■ Civils costs halved
■ Bridge reconstruction slashed
■ Overdue renewals distort cost
■ Overheads exposed
Central to the drive to make electrification affordable is the National Electrification Efficiency Panel (NEEP). Commissioned by the Department for Transport at the end of 2021, and chaired by veteran British Rail civil engineer and electrification cost hawk Prof Andrew McNaughton, the Panel’s primary focus has been the Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade (TRU).
Back in the November 2021 column I reported on the recently authorised Wigan – Bolton electrification scheme (strictly Wigan East to Lostock Junction). At the quoted cost of £78 million for 21 single track kilometres (stkm), the unit cost was one-third more expensive than even the Great Western Electrification Programme (GWEP).