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9 November 2018

Battenhall Bridge project shortlisted for rail award

We are delighted to announce that the Battenhall Bridge project has been shortlisted for a UK Rail Business Award. The project was completed ahead of schedule, earlier this year and has been shortlisted for the Infrastructure Project Excellence Award.

Congratulations to all those involved in the project which has been hailed as a feat of engineering.

For more information please see our Battenhall Bridge project profile.

31 October 2018

First look inside Worcestershire Parkway Rail Station

Work on the new Worcestershire Parkway Station is progressing well with external steelworks and glazing nearly finished.

Worcestershire County Council has produced footage that shows the very first look inside the building, which is still under construction, and also aerial views which show the sheer scale of the project.

Later this month, work starts to install the 3 platforms, each being built in sections onsite but away from the track and then fitted into place. It will take nearly 70 sections to build each of the 265 metre long platforms.

Following installation of the platforms, work will then concentrate early in the new year on paving the car park and the landscaping and planting around the site whilst the internal elements of the station building continue to take shape.

For more information please see our Worcestershire Parkway project profile.

26 October 2018

Welcome to new directors, Nathan Campsall, Paul Fountaine and Ian Chambers

Ian Walters, Paul Fountaine, Ian Chambers, Nathan Campsall

Ian Walters, Paul Fountaine, Ian Chambers, Nathan Campsall

SLC Rail is delighted to announce the appointment of three new board-level senior executives to the team. Between them, Nathan Campsall, Paul Fountaine and Ian Chambers bring an unrivalled wealth of rail industry and project management experience to the SLC team. The appointments demonstrate SLC Rail’s continuing commitment to building a business that is able to offer the absolute highest quality scheme development capability in the rail industry.

Nathan Campsall joins SLC from Network Rail, where he was London North Western Route Delivery Director, responsible for delivering a programme of railway infrastructure engineering projects, comprising both renewals and enhancements. His portfolio included high profile, high pressure projects such as East West Rail, Bromsgrove Station, Banbury Depot and electrification schemes including Walsall to Rugeley and Bromsgrove respectively. Prior to this Nathan was Network Rail’s Senior Project Manager on the Birmingham Gateway Project, and prior to that he worked for Birse Rail and McNicholas plc.

Nathan’s primary role at SLC Rail will be to direct project delivery teams across the business, working on existing frameworks across the Midlands, and to oversee the development of SLC business in the West and South.

Paul Fountaine led Network Rail’s Infrastructure Projects engineering capability team, having been the programme director for the successful response to the DfT’s enhancements efficiency challenge. Prior to this he spent 4 years as a delivery director on Great Western Route Modernisation focussing principally on early GRIP station design, heavy power distribution and SCADA, and overhead-line construction. Before joining the rail industry Paul had a full 20 year career in the British Army’s Royal Engineers. In addition to delivering engineering projects around the world, his military experience includes major capital programme delivery, technology dependent Defence procurement, and Public Private Partnership (PPP) experience at the Defence ‘flag-ship’ Royal School of Military Engineering.

Paul joins SLC Rail to manage the project development team, to oversee our expansion into the North, and to engage on transformational change issues the business will face as it grows.

Ian Chambers also joins from Network Rail, where he was an award-winning Senior Sponsor, having led the Western Route’s Integration of HS2, focussing on the new Old Oak Common Station. Prior to this, Ian led the LNW Route HS2 Integration prior to Hybrid Bill submission, and delivered Wembley Central and other projects of critical importance such as the pre-London Olympics regeneration schemes. Prior to joining Network Rail, Ian held managerial positions at three Train Operating Companies including Virgin Trains, Cross Country Trains and Cardiff Valley Lines.

Ian will oversee the expansion of our consultancy business, providing operational studies, investment strategies and stakeholder management services.

Ian Walters, SLC MD, commented, “I am delighted to welcome Nathan, Paul and Ian to our growing organisation. Their appointment will provide the solid senior level team foundations we need to continue to ensure we offer an excellent product to our current Midlands base as we start to branch out into other parts of the country. They bring a breadth and depth of industry experience, that will complement and support our existing team, as well as providing greater strategic oversight on our projects and consulting commissions.

“As we continue to build on our reputation for being a goal-driven organisation, that seeks to push the boundaries of innovation and efficiency in the industry we love, it is critical that all our teams have strong leaders with similar values. And we have exactly that in Nathan, Paul and Ian joining the business.”

See all directors' profiles.

14 October 2018

SLC Rail opens second office, in Warrington

A specialist rail project team outside SLC Rail new office at Bank Quay House, Warrington The SLC Rail project office at Bank Quay House, Warrington

SLC Rail has opened a new office in Warrington to support clients in the North of England and Scotland.

Headquartered in Birmingham, SLC Rail has achieved tremendous growth over the last five years. Over 40 employees are now supporting clients in local government, train operators and other organisations in the Midlands, South of England and increasingly the North of England and Scotland.

