RICoE: getting more pounds in the ground

Network Rail’s vaunted Project SPEED initiative is being expanded and applied across the spectrum of its operations. Rail Investment Centre of Excellence Director CHRISTIAN IRWIN OBE explains how it works – and the profound effects it is already having –

In recent times, when Network Rail’s drive to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its projects is mentioned, many will immediately recall the restoration of passenger services to Okehampton. But this drive for efficiency predates that reopening and is now being expanded far beyond enhancements.

However, it is appropriate that the Director of Network Rail’s Rail Investment Centre of Excellence – which Modern Railways is asked to abbreviate as RICoE – is one of the leading lights behind the Dartmoor line project, Christian Irwin.

Mr Irwin explains how Network Rail has changed the way it manages its investment programme. Prior to the Putting Passengers First initiative, all investment projects were delivered through the Infrastructure Projects (IP) arm. Nowadays, the focus is on devolution of powers to NR’s Regions, which prompts the question: how do you allow the five Regions to exploit the benefits of local decisionmaking whilst coming together and making balanced investment decisions for the benefit of all?

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