Assessing a major infrastructure project
A Railtrack case study

Page 1: Introduction

The development of a transportation system which links up places both within the UK and across the world, has enabled people, goods and services to travel to and from distant communities and provide us with access to the lifestyles we enjoy. Recently, the media has spotlighted the increasing concerns regarding the infrastructure of the UK's existing transportation systems.The competitive...
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Page 2: The need for modernisation

Originally built in the 1830s and 1840s, the West Coast Main Line was the first inter-city railway in the world. In the first half of this century, parts of the line were widened to four tracks and the line was electrified between 1955 and 1975. Although there has been some replacement of signalling and track components, as well as the development of international freight terminals, the line has...
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Page 3: Research

Following a statement in Parliament by the Secretary of State for Transport on 1 December 1993, Railtrack began its search for a private sector partner in order to carry out a feasibility study into the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line. Six of the 42 groups that expressed an interest in the study, were pre-qualified and WCML Development Company was selected on 24 March 1994. This...
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Page 4: Methodology

Four approaches were established as a framework to develop, test and refine promising options for the West Coast Main Line. All studies require a base against which proposals can be judged. Two base cases were considered: ‘Bedrock’ - a patch and mend approach and ‘Recovery’ which allows some upfront investment to take place to drive down long term costs. Although neither...
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Page 5: Market-driven investment options

The study team packaged the best of the upgrade investments for Railtrack and its partners into eight Market-Driven investment options, each of which was carefully considered. These key options would lead to improvements in ride comfort, capacity and journey times and to improved freight services. They included: Accelerated track renewals programme Power supplies for extra trains at 175...
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Page 6: Conclusion

The feasibility study identified a Core Investment Programme which would reduce costs in the medium term and benefit the revenues of Railtrack’s customers. Railtrack implemented a modernisation strategy which will: benefit the railway industry and Great Britain's transportation network as well as Railtrack take a positive first step towards creating a railway fit for the needs of the 21st...
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