The UK’s rail infrastructure is facing significant challenges, from ageing assets and climate impacts to evolving safety requirements. DYWIDAG, the global construction and infrastructure services provider, delivers solutions that are crucial in understanding the lifespan of these rail assets, while also ensuring public safety and maintaining trust with its stakeholders.

This support is vital as it aims to strengthen the nation’s railways against both current and -future challenges. Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Darren Jackson, who recently stepped into the role of UK Sales & Business Development Director at DYWIDAG, about how its tailored monitoring strategies are supporting rail stakeholders in navigating these complexities.

Could you share some insights into your professional background before you joined the structural health monitoring team as the UK Sales Director at DYWIDAG?

I’ve had a varied and interesting journey across several industries, including financial services, telecoms, and sports management. Regardless of the sector, the focal point has always been on people—understanding how to engage with and collaborate effectively with them has been key to shared success. I believe that active customer engagement is crucial not only for growth but also for innovation in any business. By working closely with customers to really grasp their needs and priorities, we can drive new innovations into the market that make a difference.

Before joining DYWIDAG, I spent nearly six years at Taziker, a leading rail infrastructure contractor, where I served initially as the Group Business Development Director and then as the Strategy, Sales & Marketing Director. Taziker were successful in the delivery of several major rail projectsduring my time there. This exposure gave me invaluable understanding of the immense challenges rail stakeholders face in dealing with ageing assets, climate change impacts, and stringent safety requirements.

How is DYWIDAG helping rail professionals address these challenges?

We provide a range of products and services tailored to ensure the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the rail sector. From specialised rope access, surveying, InSAR technology, Infrastructure Intelligence, and void monitoring to ground stability assessments, our technologies offer precision and reliability in rail asset management. Our dedicated team, comprising expert surveyors and monitoring technicians, is committed to understanding each client’s needs and collaborating to enhance the resilience of rail assets throughout their lifespan.

We’re always available, prepared to adapt and meet our clients’ requirements, guaranteeing the smooth and secure execution of their projects. In addition to structural health monitoring, DYWIDAG has a wider portfolio that encompasses geotechnical solutions, repair and strengthening, and concrete technologies all geared towards guaranteeing stability and resilience across diverse infrastructures.

DYWIDAG has a unique position as both manufacturer and integrator of cutting-edge sensor systems. How does this benefit the rail sector?

As both the manufacturer and integrator, we deliver monitoring solutions that rail stakeholders can trust. We use InSAR technology to keep a close eye on asset performance at scale. This method combines radar satellite imagery with advanced algorithms, offering precise measurements of ground deformation and structural integrity. Working hands-on with technologies from start to finish gives us unique insights into user needs, shaping our products to be more user-friendly and effective. This close loop allows us to continuously improve and tailor our solutions to better meet industry demands.

Can you elaborate on the end-to-end services DYWIDAG provides for the rail industry?

Our services cover every aspect of the monitoring process, starting from the initial scope identification and design, through to installation, automated monitoring systems, surveying, testing, and project management. With our in-house rope access capabilities, we can swiftly respond to projects with difficult access. We also conduct inspections, evaluate conditions, and undertake repair and maintenance across a range of projects. With the flexibility to work autonomously or collaborate with specialist contractors, we ensure that even the most diverse project needs can be accommodated.

How does the integration of data from the DYWIDAG Smart Temp monitor into the Infrastructure Intelligence cloud platform enhance the ability of rail stakeholders to proactively manage asset health?

We’ve invested in research and development to automate traditional manual operations leading to increased product reliability and safety. Our DYWIDAG Smart Temp monitor is a perfect example of this investment in the rail sector. It tracks rail temperatures to quickly pinpoint potential problems like thermal expansion or buckling, helping us stop rail defects before they start.

Alongside, our Infrastructure Intelligence cloud platform brings this data to life with powerful visualisation and analysis tools. By pulling together data from the Smart Temp and other sources, the platform gives rail stakeholders a clear, actionable view of asset health and performance. This means they can manage risks, keep operations smooth, and plan proactive maintenance from anywhere making it easier to make smart, timely decisions that keep the rails running safely for longer.

I’m sure you have great insight into the types of projects DYWIDAG is currently engaged with. Can you give us some examples?

At DYWIDAG, we’re proud to be collaborating with major rail clients and contractors on some truly pioneering infrastructure projects across the UK. Thanks to our Principal Contractor’s license, we have the flexibility to operate independently within the network or collaborate as a subcontractor, adapting to the unique requirements of each project.

A few key examples of these projects include comprehensive ground monitoring and remote sensing deployments for HS2, the first new intercity railway to be built north of London in over a century. We have also provided our monitoring services on structures such as the Hammersmith Flyover and the Britannia Bridge.

We work directly as a principal contractor with Network Rail on several monitoring frameworks through to supporting designers and contractors across all stages of the project lifecycle. Using our advanced sensors and imaging technologies, we can precisely track movements and deterioration on critical rail assets like tunnels, bridges, and viaducts to facilitate timely interventions and maintenance.

What’s next for DYWIDAG in the rail industry?

As the rail sector navigates unprecedented challenges and opportunities, we will continue investing in research, embracing new technologies and work closely with our rail stakeholders to drive innovation.

Join me and my colleagues Robert Paterson, Regional Director, James Stewart, Technical Director, Brian Coogan, Sales Manager, and Jayson Pape-Jones, Design Engineer, at stand B25 during Rail Live in Warwickshire on 19-20 June. We’re excited to celebrate 25 years of expertise in structural health monitoring within the rail industry. Our team will be delighted to share DYWIDAG’s journey in structural health monitoring, which started in 1999 with the founding of Datum Monitoring Services Ltd in Bury, Lancashire. Following DYWIDAG’s acquisition of Datum in 2018, we’ve experienced remarkable growth and development. Additionally, don’t miss the chance to get a preview of latest innovation, the New DYWIDAG Smart Temp CRT monitor, along with our other products and services.

 

Tel: 0161 797 5511
Email: sales.uk@dywidag.com
Visit: www.dywidag.com/monitoring