The team of specialists at SLC Rail is building an unrivalled reputation for supporting organisations which want to take advantage of rail devolution to build new stations, upgrade facilities and create other rail infrastructure to develop local communities and grow their regional economies.

The team based in Warrington is led by Paul McQuade, a rail professional with over 30 years’ experience, including managing key design elements of Birmingham New Street station, project managing infrastructure for East West Rail phase one and numerous heavy and light rail schemes.

From the new office SLC Rail is currently working with several local authorities, shaping rail investment strategies and developing the early stages of new rail schemes. They are also helping clients secure funding and to manage rail infrastructure schemes from concept through to completion.

As the business continues to expand in the region, Paul is planning to recruit new staff from the Warrington office, with a particular focus on ambitious, driven project managers, ideally with rail experience.

The new office is located at Bank Quay House, Sankey Street, Warrington, WA1 1NN and the phone number is 01925 938972.

20 July 2018

Official opening of the new Kenilworth station

Worcestershire Parkway Project School Visit Worcestershire Parkway Project School Visit

As Rail Advisors to Warwickshire County Council our project team were delighted to be part of the official opening of Kenilworth Station. A plaque to mark the official opening was unveiled by the Secretary of State for Transport, the Right Honourable Chris Grayling MP.

Station opening

A new station has opened in Kenilworth, providing a much-needed rail service for the town's 25,000 population. It is on the site of the old Kenilworth station (closed in 1965) and is served by an hourly shuttle service running between Leamington Spa and Coventry.

This project is the second phase of a larger scheme of strategic rail upgrades to reduce traffic congestion and support the economy of the Leamington Spa to Nuneaton corridor. The first phase delivered new stations at Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park.

SLC Rail worked as rail advisors to Warwickshire County Council, developing the scheme from initial aspirations, through a successful application to the New Stations Fund, then managing the procurement and delivery of the design and build contract through to full station opening.

Securing funding

An essential part of this work was preparing a financial and economic business case. SLC Rail supported the Council, developing the case for Kenilworth Station through to Stage 3 of the Network Rail GRIP process, including application to the New Stations Fund which contributed £5m to its funding.

The remaining funding was provided by the Government’s Local Growth Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Warwickshire County Council.

Community involvement

The station was designed in consultation with local residents and embraces the history of the site. It includes two stained glass windows and a vintage sign salvaged from the original station building. These features were donated by Kenilworth residents and have contributed to the heritage feel of the station, requested by the local community.

Delivering the project

SLC Rail was responsible as the Council’s representative for the management of the detailed design and construction phase through to full approvals and putting the station into service. The team provided full-time project management, design management, commercial management and construction management.

Early in the detailed design phase, the planned dualling of this stretch of track was cancelled as a result of the Hendy Review. The team at SLC Rail worked with the Council and contractors to agree a solution with modified designs that give residents on both sides of the railway line step-free access, without the cost of the second platform.

The site has served different purposes since the old station was closed and some innovative approaches were required to complete the necessary groundworks. In particular, rerouting a mains sewer require more advanced tunnelling techniques to avoid disturbing the shallow foundations of a neighbouring structure.


Monica Fogarty, Joint Managing Director of Warwickshire County Council, said:

"Now that the station is opening it is time to celebrate the completion of a very complex project and for the town of Kenilworth to celebrate that once again it has got a rail station. This will provide a real boon for the local economy, bringing visitors to the town and also giving Kenilworth residents the opportunity to travel across Warwickshire without having to get in the car."

Ian Walters, Managing Director of SLC Rail, added:

"I am proud of the outstanding work that the team from Warwickshire County Council and SLC Rail have done, not only to have delivered a new station for Kenilworth, but to have made it possible in the first place by creating the business case and securing substantial funding from the Government’s New Stations Fund."

For more information, please see our Kenilworth Station Project Profile

5 July 2018

Building a passion for engineering – the future generation

Worcestershire Parkway Project School Visit Worcestershire Parkway Project School Visit

School pupils from Worcestershire have been learning about what it takes to design and build a new railway station.

Year 7 youngsters from St Barnabas C of E First & Middle School in Drakes Broughton became 'engineers for the day' by looking at the challenges in designing Worcestershire Parkway Station.

Worcestershire County Council and the Engineering Director, Samantha Uren, from SLC Rail, who are managing the scheme on the Council's behalf, first visited the school last autumn to talk to pupils about civil engineering and other professions involved in the construction industry.

With Worcestershire Parkway Station on their doorstep, it was the perfect opportunity to talk to pupils about engineering in action. More recently, pupils also enjoyed a visit to the site where, their classroom learning was brought to life on a real life construction site.

Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure, Dr Ken Pollock, said "As this scheme is so important for the county, it's great that we have been able to involve, and had such a positive response from, a local school. Their enthusiasm for the project, especially the sustainability side of what we do, is really encouraging as this is vital in keeping the county's environment as one of its key features. We're looking forward to welcoming the pupils back next year when the station is complete".

