Rail in the south must collaborate in order to innovate. That is the belief of Tim Walden, Network Rail’s capital delivery director for the Southern Region.
Speaking at TransCity Rail South in London today, Walden challenged the industry and the network in the south to ensure it collaborates with each other in order to unlock the potential that the region and the network across the country currently has.
Walden said in his keynote speech: “What is key is what we deliver – 50% of money spent in rail is not spent in infrastructure. That means that we spend almost the same amount of money on getting to that point.
What that means, is that the scale of opportunity is huge, but we must collectively get hold of that, so we can deliver effectively.”
£3.3 billion has been ringfenced for southern rail network renewals in the upcoming Control Period 7 strategic plan across the southern region with the Southern Renewals Enterprise (SRE) and Integrated Delivery teams tasked with ensuring that it is spent wisely.
It was recently announced that four companies would partner to help deliver that long-term vision for Network Rail and form the delivery team – With VolkerFitzpatrick looking after buildings and civils, Octavius for electrification and VolkerRail will be undertaking renewals for track. Lastly, Atkins were chosen for signalling.
For Network Rail, and the southern region, Tim believes that an efficient and long-term view of how that money is spent should inform those decisions.
“We can’t goldplate everything. There is no point in building something for 100 years when we need to upgrade the digital system in 20 years, so thinking about that now, is absolutely crucial, Tim adds.
And a key theme for expenditure for the next control period, according to Tim is the focus on accessibility, environment and innovation that keeps pace with the changing times. But none of that will be possible without a considered focus on collaboration.
In the speech, he says “we must collaborate together in order to change the way we innovate and improve our infrastructure. Part of the reason we see money not being spent in the ground, is because of an absence of trust in each other."