Wheel slide protection (WSP) is being installed on Greater Anglia’s Class 156 trains to improve reliability in the run up to autumn.

From initial concept to installation, it has been a two year process to design WSP for Class 156’s – which run on the TOC’s rural services in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex – for the first time.

Similar to the anti-lock braking systems (ABS) used on motor vehicles, WSP is used to judge whether a train’s wheels are slowing evenly when the train brakes.

When the wheels do not brake evenly this can cause damage to the wheel, known as a ‘wheel flat’, forcing the train to be out of service while wheel flats are removed using a wheel lathe machine.

The more wheel flats, the more time trains spend out of service.

The wheel slide protection system. Credit: Greater Anglia.

The wheel slide protection system. Credit: Greater Anglia.

The TOCs engineering department has already installed one of the systems – which have been designed by SNC-Lavalin, KBRS and Loram UK and installed in partnership with rolling stock leasers Porterbrook – as part of a test in October, 2016. The remaining eight Class 156 trains will have the system installed in time for autumn, when they often suffer from wheel flat issues.

Greater Anglia technical manager Jason Mills, said: “This is an industry first and a brilliant innovation by the teams at Norwich Crown Point, Porterbrook, KBRS, SNC-Lavalin and Loram UK Ltd, taking a class of train that some thought incompatible with WSP and creating a bespoke system that has surpassed everyone’s expectations.”

Porterbrook’s fleet and standards director Neil Foster added: “Porterbrook was confident that WSP could be retrospectively fitted to Class 156 trains, but the performance of last autumn’s WSP trial surpassed everyone’s expectations.

“Porterbrook is really pleased to be supporting Greater Anglia in the fitment of WSP across its whole 156 fleet and ultimately we hope that WSP will be more widely adopted across the UK’s Class 150, 153, 155  and 156 fleets if there is industry support for this.”


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