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Supported by Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe (HICSE), the Wiltshire Music Centre based in Bradford on Avon, hosted their annual My Science Fair event.

The idea is to attract school children to music and science and it resulted in over 900 people attending the one day event.

The event consisted of performances, demonstrations, team workshops and drop-in experiences.  Everyone who attended were given the opportunity to get involved.

A big part of the day was the My Science Fair Project competition to which HICSE sponsored The Hitachi Prize for Innovation and the competition was high but the lucky winner was Sam from Widcombe Infants School in Bath.  Congratulations Sam!

The competition gave 61 local primary school children the opportunity to develop their skills in music and science.  They were given 3 months to choose a question based on their interests, decide how they would investigate their question and display their findings at the fair in March.

During the event, the children were asked to contribute towards writing The My Science Fair Symphony.  This song was written to demonstrate the links between music and science and to reflect on what they had enjoyed and learnt leading up to the event and the event itself.  It was then performed at the end of the day by a full auditorium of children and adults.

The Wiltshire Music Centre had many aims for the My Science Fair event and managed to exceed them all.  The main one being the amount of people attending and getting involved.

At HICSE, we are pleased to have supported this local event, which got so many children involved.

Congratulations to everyone who got involved.

To find out more about the Wiltshire Music Centre and other events that will hopefully start taking place again soon, please visit www.wiltshiremusic.org.uk

Posted 11/08/2020

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New training facilities have opened in the West Midlands to train railway staff to keep the rail network running safely.

The signalling simulators, which reflect real-life scenarios faced on the railway every day, have been installed at Walsall training centre and Birmingham’s New Street signal box. They are already being used to deliver Network Rail’s 12-week signaller training for new recruits and refresher training for current staff.

The facilities in Network Rail’s North West and Central region were completed ahead of schedule to increase the region’s signaller resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, working with Hitachi Information Control Systems (HICSE).

The operational simulator replicates the type of incidents and experiences that signallers would face on the railway, giving delegates the opportunity to get hands-on, practical experiences to test their reactions in a safe environment.

Martin Colmey, head of operations for Central route, said: “This is an invaluable facility which will train hundreds of future signallers who will help to keep the railway safe and operational for millions of passengers in future.  The simulator means our trainees can learn everything they need to know to confidently run the railway in a safe environment. The fact we can use it now to provide resilience during the ongoing Coronavirus crisis is another success from this investment.”

Tim Gray, Managing Director of Hitachi Information Control Systems said: “I am really pleased that Hitachi have been able to help Network Rail in keeping the UK railways running for key workers and freight customers and to provide a new training facility for future resilience. This was as brilliant collaboration and I’m grateful for the dedication and innovation shown by the HICSE staff who were involved”

To find out more about Network Rail’s training, please visit https://www.networkrail-training.co.uk/.

Posted 12/06/2020

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Hitachi is pleased to announce the opening of its new offices in Bradford on Avon

 

London, December 16 2019 --- Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe (HICSE), a supplier of innovative software solutions to the global rail industry, is relocating on December 16 to new offices located less than a mile away from its current premises.

One of Bradford on Avon’s leading employers, HICSE’s head office has been located at its current site on Kingston Road since 2010. It is moving to Middleton Drive on the new Kingston Farm development from Ashford Homes.

The move comes as a result of HICSE’s continued growth over the past few years, which has seen the permanent workforce increase to over 140 people. It also reflects the strategic expansion of its rail business both in the UK and overseas.

 

Tim Gray, HICSE Managing Director, commented:

We are pleased to be moving into the new premises in Bradford on Avon and to continuing our long-standing association with the local community and the Southwest region. The new offices will provide an excellent workspace for our staff and enable efficient delivery and collaboration for our customer and suppliers. Together with our Derby and Plymouth offices we are ready to build on the exciting opportunities in today’s railway industry.

 

About Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe Ltd.

Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe brings together many years of experience in delivery and support of simulation, control and traffic management systems. In the U.K. our products form an essential part of Network Rail’s operational infrastructure, enabling safe and efficient performance via our training simulator and automated route setting systems.

