13th April 2022

PWI Practical Trackwork Challenge inspires rail trainee

Infrastructure Piling Rail railways trackwork

During the recent PWI Practical Trackwork Challenge at the Churnet Valley Railway, Kezia Agulanna, one of our rail placement students, honed her skills while making new connections within the sector.

Having joined the busy rail division in 2021, Kezia has been gaining relevant experience in the office and on track, with support from our experienced team.

While attending the three-day event hosted by the Permanent Way Institution (PWI), she joined peers from across the rail sector on the Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire.

The aim of the challenge was the core renewal of a portion of the Churnet Valley heritage railway at Kingsley & Froghall Station in order to enhance capacity and improve the condition of the existing track for passengers.

Originally opened in 1849, the line provided a link between Uttoxeter and Manchester.

Eventually closed as part of the Beeching cuts in the 1960’s some 10.5 miles of the line has been reopened as a preserved railway boasting a fantastic collection of steam locomotives.   

Providing the people, plant and equipment for free via the challenge is a massive boost for the Churnet Valley Railway, while allowing the rail engineers of the future to gain hands on experience in a controlled environment.

Together, the group removed the old track and using a dozer re trimmed the formation to the new design level.

Sleepers and rail were installed before a ballast drop being undertaken by a Class33 diesel locomotive and ‘Dogfish’.

Kezia has taken on the role of PWI ambassador within Van Elle to support the work of PWI and encourage others to take up training and development opportunities.

She said: “It was interesting to see how train tracks are build from start to finish”.

“The event helped me to make new connections with people from across the rail industry, including those with more than four decades of experience to call upon”.

“Learning from the team and working together to achieve the challenge was a great experience and I am looking forward to using some of this newfound knowledge when I’m next on site with my team.”

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