A year on: better prepared

Osborne’s John Dowsett, Managing Director of ‘One Team Wessex’, recently spoke with Transportation Professional about being prepared for further bad spates of weather following last year’s flooding, which saw Osborne attend a series of landslips.

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“Several major rail routes were badly damaged by flooding this time last year. Are we any better prepared this year if heavy rain returns?

“YES,” says John Dowsett, Managing director of ‘One Team Wessex’ at Osborne.

“We are better prepared than last year, when weather conditions were unusual and particularly difficult.

Our teams worked long and hard when faced with landslips, torrential heavy rain and winds. That said, we want to continuously improve and lessons have been learned.

Firstly we now work more closely with the Network Rail control and asset management teams to set up robust monitoring of known problem sections of route. As part of our framework we are working to make sure we have the most up to date and accurate information to inform us of any movement at a number of locations across the Wessex region.

Secondly we have ramped up our work with wider stakeholders to develop an emergency protocol. This covers a number of issues such as command and control – who takes the lead between the route and project delivery teams, the roles and responsibilities of each party. The emergency protocol also includes communication, funding mechanisms to ensure that emergency funds can be identified and released immediately as required and agreement of design engineering assurance and sign off. In addition it has improved resource management, consideration of ecological and environment factors and early agreement of land access where required.

Thirdly, we have developed a tighter winter preparedness plan with all parties to ensure that we had teams on standby over the Christmas period in particular to respond in an emergency situation. This incorporated provision of Osborne teams, designers, ecologists, engineers, safety critical personnel, supply chain partners, plant and materials who were all on call for the Christmas duration.

A scaled down version of this remains in place throughout the rest of the winter period.”

Osborne was selected by Network Rail in December 2013 to deliver a collaborative framework agreement across its Wessex Route over five years.