To meet rail sector challenges, our team are driving industry-changing innovations in full lifecycle modelling and simulation, including automated data validation and design optimisation solutions. We are now combining our products and experience with those of our parent company, Hitachi Limited, to deliver market leading information and control solutions such as the Tranista Traffic Management platform and related Digital Railway solutions.

 

For further information about the company, please visit:  www.hitachi-infocon.com

Or contact Denise Watkins, Business Development Manager:

Tel 07872 147616

email: denise.watkins@hitachi-infocon.com

 

Posted 16/12/2019

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Written by Mel Sutcliffe, Senior Test Engineer

Sarah Rogers and I were lucky enough to be nominated to attend Hitachi’s Global Women’s Summit (GWS) 2019 in Tokyo – and naturally we jumped at the chance! As a result, on the 31st of October we found ourselves in the grand ballroom of the Keio Plaza Hotel, accompanied by approx. 180 other delegates from all over the world.

This year for the first time, both male and female delegates were invited to attend this summit, and so in addition to 153 female delegates, there were 27 male delegates

Interestingly, it was noted by several male speakers how strange/difficult they initially found being in such a small minority.

The summit started with a welcome address from Mr. Toshiaki Higashihara, the President and CEO of Hitachi Ltd. 

This was followed by a speech from Ms. Cynthia Carroll, the Outside Director,  and a talk from Mr. Hidenobu Nakahata, the Senior Vice President and Executive Officer, CHRO, and General Manager of Human Capital Group.

The second session of the day consisted of a panel discussion with a theme of “How can we create a workplace with diversity and inclusiveness?”. This question was debated by a panel of 6 guest speakers, comprising 2 men and 4 women, with Ms. Yukiko Araki moderating 

This discussion was immediately followed by a group photograph.

 

After a traditional bento box lunch , we split into groups to attend a number of workshops. There were several official photographers at the event, and I was captured participating in the ‘Unconscious Bias’ workshop (top right photograph), and Sarah was photographed in the ‘Coaching: Effective Questions’ workshop (bottom right photograph).

After the workshops had finished, we all returned to the ballroom for Mr. Toshiaki Higashihara’s Closing Remarks speech.

The event concluded with a Networking Dinner, during which time I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Toshiaki Higashihara, and to get several photographs with him 

      

I was also asked to participate in a videoed interview, and the footage will be used in the GWS video that will soon be made available via the YouTube Hitachi Brand Channel (link to follow when available).

Tokyo – Sightseeing.

In addition to attending the summit, Sarah and I joined our colleagues Tom Ross, Luke Dyer and Karsten Cox for a spot of sightseeing. Here we all are, not looking in the slightest bit bemused and jet lagged!

Soon after our arrival, we were lucky enough to be able to watch England beat New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in a local Sports Bar. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) no photos survive of this evening, so you’ll just have to use your imagination!

Our hotel was in a district of Tokyo called ‘Akihabara’, which is commonly referred to as ‘Electric City’. The skyscrapers were tall, the advertising displays were enormous, the signs were brightly coloured, and it was a busy, noisy place all day, and late into the night. 

  

Tokyo is home to numerous Temples and Shrines – after the excitement of ‘Electric City’, we visited a number of these sites to experience the more serene and peaceful side of Tokyo 

 

As you can see in the following photo, insisting on have a selfie taken with your colleagues doesn’t always result in a sea of smiley happy faces 

One of the highlights of my trip was the evening Sarah and I visited the ‘The SkyTree’ – the tallest free-standing broadcasting tower in the world 

We travelled by an express elevator to the higher of the two observation desks (this wasn’t an outing for anyone with a fear of heights!), and after indulging in a little Dutch courage , we made our way along the futuristic viewing platform , and took in the sights of the city from 450 meters above ground level.

To finish this article, here’s a photo of a Panda in the zoo at Ueno (another district of Tokyo) – it looked about exhausted as I did by the end of the trip, but it was an unforgettable experience!! 

Posted 04/12/2019

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Written by Matthew Diggle, Engineering Manager

Sleep deprivation, disorientation, and a general feeling of lack of progress might sound like a normal day at the office, but add feeling cold and wet whilst sitting outside on a boat made of concrete that’s pitching and rolling in the middle of the English Channel and you get a flavour of my time volunteering with a sail training charity as part of Hitachi’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme. I spent a week helping with a couple of trips for young people, and if I’m honest it wasn’t all hard work. 

