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Rail infrastructure success key to London’s growth, experts argue

Projects can transform communities and improve quality of living when managed effectively.

L-R: Matthew Yates (Transport for London), David Leam (London First), Jonathan Martin (London Borough of Waltham Forest), Rand Watkins (Atkins), Chris Smith (Argent).
L-R: Matthew Yates (Transport for London), David Leam (London First), Jonathan Martin (London Borough of Waltham Forest), Rand Watkins (Atkins), Chris Smith (Argent).

Successful rail infrastructure projects play a vital role in solving London’s growth agenda and improving communities more generally, according to industry experts.

The specialists from Atkins, Argent, London Borough of Waltham Forest and Transport for London (TfL) spoke at an ICE London lecture last month about how rail infrastructure can help to alleviate some of the present and future challenges faced by the capital.

The free event took place on 30 January, in association with SNC-Lavalin's Atkins business, at ICE’s headquarters at One Great George Street.

   

Knowing what success looks like in infrastructure development was also key, they said.

They told 220 guests about how investment in projects such as station regeneration can make a real difference to the lives of Londoners, by improving other significant areas such as housing and jobs.

Using case studies, the speakers presented their ideas on issues ranging from the declining use of cars to the importance of communication and effective partnerships in development projects.

Chris Smith, Senior Projects Director at property developer Argent, referred to his company’s development at King’s Cross, while Rand Watkins, Associate Director at Atkins, examined the impact of investment at stations in Leeds and Birmingham New Street.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Martin, Director of Investment and Delivery, at Waltham Forest, looked at the potential of regeneration at Lea Bridge station, and Matthew Yates, Head of Projects and Consents at TfL, focused on a range of future rail projects including Crossrail 2, the Bakerloo extension and DLR upgrades.

The session was chaired by David Leam, Infrastructure Director at London First.

Challenges in rail infrastructure projects

A Q&A session following the speaker sessions generated discussions about how to manage the challenges that are likely to emerge in rail infrastructure projects, such as escalating costs and handling competing timescales among stakeholders.

Other topics raised included how politics and political alignment affects developments, the importance of feasibility studies, and future-proofing in project planning.

The event was part of ICE London’s Knowledge Programme, which includes four lectures a year, and the theme for 2019 is the Mayor’s London Plan.

The next lecture, Aviation update: in search of capacity, takes place on Monday 1 April between 6.30pm and 8pm.

SNC Lavalin’s Atkins business’ digital brochure on the Value of Stations is available to download here.

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