Select Committee on Transport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by Railtrack PLC (REN 34A)


Q186-189 (Crewe-Kidsgrove electrification)

  Initial discussion relating to the electrification of the Crewe-Kidsgrove line dates back to the time of British Rail in the mid 1980s.

  Following Railtrack consultation with the train operating companies and as part of the Regulatory requirements of the Major Project Notice and Network Change processes and outputs from discussions through the joint SRA/TOCs and FOCs route utilisation work this year, it was suggested that electrification of the route should be re-examined. The rationale being that the route may be suitable as a key diversionary route for electrified traction between Crewe and Colwich.

  Railtrack has undertaken a feasibility study on behalf of the SRA that encompasses the running of the overhead line but also other operating infrastructure requirements, signaling, permanent way and structures etc. The feasibility is expected to be complete in the autumn of 2002 and will seek to deliver costs, programme and implementations requirements. Decisions to proceed with these proposals are not a matter for Railtrack

Q199 (Freight Capacity on East-West Rail routes in the North of England)

  Consideration of possible alternative opportunities to facilitate a significant increase in railfreight market share is to target the unaccompanied unit traffic through Immingham and/or Hull that use the Ro-Ro ferries to/from mainland Northern Europe and Scandinavia. It is noted that this may require gauge clearance of a Transpennine route to W18 for piggyback operation of road trailers.

  This concept of a railway "land bridge" between the Humber ports, the North West and the Irish Sea has considerable support from various public bodies in the North of England and in Europe.

  The Diggle (Huddersfield-Manchester) route is also under consideration as it is a particularly direct east-west link and also directly serves both Basford Hall at Crewe (via Stockport) and Trafford Park. The latter has some daytime capacity issues as trains would have to cross the "throat" of Manchester Piccadilly. The Diggle route provides for container traffic in 8'6'' boxes, domestic waste and some wagon-load traffic. Customer predictions of traffic growth are mainly concentrated on inter-modal business but are relatively limited. The main capacity issue on the line is the inability of the infrastructure to support a15 minute time interval passenger service between Manchester and Leeds rather than overall capacity.

  The SRA have made some considerations regarding the enhancement of gauge for the route to W12 or W18 to attract more inter-modal business and we will continue to support their considerations via additional appraisal work on their behalf in the coming months.

  Other Transpennine freight routes which would require infrastructure work for more or larger gauge freight include:

    Carlisle—Newcastle (passing loops and structures work).

    via Hebden Bridge (more passenger services would restrict capacity).

    Hope Valley (work to increase capacity eg Dore south curve).

  The SRA has been working on a freight strategy for the North West and we are happy to continue to co-operate on these issues as we have with the Manchester "hub study" (see Q229 below).

Q219 (Ashton-under-Lyne station work)

  Plans to make significant improvements at the station have dated back for some years and the project has had several incarnations although Railtrack's involvement with the current scheme is relatively recent.

  A works agreement is now in place between Railtrack and Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive. Scope changes, including changes brought about by the SRA's latest code on disabled access and alterations to building regulations, have increased costs. GMPTE informed us on 17 June 2002 that additional financial authority is now being sought. The current project cost stands at £975k, and the scheme can be progressed by Railtrack when funding is confirmed.

Q229 (Issues on Passenger and Freight capacity around Manchester)

  It has been recognised for many years that the network operating around Manchester, particularly in the Piccadilly area is congested. Over the past few years Railtrack has conducted numerous studies and this cumulated in the "Manchester hub report" produced in 1999.

  The SRA have set up a steering group consisting of Railtrack, GMPTE, GONW, Manchester Airport and the Highways Agency to look at the long term strategic development of rail services in Greater Manchester with a view to considering outline strategy for the development of the network over the next 10 years.

The result of this study in June 2001 was a list of options, and it was recommended that a number of further workstreams were carried out:

    —  Workstream 1: Further expansion of Metrolink services.

    —  Workstream 2: Manchester freight strategy.

    —  Workstream 3: City centre heavy rail capacity.

    —  Workstream 4: Airport "western link".

    —  Workstream 5: Integration study.

  Further work is expected to be undertaken by the SRA. In parallel, feasibility studies have been commissioned by the SRA up to Level 2 to assist with the Transpennine refranchising process. This has resulted in studies on the following infrastructure schemes:

    —  A flyover at Ardwick.

    —  Additional platforms at Piccadilly.

    —  6A chord and flyover at Ordsall lane.

    —  An additional platform at Manchester airport.

Q197 Costs at Sheffield and Leeds stations (overrun)


  The works at Sheffield station are the first phase to have been completed in a series of proposals to improve and transform Sheffield station. The final proposals will give a significant step change in the quality of the Station and which would then provide a gateway to the City of Sheffield.