The crew for the first part of the week joined the boat without knowing each other and, in general, with very little sailing experience. I was Second Mate, in charge of a “watch” of five, and my role was to mould them into a tight-knit band of expert mariners, or at the very least help them to work together and learn how to do some of the tasks on-board without injuring themselves or each other. 

We started off in Chatham and went a little way down the Medway to anchor for the night. Checking the weather forecast the next morning showed that, although things were fine to the east of Kent, a storm out in the Atlantic was making the sea in the English Channel rather rough, so to avoid the worst of the conditions we decided to head for Ramsgate. As predicted the waves did get bigger as we approached Ramsgate, and it was at this point, as we dropped sails and prepared to enter the harbour, that the engine decided not to start. There were various options available but we had set our hearts on visiting Ramsgate, so we radioed up to see if anyone could give us a tow. Rather embarrassingly it was the huge blue and orange RNLI all-weather lifeboat that turned up to drag us in. 

The next morning, with the engine repaired, we set off for northern France. This proved to be a rather gruelling 27-hour battle into wind and waves, with the watches running 3 hours on, 3 hours off throughout. This wasn’t too bad during the day, but waking people in the middle of the night and getting them up on deck is a different matter. However, all the crew did their best, despite quite severe sea-sickness in some cases, and we sailed on through the darkness watching the lights on-shore getting ever so slowly closer. Finally, as dawn approached, we entered the harbour in Dieppe.

We spent the day in France where we came across a vintage car rally. The cars seemed to date from a period before silencers were invented. As we watched from a “respectful” distance, the owner of one, which was obviously Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang’s noisy, older sibling, swung the starting handle and it started up thunderously with flames coming out of the exhausts, surprisingly close to the petrol tank.

The next day we set off back across the Channel, heading for Portsmouth. This trip was much more comfortable although it still required standing watch through the night, but we were rewarded with a stunning sunrise as we approached the Isle of Wight.

When we arrived I swapped over to the charity’s other, smaller, boat to be First Mate for a rather excitable group of sea-scouts to take part in the Association of Sail Training Organisations’ Small Ships race in the Solent. To start with there was little to no wind, so we drifted with the tide and at one point we were going sideways using what little wind there was to avoid a very large green buoy. We just made it, but in the process I think we rather frightened a couple of chaps who were out for a quiet day fishing in their little motor boats. Fortunately the wind picked up for the leg back towards the finishing line at Cowes and we were pleased, and more than a little surprised, to find out that we came first in our class. In fact, we would have been first overall if we hadn’t picked up a penalty for missing one of the marks. In the evening there was a prize-giving ceremony, where we were presented with a (not terrifically exciting) book, followed by a bit of a celebration. 

Our great victory in the race made the sea-scouts even more enthusiastic, so rather than going straight back to drop them off the next day we spent a few hours sailing in somewhat breezier conditions. 

It was rewarding to see how much the sea-scouts had learned and how much better they were at working together. 

I was rather tired by the end of the week and didn’t get home until almost midnight, so I returned to work the next day suffering from sleep deprivation, feeling slightly disorientated, and wondering how much progress there had been whilst I was away, so it was business as usual. But at least I was warm and dry! 

Posted 11/11/2019

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The theme of Lottie’s Tour this year is 'Then and Now' to celebrate the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Centenary.

We therefore took Lottie to visit our local railway station at Bradford on Avon, as it contains some fascinating historical items. Lottie discovered that the first passenger train arrived at Bradford on Avon railway station in 1857 (before WES was even formed!), and that the station has the honour of being designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel himself!

Lottie

Whilst looking around the railway station, Lottie took advantage of the GWR (Great Western Railway) and BR (British Rail) benches to take a break in the sunshine, and spend a happy few moments admiring the architecture, and watching the arrival and departure of several trains.

Lottie

With the 'Then and Now' theme of this year’s tour in mind, we dug deep into our archives here in the HICSE office and found examples of some older technology, which Lottie was keen to examine, and to learn more about.

