Feature, Lighting Controls, Transport

LEDs and controls arrive on the line where Stephenson’s Rocket set off

An LED lighting system at Rainhill train station in Lancashire has reduced energy use by more than half and attracted positive feedback from employees and customers.

The station, one of 464 managed by Northern Rail, is on the line where Robert Stephenson’s pioneering Rocket successfully completed the first locomotive trials in 1829, so a key consideration for the lighting project was the appeal and structural integrity of the historic site.

More recently, the station’s old lighting system had been vandalised and was no longer providing enough illumination in some areas.

‘We wanted to install LED lighting at Rainhill to show that new technology could be fitted in a building of historic interest, running new beside old without detriment to the structure itself,’ said Euan Hilton, utilities, contracts and data manager at the station’s operator, Northern Rail.

The chosen supplier for the new lights, together with a control system using motion sensors, was UK manufacturer Dexeco Solutions, part of the Dextra Group (which was named Manufacturer of the Year at the 2014 Lux Awards).

The installation is a rare example of a rail operator embracing lighting controls and reaping the benefits. In many cases the complexity of controls, combined with fears about safety, has held the industry back from making the most of possible energy savings.

Dexeco used a different product in each of the station’s four areas: Impervia LED columns with infrared motion sensors on platform columns; vandal-resistant Eco Impervia LEDs with the same sensors on the canopy above the platform; MOD LEDs in waiting rooms and offices; and motion-sensing Amenity Plus LEDs in the toilets.

Installation costs were kept down by matching the new LED fittings to existing fittings. Integral sensors in those new fittings meant the light could be controlled without having to install bus wiring or building management system (BMS) controls. Lights in toilets will turn off when nobody is there, and fittings can also respond to daylight and turn off if they’re not needed. A local company, Picow, was responsible for the installation.

Northern Rail has reported a 56 per cent drop in Rainhill’s overall energy since it activated the motion sensors, which ensure the station’s lights only operate at full output when passengers or trains are present. With unoccupied areas lit to minimum safety and security levels, the new system also reduces light pollution.

Hilton said: ‘Customers have already remarked how the station looks and feels so much brighter and that the waiting room is more pleasant to sit in. Our people have also noticed a big change and were surprised how something such as lighting could change their working environment for the better.’