Maria Leach, Year 7 Teacher at St Barnabas, said: "As part of a Year 7 geography project, I wanted to not only help my pupils to really grasp what engineering was all about but also inspire our oldest pupils about their future potential career.

"With Worcestershire Parkway so close to the school, and familiar to most of the pupils, this project gave us a great opportunity to learn lots about geography, engineering and even managing budgets when planning and building such a big scheme. The pupils were particularly interested in the ecological side and everything that happens to try and reduce the impact to the local environment. The Team have done a great job of engaging with the students in a really innovative way, and I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of the class follows a similar career route!"

The pupils were asked to develop a design for the new station near Norton based on the genuine constraints faced with the design and delivery of the project.

These included the best location for a station at the intersection of two railway lines, what facilities were required for the passengers, including those with disabilities, and ecological considerations such as bats and reptiles.

Each group of pupils then presented their design to the other groups, teachers and SLC staff.

Samantha Uren, Engineering Director at SLC Rail, said: "We had a fantastic day and always love talking to young people about what we do. This Year 7 group were completely engaged and enthusiastic in their approach to the challenge we set them. Engineering is a fantastic career choice and we enjoyed sharing our passion with these youngsters showing them how exciting and interesting being involved in these big schemes can be."

One of the pupils was particularly enthusiastic about what he had learnt during the classroom design and on site sessions.

Calum, aged 12, said "It was great to have the chance to think about the design of the new station and then to see it being built. I didn't know about all the different things to think about when planning such a big project and all the different jobs that are needed. The sessions helped me to think about my future - I can see myself being a Civil Engineer as I like the idea of managing big projects and getting stuck in! I've already looked at which GCSEs and A Levels I need to take to help get me there and I'm going to make sure I work super hard on them."

For more information, please see our Worcestershire Parkway Project Profile

2 March 2018

Event: Transport for the Northern Powerhouse

Transport for the North event Transport for the North event Transport for the North event

SLC Rail was proud to sponsor “Transport for the Northern Powerhouse”, a prestigious event led by the most senior decision makers, transport experts and professionals. The event was chaired by Henri Murison, Chief Executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and organised by The Met Club, a business networking organisation which serves likeminded, influential and senior decision makers in the Yorkshire region.

Presentations and discussions covered some of the most important transport issues and decisions that will affect the economy and society in the North for years to come. Henri Murison welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to the event.

Chris Grayling announced that work would start on improvements to the railway between Manchester and Leeds through Huddersfield and that Network Rail had submitted proposals; an announcement of the details would follow. He also said that he had just come from Humberside where Siemens announced their intention to create a train building facility. He repeated the Government’s commitment to Transport for the North.

Under Henri’s chairmanship there were sessions about highways and railways, as well as session in which the Secretary of State answered questions from the audience.

In the morning, the discussions centred on highways, bringing out many key issues about the strategic network of highways in the North as well as about the local roads network. SLC Rail was especially delighted to welcome Stephen Joseph, the Director of the Campaign for Better Transport. Stephen was clear in his insistence that whatever changes are made to the transport networks and infrastructure across the North, it can no longer be at the expense of any aspect of the environment.

The afternoon session focused on railways and was chaired by Tim Wood, the Northern Powerhouse Rail Director of Transport for The North. This session brought out many key issues about the strategic railways of the North and the planning processes currently under way at Transport for the North on future developments.

The session also covered – through the contribution of Richard Allen of Arriva Rail North – the major changes in train services and the arrival of almost 300 new railway train carriages that will be introduced progressively from the Autumn of 2018 as a part of the current rail franchising arrangements. When fully operational, the franchise changes will create a railway with the same services will operating every day of the week.

Graham Botham, Network Rail’s Strategy and Planning Director North, set out the template of the activities that Network Rail has completed in the North in recent times and the challenges that face his organisation as it seeks to operate, maintain and improve a railway that carries both freight and passenger trains every day of the week.

At the close, Henri Murison said that the breadth of the issues covered had made the event a significant contribution to the debates that range across all the issues which have to be resolved if transport in the Northern Powerhouse is to be transformed into the economic driver it needs to be for the North to achieve full prosperity everywhere.

10 January 2018

Sam Uren appointed Engineering Director of SLC Rail

Sam Uren with other SLC Rail directors, Ian Walters and Julie Abbott

Ian Walters, Sam Uren, Julie Abbott

Sam Uren has been appointed Engineering Director of rail consulting and project management specialist, SLC Rail.

Sam is a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 20 years’ experience in the rail industry. Over the last five years she has applied her expertise to SLC Rail projects, including her role as Project Manager of the multi-award winning A45 south bridge replacement scheme, and more latterly as Senior Project Manager for Worcestershire Parkway.

