The first installation of a modular Mk3 crossover in four midweek night 8 hour possessions on a main line commuter route at Tottenham Hale

This is a case study for the Production Management in Design and Construction guide. It explains how the switches and crossings (S&C) on the tracks of Tottenham Hale were replaced by Balfour Beatty rail using collaborative working approach to save time and the number of people needed.

Figure 1 – Tottenham Hale Cross-Over
Figure 1 – Tottenham Hale Cross-Over

Executive Summary

The project was required to replace switches and crossings (S&C) on the tracks of Tottenham Hale. It was carried out over four midweek nights as opposed to a lengthy and costly weekend possession and represented a major step change in approach from Balfour Beatty Rail. Following on from the successes demonstrated at Wool and Wareham by the Eastleigh Renewals Depot, the Anglia Depot based in Ipswich embarked on a highly ambitious project to be the first renewals depot in the country to install a modular Mk3 crossover in 4 x 8-hour possessions on a main line commuter route.

The successful works carried out at Tottenham were the realisation of many months of hard work, not just within the project planning area, but through set up of an integrated S&C team that instigated a new approach with the concept of delivering:

  • manpower and resource efficiencies;
  • collaborative working initiatives;
  • and implementation of lessons learnt

All resulting in confidently delivering the planned volume comfortably within the midweek 8 hour possessions. The focus on through-life production management in design and construction was pivotal to the success of the project.

Project Overview

Project Location: 2531pts, situated the London side of Tottenham Hale Station – Bethnal Green to Kings Lynn (BGK) line (into Liverpool Street).

Figure 2 – Pre-Construction Activities
Date Activity
February 2012 Network Rail Mk3 Modular Trails at Beeston
August 2012 Mobilisation of ‘hand-picked’ Specialist Team to deliver S&C Renewals
September 2012 The Concept of a fully integrated S&C approach
October 2012 ‘Turn-Out 20’ Concept introduced - Tottenham Hale S&C planned as first case study
November 2012 Construction ‘Box Plan’ created for Tottenham Hale – manage the Programme
December 2012 Integrated Staging created for project delivery
Feb – Mar 2013 Progress review meetings with the Key Stakeholders (Route and Client)
March 2013 Anglia Sussex Kent (ASK) S&C Collaboration Workshop
April 2013 Anglia Depot E2E Programme Management Manual – Programme Planning Process
April 2013 Project Team and Stakeholder briefings – Safety Whiteboards
Mid-Week 6 (May 2013) Early Whiteboard/Operatives Site Walkout (1 Day)
Mid-Week 8 (May 2013) Trial Erections at Stoke Sidings, Grange (4 Days)
Figure 3 – The Construction
Phase date Activity
Mid-Week 10 (June 2013) On Site Signalling preparation works (5 Days) – including S&T visits to Beeston to oversee construction of Modular Panels
Mid-Week 11 (June 2013) On Site Signalling preparation works (5 Days)
Weekend 12 (June 2013) Remove, undertake formation works, and then install plain line through former 2531pts

Signalling Stage A1 - Testing to G110 to align testing with the plain lining of 2531. A&B points, this work involved strapping out and false feeding of normal detection and testing to SWTH
Mid-Week 12 (Mon Night CORE) Installation of 2531a Pts Modular Unit on the Up Cambridge

Signalling Stage A2 – Full mechanical set up and electrically detected in normal, Testing to SWTH
Mid-Week 12 (Tues Night) Welding & Tamping of 2531 A Points and full mechanical set up on completion

Signalling Stage A3 – Isolation of Track circuits for welding activities and testing to SMTH on completion
Mid-Week 12 (Wed Night CORE) Installation of 2531 B points Modular Unit on the Down Cambridge

Signalling Stage A4 – Full mechanical set up and electrically detected in normal, testing to SWTH
Mid-Week 12 (Thurs Night) Welding & Tamping of 2531 B Points and full mechanical set up on completion

Signalling Stage A5 - Isolation of Track circuits for welding activities and testing to SMTH on completion. Commissioning of new TPWS OSS for L1014 to SWTH
Weekend 13 (June 2013) Plain Line Core Works on Down Road off of 2531pts

