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Railtrack's infamous 'Black Diamond' Review, which scrapped moving block signalling for the West Coast Route Modernisation and doubled the project budget overnight.
This document has been supplied with the kind assistance of both Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation.
This document was published on 31st January 2000 by Railtrack.
The original document format was Bound Volume, and comprised 104 pages.
This document is © Network Rail.
"Railtrack's original strategy for West Coast Route Modernisation (WCRM) was the basis for contractual commitments with Virgin and Undertakings to the Rail Regulator in 1998. Following a review and restructuring of WCRM early last year, the Railtrack Board approved proposals for Phase 1 (for May 2002), involving conventional upgrades of infrastructure. However concern remained regarding the risks in meeting the Phase 2 outputs (for May 2005) through the development of a new, moving block signalling system (TCS-M), as previously planned. The Board therefore commissioned an immediate review of the implementation strategy for Phase 2.
Railtrack engaged the Nichols Group to lead and facilitate this task. Nichols formed a strong, integrated team including specialists from Nichols, Railtrack, control systems contractors (Alstom Signalling and US&S) and other consultants (including Parsons Brlnckerhoff and HF&A). A Review Group, chaired by Simon Murray, Director Major Projects and investment, met weekly to consider interim findings and ensure the team had access to all necessary resources and support.
Key findings from the review are:
1. The planned infrastructure would not provide the necessary capacity, and the strategy for the introduction of the proposed moving block signalling (TCS-M) was not viable within an acceptable timescale. As a result a revised strategy is needed for Phase 2.
2. The revised lmplementation strategy for Phase 2:
- retains fixed block conventional signalllng
- implements a radio-based cab signalling overlay Train Control System, to enable:
- increased line speeds
- Automatic Train Protection (ATP)
- compliance with European inter-operability legislation
- requires further civil and signalling infrastructure works some of which will be the subject of new TWA approvals.
3. The additional train paths. reduced journey times and enhanced punctuality contracted to Virgin for 2005 could be achieved with the revised strategy, but this is equally dependent on:
- timely completion of the Network Change process
- Virgin achieving their operational performance targets
- adequate HMRl resources to support the significant volume of safety approvals
- successful TWA approval.
4. The Undertakings are not clear and specific in all respects. Railtrack should discuss the interpretation of a number of issues further with the Rail Regulator.
5. The review identifed a small number of relatively minor issues in relation to the Undertakings that are not covered by the revised strategy. It is considered that providing further infrastructure is not the appropriate solution in these cases. Railtrack is recommended to discuss with the sSRA. Rail Regulator and customers opportunities to modify these requirements. Subject to such agreement, Railtrack could meet its Undertakings, and Railtrack is reviewing its plans to enable earliest practicable completion.
6. Retaining the conventional signalling:
- allows trains without TCS equipment fitted to continue to operate on the route, enabling the programme of train fitment and driver training to be progressive
- requires replacement of life-expired conventional signalling. The condition of existing signalling has been assessed and will need substantial replacement on all routes between Euston, Birmingham and Manchester prior to completion of Phase 2. This is a new risk which the programme management team will need to assess carefully with both its supply and customer partners.
7. The 53 VATT trains will require fitting with cab signalling equipment by 2005 to meet PUG2 contractual commitments.
8. The scope requirement to fit other WCML trains, the timescales and the responsibilities for undertaking this work will be influenced by:
- the findings of the Sir David Davies inquiry and subsequent response by the Government
- the operational requirements of TOCs, FOCs, ROSCOs and other industry stakeholders
9. The revised strategy will provide ATP functionality on the infrastructure over all route sections covered by the WCRM programme.
10. The revised strategy increases confidence in meeting Railtrack's objectives for the WCRM programme, although there is a substantial increase in the volume of work to be undertaken.
11. The overall capital cost, at 80% confidence, is now £5,849m (2Q99 prices). This has increased by £1,101m compared to the Baseline estimate of £4,748m. This includes the cost of the additional work scope and the effect of a higher estimating confidence level.
The Railtrack Board endorsed these findings, subject to funding, on 9 December 1999.
A much higher level of confidence now exists that the revised strategy can be successfully implemented within the timescales quoted. However, it is not without risk in terms of schedule and cost. To undertake such a major upgrade on a busy, operational, mixed traffic trunk route like the West Coast Main Line is a huge and unprecedented challenge. Railtrack can only succeed if each and every one of the key stakeholders contributes fully and in a timely manner throughout the programme's life cycle. The stakeholders include the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority (sSRA). The Rail Regulator, the Health & Safety Executive, the train and freight operators, the ROSCOs and Railtrack's suppliers. as well as the passengers."
23rd December 1994
West Coast Route Modernisation: Feasibility Study
25th November 1999
West Coast Main Line: Statement by the Rail Regulator
31st January 2000
West Coast Route Modernisation - Strategy for Phase 2
11th May 2000
Transcript of West Coast Modernisation Hearing
1st April 2004
The Â£10bn Rail Crash
16th March 2010
Railways: West Coast Main Line
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