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Southern Backs Manufacturer Expertise

Bogie-drop and heavy-handling specialist Mechan Limited has been contracted by Southern to maintain mechanical equipment and electronic control systems at three of the train operator’s key rolling stock depots for three years.

The contract award follows Sheffield-based Mechan’s decision to appoint a new service engineer dedicated to the South East and South Midlands area. Another engineer will be based in the area to assist fulfilment of this commitment to Southern.

Heavy-handling and depot personnel protection equipment at Southern’s depots at Selhurst in South London, Brighton and Littlehampton on the Sussex coast will be maintained under the contract. Much of the equipment was originally manufactured and supplied by Mechan.

“Southern’s decision to adopt a manufacturer servicing contract for its depot equipment makes sound sense,” asserts Mechan managing director Richard Carr. “After all, the railways have seen an increasing trend in this direction, with the likes of Siemens and Bombardier doing train maintenance under contract.

“Our engineers know the equipment and systems inside-out, so can help to ensure maximum reliability. And in the rare event of a fault developing, a Mechan engineer can respond rapidly to rectify the problem and minimise potentially costly and disruptive downtime.

“Anything that undermines the ability to maintain trains efficiently and on schedule can impact on reliability and punctuality. These issues are always important, but never more so than when franchises become due for renewal and the incumbent’s performance comes under close scrutiny.

“We have been working with Southern for a while and supplied four 15-tonne mobile jacks for the Selhurst depot in 2006. Our associated company Mechan Technology has installed depot personnel protection systems there, at Brighton and at Littlehampton. The three depots have been upgraded by Southern franchise holder Govia, a joint venture between Go-Ahead Group and Keolis SA of France. These upgrades were part of a £140-million investment at eight locations, linked to the introduction of Southern’s Electrostar train fleet.

The contract with Southern is not confined to Mechan’s own equipment. Its engineers have the experience to maintain other systems and, if desired, enhance them by adding features such as MicroLink controls to bring them closer to Mechan standards of performance.

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