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Together on Thameslink

Bechtel senior vice president Cliff Mumm and Railtrack's Thameslink general manager David Howarth are working hand in glove to make sure the Thameslink 2000 project fits together.

The £800M upgrade of the north south route across London has to take place on a very busy working railway and Bechtel and Railtrack both bring expertise to the project. The programme manager has skills and experience integrating the systems project wide, while Railtrack knows exactly how to keep the trains moving during infrastructure renewal work.

'We are an integrated team, ' Howarth says. 'Bechtel provides the glue that brings it all together.'

According to Mumm programme management is common sense - simply making sure all the elements of a scheme fit together and work when the power is switched on.

'It's not rocket science but it is difficult to find a group which does this frequently around the world, ' says Mumm. 'It's a mental training.'

Key to the scheme is the signalling which is 30% of the project cost. 'We are thinking signals and integrating the civil engineering with that as separate projects, ' Mumm explains. 'And we are using the trusted 80/20 rule for this job - 80% tried and tested technology and 20% new.'

The critical signalling sits in that 20% but the technology is only new to the UK. 'We are using Ebilok and its control system Ebicos which is amazing technology that has been used in Spain and Scandinavia. It allows you to reconfigure the signals without rewiring which effectively means you can change the track layout on screen, ' Mumm says.

The team is planning for a start on the ground as early as April next year.


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