In this new role she will oversee all engineering activities, ensuring consistency of approach across all schemes, challenging and streamlining processes where possible, and developing the engineering capability of the business including feasibility and outline design stages of projects.

Sam commented, "Since the beginning, I have seen SLC Rail grow by providing an exceptional project development and delivery service to clients on third party schemes. I am delighted to be able to join the company now as a director and shareholder."

Ian Walters, Managing Director of SLC Rail, added, "Sam has a tremendous track record, delivering excellence in engineering and project management. She will play a critical part in achieving our sustainable growth strategy, while maintaining the highest standards for our customers."

SLC Rail is working with local and regional government across the UK, providing strategic rail advice, securing funding for stations and other infrastructure, and delivering rail projects. Notable engagements include the Coventry Rail Investment Strategy, A45 Overbridge Replacement and Worcestershire Parkway Station.

Read more about Sam Uren and specialist rail projects delivered by SLC Rail.

15 November 2017

Coventry appoints SLC-AECOM Joint Venture to £30m Rail Advisory Framework

Virgin train outside Coventry Station Aerial view of Coventry and station London Midland train at Coventry Station

A joint venture between global infrastructure services firm AECOM and SLC Rail has been appointed on a pioneering framework, with a maximum value of £30m, to provide rail advisory services to Coventry City Council.

The Rail Advisors Framework will enable the Council to draw on SLC Rail’s unique expertise in conceptualising and developing rail schemes and unlocking third party funding and AECOM’s wide ranging expertise in managing and delivering rail projects.

The activities covered by the framework will be for grant funded projects only, and will include developing business cases for rail projects, negotiating new funding models, project planning, project and programme management, timetable performance modelling and station operation planning.

The initial framework is being placed by Coventry City Council, with access also available to West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC) who will also be able to draw on the framework to help plan, fund and deliver rail projects, such as new and enhanced existing stations.

The agreement will support a longer-term strategy of improving transport in Coventry and across the West Midlands, ensuring the region is ready for HS2 from 2026 and beyond.

Simon Middleton, Regional Director, Transportation at AECOM said: "AECOM and SLC bring a unique breadth of expertise to support rail projects. The projects that will be developed under the framework will transform connectivity to and from Coventry and the Midlands, and steer investment across the region to support the creation of new jobs and homes."

The framework is testament to Coventry City Council's previous experience and future commitment to deliver new rail infrastructure projects as a 'third party' investor and deliverer, in ways that the government has recently opened up further through the recommendations set out in the Hansford Review. This rail advisory framework procures the support necessary to enable Coventry City Council to develop and deliver rail infrastructure schemes that benefit local people, with the encouragement and support of national government and Network Rail.

Ian Walters, Managing Director of SLC Rail said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with AECOM to extend and deepen our existing relationship with Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority. In the past, both organisations have shown foresight and vision in setting out how rail should benefit local people and businesses; with this new framework agreement they are seizing the opportunity to implement that strategy, through project delivery mechanisms that demonstrate the new ways of working set out in the Hansford Review are achievable with the right team."

For more details please see our client profile or contact us.

17 July 2017

Worcestershire Announces Rail Investment Strategy

Worcestershire Rail Map Worcestershire Rail Investment Strategy Worcester Shrub Hill Station

Worcestershire County Council has published details of its proposed strategy for attracting and supporting economic investment and growth, by delivering transport infrastructure and services to tackle congestion and improve quality of life.

The Worcestershire Rail Investment Strategy was developed by specialists at SLC Rail and partners to provide detailed needs analysis, specific rail service proposals and robust economic justification and prioritisation of investment.

The plan focuses on key themes for rail service development:

  • Two trains per hour Worcester to London Paddington
  • One train per hour Kidderminster, Droitwich Spa, Worcester to London Paddington
  • Additional calls at Worcestershire Parkway for Bristol-Manchester and Plymouth-Newcastle services
  • Regional service between Kidderminster and Bromsgrove, Worcester and Cheltenham Spa, Gloucester and Bristol

The plan is available for review and public consultation, on the Worcestershire County Council website.

For more details please see our Worcestershire Rail Investment Strategy project profile or contact us.

7 July 2017

New Kidderminster Station plans unveiled

Artist's impression of station frontage

Artist's impression of new station frontage

Artist's impression of station frontage

Artist's impression of Kidderminster Station

Ian Baxter outlines the plans (video)

Worcestershire County Council has announced detailed plans to replace Kidderminster station with new facilities twice the size of the existing 1960s building, together with safety and accessibility enhancements in the immediate area.

With rail advice and project management from SLC Rail, the scheme has won the backing of the rail industry and funding of £4.3 million has been secured from Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Kidderminster station is the second busiest in Worcestershire, with direct connections to London, Birmingham and Worcester. The current station building and its limited facilities are a source of dissatisfaction for many, as passenger numbers have doubled over the last decade and substantial further growth is predicted.

