Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Atkins defends Chiltern railway design after delays row

Consultant Atkins this week defended the quality of its designs for the Chiltern railway following criticisms that it had contributed to delays on the £250M scheme.

Network Rail took control of the scheme’s project management on 2 March, after a report by consultant Halcrow, commissioned by the Office of Rail Regulation, found that there was “zero probability” of achieving the planned completion date of 8 May (NCE 10 March).

The report states that in June 2010 Network Rail raised concerns to Chiltern Railways that “the quality of the designs being submitted are significantly slowing down approval times by Network Rail, they are increasing the workload of Network Rail engineers and are creating significant amounts of re-work and re-review that otherwise would not occur”.

Responding to the report, a spokesman for Atkins said that such responses were “normal”.

“This is a large and technically complex line upgrade with many companies working in partnership. It is normal for there to be an iterative process during the development of final designs and this project is no different,” he said.

“It is normal for there to be an iterative process during the development of final designs and this project is no different”

Atkins

Chiltern Railways remains sponsor for the scheme despite Network Rail’s increased role.

Chiltern Railways chairman Adrian Shooter has said that Chiltern’s project director retired at the end of January, and was replaced by a Network Rail employee who reports to a governance panel chaired by Chiltern Railways and including senior Network Rail staff.

The scheme is funded by a Network Rail borrowing to which Chiltern is given access. This will be repaid by Chiltern and its successor franchises over 30 years, but any increase in costs is underwritten by Chiltern Railways owner German state railway Deutsche Bahn.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.