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2017 19 Jul

Our Next Steps

Posted in Digital Railway Programme

Programme Director, Michael Flynn, looks ahead to some of the programme’s next key challenges

Having made substantial progress over the last twelve months, it is also a perfect opportunity to look briefly at some of the key programme challenges that will be facing us over the coming year.

A huge amount of work has already been carried out to align the industry and bring together its many stakeholders at every level of operation. There’s also been good progress in terms of the technology, people and business changes that are required to deliver the programme and to better understand the impact it will have on passengers and operations.

So, having successfully established this solid platform from which the core objectives of the programme can begin to be realised, our key task now is to finance the next stages; the reality being that none of our work will come to fruition if we can’t secure adequate funding.

To make sure we achieve this, we are now analysing and quantifying the benefits that the DR can undoubtedly deliver, as well as defining the costs involved in its further development and implementation.

For example, although the technology is proven in deployment, we need to continue the cab-fitment programme and the other key enabling activities to help build capability. And whilst we have cross-industry and DfT support, we still need to provide a compelling business case.

Working closely with the DfT, we are also currently investigating several programmes which are candidates for the introduction of digital technology, with a view to preparing outline business cases to take a number of these forward for delivery in CP6 and CP7. As part of this, we’re also investigating alternative commercial models, looking at how we might present the programme to private investors.

While securing finance is obviously key, we are also driving hard in other areas, with a lot of activity planned around the Industry Programme Management Office. The office will play a pivotal role in the integration of track, train and operations activities, representing stakeholders from across the whole industry and making sure that no activity is carried out in isolation. Continuing that theme, we will also continue to engage with digital programmes worldwide, sharing experiences and ensuring the most efficient deployment in the UK.

Closer to home, the focus remains on a number of enabling projects, including Romford, Upminster, Cardiff, Crossrail and Thameslink, making sure that we benefit not just from the technology but that we also remain firmly focussed on realising the benefits of the whole programme, delivering a sustainable, high-capacity railway to the benefit of passengers and the industry.