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Network Rail’s announcement of a £37.5 billion investment to upgrade the rolling stock and network has been enthusiastically welcomed by rail systems engineers, Rowe Hankins. Commenting on behalf of the engineering and electrical systems developer, managing director Amanda Jones said, “We provide safety related systems to Network Rail and major rolling stock manufacturers. This is really positive news for the company and the industry. ”

A specialist in systems that improve safety, reliability and performance, Rowe Hankins was founded twenty-six years ago by engineers Roger Rowe and Toni Hankins. The company pioneered the use of hydraulic magnetic circuit breakers in rail rolling stock. This solved the problem of providing protection for critical circuits and systems and overcame nuisance tripping that was undermining reliability. These robust breakers operate irrespective of vibration, extreme temperatures and other harsh conditions found on rolling stock.

Recently, Network Rail has been making their electrical systems even more robust and resilient by the use of thousands of Rowe Hankins units to monitor power cables for insulation deterioration. These give early warning that systems are degrading to allow timely maintenance to prevent failure and service disruption. The innovative devices are non-contact and can also provide warning if thieves tamper with the expensive copper cable.

Tens of thousands of rail vehicles throughout the world benefit from Rowe Hankins speed monitoring equipment that improves both traction performance and efficiency. These are supplied to major traction manufacturers and fitted as original equipment.

Contact fatigue, wear and the need for frequent wheel re-profiling and track grinding to close cracks affect rail and rapid transit systems worldwide. Rowe Hankins research and development over the last five years has produced products that protect wheels and rails from fatigue cracking and wear - intelligent wheel flange lubrication – iWFL. This has major cost and operation benefits for rail operators and networks, prolonging the intervals between re-profiling wheel sets and also reducing the need for line grinding so that there are fewer line closures giving greater network availability.

Rowe Hankins was one of the first rail supply companies outside the prime manufacturers to achieve the IRIS international quality standard for rail systems manufacture. Sales director Mike Hankins concluded, “Since the business started, we have developed a reputation for problem solving. This has helped create safer, more reliable rail services and also reduced service and maintenance costs for the network and operators. Today around ten per cent of our people work in research and development. A key focus of the Network Rail programme is cost reduction and we are well to look at practical and innovative ways to overcome engineering challenges, both on-train and trackside.”

More Information

The company are happy to provide a spokesperson for further comment.

Peter O’Neill, Tel. +44 (0)161 765 3000 Fax. +44 (0)161 705 2900
E-mail: Web:
Rowe Hankins Ltd, Power House, Parker Street, Bury, Lancashire, BL9 0RJ, UK

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