The electrification of the Great Western Main Line has moved a step nearer with the appointment of a joint Atkins/Parsons Brinckerhoff team as Lead Design Organisation.
The team will prepare the route between London and Cardiff for electrification. The project will involve electrifying approximately 1,000 kilometres of railway and installing over 20,000 overhead line support structures along the route.
Says Douglas McCormick, managing director of Atkins’ UK rail business, ‘Electrification is vital for the UK railway network. It will enable greater capacity, shorter journey times, less maintenance, lower energy costs and will boost the economy by providing better connections between towns and cities.
‘As one of Network Rail’s first major electrification schemes, this project will give the Atkins/Parsons Brinckerhoff team the opportunity to lead the industry and develop best practice.’
‘Atkins and Parsons Brinckerhoff will design the overhead line equipment and power systems to electrify the route and provide engineering assurance throughout construction. The work will also involve the modification of platforms and bridges and the lowering of track where necessary.
‘It will present significant challenges for planning and consents, particularly around Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which will involve close collaboration with Network Rail and key stakeholders to preserve the area’s environment and heritage.’
Says Darren Reed, head of rail at Parsons Brinckerhoff, ‘We are delighted to be selected by Network Rail as its engineering partner to meet the exciting challenge of electrifying Brunel’s Great Western Railway. The combined strength of Atkins and Parsons Brinckerhoff creates a market leading electrification design and engineering capability – and it is an area in which we both continue to invest heavily to meet future anticipated industry demand.’