Arup wins early-phase contract for East to West rail revamp

22 November 2019 3 min. read

Global engineering consultancy Arup has won a new contract to support the early phases of developing the East to West rail line between Oxford and Cambridge. Arup will lead a consortium to undertake preparatory work for the project.

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. As the nation’s rail networks look to turn their fortunes around, they have undertaken a number of key projects to revitalise tracks and services, contracting various consulting firms to oversee the processes.

London-headquartered engineering and design consultancy Arup has already been at the heart of a number of these projects. Earlier in 2019, the firm was asked to undertake work on a new £2.9 billion Trans-Pennine Upgrade programme, which is intended to modernise the route by adding capacity and partial electrification, and deploying ETCS and digital traffic management tools.

Arup wins early-phase contract for East to West rail revamp

Now, Arup has also been appointed by East West Rail Company (EWR) to support the early phases of the development of the East to West Rail line between Oxford and Cambridge. An Arup-led consortium (which also includes ERM, Ardent and Copper) will help EWR to undertake preparatory work ahead of development consent order (DCO) application for the Bedford-Cambridge section of the East to West rail line. According to industry news site Environment Analyst, the consortium will provide critical route alignment design and assessment, public consultation work and factual studies to inform strategic decision-making. 

EWR CEO Simon Blanchflower said of the news, "I am delighted that we’ve made this appointment now, because it will enable us to keep working at pace as soon as the preferred route has been selected later this year… East West Rail will bring much-needed infrastructure to the communities we serve, responding to local plans to help unlock real economic opportunities, creating jobs and improved access to housing. We’re also committed to protecting the environment by finding approaches to delivery that minimise environmental impacts and actually create opportunities for biodiversity benefits."

Arup was recently one of three firms to be named for a £5 billion Network Rail framework contract. Arup, Arcadis and Aecom will help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems.