HomeHigh Speed RailURS backs McNulty’s Value for Money Strategy
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‘The rail industry has the opportunity for substantial further growth, building on the successes of the past fifteen years,’ said Sir Roy McNulty at the launch of the Rail Value for Money Study last year. However, he continued, ‘The licence to grow has to be earned by greater efficiency.’

The strategy of growth through good value is at the heart of the URS Corporation’s ambitious expansion plans for British engineering design firm, Scott Wilson, which it acquired in September 2010.

“Becoming part of URS has increased our growth potential giving us a huge advantage in the market,’ says Ian Hay, Director, Railways, URS. ‘Although the name may have changed, the expertise and high-quality services that were synonymous with the Scott Wilson brand are stronger than ever under the URS banner.’

URS, headquartered inSan Francisco,Californiahas unrivalled expertise in railway design and delivery from project feasibility through to site supervision and project management. URS – it originally stood for United Research Services – has worked on many of the most ambitious global railway projects ever undertaken, including light, metro, high speed and heavy railways.

URS clients range from infrastructure owners, government agencies and contractors to operators, developers and financiers. URS is fundamentally a people business. Its skills reflect the poise and professionalism of engineers, designers and rail system developers in nearly 50 countries. URS people are at work onSan Francisco’s Bay Area Regional Transit’s Airport Extension and the California High Speed Rail Project as well as the London Underground upgrade.

Recruitment mode

URS is currently in full recruitment mode across itsUKbusiness providing opportunities to work on some of the most iconic projects inBritain. Currently one of the largest design consultants on Crossrail, URS has played a major role in designing both Paddington and Farringdon stations, as well as helping Network Rail to develop proposals for the surface line works. Previous projects have included West Coast Route Modernisation – Trent Valley Four Tracking and Resignalling scheme andRugbyremodelling.

“We are fully aware of the recommendations outlined in the McNulty Report, especially in creating an environment that achieves cost reduction, delivers new efficiencies and creates mechanisms to drive efficiency. With extensive experience of designing railways around the world, URS understands the challengesBritain’s growing rail industry faces.’

“We work closely and collaboratively with clients from the beginning in order to help them deliver a valued service to their customers, as well as presenting tangible benefits for stakeholders,” says Ian.

Over the last 18 months URS has been assisting Network Rail on its Tier 1 framework programme. The result of which has seen scope, programme and budgetary plans agreed upfront, with the establishment of a “no surprises” and trusting culture that caters for the constraints on individual projects and secures the maximum amount of stakeholder buy-in at the earliest possible stage, providing opportunities for downstream cost and efficiency savings.

“By consistently developing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most complex engineering, construction and technical challenges, URS has become a global driver for reliability, greater efficiency and value for money. High standards and consummate professionalism mean we consistently provide outstanding quality service. Our licence to grow will certainly be used to its full potential,” says Ian.


West CoastMain Line

URS acted as the multifunctional consultant for the West Coast Route Modernisation (WCRM) upgrade and was responsible for developing and delivering three distinct elements of this major programme.

The highest profile of these was the Trent Valley Four Tracking and Resignalling (TV4) project, which involved upgrading the existing two track railway to four tracks over a length of 20km between Armitage, Lichfield and Tamworth in theWest Midlands. URS was involved from the earliest stages of optioneering through detailed design and assisting the site supervisory team.

The second key element was the remodelling of Rugby station and junction with a similar cradle to grave input as with TV4, whilst the third aspect involved moving over the border intoScotland, where several multidisciplinary route enhancements were delivered in a wide-ranging package of works.

Over an 11-year period, URS was able to showcase its full range of multidisciplinary skills to deliver robust and innovative design solutions to this £10bn project. This involved providing outline and detailed design services along the route, including over 50 bridges and culvert reconstructions, as well as earthworks involving in excess of one million cubic metres of cut and fill, together more than 50km of new track and associated signalling.


Current projects


Since the early 1990s, URS has brought to Crossrail design expertise gained while building some of the world’s most modern metros – inHong Kong,Singapore,Bangkok,Dubai,AthensandKuala Lumpur. URS has been involved in the Crossrail project – the largest construction project inEurope– at various stages, including route selection, support for the parliamentary Hybrid Bill, which received Royal Assent in July 2008, preliminary design and detailed design. Since 2008, URS has been one of the largest design consultants on Crossrail, working on both the surface routes and the Central Section.

Some of URS’ work has included feasibility studies, outline and detailed design of certain stations, portals and structures, also passenger service and pedestrian flow modelling, as well as transport planning services.

URS has played a role in the design of many Crossrail stations, including designing the Paddington and Farringdon stations. The Company worked with Network Rail on the surface routes to the West and North East of London and with Crossrail Ltd for the Central (underground) Section. URS has also supported a number of other consultants on the Central Section.

North DoncasterChord

This is a new diversionary route to take freight over the East Coast Main Line north ofDoncaster. Morgan Sindall is designing and constructing the works and URS is carrying out the detailed design of all rail disciplines on Morgan Sindall’s behalf. The design work is ongoing and work will be underway on site in the near future.

Network Rail

URS is also playing a key role in the ‘switches and crossings’ renewal programme for Network Rail, and is one of three designers providing detailed integrated permanent way and signalling solutions for the national programme.

The Company has been involved in this work for a number of years, providing a ‘cradle to grave’ service for Network Rail, including the undertaking of topographical surveys.

URS has developed a highly experienced team with real expertise in this work and has provided Network Rail with a valued and reliable service over the years.

High Speed 2 Limited

URS has teamed up with Mott MacDonald to provide multidisciplinary design and development services to the Metropolitan section of HS2 between Euston and Old Oak Common and is currently working on outline designs for this section.

It is also working with Arup on the provision of environmental services, including the production of an Environmental Statement and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the West Midlands Metropolitan area coveringBirminghamandSolihull.

Previous experience on major projects such as the Trent Valley Four Tracking project (part of the West Coast Route Modernisation programme) is helping to produce ‘constructable’ and sustainable solutions for the complex scheme.


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