In its response to the Williams Rail Review, established to recommend the best way to organise the UK’s rail network and operations, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) called for the principles of collaboration to extend to those carrying out rail construction.
It said that the most successful mainline rail projects had been those supported by a collaborative relationship between train operators, Network Rail and contractors. Recent examples of this include Waterloo station redevelopment, Nottingham station remodelling and Derby station remodelling. Earlier similar projects include Evergreen 1 & 2, which upgraded the Chiltern Route.
In each case, a rational balance between disrupting users and improving the infrastructure was achieved, CECA says. In parallel, information campaigns were used to explain to passengers what will happen and how things will improve.
CECA rail director Bill Free said: “The current siloed railway structure between track, train and project delivery has driven inefficient delivery of railway projects leading to higher costs for rail users and taxpayers.
“Some projects break this mould and are delivered successfully. We commend the recent rail sector deal and plans to roll out digital railway on the East Coast Mainline which point the way to a true collaboration across all parties in the railway.
“Such collaborative working must also go hand in hand with early contractor involvement in order to prioritise the interests of passengers and taxpayers and deliver our much needed world-class railway.”