In 2012, Network Rail began implementation of the North West Electrification Project (NWEP).
A £400 million programme, it was to be delivered in five phases:
- Phase 1: Between Castlefield Junction and Newton Le Willows;
- Phase 2: Between Liverpool and Manchester;
- Phase 3: Preston to Blackpool;
- Phase 4: Manchester Victoria to Preston (Euxton Junction);
- Phase 5: Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge, Guide Bridge to Stalybridge.
For Phase 1, NCB was appointed as the NoBo (Notified Body), DeBo (Designated Body) and AsBo (Assessment Body) to achieve the UK’s first Energy TSI (Technical Standard for Interoperability) authorisation from regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). This involved compiling the technical files and safety reports as required by the Railway Interoperability Regulations and Common Safety Method Regulations.
Following successful completion of Phase 1, NCB was appointed as the NoBo, DeBo and AsBo contracted to produce three technical files and three CSM Safety Assessment Reports in order to achieve full safety certification of Phase 2.
NCB developed a tool with the client to capture evidence requirements and detail the technical file assessment and a ‘standard’ technical file assessment report, so the three technical files could be produced in quick succession. NCB also produced a technical file assessment report, to allow the client and the ORR to fully understand the assessment.
To enhance working relationships with the client, NCB co-located with the project team and liaised with various stakeholder groups such as the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB). NCB also met with the ORR to gain early feedback on the output of NWEP Phase 1 to improve its work on Phase 2.
The concept of ‘behaviour milestones’ was built into NCB’s planning procedures, establishing minimum durations for tasks in the assessment process which, if not met, might put the client’s authorisation date at risk. These were tracked and reported on, and reviewed per period so both parties understood their risks and it allowed the project to identify potential issues before they arose.
By monitoring ‘right first time’ deliverables submitted to the Internal Technical Review (ITR), a scorecard metric was developed that successfully motivated staff to work with clients to ensure that assessment work was completed on time and that all requirements had been met.
Despite several programme slips NCB was able to accommodate these delays and completed the project.