Parsons Brinckerhoff secures major UK rail engineering contract

Posted: 19 October 2011 | | No comments yet

Parsons Brinckerhoff has secured the lead engineering services contract…

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Parsons Brinckerhoff, the global engineering consultancy, has secured the lead engineering services contract on a project that aims to transform rail travel in the north of England, delivering a potential 40% increase in services for 44 million more passengers per year and accommodate forecast rail growth through to 2030.

If funded in full, Network Rail’s ambitious ‘Northern Hub’ programme will deliver the capability for faster, more frequent services to better link the towns and cities of the North including Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. It will also introduce the capability for a new trans-Pennine service between Leeds and Manchester, provide new direct links to Manchester Airport through Manchester city centre and increase freight capacity across the region.

Network Rail has submitted plans to government for funding for the Northern Hub, and expects a decision by July 2012. The only part that is funded is the Ordsall Chord, a new link between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria stations which eases the bottleneck around Manchester Piccadilly and unlocks capacity.

Parsons Brinckerhoff’s contract covers Engineering Consultancy Services (ECS) for the essential enhancements necessary within the central Manchester section of Northern Hub. Critical to delivery of this section will be the ability to achieve the demanding service capability set for 2016 and 2018 which will be key to unlocking service improvements across the region.

The specialist services to be provided by Parsons Brinckerhoff cover full multi-disciplinary rail engineering to ‘approval in principle’ stage. This will include developments at Victoria, Oxford Road, and Piccadilly stations, plus additional platform capacity at Manchester Airport, and the vital north-south link at Ordsall.

Welcoming the contract, Darren Reed, Parsons Brinckerhoff’s UK Director of Rail, said: “Northern Hub is a vital transport programme which will help deliver much needed economic growth across the north of England. We are very proud to help deliver such an important legacy for future generations.

“We have extensive experience of working collaboratively with Network Rail to deliver complex and challenging projects across the UK and have recently delivered a similar service on London’s complex Thameslink project, also a capacity improvement programme, with many of the challenges faced by Northern Hub.”

Finalising the design for the Ordsall Chord represents a considerable challenge as the route runs through the densely populated Manchester conurbation, skirts the city’s main inner ring road and involves a major crossing of the River Irwell. It will also cross the historic Liverpool to Manchester line where George Stephenson’s Rocket helped pioneer some of the very first passenger railway services in the world in the 1830s.

Parsons Brinckerhoff’s work will also involve environmental studies and production of engineering outputs, in support of planning submissions to secure the necessary Development Consent Orders though the IPC process. Network Rail is currently undertaking pre-application consultation on the Ordsall Chord.

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