The proposed station development centres around a new, glass-fronted building. It will include a new café or shop, toilets and indoor seating and waiting areas. There are also plans to enhance accessibility while making significant improvements to nearby bus facilities, creating a new pedestrian crossing and safer provision for taxis and vehicles in front of the station.

The scheme is being led by Worcestershire County Council with support from Wyre Forest District Council, SLC Rail, Network Rail, London Midland, Chiltern Railways, the Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster Railway Museum and local bus operators.

For more details and project photographs please see our Kidderminster Station replacement project profile or contact us.

17 May 2017

ICE West Midlands Civil Engineering Awards

ICE West Midlands Civil Engineering Awards ceremony

Receiving the awards

ICE West Midlands Civil Engineering Awards trophies

The awards

The team responsible for replacing the A45 road-over-rail bridge is delighted to have been recognised with another two industry awards. At the ICE West Midlands Civil Engineering Awards, the team from Solihull Council, SLC Rail, Carillion and Network Rail were winners in both the Construction and Partnership categories.

The replacement of the ageing A45 bridge was technically challenging and required strong team working to achieve tight deadlines, particularly around the 54-hour possession of the West Coast Main Line over Christmas 2015. The project was delivered on time in September 2016.

For more details and project photographs please see our A45 South Overbridge Replacement project profile or contact us.

28 April 2017

Constructing Excellence Award Winners

Constructing Excellence Awards - A45 bridge project team

The A45 bridge project team

Constructing Excellence Awards trophy

Award trophy

Together with our client, Solihull Council, and partners Carillion and Network Rail, the team at SLC Rail is delighted to have been awarded Project of the Year Civil Engineering in the Constructing Excellence Awards.

The 18-month project to replace a road-over-rail bridge was delivered on schedule and on budget. The project team met tight deadlines including the successful possession of the West Coast Main Line over Christmas 2015 when the old bridge was demolished.

Since its opening, the new bridge has already reduced traffic congestion and is a key part of the infrastructure that is supporting economic growth in the West Midlands.

For more details and project photographs please see our A45 South Overbridge Replacement project profile or contact us.

2 Mar 2017

Spade in the ground marks start of work on-site for Worcestershire Parkway station

Work on site at Worcestershire Parkway Station began formally today with the spade in the ground ceremony.

If a video does not appear below within a few moments, you can see the BBC News coverage on their Facebook page

For more information please see our Worcestershire Parkway project profile or contact us.

20 Feb 2017

Contractor appointed as DfT gives green light to new Worcestershire Parkway station

Artist's impression of Worcestershire Parkway station

Artist's impression of the new station

Artist's impression of station frontage

Artist's impression of station frontage

Artist's impression of station concourse

Artist's impression of station concourse

Plans to build a new regional interchange station at Norton near Worcester are forging ahead following official approval of the scheme by the Department for Transport.

Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, which has over 60 years’ experience as a multi-disciplinary contractor, has been awarded the design and build contract. They will be working alongside SLC Rail, who are project managing the scheme on behalf of Worcestershire County Council.

Worcestershire Parkway forms part of the Council's Local Transport Plan and Worcester Transport Strategy and is pivotal to its ambitious growth plans to boost the County’s economic value to £2.9bn, creating 25,000 new jobs by 2025.

It will be built on a 14-acre site just off Junction 7 of the M5 at the intersection of the Worcester - London Paddington ‘North Cotswold’ and Birmingham to Bristol railway lines.

It is funded from profits from the station through car park fees and station access charges levied on the Train Operating Companies and an investment of £8.3m by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government’s Growth Deal.

Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said: “This is really good news for Worcestershire. The new station will improve journey times for Worcestershire's rail commuters, cut down travel times to and from London and improve links to other major cities such as Gloucester and Birmingham.

“Given that Worcestershire already has one of the fastest growing economies in the country, the new Parkway station will help us to maintain that growth and open the county up to new markets."

Ian Walters, Managing Director at SLC Rail, commented: “The appointment of Buckingham Group sends a clear message that Worcestershire’s long held vision of a new station will soon become reality.”

For more information please see our Worcestershire Parkway project profile or contact us.

10 Feb 2017

UK Rail Industry Award Winners

UK Rail Industry Awards ceremony

UK Rail Industry Awards ceremony

UK Rail Industry Award trophy for SLC Rail

The trophy

Project management team at UK Rail Awards ceremony

Project management team and clients

Last Thursday, 9th February, at the UK Rail Industry Awards a team from SLC Rail, Solihull Council and Carillion was announced winner in the category Outstanding Projects - Medium (£3m-£20m) for the replacement of the A45 South Bridge near Birmingham Airport

The competition was strong, with more than 130 organisations entering and an impressive shortlist of projects from across the industry.

The 18-month project to replace a road-over-rail bridge was delivered on schedule and on budget. The project team met tight deadlines including the successful possession of the West Coast Main Line over Christmas 2015 when the old bridge was demolished.

