ScotRail engineers make the grade

Last updated: Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Two members of ScotRail’s engineering team have been celebrating success after recently gaining a first-class honours degree at Glasgow Caledonian University.

David Knox, Fleet Engineer, and John McBride, Maintenance Team Member, both successfully graduated with a BEng(Hons)/BEng Programme Engineering (Design and Manufacture) degree as part of a Graduate Apprenticeship initiative driven by Skills Development Scotland, which aims to increase the skill base of the Scottish workforce.

The course was undertaken over a four-year period, and was completed while David and John continued to work full-time at ScotRail.

There are four key content areas which make up the Engineering: Design and Manufacture Graduate Apprenticeship:

  • Engineering principles/enabling technologies.
  • Business management.
  • Personal and interpersonal effectiveness skills.
  • Project management.

As part of the degree, David and John both led on engineering projects at ScotRail.

John’s project saw the trial of a bioreactor toilet system on ScotRail’s Class 334 fleet. The bio-tank toilets turn waste into clean water that can be reused, resulting in a more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient alternative to a waste retention tank which needs to be emptied and cleaned regularly.

David focussed on improving the performance of the train operator’s fleet of Class 170 trains. Using computer aided design and analysis techniques, David created and tested several designs for a new underframe protection on the Class 170s to help reduce damage caused by loose debris along the railway. These methods removed the need for destructive testing, resulting in a cost effective and environmentally conscious method of designing and testing components.

ScotRail has a long-standing partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University, with a number of ScotRail engineers graduating from the University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment.

David Lister, ScotRail Safety, Engineering and Sustainability Director, said:

“We’re extremely proud of David and John for gaining this excellent qualification, and I’m grateful to Glasgow Caledonian University for helping them further their careers.

“It’s people like David and John who are the future of Scotland’s Railway. Their skills, ideas, and qualifications will prove invaluable to us for years to come, and we’ll now be looking to both of them to come up with, and implement, ideas that will improve our fleet maintenance procedures.”

Dr Andrew Cowell, Programme Leader: BEng(Hons) Engineering (Design and Manufacture) – Graduate Apprenticeship, said:

“It was a pleasure to have David and John studying with us on the Graduate Apprenticeship programme. Both engaged extremely well with the programme and the results they achieved are due rewards for the effort they put into achieving this goal.

“We wish them every success with their careers at ScotRail, and look forward to hearing how they progress.”