Signalling Stage A6 - Down road testing to G110 to integrate the testing with the commissioning of 2531 A&B points to SWTH
Mid-Week 13 (June 2013) Follow-up works, Stressing and Tamping (4 MWk Nights)
Weekend 16 (July 2013) 6-Week Follow-up Tamp (1 MWk Night)
Mid-Week 23 (Aug/Sep 13) TOC date prior to T+12

What we did

Pre-Construction Organisation Development and Project Preparation - Network Rail Mk3 Modular Trails at Beeston

All National S&C Depots were invited to take part in simulated trials at Beeston to develop the tools and techniques for Mk3 Modular S&C installation enabling future midweek night delivery. Training was provided to all planning staff on TiLoS and knowledge shared with respect to the latest production data and planning templates for modular methods. The challenge was set to plan and install a crossover in 8 hours or less using only 6 PWay staff, tech and supervisor. Total Station, Kirow Crane, Tilting Wagons, plant and tools were provided by the project team. The summary results (minus any controllable delays) were as follows:

Figure 4 – National Results from the Mk3 Modular S&C Trials
Depot / Contractor Date of trials Time taken
Doncaster (Babcock Rail) 14/15 Sep 2011 6h 40m
Bristol (Amey Colas) 23/24 Nov 2011 6h 55m
Preston (Babcock Rail) 7/8 Dec 2011 5h 42m
Saltley (Amey Colas) 11/12 Jan 2012 6h 24m
Ipswich (Balfour Beatty) 22/23 Feb 2012 6h 25m
Eastleigh (Balfour Beatty) 7/8 Mar 2012 6h 05m
Tonbridge (Balfour Beatty) 21/22 Mar 13 6h 14m
Hamilton (Babcock Rail) 28/29 Mar 13 6h 38m

Lessons learned sessions were completed after the event, with full video capture and analysis of the depot rehearsal released to the routes for continuous improvement. There was a common overall theme of the Kirow crane cycle times creating a variation in overall performance. For example Kirow tandem lifting was significantly quicker than single point lifting. A key observation was that the higher performing teams had staff that were used to working together and had greater exposure to Modular S&C renewals. These key lessons learnt were taken forward into the Tottenham Hale S&C project.

The Concept of a fully integrated S&C approach

Using the RT24 Contract Year 10 workbank and CP5 as the basis for change and continuous improvement, the Senior Contract Manager and Business Improvement Manager from the Anglia Depot put together a Criteria and Organisational Structure for an integrated approach to S&C renewals – with Tottenham Hale seen as a good indication of progress and a first step towards the embedding of a modified approach that would yield sustained excellence. Working collaboratively with both Network Rail’s Head of Track Delivery and the Planning & Business Development Manager for the Anglia, Sussex and Kent (ASK) Routes, key deliverables were identified.

At the same time, it was decided that the final year of the RT24 Contract would be used to develop, trail, implement and improve a collaborative working approach that focussed on end-to-end process compliance, efficient mid-week and weekend delivery, minimum use of resources and materials, and through-life cost management.

The aim of the S&C Programme Management function was to develop the Territory’s S&C strength without creating a ‘silo’ or another independent team – one that will learn from project to project and transfer best practice across a multitude of disciplines.

A Senior Project Manager would be accountable for the delivery of the Territory’s S&C renewals (end-to-end) on behalf of the Area Senior Contract Managers, the Network Rail Planning and Business Development Manager; and the Network Rail Programme Manager. The Senior Project Manager would be responsible for a small team of individuals who would:

  • Deliver all the End-to-End process steps from TT-84 (or as directed) through to Final Certificate as per the Anglia Operational Delivery Function
  • Sit as project teams within the Network Rail Track Delivery Headquarters
  • Ensure continuity is established and maintained across the Territory
  • Develop and deliver a robust process for design, planning and control to ensure optimum delivery at the right cost
  • Guarantee consistency in approach from site to site and area to area; allowing best practice transfer
  • Develop into multi-disciplinary Project Managers who will deliver S&C under a Special Projects umbrella

The Senior Project Manager would have the ability to deliver complex programmes, manage stakeholders effectively, and have no concerns with regards to working throughout different routes or in multiple territories.

