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How Can Innovation Enhance Rail Safety Solutions?

How Can Innovation Enhance Rail Safety Solutions?

A lot of key business is about problem solving. It is an area of intense innovation.  Sometimes it is overlooked simply because the solution is so effective that the issues that prompted it in the first place are largely forgotten. Success, then, may be judged on how well something blends into its environment, rather than standing out from it.

Getting it Covered

Henry Spence is the Managing Director of Selectequip, in Lichfield, a specialist supplier of maintenance products across a range of industry sectors, including heavy rail.


“We believe very much in innovation as a means of addressing problems with specific solutions.  In many cases this means looking at things like construction materials, particularly do with weight and durability

Henry Spence, Selectequip


Selectequip is a member of the Rail Alliance, a rail networking organisation designed to strengthen and build links between suppliers and customers across the rail sector. In this context, the company has been able to thrive both as a supplier and an innovator.

Henry comments on a particular issue impacting on health and safety on the railway. “Maintenance staff were having to deal with these culverts, or catchpits, openings to drainage tunnels, where the original concrete covers had deteriorated and now presented a very real safety risk.”

It was expensive to maintain and replace the old style covers, so Selectequip was tasked with finding a solution.

“We looked at material and settled on glass reinforced plastic, GRP, as the ideal material. This is fibreglass resin-based, and it’s both tough and lightweight,” Henry explains.


The Rail Safety Legacy

The result was a wide adoption of the Selectequip solution. In practical terms, the catchpit covers provide reassurance for those working on the railways and are easy to move because of their lightweight manufacture. They are also cost-effective in terms of material and saving on manpower.

Selectequip receives ongoing practical support from RBS (Future Williams & Glyn).  Rob Taylor, Relationship Director, enthused, “Henry’s approach combines forward-thinking with practicality.  This adds real value to everything Selectequip does. We are pleased to be able to offer him our full support because his work has a real, positive legacy.”

Rob Taylor & Henry Spence, rail safety expert

Rob Taylor & Henry Spence

If you would like a forward-thinking approach to your rail safety, please call Selectequip on 01543 416641 or visit