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Suppliers Q&A

A long-term plan for digital investment

Digital Railway is committed to working collaboratively with the Rail Industry and the Supply Chain

This page details some of the questions asked at Industry and Supplier events and the programme responses.

Latest updates from Supplier Conference (April 2016)

Suppliers Q&A

Is "capabilities" being used consistently? What do we really mean when we use this word?

A capability is description of an action, or activity that is required to run a railway. They will be delivered through a combination of people, processes or systems.

Senior stakeholders from across the rail industry formed the outcomes by which it will measure success by. A following exercise took place to identify the capabilities necessary to achieve these outcomes (people, processes and systems to achieve the capabilities).

How is Digital Railway going to build confidence in the supply chain?

Whilst there can never be an absolute guarantee that future needs and funding may change relating to such a long term programme which will span several industry control periods and indeed governments its important to recognise that the proposed approach to how we contract for the DR programme is different in a number of ways to previous programmes of signalling work undertaken in the UK and minimises these risks occurring:
– The proposed approach is based on performance and outcome specifications not specific products, so as long as proposed technologies/products meet these requirements they won’t be in or out of favour
– The use of ECI based arrangements means that products and technologies will be developed not in isolation but in an open collaborative environment so there is a reduced risk of products being seen as not fit for purpose

Suppliers Q&A

Collaboration should be setup between suppliers of same segment of solutions under the coordination of DR. Isn't it?

This is one way in which collaboration could be established to support a particular set of project outcomes however its just one of many possible approaches depending on what is right for each circumstance.

Collaboration is like safety, it's not a milestone/criteria/optional - it's a way of working and should be embedded as part of the culture of every organisation. Collaborative working, with Integrity and through transparency are central to enabling transformational change.

Agreed, collaboration is a behaviour and approach to how you work together and to be effective it needs to be integral to the operation of the businesses, teams and individuals involved.

Peter mentioned the Olympics as a great collaboration example and Rebecca talked about the merit of NEC3, probably not a coincidence David Higgins credited the NEC contract as a key enabler to the success of 2012.

The NEC3 contract has indeed been credited by David Higgins as being a key reason why the Olympics succeeded. There are though other forms of collaborative contract that can be used, its important that we development a delivery approach that is appropriate for each contract required.

It occurs to me that here is some healthy overlap between the supplier engagement and the collaboration working groups. Think there needs to ensure some members sit in both groups.

Agreed, there is overlap between the groups but they each have a slightly different focus and hence its appropriate to maintain both currently. To ensure alignment there are a number of reps from both suppliers and DR who are in both groups

What in your view does collaboration look and feel like?

The development and delivery of the Digital Railway will include working with industry partners and stakeholders to achieve joint solution definition, development and delivery, working with a wide range of industry partners and stakeholders.

A large and wide range of stakeholders need to input into, agree with, and deliver the Digital Railway programme, and many more will be impacted by its results for decades to come.

Accordingly we will use a collaborative and structured engagement approach to:

  • Enable partners and stakeholders to agree and advocate a shared vision – building a ‘one team’ approach;
  • Improve the quality of  deliverables through the co-design of solutions with our partners;
  • Build the awareness and support needed to motivate stakeholders to participate and deliver the changes needed to take place across the industry to achieve the programme.
Is BS11000 limited to just Tier 1?

No BS11000 isn’t just limited to tier 1/2 relationships and is just as important and valuable at lower levels of the supply chain. Our vision for the digital railway supply chain is of one where all suppliers, at all levels, are working in a collaborative way and we will be setting supplier selection criteria that reward tier 1 suppliers who can demonstrate experience and proposals for driving collaboration down their supply chains.

Suppliers Q&A

Today we were asked to develop portable ETCS kit. The industry cannot develop this without: a) NR specifying the requirements b) engaging potential developer companies in a collaborative manner with a clear committed commercial benefits in terms of sharing development costs, share of IPR and a procurement contract if successful. What's the NR approach for procuring such R&D effort?

Our engagement with suppliers so far has indicated that the appetite for suppliers to undertake R&D and innovation is there if there is sufficient time to do so, a commitment to the output and ability to obtain benefit from the effort expended. We are therefore constructing a commercial strategy that makes early, long term commitment to suppliers on shared risk and reward basis to create such an environment.

Has anyone built a simulation tool showing the future working and the benefits?

As part of the business case production tools are being developed for cost and benefit analysis. These are using the latest research from work Network Rail have been developing in Europe.

Suppliers Q&A

To maximise ERTMS does NR envisage having to reduce more nationwide bottlenecks with the introduction of more grade separated junctions and if so to what timescales, before or after the introduction of ERTMS.

Digital Railway is currently assessing the best way to introduce digital modernisation to the UK to optimise economic return

The options under assessment contain a range of possibilities BOTH for the pace of acceleration AND for additional investments in conventional enhancements, so that we are able to fully meet the capacity challenge facing the UK rail network.

Suppliers Q&A

Given the recent criticisms of over investment in London's infrastructure (transport and other) compared to the rest of the UK, does the case for DR enable a greater focus on national benefits?

Yes. Digital Railway is a network wide strategy for modernisation. As such, the business case will feature a national level view of costs and benefits when it is published in autumn 2016.

How is it proposed to fund CDAS for TOCs/FOCs?

The programme is currently assessing different potential funding and financing sources – alongside HM Treasury and DfT. The results of this work will be presented in the Outline Business Case in autumn 2016.

Will the introduction of ERTMS still be funded by government if the UK withdraws from the EU after the EU exit referendum as presumably EU legislation for the introduction of ERTMS will not be applicable?