The individuals within the teams would have the right experience, determination, flexibility and ownership. Ideally they would be internally recruited and demonstrate seamless collaborative working practices and attitudes.

‘Turn-Out 20’ Concept introduced – Tottenham Hale S&C planned as first case study

The term ‘Turn-Out 20’ was conceived by the BB team through combined illustration of the current European benchmark for delivery of a single turnout and is part of the concept of the fully integrated S&C approach. Looking at Figure 5 below it can be seen that under current methods the UK was considerably less efficient than European counterparts.

European Benchmark for a Single Crossover
European Benchmark for a Single Crossover caption 'Figure 5 – European Benchmark for a Single Crossover

The challenge the team set itself was to use the Tottenham Hale Mk3 Modular S&C project as a ‘test-case’ to see what could be done under live conditions and very tight infrastructure constraints with respect to the ‘Turn-Out 20’ aspiration; this would then form part of the integrated solution and be developed further whilst moving forward for the rest of the Year 10 S&C installations.

Anglia Sussex Kent (ASK) S&C Collaboration Workshop

Collaborative approach image one
Collaborative approach image two
Figure 6 – The Collaborative Approach to S&C, caption 'Figure 6 – The Collaborative Approach to S&C

Another major part of the whole Tottenham Hale project was the formation of a strategic S&C Alliance within the ASK area. Led by Network Rail’s Planning & Business Development Manager and the Anglia Depot Senior Contract Manager and Business Improvement Manager, key stakeholders were brought together (including the Project Manager and Construction Manager for the Tottenham Hale works) to set out the framework for collaborative working through the Year 10 workbank and on into CP5. Key outputs from the day that had a direct effect on the success of the Tottenham Hale project were:

  • Identification of a need to become closer to the Design and Build Phases – especially with regards to signalling testing and OHL interfaces. The S&T Team went to Beeston to oversee and check the build of the Modular Panels and fit and pre-test all Signalling equipment.
The build begins at Beeston
Figure 7 – The Build Phase at Beeston, caption 'Figure 7 – The Build Phase at Beeston
  • The importance of high performing teams; continuity of workforce; and a ‘practice makes perfect’ ethos. The Anglia Depot identified early those key individuals on both the Balfour Beatty and Sub-contractor side that would be carrying out the works and scheduled them together on other projects leading up to Tottenham Hale. The Network Rail training facility at Grange was utilised by the Tottenham Hale Project team to bring together those key individuals for further collaborative working sessions and practice runs on how the Tottenham Hale job would be delivered. Of particular interest was the way the delivery teams worked with the Kirow Crane Team to reduce cycle time – a key lesson identified from the Beeston trials and embedded further here.
Working with the Kirow crew
Figure 8 – Working with the Kirow Crew at Grange, caption 'Figure 8 – Working with the Kirow Crew at Grange
  • The importance of collaboration and communication on site. The Tottenham Hale project was a clear demonstration of how good collaboration and communication up to and through the delivery phase ensured that every possible step was taken to ensure all resources, trains and equipment arrived ‘just-in-time’ and performed as required. Mitigation plans in place were collaborative in approach and enabled all key stakeholders the opportunity to reduce risk and issues to as low as reasonably practical on each night of the Renewal.

    The selection of the staff for the works inclusive of both trial and core was premeditated to ensure that the teams worked seamlessly together at all levels and the Anglia management team directed that the track teams should work together on a series of jobs during the lead up to the main works and this paid dividends on the core installations with effortless and seamless delivery shown by staff with an inability to distinguish between BB core and non-core staff.
  • The importance of an overall collaborative approach to S&C. The focus of a collaborative approach (under the BS11000 benchmark) right from the start enabled the key stakeholders from each of the critical disciplines and influence areas: design, GRIP stage planning, contractor delivery, business improvement, programme management, and Client influence to open a joint dialogue that had a positive effect on the Tottenham Hale project. Indeed the attitude and approach was such that Balfour Beatty was able to have a positive influence on the design, the build phase, and risk management during delivery of the works thanks to collective agreements reached during the workshop.

