ETCS Long Term Deployment Plan (LTDP)

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Project Outline

The Long Term Deployment Plan proposes a partnership between Network Rail, train and freight operating companies, the supply chain and the Department for Transport; to work together to implement a European Train Control System (ETCS) across the UK rail network. This plan details how the network will migrate, taking into account the scale and complexity of fitting c4,000 trains and upgrading c20,000 miles of railway – recommending a steady programme of asset renewal.

The rail industry working together to deploy ETCS, alongside other digital train control technologies, will improve capacity, performance and safety across the network, whilst also providing environmental benefits too.

The remit of this project specifically, was the mobilisation and early development of 3 schemes the LTDP identified for delivery within Control Period 7 (CP7):

  • Peterborough – Kings Lynn via Ely
  • St Pancras – Silkstream Junction
  • Warrington – Wigan

Key statistics

Project LTDP Control Period 7 (CP7) Schemes Development
Client North West & Central and Eastern Regions, Network Rail
Services Project Management
Duration May 2020 – March 2021

Aaron has been excellent in managing this project. He has applied a practical management approach, demonstrating ingenuity in dealing with issues and discussing with stakeholders any changes and their likely impact. He has helped drive activities and deliverables, and in some cases to deliver ahead of time.

Shane Miller

Senior Engineer, Network Rail

During challenging times, this has been one of the more organised projects to have worked on. There was a clear plan, which was implemented to a high level. The project manager was well aware of the risks and provided appropriate mitigations.

Gurmeet Sembi

Lead Estimator, Network Rail

Our Service

Mercury3 were engaged by Network Rail to provide Project Management services to this project from concept stage (May 2020) until completion of feasibility (March 2021).

This commission initially entailed working with the sponsorship and client teams to develop appropriate remits for each of the 3 schemes. The remits needed to show consistency in approach for each proposed deployment, whilst also considering route specific needs and lessons learnt from previous schemes. A tailored list of project deliverables and success criteria was agreed, typically that of GRIP2 maturity, but with a change-led focus. Mercury3 then led the development of a project proposal, schedule and estimate to seek funding.

We led project delivery from July 2020. The first priority was mobilising the project team virtually and creating a collaborative environment whereby different discipline teams would still share ideas and integrate effectively despite the remote working arrangements.

All draft project outputs were produced on schedule and shared with the client teams December 2020, which included:

  • Vision/goals/objectives, change impact assessment, role family insights
  • Technical assessment (scheme sketches, migration approach)
  • Rolling stock requirements
  • Cost estimates
  • Procurement strategy

Mercury3 then facilitated interactive feedback sessions for each scheme in the new year. This enabled each of the client teams – and their key stakeholders – to receive an overview of each of the deliverables produced and ask any questions, prior to a formal document review by discipline leads. This was well received and identified as an example of how a collaborative (rather than client-supplier) relationship was embedded.

All deliverables received fantastic feedback, with minimal changes to implement post client review. As a result, the project team were re-engaged by each of the 3 route clients to deliver additional works with the remaining budget. This included: exploratory national driver training work, driveability assessments of proposed transitions and cost estimates for overlay areas. These deliverables supported each client in progressing their respective schemes to the next stage of the lifecycle and securing associated funding.

The Mercury3 staff quickly integrated into the team and understood the project’s needs. The project management team worked closely with our regional clients and proactively led the stakeholder engagement. They kept the engineering team focussed on the delivery despite the disruptions caused by COVID and the ‘new’ ways of working. I have no doubt that the Mercury3 team were core to the overall success of the project.

Project colleague, Network Rail

Key Achievements

All project deliverables were produced to baseline schedule, to client praise regarding quality.

Baseline remitted outputs were delivered with a cost saving of c25%.

Success (and lessons learned!) on this project informed Network Rail’s GRIP2 proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

We delivered a lunch and learn to 20+ client employees, on project initiation and associated governance, assurance and investment processes. This included attendee engagement as to continuous improvement ideas and ways in which the process could effectively link to proactive resource management moving forwards.