Since its opening, the new bridge has already reduced traffic congestion and is a key part of the infrastructure that is supporting economic growth in the West Midlands.

For more details and project photographs please see our A45 South Overbridge Replacement project profile or contact us.

16 Jan 2017

Treecycling for Birmingham St Mary's Hospice

SLC Rail staff help Birmingham St Mary's Hospice with Treecycling

Ready to go

SLC Rail staff help Birmingham St Mary's Hospice with Treecycling

Volunteers hard at work

Project management team at UK Rail Awards ceremony

Another van loaded

On Saturday, 14th January, a group of volunteers from SLC Rail and SLC Property helped Birmingham St Mary's Hospice with their annual Treecycling campaign. Each year the hospice offers the local community a convenient way to recycle their Christmas trees in return for a donation.

SLC Rail paid for two of the rental vans and five members of staff helped over the weekend to collect trees and deliver them for recycling.

Julie Abbott, Director at SLC Rail, said, "When we were approached by St Mary's Hospice about this volunteering opportunity, we were delighted to be able to help. On the day there was a great atmosphere and we felt a real sense of satisfaction as each van load was sent on its way."

Richard Green, Volunteer Treecycling Project Mentor and Lead Ambassador at St Mary's Hospice commented, "We were delighted to welcome the SLC Rail and SLC Property team to our enthusiastic band of corporate volunteers for Treecycling in 2017, helping us to raise over £23,000 for the Hospice. With almost 50 volunteers and 23 vans we collected more than 1700 trees for recycling into compost and biomass fuel – a massive thank you to each and every one of them for their tremendous efforts to support the Hospice"

You can read more about St Mary's Hospice on their website.

7th December 2016

Cllr Ted Richards OBE opens new A45 bridge over West Coast Main Line

See also high resolution press photos or detailed project profile

Today, Wednesday, 7 December, a new crossing over the West Coast Main Line was officially opened by Councillor Ted Richards OBE, Cabinet Portfolio Holder Transport and Highways at Solihull Council. This marked the successful completion of an 18-month project to replace a narrow Victorian road bridge with a wider, safer road crossing with separate lanes for vehicles, cycles and pedestrians.

The crossing is in an economically strategic location, carrying the westbound lane of the A45 between Birmingham Airport, the National Exhibition Centre and the M42 motorway, on the south-eastern edge of Birmingham. It provides access to many local employers including Jaguar Land Rover.

The project was commissioned by Solihull Council to address mounting concerns over traffic congestion in this particular part of the road network and as a solution to increasing maintenance costs and concerns about weak parapets on the old Victorian bridge.

It was project managed by SLC Rail and the principal contractor was Carillion. The project cost £12M with funding from Department for Transport, Transport for West Midlands and Birmingham Airport.

Technical challenges

  • It was essential to maintain all three lanes of traffic throughout the project, yet the location was very constrained in space so it would not be possible to build the new bridge alongside the existing crossing. Instead the project was scheduled in two phases: First constructing a crossing with a narrower span immediately adjacent to the existing bridge, which could carry traffic following demolition of the old bridge. Secondly constructing a second span to complete the full width of the new crossing. Because of the very constrained site, this required an innovative approach to earthworks and construction, using the TerraTrel reinforced earth system rather than sheet piles and soil nails.
  • Due to the very steep embankments, constructing the bored piles would normally only have been possible during a possession of the line, which the project team wanted to avoid because of the implications for project schedules and associated risk. Investigation into alternatives suggested that a high torque, short height piling rig would be safe for use next to live lines and the team successfully made the case for their use to Network Rail.
  • Before works could commence, it was necessary for Network Rail to move a signal. Because this unit was at the end of its life, Network Rail agreed to bring forward this element of the existing West Midlands re-signalling project.

Christmas deadline

  • To demolish the old bridge, Network Rail offered a possession of the West Coast Main Line for 56 hours, over Christmas 2015. The next available possession would have been at least a year later.
  • A single project team was formed across all parties, with shared offices and facilities and clear demonstration from the respective leaders that through all the unsociable hours and challenging work, everyone really was in it together.
  • The project team took possession of the railway at 23:30 on 24 December 2015 and returned it ready for rail services to resume on schedule at 05:00 on 27 December 2015.

Successful delivery

The project was delivered on time, on budget and to the full satisfaction of the council. All three lanes of traffic remained open throughout and the council reported an exceptionally high degree of public understanding during the works.

Councillor Ted Richards OBE, Cabinet Portfolio Holder Transport and Highways at Solihull Council said, “The importance of this project for the regional and strategic highway network really cannot be underestimated. The replacement of the A45 South Bridge removes a significant pinch point on one of the busiest roads in our Borough and will ensure continuous accessibility to one of the UK’s most economically important locations.

"I would like to thank Carillion, SLC Rail and Solihull Council Officers for their exceptional project management of this scheme. Overcoming significant risks, this major project was delivered on time and without significant disruption to the high volume of road and rail users who pass through this area.

