A number of specialist areas are included within the overall description of ‘railway designers’, amongst which are:

  • signalling system designers
  • railway switch lever & track designers
  • rolling stock designers
  • station designers

This is not an exhaustive list and there are numerous other specialist areas.

They are all characterised by one over-riding requirement from the client perspective- the delivery of designs without fault, error or omission. No professional ever consciously commits an error, or would release work in anything less than the belief that it is fit for purpose and even - professional pride being the constant quest for perfection - excellent.

Problems, however, can arise through no fault of your own; here is an example...

Switch lever design fault

A railway design engineer designed a new switch lever for a major manufacturer of rail components. The design was tested and certified. The new switch entered production and was installed in a new rail system. Subsequent operational failures were encountered when extreme temperatures occurred. The contractor who had installed the new switch system appointed solicitors to seek compensation from the design engineer, alleging negligent design.

Legal proceedings commenced.

Together with ITIC, the design engineer located an independent party to analyse the design process, as well as the subsequent manufacture and installation of the switch lever.

This expert testimony was critical in establishing that the operational failures were caused by incorrect installation, not negligent design.

The cost of the investigation and defence were covered in full by ITIC.

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