The final part of the fully integrated S&C approach has involved contribution towards the development of an E2E Programme Management Model. Whilst still under construction it was utilised during the planning phase of the Tottenham Hale project to maintain continuity of E2E process requirements, manage risks and issues through clear visual management, and identify resource through-life cost management continuities. Driven forward by the SCM and Anglia Depot Business Improvement Manager (with the support of Network Rail’s Programme & Engineering Manager), the Tottenham Hale Project Management Team utilised the process and document sets to great advantage. The Model was discharged through a ‘Box Plan’ and through-project timeline tracker. The production of a through-project timeline (with key milestones) was a first for the Project Management set up within Anglia and one that has been rolled out across the S&C programme for Year 10 as a result of the success of the Tottenham Hale project.

planning programme
Figure 9 – the E2E Programme Management Model – ‘Planning Process on a Page, caption 'Figure 9 – the E2E Programme Management Model – ‘Planning Process on a Page

Early Whiteboard/Operatives Site Walkout (1 Day)

An ‘Early Whiteboard’ and ‘Early Site Walkout’ was undertaken with the key Kirow and Machine Operators to enable them to understand the job and to give site familiarisation from an early stage. This allowed all parties to have an input into the works pre-possession. This was then developed into very detailed integrated electronic animated whiteboards utilised for pre-work site briefings to stakeholder and delivery teams alike.

Trial Erections at Stoke Sidings, Grange (4 Days)

Trials at Grange - figure 1
Trials at Grange figure 2
Figure 10 – Trails at Grange

Off the back of the collaborative approach to S&C and the ‘Turn-Out 20’ concept, the installation team who would be working on the Core midweek nights were invited to undertake a series of trials at Grange Sidings in Stoke. The objectives included familiarisation for the team with the works to be undertaken and time-in-motion exercises to be carried out - to ensure the best possible chance for the quickest possible installation during the possession nights. Day one was set up to undertake introductions and a presentation of the works to the operatives who would be undertaking the renewal. This included:

  • A classroom session showing all the prep works leading up to midweek 12 followed by an ‘animated whiteboard slide’ to show all plant and train movements.
  • A best practice workshop and brainstorming session with the teams. Knowledge from the operatives was shared around the room including five who had undertaken similar installations at Beeston.
  • A walkthrough of the Grange Sidings to familiarise the team with the site and discuss the trials which were to be undertaken over the remaining days.

Days 2-4 consisted of a series of time trials including:

  • Removing 30ft panels using Doosan 260’s.
  • Re-installing plain line panels in case of catastrophic failure during the renewal.
  • Removing panels with the Kirow.
  • Installing modular S&C with the Kirow.
  • Installing modular shrouds.
  • Disc cutting and piecing up of rails.
  • ‘Jacking and packing’ of the S&C.

All the above allowed the high level programme to be fine-tuned and also allowed the site staff to ensure they knew their required role and the sequence of installation. The lessons identified from the trials were invaluable when it came to the night of installation and included:

  • Where the panels were to be removed it was noted that travel time to where they would be stacked needed to be a minimum. It was planned to work with 2no. Doosan to remove panels. One Doosan would work ‘online’ and the other in the dig area passing the panel. This would allow the quickest method for panelling out.
  • It was noted that the critical part of the works to get right first time was the level of the base stone on the second core night. As this is when the two units would sit side by side, a near perfect level would have to be achieved by the Technical Engineer.
  • As the S&C was a modular unit, the gauging of the crossover is not always correct first time. Methods for finding the correct gauge were carried out and timed to ensure the quickest and most sufficient way would be used on the night. The use of ratchet straps to pull the two units together was found to be the best method used.
  • After gauging is complete, modular shrouds are required to be fitted to connect the long bearers. Different sequences were used to understand which method would be the quickest and again most efficient. Identification of the most skilled operatives to undertake these duties during the renewal was achieved through the trials.

