Customer Challenge

A depot in London couldn’t accommodate 10-car trains without blocking nearby access roads. Without major investment in either the trains or the infrastructure, the existing facilities would have a major impact on maintenance of units of this size. 

Changing the layout of the depot or nearby roads would prove costly and disruptive. The proposal by our client, instead was to create a design allowing for a split and join solution. This split and join operation, unusually, would be carried out by the driver. The result would be the train splitting into manageable five car “half” units.

As part of this, handrails used at split ends needed to be insulated from the car body to eliminate the risk of excessive touch voltage between cars.


  • To design a suitable housing for three-way valve and electrical controls for split and join activity
  • The design needed to be compatible with other future projects using the Aventra platform
  • The housing design had to accommodate pneumatic pipelines and an electrical harness
  • Any final design needed to be compliant with all regulations, consider human factors and the requirements of all teams working both on the project and within the depot


  • Study existing best practice across the industry, where similar challenges have presented themselves
  • Create an innovative new solution to allow the trains to split and join
  • Validate design with the structural, methods, human factor and maintenance teams
  • Review manufacturability with suppliers and check assembly sequences with the methods team
  • Structure BoM in PDM/VPM, and then create assembly, installation and detail drawings


  • Our collaborative design is tailored so that the driver can perform the splitting and joining activity – something which is usually done by a maintenance crew
  • We generated concept ideas and evaluated them withcustomer’s structural team and CFT
  • The design complies to requirements of human factors when examining mechanical and electronic components


  • The design is compatible with East Anglia operations and can be used as a platform solution across all future train projects with a 10-car scope
  • It is a fully customised design for EMLW and ET train car connectors
  • The design is tailored so that the driver can easily perform splitting and joining activity
  • The project design was reviewed and agreed the with all stakeholders, including supplier, prior to release
  • 3D design and drawings were created for all levels of design through to production