Digital Railway is building the case for change based on optimising economic returns to GB rail – because of this, the decision requested will be independent of any current EU regulation.

Suppliers Q&A

Do you see the potential devolving of powers to the routes as a disruptive challenge or an opportunity to the Digital Railway programme?

This Programme will not only impact on the route, it is the entire industry as it also includes trains and train drivers. We will continue to work closely with the routes, their customers and other industry partners to coordinate plans effectively and to manage any risk. That’s why the NYL demonstration is so important. Not only does it include the technology, it includes integration and delivery methods to enable the successful roll out of the national deployment schedule.

What has been the Treasury and DFT's response to the business case products delivered to date?

The programme has received a high level of engagement, from both the Department for Transport (DfT) and HM Treasury.

This has included the delivery of previous drafts of the business case, and formal agreement of the programmes approach to reach its next milestone in October 2016.

The shift from a route based system to a vehicle based system will transfer the risk from NR to the TOC,s and FOCs . Will the track access charges be altered accordingly.

The shift of equipment and risk from trackside to vehicle will require the commercial relationships between operators and NR to be reviewed and potentially revised which may or may not include revising track access charges.

How will devolution affect funding streams for DR; will the funding be DfT to TOCs to NR to DR, or DfT to DR to TOCs/NR?

The programme is currently assessing different potential funding and financing sources – alongside HM Treasury and DfT. The results of this work will be presented in the Outline Business Case in autumn 2016.

Suppliers Q&A

Has there been a mapping of anticipated support / supply chain requirements for the DR programme to the existing NR Frameworks (e.g. MCF / CF / IA) to identify gaps where a DR-specific framework may be required and/or where existing contracts can be leveraged?

This is a piece of work that is on-going and reviewed as we continue to refine our delivery strategy and understand in more detail the likely contacts that will be required to deliver DR. As we have stated our current intent is that where possible in support of phase 1 and phase 2 works and the development of phase 3 we will use existing NR framework contracts for support services. For the route roll-out of DR we anticipate sourcing specific contracts for this work due to the scale and need to include the specific approaches to collaboration and ways of working being proposed.

Is the Track Access Contract and the industry finance model a suitable means to trade capacity? If the deployment plan is benefits-led when, in the 25 year programme, will the model and timetable planning process change to unlock and realise these benefits?

The programme is currently assessing different potential funding and financing sources – alongside HM Treasury and DfT. The results of this work will be presented in the Outline Business Case in autumn 2016.

The programme is currently working through an extensive consultation process on the deployment plan. The findings of this will be presented in the Outline Business Case (Autumn 2016)

Given enhancing the customer experience is a key output of DR, what is the view of Transport Focus on the programme?

The programme has engaged with both freight and passenger customers on the benefits of Digital Railway. This consultation process has occurred over a long period

In a multi-projects Consortium with Contracts already awarded to the Consortium itself not to a single supplier.

The exact nature of the contract relationships would be dependant on the nature of the consortium. It is however important that if more than one contract is involved these have aligned success criteria

What are the opportunities for SME's to be involved in the NYL pilot and who should be contacted to further this?

The exact nature of the opportunities for any SME supplier would clearly depend on the type of service being offered. We expect all tier 1 suppliers to have effective supply chain plans for the delivery of NYL, which will be assessed as part of tender evaluation, and these should include where appropriate the use of SME’s

Suppliers Q&A

A challenge: we have heard the positive story that the UK is at the forefront of addressing the most complex Digital Railway challenges, whereas others are delivering relatively constrained, simple projects (no level crossings, no freight etc). Should we also be delivering a "simple" high profile project in order to build political and public support?

The NYL scheme was selected as it is representative of the wider network, its ability to demonstrate the integrations of technologies and business change and does not import undue risk into a live operational railway. With a rollout sequence now in place for CP6 it was imperative the NYL scheme identifies and overcomes the barriers to full deployment. In rolling out NYL we can demonstrate the capabilities of a Digital Railway solution which will build political and public support and of course it remains high profile

How much work has been done with respect to mapping the end customer experience e.g. Commuters and / or freight?

The benefits of Digital Railway will be felt in three main areas: more trains, better connections and greater reliability.

These three benefits have been tested extensively with passenger and freight customers, and will form the basis of the Outline Business Case when it is submitted in autumn 2016.

Will the NYL deployment build upon the GRIP already being produce? What stage will the NYL scheme revert to? GRIP 3?

The conventional scheme is currently in GRIP 4 which will complete in October 2016 and many of the GRIP 4 products can be absorbed into the Digital Railway NYL scheme. Other deliverables are entering GRIP 3 e.g. telecoms, ETCS, TM

Will ETCS equipment be retrofitted to existing rolling stock mid-life as part of Phase 2?

Two factors play here; in terms of calculating benefit case for the overall network, midlife fitting may well be an acceptable cost. The requirement is for whole system costs and whole life cost. Digital Railway takes whole system as the platform, not just ETCS. Secondly, the residual life in the equipment may well also increase the re-use value of the fleet once it has come to the end of its life.

If Telecomms are looking at FTNx who is responsible for the sub access layer?

The current intent is that NRT will deliver the sub access layer and will procure these works. Timings are yet to be confirmed for the procurement of these works to support the phase 2 early deployment scheme but this is likely to be in the second half of 2016

Are there plans to develop a Digital Railway System Design authority?

Digital Railway as a programme has technical expertise across the industry engaged and supporting in the development of ETCS, TM and C-DAS. Once the programme has finished there is a question where Digital Railway hand over to, and that question is being considered by the railway leadership

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