Formed a little over one year ago, rail signalling services provider Fenix Signalling is now a company in full flight, having already delivered a number of diverse projects to the UK rail industry.
Established as a turnkey professional services consultancy, the select team of signalling specialists has a combined knowledge of more than 100 years in the international rail signalling industry. They got together in 2015 with the vision to fill a genuine gap in the market – a “no man’s land” that exists between contractors and designers. In doing so, they set themselves the ambitious goal of delivering white collar project services and small-to-medium signalling packages involving a high degree of complexity. So far, that delivery is going beyond its founders’ expectations.
This can be attributed in part to the company’s transparent and collaborative approach to what is widely perceived to be the obscure art of signalling. The substantial experience of Fenix’s team extends across multiple disciplines, both in the UK and international signalling engineering. This gives the team the capability of being able to resource from within to undertake challenging niche projects, utlising exclusive arrangements with supply chain partners to mobilise on-site delivery teams where required.
The company is ideally based in the Warwickshire, with strong rail links to Birmingham and the ability to work nationwide. The team at Fenix have a genuinely unique approach to project implementation, identifying a niche in the market and offering something completely fresh that draws on the best of old and new expertise. New business development aligns the engagement of pre-existing relationships, leveraging the extensive experience amongst company members.
Fenix has a medium-to-long-term growth plan, keeping to its founding pledge to develop skills and training for existing employees and “new to the industry” recruits. For each project, a team is assembled which has the optimum balance of skills and experience, with each member having clearly defined roles and responsibilities, working together as a cohesive unit to deliver the best solution.
After a little over one year in business, this methodology is very effective and the company is establishing a reputation for building a strong professional to contractor relationship in signalling projects. The delivery of all projects on time and in budget have strengthened this reputation further so that demand for Fenix’s services is higher than first projected. With no fixed service delivery model, clients benefit from an individual approach based on the unique mix of skills and experience within the team.
Over the past twelve months, Fenix have mobilised on a number of innovative, intricate projects including the Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB) frequency switch over with telent in the Scottish Highlands and the Grip 4-8 programme associated with the upgrade of Chiltern Railway’s Banbury Light Maintenance Depot.
Aside from individual bespoke projects, in their professional consultant role the Fenix team have assisted clients through delicate detailed technical aspects of signalling works in their wider rail infrastructure and civil engineering projects.
“We increasingly experience small discreet packages or elements of signalling
wrapped up in larger schemes. For those who’s core business lies in building or civils, it can often be challenging to understand the complexities and considerations of what may seem like the simple relocation of a piece of signalling infrastructure. In the grand scheme
of things, a requirement such as this can seem completely inferior to a huge civil engineering project, although it’s often an unfortunate case of what lies beneath. Signalling can, with a lack of knowledge and understanding, have the potential to completely de-rail the success of a project if it isn’t handled correctly” says Eddie Murphy, Project Director at Fenix Signalling.
“For this reason, we have built courses for tier one contractors to outline the basic principles and considerations of rail signalling engineering, enabling their project teams to form a sufficient knowledge base which enables them to appropriately attribute risk and resource to signalling elements of their projects.”
Network Rail made comment in an article in 2014 that there is a need to address the industry model of re-circulating an ever decreasing number of specialist, qualified signalling engineers. Railway signalling engineers are licensed for their specific areas of expertise by the Institution of Railway Signalling Engineers (IRSE). There is a significant period of work-based training required to achieve an appropriate vocational licence through practical experience and even during this early chapter of it’s evolutionary journey, Fenix put plans in place to tackle the issue head-on and ensure both business competiveness and industry continuity. Fenix has mobilised an internal trainee mentorship programme for signalling design, testing, commissioning and project management and is also actively engaged in the overseas recruitment of signalling specialists, steps they believe will help stem the flow of ever-increasing costs of ever-decreasing resources.
Fenix remains committed to the pursuit of its vision and values, having enjoyed such a successful first year. The continuing development of new business and enhancing the company’s profile will be strengthened as Craig Purcell steps into the team. Craig’s skills, knowledge and experience bring further strength and depth to the Fenix team and a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Craig has over 25 years signaling experience in a variety of roles including; CRE, project engineering, designing, & testing.
Our objective over the next 1-3 years is to secure more contracts of varying scale and complexity. The delivery model will continue to facilitate a flexible approach that has been key to its success so far. Whilst growth remains a strong prospect for Fenix, its guise will come in the form of diverse skill-sets, complexity of projects and breadth of services provided. The last twelve months have clearly demonstrated to the team that a small, tight, integrated and well respected team is the fundamental ingredient that will underpin continued success.
18 Shottery Brook Office Park
Timothy’s Bridge Road
T: 03300 580180
T: 01926 358428
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