Professional services firms appointed to rail project

02 January 2023 2 min. read

Two engineering consulting firms have been handed a new contract to help plot the next phase of development for a new cross-national rail link. Mott MacDonald and WSP will provider management resources to the East West Rail.

The East West Rail is a £1 billion project to establish a strategic railway connecting East Anglia with Central, Southern and Western England. It plans to link Oxford and Cambridge via Bicester, Milton Keynes – via Bletchley – and Bedford, providing a route between any or all of the Great Western, Chiltern, West Coast, Midland, East Coast, West Anglia, Great Eastern and the Cotswold main lines, avoiding London.

The first phase between Oxford and Bletchley is already underway, with earthworks nearly completed, track being laid, new bridges built and a new station under construction at Winslow. The second stage will connect to Bedford and the third to Cambridge.

Professional services firms appointed to rail project

This is set to see a team featuring Laing O’Rourke, Volker Rail and engineering consultancy Atkins carry out the second phase, having been awarded a £1 billion-plus deal by Network Rail in 2015. But now, as East West Rail looks to launch its next phase of development – having received fresh government backing in the autumn statement – the project has handed a further contract to a joint venture of consulting firms.

Simon Scott, Engineering Director, at East West Rail, said, “Following the Chancellor’s recent commitment to EWR, we are now moving forward with our plans to deliver a faster, more sustainable and affordable way to travel that links people to their jobs, families and friends. So we are very pleased to be working with Mott MacDonald and WSP to open up more opportunities for best-in-class collaborations, from designers and engineers to innovators and sustainable suppliers, on the important next phases of this exciting project, which will improve the quality of life for local communities and help boost the UK economy.”

Mott MacDonald and WSP will offer up technical and management resources for the planned railway, as it prepares to apply for a development consent order. The joint venture’s work will include preliminary engineering and systems design, environmental assessment and management of the statutory processes.

Stephen Flanagan, Managing Director for Rail at Mott MacDonald, noted, “We are delighted to be supporting East West Rail Co on the next phase of this prestigious scheme. East West Rail will create new opportunities for our communities to flourish, by linking them to a world class transport network, increasing capacity and connectivity across the UK, and improving standards of living across the wider OxCam Arc.”

Darren Reed, Managing Director for Rail at WSP, added, “East West Rail will bring new levels of connectivity along the rail corridor between Oxford and Cambridge, and being part of the team making this a reality for the many communities it will benefit is an exciting opportunity.”