Ricardo Rail has agreed a framework with Network Rail to provide Assessment Body services for its Infrastructure Projects – Western & Wales team, which is delivering the Great Western Route Modernisation programme (GWRM), as well as numerous other projects throughout Western & Wales.
The agreement means that Network Rail will be able to draw upon a wide range of specialist expertise to ensure that constituent parts of the programme are undertaken in full compliance with the European Commission’s Common Safety Method – Risk Evaluation and Assessment regulation 402/2013 (CSM-REA).
Under this regulation, any project or change identified as being ‘significant’ (e.g. in terms of novelty, complexity or failure consequence) requires the Proposer to appoint an independent Assessment Body (AsBo) to assess the identification and management of hazards and confirm that the risk acceptance principles have been applied appropriately and in accordance with the regulation.
In the context of a works programme as large as Great Western, this requirement extends to each individual project. This ranges from the installation of overhead line equipment and renewal/modification of bridges and other structures, to the roll-out of new signalling along the route. It can also include any other work to enhance capacity and enable the introduction of new rolling stock.
With such a wide scope of projects potentially within the AsBo’s remit, Network Rail were keen to secure a long-term framework with a single supplier that could offer a range of competencies and experience to match.
As the AsBo provider for the entire programme, Ricardo Rail will be able to consistently apply the same proven project management and planning techniques to each assessment it is required to perform.
This will ensure the assessors develop a deep level of knowledge about the programme and its inter-dependencies, whilst individual project teams, regardless of their contribution to the programme, will be encouraged to gather the necessary evidence at appropriate opportunities, rather than being required to devote resources to recovering materials and documentation at a later stage.
The modernisation of the Great Western is the largest and most comprehensive programme of works undertaken on the route since it was first built over 150 years ago, Central to the programme is the electrification of the route to facilitate the introduction of new fleet of modern intercity rolling stock together with cascade of modern electric trains for Thames Valley services.