Lottie

During a quiet moment on her last day here with us at HICSE, Lottie spent some time reading some of this year’s Hitachi publications, and considering how much things have changed in the field of engineering since WES was established 100 years ago.

Lottie

HICSE’s office is relocating shortly, so this is the last time we’ll welcome Lottie to this site. We’re therefore looking forward to showing her round our fantastic new offices during ‘Tomorrow’s Engineers’ week in 2020. Thanks for visiting us Lottie, see you next year!!

To find out more information about Lottie’s Tour, and to see the other companies that Lottie is visiting this year, search for #WESLottieTour.

To find out more about WES, visit their website: https://www.wes.org.uk/wes-centenary

 

Posted 06/11/2019

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During September, a number of HICSE engineers attended a kick off meeting for the Hitachi STEM Champion Scheme.  Here is what one of them had to say following the event.

“I along with other HICSE colleagues attended the Hitachi STEM Champion Scheme kick off meeting in maidenhead in late September 2019. This scheme is a new professional development opportunity for early career engineers from all Hitachi Group Companies, starting with those in the UK. It will run in collaboration with the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize), the scheme provides opportunities for external skills development, networking, attending prestigious events, publishing articles and thought pieces. It also offers internal STEM Champion Forum Meetings with peers from across the Group, training and access to senior business leaders. It will also provide us with a forum to run STEM awareness sessions in schools around the UK.”

 

To many people, STEM isn’t something they have heard of before, so below is an outline of what the STEM scheme is all about.

What is Hitachi STEM Champion Scheme?

STEM Champion Scheme is Hitachi’s approach on the STEM education program which encompasses schools, summer programs, science centres, museums and a variety of environments that make up a collection of learning opportunities.  The Hitachi mission is to ‘Inspire the Next’ generation of pioneers through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and is committed to making a difference.

The idea of STEM Education is to excite and engage students by providing them with a hands-on experience with research grade scientific instruments they wouldn’t usually have access to.

 

What does STEM stand for?

S – Science – ‘Explore a new gateway into the minds of students’.  By showing students what science can do, it expands the boundaries or their potential and possibilities for the future.  Through STEM, students will learn about innovative and challenging scientific activities that helps them understand the value of science.

T – Technology – ‘Magnify the importance of Technology’.  Challenging students to familiarise themselves with innovation will encourage their sense of curiosity.

E – Engineering – ‘Science, math and technology are among the tools engineers use to create solutions serving people and society’.  The students are inspired by the creativity of engineering and the opportunities it provides to make a difference.

M – Mathematics – ‘Math is the language of the sciences’.  Giving students a hands-on way to understand real-world problems will lead to a brighter tomorrow.

 

To find out more about the Hitachi STEM programme, please visit the Hitachi Inspire STEM Education website https://www.inspirestemeducation.us/

 

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Tomorrow, 23rd June 2018, is International Women in Engineering Day and takes place on this date every year. 

It is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focuses on the variety of career opportunities which are available for women to move into.  The idea of the day is to celebrate the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world.

What a lot of people don't know is that less than 11% of the engineering sector in the UK is made up of women and with a large skills gap and the need for a more diverse workforce, it has never been more important to inspire and encourage more people, especially women, to choose a career in engineering and by supporting International Women in Engineering Day you are helping.

Women in Engineering

There was a huge success with the level of engagement on websites, Twitter and the official hashtag, #INWED17, which received over 34,000 impressions on the actual day alone.

This year the hashtag is #RaisingTheBar (as well as #INWED18) with the aim to raise the awareness of the day even more than last year.

Like many other engineering companies HICSE has a familiar historically-skewed demographic, but we are making good progress and wholeheartedly support the WES initiatives. To recognise the day (and the challenges) we have spoken to a couple of our female engineers and asked them to write a bit about themselves and being an engineer in such a male dominated environment. 

