For over 20 years, Ballyclare Limited has been designing, manufacturing and distributing a wide range of industrial workwear, corporate garments, high visibility and waterproof/foul weather garments, across multiple industrial markets, including rail.
Having worked in close partnership with Gore for many years supplying GORE-TEX® Technical Garments to the rail industry, both were delighted to announce during Rail Live 2016 the successful contract win to supply Network Rail with protective workwear. This new contract is believed to be one of the largest-ever UK deals to supply GO/RT rail-compliant workwear. This includes supplying Network Rail workers with hi-vis and waterproof clothing utilising GORE-TEX® Product technology, as well as flame retardant and arc protection clothing.
‘The extensive rail experience we have was obviously a significant benefit for us when it came to the very stringent tender process,’ explains Maggie Shaw, Ballyclare’s sales and service manager for the rail industry. ‘However, we certainly weren’t able to rest on our laurels as that process was both lengthy and challenging.’
The company had to adhere to the exacting specifications set down by Network Rail. A number of design and construction modifications took place during the tender process, with every single aspect of the garments closely specified and scrutinised. This included use of a very specific shade of hi-vis orange GORE-TEX® Fabric to ensure maximum safety for the end user when working trackside. In addition, extensive independent testing, wearer and laundry trials took place during this year-long process.
Ballyclare is now supplying a wide selection of jackets, trousers, coveralls, body-warmers and underwear to 13,000 trackside workers based at over 700 different Network Rail locations throughout the country.
Jonas Andersson, Gore Workwear Associate comments, ‘Ballyclare is already trusted by other major rail industry names such as Babcock, Amey and Transport for London to provide durable and waterproof hi-vis GORE-TEX® Garments to end users.
‘Gore’s wide portfolio of technical fabrics help workers keep warm, dry, visible and comfortable even during foul winter weather conditions. Ballyclare’s design and construction is of the highest calibre: the new rail garment range meets all national and international standards for safety, performance and quality.’
The new range can also be cleaned and maintained repeatedly, so that they continue to provide durable and outstanding performance. Ballyclare’s Maggie Shaw comments, ‘For the Network Rail contract, we are working closely with their independent laundry provider. Every garment we supply is assigned to the individual wearer and carefully tracked, so that Network Rail has access to all the up-to-date information they need to ensure that their workwear is maintained in prime condition.’
The GORE-TEX® Garments created for the Network Rail contract are now available as part of the wider Ballyclare portfolio and can be purchased directly from the Ballyclare website. This allows other rail industry customers to access the same high quality and durable PPE, with the option for garments to be individually branded if required.
Ballyclare is an accredited supplier under the Rail Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme. The company supplies a full range of workwear for the industry, all of which complies with high visibility GO/RT 3279 and EN ISO 20471 standards. It includes waterproof and flame-retardant garments, plus an extensive range of fleece and next-to-skin options, allowing the customer to create the perfect workwear solution for all employees, regardless of their role.
Gore and Ballyclare Limited were the proud sponsors of the Apprentice of the Year Award at the 2016 RailStaff Awards, deservedly won by Billy Welch from Costain. Following this, both companies jointly launched an apprentice wearer trial programme in late November, inviting young men and women in the rail sector to step forward and take part.
The programme involves the supply of GORE-TEX® jackets and trousers manufactured by Ballyclare from its Rail Safety Range, free of charge, in exchange for detailed feedback from the test team.
A total of 15 rail apprentices, ranging from apprentice civil engineers through to junior electricians and apprentice technical officers, were selected to take part and are currently testing out the kit during their daily routine. After three months of using their Ballyclare Garments, questionnaires will be issued to the test team and following apprentice feedback, RailStaff will be reporting on the key findings and outcomes in a later issue. With foul weather due in the coming months, feedback regarding the design, comfort and protective qualities of this kit is expected to be very honest.
Additional wearer trials are planned for 2017. If you think your organisation would be interested in taking part in further wearer trials of GORE-TEX® jackets and trousers manufactured by Ballyclare please get in touch in the first instance with Maggie Shaw at Ballyclare Limited – firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in RailStaff December 2016