Arup to design revamp of London's Euston Station

26 March 2018

HS2 has appointed Arup to design and develop plans for the re-development of London’s Euston Station for the anticipated 2026 opening of the HS2 network. The final HS2 project will realise considerable increase in capacity at the station.

Thanks to the declining levels of quality in rail service provision, coupled with the stagnating rates of progress across the privatised system, British rail services have become a major point of contention in the UK. In response to the continued controversy of the state of nation’s rail services, which this year underwent another heavily criticised price hike, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party maintained a commitment to inject £40 billion into public transport, in their 2017 election manifesto. This included plans for HS2, a new high speed railway linking several major cities.

The HS2 aims to significantly reduce the travel time between far flung areas in England through a high-speed rail connection. The initial phase of the project will connect London with Birmingham, with two second phase extensions planned to connect the network to Manchester, extending to Crew, and Leeds, through Sheffield, following the completion of the first segment. The completed project could see travel times between London and Leeds by up to an hour.

One area through which the network is set to run is Euston. The completion of the mega-project could, according to one projection, see the number of passengers per hour arriving / leaving the station increase from around 11,000 today to almost 40,000 each way by 2033. The significant increase in traffic, calls for a redesign of the station at Euston.

Arup to design Euston Station - HS2 revamp

Arup recently announced that the firm and partner Grimshaw Architects have won the contract to “develop and refine the detailed plans for the transformation of London Euston”. In addition, with partners Arup Associates and Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the firm has also won a contract to take part in the design and development of the interchange near Birmingham, where passengers connect on the Y shape between Manchester and Leeds. The projects will need to be delivered by the planned opening of the first phase in 2026.

For the projects the firm will draw on input from stakeholders, such as the local community, international best practice as well as independent panel endorsed guidelines and specifications. The firm will work with HS2 Ltd on the development of the new design, focused on people-centred design; one that is ‘timeless’, allowing for easy upgrading and future developments; and respecting and contributing to the physical and cultural legacy of the location.

Commenting on the new contract, Mark Thurston HS2 Chief Executive, said, “Our new stations in London and Birmingham will be at the heart of the first phase of the project, increasing capacity, improving journeys and helping to unlock opportunities for tens of thousands of new jobs and homes around what will be four new landmark buildings. That’s why I’m delighted to welcome these talented designers to the team, and we look forward to working with them to create station designs which showcase world-class architecture, ease of use and value for money that our passengers and communities expect and deserve.”

Stefan Sanders, UKMEA Rail Leader at Arup, added, "These stations are going to provide the key link between HS2, local and other inter-city services and will also be destinations in their own right. We are proud to be playing a leading role in their design and development, alongside our architect partners.”

Elsewhere, the HS2 project has not been without controversy, from concerns around social and environmental impacts as well as cost overrun concerns, the project in total is slated to cost £55.7 billion, although there is contention about this figure, and be completed in 2033. The project was also staggered by the collapse of outsourcer Carillion, a firm which was handed a contract to assist with construction, despite having issued a series of profit warnings in 2017.


How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.