HS2 will create thousands of jobs during its construction process as well as 2000 apprenticeships. Approximately 25,000 people are needed to build the project and to support this, Network Rail are providing two state of the art colleges to train the next generation of rail engineers, located in Birmingham and Doncaster. The new pool of talent will all need to understand the challenges involved in HS electric railways of the future rather than the steam and diesels of the past. Nick Winton Divisional Manager for Reznor explains what the next generation need to know regarding the heating of train sheds.

What to Consider When Heating a Rail Shed

Train maintenance sheds are invariably very long and narrow with large doors opening constantly at each end, thus notoriously difficult to heat and even more difficult to keep warm. The doors often occupy the full width of the building and may be left open for many hours a day, thus creating a wind tunnel effect and cold air at high velocity is drawn through the shed. This means that air infiltration can severely disrupt comfort conditions within the interior. A heating system needs to be able to sustain a comfortable environment in these conditions and especially provide rapid recovery once the doors are closed. Air curtains over or to the side of the doors, either ambient or heated can mitigate the issue of air infiltration at the doors.

Radiant Heating

The objective of a radiant heating system is to ensure that the people in the building are comfortably warm. By the correct application of a radiant heating system comfort levels can be optimised. Radiant heat warms objects and surfaces, increasing the mean radiant temperature and reducing the body’s loss of heat to its surroundings. In addition by eliminating air movement, convective loss of heat from the body will also be reduced.

How Heating Specifications Differ: Steam Loco Sheds

Due to the nature of the locomotive, vast amounts of steam are released, captured by massive hoods and released to atmosphere. When designing a heating system account of these hoods in the roof space is critical.

  1. The majority of work undertaken on these locos is at low level, ensuring heat between the tracks on the platform and in the pits is vital.
  2. Nor-Ray-Vac, due to its unique long lengths of radiant emitter is an ideal solution for heating the long distances between trains.
  3. Some rail sheds are in excess of 300m in length. Due to the physical size of the sheds, the design of the heating system is paramount to ensure optimum zoning capabilities, both for client operational flexibility to minimise running costs and to ensure the capability of being able to rapidly respond to changed conditions.

Diesel Loco Sheds

Many of these sheds derive from the steam era and consequently some still lack good insulation values for the fabric. Diesel locos also have hoods to collect the diesel fumes from the engines, but due to the general atmosphere within these sheds the radiant heating system has to be designed to have ducted fresh air supply from outside to the gas burners. Again, the above points 1 to 3 are relevant to heating these sheds.

Electric Loco Sheds (power via 3rd rail)

These sheds tend to be cleaner due to the lack of diesel fumes and do not require ducted air to the gas burners of a radiant heating system. The work on these trains is primarily at low level, so again the above points 1 to 3 are relevant to heating these sheds.

Electric HS Loco Sheds (overhead power)

These sheds are primarily new facilities, in which case they are well insulated. Again due to the cleanliness within the sheds compared to diesels, there is no requirement for ducted air to the gas burners of the radiant heating system. Unlike the previous types of locos, work has to be undertaken on top of the loco to maintain the power unit. These sheds have personnel staging for access to the top of the trains. When designing a radiant heating system for such facilities, due regard of the staging has to be taken into account. The radiant emitter cannot be too close to the working area above the trains.

Evidence of Success

Amongst other successful traincare applications Reznor were able to provide the ideal heating solution for the National College for High Speed Rail at Doncaster. Radiant heat (Nor-Ray-Vac) was specified as the heating system for the Large Scale Workshop comprising an area of 1,906m2 within the facility.


Tel: 01384 489700

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