Women in Engineering

The first one is Mel Sutcliffe's article who is currently a Test Engineer at HICSE:

My first job in the IT Industry was working on an IT Help Desk – an experience I’m sure lots of people in this industry will be familiar with. Spending a couple of years in this type of (largely thankless) support role is something of a rite of passage for many - and inevitably, it’s made me much more sympathetic towards the voice at the end of phone when I’m calling any kind of Help Desk or Call Centre! At this point in my career, I was working with a fairly equal mix of men and women.

Having paid my dues on the Help Desk, I moved into the Test Department of the same company, and qualified as a Test Engineer. I subsequently took increasingly senior jobs with different companies, and initially didn’t notice the ratio of men to women changing. However, the more technical my role became, the less women I encountered in the workforce. Eventually, I found myself working as a Senior Test Engineer in a company which consisted of 44 men, and me - the only woman! Soon after starting, I was taken aside and offered the option of having one of the two toilets on my floor assigned exclusively to me. I was tempted to ask them to paint the walls of ‘my’ toilet pink, and hang pictures of frolicking kittens (in tiaras) on the walls, but instead I declined their kind offer, and continued to share the somewhat limited facilities equally with the rest of the workforce. I sometimes dream of that little pink palace I could have created for myself…

I’ve continued to work in environments which consist mainly of men; I previously had a team of all male Test Engineers working for me, and my current department comprises 11 men and just 1 woman – me!

Writing this article has made me question how and why I’ve stayed the course, when other women haven’t; what have I done, or what have I got? I’d love to end this piece with some fantastic moment of self-realisation – Eureka! I’ve found the holy grail of female equality - but I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you on that one... I don’t know why I’m sitting in a room with 11 men and no other women – we’re as intelligent, driven and determined as men, but the numbers simply don’t add up.

I hope one day that the ratio of men to women in the IT industry will become more equal, but I’m afraid that goal seems to be a very long way off at the moment.

Women in Engineering

The second article comes from the HICSE Head of Company Assurance:

How I managed to have it all – just not all at the same time!

Most of the people I work with have very similar back stories. They left school, went to university, graduated and started full time work. As graduates the one thing they had in common was that the jobs they went into were a stepping stone to better things. They had Prospects!

At the same age I had left school with no plan, direction or ambition and had three children in four years. This kept me busy for a while. Had my partner been a millionaire I would probably had a few more children and continued to aimlessly potter on. That wasn’t the case so given that children grow out of their clothes and shoes and require food and shelter on a regular basis it became apparent that paid work would have to come into the equation somewhere along the line. So paid work I did! Over the years I pulled pints, flipped burgers, stacked shelves, cleaned things, delivered free papers and sold coffee over the phone. The one thing all these jobs had in common was that they could be fitted in round the children and they paid, albeit badly given that this was before the minimum wage came along.

Fast Forward: I’m broke, shattered and bored. Also older and wiser. There’s no shame in being poor but it’s no picnic either. I decided I wanted to change things so did some research. It seemed that anything to do with computers was the way to go. As I had never even touched a computer at that point I decided to go to an open evening at the local college to find out about evening classes with the vague idea that if I could find out how to use a word processor it might be a Good Thing. Judging by the hourly rates quoted in the Sits Vac columns of the time it would certainly be a way of earning a lot more money.

I went along to the open evening and met the person who would be my tutor for the next two years while I completed a full time HND in Business and Information Technology. Quite how I went from finding out about learning a skill that would pay at evening classes to signing up to become a full time mature student for two years is probably a whole book in itself but without the guidance and support I received that evening it would never have happened. I couldn’t see it happening when I signed up for the course but two years later I walked out of college with an HND and the confidence to sign up for a further year of study – a conversion course leading to a BSc in European Software Engineering.

The new course involved a term a term each at an English, Irish and French university. After I had spent the first 12 weeks driving up to Huddersfield on a Sunday night and back home on a Friday I was ready to quit! The family, children included, spent the fortnight’s Christmas holiday giving me ‘pep talks’. Mainly of the JFDI variety!

Early the next January the children and I loaded as many of our possessions as would fit into my battered Skoda and boarded a ferry to Ireland to spend three months in Cork – me at college and the children at school. It did us all the world of good and we got on the ferry to come back to England in a distinctly tearful mood.

