TPA helps Rail Live with a minefield of gas mains


Access systems specialist TPA to supply its fourth Rail Live exhibition.

Specialist temporary access systems supplier TPA will have a particular challenge for its provision of trackways at this year’s Rail Live exhibition (June 19-20).

The show, at Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre in Warwickshire, is expanding onto a second farmer’s field for 2024, but the ground conceals a minefield of gas mains which will require a double layer of TPA’S heavy-duty aluminium roadway panels.

“It will be a challenge ensuring we have a clear plan of how we are laying them pre-event,” said Katie Gordon-Hill, head of B2B exhibitions for the organisers, Bauer Media Group.

This is the fourth year TPA has supplied Rail Live with temporary access solutions. The first two years were annual contracts but for 2023 and 2024 a two-year deal was agreed.

“TPA were more competitive on price per panel. They are also one of the largest exhibitors at the event and have been returning year-on-year, so it was great to be able to use them as one of our service providers,” said Katie.

TPA supplies Rail Live with its metal roadways, the quantity of which generally remains the same year-on-year as the organisers move the allocation of panels around depending on the operational changes of the show, such as car park sizes or zone requirements.

A team of up to five TPA operatives installs them the week prior to the event, which usually takes two to three days, including setting up their own stand. They return the opening week of the show to install the car park panels as the event’s contract with the farmer for access does not start until two days before. Usually, this is completed within one day. De-rig starts the day after the show and usually takes two working days.

The TPA panels are typically used for single-panel roadways during build up and breakdown, and on the in-between days visitors use them as designated walkways (although TPA also offers lighter-duty trackway panels especially for pedestrians). In the car park, they reinforce the ground in the area that receives particularly heavy traffic, especially if any rain is forecast.

As well as the supply and installation, TPA also helps with the design of the layout of the panels.

Katie said: “The design is relatively easy as the show has been going on for some time now. We do our own floorplans but TPA are really helpful. Last year, I needed to know what gap was possible between two parallel roads if we installed a curve at the top joining them and TPA very kindly laid out a load of panels in their yard to replicate what I required and measured the gap for me and sent photos to go with it.”

TPA may have won the contract initially on price but their service is helping to keep it.

Katie said: “They’re brilliant pre-event. Our account manager is incredibly helpful and always pops in to check things are progressing on-site. We have had a few different on-site managers but I can’t fault them. They’re always really friendly, understand my plans, and check in before starting new areas/zones just to triple-check they’re starting in the right location.

“This year I expect they will provide the usual great level of service. We hope we have one of the previous managers on-site as it’s always great to see a familiar face at the event. The contractors become a part of our extended event team.”