Benefits and outcomes

Sleepers lowered into place
A good train at night
Figure 11 – Tottenham Hale S&C

Completion Statement

  • The team safely and successfully installed, welded and tamped 2531pts in 4 midweek night 8 hour possessions, with the crossover being commissioned the following weekend.
  • Follow-up works were completed in midweek night possessions to leave the crossover ready for T.O.C. within the timescales required.
  • The crossover was handed back at the planned TSR of 50mph after the core works and later raised to line speed after tamping in the following nights possession.
  • Monday and Wednesday Night Core works were handed back 93 minutes and 53 minutes respectively allowing trains to run prior to the 05:30 possession handback time.
  • Signalling prep was essential to the success as there was very little time or scope for signalling Installation during the core renewals. This was completed including the SMTH/G110 preparation and pre- labelling.
  • All planned OLE works completed during core renewals and pre-commissioning in Weekend 13.

Delivery Synopsis

  • Build-up of the point panels at Beeston to complete all continuity track bonding & point end electrical installation and preparation. This involved connecting various cables to the points and securing them on the layout to prevent damage.
  • Essential signalling preparation was completed on site, including: disconnection of box & concrete stools; location of equipment cabling and the installation of the hydraulic pump units (with relevant cabling) - including the location change-overs.
  • Full cable / location survey and a full correlation of all signalling equipment running through and adjacent to the points’ renewal in preparation for installation of a complete new set of Over Speed Sensors (OSS) for L1014. The Renewals were completed under the enhanced SMTH / G110 Procedure, monitored by the Atkins TIC.
  • Enabling works undertaken by the OHL team as a temporary OHL Design was required to raise the wire heights to 4.6m to allow the Kirow to lift panels from the tilting wagons. 4.6m was the maximum achievable and also the absolute bare min for the Kirow, so the OHL staff proposed to utilise ‘earthing’ poles to raise the OHL locally to enable lifts on the night.
  • The Team installed, tamped and tested the first half of Tottenham Hale modular S&C in 6hrs 27 minutes on Monday night including mobilization and demobilization of possession, worksite and isolation – a full 93 minutes ahead of the planned possession hand back time. The S&C was installed in 3no panels using Balfour Beatty’s Kirow 1200.
  • On Tuesday Night the team followed up by tamping the first half of the crossing and dropped a total of 18no. welds.
  • The team handed back 53 minutes early on Wednesday night after installing and tamping the second half of the crossing. Connecting shrouds were installed to connect the modular units - which lined up perfectly due to the excellent technical controls. The second half was again installed in 3no. panels using the Balfour Beatty Kirow 1200.
  • On the final night of the week, the team again tamped the second half of the crossover and undertook the remaining welds to complete the crossing renewal in 4 midweek night 8 hour possessions.
  • OHL adjustments were completed during the next weekend possession, with installation of a new anchor carried out. The works were built to fit and the S&C was thoroughly panned to prove OHL alignment and OHL figures were to design. Technical support was passed onto Atkins in order to facilitate the installation of a piled base to install the new Anchor support.
  • The crossover was fully commissioned during the following weekend possession.