The scene above repeated itself for the final term of the course, this time France. A condition of starting the course modules in any location was passing all those at the end of the previous term I had scraped through (just) at Huddersfield but did much better in Cork. The third term in France was the decider but when I put the last full stop on the last exam paper I couldn’t have cared less about the end result – I had stayed the course! (I passed.)

A big reality check followed on returning to England. I had a brand new shiny degree but now had to decide what to do with it. The HND and degree course timetables gave me the same long holidays as the children. I couldn’t possible hold down a full time job during the school holidays could I?? Think again. Plenty of other people were doing just that – how did they do it? I did some more research, worked it out and went to an agency. They found me a full time job as a Technical Assistant for six months. Four months in I was offered a permanent position which I declined. My long-suffering (they must have been – I was there for 13 years in the end) employers asked why. I explained that I had left one thing off my CV when applying to the agency – my degree. My reasoning at the time was that if the childcare thing didn’t work out I wouldn’t have a blot on my record – or rather my hard-won shiny degree. I figures I would get round to using it eventually but it might have to wait.

Much to my surprise instead of dismissing me as one of the terminally faint hearted my employers offered to sign me up for their graduate trainee programme. I said ‘Yes please!’ I had a riot! I was never bored at work, I learned a lot, I got promoted a lot, I traveled and I met many interesting people.

Fast Forward 13 years: All good things come to an end. The company I was working for was taken over by a much larger company and when voluntary redundancy was put on the table I was one of the takers. Walking out of the place for the last time without a job to go to was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. However, the week before I left I had attended an interview at a very small company – headcount 40 – and the only ray of hope was a second interview the following Monday. I got the job!

Fast Forward 7 years: Today I am Head of Company Assurance for Hitachi Information Control Systems (Europe) Ltd (HICSE), the new name of the small company I went to work for, following its acquisition by Hitachi. My youngest child is 30 and I have a 14 year old granddaughter. I have learnt a lot over the course of the years, the most important things being;-

  1. It is NEVER too late to do anything. There are eighty year olds (and older) running marathons!
  2. You can have it all but probably not at the same time. The hard part for me was working out what ‘it’ was. ‘It’ is different for all of us. Step 2 is working out the ‘when’.
  3. Other people’s opinions are nice to have if good and awful if bad. Don’t ignore either but learn to be your own best critic. If I had listened to other people all those years ago when they said I was crazy to consider going back to college ‘at your age’ I probably would still be broke, bored and exhausted!

If you would like to find out more information about the day, please visit www.inwed.org.uk and keep an eye on all social media tomorrow where you will find a lot activity going on

(22/06/2018)

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Written by Stephen Hawkins, HICSE Senior Test Engineer

This winter, whilst everyone else was staying in the warm and dry, avoiding the cold weather, I was doing some major work on my classic car, in a barn/workshop on a windswept hill, in the Cotswolds.

 One of the major issues that was spoiling my enjoyment of my 'classic' 1975 Scimitar SE5a, was that the gearbox was jumping out of 2nd (sometimes with a disconcerting bang!) when the throttle was feathered.  Whilst this was not an issue when on a run, it was a pain in the town.  Not only that, but everywhere I parked the Scimitar, it left its calling card - oil.  In my case both transmission oil and engine oil.  My driveway was suffering and you could 'smell it' on a warm day.  Although, to be fair, the oil was doing an excellent job of preserving the chassis!

 However, something had to be done.  This sort of thing takes planning, a working gearbox had to be sourced.  This was accomplished during the previous August where a working, oil tight, gearbox was pulled from a wreck, one weekend, for the princely sum of £100, including propeller shaft and all other linkages and fittings (the Propeller shaft was later sold to a needy Scimitar owner in Finland, for a very small consideration).

 So then came the big day in early December, after all connections and mounts had been undone and the bonnet removed, to pull the engine and gearbox out of the car.  A two man operation, to do it safely.  The old iron Ford Essex V6 and gearbox are a heavy old lump, when connected together.

classic car

 The engine was then split from the gearbox, where it became obvious that a new clutch would be required, as bits of spring from the friction plate, dropped out of the bell housing.

