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Published on : Saturday, May 21, 2016
18 students on Elutec’s engineering systems course visited the Upminster Integrated Electronic Control Centre (IECC), which houses all of the controls and signalling equipment for the level crossings on the route that runs from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness. As part of the training, they had a tour of the control room to see the signallers using the latest system, took part in a talk from the signalling section manager and had a tour of the centre.As well as the practical session, two Network Rail graduates, Nick Rook and Iain Loggie, taught students about the engineering aspects of various types of level crossing, how trains are detected and how the signals and level crossings respond through the control system. The students also had the opportunity to find out more about the training that Network Rail offers through its Advanced Apprenticeship and Graduate schemes.
The session gave a real insight into what it’s like to be part of Network Rail’s 20,000-strong Orange Army of front-line engineers and technicians who fix and maintain the rail infrastructure, enabling 1.6bn journeys every year.
Jessica Kelleher, year 10 student, said: “It was a great opportunity to visit the Network Rail site and learn more about the system controls, where and how the company uses the newest technology. Also we had an amazing opportunity to speak with Network Rail graduates about apprenticeship opportunities which are available for us, it is important for me as it gave me a new insight into railway engineering”.
Ali Ahmed, year 10 student, said: “I learnt a lot about how trains are controlled with new technologies. It was really beneficial, exciting and fun.”Sam Packham, year 10 student, said: “It is important to visit a working site and have a clear view and understanding how signalling and systems control work, it helped me to generate some ideas to work on my coursework.”
Bob Hazell, programme manager at Network Rail, said: “The railway is a growing industry, and Network Rail needs new, budding engineers to build a bigger and better railway as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan. Our graduates aim to teach the students practical skills as well as give them insight into the types of jobs they might want to do when they finish their course. They are really keen to pass on their skills and knowledge, and to mentor the next generation of railway engineers.”
College Tutor, Anthony Burke, said: “These sessions are a great benefit for the students and I’d like to thank Nick and Iain for sharing their expertise and inviting us to the control centre. Real practical knowledge facilitates the learning that these students get in the classroom, and helps them find out more about the types of careers and opportunities that an engineering qualification will open up.”