De-risking Local Authority Highway Projects that Interface with Railways

Rail related knowledge and expertise might not be the first criteria that come to mind for Local Highway Authorities looking to implement Single Sourced Framework Agreements. But inevitably, highways projects executed under the framework will interface with or cross rail lines.
Selecting a framework partner with rail experience will avoid significant risks that can delay projects. Essentially all rail engineering standards, systems compatibility and safety cases must be fully met for possession and for the subsequent handing back of the rail line to proceed smoothly.

A slip up at any stage can introduce delays, additional cost, and potentially significant inconvenience for road and rail users.

De-risking highways projects

Network Rail seeks confidence that the highways contractor understands the priorities, issues and constraints that govern Network Rail’s operations.

In our experience, early engagement is crucial. When outlined design concepts and proposed construction methodologies are discussed early on, the detailing work is then carried out around agreed principles. Delays and complications are rare. Understanding Network Rail’s requirements from the outset means that we ‘speak the same language’ and pre-empt many of their concerns.

At the Project Inception stage coordination with Network Rail ensures early agreement over standards and submissions criteria. This could include specialised requirements like booking of blockades, abnormal possessions, OLE Engineers, signal sighting and asset protection. We also advise and support with issues such as top up insurance.

What expertise do you need?

Clarity on design parameters and applicable standards is paramount. The following outline of Osborne’s capabilities should be a useful guide.

Osborne has its own Contractor’s Operating License and has extensive experience of working with Network Rail at each stage of the GRIP (1 to 8) process and the Network Rail Standards and Approvals processes.

The ability to directly arrange access to track via GZAC’s “Green Zone Working” and providing in-house Safety Critical Staff including COSS’s and Engineering Supervisors for work under rail possessions is particularly helpful. This ensures vital design information investigations are implemented quickly and efficiently.

We have staff approved by Network Rail to act as Contractor Responsible Engineers and Contractors Engineering Managers. This provides the skills needed to review plans and temporary work proposals against Network Rail standards.

Additionally, we have a long-standing team of in-house Safety Critical Staff including COSS and specialist possession teams.

This level of expertise helps to smooth the progress of highways projects that interface with the rail network, minimising delays and avoiding the bad publicity that comes with overrunning works. When this expertise is embedded in the framework delivery team, projects tend to run much more smoothly.

Find out more by visiting Highways learning pages on our website.

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