 The engine was always fine, with good compression and good oil pressure.  So the plan was to just flush out all the waterways, replace the core plugs, and rear main seal.  Then just service it, paint it, and pop it back in.  Simples!

Classic Car

 The 'new to me' gearbox, just needed a filter clean (overdrive), new oil and a clean and paint.  A messy business, but an easy one, for the budding mechanic.

Classic Car

 The engine was then painted a rather fetching shade of green, and then re-attached to the gearbox, with the new clutch, ready to go back in.

Classic Car

The engine bay was then cleaned up, including the scraping off of all the congealed oil and dirt as far as I could reach.  It became obvious that a new radiator was required, along with all new pipe-work for the cooling system, with all new stainless jubilee clips (ouch!).  Also, there are a lot of panels in the engine bay, in front of the engine, that duct the air to the radiator, all these were powder coated and replaced where necessary.  As a bonus, we managed to flush out the heater matrix, which had never, in my experience, allowed water through, to get the heater working again.

 As you can imagine, it was some months before I was ready to put the engine back in, with 'new to me' tubular header pipes for the exhausts.  But in it went, if rather gingerly. 

Classic Car

 After reconnecting all the mounts, electrics, pipes (water and fuel), etc, it was soon time to try the restart.  This was a surprisingly underwhelming affair, as it started on the second try.  So after a thorough warm up, bleed and checking that the cooling fan came on when the engine was hot, we were done.

Classic Car

 Now all I had to do was wait.........The law has changed this year (20th May 2018), as this car is now well over 40 years old, it no longer requires an MOT.  Yes, you heard right, not only is it free tax, as a Classic Car, but an MOT is now only voluntary and can be avoided by declaring the car as VHI (Vehicle of Historic Interest), a tick box on the new tax form.  However, I will be having the car inspected by a third party at some point this year, just for my peace of mind, and to get my next list of jobs to do.

(01/06/2018)

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Suleman Qazi, a Project Engineer working on the Thameslink Traffic Management project, was asked to prepare and give a presentation about Traffic Management Systems (TMS) (Introduction and Architecture) to the West Wiltshire U3A (WWU3A) Science and Engineering group in Trowbridge on the 8th May 2018.  

WWU3A

The WWU3A was launched in Trowbridge in June 1989 and has approximately 610 members who participate in over 60 group activities.  The Science and Engineering group focus on a large diversity of subjects from railways (including model railways), to refurbishing canals and old mills.  They meet once a month to either listen to a speaker or take a visit to a different site. 

Suleman's presentation included a high level of architecture of the TMS systems and how it will be changing the Railways of the future.  Suleman made sure that his audience was engaged in the presentation and in return there was a half an hour questions and answers session.  Some of the group members have a good understanding of railway control systems which made the questions more interesting, however this didn't phase Suleman who, like the true professional he is, was able to answer all of the questions asked whilst promoting Hitachi's TMS systems.  

WWU3A

Dominic Choi, a Data Engineer also working on the Thameslink Traffic Management project, accompanied Suleman during the afternoon and spoke to some of the group after the presentation.

There was a lot of positive feedback following the presentation.  One member of the group said 'The presentation was very interesting with loads of questions from our members'.

WWU3A

The group leader Yvonne Doonan added 'The group were very pleased that Suleman was given time to do a presentation to this group of WWU3A retired people who mainly have backgrounds in the Science or Engineering fields.  The purpose was to enlighten them to the advancements in this particular technology and its advantages.

The presentation was well received and was considered well planned, pitched at the right level for the attendees and informative.  It was agreed that Suleman answered the varied and probing questions succinctly showing great technical knowledge.

We will follow the future development with great interest.'

WWU3A

We also had great feedback from an ex-HICSE employee, Bob Page, who said 'Suleman had obviously done a lot of preparation and collated numerous slides, graphics and videos, all very impressive and the timing of his presentation was precise to the minute.  Suleman faced some challenging questioning, none of which fazed him and where he didn't have a ready answer, he responded like a true politician.'

Suleman's final words were 'I thoroughly enjoyed my presentation and am looking forward to further such opportunities to promote Hitachi's TMS systems in the UK'.

(10/05/2018)