August 2017 UK Project Management Round Up

Rail Projects, New Queensferry Bridge, Other News from the Project World and Final Silly Season News


By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


Well, the “Silly Season” is over for another year!  This means we can begin to get back to some serious happenings in the Project World but not before the final word on summer starting projects.  On a more serious note comes news of some major rail projects and the completion of a new bridge in Scotland.


Waterloo is not just a battlefield in Belgium (where Napoleon lost to Wellington) but a major rail terminus in London.  It provides more than half a million passenger journeys a day and 230 million a year making it one of the busiest railway stations in the UK.  Like most commuter stations, it suffers from overcrowding so the £800m (approximately $1.18bn) investment plan for station upgrades announced in March 2016 came as a great relief.  However, there was a sting in the tail – the station would partially close-down for most of August.

The upgrade is a part of the £1bn ($1.5bn approximately) Wessex Capacity programme that includes spending:

  • £274m ($406.1m) each on track renewals and signalling enhancements;
  • £182m ($269.8m) on bridges, tunnels, major structures, culverts, footbridges and earthworks;
  • £127m ($188.2m) on building improvements;
  • £88m ($130.4m) on electrification;
  • £33m ($49m) on telecommunications, and
  • £23m ($34.1m) on plant and machinery.

Site preparation works on the station upgrade began in October 2015 and construction works began in December 2015. The Waterloo International station was closed for all trains services in April 2016 for construction but came back into use while the main platform closures took place.  The International Station platforms are incredibly long and will be re-purposed next year as part of the overall Wessex Programme.

Network Rail said Waterloo had fully reopened following one of the “largest and most complex” upgrades in the station’s history.

A spokeswoman said a 1,000-strong team of engineers and trackside staff had been working 24 hours a day for nearly four weeks to complete the work, which would boost capacity at the station by 30% by December 2018, providing space for another 45,000 passengers at morning and evening peaks.

Day 1 – demolition of old platforms; Photo courtesy Network Rail

Work was carried out by a consortium consisting of Skanska, Colas Rail, Aecom and Mott MacDonald.  They were awarded a £400m ($592.08m) contract to upgrade the Waterloo station in January 2016.  The contractual scope includes bringing the international terminal at the station back into use for domestic train services and increasing the length of certain station platforms.  It also includes delivering track alterations, signalling, communications, buildings and civil infrastructure along the Wessex Route and at Waterloo, Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Richmond, Wimbledon and Surbiton stations.

New Siemens-built Class 707 Desiro City trains equipped with free passenger Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and improved on-board train information systems have already been introduced on some routes with full roll out planned to be complete by mid-2018. Some 150 new carriages will come into operation over the next year.

In the midst of the construction work, the operating company changed as South West Trains became South Western Railways.  SWR is part of the First Group, perhaps best known as the owners of the Hongkong MTR.  Shortly before the transfer, there were further delays to trains as a derailment and news came that same day that season ticket prices would rise by 3.6%! Interesting times for those involve in Stakeholder engagement (was management)!

As might be expected in such a complex project, handback was delayed due to signaling problems which did not endear the new operators to their public.


To read entire report, click here

About the Author


Salisbury, UK



Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World Journal in the United Kingdom. He is also managing director for MS Projects Ltd, a consulting company supporting various UK and overseas Government agencies, nuclear industry organisations and other businesses.  Miles has over 30 years’ experience on a variety of projects in UK, Eastern Europe and Russia.  His PM experience includes defence, major IT projects, decommissioning of nuclear reactors, nuclear security, rail and business projects for the UK Government and EU.   Past Chair and Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM), Miles is also past president and chair of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).  He is currently a Director for PMI’s Global Accreditation Centre and is immediate past Chair of the ISO committee developing new international standards for Project Management and for Program/Portfolio Management.  He was involved in setting up APM’s team developing guidelines for project management oversight and governance.  Miles is based in Salisbury, England and can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Miles Shepherd, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/miles-shepherd/.