"In particular, I would like to highlight the successful demolition of the existing bridge within a tight 54-hour rail possession at Christmas 2015. The railway was returned to full use on time which required months of advance planning including assessing and mitigating the many associated risks."

"Ian Walters, Managing Director of SLC Rail added, “I would like to thank the Transport and Highways team at Solihull Council for entrusting this project to SLC Rail. There were some significant technical challenges around the rail aspects of this project but thanks to a real commitment to teamwork and diligent detailed planning, it was a great success."

Shortlisted for award

The project has been announced as a finalist for Outstanding Projects in the UK Rail Industry Awards. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in London in February 2017.

For more information please see our A45 South Overbridge replacement project profile or contact us.

15th September 2016

Work starts on site for new Kenilworth Station

Works entrance for Kenilworth Station project

Site entrance prepared for project

Kenilworth station site prior to construction

Kenilworth Station site, from railway line

Kenilworth Station project site looking towards railway line

New station site, towards railway line

The new Kenilworth Station has come another step closer, with the appointment of Graham Construction as the build contractor.

The new station is being built on a former retail/industrial site close to the town centre. Work has already begun with demolition and clearing of the area. The Contractor has also completed surveys of drainage, a topological survey and ground investigation works.

Cllr Peter Butlin, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning at Warwickshire County Council, said "The construction of the station and the resulting new train service will not only improve local public transport but will also provide a link to rail services beyond the Coventry and Warwickshire sub-region, giving improved access to the economies of London and Birmingham while boosting our own local economy and tourism."

SLC Rail supported Warwickshire County Council with development of the case and successful applications for funding. Project Managers from SLC Rail will be managing the day to day details of the project delivery on behalf of the council.

For more information please see our Kenilworth Station project profile or contact us.

12th July 2016

New station opens in Bromsgrove thanks to innovative industry funding

Bromsgrove station carpark during construction

Constructing the new, larger carpark

Bromsgrove station carpark during construction

Bromsgrove station during construction

Bromsgrove station open to passengers

Bromsgrove station open to passengers

From 12th July 2016 the people of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire have a new, relocated station to support the rapidly growing number of passengers in the locality. It provides greatly improved access, substantially more parking and extended platforms that will enable more services to call at the station.

When a new station was first proposed, Worcestershire County Council and Centro (now part of the West Midlands Combined Authority) recognised the economic benefits and favoured the plan, but were unable to generate the capital needed to build the station. They asked specialist rail partners, SLC Rail, to review the business case and investigate other funding options.

Ian Walters, Managing Director at SLC Rail, extensively experienced in rail finance, observed, "Even using the most conservative estimates, we saw that the increase in passengers from the proposed new station would generate far greater fare income for the train operators than the cost of delivering the project."

From this starting point the team at SLC Rail constructed a commercial mechanism seeing the two authorities borrow capital at preferential rates, with the train operators providing the majority of money to repay the loan over a 25 year period, funded from the increase in ticket sales.

"For this to work, we had to make sure that the commercial model would deliver a significant revenue upside for the train operator as well as benefits for rail passengers in north Worcestershire."

However with the timescales involved and a new train operating franchise succeeding London Midland from 2017, it was essential that any new franchise operator be bound by the same conditions. This meant persuading the Department for Transport of the benefits of the project so that both funding commitments and the level of train services needed to support them be written into the franchise agreement.

The team from SLC Rail successfully led negotiations so that:

  • The West Midlands Combined Authority has been granted a long lease on the station by Network Rail, making them effectively the Station Facility Owner (or SFO – rail industry terminology for the operator of a station).
  • Station Access Charges and Finance Charges have been agreed with the train operators, Department for Transport and Office for Rail Regulation, allowing the West Midlands Combined Authority and Worcestershire County Council to recover the borrowing costs.
  • London Midland will operate the station on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority and then be succeeded in 2017 by the new West Midlands Franchise.
  • Network Rail will provide similar landlords maintenance and repair services as it does at other stations.

The basic commercial structure was agreed in 2014 and Worcestershire County Council and Centro appointed Network Rail to manage and deliver the project. In early 2016 the agreements around station operations were finalised and in July 2016 it opened to the public.

Andy Maginnis, Programme and Commissioning Manager at Worcestershire County Council commented, "SLC Rail brought in-depth knowledge of the rail industry and how it works, which enabled them to devise this innovative funding and commercial model. But more importantly they had the credibility to talk directly to the key industry people in government and industry, to inspire confidence in the scheme. Without a doubt, this new station would not have been possible without SLC Rail."

For more information please contact us.

30th April 2016

Second span laid for new A45 bridge

A45 bridge over main line - beam being lifted

Beam being lifted for second span

A45 bridge over main line - new beams in place

New bridge beams in place

A45 bridge over main line - view of new bridge from trackside

View of new bridge from trackside

Another significant milestone has been achieved in the construction of the A45 road bridge over the West Coast Main Line.

