Learning from Major Rail Projects 

A Supply Chain Perspective

RIA's Learning from Major Rail Projects - A Supply Chain Perspective report, highlights the capabilities of the supply chain to deliver major projects on the railways. 

The report, which includes a series of examples from across the industry, documents the expertise and experience of the supply chain in completing rail projects successfully. It also sets out some of the lessons that can be learned from previous schemes, to enable more efficient project delivery.

Major projects are complex and not everything goes to plan – this makes it more important than ever to foster a continuous learning and development culture with honest and positive relationships. RIA believes that with the right strategic partnerships, the supply chain can enable successful delivery and innovation as it has already proven on many significant projects. However, strong leadership and a commitment to agreed outcomes is needed as it brings certainty, which in turn, increases efficiency and productivity.

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Key Messages 

  1. Collaboration and Leadership: Create strategic partnerships with the contractors and clients that are based on shared goals. Recruit for and reward positive team behaviours including a continuous learning and development culture and the ability to manage change effectively.
  2. Visibility and long-term investment: Once committed do not look back, share pipelines and plan long-term investment to drive competition, grow supply chain capability and efficiency and give confidence to private sector to invest in skills, assets and innovation.
  3. Innovation and SMEs: Support innovation at earliest stages of a project, take full advantage of supply chain capability including international, SME and cross sectoral ideas and expertise. Harness supply chain skills on system thinking and whole life value.
  4. Procurement: Engage suppliers early. Publishing transparent procurement pipelines and targeted outcome-focussed procurement models, support competition, efficiency, innovation and delivery. Effective procurement enables the development of intellectual property and unlocks collaborative funding and financing models. 
  5. Economic, Environmental and Social Value: Recognise the full economic, environmental and social value that rail brings to the UK.  
  6. People Trade and Exports: Celebrate the diversity of the supply chain and its people and promote UK rail expertise and capability internationally.  

The Government is making very significant investments in rail infrastructure, including in High Speed Two. West Coast Partnership is working closely with industry and Government to make the most of this investment in high speed rail for the benefit of customers and communities. Understanding the key enablers to successful delivery of major projects is essential to unlock the full potential of rail to support a more productive, healthier and greener economy. 
Caroline Donaldson, Managing Director, West Coast Partnership Development

Case Studies

Collaboration and Leadership

Collaboration Case Study: Aberdeen to Inverness Improvements
Collaboration Case Study: FLO JV Northern Line Extension
Collaboration Case Study: South Rail Systems Alliance
Collaboration Case Study: Midland Metro Alliance
Collaboration Case Study: Stourbridge Branch Line Track Renewal
Collaboration Case Study: The Central Rail Systems Alliance
Collaboration Case Study: Project SPEED Northumberland Line Re-opening
Collaboration Case Study: Midland Main Line
Collaboration Case Study: London Bridge Area Partnership
Collaboration Case Study: Class 700 Trains for Thameslink Programme 
Collaboration Case Study: Victoria Line Upgrade 
Collaboration Case Study: Ordsall Chord Pure Alliance Contract 
Collaboration Case Study: Southern Multi-Discipline Framework 

Visibility and Long-Term Investment

Visibility Case Study: Rolling Programme of Electrification 
Visibility Case Study: East West Rail Phase 2 – Bletchley Flyover (BFO)
Long-term Investment Case Study: New Rail Manufacturing Site in Goole
Long-term Investment Case Study: Manchester Metrolink 
Long-term Investment Case Study: World Bank

Innovation and Contribution of SMEs

Innovation Case Study: UK Rail Research & Innovation Network
Innovation Case Study: Technology & Innovation Hub Doncaster 
Innovation Case Study: HAROLD 2.0
Innovation Case Study: Pantograph-Catenary Dynamics Test Rig  
Innovation Case Study: Atkins Signalling Method
Innovation Case Study: Rail Accelerator and Innovation Solutions Hub for Enterprise
Innovation Case Study: HydroFLEX  
Innovation Case Study: Rail Electrification Alliance - East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade
Innovation Case Study: HS2 Enabling Works (North) – M42 Bridge
Innovation Case Study: Very Light Rail
Innovation Case Study: The Global Centre of Rail Excellence
Innovation Case Study: Crossrail Whitechapel Station Design
Innovation Case Study: Carbon Fibre Bogie
SME Case Study: Automated Intelligent Video Review
SME Case Study: Dura Platform
SME Case Study: CPC Project Services LLP
SME Case Study: Trough-Tec Systems
Government and Client Initiatives Case Study: Network Rail SME Action Plan


Procurement Case Study: London Underground Bank Station capacity upgrade
Procurement Case Study: East Coast Digital Programme

Economic, Environmental and Social Value

Economic Value Case Study: Meridian Water Railway Station
Environmental Value Case Study: Merseyrail Power Supply Upgrade
Environmental Value Case Study: Riding Sunbeams
Environmental Value Case Study: Denmark Hill Station Enhancement Project
Social Value Case Study: Feltham Depot

People, Trade and Exports

Trade and Exports Case Study: Jewers Doors
Trade and Exports Case Study: RIA Members
Trade and Exports Case Study: Alstom Cairo Monorail


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