Fiery Crash Shuts Route Indefinitely
Fiery Crash Shuts Route Indefinitely
Cross London Rail Links Ltd.
Fiery Crash Shuts Route Indefinitely
Cross London Rail Links Ltd.
CHigh-speed rail from St. Pancras (top) is model for Crossrail, says Oakervee (middle, right, with London Mayor Ken Livingstone (left) and U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown (center). Station design continues (bottom).

From under faithfully restored ironwork arches of a 140-year-old London terminal, the U.K.’s inaugural high-speed rail service to the Channel Tunnel will push off on Nov. 14. By being delivered within budget and on schedule, the $11.6-billion “High Speed 1” sets a tough target for London’s even bigger Crossrail project, now heading off on its 10-year journey.

Having successfully delivered HS1, along with over one million completion documents, design and management team Rail Link Engineering has largely disbanded. But much of RLE’s experience, earned over nine years of construction, has migrated to Crossrail.

“We looked at HS1 quite a lot,” says Douglas Oakervee, executive chairman of Cross London Rail Links Ltd. (CLRL), Crossrail’s owner. As RLE wound down over the last 18 months, key staff have crossed town to join his team in Victoria, he adds.

Cross-fertilization between the projects has intensified through firms working on both projects. London-based Arup Group and Halcrow Group, RLE’s lead civil engineering designers and part owners, are now working on Crossrail. RLE’s controlling partner and HS1’s project manager, Bechtel Inc., San Francisco, is CLRL’s development manager.

In terms of tunneling and complexity, HS1 and Crossrail are alike. HS1’s second phase, now ending, comprises just one-third of the 109-kilometer-long line to the coast, but it accounts for two-thirds of its cost. Bringing trains into St. Pancras International terminal from just south of the Thames River required 22 km of twin bored tunnels.

Crossrail, involving 118.5 km of railroad, will link networks on either side of London, with about 21 km of twin tunnels and 38 stations.

Initially, CLRL planned to procure the project in design-construct contracts. Instead, like RLE, it will complete design itself and award construction-only packages. Having consulted with the industry “it was quite clear the appetite for design-construct was not very strong,” says Oakervee.


How CLRL will remodel its design arrangements is uncertain. Under its original strategy, CLRL hired four London-based firms to handle multidisciplinary design up to the schematic stage. Whether European Union procurement law will allow CLRL to extend these contracts to full design is in question. Oakervee expects to receive legal advice by year’s end.
Scott Wilson Railways Ltd. is designing surface works in the west and north, while Mott MacDonald Group is handling some of the central-tunnel and eastern stations. A joint venture of Arup and W.S. Atkins plc is doing other parts of central tunnels and western stations. Halcrow Group is working on the southeast branch.

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Vertical Alignment: Central Station

Separately, Oakervee has increased design integration this year by putting the design teams, with roughly 300 combined staff, under one roof. “We are coming to the end of the schematic design and ready to start detailed design to go out to construction,” he says.

Bidding construction contracts will not start until after the government-supported Crossrail Bill completes its passage through Parliament. Barring unforeseen objections, that could be next year, leading to bidding in 2009 and work starting in the first quarter of 2010 and ending in 2017.

However, Oakervee’s team remains undecided on what type of contract to adopt. “The most important to have an honest, straightforward dialogue with the industry,” says Oakervee.
On HS1, RLE went for partnering, with the owner and contractors working together, sharing the pain and gain. Separate consortiums on the London tunnels formed an alliance, which they later formalized, to reduce interfaces.
As well as sharing a common budget, the teams used the same precast yard and other resources. “When we created a single pot...we weren’t reverting to contractual positions all the way through,” says Ian Blight, RLE field engineering manager.

Using partnering extensively, the HS1 project was “in the early days of the New Engineering Contract,” says Brian Sedar, RLE’s project director for the second phase. The contracts were meant to create harmonious teams, but “It didn't always work,” he adds. “We always had to do commercial negotiations at some point.”

In terms of project management, CLRL will recruit a delivery partner to reinforce its own team. As development manager, Bechtel is well placed to bid for that contract when its current assignment ends in March. Bechtel provides about a third of the project’s 130 person delivery team, estimates CLRL Engineering Director David Anderson.

After legislation is in place, CLRL will move under the sole control of Transport for London (TfL) as the Dept. for Transport relinquishes its 50%...