

rail contractors

Four Year High as UK Rail Revenue Increases

Deborah Lillis

At a time when the UK rail industry is hardly bathed in glory, a glimmer of hope and light comes from the news that the UK rail revenue has increased to a four year high. This all stems from an increase in the number of journeys taken by passengers. These journeys were recorded in England, Scotland and Wales with the results forming part of the quarterly report released by the Office of Rail and Road.

Throughout 2018-19, the rail network in Britain saw passengers make a total of 1.76 billion journeys. In comparison to the previous year, this was an increase of 3% much of which was driven by an increase in certain sectors, including a 3.9% increase in London and the South East.

Following the increase in the number of journeys taken by passengers, the revenue peaked at 10.3 billion for 2018-19, making the highest growth seen since 2014-15.

Of course, the increase was put down to the activity in London and the South East, as this sector played a major role in the annual revenue growth. This sector alone contributes to half of the revenue generated from passengers, which saw an increase of 7%, reaching a record high in 2018-19 reaching £5.1 billion.

Throughout 2018-19, the amount of distance that passengers travelled also increased as that rose to 67.7 billion from 65.6 billion, which is a significant distance.

This was the highest rate of growth that had been seen since 2015-16. TfL Rail was the largest growing operator with the TransPennine Express following behind, however, much of this could be put down to the fact that it took over the Manchester to Leeds stopping service from Northern.

However, Northern still saw impressive results, recording the highest Q4 figure since 2016-17, regardless of the changes. This included a 5.9% increase in the number of kilometres travelled by passengers on the network. This increase has been put down to the way in which the operator has recovered from industrial action in Q4 of 2017-18, while the benefits of the Great North Project have also had an impact. There was also a quarterly increase of 6.2% for TransPennine when it came to the distance that passengers travelled.

HS2 Could Be Scrapped if Boris Johnson Becomes PM

Deborah Lillis

The HS2 project is already in motion. Over 2,000 businesses have been involved and the project has over 7,000 workers but still, it could all come to an end if Boris Johnson becomes PM.

The treasury is already looking at ways in which the project could be delivered within the budget of £56 billion and this could be a clear indication that the project could change considerably.

The news has been welcomed by those who are living in West London, especially after they have had to put up with a lot of disruption on their doorstep. Therefore, they will be pleased should the project be scrapped, making way for homes to built on the land instead.

The reports that relate to delivering the project within the budget will be presented to the winner of the Conservative leadership contest. That person will be the one to make the decision on the future of the project. As Boris Johnson is the firm favourite to become PM, he could be the man to put an end to it all, particularly as he has been a vocal opponent of it. He has made it clear that he would prefer a trans-Pennine rail link although it has become apparent that he never did vote for high-speed rail.

Despite this, there are still those who would plan to move forward with the project. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has continued to back the project, while the home secretary Sajid Javid has also committed to delivering HS2.

In contrast to this, there are other Prime Ministerial hopefuls who are not so optimistic when it comes to the project. Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary has raised his concerns about the project from an environmental aspect. Dominic Raab, the former Brexit Secretary has shown his support in the past, however, a leaked manifesto report indicates that his support has changed somewhat. He is now apparently seeking ways in which costs can be cut from the project.

Finally, Esther McVey, and her constituency in Tatton, Cheshire will be affected by HS2 and so, she has indicated that a rethink might be required. She has put her views across, indicating that the people of the North would benefit from a fast rail link that connects all cities in the North along with improved local transport. However, the HS2 and its spiralling costs are not what the public is looking for.

rail infrastructure specialist

Is Northern Rail Close to Collapse?

Deborah Lillis

More misery could be about to hit the rail industry as news is emerging that Northern Rail could be close to collapsing. This news has been released by the Trade Union and the speculation is indicating that the company could be facing a significant financial crisis. This could eventually see it collapse and follow Virgin East Coast. The former company, which is now known as the London North Eastern Railway has run short of funds and that ultimately meant that the company had to hand the franchise back over to the government.

The General Secretary of the TSSA has now made calls asking for the Northern Rail franchise to place back under the ownership of the public while also claiming that it is now facing full financial crisis.

The belief is that the government should now make moves right now to prevent this from happening while also ensuring that the passengers do not suffer. There is no doubt that Northern is struggling but it can no longer be allowed to amble along for months. This would lead to further misery for passengers, lots of which have already suffered for many, many months.

When a franchise such as this fails, there is a lot to take into consideration. While the franchise is running out of money, there have to be considerations made to the services that it offers and how it will struggle to fulfil those services and meet its promises. Along with this, it will also mean that any urgent repairs will be overlooked and that could lead to more problems with services or even compromise the safety of passengers. This is something that the union will not allow.

Since last year, Northern Services has brought about a significant number of improvements, all of which were much needed. The recovery plan, which was pushed forward by industry expert Richard George was focused around delivering reliable services. The franchise is co-managed by Transport for the North and all have been committed to ensuring that passengers receive the service that they expect.

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