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CIVIL ENGINEERING & CONSTRUCTION


All together now


It


has taken years – decades in fact – but work is now steaming ahead on the


Hitchin Flyover project, designed to allow more and faster services on the line between London, Cambridge and King’s Lynn.


Currently trains from King’s Cross towards Cambridge have to cross three other lines on the ECML, including the two fast lines, over a fl at junction to get to the Cambridge line – but the new fl y-over will cut out this problem completely. This should have the further knock-on effect of improving reliability.


A project of this type – though a fl yunder, not a fl yover – was fi rst conceived over 20 years ago, and it has been hanging around in its current incarnation for around 10 years, before fi nally getting the go-ahead from the transport secretary in March 2011. Services will start using the new stretch of line by early 2014.


The fl yover involves 2.25km of new railway, including 1.25km of viaduct and 1km of embankment (see diagrams, right).


Alliance Network Rail’s


additional paths on the ECML, for long-distance services between London, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh. This scheme removes a number of minutes from the timetable, which alongside the other improvements we’re carrying out, provides for an additional hourly path through to King’s Cross.”


He noted that the Hitchin project, which will cost around £47m all told, has required full- time work for nearly six years, including design and development, the Transport & Works Act (TWA) process, consultation and negotiation.


But it was only at a relatively late stage that Network Rail decided to run the entire project in a new and innovative way, with a full-blown alliance with the lead contractor.


Hilton said: “As we got towards the end of GRIP 4 and towards the procurement of the scheme and construction, the appetite for alliancing and collaborative working inside Network Rail increased.


senior project manager,


who heads the alliance with Hochtief that is delivering the Hitchin Flyover scheme, Nick Hilton, told RTM that the cost-benefi t ratio for the scheme has got better and better over recent years, as traffi c and forecast traffi c on the ECML has increased.


He added: “One of the key drivers, as part of the whole package of ECML improvements that have come through the CP4 HLOS, was to create


“Consequently, the plans were changed, pretty much during the tender process as alliancing became more palatable as a delivery mechanism in the new climate.”


He noted that Network Rail, now that it is a more mature organisation, has been able to move away from the centralised command- and-control culture in place during Iain Coucher’s tenure, when it was trying to rectify a legacy of under-investment and mistakes made by Railtrack. “As we moved into the collaborative world of David Higgins, I think the ground changed. Opportunities arose


Single spine of leadership


‘Alliance’ is not just fancy PR spin to dress up the same kind of collaboration with lead contractors that has been going on for years.


Hilton said: “In this organisation, we have a single spine of leadership from top to bottom. We don’t have two teams who would traditionally ‘square off’ against each other, in a traditional contract. Everyone here has a specifi c role and a specifi c responsibility, and interacts with the other team members in that mode. Everybody has a job to do and everybody does it.


The Hitchin Flyover project, which recently passed a major milestone when a 30-tonne bridge span was lifted into place in just 90 minutes, is being managed by an innovative alliance of Network Rail and Hochtief. RTM heard more from Network Rail’s alliance manager for the project, Nick Hilton, and his counterpart from Hochtief, Julian Spiller.


to work more collaboratively, to deliver the benefi ts that come with removing contractual boundaries,” he said. RTM investigates this idea more fully on page 22.


Julian Spiller, project manager for Hochtief within the Alliance, gave his insight into the contractual shift that led to its creation, instead of a traditional client-customer, master-slave relationship.


He said: “We were asked some post-tender questions, which were based on our views of alliancing and collaborative working.


“Those were then followed up with a number of workshops in York, with two prospective tender teams, us and Network Rail, and our competitor and Network Rail, along with an observation team from a consultancy who judged people’s performance in that situation, and our willingness to work through common problems.”


4 | rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 12


32 | rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 12


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