Innovative Railway App Design wins student national business award

An engineering student from Walthamstow, Fahad Rage, has been acclaimed as a “Future Industry Leader” at an awards ceremony in London thanks to his recent work placement with Furrer+Frey, designers of overhead electrification solutions for the railway.

Fahad was winner of the Year in Industry Award, given for the work placement project which is judged to have had most impact out of all the projects undertaken by students undertaking The Year in Industry, the well-known work placement programme run by charity EDT (the Engineering Development Trust). The Future Industry Leaders Awards were held at the Institution of Engineering and Technology in London last week and Fahad won through after an assessment of nine finalists by expert judges following submission of project reports, presentations, and intensive questioning by the judges.

The project which Fahad has been working on with Furrer+Frey through “The Year in Industry” had the initial brief to design a tool for improving the compatibility of electrification design to Network Rail’s High Output Plant System (HOPS), which is used to install overhead line structures on the Great Western Railway. Through his own initiative, Fahad learnt the necessary programming languages to design and build an App for this purpose. His solution allows designers to input key parameters and discover instantly whether a planned installation is compatible with HOPS.  His finished app has the potential to ensure that work can be delivered safely and efficiently saving significant time and money.

Currently studying for a Masters in Mechanical Engineering at University College London, and a former pupil at Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College, Fahad has found his introduction to the commercial world very stimulating, saying, “Working at Furrer+Frey has given me the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge I have gained at university to projects that have real industrial impact. Tackling this particular project from a unique angle has allowed me to produce an innovative solution and has encouraged me to always try new approaches when solving future problems.”


Chris Bryan, Contact Systems Engineer at Furrer+Frey, mentored Fahad during his project and says:

“Fahad has shown himself to be a polite, intelligent, enthusiastic and self-disciplined student. He was quick to grasp key concepts and able to begin working on individual projects within his first few weeks at Furrer+Frey. Fahad showed considerable initiative by individually creating an App for the High Output Plant System. The finished App will be a huge boon for the Great Western Electrification Programme as it will save time and ensure consistency in the installation of safety critical equipment. Everyone here at Furrer+Frey is delighted at his success!”

Fahad found that, as well as utilising his technical skills and initiative, the placement gave him an insight into the non-technical skills required to thrive in a commercial environment. He says, “Being in a work environment has taught me how to conduct myself in a professional manner and to communicate effectively with both my colleagues and clients. I have also been able to develop my organisational skills through the various projects I have worked on throughout the year.”

Chris Ward, National Director, The Year in Industry for EDT says, “Work placements are now the rule rather than the exception in engineering, science and business degrees and many of the students from leading universities come to The Year in Industry looking for high quality placements. This gives employers the opportunity to access exceptional talent like Fahad to tackle complex projects with fresh minds and innovative outlooks. We are always looking to work with companies to develop new placements for the many students that apply each year.”

Two other prizes were awarded to Year in Industry placement students at the Future Industry Leader Awards. Ross Gardiner was awarded the IET Award for Innovation for his work with high tech company Leonardo. His high quality project involving the development of software for simulating a specialised radar imaging mode called Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Lizzie Garside was awarded the prize for Environmental Awareness for her placement with ECH Engineering Ltd, a company designing and building innovative refrigeration systems.