Pickersgill-Kaye Ltd’s rail expertise has helped an engineering company completely re-build the cab layout of a 50-year-old locomotive as part of a modernisation project to return the vehicles to service as an electro-diesel maintenance fleet for Network Rail.

Railway Vehicle Engineering Ltd (RVEL), a leading specialist in engineering work on railway traction and rolling stock, is rebuilding the Class 73s at its Derby plant. RVEL has replaced the 1950s technology and installed two new state-of-the-art diesel generator sets and control equipment, resulting in a cleaner, quieter engine with greater fuel economy.

RVEL is also modernising the cab lay-out on the locomotive class and enlisted the services of Pickersgill-Kaye, part of the Joseph Kaye Holdings Group, to supply the vehicles with new cab door locks because time had taken its toll on the original fittings which were furnished by a different supplier.

The project also required Pickersgill-Kaye to manufacture new, two-position locks for side panels designed by RVEL to make it easier for staff to access the diesel engines when they undergo future maintenance.

Pickersgill-Kaye rail products sales manager Andy Hewitt said: "RVEL is going to give the Class 73 locomotives a new lease of life to keep them in service for the next 30 years, which is where Pickersgill-Kaye comes in. We can manufacture standard products or bespoke designs to the customer’s exact specifications, and our locks last the lifetime of the locomotive."

Leeds-based Pickersgill-Kaye has extensive experience in designing and manufacturing both standard and customised door locks and security systems for the rail industry, including external LED train door status indicators, internal and external cab door locks and internal egress and external access devices.

Its operational cost-saving products are used by train companies across the world and the company’s customer base includes Siemens, Bombardier, Alstom, Irish Rail, CAF, Jiwon Tech, Rotem, Ocean Eagle, DB Schenker and Hitachi to name but a few.

There is a move towards higher quality, more robust products and many operators are now specifying Pickersgill-Kaye’s locks to the train manufacturers in order to guarantee the standards they need.

Demand for Pickersgill-Kaye’s rail products continues with further orders in the pipeline. The company recently clinched its largest single order to manufacture emergency door handles for the Class 800 and 801 trains being supplied by Hitachi Rail Europe for the multi-billion pound Intercity Express Programme (IEP), one of the biggest rail projects in the world.

It has previously designed and manufactured cab door locks for a North American supplier and Irish Rail’s 201 class locomotives, used for hauling passenger rolling stock on intercity routes, as well as its freight locomotives.

With over 150 years’ experience supplying the rail industry and tram systems with door locks, Pickersgill-Kaye’s manufacturing flexibility and commitment, backed up by excellent levels of service, has helped the company win new business against often tough overseas competitors.