Giant wind turbine art work opens in Hull as part of wider celebrations

09 February 2017

The UK City of Culture initiative has moved to Hull, which recently celebrated its opening. As part of wider cultural exhibitions, an art work by artist Nayan Kulkarni was unveiled in the city's centre – a 75 meter-long wind turbine. The work was installed in the city's centre with the support of Arup. The work is fitting, as Hull recently got word that Siemens will invest £310 million in the city to build a manufacturing plant for wind turbines.

The UK City of Culture is a designation given to a city in the UK, administered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to help boost its profile. The initiative was formed in 2009, to allow cities across the UK build on the success of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture 2008, which had significant social and economic benefits for the area. The initiative, which was earlier this year opened by fireworks, has seen Hull create a range of cultural and artistically oriented events across the city. Policy makers have invested around £30 million into the event, which includes a £25 million investment to revamp the centre of the city.

One of the artistic projects unveiled in the city is a 75 metre rotor blade from a windmill. The work, which was created by multimedia artist Nayan Kulkarni, weighs 28 tonnes and is the world’s largest handmade fibre glass component cast as a single object. The work is designed in such a way as to tilt to catch the wind, by which it moves slightly while remaining well fastened.

Hull City Council, ARUP, UK City Of Culture

Specialist consultancy Arup – working closely with Hull City Council – supported the installation of the work in the centre of Hull with project management, transport planning and structural engineering services. The work itself was manufactured by Siemens, which recently announced that it will be investing £310 million in the city to build a manufacturing plant for offshore wind turbines, creating around 1,000 jobs.

The delivery of the work itself involved moving the turbine through the city’s, narrow, centre streets – for which over 50 street lights, traffic control signalling, pedestrian guard railings and other street furniture needed to be relocated to allow for the move. The project was carried out at night to surprise the city’s residents with the installation.

Richard Bickers, a Project Director at Arup, says, “Blade is not only a dramatic artistic installation, but in terms of its transportation and exhibition, also a significant engineering feat. Over 50 items of street furniture, including traffic lights and lamp posts had to be temporarily removed to allow safe passage of this massive object. Part of the magic of the installation is people wondering how it got there – it’s a bit like a ship in a bottle.”

Arup’s involvement with the city includes a £20 million transformation of the pedestrianised areas of the city centre including.


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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.