Simon Greenwood, Sales Director, Trade and Specification at Signify UKI looks at some innovative and sustainable lighting solutions

Railway lighting can be challenging given the need to balance passenger safety, better visibility, energy efficiency, reduction in carbon emissions – all this while keeping operational costs at a bare minimum.

The demands from lighting are many and today, the pressure to deliver is immense. But the great news is that the UK’s railway sector can embrace the challenge and adapt to help the economy to grow further. Furthermore, embracing this challenge will also offer the sector to be a part of the UK’s journey to a greener tomorrow. In fact, to cite an example of how the sector can lead the change, Network Rail was the first rail organisation in the world to set what it described as ‘ambitious science-based targets to cut carbon emissions and help limit global warming to 1.5 oC. In its ‘Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2020-2050’ Network Rail details how it aims to achieve a ‘Low-Emission Railway’, including reaching net zero by 2050. The rail sector is also one of the largest single consumers of electricity in Britain.

Therefore, reducing energy consumption is a necessity. Doing so requires the perfect solution that can aim at saving energy and also maintaining the visual and cultural appeal of many the UK’s railways stations, while keeping visibility for drivers and passengers as a priority. Enter LED lighting.

Assured energy savings
Railway stations are categorized as large public buildings that consume large amounts of energy due to their large size and high occupant density. Lighting is the second biggest energy expenditure, averaging 15 per cent of all energy consumed in large stations. A simple switch to LED lighting by simply retrofitting the lamps can reduce the energy consumed and offer many benefits. Furthermore, the longevity of modern LED lamps makes them a more sustainable option. For example, exterior lighting solutions typically have a rated lifetime of up to 50,000 hours – the equivalent to several years of operational use.

What is lighting retrofit?
Simply put, to retrofit a light, lantern or luminaire is to replace old, conventional and less efficient lamps (or ‘light bulbs’) with a like-for-like LED replacement. It’s a simple switch which can improve lighting output, colour rendering, heat emitted, and save huge amounts of energy. There are several pros of retrofitting a lamp over a new installation. These include the reduced cost involved, less installation time, ease of maintenance and many more. Read on to learn more.

From sustainability to ease of installation
The benefits include:

  • Less heat and more green – Non-LED lighting generates heat, in the fixture and within the light stream. In large facilities or a railway station, a conversion to LED lighting can have a noticeable difference in the heat generated and therefore in the effort needed to keep spaces comfortable for employees and passengers, alike. Choosing LED retrofitting is a quick path to further the UK’s green recovery to a net zero future.
  • Retrofitting is economical – At a station, new or old, a retrofit is a simple matter of installing suitable LED lamps. Ripping out and replacing entire light fittings is costly and unsustainable, especially if the luminaire is intact and still in a serviceable condition. However, with the TrueForce range of lamps from Philips Lighting, retrofitting is made very simple as the lamps can be installed directly into existing light fittings.
  • Prolong the life of the lantern – The retrofit process is fast and efficient, with disruptive works kept to a minimum. Retrofitting the existing lanterns can help prolong their life as it takes away the need to replace them. in the case of heritage lanterns, LED retrofitting also helps maintain the aesthetics of an area or building, keeping the cultural heritage alive.


Lighting in action
Recently, we worked closely with Stagecoach Supertram to upgrade the lighting for all platforms on Sheffield’ Tramline, one of the UK’s busiest tramlines with traffic of 10.5 million passengers every year. The upgrade is a move from energy-intensive 150W SON-T lamps to the new Philips TrueForce Core LED SON-T 40W lamps, which promise improved white light quality in customer-facing areas for increased safety and enhanced colour rendering for better visibility. In addition, with this replacement, it is estimated over 800,000 kWh energy will be saved each year by using the Trueforce LED lamps, as the lighting installed uses 80 per cent less energy.

After several months of extensive research into the right lighting solutions, Sheffield Stagecoach found the Philips TrueForce Core LED SON-T LED lamp 40W to be the perfect fit that meets all necessary specifications and objectives for upgrading the lighting. This replacement to the new LED lighting dramatically reduces the maintenance costs of lamps through bypassing the ageing electromagnetic gear system, reducing the need for frequent replacements and maintenance visits.

The Philips TrueForce Core LED SON-T brings all the energy-efficiency and long-lifetime benefits of LED while providing instant saving with low initial investment, removing the need to replace existing fixtures. Philips TrueForce Core LED SON-T lamps are a tubular glass envelope which are a true to size retrofit when compared to conventional SON-T lamps. They will fit in the existing luminaires and importantly work with the luminaire’s optic making sure that light is photometrically positioned. The LED retrofit solution for the Sheffield tramline has encouraged travellers to travel on the line worry-free due to the better visibility and safety. To add to this, another huge benefit for the Sheffield tramline as the upgrade to LED lighting helps reduce the tramline’s environmental impact.

‘For a long time now, we have been looking for the best replacement that physically fits into the existing luminaires, taking away the need to replace them completely. We also needed to ensure the new lightbulbs meet all our objectives of enhanced safety, better visibility and being environmentally friendly. The Philips LED lighting solutions offer several benefits such as better colour rendering, enhanced CCTV visibility, increased traveller, staff safety, and improved visibility at the tram stops. In addition, the energy savings are impressive when compared with conventional light sources and long-lasting products. With instant restrike of the new LED lamps, this takes away the waiting period of HID cooldown in the case of power outages. We are sure we will reap several benefits for a long time to come.’ – Mark Tomkins, Infrastructure Electrical Co-ordinator, Stagecoach Supertram

In conclusion
Upgrading to LED lighting has seen many railway stations reap the rewards of immediate energy savings and eliminate maintenance overheads. Working conditions are improved and passengers enjoy a safer environment whilst travelling. With a simple retrofit, any station or authority can easily reap all the benefits mentioned above and go beyond just energy saving as a prime for the switch

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