  The programme of works have been designed to keep any impacts on passengers or the operation of the network to an absolute minimum and in the main works have been completed without a requirement for any possession overruns.

  Delays were experienced around Christmas 2001 which increased the amount of work to be completed based on the availability of one weekly possession (Sunday morning 03.00-12.00). In order to meet the requirements of the Sheffield City Council Planners, the Listed Building submission had to produce a footbridge design significantly different from the "like for like" replacement normally encountered at a Listed location and envisaged in this case. The footbridge design now has glazed sides and stainless steel cladding and the work to extend the passenger footbridge to the Supertram link is slightly ahead of programme and on budget.

  The expected cost of the works programme at Sheffield station works is approximately £9 million (subject to the normal "factoring" that takes place at the completion of such schemes).

  Lessons learnt from both the Leeds 1st and Sheffield station schemes have been identified and were included in the estimates prepared for the SRA RPP Sheffield Station Masterplan scheme submission.

  Sheffield station scope of works:

    —  Footbridge renewal (three spans).

    —  Three No.21 person passenger lifts.

    —  New staircases and access to the concourse on platform 1.

    —  New staircase layout.

    —  New staircases to platform 2-5 including new waiting area.

    —  New staircases to platform 6-8 including new toilets and disabled toilet on platform 2-5.

    —  Renewal of lighting and main distribution system.

    —  Refurbishment and renewal of roofs.

    —  Repair and renewals to Porte Cochere (canopy).

    —  Repair and renewals to taxi rank canopy.

    —  Enabling works to parcels bridge to form temporary passenger footbridge.

    —  Canopies adjacent to footbridge/staircase areas to be renewed.

    —  Patch repairs to platforms where disturbed.


  "Leeds 1" is the project to redevelop the railway station at Leeds and the infrastructure on its busy approaches. Final authority to proceed with implementation was originally granted by the Railtrack board in January 1999 with work commencing on site during the summer of that year. The project achieved substantial completion on the 31 May 2002 in time for introduction of the summer timetable (May 2002).


Original Authority

Authority £(M)
Initial design and development costs
January 1999
Main infrastructure works
January 1999
Main station works
January 1999
Compensation to train operators
February 1999
Move signalling control to York
Railtrack introduce umbrella name of "Leeds 1st" and goes public with "£165 million" cost of the project in March 1999

  The original authority represented a general scope development to "outline design" status (using Railtrack's assessment criteria design development to a level 2-3 out of a 5 level measure). A contingency level of approximately £10 million (6%) was included.

  The programme had been compressed by 12 months to meet the completion deadline of the summer 2002 timetable change to ensure buy-in from the train operators.

Re-authority Breakdown

Authority £(M)
Original authority
Design development
Schedule Issues
Compensation to train operators


Item 7-Design Development

  This reflects the evolution of design from outline design (level 2-3) to full detailed design (level 5). Key development issues included redesign in the signalling to reflect changes in the current technology standards and re-configuration of the entire overhead line electrification system to meet the requirements of the previously untested mechanically independent registration requirements of the specification.

Item 8-Schedule Issues

  This effectively reflects the impact of the compressed schedule by 1 year and the recovery plan following the overrun at Christmas 2000 to deliver the scheme by the end of May 2002 as per the original schedule. The schedule impact was compounded by the design development changes which by December 2000 meant the planned 17 day blockade over Christmas had become over ambitious leading to the 14 day overrun. The overrun required a revised schedule to be formulated that required increased access (more track possessions) to recover the slippage.

Item 9-Compensation to Train Operators

  The allowance in the original authority was significantly under estimated. The required level of access to the infrastructure in which to undertake the works was totally insufficient and major additional access was negotiated with the Train Operators.


  The original schedule (compressed by one year) authorised in January 1999 gave an overall target for work to be complete ready for the 2002 summer timetable (ie by 31 May 2002). The actual schedule has still delivered substantial completion by 31 May 2002 ie all the capacity improvements have been delivered to the original timescales.


  The contingency provision in the original authority was only £10 million. This proved totally inadequate for the level of design development and programme risk to be finalised. If authorised today at a similar level of development the recommended contingency would be 25-30%, not the 6% included in the original authority.

  Similarly the provision for compensation to train operators was totally inadequate. For a scheme of this size and intensity a compensation level of 30% of the work activity would not be unexpected.

  A full and open programme of "lessons learnt sessions" was undertaken with all the relevant industry partners. This has directly led to changes within company procedures as to how schemes are evaluated and project managed.

July 2002

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