The project is the first to use a new form of integrated client/contractor/consultant team in the railways. The project is led by the Staffordshire Alliance, a partnership of Network Rail, Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Atkins. The hope is that this new collaborative contract that will help to transform the delivery of rail infrastructure projects in the UK.
The Staffordshire area improvements programme seeks to remove a major bottleneck through the Stafford area. Once complete, the programme will allow the introduction of new timetables between 2015 and 2017 and create the capacity to run more trains.
There are three key elements to the work:
Phase 1 – Linespeed improvements between Crewe and Norton Bridge, increasing the line speed on the ‘slow’ lines from 75mph to 100mph. Running from January 2013 to April 2014, these works include modifications to the overhead line equipment and installation of four new signals.
Phase 2 – Stafford resignalling. The installation of a new freight loop and the replacement of life expired signalling, telecoms and power supplies. This work will be carried our from spring 2014 to summer 2015.
Phase 3 – Proposed flyover at Norton Bridge. The proposed construction of a grade-separated junction, including six miles of new 100mph railway, 12 new bridge structures, four river diversions, major environmental mitigation works, pipeline, road and footpath diversions and the construction of temporary haul roads. Subject to getting the necessary development consent order, the main works are scheduled to run from spring 2014 to 2017, with key commissioning in 2016.
Alliance manager Dominic Baldwin said: “Whilst alliancing itself is not new to the rail sector, truly collaborative working has often proved difficult due to a wide range of factors. The Staffordshire Alliance directly addresses this through a new form of contract and a new approach, built upon common principles, shared values and behaviours, which will help us to deliver this programme efficiently and effectively, whilst leaving a positive lasting legacy for Staffordshire.”