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HomeGuest WritersSignalling, power and telecoms: The future’s bright for Amaro

Signalling, power and telecoms: The future’s bright for Amaro

Network Rail Principal Contractor Amaro is already a leading provider of signalling and power services. John Waugh, Engineering and Operations Director, explains why the company is now looking to build on its impressive telecoms offering, too.

Amaro is a renowned provider of signalling services – and with good reason. Our staff can deliver signalling projects from start to completion, designing, installing, testing, and commissioning equipment throughout the UK. Licensed, experienced, and competent, they work on every kind of signalling project imaginable – signals, AWS, TPWS, and track circuits.

But despite what some may still believe, we’re not just a signalling business. We also specialise in power (M&E and E&P) – primarily signalling power supplies, but also for lighting, stations, switch rooms and so much more. In fact, almost half of our current work bank is focused on railway power. It’s big business for us, and something we’ve always invested heavily in, not just financially but in terms of our team and their equipment.

Able to undertake both renewals and maintenance work, we’re supporting major frameworks across the country – including a main signalling framework in the South East.

And, as the rail industry embraces digital signalling, many projects involve not just signalling and power, but telecoms too. That’s why we’re looking to build upon our existing telecoms offering.

While we already deliver operational and lineside telecoms projects, we see telecoms as a real growth area for us – and we’re keen to be seen as the ‘one-stop-shop’ for signalling, power, and telecoms that we really are. This has been part of our strategic plan for years – it won’t just lead to growth for Amaro – it’s also set to benefit our clients, who will be able to deal with a single supplier for all three services, rather than ‘chopping and changing’ between contractors.

Delivering efficiencies

But what exactly are the benefits of using a single supplier? One major efficiency is around interfaces, which can be dealt with internally. This means engineering assurance is easier to run and manage.

And, rather than struggling to manage three separate contractors, the client has a single point of contact – which makes communication easier.

Indeed, communication is a key concern. When three or four contractors are involved in a project, one team can fail to relay information to another – leading to mistakes, process issues, and costly delays. Multiple contractors can sometimes lead to higher costs for the client, too.

And, if a commercial issue arises with one contractor, there can be knock-on effects for the other suppliers – leading, once again, to project delays.

Ultimately, we believe that consulting a single supplier for signalling, power, and telecoms leads to significant efficiencies for clients.

The ideal partner for CP7

As part of this growth plan, we’re keen to bring in new telecoms personnel. It will open up new opportunities for Amaro; we’ll be better equipped to support clients with station redevelopments and platform extensions, providing both the power and telecoms for the likes of surveillance systems and information screens.

And, as CP7 gets going, we see ourselves as the ideal partner for Tier 1 suppliers that have won large frameworks and need support across all three services. My team and I are working hard to develop these relationships, and are proud of our approach. We’re collaborative, easy to work with, and can react quickly to requests. All of the qualities we already bring to our signalling and power jobs will be brought our clients’ telecoms projects too.

We’re also proving ourselves on our largest project to date – Beaulieu Park Station. As part of this ambitious scheme, the Amaro team is delivering signalling installation, testing, and commissioning works on behalf of principal contractor, Murphy Group. It’s a massive project for us, but one that’s progressing on time and within budget.

Investing in the team

Looking ahead, I’m also keen to continue growing our team across the board. Supporting staff and helping them to fulfil their potential is important to me, and to the business; it’s about showing them that their role at Amaro can be a career rather than just a job. After three decades in the industry, I love passing on experience and knowledge to young engineers. A lot of people think that they’ll be on the tools forever, but I want to show them that there are opportunities for progression. That they can move into engineering planning or project management, for example.

That’s why, after joining Amaro in 2020, I introduced a personal development programme and apprenticeship scheme, helping to train young people and bring them into the industry.

Managing Director Micky and I are proof that you can achieve almost anything, whatever route you take. He started his career on the tools, while I studied for an engineering degree in my thirties. It’s never too late to learn and improve. It’s taken me 30 years, but I’ve finally found a job I love!

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