Overnight on the 26/27th March, two pairs of braced beams were lifted into position, forming the basis of the second span of the new, widened road crossing.

The following weekend, the two pairs were braced together and GRP panels were laid across the beams. From this temporary platform, workers placed the steel reinforcement. At the end of April, the concrete was poured in another overnight operation, to create the new deck.

The new bridge is on track for opening in September.

For more information please see our A45 South Overbridge replacement project profile or contact us.

24th March 2016

New stations opened at Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park

Train with Rail Minister at Bermuda Park

SLC Rail and Warwickshire staff

Coventry Arena Station

Two new railway stations have been opened at Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park by Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Centro. The stations are part of the Coventry to Nuneaton upgrade project (‘NUCKLE’ - Nuneaton-Coventry-Kenilworth-Leamington ), which is improving links between local economies and amenities to boost the economy of the area.

SLC Rail has been a key advisor to the partners throughout, developing the business case, applying successfully for funding and managing the project through to its opening.

Bermuda Park Station was formally opened by Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP. She commented: “Together with improvements to the Coventry-Nuneaton Rail scheme this offers a real boost for regional transport and this station is tangible evidence of the commitment of Warwickshire County Council and local MP Marcus Jones to getting rail investment in the area.”

Ian Walters, Managing Director of SLC Rail, said: “We are very pleased to be part of this successful partnership, which has seen Warwickshire County Council opening four new stations in just 15 years. The team at SLC Rail is proud to be helping shape and deliver the ambitious vision which is putting Warwickshire ahead in its rail strategy and underpinning local economic growth.”

For more information please see our Coventry to Nuneaton rail upgrade project profile or contact us.

25th February 2016

Seminars: Making Your Projects Happen on Britain's Rail Network

Adrian Shooter CBE presenting at SLC Rail seminar, Making Your Projects Happen on Britain's Rail Network Mark Beckett presenting at SLC Rail seminar, Making Your Projects Happen on Britain's Rail Network Ian Baxter presenting at SLC Rail seminar, Making Your Projects Happen on Britain's Rail Network Ian Baxter presenting at SLC Rail seminar, Making Your Projects Happen on Britain's Rail Network

On 24th and 25th February, SLC Rail ran two half-day seminars, ‘Making your UK Rail Project Happen’ in partnership with rail specialists from leading international law firm, Gowling WLG.

Delegates from local government, developers and from within the rail industry attended the two events in London and in Birmingham.

The event was chaired by Giles Clifford, Head of Transport Practice at Gowling WLG, with the keynote speech from Adrian Shooter CBE, Chairman of SLC Rail. Other speakers included Mark Beckett and Ian Baxter of SLC Rail.

If you would like a copy of the presentations or to be kept informed of future seminars and events from SLC Rail, please call 0121 285 2622 or email enquiries@slcrail.com.

12th January 2016

Successful demolition of major road bridge over West Coast Main Line

A45 bridge over electrified West Coast Mainline Demolition of the bridge over the West Coast Mainline

On Christmas Day, the A45 westbound road bridge over the West Coast Main Line was successfully demolished under the project management of SLC Rail thanks to a collaborative effort between Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Carillion Construction and Network Rail.

This was a critical step in the project to replace an old masonry bridge and increase the capacity of the A45 which already carries over 30,000 vehicles a day, serving Birmingham Airport, the NEC, Jaguar Land Rover and Birmingham International Railway Station.

Transport specialists at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council recognised that the rail aspects of the project introduced substantial complexity and risk, not least because a significant part of the funding was dependent on the project being completed in good time, including the essential possession and demolition over Christmas 2015. The project also involved:

  • Relocating signalling to accommodate the new bridge works
  • Lowering the electrified overhead line equipment (OLE)
  • Relocating major service connections including telecommunications connection, high pressure gas main and water main which used the old bridge to cross the railway line

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council hired SLC Rail initially to manage the rail aspects of the project. The Council later extended the remit of SLC Rail to assist with tendering, managing the project, providing on-site supervision, taking care of the complexities of stakeholder relations and managing the significant risks associated with the scheme.

The project was designed to minimise disruption to road and rail users. Prior to the demolition, the first half of the new bridge was completed immediately to the south of the old bridge and traffic was diverted onto the new bridge.

The next stage in the project is to build the remainder of the new bridge, completing a new, wider crossing. This is on schedule for completion in August 2016.

Councillor Ted Richards, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways, commented, “This project has been very well executed and it is to the credit of SLC Rail that the works have been managed with so little disruption to the public.”

Ian Walters, Managing Director at SLC Rail, commented, “In our industry we ask a lot of the people who deliver projects, often in challenging circumstances and at unsociable times. There was a lot riding on this Christmas Day possession and I would like to thank everyone for their professionalism, commitment and real teamwork.”

For more information please see our A45 South Overbridge replacement project profile or contact us.

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