Collaborative Working – Lessons Identified

  • Support across all of the Route functions was fantastic which, combined with so many enthusiastic and focused people with a positive attitude, provided a major contributing factor to the success of the works.
  • The isolation was critical and this was managed and manned accordingly to provide maximum working time. Communication with Route and ECRO ensured that the isolations were in place and a C Form Issued ten minutes from Issue of Form B.
  • The Bonding team worked immediately once panels were in place, installing bonds prior to ballasting to save time at the end of the renewal.
  • Within this work was an agreement with the Network Rail Testing Manager to complete all adjacent plain line renewals under the enhanced SMTH / G110 Procedure, monitored by the Atkins TIC.
    • Agreement was reached with the TIC for clear lines of reporting and testing methodology to prevent unnecessary cross-testing of equipment.
    • The use of core staff was preferred as the lead signalling teams - backed up by sub-contract installers; this ensured full command and control of all work ensuring quality control, we work closely with Atkins TIC and Points Tester to ensure smooth installation, commissioning.
    • Signalling acted as the liaison between the project team and the Atkins TIC; as one point of contact to prevent breakdown in communication.
  • Works were delivered utilising a divide of Balfour Beatty Core Labour (35%) and Sub-contract labour procured from Balfour Beatty’s network of approved suppliers (65%).
  • 100 % Subcontractor support:
    • Site Access, MacRail (Fully briefed at Whiteboard meeting previous week)
    • Site Transport, Cheema (Licensees checked, all drivers had signed the BBRS driving Licence mandate)
    • Crane Controllers, D-T-S (Competency registered with Balfour Beatty; on list of approved Crane Controllers for Balfour Beatty; received the Balfour Beatty Safety Brief and Induction; fully briefed prior to shift; crane plans sent through prior to shift; all safety notices signed)
    • Cat Scanner, D-T-S (competency checked prior 6 weeks out when ordered)
    • Points Operator, D-T-S (competency checked prior 6 weeks out when ordered)
  • 100% Plant and Plant operators contracted through Ready Power 6 – 8 weeks prior to the work. Machines regulated to safety standards and certificates kept in the cab of the machine. Machine Operators supplied with the machines and competency checked by SAC. All operators invited to the trial erections to ensure they knew the plan prior to the Core Works. All operators briefed prior to the possession.
  • 100% of Sub-Contracted P-way manpower was resourced through D-T-S. All sub-contracted staff had previously worked with Balfour Beatty and held the required competencies and desire to undertake the works. The team who would complete the renewal on the night were again invited to Stoke to undertake trials ‘pre’ the Core Works construction phase.
  • Welding teams were 100% sub-contracted through Weld-a-Rail. (Welders were ordered 6-8 weeks prior to task, competency requested and checked and details of work given prior to work starting, competency checked by SAC on site, welders supervised by a COSS and Site management and works inspected by BBRS Welding Supervisor).
  • Additional S&T expertise in the form of a point’s fitter was used at Beeston to ensure the points were installed quicker on site. Installers were only used additionally to assist in the general changeovers, connections and installation on site. All signalling contractors were IRSE Licensed as laid down by Network Rail and verified by the principal contractor.

Value-Added Opportunities

  • The collective expertise and knowledge of the management/project team allowed the programme to be carefully planned minute by minute in order to produce a plan that would succeed giving the tight time constraints to undertake what some would see as an unachievable task.
  • Collaborative working relationships with a number of construction contractors ensured successful completion of the project. The operatives and manpower who would undertake the works were released to attend trials and subsequently rostered to the construction phase.
  • Early White board sessions along with an additional whiteboard meeting prior to the start of the possession allowed the team to know everybody’s roles on-site so that the programme ran smoothly with no hitches.
  • The above combined with ‘task cards’ (of who would undertake which job, at which time), allowed everybody on-site to know exactly what task they should be undertaking and when.
  • An additional Safety Brief was delivered to all site staff prior to the possession to ensure all tasks were carried out in the right manner and safely even though the works had to be undertaken in restricted time.
  • 2 x safety initiatives were used during the works – a fire screen for cutting operations and the Person in Charge wearing a Black Hat, vice White for easy identification. Both worked exceptionally well.
  • The hunger and desire mixed with the experience of the carefully selected Balfour Beatty and the Subcontractor Labour staff meant that the correct attitude was displayed at all times to successfully complete the renewal.
  • The organisation and the positive actions of the Site Management spread throughout the site and passed on the desire to succeed in a safe manner.
  • Communication was exceptional throughout. Indeed, the success of the Tottenham Hale S&C project was communicated across the business (both internally and externally) through the Balfour Beatty Senior Safety Tour bulletin.
  • Undertaking brainstorming sessions with all levels and not only the management team meant that the full site team had an input and felt part of the project from the start.
  • Close working relationships with the client meant that problems were not found at an early stage but solutions were.
  • Meetings and early involvement with Route meant that the possession was granted in as quick a period as possible for the Core works - where time was a major issue to a successful outcome.
  • The decision after discussion with Network Rail to install from the scheme plan at risk to prevent endangering the core works signalling was essential to the success of this project; especially as the detailed design was delivered behind schedule.

Further Information

Richard Pilvousek (Senior Contract Manager), Balfour Beatty Rail
e: [email protected]

John Podmore (Business Improvement Manager), Balfour Beatty Rail
e: [email protected]

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