Latest Rail News

10.12.14

Cardiff re-signalling costs increase by £40m

Costs on Network Rail’s project to re-signal the Cardiff area have increased by £40m since the last quarter, according to new figures. 

In Network Rail’s anticipated final cost (AFC) figure for August 2014 the project was estimated to cost £212m – a £7m reduction on the original GRIP 4 cost. But due to ‘slippages in the delivery of critical path works in summer 2014’ this figure has increased significantly to £252m, and will increase again following further assessment next year. 

Over the summer months, problems with the signalling modernisation contributed to an increase in delays on Arriva Trains Wales’ network, which the Welsh government described as “very disappointing”. 

Due to problems on the signalling project, Network Rail added that this has “resulted in significant delay and increased cost of the programme owing to access constraints”.  

In addition, the latest forecast of final commissioning has slipped to January 2017 and stakeholders are being consulted on this revised programme. Network Rail said this date is not yet finalised as the “collaborative programme review is still in progress”. 

Currently, the financial impact of the reprogramming is being evaluated and until Network Rail has more certainty on the full AFC – which should be outlined in an authority paper planned for March 2015 – the project only contains estimated costs up to 2015-16, thus “this AFC of £251.9m is [an] under-assessment”.   

The latest news that the Cardiff project’s AFC has gone up is likely to further fuel the Welsh government’s “serious reservations” about Network Rail and its ability to deliver projects. 

Only last week, the Welsh transport minister, Edwina Hart, said that due to the lack of confidence in Network Rail, the Welsh government may look at finding other companies to undertake the future works they want done on Welsh railways. 

UPDATE:

A Network Rail spokesperson told RTM: “Cardiff Area Signalling Renewal is a highly complex project that is not only replacing life-expired signalling equipment, but will also deliver enhanced track layouts, new platforms and station improvements. Once complete it will improve reliability and boost capacity by providing the potential to run more trains on the Cardiff and Valleys network.
 
“In just under two years, the project has successfully delivered additional platforms at Barry, Caerphilly and Tir Phil.  We have recently opened the new station entrance and ticket office at Cardiff Queen Street, with two new platforms set to open on 14 December. Additionally, work on the new rear station building at Cardiff Central is underway with a planned completion of summer 2015, with a new platform to open at a later date.
 
“We are in the process of finalising the schedule for the remaining work and are currently undertaking a detailed planning exercise in collaboration with the train and freight operating companies. The remaining work will focus on the installation of modern signalling equipment in east, central and west Cardiff as well as track work on the mainline east of Cardiff Central and on the Treforest Curve.”

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