An army of engineering workers restores south-west rail services while Heathrow gets 40,000 square metres of new flooring in this month’s number news.
An ‘orange army’ of 300 engineering workers has restored rail services to south-west England following a herculean two-month programme to repair storm damage in the Dawlish area (see E&T April 2014). Working night and day, they built a temporary sea wall from 18 welded shipping containers while they repaired the main 100m breach with more than 6,000 tonnes of concrete and 150 tonnes of steel. They also removed 25,000 tonnes of collapsed cliff at Teignmouth, rebuilt half of Dawlish station, installed 21km of new cables, put in a new temporary signalling system and replaced over 700m of track and ballast.
A modelling tool developed by power engineering specialist EA Technology predicts that the UK could save up to £10bn in the period up to 2050 by deploying smart grids. The Transform Model incorporates a regularly updated representation of an electricity network in Great Britain, and overlays onto it the expected future demands that will come from low-carbon technologies such as electric vehicles, heat pumps and solar panels. It models conventional and ‘smart’ upgrades side by side to determine the best investments for distribution network operators.
Rising new car registrations and longer lasting cars combined to push up the UK car fleet by more than 436,000 units to 31,917,885 in 2013, a rise of 1.4 per cent. The SMMT’s Motorparc study also reveals a rise of 11.3 per cent in cars older than 12 years since 2012. The average age of a car is now 7.7 years.
Japanese IT services provider NTT Data will scan and digitally archive 3,000 manuscripts from the Vatican Library as part of a continuing project to make the library’s collections available online. Technicians from NTT will work with Vatican staff until 2018, helping to enhance the current process and introducing ‘a highly sustainable storage format’, metadata management, optimised search algorithms and a user-friendly search interface. The initial four-year contract is worth £15m.
A firm that makes concrete building components has produced more than 40,000 square metres of flooring for the new Heathrow Terminal 2, which opens on 4 June this year. Bison Manufacturing developed special flooring slabs, only 60mm deep, for the £1.15m contract, which accounted for half of the output of the company’s Lanarkshire precast factory over eight months.
The team behind the Solar Impulse aircraft have now unveiled Solar Impulse 2, which they plan to fly around the world in 2015 without any fuel. It has a wingspan of 72m – roughly the width of a Boeing 747 – and weighs 2,300kg, which is comparable with a car. An array of solar panels will power the aircraft and charge on-board batteries that allow it to fly through the night.