Six programmes on NR’s Project Speed shortlist

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Electrification at speed? Northward extension of Midland main line electrification is one project being developed by Network Rail under the ‘Project Speed’ banner. EMR Meridian No 222006 passes Great Bowden, north of Market Harborough, on 27 May 2020 with the 14.45 Nottingham to St Pancras service.

Network Rail has identified six programmes where it is aiming to halve the time and slash the cost of delivery, in response to Government’s ‘Project Speed’ challenge to accelerate infrastructure schemes.

Under the Project Speed moniker within Network Rail, ‘Speed’ stands for Swift, Pragmatic and Efficient Enhancement Delivery. The six programmes identified by NR are:
• Croydon Area Remodelling (CARS) – a major upgrade on the Brighton main line;
• Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade – enhancements to the route from Manchester to Leeds and York;
• Manchester reliability improvements, focused on the congested Castlefield corridor through Piccadilly and Oxford Road;
• Northumberland line reopening – reintroduction of passenger services on the freight-only line to Blyth and Ashington;
• Oxford remodelling and capacity improvement; and
• Midland main line electrification to Sheffield – extension northwards from Corby/Market Harborough following on from current and planned programmes.

The aim of Project Speed is to articulate and demonstrate how enhancements can be delivered more quickly and effectively using real-time live projects at varying states of the early delivery cycle, and to change the culture, processes and risk appetite in delivering projects.

A seven-week programme led by Network Rail was due to conclude at the end of July, and once initial opportunities have been developed NR will work to validate the size of the programme reduction and determine how projects may be delivered before a final proposal is presented to the Department for Transport.